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30 Years of Memories-Phillips, Craig & Dean

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30 Years of Memories-Phillips, Craig & Dean

Occasionally I dream. The most recurring ones are about concerts– strange concerts for the most part. Even today, I still remember many of them. One of the early ones was when I couldn’t find the concert stage where I was supposed to meet Geoff Moore and the Distance. It was 7pm concert time and I’m supposed to introduce Geoff, but where? Another was when I couldn’t get a certain group to come on stage and sing; they were just too busy to sing, they were like stray cats, all over the place but not on stage. I remember a Wes King concert in a Shakespearian theatre; a late 1500’s, English Shakespearian theatre. One time had an artist that wouldn’t come to the stage because he was finishing a Lucky Strike. (Not a factual dream but a strange one.) None were based on true experiences. Just crazy, interesting, kind of make you smile dreams. The only thing they had in common was all the concerts started at 7pm, and in each, that was not significant in the artists’ eyes. Those dreams never reflected any real life, just reflected ‘stress creation’ for someone responsible for producing a concert. At least they were always creative and funny the next morning.

The last couple months writing about 30 years of artist memories, I’m amazed that our WBVN concerts have been such powerful events in our community of believers. We’ve done over 210 of them and all have such beautiful moments. In the beginning of the ministry, I never imagined the quality of the performers’ talents and the sincerity of the performers’ hearts. I’ve written about Rich and Mark most recently and now some guys I will never forget. Actually it’s a group that we’ve done many concerts with: Phillips, Craig and Dean. They’ve supplied many memories and their visits have been ‘dream come true’ events for us.

Randy, Dan and Shawn began their music ministry at about the same time we started the radio station. They are three pastors, Randy and Dan from Texas and Shawn from the St. Louis area. Our experience with them began when they released a single called ‘Turn Up The Radio.’ Hearing it, there was something that just told me, ‘this is special, see about booking them for a concert.’ We did that after only hearing one song. We were so excited and they were so new to the ministry that BVN decided to give away the tickets. We didn’t tell them that and they came to do the concert at the Civic Center, and we had 1000 people meet them there on January 8th, 1993, our third broadcast anniversary. I remember they were so excited. Imagine, they thought they had sold out 1000 seats. That’s exciting for a group that had just started out! I remember telling them after the concert that we gave the tickets away and the looks on their faces would make great ‘sad’ photographs. Well that was the start of many special nights with PCD.

During the concert they had a surprise for me. Randy called me up on stage, I assumed to just be nice to the station and compliment us signing them to do the event. Not what happened! They put me in a black trench coat, pulled my prescription glasses off and put sunglasses on me. Put a microphone in front of me (which I couldn’t find without my glasses) and proceeded to do a choreographed song which I have no idea what the song was because I was a bit distracted being unable to see and forced to try and follow their choreography. Not pretty, not safe, but FUNNNNNNY! I’ll never forget that moment; I can’t think about it without smiling even today. The second concert, December 11, 1993 (same year as the first), I had called Randy prior to the event. I had gone over the details of the concert and I asked for one more favor. And just like the good guy that Randy is, he promised me not to ever do the ‘call me up on stage’ thing ever again. Needless to say, (I think I can say this) Randy lied, I guess a pastoral lie, with a small L of course! Well, they are funny guys for sure.

One year they were late for a concert, arriving at 4:30 for a 7 o’clock concert, late because of ice and snow and driving down from St. Louis. They’ve filled the stage with kids a couple of times. All three have brought their wives with them here because of the wonderful times we’ve had together. It’s always been fun and talented evenings with Randy, Dan and Shawn. And they are caring, caring people. I have a special memory to share of that caring.

It was a concert on April 17, 1995, and Carla was there. PCD was Carla’s favorite group and she loved their music. She came with some pretty high expectations for enjoying that special night at the Civic Center. And, it was special for all of us because Carla was, as I’ll call it, long-suffering from a terminal disease. To be there, she had to have special care and equipment. She arrived in a special wheelchair and we brought her in from the alley side of the old Civic Center and put her close to the stage. She was susceptible to more damage and pain by coming but she was determined to hear ‘live/in concert’ Phillips Craig and Dean. They actually came down and met with Carla, sang to her and made a special moment even more special with their caring hearts that night. It was a joy for Carla in an almost joyless time. Carla would pass away just a few days later.

