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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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30 Years of Memories-Mark Schultz

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30 Years of Memories-Mark Schultz

Just follow me. We’ll go down this hallway and turn right onto the stage. Watch your step. It gets a bit dark back here behind the curtain. Be careful of the cables, it takes a lot of those to give our audience the best sound we can give them in a concert setting. Here, you can sit on this piano bench, that’s the same one he sat on during the concert. Ok, now to answer your question.

Well, it was like this. I have to tell you, at first I didn’t believe it. It began one afternoon. I got a call from Greg Lucid. Greg Lucid– I’m thinking, who is Greg Lucid? That day the name didn’t ring bells in my brain. Greg refreshed my memory and explained that he was the manager for Mark Schultz. Now that name rang a bell. We had had so many wonderful experiences with Mark, first at the Aldersgate Methodist church on August 14th, 2001. If you were there for the first one you’ll remember Mark breaking down emotionally because so many people were singing his songs back to him. That’s not always something that happens on the road for the artist. Many places people watch a concert; here our people seem to be a part of the concert. Anyway, Greg gave me the usual ‘niceties’ and then asked me a question I was not prepared for. ‘Do you think you could get a crowd together if Mark Schultz wanted to film a live concert DVD at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center?’ I was shocked, a bit speechless actually, and to be honest with you, I did not believe that this was the real Greg Lucid. My first thoughts were I was being pranked. A national recording artist who could choose any town or city in America to video a concert and Marion is the choice. Greg, I think, sensing my hesitation to reply as though his suggestion was real, began to explain that the record company had suggested a couple of sites, both large cities, for Mark to record in, but Mark indicated that he’d like to do it in Marion. Greg told me he would have Mark call me and talk about it, also mentioned that I’d also hear from the recording company to confirm certainty that we really could ‘deliver’ a full crowd for the video filming.

Well, it happened just like that. I received Mark’s phone call while he was on a flight back from, if I remember correctly, a concert in Alaska. Mark’s a teaser, I’m a teaser, so the first few minutes were smiling moments and then it turned serious. He was under pretty heavy pressure to go to one of the other locations (I think one in California and the other in Ohio) to perform for the filming. Mark, and a display of my confidence, eventually convinced the recording company that we could give him a special event. Mark and I both knew in our hearts that what happens here wasn’t like anything that happened in other venues. The authentic, genuine sharing Mark did here and the intensity of the response from our audience was unique and something that hopefully would come across on video. On May 6, 2005, we had a full film crew from Nashville record two concerts that day. If you look closely on the DVD you can see the crowd changing because some of the songs on the finished DVD came from the first concert and others from the second. I find that easy since a friend of mine was in the front row in the first and someone else is seen in his chair occasionally in the video. By the way, you folks that came were great. There are no words to express the integrity of those two events; an artist and an audience giving all the emotional and loving response possible. I still tear up at the thought, the memories, and the honest worship of Jesus in that moment. It was special for Mark, Greg, me, the crew and I’m sure you if you were there.

It was special in another way also. The live DVD, ‘A Night Of Stories and Songs’ won the video Dove award that next spring. Listen, that’s a big deal, that’s indicative of how ‘real’ the evening with Mark showed up on the finished product. It included the concert, interviews, photos and, of course, 6 of Mark’s #1 songs. Mark was kind enough to have a Dove award plaque made just for WBVN; it still hangs in our office area.
Well, that’s about it. That was a long answer to the simple question, ‘How did you get Mark Schultz to film a DVD in Marion?’ I hope this helps explain that we didn’t get Mark here, he brought us to him to film that video. That piano bench you’re sitting on right now is the one he sat on and did two shows in one day. That’s amazing; to sing and share for two events is not an easy thing to do. Mark made it charming just the same. Let me tell you about something you didn’t ask. Sometimes Mark and I have speculated about how did this all happen. What’s so special here? I, and I know Mark, believes something has happened here that’s simply a gift to him, to the station and the community here. We both believe God has provided the mix of artist, radio station and wonderful people to respond specifically to the care he and we have for our listeners. Mark has just been a part of God’s hand on all our lives here. Let me illustrate that with a couple facts: we did not plan or try to have Mark Schultz as our 200th event, but we counted it up one day and that’s exactly what happened; just a neat blessing for us. Another concert, without our planning, happened on Mark and Kate’s wedding anniversary. We got to surprise Mark that night while he was performing. To his surprise, he looked up and saw Kate sitting in the audience. That caused a nice look on Mark’s face and created a moment where Mark jumped off the stage and gave Kate an anniversary hug. And most recently, the last concert we have been able to provide, was Mark’s on March 14th this spring. It’s unique in that immediately after that concert the venue was closed due to the pandemic, and in some unique way, Mark Schultz was exactly who we would have wanted to spend an evening with if we had known that that concert would be the last for what has turned out to be a long time.

Let me say one more thing, we’ve spent 30 years trying not to be just a ‘juke box’ but a ministry of relationships. We have made that with Mark and we’ve been blessed enough to have made relationships with you. That’s the most pleasant thing we’ve experienced in those thirty years. You might call that friendships, fellowship, community, but whatever you call it, it’s simply caring about others and being cared about. Those are good memories.