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Creed

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

WBVN CREED

I believe that what I believe is what makes me who I am. I did not make it, no, it is making me. It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man…” Lyrics from “Creed” by Rich Mullins
WBVN began broadcasting the Gospel of Christ the afternoon of January 8th, 1990. That’s considered the “starting point” of this ministry. However, the real beginning is really associated with a message rather than a date. That message started with the simple truth we had learned years before 1990, a decision to depend on Christ as the only source of Life as the Father would have it for us. Christ is everything concerning the Gospel. He stands alone as the central figure in the Gospel message, sharing the stage with no other performer. Christ should be the captain of our Faith and He should be more than doctrine or denomination, Christ must be the focus of our daily Christian expression. We cannot look right or left, but we have to look inside our hearts for the purpose and the will of God. He alone has been made to us Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). For that statement to be true, it’s our contention that the Law had a limited purpose, while Christ’s ministry is “limitless” and now stands alone as the object of our Faith.

Paul taught that prior generations had been spoken to by Moses and the Prophets “in many portions and many ways”, but in these days He has spoken to us in “His Son”. (Hebrews 1:1,2) Simple behavior modification based on Law will not produce the Power of God; the Power we all need to have in our lives to change our lives found in the knowledge of Christ Jesus! Romans 1:16-17 teaches us that a revelation of the Righteousness of God, imparted to us as a free gift, is the knowledge that will empower us. The Law had two revelations: (1) you don’t measure up and (2) no one else measures up either. John 5:45 shows Jesus accusing the hearers of trusting in the Law of Moses, setting their hope on ordinances rather than a “Faith” such as Abraham’s. That kind of thinking was a mistake for believers then and it’s a mistake for us today!

The Law teaches that if we do well enough, we’ll succeed. Grace says, “receive” Mercy and Peace and you will do well enough! Paul instructed that the teaching of the Law was “the ministry of death and condemnation” (2 Cor. 3:7,9), contrasting it with the “ministry of reconciliation”, which teaches “…that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation”. (2 Cor. 5:18-19) “Wherefore brethren, you are dead to the Law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead…for when we were in the flesh (under the Law) the motions of sins, which were by the Law…. but now we are delivered from the Law, that (it) being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (Law).” “…Not being under the Law, but under Grace.” (Rom. 6:14) “For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the Law of sin and death.” “For as many as are lead by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba (Daddy), Father.” (Rom. 8:14-15) “…The Gentiles which followed not after righteousness, have attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by Faith (faith that it is a free gift). But Israel, which followed after the Law of righteousness, hath not attained to the Law of righteousness…Because they sought it not by Faith, but as it were by the works of the Law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone (Jesus).” (Rom. 9:30-32) “For with the heart (with the heart! with the heart!) man believeth unto righteousness…”(Rom. 10:10) That’s our Creed at this ministry, that’s ‘the word of Faith’ that we preach. The change agent in our lives is the knowledge of the Love of Christ, so that we might know the “breadth, the length, the depth and the height of God, that we might be filled with the fullness of God. (Eph. 3: 18-19)

Our obligation is for this ministry to continue in the same way we started this “Faith-walk”. “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. …for in Him dwells all the fullness …you are complete in Him. You are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands…blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us (Law).” The devil wants us under the Law, for under the obligations of the Law we will always be succeeding at one part, but always failing at another. We therefore live in ‘self-condemnation’ as well as the condemnation of those around us. We’ll eventually have to come to the fact that it’s ‘nothing but the blood of Jesus’-that no other shedding of blood or sacrifice will be enough. “Man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the Faith of Jesus Christ… by no works of the Law shall any flesh be justified…. I do not frustrate the Grace of God, for if righteousness came by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal. 2:16,21) “…the just shall live by Faith and the Law is not of Faith, but that man that does them shall live in them. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us…that the blessings of Abraham (all of them) might come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through Faith…. For if the inheritance be of the Law, it is no more a promise: but God gave it to Abraham (and us) by a promise…for if there had been a Law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the Law…the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by Faith, but after that Faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Gal 3:11-25) “Tell me, you that desire to be under the Law, do you hear the Law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid and the other by a freewoman. But he was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise…these are two covenants…now we brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now…cast out the bondwoman for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherein Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (this is Paul’s comparison between the two covenants) Christ is of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law, you are fallen from Grace. For a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Gal. 4:21 thru 5:9)

