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March Newsletter-John 17

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I celebrate a birthday in April.  I won’t tell you which one but it’s a few dozen.  Having another, a big number, birthday got me to thinking about my life a little more reflectively than perhaps I usually do.  Oh, I say pretty much the same things that most people say about their life when thinking backwards a bit, ‘it’s been a good life’, ‘I don’t know if I’d change a thing’ etc.  In my case, and I’m sure many others, it’s actually been much more than good, it’s been precious actually.  Recently listening to my wife Jane and hearing about some of the things she was dealing with brought my favorite scripture in all the New Testament to mind.  Actually, there are many single or short scriptures that might be considered my favorite scripture.  I guess it’s more accurate to say these scriptures are more like my favorite Chapter in the New Testament.  John Chapter 17 has always caught my attention because it does one thing better than any other chapter- reveals the inner workings, the heart and purpose of God in our lives.

Most of you know that in March, 2012, Jane was suddenly and critically immersed in a health crisis that placed her in the hospital paralyzed head to toe and on life support.  I’ve written about that a lot, discussed it on the radio and privately among friends.  Needless to say, something happened and something was revealed during that incident that stopped me in my tracks.  Startling might be a good adjective.  Her vision and version of that incident was totally different than what I was physically seeing.  I looked at an eighty-eight pound person, someone that could not talk, eat, breathe, none of her organs was functioning, yet she assuredly confirmed and made clear that her spirit, married to the Spirit, was completely and fully healthy and alive.  Everything I was seeing with my eyes was conflicted with what I was seeing with my heart.  Jane had, in some sense of the word, a unique, let’s call it a light.  Something that she possessed and yet something that she seemed to not own but more correctly carried.  It was a beyond understanding light that pulled us all—doctors, nurses, friends, family and me closer to her.  What we were seeing simply did not match what we were feeling and observing in our hearts.  Something about being in the middle of that misery, the terror of that moment still had an intangible Hope in it.  Something about who Jane was overshadowed what she was going through and left all around her with a vision of a knowing and comfort that there was more than what met the eye going on there.  That’s my jumping off spot to quote John 17:

These words Jesus spoke, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.   And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gave me to do.   And now, O Father, glorify thou me with your own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.   I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gave me out of the world: Yours they were, and thou gave them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are Yours.

And all mine are Yours, and Yours are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through Your own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 

 

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

 

Jesus came to uniquely show us the Father, show us 100% of the Father.  He was again in these verses revealing even more of the Father’s heart and character with this prayer.  Did everything that was prayed in this prayer line up with His earthly experience?  Did everything that was prayed look like what He had seen with his eyes from believers?  Did what He was saying measure up to what even His own disciples had done?  Hardly!  This prayer is the essence of God’s heart toward us, His Hope for us, His Patience with us!  Jesus was expressing God’s Wisdom and words shared with us again by Paul: the just do not live by sight but by Faith. (2Cor. 5-7)  What I saw in the hospital in Chicago was real.  There was no room for denial.  Jane was very near death, the only thing healthy was her spirit.

What we see with our eyes is real; it’s just that it’s not the whole Truth.  He is the whole Truth.  If you believe the prophesies of MSNBC or Fox News then you’re only seeing the drama around us but not getting the whole picture of what’s going  on in addition to the drama.  There’s more than the knowledge of our failures, our hard-heartedness, and our ill bodies than meets the eye.  As Christians, we live in a better place than the world has to sell us.  It may take courage and a barrow of Faith but we can be in the middle of a storm and have no fear.  The reason for that is that inner light that I saw in Jane is in you also.  Hers was revealed in the middle of the stress.  Sometimes ours gets hidden as under a bushel.  Left with nothing but her spirit, hers was a reflection of Him inside her; most of the time we reflect only ourselves.

It fascinates me how people can be very close to us and still not know exactly who we really are.  Jane, being my wife, has revealed herself to me in a way that’s only been revealed to me and me alone.  It’s personal.  I know her completely in a different way than anyone else knows her.  I’m the only one that can tell you about her in a way that no one else can.  Jane and I have had the privilege of knowing she and I are one.  One unlike we could be one with any other two people.  Her parents, her brother and sisters, her daughters, her friends, her community, none of those know the Jane Ann I know.  That’s the knowing that Jesus knows about the Father.   Jesus came to reveal the Father to us and how He thinks, how He hopes and how much He desires to seek us out and personalize His offer of Grace and Peace.  Jesus, the Spirit, and the Father are One, and their desire is to invite us into knowing them in a way that only they and you can know each other.

