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Newsletters

Transmitting to a New Generation

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

I’m writing this letter the Tuesday following our fundraiser for purchasing the new WBVN transmitter. That whole day was a miracle in many ways. It would take this complete newsletter to identify the amazing stories we could tell about the kindnesses shared with us, the generosity shown to us and the meaningfulness of what happened that day. Truly, the relationship this ministry has with its listeners is always confirmed each time we get to share with one another on days such as that Friday, July 1st. WOW! is appropriate. In the middle of the conversations we were having on air that day, I was thinking about the future that that one day represented. You know if you do the math, you would probably come up with some figure that could represent the Life of Christ and how many times the Gospel message has been handed off to the next generation. If 40 years is a biblical generation, at least 50 peoples have handed off this Message between Christ and your children. Fifty generation’s hands have handed off the ‘touch’ of Christ to someone else to share it with the world. Fifty generations of people to have lived since the first one that actually experienced the miracles of Christ and witnessed his life ‘one-on-one’, and relayed that story to the next group of believers.

I get a kick out of hearing all the secular talk of the many ways we can preserve the earth’s resources. We can bring peace to all the world in our generation, how we are the hope of the world in this world’s future! I simply cannot find the ‘mustard’ to believe that, without the Love of God being shared at the same time. Yet, we can easily see that the self possessed creature (man) continues to assert more and more that what we are missing here is just more of a touch from man than a touch of God. It seems we have decided that, in our attempt to change the world for the better, to hand it off in our own ability, rather than having a confidence in the Spirit of God to change the world. As believers, it should not surprise us that the ‘system’ does not work for us. Government and ‘social networking’ were never meant to satisfy, never meant to be a solution or even a comfort zone for believers. Those things and their failures should, instead of frustrating us and discouraging us, drive us deeper and more closely into the heart of God, into the system of God not man. That will be the only real comfort zone we will find and we should not go there kicking and screaming but prayerfully and with praise.

Truth be told, the creature cannot say that it is right about anything. We will not be able to say that any of our inventions are better than the ones that have been offered by Wisdom itself: Father God. We’re left to say that we’re simply forgiven, that we need the mind of Christ to interpret the world around us and not the man-wisdom that is so currently prevalent (actually always has been prevalent). Do you think we are able to produce a perfect culture of people aside from God? The further we move away from God, does our world appear to be one that is getting better or worse? (This culture just cries pass the Prozac please!) I know that the enemies of God are happy to be ‘merry failures,’ but they are failures just the same.

What are we to do? Each generation gets one chance to hand the Gospel off to the next. Now, because of advances in communications, twitters, facebooks, emails, cell-phones and yes, radio stations that now can stream as WBVN does, literally around the world, we can hand off the Gospel in the most efficient and widespread ways ever possible. That same asset permits us to hand off a sterile, unproductive religion as well. This ministry is dedicated to a message of Grace and Mercy, a Grace obligated to the blood of Christ and His resurrection as its foundation. This world continues to try and climb out of that container of God’s Love and to journey its way on its own, leaving Him out of our equation for the future. The secular offers a self righteousness and it’s a way that seems right but that the end is calamity. The Scriptures talk of the danger of becoming self-sufficient: ‘for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the foundation of living waters, and hewed themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water’ (Jeremiah 2:13). In reality, we are offered a choice between being our own source and one where Christ is the source. What will we hand down to our children, to the 51st generation to share? A simple moral and ethic? Or do we hand down a way of Life, ‘a newness of Life’ unlike any religion or belief system. Will we hand down a simple knowledge of a historical Jesus or a Jesus that can be experienced? The first sells books and tapes, but the second changes the heart and the lives of people.

His Grace is so powerful that we can, not because we are perfect but by the ‘permission of God’, be perfect because we stand in Him. Any righteousness, perfection and holiness are granted by His Grace not our actual deeds. What He did ‘50 people ago’ permits us to adopt those characteristics of God as our characteristics. They are gifts to us, not rewards for our actions. We qualify because of His blood, not our being justified on our own. A world separated and alienated from the Love of God is simply the opposite of what we need and what will work for us, but we are buying it hook, line and sinker! While we find it uncomfortable and terribly burdensome, we will need to recall the words of David in the twentieth Psalm: some trust in chariots, some in horses but we will remember the Name of the Lord! Ours is an inheritance of Faith not power! We will measure our days by our Trust and Hope and not in human strength and political successes! There can be Eden to live in through Christ, and maybe a little Heaven in the real world, but it is not Heaven that we live in just yet. There has never been a generation that experienced the totality of what God had hoped for us, intended for us…man gets in the way. In this life, Faith is an uphill thing, and as far as I can tell, there’ll be no coasting here. We will have to just make up our hearts to praise when it goes our way and praise when it goes against us. We trust in something unrelated to our best, trusting in His best.

