On January 8th, WBVN began broadcasting in a New Year for the 23rd time. I’ve had people ask me over the years where the impulse to start a Contemporary Christian Radio station came from. It’s not a simple or necessarily an easy question to answer. There were many things that occurred to push the process forward. There were many things happening to Jane’s and my lives that seemed to propel us forward, in what seemed to us, unexpected ways. If you had a couple of hours we could discuss all that, but for this letter let me just say: the twists and turns were so exaggerated that we could not have been mistaken about the fingerprint of God in the mix. If you held me down and threatened me with some fierce look I probably could come up with one thing that I attribute it to the most. I think the one reason we were following our hearts in getting involved in ministry was due to one single thought, but one that had many years of application in both our lives. That single knowledge, the one thing that set us out on this journey, was that we came to believe with all our hearts that ‘Dad ain’t mad.’
Somewhere along the way as believers, we became convinced that God was a giver, a lover, an encourager, a ransomer. He was a friend and He was not angry with us. He was not mad at us, not repulsed by us, not eliminating us from His Life. We discovered that God so Loved that He could not help but Give. That He was taking every opportunity to bring us into Himself, not looking for ways to keep us out. He was making a way for us, not getting in the way. He was eager to be a companion rather than an angry God finding excuses and reasons to separate us from His Love. If ever there was one reason, one thought, one thing that was the seed that eventually grew up into WBVN, it was that one truth. Paul talked of ‘knowing God’, to be aware of the intimacy of His seeking us out and providing a way for us to succeed in this Life. If believers could have that one truth come alive in their hearts, I believe the power of that would be infinite. For us, we found that saying His praises was our full-time thing. As we did that, we saw our lives change. We saw more and more opportunity to say that over and over again. The knowledge of God’s Love and Grace led to the opportunity to do what we had been doing privately with only a few people into being able to do that publicly with thousands over WBVN.
What we trusted in the most, what we said the most, was that God Loved us before we loved Him. That He chose us before the foundation of the world to be in Himself. And, it was His Purpose and His Will that we might live and move and have our being in Him. It was God’s dream to do so and we are the benefactor of that dream. In spite of thousands of reasons and justifications to make ashes out of us all, God has always provided for our relationship with Him to be real. That became an overwhelming truth for Jane and me. He provided cover for Adam and Eve. He placed blood on the door post in Egypt that His people might be spared. He provided a ram for Abraham. He put Abram to sleep and cut a covenant that He knew Abram could not keep so He did it by Himself. He provided a Day of Atonement in the Law to offer forgiveness to Israel. He provided manna from Heaven. Does that sound like a God looking to separate Himself from His people? He personally buried Moses with loving kindness. He chose David in spite of David. He chose Saul (Paul) even though Saul persecuted believers. And immediately after the resurrection, from the mouth of Jesus, He instructed that someone go and tell Peter of His resurrection, the same Peter that had denied Him three times. And it was He that gave the ultimate sacrifice, the final sacrifice, His Son for a perpetual sacrifice so that we could approach the throne of His Grace. God searches us out, offers a Grace and Mercy we do not deserve, provides access for the unworthy. When His people rejected Jesus, He sent the Comforter of God to be in and on people. And, what was once reserved for only the Prophet, Priest or King became a companion to all that believed. Does that sound like a God that was trying to find a way to eliminate people from His presence?
He paid a price we could not pay. He pledged that He would not leave or forsake us. He obligated Himself that nothing could separate us from the Love of God. He declared, as early as the Book of Isaiah, that He would pour out His entire wrath on One. He promised to set a rainbow in the sky as a testimony of His Grace and Forgiveness and being totally and completely satisfied with Christ’s blood as a propitiation for our Sin.
For us, ‘Dad ain’t mad!’ His hand is still reaching out. He is the Good Samaritan that paid the price in the parable. He is the Father that stands at the road’s edge watching and hoping for His son and places a ring of covenant on his son’s hand and a covenant coat on his back upon his return.
That said, I know and have had incidents of people trying to say to me: Yes, but! And I will permit someone to describe the Gospel in other ways and in other expressions. But, if I were to have to tell you what is the most important truth, what is the secret to seeing the impossible happen in our lives, what is the most profound, most powerful, it is this: God told Abraham that He was the Friend of Abraham and we are Abraham’s seed and we have inherited that same Friendship and Love. We have a great God and we can declare that as a simple daily testimony. It is the most powerful truth Jane and I have found in the Gospel. He is the Center of our attention. We permit the free gift of Righteousness to guide our walk. We do believe with all our hearts that God has sought us out, reached for us, gone through heart-ache for us, treasured the thought of having someone choose Him in return. Have someone do as the angels have done, declare ‘Peace on Earth, good will toward men’! That Peace has been declared, a covenant of Love has been fulfilled and we can be the beneficiaries of that Great Love.
It has not been a revelation of who we are that changed our whole lives; it was a revelation of who He is that made that difference. When we began to live like ‘Dad ain’t mad,’ things that we had struggled with all our lives fell off our hearts. Peace became our home. We entered into a Rest that comforts us each and every day.
Well there! I’ve done it, blown our cover! You might have thought the most important thing is to be smart; my response would be ‘really?’ Look at us. Maybe you would think lots of money. Well, Jane and I had $5300 in the bank when we started the station. Expertise? I still don’t know how we do this! We are just as ordinary as the people that support and pray for this station. And you now know that the ordinary is extra ordinary with the revelation of the Love of God. Paul teaches in Ephesians that to understand the height, width and the length of God, we will first need to know the Love of God. That’s the order of His revelation. We do not become perfect and then become Spiritual, we get to put on holiness, righteousness and sanctification and with that ‘putting on’ comes a transformation into the Spiritual, and with that a change in our behavior and attitude follows. Any other order than that Paul calls a foolish pursuit of the Gospel. God intervenes in our lives as we see Him for who He really is. Jesus said in so many words, if you can perceive me, you can perceive Him. The most powerful question in the Bible for me was the one Jesus asked Peter, ‘Who do you say I am?’ How we perceive God affects how we experience Him.
For us, that was the turning point. That truth has brought a liberty that is not sinister. It has brought a freedom that does not take advantage of the Love of God, but expands what we have seen and what we have experienced. We all know what is wrong with the world, we know what is wrong with us. The mystery is to have discovered what is Right in the world and what He has made Right in us. We will show forth His praises as long as we have breath and this radio station continues in one message and one hope: that all those who have come to trust and obey will find the God of Abraham who was Abraham’s Friend