Sometimes rightly dividing the Word is rightly separating the old covenant and the new. Hebrews, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Timothy are all comparative books; the comparisons being made are between two covenants, Law and Grace, one the old system of relating to God and the other a new way to live the “God Life”. Every Law added to the Gospel message diminishes the Cross and resurrection of Christ. Paul writes in 2 Cor. 3:5, “not that we are sufficient of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter (Law), but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives Life…for even unto this day, when Moses is read (Law) the veil is upon our hearts, nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty…(and as we see the glory of the Lord in this revelation of liberty) we all are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy…” “…Beware of the concision (law givers) for we are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh (Law)…though I might also have confidence in the flesh. Circumcised on the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the Law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church, touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them as dung that I may win Christ. And be found in him, not having a righteousness which is of the Law, but that which is through Faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by Faith.” (Phil. 3: 2-9) “…By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight. For by the Law is the knowledge of sin, but not that righteousness of God without the Law is manifest …the righteousness of God which is by Faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…being justified freely by his Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith with the deeds of the Law.”(Rom 3:20-28)

We are continually confronted with whom or what we put our trust in. We are always trying to find the right way to “do” the Gospel. The Believer’s challenge is to remember that the right way is not a thing, but a person. Christ is the way, the truth and the life. All the fullness of the Godhead is in Him. “For the Law made nothing perfect (complete), but the bringing in of a better hope did.” (Heb. 7:19) “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is a better mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them (people) he said, Behold the days come says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant in the day when I took them by the hand and lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant…for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their mind and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will have Mercy to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that He says, a new covenant he hath made the first old. Now that which is decays and waxes old is ready to vanish.” (Heb. 8:6-13) “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he comes into the world (Jesus), he said, Sacrifice and offerings thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifice for sin thou hast no pleasure…which are offered by the Law. Then said He, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.” (Heb. 10:4-10) Jesus taught the Law in a way that ‘raised the bar’ each time he spoke of it. Each time they thought they had him ‘checkmated’ about meeting the obligation of the Law he simply took the obligation a step further. Finally, he raised the bar so high that no one could get over it; indicating that even to think of the deed was the same as performing the deed. To break the Law in any one part meant we broke the Law in every part. It is simply impossible to satisfy the Law. It can’t be done. We are left with only one remedy: Jesus Christ. He “fulfilled the Law on our behalf and set us free from the Law of Sin and Death.” (Rom. 8:2)

We’re taught in Hebrews 4 about entering into His Rest. He compares that Rest to the Israelites coming out of Egypt, ‘but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with Faith in them that heard it’; they did not enter into His Rest because of ‘unbelief’. There ‘is a rest to the people of God’, “for he that is entered into His Rest, he also has ceased from his works…let us labor therefore to enter into that Rest…”(Heb. 4:9-11), working with God, not working for God. Jesus taught that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. That yoke and burden is to stand in the liberty that he alone has provided. Paul’s letter to the Galatian church describes people that came “to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.” The disciples asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said, “This is the work of God, that you believe on whom he hath sent.” (John 6:27-29) It’s a full time job to believe in Jesus. We’re “in the day that God shall judge the secrets of men by (through) Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 2:16) “God, who in sundry times and in diverse manners spoke unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…who being the brightness of His Glory and expressed image of His person…. had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. 1:2-3) Something will always challenge that ‘work’. It seems that we are having to ‘work’ at being at Rest.

