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Act of God

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

“Act of God.” That’s what insurance companies call hurricanes, tornadoes, fallen trees, lightning strikes and your roof collapsing from the weight of snow. I think that’s a misrepresentation, or at the very least a misunderstanding of God. That’s part of the vision of this radio station… telling people “Dad ain’t mad!”
WBVN was actually started in 1988. We didn’t begin broadcasting until January 8th, 1990, but the vision for telling people about the Love, Mercy and Grace began much earlier. In 1988 we made an application to the FCC and it took months to get the final approval. When we did get on the air, it was an expression of what we (Jane and I) had been sharing for 10 years prior. Fourteen years later, WBVN is still an expression purposed in the Grace and Love of God. That’s what we believe: the Father inspired us to “go and tell.” The way I like to express it is, “that’s what the Father released us (gave us a peace about) to tell.” I get uncomfortable telling or talking about almost anything else. Don’t really know much about anything else really. This newsletter is about “what I have to say about God.” I had posed a question to myself: If having only one thing to say about the character of God, what would I say? My answer? “God is a Giver.” That pre-disposes that He’s a Taker. I don’t believe that He is. I’ll explain.
Many years ago I used to carry a pamphlet in my pocket that was a copy of the Book of Job. Man, I loved it. It was like a good “country song,” had lots of misery in it and I was miserable at that time. There’s an old saying “misery loves company,” and I liked the fact that Job said “God giveth and God taketh way.” Sounded good to me. At least I had someone beside myself to blame for the condition I found myself in. “Oh, woe is me” is especially good if your life doesn’t fit and you want to complain, you can just complain about God doing it to you. Well, a few years later I finally read the end of the Book of Job. Seemed that I hadn’t read far enough to find out what God really said about Job and his friends. You see, Job’s friends complained and blamed God for everything that happened to Job. Their counsel was that Job must have done something wrong and God was getting even for that. But in Chapter 38 God had had enough. Job was so self-conscious, self-centered that he had forgotten to be loving and careful for others. After listening to Job and his friends for all those Chapters, God simply directed Job to pray for others. Once Job “operated in love, ” God restored the fortunes of Job and doubled what he had had before. Then, he set out to straighten out Job’s “understanding” friends, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge! … Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth? Tell me if you have understanding, who set its measurements since you know! … Who set its cornerstone? … Have you ever in your life commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know its place?” These fellas thought they knew everything about God; we eventually discover we don’t know much at all. When we discover we know very little, that’s an environment where God can restore our lives. According to Scripture, Job’s friends “had not spoken of Me what is right!” They had accused God of much but at the end of the day, God said, “bad advice fellas.” they had the wrong perspective of God. Listening to their opinion about God had kept Job trapped in his misery. Job’s life could have been restored earlier had he understood the nature of God. We should be careful what we tell people about God; it could keep them trapped in tradition and make the Word of god of no effect.
Another misunderstanding of the nature of God is illustrated in the story of Jonathan an David’s covenant with one another. “Now it came about when we had finished speaking so Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him (David) as himself… and Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself (1 Samuel 18). Jonathan and David had the ultimate friendship, one based on a deep respect and caring for one another. Jonathan was Saul’s son. Subsequently, David’s death became the preoccupation of Saul. However, the loyalty of David and Jonathan was unmatched in Biblical stories. Years after Jonathan’s death, there’s an interesting account of King David’s treatment of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth believed King David hated all of Saul’s family and feared David and hid himself from David. He was afraid that David would do harm or kill him, assuming that the King himself would want to “settle old scores” with the house of Saul. 2 Samuel Chapter 8 tell the story. The truth was David passionately wanted to show kindness to Jonathan’s family. David, having discovered that Jonathan’s son was alive, had Mephibosheth brought to the palace and said to him, “Do not fear for I will surely show kindness, for your father Jonathan’s sake and will restore your land and you shall eat at the King’s table regularly.” David loved Mephibosheth though Mephibosheth had never understood that. He could have been eating at the table of David much earlier if he had understood the King’s heart earlier. How much time have we wasted and what are we thinking that’s keeping God from being able to grant blessings to us?
Many times we assume we’re unacceptable, contemptible and separated from God. That misunderstanding causes us to miss opportunities to be blessed by God. How we see Him, what we feel about Him, what we say about Him has a direct relationship to what we experience from Him. Because of what Mephibosheth believed and assumed, he never knew that David wanted to bless him. Yet, David did want to bless him because of what Jonathan had done. In the same manner, the Father wants to bless us because of what Jesus has done.
Twenty years ago Jane and I “decided” God is Good. We did exactly what the Word instructed us to do, “study to show yourself approved of God” (2 Tim. 2:15). In fact, we discovered that God is Love and Love does not return evil for evil (1 Cor. 13:5). We trust in that! God says about Himself that He tempts no man. We believe that means He doesn’t tempt anyone to failure just to teach him a lesson. If it’s God doing the tempting, there are literally millions of people failing the test. Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” because asking that to all of us makes all the difference. Howe we see Him affects what we experience from Him. Solomon said that “as a man thinketh so he is.” What we believe makes a difference in how we will act. If we think God is dishing out Good and Bad, it confuses us. How do we know when it’s God and not the Devil? How do we know it’s God and not just our poor decisions? If terrible things are coming from God, how do we know when to get out of the situation or just stay in because God wants us to learn something from it? I know how most people settle it. If it’s something terrible happening to me, it’s God trying to teach me something. If it’s something happening to them, it’s the Devil trying to take something God gave them away. Sounds an awful lot like the advice of Job’s friends to me.
Jane and I have decided. Would a father give a stone when asked for bread? No! (Mat. 7:9) Spiritually, we all need glasses. We’re all spiritually nearsighted and farsighted. We either can’t see God when He is close and we can’t see Him coming from far off. There’s no 20/20 without rightly dividing the Word of God. We need that corrective vision to see clearly, to see things the way they really are. We have Mephibosheth’s problem. Paul teaches that we’re alienated in our minds. God says draw near to God by approaching the Throne of Grace. He’s a “Giver.” We’ve settled that in our hearts. We never have to figure out if we’re supposed to be learning something from this broken-heart/ disease/ broken home/ death/ bankruptcy! God’s the Fixer of broken hearts, the Healer of disease; He’s the Mender of broken homes, the Comforter at death, and the Redeemer of bankruptcy. God gives the increase! God supplies the solutions. He does not create them.
There’s a little chorus that comes to mind each time I find myself trying to figure out what I’m going through: “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good to me!” I believe that and make it the conclusion in my life. Many times I will tease people by telling them tat when I die and enter the Gates of Eternal heaven the last thing I want to be shouting is, “Thank you God for all that trouble and calamity that you sent to teach me something.” No, I want to enter Heaven shouting, “Praise God, the Lord is Good and His Mercy endures forever, let the Redeemed of the Lord say so!” (Psalm 107:1-2) That’s what I have to say about Him every time. And if we’ll not praise Him in Heaven for the terrible things of this earth, let’s try and not praise Him while we’re here.

