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February Newsletter: 666

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

“A sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some fell by the wayside, 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 hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty…” (Matthew 13)

For 30 years, and in at least 3 newsletters over that time, I’ve referred to WBVN-FM as a tiller. Tilling my garden is where I first thought about using that term for the ministry heard over FM 104.5. Tillers are used to work the earth. They are super efficient at what they do, making a big difference compared to not having one. Tillers change the unproductive nature of the dirt into something useable, preparing it for a big change to happen. Tillers take plain old dirt and make it into soil. Christian radio can help create, in much the same pattern, a place as well for Christian growth and worship.

Christian music and programming heard over FM 104.5 prepares our hearts for spiritual growth very similar to how my tiller prepares the soil for seed. We began this ministry on January 8th, 1990. In our broadcast we prepare a place for ministry to take place. We mix the soil in our listener’s souls, mixing in, as we say, music with a message and relevant programming for our daily lives. We’re not everything the Church needs but we are a part of what encourages the Church to mature and bear fruit. WBVN is, and was from the very first day, one simple thing: a ministry of encouragement. 104.5 purposed to create an environment to help believers grow. In my garden at home the soil needs to be loosened for the plants to grow. In believers’ lives people need to be enriched with hope and love to bear fruit. We’re an oasis here much like in my garden space, a place to expect yields much different than other places in my yard.

For us success cannot be measured in financial terms, but in the terms associated 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/people and each is directed towards accomplishing that particular vision. At the station, if we do not make our original Vision our number one priority, then the thoughts and intents of our hearts are not God-ward but self-serving. When ministries add their efforts together we get a “fullness” of ministry from local churches, missions, Christian service ministries and yes, even broadcast ministries.

It’s a new year, a new opportunity to face whatever situation the Church finds itself in 2021. We are purposed to help all of us to be prepared for faith not fear, encouragement not sadness. In spite of what’s going on around us, because Christ is in you, Hope lives in your soul, the Word is planted in your heart, we can be strong. It appears that in our futures, by necessity, we will be learning a lot about the Kingdom of God and its superiority over the kingdoms of this world. The world seems very eager to smash any belief in God. They aren’t satisfied with simply their being able to turn way from God. Apparently, they want to discourage and disparage Christian faithful before they themselves completely bail away from God. The secular world isn’t satisfied with its freedom to say ‘no’ to God, but seemingly wants to make sure you’re not free to say ‘yes’ to Him. The Godless world promises health (climate control), wealth (free stuff, while taking our stuff) and peace (while delivering record setting blood pressure-depressants and storing strange chemistry and bombs). In reality, it delivers none of those promised things in any country that they rule.

I know there are different interpretations about the mark of the beast/666. I’m sure that there’s more than one way to observe that coming occurrence. One of my favorites because it’s associated with the spiritual hearts not the flesh, one that I think can expose the realities of the world’s future: 666 is the total essence of godless mankind and opposed to the completeness of God. Man was created on the 6th day and, just as the 7th day is referred to as the Lord’s Day, 6 is man’s day. The Bible representing a globalist world with 666 is a picture of man doing the best man can do for man in body, soul and spirit. It’s a false Trinity. It’s a trinity completely created by man. It’s man swiping the promises of God but being totally independent from God. It’s man solving all his problems, by himself, for himself, in his way. Man saying I have, or I am, the answer to all humanity’s problems. 666 is man’s offer of providing you false pleasure, a false comfort, and a false internal peace. Man offering an unholy trinity, pushing scriptural Holy out of the way. 666 is man doing everything for man with his abilities; no God needed. I agree we may see other expressions of 666. Perhaps we will see a person become the image 666, or perhaps something physically obvious will be applied to our body; regardless, it’s a fingerprint of the Anti-Christ. Perhaps we will literally see 666 manifested in the flesh; however, God will, even more, see the independence and the desire to be separated from Him. God will see the 666 in people’s hearts. You can decide if that’s where we are.

In 2021, we will till. Having a Christian expression through radio at this moment is a unique tool for God to use to encourage believers. You know the cultural pressure that’s being put on Christian Faith. (Just look at the list of essentials that are government approved to be open and look at what has been closed.) WBVN is an environment, a place of Faith, Hope and Love. Our ministry purpose is to accomplish one thing: to be a “help ministry”. Ministry through WBVN is the beginning of something rather than the end of something. In a garden, “tilling” is the first thing that leads to many other things. We believe that “out of good soil others shall grow.” (See Job 8:11-19) We’re a ministry that “sets the table” for the Christian community so that the five-fold ministry can come and sow, tend, and harvest. We help create an environment with the potential for the miracle we call the Christian Life. We spend 24 hours a day tilling the soil we’ve been given by God to tend; preparing for growth in the Christian experience. It appears we’ll need that more in the future than even in the times past! The Bible says of His return, “will He find us Faithful”… we are a ministry that tries to see that that will be true.