Our role is to stay strong, rooted and grounded in His love. Not to be moved away from the ‘full Gospel of Christ’. This is our Creed. It’s who we are. It’s where we stay. It’s what we share. Because we’ve seen the ‘mystery hidden in Christ’ we cannot help but speak. Jesus is our Passover, the fulfillment of the Law, it is finished, Jesus is our Jubilee: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Isa. 61, Luke 4) It’s a finished work. WBVN’s desire to always remember that for our lives but just as importantly encourage our listeners enter into the Rest of God as well!

“Rushes”

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

WBVN Ministry Purpose
“A sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured it up. Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth… because they had no root they withered away. Some fell among thorns; the thorns sprung up and choked them. Others fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some a hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold…” (Matthew 13)

“Can the rush grow up without the mire?” That was Bildad the Shuhite’s question to Job in Chapter 8 verse 11. Bildad’s purpose for that question was to be revealed in a later verse (19), for “out of the earth others shall grow.” I remembered those words after recently being asked about the ministry that comes from WBVN. I’ve mentioned it before, it’s always hard to measure results of radio ministry, we have no direct data that identifies numbers saved, helped or encouraged in their Christian walk. Having ten to fifteen thousand people listen each week is the only measure we have of the opportunity to do ministry here. As I was thinking about describing our type of “ministering,” it occurred to me that most visual comparison was that WBVN is like a huge garden tiller. I’ll explain that later.

Back to the rushes. Bildad’s rushes were reeds that grew along the Nile River bank. Just to look at them, they would give no clue as to what a great benefit they were to that culture. However, they played a significant part in people’s daily lives and carried significant value because of their many uses. Papyrus reeds were woven and used for clothing, their roots were burned for warmth, the rushes were woven to make sails for their boats, the poor people had to eat the plant occasionally and rushes were crushed and made into papyrus paper. Moses used a reed and papyrus paper to write the first books of the Bible. The Egyptians advanced their culture because of their ability to write and pass down to the next generation. Simply, without those rushes we would have no books, no written history or literature from that period of time. Just as importantly, there would not have been any rushes without the “muck” in the bottom of the Nile River bank. That mire turned out to be pretty important stuff. It was located about 6 feet below the rushes. In its own way it was miracle stuff. It was a coagulation of dead things that produced life. Today it could be compared to the stuff you’ve felt between your toes if you have ever been brave enough to step out into a farm pond. It looks and smells terrible. Its dark, ugly stuff for sure, but without the mire the rush would not grow! Without the mire the rushes that benefited those people would not have been possible. That stuff under water, out of sight and seemingly insignificant, was the foundation to what was seen above the water. in the order of God, mire comes before reed! To have good reeds you gotta have good “muck.” It was that relationship between the plant and that murky soil that caught my imagination as I thought about ministry heard over WBVN. I think we’ve got something to do with that “mire stuff.”

The reason I compare the station to a “tiller” is that tillers are used to work the earth. Tillers take “plain old” dirt and make it into “soil;” Soil produces the plant life we see all around us. I don’t know if you have ever used a garden tiller, but what you start out with is nothing like what you end up with. What is hard as clay, full of clods, hard to walk on, with a little tilling, becomes this stuff you really enjoy walking bare-footed in. It changes the nature of the dirt into something useable and actually attractive and sweet to smell. Christian music and programming heard over FM 104.5 prepares the soil for our spiritual growth. Our prayer at WBVN is that once “worked, ” once the Christian community has been mixed with encouragement and faith, that apostolic ministry would follow, that teachers would come and plant seed, that pastors would care for and keep the ground clear of weeds and scare the birds away, that evangelists would inspire healings and baptisms. As we prepare a place for ministry to take place, our prayer is that the five-fold ministry will take hold and work the “garden” of believers. We chum the soil, mixing in CCM and Programming. We “shine” to warm it, till it to expose oxygen to the root and inspire growth. WBVN is one simple thing, a ministry of encouragement. It’s purposed to create an environment for growth. Soil needs to be loosened for the plants to grow, people need to be enriched with hope and love to bear fruit. If you throw seed on ground that has not been worked, if you toss watermelon seeds out on your lawn, you will get no fruit. We prepare a place for ministry to happen, but we are not the whole of ministry; we’re a part of the overall role of believers being a “work of God.”