Within the next few weeks, perhaps by the time you get this letter, we will install that new transmitter. It will reinstate the lost signal strength we experienced awhile back. It will run more efficiently, it will be the latest technology replacing 16 year old technology. And, while those are terrific reasons to be delighted, the other thing that it will do is step us into the future. As I stated during the fundraising, it is our goal to wear the new transmitter out and have to have another 20 years from now! If we do that, there will be children of our children to hear this message for the 51st generational time. The Word of God through CCM and His character and Spirit will be housed here. That transmitter is more about Him than it is about a radio station. It’s about His Love and not our love. It’s about His service and sacrifice and not about ours.

Hebrews 10: 19-24 says it for us, ‘having therefore, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh. And having a high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession or our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised. Let us consider one another to provoke unto Love and Good (inner) Works.’ That is the goal of this radio ministry! That new transmitter gives us that opportunity to continue, to go on and encourage one another to Love and Grace. At least fifty times the Gospel has been passed on to another generation. God is the same yesterday, today and forever; ours is to declare that to each succeeding generation…thank you for making that possible over FM 104.5.

Praise

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

‘Give me rules, I will break them
Give me lines, I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe, I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes…
It ought to be more like falling in love than something to believe in
More like losing my heart than giving my allegiance
Give me words I’ll misuse them
Obligations I’ll misplace them
‘Cause all religion ever made of me was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet, it never set me free
It was love that made me a believer in more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me
Caught up, called out, come take a look at me now…
(Jason Gray ‘More Like Falling In Love’)

I love the way Jason Gray can turn common thoughts and phrases upside down and make you think. In his song ‘Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue’, the title, even before you get to the lyric of the song, is a terrific expression of his upside down way. Music is the subject of this newsletter. Actually, not just Jason’s but all the music we play here on WBVN. ‘Praise is our business. Praise is our game.’ Maybe that should be a business card slogan but I don’t like the word game. It’s no game when you’re handling and responsible for such an important part of the Christian life, handling such a powerful instrument of God’s Love. Truly, praises are the things we do the most of here. Scripture affirms that there is an important purpose in God’s instructions for us to praise Him. I don’t think it is necessary for Him to receive praises, but it is necessary for us to give them. God’s wise in that way. His instruction to praise is God giving us one of the secrets of this Life. He always provides what will work for us, does not keep those secrets a mystery. According to the New Testament, He doesn’t seek His own. He weaves into His teaching how important it is for our lives that we praise Him for our sake! I believe the heart of God was not in the Law of God but rather, the Law reveals some of the Wisdom of God. He created the creature and knows exactly what works to our advantage. It’s not just righteous indignation; it’s giving the ‘apple of His eye’ the best way to live, giving us what works for us, what will bless us.

We all need encouragement. Encouragers are associated with ‘cheering’ people on. To encourage is to implore people to be strong, to hold fast, to withstand, to repair, to recover, and in each case to be courageous. WBVN does not challenge listeners to a new doctrine, but instead we cheer our listeners on in their own personal Faith, no matter the specific Christian doctrine. We came for one purpose and one purpose only: to encourage believers daily. It’s not tricky! We used a slogan early on in this ministry pulled from the Book of Acts, ‘They could not help but speak.’ So much has taken place, is taking place and will take place that we simply must declare to others the praises of God. Much of the time that’s in the form of songs, psalms and hymns over FM 104.5.