Let me paraphrase chapter 17: Jesus has been given power over all, he came that we might know the Father, Jesus finished a work by Him for us, all that is of Christ is the Father’s as well, all that is the Father’s belongs to Jesus as well, Their Hope is that we will be one with Them, and as such we would have Their Joy, set us apart from the world because of the Truth we possess, Jesus is in the Father, the Father is in Christ and we are in Jesus as well, know that the Father sent Jesus and loved Him and loves you in same manner, know that love began before Adam, before the world even existed and I, Jesus have known the Father in a way that no other has known Him and Jesus has been sent and has eagerly come to share that with whosoever will and Jesus will be with believers always.  That’s a revealing, an expression of the Love of God toward us.  All that’s left for us to experience that, to know that, is to say and know in our hearts:   ‘Amen!’

Lost In Wonder: Andrew Peterson/Sally Lloyd-Jones

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February Newsletter-Sally

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WBVN just celebrated a birthday; January 8th, 1990, was our first day broadcasting CCM.  We’ve rotated thousands of songs for almost 16 million minutes of programming since that day.  Our first concert was on June 6th of that same year. There’ve been lots of little memories made over those years.  Mark Schultz’s motorcycle ride with Marci and her husband.  Rich Mullins drinking his usual Coke while performing.  Christy Nockels, practically silencing the audience that night with the incredible quality of her voice, a stunningly silent audience.  Phillips, Craig and Dean going down into the audience to sing a song to Carla, who came in a wheelchair, suffering the pain to see her favorite artists.  Tragically, Carla passed away 10 days later.  Phil Keaggy playing his hair comb for an instrument.  Andrew Peterson strumming an armadillo skin ukulele. NewSong’s surprise ‘pop-up’ concert giving us just a 72 hour notice.  Bryan Duncan getting all tangled up in a mic cord while twisting and turning to ‘Holy Rollin’.  We celebrated Mark and Kate’s anniversary one Saturday night, surprising Mark with Kate sitting in the audience and discovering her as he sang on stage.  Big Daddy Weave recorded a cd here.  In December 2017,Crowder–yep that Crowder–doing two Christmas concert appearances for us.  And now a new memory is about to happen.  We will be hosting our 205th event in just a few days on Saturday, February 16th.  This event is unlike anything that we’ve ever presented for the BVN community.  Singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson will host the evening featuring special guest, author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones.  The event features musical performances by Andrew and story-telling by both performers with support from video from their fictional book characters. For sure, these two have intriguing stories to tell. Approximately two hours of ‘Lost In Wonder’, and I think that concert night tag represents exactly what it will be: Wonderful.

Sally’s book has sold over 2.7 million copies since its release in 2007.  She was born in Uganda and now lives in New York.  Andrew has been performing CCM since the early 2000’s and has written numerous children’s books known as the Wingfeather Saga series.  Andrew was one of our favorite guests and a repeating artist for WBVN since his first BVN concert at the Aldersgate Methodist Church in 2001.

Including Taylor Mason, our 2019 first two events have concentrated on quality family friendly events.  In today’s cultural environment we believe it’s important to sponsor such events in our community bringing family and friends together.  Concerts, specifically events that bring parents, children and grandparents together, hold a promise of great evenings but just as importantly hold the promise of future memories and ‘forever’ moments.  Check out the video information on our website at wbvn.org and get a feel for how special this can be.

The following words are the opening chapter of:  The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Chapter 1
The Story and The Song
Introduction from Psalm 19 and Hebrews 1

The Heavens are singing about how great God is;
And the skies are shouting it out, “See what God has made!”
Day after day…Night after night…They are speaking to us.

Psalm 19:1-2 (paraphrase)

 

God wrote, “I love you” — he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror – to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing.
The way a kitten chases her tail. The way red poppies grow wild. The way a dolphin swims.
And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called “the Bible.”

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.

Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!
You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true.
There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story.  The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle – the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.
And this is no ordinary baby. This is the Child upon whom everything would depend. This is the Child who would one day – but wait. Our Story starts where all good stories start. Right at the very beginning . . .

*******

That’s a simple message that’s appropriate for 6 year olds and 60 year olds.  The Gospel is simple really.  It can be shared in ways that make it recognizable and believable with simple words and simple tunes.  It’s the kind of thing we like to do. Over the years I’ve described our ministry as a ‘blue jeans Gospel’, comfortable, casual and a Gospel designed to be relevant 7 days a week.   This event is Andrew and Sally simply being themselves and eagerly sharing their talents and hearts. Events like this are not a guaranteed financially successful event for us, but an event that has meaning and purpose for those people that we’ve had the opportunity to care about for over 29 years now.

WBVN has been fun over the years, it’s been serious, it’s been compassionate, and it’s been entertaining.  It’s also been inspirational for all those years, been that for over 15.5 million minutes.  In some way, it’s taken all that time to finally work our way to this very special event.  It witnesses to our believing that God continues to work through this ministry to meet people’s hearts and needs, young and old, bringing wonderfully talented and gifted folks into our community and lives.   Each has been a blessing to ‘whosoever will’ come and experience what God has provided though these especially talented and thoughtful people.

Thank you for all the years– we’ve all had such good times together.  Get ready for another on Saturday, Feb. 16th.