It would be impossible to think back over the 30 years of WBVN memories without thinking about PCD. Special nights, special people. They have brought smiles and tears. Over the years, some artists have told me that when they retire from CCM and traveling around the country doing ministry they for sure want to come one last time and do a WBVN concert. Phillips Craig and Dean have said that to me. I have promised to make it happen if at all possible and that is a promise that I will keep better than Randy’s to not get me back up on stage.

September Newsletter-Bed

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“For the bed is shorter than a man can stretch himself on it; and the covering narrower than he can wrap himself in it.” Isaiah 28:20

There are a lot of things that go on in our lives, most either make us happy or make us sad. In this letter I’m going to talk about something that makes us uncomfortable. Occasionally, while sleeping I find my feet out from under the covers, or maybe the whole blanket falls off the bed and the chill wakes me up. Isaiah’s scripture identifies old fashioned restlessness: the bed too short, blanket too small for rest. I sometimes wonder why, even when things seem to be going well, I can find little rest. I think the back story is we’re not home; truly we’re never at home this side of Glory. Paul called it being ‘strangers and pilgrims’ on the earth. Much of the restlessness occurs because you and I are ‘spirit critters’; however, we’re spiritual critters tethered to the earth. Ultimately our soul and spirit spend much time tugging against the twine that holds us here. That struggle reminds me of how important it is to think about our tomorrow, rather than spending all our time trying to fix everything about today or being sorry for yesterday. A word you hear all over the internet is ‘woke’. We hear of people, seemingly for the first time, being ‘woke’. Earthly ‘wokeness’, by its very nature is incomplete, it’s a limited new awareness.

Before our spirits were ‘quickened’ we were ‘born of the flesh’. Upon being ‘woke’ of God, we kindled a ‘Life of the Spirit’. To experience Life as the Father prepared for us, we need to be made alive unto God. Otherwise, we can simply live our lives and not experience the Life God purposed for each of us. Miraculously, with woke, our spirits get changed all at once, come alive, but our ‘souls’ drag their feet, get changed gradually. Changing of our soul is the program between the time we spent on earth and our stepping into Heaven. That division, spirit and soul, is what causes much of our uneasiness.

Acts 4:32 confirms that our heart and soul are two separate entities; they’re not the same thing. Recognizing the struggle between each is an early step to understanding our restlessness and finding our cure. We have to identify both as part of our lives but also separate. Jesus taught that we would need to love the Lord (1) with all your heart, with (2) all your soul…. (Matt. 22:37) John’s scriptural wish was, above all, that our lives would be prosperous: be prosperous in health, and that our souls would prosper. (3John1:2) When we became alive to the spirit, each of us became, more than ever before, a house divided. According to Jesus, a house divided cannot stand (establish itself). (Matt. 12:25) We’re purposed, in God’s heart, to be ‘ruled by the Spirit of God’ rather than remain that old ‘born of the flesh’ creature. However, that old creature doesn’t want to give up its position as the ‘ruler’ of our lives. To unbelievers, Jesus said he came to bring peace, not division. To believers Jesus said he came to divide, exposing the conflict between the soul and the spirit. We know what happened with Adam and Eve. They were not deceived by the apple tree but by the war between their spirit and their soul (mind, will and emotions). They were thinking, their soul reasoned, the wrong thing about God. God’s ‘don’t’ became simply a symbol of God holding out on them. The playground of Satan was found in their souls, between their ears, not in the apple. By contrast, we know the ‘last Adam’ (Jesus) was tempted in all things; yet the Spirit ruled in Him. In Jesus, his soul was present, he became flesh, but his soul was submissive to the Spirit.