There’s a difference between doing a “work” and working for God. An Old Testament illustration of this is found in the earliest scripture. Abel offered a lamb as a sacrifice while Cain offered what he had produced from the ground that was cursed. Cain’s offering symbolized a “work for God,” the work of his own labors and hands. The lamb embodied what God had done for mankind, God providing the sacrifice- Cain offered what he did, his religious work for God. God judged each for its approach to ministry. It hasn’t been based on earthly things, our abilities, or “gifting” but rooted in what we believe is His divine purpose for ministry using CCM. For us success can not be measured in financial terms but in the terms identified with the life of Noah, who did the work of God “according to all that God commanded him, so he did.” God establishes Visions in His church and each member is directed in ministry towards accomplishing that particular vision. If we do not make that vision our number one priority for functioning in ministry, then the thoughts and intents of our hearts are not God-ward but self-serving. When all ministries add their efforts together we get a “fullness” of ministry from churches, missions, Christian service ministries and yes, even broadcast ministries.

WBVN’s ministry purpose is to accomplish one thing really: to be a “help ministry” so that other ministry all around us can finish “the work of God” according to our generation, uniquely to this generation. Ministry through WBVN is the beginning of something rather than the end of something. Justas a garden full of “living things” begins with soil preparation, begins the “tiller,” “tilling” is the first thing that leads to many other things. We believe that “out of good soil others shall grow.” We’re a ministry that “sets the table” for the five–fold ministry to come and sow, tend and harvest. We prepare the environment, charge the environment, with potential for the miracles we call the Christian Life. With the partnership of our listeners for 14 years, we have invested in the preparation of our communities, that the Word of God will have a place to manifest and become relevant in believers’ lives. We spend 24 hours a day tilling the soil we have been given care of, and prepare for growth in our Christian experience. We thank all of you that have contributed to that and trust God to multiply the harvest. The Bible says of His return, “will He find us Faithful”… we are a ministry that tries to help encourage that in us.

God With Us

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

“God In Us!”
I’m sitting here writing the newsletter and listening to a newscast at the same time. What I’m hearing in the news reminds me of a “great weight” that all of us seem to have to carry a part of. Each day, because of the condition we find the world, it seems one more pound of worry can be added. What I’m hearing is truly discouraging and, at times, it would seem to be more than we can bear. The “terrible” news made me more aware of the great value of our Christian Faith in “this present darkness”. Feeling that “heaviness”, I began to think about the difference between our Faith and all the other religions in the world…all of them! Ours really has an odd suggestion when you stop and think about it. That difference is simplified in scripture to four words! “Receive ye the Spirit”. No other “belief system” offers such a suggestion. You can name all the religions the world over and you will get no hint of “God living in man” and you might even get thumbed on the head for even suggesting it in some places. That God would live in us was really a “new and living way” that religion had never even “dreamed of” before Christ. Even in our Old Testament, God came upon people but he never came inside people.

And then, just about the time they got the “spirit-filled” thing off the ground at Pentecost, here comes another hard pill to swallow: the idea of the Grace of God. And to make it even worse it’s declared by some guy that used to be called Saul, but for some reason changed his name to Paul. Then he starts bringing Gentiles into the group! Forget about it! That’s just too much for “good old religions” to bear! Mythic gods had never been portrayed as tightly knit with their followers and certainly never yielding to a “grace” relationship with them. And just to be more insulting, out in the middle of the desert in the Middle East comes Word that the Creator of all the earth has made personal contact with man and in that contact has offered “Good will toward all men”! I mean it’s just too much! After all, gods were to amuse themselves with the tragedies of people’s lives. I mean come on, they were to demand sacrifices, pentence, servitude, and don’t forget a god’s part-time work of creating great fear among his or her people. What good-god would declare a Peace and a Rest for his subjects? I mean give me a break here! Well, that’s exactly what we’re to believe if we believe in Elohim and Christ.