Ephesians 5: 19 represents that best: ‘…address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart and giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.’ You know everything we can do as Christians to prove we are a Christian can be faked except what comes out of our hearts. We can get down on our knees and pray, we can memorize Scripture, we can sing beautifully for people, we can teach, we can say whatever, but all those things can be done dishonestly. What comes out of our hearts is the real thing! That’s what God is looking at. Geoff Moore and Steven Curtis Chapman suggested that a few years ago in their song, ‘Listen to Our Hearts’,

‘Listen to our hearts, hear our spirits sing
A song of praise that flows from those you have redeemed
We will use the words we know to tell what an awesome God You are.
But words are not enough to tell you of our love, so listen to our hearts.’

Scripture qualifies all praise to be of the heart. The psalms, hymns and songs are to be mixed with heart and thanksgiving. The ancient meaning of psalm is ‘a touching’, something filled with Mercy and Grace, i.e. a blessing. In our songs, in our praises, God gives it, He is present in it and He operates through it. When we praise, when we directly address His glory and truth, we sing spiritual songs that reach His presence. As with prayer, with praise we can be changed, we can be touched by the hand of God. We can speak prayers and we should do so. We get to sing Praise and should do so. That’s why we can come with confidence about our broadcasting and the concerts. Both permit you to express your heart. They permit Him to display His Love and Mercy for us all through that Praise. Jesus and the disciples sang at the last supper (Mathew 26:29-30) and James (5:13) instructs those that are merry to sing hymns. We have the songs of Moses, Mary, Deborah and Elizabeth also playing significant roles in Scripture. Singing praises refreshes the very presence of God.

Because there is so much falling away from the Love of God by the whole world, I think a time is coming, especially as we see the world intensifying its rejection of the Love of God, when we will see believers eagerly and spontaneously praising, honoring and thanking the Father, as we see His presence more and more often in our lives. At those times, we may not have memorized each verse. We may not have prayed each morning that week. We may not even feel as though God is present at all. Truth is we might feel completely alone. Maybe things are falling apart all around us. But each day, whether we feel like it or not, we can praise Him. It will be like falling in love. ‘Give me rules I will break them, give me lines I will cross them,’ but give me a Truth that lives, moves and breathes and it will be easy to embrace each of those moments.

To everyone that helps financially support this radio ministry: Thank you! We’ve been able to rotate CCM, praising Him, for 22 years now. Every minute has been a pleasure for us and we trust inspirational and fun for you. What we say about Him makes a big difference in our attitudes and our hearts. We love gathering together for the concerts (140 now!) and gathering together on the radio each day. It is a treasure to us to have such wonderful support and terrific freedom to play music that encourages and enlightens. This year is about half gone. I think it passes so quickly because of the kindnesses and the grace you give this radio station each day. This letter is a note to share with you again the appreciation we have for our listeners and concert attendees. I was backstage at intermission of the Andrew Peterson and Laura Story concert. Laura came running up to me and said, “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!” She was so thrilled to have been able to spend the evening with many of you, and the reception you gave her just overwhelmed her heart. Well, those same people have been giving WBVN and our guest artists a great reception for over 20 years now, and we are very grateful for your encouragement.

Ok, now get in that pickup truck and just sing praises, just sing your lungs out! And be touched!

Where Was God at the Cross?

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

I’m listening to NewSong’s ‘Arise My Love’ on the radio as I write this newsletter. It reinforces something that I’ve been thinking about since the Easter season. It’s the Cross thing that I have rolled around in my mind. Obviously, what happened at the Cross is one of two or three foundational parts of our Faith. I mean, golly, what if what we believe about that Cross is true! Well, you would have to write a book on that, not a letter. But one of the things that has always intrigued me about that crucifixion is the words of Jesus, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (The most common Greek definition for the word forsaken is ‘to leave behind’.)

Imagine that. Is that what really happened? How does the Son of God suggest such a thing? How does he do the unthinkable and question God! Surely Jesus knew differently, or, maybe the Father did forsake him! Did God abandon him? I don’t think so; actually I think we can find out exactly what He did. If He did not, then what was happening when Jesus said that?