‘Anyway’

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

There is an old saying that goes like this, “Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.” Doesn’t that sound like most of us? How many New Year’s resolutions do we really keep? How much do we really change from year to year?
Well, I’m going to try and do a little something different this year than last year. I’m going to try and write a shorter letter this month. Gonna give you folks a break after a busy Holiday Season and start to 2004. It’s been hurry, hurry, hurry.
I’m going to start with what might be called a “modern parable.” I like it because there’s a thread of Gospel truth in it, even though it’s not a Bible quote. I like it, not because of the Ethic found in it, but because of the constancy found in it, the devotion to being constant in it.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self centered
Love them anyway
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives
Do good anyway
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies
Succeed anyway
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow
Do good anyway
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable
Be honest and frank anyway
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds
Think big anyway
People favor underdogs but only follow top dogs
Fight for a few underdogs anyway
What you spend your years building may be destroyed overnight
Build anyway
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them
Help people anyway
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth
Give the world the best you have anyway
“Anyway” by Kent Keith 1968
“Anyway” has been quoted and published by politicians, business leaders, military commanders, teachers, religious leaders, and coaches. It’s been used by the Boy Scouts, the Special Olympics, published in Ann Landers, quoted at the United Nations, and appeared in Reader’s Digest and from friend to friend. Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta, India has it hanging on their wall.
It’s the Hope that makes this “parable” so attractive to me. If we would just make up our minds to follow our hearts and to live the Truths of God, we would end up doing the things described in this “poem.” We just need to make up our minds to do the things that God says works for us and quit making “adjustments” to the world around us all the time. And even though so much is against us, we can have a confidence described in this “parable.” “Do it anyway!” should be our motto as Believers.
“Do the Gospel anyway.” It doesn’t matter how illogical or how unpopular with the people around us, just do it anyway. God said His ways were foolish to men so quit being so ashamed of that! For me, the Gospel is not so much laughter, as it is a smile. It’s a quiet confidence, even when it doesn’t look or feel like things are working for us at all. Remember the story of Samuel and Saul? Samuel was trying everything to solve his “king problem,” and had done everything else but trust God. But Samuel’s answer was already in the field; a shepherd boy was God’s provision even though Samuel was unaware! Where might your provision be hidden?
While writing last month’s newsletter about Dwight L. Moody, I found a story about Moody’s confidence in God. Someone asked him how he felt about the death of his grandchildren and Moody replied he had almost forgotten how he “felt” about anything. Moody acted on a confidence in God, rather than depending on how he “felt” about any situation. The relevancy of our “feelings” compared to God’s Word and Spirit becomes almost comical to think about. How we feel about anything is in no way as powerful as dependency on God an trusting Him above any of our feelings.
Psalm 4:6-7 says, “Happy is that people whose God is Jehovah.” God’s our source of abiding gladness and joy. It’s not the things we can put in the bank or our garages or our homes. it’s what we can put in our hearts that matters. Secularism depends on circumstances to be happy. God’s Joy is available in any circumstance simply because God is present in all our circumstances!
I’m thrilled to have an old habit to start again this year, but it’s one I don’t want to “resolve away.” It’s one I try and encourage myself with, and one I’d share with Dad! I know the winds are raging, the lightning is flashing, the rain’s falling and the noise is frightening, but we can trust the “calmer of the storm.” Calm down! There is Rest in God and that Rest is not obtainable by our labor or pain. That’s not how He gave gifts to Solomon (1Kigs 3:3-15), or Adam a bride, or Abraham a covenant! They were all asleep, unable to do for themselves. Jesus slept in his storm, can we?
The time of Jesus’ rejection was a time of confusion, doubt and fear. John had questioned who he was, people had rejected him saying that Jesus was a drunkard and glutton, and his works were fruitless. It was a time of seemingly great failure and trouble, yet he found Rest in a Faith in knowing the Father’s will. While the disciples were “weary and heavy laden” with burdens, while everything seemed to be going wrong, Jesus offered a solution. He invited them to “come unto me and I will give you Rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find Rest undo your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-9)
Love anyway, do good anyway, succeed anyway, be honest anyway, think big anyway, fight for the underdog anyway, build anyway, help people anyway, give the best you have anyway. Do it without looking around, without being moved by what we hear and see. Do it because God said it would work for Believers “anyway!”

P.S. Couldn’t do that short thing after all… so much for New Year’s resolutions.

Classic WBVN Concert Scrapbook (2002-2005)

Posted on by Ken Posted in Concert Photos | Leave a comment