A Peace based on the Mercy and Grace of God was hard to accept for people that had used the Law of God for the agent of change in a person’s life. But now, Saul’s or Paul’s book of Romans was using a Greek word, charis, taken from the streets with at street meaning “unearned favor” and the scripture was using it to talk about the way God favored us. Then, like an Emeril cooking show, “bam” the Word of God kicked it up a notch by making the case for a favor that is not only unearned but undeserved as well! That was almost too much! After all, the Pharisees had perfected the deserved “rewards” of God as the order of the day. Why, how could those new Christians suggest such a thing?

Well that’s where we find ourselves. Actually, the manifestation of this favor of God is found in “the gift of the Spirit”. This Spirit is merged with Grace to be active in our lives. In just believing in Christ we find ourselves in fellowship of the Spirit. “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in Him will I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2) The Spirit of God inside us, us inside Him. Our obligation is to “dwell” there, to reside and stay there. We need to stay at “home” in the good times and especially in the bad times. The daily news should not spook us like quail hidden in tall grass, startling us to a new place. Instead we should hold our ground. Staying under the shadow of the Most High, trusting Him. David continues in that Psalm to identify God as “my habitation”. He lives here; His Spirit stays and abides in you. He never leaves or forsakes! He doesn’t rent a place; He paid a very expensive price for this place to live in! We do not have to call out to Heaven for intervention; we simply need to access our hearts. That’s not a momentary, depends on His mood, type of living in us. He does not travel between Heaven and Earth visiting our lives occasionally! He is there at all times. The Spirit of God has “come” into us, as a believer, issue settled.

I remember a Bible teacher illustrating that “God inside us” one time with a story about playing tennis. If I wanted to learn to play tennis I could go to the store and purchase a tennis racket, I could get magazines about tennis. I might get books that explain tennis, books that give its rules and how to keep score. I could even memorize the positions for hitting the tennis ball correctly shown in pictures. I could get on the Internet and surely learn even more about the game. I could even buy a pair of white shorts, shirt and shoes especially designed to play tennis in. I might go to Wimbledon to watch the experts, could hire a coach. After doing all that I finally go to the court and actually try to play tennis and find out all that preparation was of no practical use because something “inside” me refuses to co-operate. My muscles don’t coordinate; I’m slow of foot and exhausted! However, what if that tennis coach could “step inside me”, inside my mind, nerves, muscles? Do you think that would make a difference in my “tennis-life”? My part would be to try and quit playing tennis and let him do it. Mine is to admit how helpless on the tennis court I am and just permit him to take over “my game”. That coach didn’t teach me how to play tennis; he is how I play tennis. That’s moving from the Law of Tennis method to the “inside me” method. I found myself doing all the right moves and following the rules but it was because the coach was doing the work. I was not playing tennis in my own ability, but by resting in the one who is inside me.

Well, that’s the “story” we’ve been given to believe in. God in us! We are not in just a moral or political war at the present, more importantly we are in a “Spiritual” war. We are in a real “separation” of good and evil, of light and dark, of kingdom versus Kingdom. We live in a time that takes our attention and our action for sure. We need to be aware and active in the challenges to our Christian Faith by the political and the radical. However, in that kind of world we can still find the shadow of the Most High. Matthew 11: 28-30 speaks of a way for the “weak and heavy-laden” to find a rest. That’s what it will require to take some of the weight off. That Greek “street-word” used for rest is most closely associated with our English word for vacation. As believers, we can take a vacation from those things that weigh us down and burden us daily. Oh! I know we sometimes don’t feel like that, don’t act like that and don’t always talk like that, but those weaknesses on our part don’t make it any less true on His. When I listen to the news and feel the weight I just remember my “helplessness” and more importantly the “Helper”. Ours is just to hold on. Don’t give up. I have no idea about what I’m going to do about tomorrow but I trust God to live it through me and live it accordingly to His ability to do so. I know it’s an odd thing that’s been suggested to us. No other religion will offer such a miracle and so much help, such a remedy. It’s kind of hard to “swallow” but it’s true just the same.