Adam’s consciousness thinking was dominated by the following order: body, soul, and spirit. That’s the natural, raw, earthly order of fleshly people. In Jesus, the proper order was established: spirit, soul, and body (1Thes. 5:23). “The first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). Our soul is not to be broken or destroyed; it’s not an evil thing. Our mind, will and emotions are a gift from God, a part of His sophisticated creation. Our minds can create wonderful, beautiful thoughts. Our wills help us set goals as we move in the direction discovering Life as the Father would have it for us. Our emotions make the marriage between love and compassion possible. Only when the soul is separated from the Love of God, does it become putrid with selfishness. Our soul needs to be trained to follow our spirit rather than it being our leader.

Our soul is comprised of our mind (our understanding), will (our determination), and emotion (our five senses). Merismos is a biblical Greek word meaning distinction between the soul and the spirit. It refers to separating and is useful to describe the necessity of dividing, in a good sense, soul and spirit.(Heb. 4:12) Christians are not actually at war with either. However, merismos is necessary to help us define, not two enemies, but two different lifestyles. We don’t have to kill the one (mind, will and emotions) to experience the other (spirit life) but we’ll have to learn separate them and identify which one should dominate in our lives. James 1:21 makes clear Christians need to be aware of the ‘saving of the soul’. It’s the metamorphous (changing) taught in Romans 12:2. It’s about the renewing of our minds.

What we must have is a distinction between our hearts and our heads, a separation between our spirit and our thinking. Paul admits to being the kind of person that did what he did not want to do and also guilty of not doing the things that he wished to do. That’s the tugging that’s still present in us today; that tugging keeps us ‘rest-less’ and uncomfortable. We’re living in a bed that’s too short and under a blanket that’s too narrow. Enlightened by the Spirit of God, we’ve been re-created to be comfortable when our spirit rules and simultaneously uncomfortable when our soul rules over us.

As new creatures in Christ, our choice isn’t between two natures (sin and divine); it’s a choice between two lives, His or ours. How many of our prayers start in our heads instead of our hearts. Most of our conflicts are not caused by Satan, rather most are our flesh ruling and reigning instead of our spirits. The expression ‘666’ in the Revelation of John refers to man doing the very best man can do for man. The best man can perform in all three areas of life: body, soul, and spirit. That’s where the world is going right now. Medicine, technology and false religions all are the best man can do for man. It tries to cover an itch which it can’t relieve. They’re our own creations to try and put us at ease. But the closer we get to the ‘best’ we can create for ourselves the less comfort we find. In our restlessness, our spirits know that that kind of life isn’t the best we can experience.

If you follow the biblical Greek text you’ll find that Jesus referenced laying down his life (the actual Greek word used is psuche). That life laid down wasn’t identifiable to his biological life, although he did do that. It was about his ‘soulish life’. Jesus teaches unless we lay down our (psuche) life, we will not find Life as the Father has prepared it for us (Matt. 16:24, Isa. 53:10). We need to be persuaded that what He has started with our ‘wokeness’, He can likewise perform in us. (Rom. 4-21, Phil. 1-6). ‘Separation for clarification’ is an expression I heard years ago to illustrate the Word’s ability to divide the things of our heart and the things of our mind, will, and emotions. The Word is powerful, sharp and able to divide soul and spirit. (Heb. 4-12) Our feeling that we’re never at home is part of being ‘a new creature’; it’s natural; it’s good for clarification. ‘Restlessness’ is buried deep in our hearts and it’s created and placed in us as a guard for our hearts so that we can evaluate what our ‘treasure’ is. It causes us, by the very nature of restlessness, to never find comfort in the things of this world. That restlessness, once we begin to understand the distinction between our spirit and our soul can be cured. Trusting in Christ is that cure. Resting in Him is our remedy.

Being wanderers causes us to discover the only peace we ‘get to experience’ is His Peace. Trusting that Jesus is who he said he was and did what He said He did. It’s not only a trust for what He will do for us, but a trust that He will finish what He has started in us. I’ve only had the pleasure of sleeping in a king sized bed a couple of times, but it was wonderful compared to what is like to sleep on a couch with a lap afghan. Our lives can find that difference by the spirit that lives in us.

We Are Messengers NEW DATE!

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