30 Years of Memories: Point Of Grace

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

30 Years of Memories-Point of Grace

I wrote about this concert in a newsletter many years ago. It was about a concert on the night of January 20th, 2006. It was Point of Grace. It was the perfect night. Everything was just right, it was a perfect setting for a “great” concert to take place and it all came together for one of the most impressive concerts WBVN has ever produced. Those ladies had the perfect touch to make a great evening.

I’m going to let you peek behind the curtain a little bit. Two-hour concerts are more complicated than what we simply see on stage. Perfect concerts require many things to come together in one place at one time. Concerts begin with calls to artists’ agents and conversations about travel expenses to and from the concert, meals, financial considerations, phone numbers to exchange, security, sound systems, light systems, spotlights, load-in crews, insurance coverage, publicity, hotel rooms, ticket prices, road managers, location for the event, the dates that work and general information in what is called ‘a concert rider.’ A ‘rider’ is pages and pages of detail and organization to make sure everyone’s on the same page. That all begins months before the actual event and each item must be agreed to, must be organized, and must ‘come together’ for a successful two-hour performance. Contracts are mailed, signed and exchanged. Tickets are printed and sold. A play list is created at the station of the artist’s music and ‘spots’ are written, produced and rotated to give the public the information needed.

All those things take place slowly and particularly for a successful concert, but all that doesn’t always make a ‘great concert.’ You need more than that. You need some things that can’t be written into contracts, things that while you hope for and you might have a conversation about with the agent, they are things that for the most part come out of the ‘heart.’ Things that come from the motivation of the producer and things that you trust will show up when the artists and their management arrive at the venue.

We have a ‘heavy lifters’ crew that volunteers for our events: we have a Phil, a Danny, Dale, Nathan, two Tim’s, Michael, Ethan, Ryan, Dave, Woody, Zane, Frank, and Terry. There’s Cindy, Debbie, Jane, Laura, Dan and Trina, Terra, Tammy and Alphonse, Tom, Kim, Norb and Karen, Sherry and Tim, Keith and Ann, Deanna and Lito, Kelly and Dane, Grover, Larry and Janice, Byron, Scott, Kent and Jim, David, Mary Kay, Edna, Pixie. I’m sure that’s not all of them but it’s some of them, and they make the concert possible for all of us by helping make all the things that are required happen that night. Of course the WBVN staff does significant work as well. Josh, Vince, Derek, Mike, Kevin and Russell, are our hosts at the Civic Center and they always do their part to make ‘the room’ ready but also provide a pleasant environment to work in— that’s special to us. There’s petty cash to remember to get for the ticket booth, contracts to have on hand for all concerned. Towels and bottles of water for the stage are a must. Then comes the point in time when the load-in happens, sound checks have to take place. Food must be in place at exactly the right time so the artists get a warm meal, not a cold Sam’s Lasagna dish. Must get the CD’s, t-shirts, necklaces, rings, caps, song books, pictures all inventoried and on the tables. Need to remember the checks for all the expenses. We take the newsletter sign-up book and newsletters. We take a CD of mixed music to play before the concert. Four stools for the stage. Get the piano tuned. Usually (especially for Schulz) fruit and candy for the dressing rooms. Make sure the hotel rooms are reserved and probably add one room because someone is coming that we didn’t know about early in the contract discussions. WOW! That’s quite a laundry list. But we have it all in place. People are lined up outside and we’re just about ready. You know what, all that can make a good concert, but all that can’t make a great concert. Here’s what makes a great concert.

At about 2 pm, a road manager arrives and hopefully puts everyone at ease with his friendly manner. In the POG’s concert I’m referring to, Matt’s with them (Leigh’s [POG] husband, by the way, who plays the guitar and works the inventory for the table of CDs, shirts and pictures out in the lobby). The ‘girls’ get there: Shelly, Denise and Leigh. They immediately greet people with great big smiles and not one ounce of ‘pretense.’ They make sure we are all comfortable with the plans for the event. On that day, at 4:45 Heather arrives, (she’s 7 months pregnant) arriving after driving by herself from Louisville, KY. While we’re getting the sound-check ready, Shelly Breen from POG is calling the local hospital. She’s taking the time to encourage Amber Farnam. Amber and her husband had tickets for the concert, but she was in the hospital the night of our event. They work on a play list of songs, making sure they check with us to see what our expectations were for that night. At this point we’re running about 45 minutes behind most of our schedule. They’re all still just as calm and as pleasant as can be! Matt’s treating the volunteers at the tables wonderfully and they are actually smiling at me when I walk by.

It’s now 6:30pm and meals have been served. The ‘girls’ sneaked a birthday cake into the room for Heather and they have a little birthday ‘thing’ for a couple minutes. Everyone is relaxed. They’re doing the phone calls to their families, etc., resting before hitting the stage at 7:30. It’s a time I like to leave the artists and their manager alone for the most part. I’ve found that a peaceful ‘backstage’ creates a peace ‘on-stage.’ Many of the artists use this time to pray, many like to read before the concert, some just want ‘a quiet-time.’

We’re into concert now. A photographer’s in place taking pictures for the website and ‘for the fun of it.’ The crowd is responding to the performance and POG is responding to the reception of the crowd. The night has become personal. Those are special times and they’re vital to a ‘perfect’ concert. I’ve seen it before, none any better than that concert. During the concert Shelly whips out an email that was sent to POG from Stephanie Cumbelich (who used to live here) and read it to Stephanie’s friends Amy Graves and Belinda Keller, both of them in the audience. That was a little thing that meant a lot to those ladies. Another surprise after intermission: Denise reads a letter from four young ladies that have a vocal group and ‘sing a lot of POG music.’ Denise called Bonnie Childers, Julie Culbertson, Mary Kim Dothager and Erin Ainscough to the stage for T-shirts. It was a little thing; but a big thing as well. The ‘girls’ sang a total of 19 songs! Not because they had to sing that many but because they recognized the unique quality to the evening. One great concert.

We’ve had many ‘perfect’ concerts over the years. Great concerts bring together various denominations but they share a unique message we all can hear. Great concerts soothe our souls and heal our hearts. They bring us together in universal praise and a crowd of worship. That’s why we’ve done almost 220 since 1990 and can’t wait to meet with you again ASAP. Under the current limitations we miss them and you very much. So many memories have been tattooed in our hearts. But uniquely, that concert in 2006 had a special ‘ladies’ touch! Point of Grace and their management never missed one opportunity to encourage, they were always positive. They were terrific at taking little things and making them ‘huge’ for the people at the concert and people backstage. It was the perfect concert, many things coming together all at one time: music, thoughtfulness, and ministry, professional, talented and creative. Guys can do one or two things at a time; these ladies did dozens all at one time. (You’re supposed to smile here.) To call a concert perfect it must be more than special, more than good, it must be unique and powerful. The POG concert was both and will always have a special place in our 30 years of memories.

January Newsletter: Anyway

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ANYWAY

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? Below is an item I used 20 years ago in a newsletter that made sense to me back then and I still try to follow it in my Christian life experience.

“Anyway” has been quoted and published by politicians, business leaders, military commanders, teachers, religious leaders, and coaches. It’s been used by the Special Olympics, quoted at the United Nations, and shared friend to friend for many years. I first read about it while reading an article on Mother Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta, India, where it is hanging on the office wall.

If we would just make up our minds to follow our hearts and to live the Truths of God found in the Word 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 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 would be seen as foolish to men, so quit being so ashamed of that! For me, the Gospel creates 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 but trust God. But, even without Samuel’s understanding of it, his answer was already sitting in the field; a shepherd boy was God’s provision even though Samuel was unaware! Where our provision might be hidden may not be obvious, but provision is present to sustain us just the same. Even in a world that seems focused on throwing out God, God even still quietly continues to bless, encourage, and establish His children.

Psalm 4:6-7 says, “Happy is that people whose God is Jehovah.” God is our source of abiding gladness and joy, actually the only true source of those things. It’s not the things we can put in the bank or our garages or our homes, or wear on our backs that fulfill that. 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 circumstances!

I’m thrilled to have some old habits to start again this year. Some of those make it feel like home here. Yes, I might even resolve a few old patterns away for 2021. But the idea shared in this poem is one I don’t want to resolve away. It’s one I try and encourage myself with, and one I’d share with as many as possible. In some ways, it’s a paraphrase of the Scripture: Do not grow weary of doing good. (Gal. 6:9, 2Thes. 3:13) Another way of saying that and being literal to the scriptural meaning is to live vigorously. In God’s language: doing God’s beautiful. Something I believe is true: to follow the world will make living on the outside easier, but living on the inside harder. Living the God kind of life, living the beautiful, will make the outside harder but the inside will be much more peaceful and calm. The world suggests buying stuff will make us happy; the real Peace of God is not available in stores.

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. Many times that’s not how God gives gifts. Solomon (1Kings 3:3-15) and Adam were given a bride and Abraham a forever covenant while each was asleep, unable to do for themselves. Significantly, Jesus’ confidence was so stable in his Father and Spirit that Jesus slept in the storm– can we?

The times we live in are stressing, but He is calming. At the time of Jesus’ rejection it was a time of confusion, doubt and fear. John had questioned who Jesus really was, people had rejected him saying Jesus was a drunkard and a glutton, and to the observing eye, his works were fruitless to the point of death. It was a time of seemingly great failure and trouble, yet Jesus found Rest 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 unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-9) The rest we seek in/from the world is only to be found in Christ.

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. The world has taught us to live by what we see and what we feel, but sight and feelings are not good judges of what’s possible with God, or even what God has going on in the earth. Do these things because God said they would work for believers “anyway!”

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