It was not what Jesus was saying at that moment, as much as what he was asking. That’s the only place in the New Testament where Jesus is calling out to God, not calling out to Father. Here, Jesus uses the ‘Creator’ reference to God. Here, Jesus did not call out in the personal, loving relationship reference to a Father, but to God who can do all things. We know from Scripture that Jesus became sin for us. We know that the humanity of Jesus paid that great price for us, not his deity. At that moment it was not the Son of God that cried out, it was the man Jesus, his humanity that cried out. At that moment, he was not Righteousness for us, but Sin for us. At the Cross, everything that we are Jesus took upon himself; everything that we experience he experienced for us. He was Sin for us. Every thought of abandonment, loneliness, hopelessness and isolation he was carrying just as we would. Every human emotion and every pain was his. Just as we feel abandoned some of the time, isolated and lonely in our journey, on the Cross Jesus experienced those same fears. Where was His anointing at this moment? Where was the presence of God in his life there? Did God turn His face from Jesus? Well, that’s part of the end of this letter.

The reason I was thinking about this subject is that there seems to be an increasing sense of isolation and helplessness present in our daily lives. Christians, who have the most witness to the Word of His Power, well, we forget our Faith hats and sometimes put on fear. You can’t go to an internet news site without an overload of bad news, can’t pick up a paper, listen to most talk-radio stations, without finding bullying, swearing, corruption–and that’s just what’s being said and done by our so-called political leaders, people we have chosen to protect us, chosen to protect this unique country. I’m embarrassed at how our politicians display so much lying and name calling and then they stand, seemingly, self-righteously amazed that the country in such shape.

I’m concerned with what appears to be an ever increasing effort to demean people of Faith in this country. Well, some of it I understand; we have not represented the Gospel very well in some ways. We have lost some of the skill of being an ambassador of Christ in some of our language, some of our actions. But still, with those mistakes made and admitted, there is a bigger effort here than just complaints against our Christian manners. There is a daily sense of the persecution of believers in some very big sense. Not just attacks on a couple of issues like abortion or same sex marriages, but attacks on a whole gambit of our beliefs, attacks from the courts, attacks through executive orders, and a legislative branch of government that does not seem to represent or take up the causes of the majority of the people in this country. I don’t know if it bothers you, but it concerns me when the Senate and House leaders and our own President choose to leave out ‘under God’ in their quotes of the Constitution of this country….It bothers me because it’s no accident, that it’s policy, that it’s a world view!

That kind of world-view, if I’m not careful, brings me to feelings of being more alone, more isolated, less hopeful. When I say ‘if I’m not careful,’ what I mean is if I leave those feelings unchecked. They come naturally, just as when enormous pressure was put on Jesus, even he defaulted to thoughts of abandonment. I’m not to that point just yet! I have a couple of things that I can trust in. One, I think all the pressure put on the Church might teach us that we must either pull together or fall apart. The effort to overcome a real world-wide assault on the Christian Faith must be based on what for the most part will be an invisible organization. Not a group built on structure but on relationships between the common interests of all believers. Laying aside our differences and finding those things we have in common. Just as the opposition to the Gospel does not come from one source, one package, our ability to challenge the challenge to our Faith will need to come from many pulling together to resist losing our expression of Faith. We will need a new flexible wineskin to take on the challenge. Our old ways have not been working and new, inspired ways must come. We are in need of new ways to challenge the media attacks and legal push, old politics is just not going to do it. I still think there is a ‘Moses’ in some tent somewhere in America that can lead us; he just has not been revealed yet!

Secondly, well, it’s the answer to the question I posed in the first paragraph. At the Cross, had God abandoned Jesus? Could Jesus have been wrong in his ‘forsaken’ statement? In my opinion, not really wrong, but certainly, Jesus could have been ‘thinking’ human! He could have felt the weight of the world on his humanity, could have ‘felt’ like God had forsaken him (just like we ‘feel’ like God has forsaken us sometimes). Actually, we know exactly what was taking place on that Cross. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22 and in it is found the answer. This Psalm is a prophetic cry of David about the crucifixion of the Messiah of God. It is an insightful picture of what actually went through the mind if Jesus at his death. (There is no traditional Jewish stoning here; it’s a picture of a Roman crucifixion, hundreds of years before crucifixion was even thought of.) Our answer is in verse 24, ‘… (for God) hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither hath He hid His face from him, but when he cried out He heard…’

Where was God at the Cross? He was with Jesus, even in him, reconciling the world unto Himself! Did Jesus feel that at the time? The scripture and the Psalm indicate that Jesus did not. If you read the whole Psalm you will find the Messiah felt like a worthless worm, the reproach of all men, despised by all of the people. The powerful political leaders (bulls, maybe even bullies), the assembly of the wicked had surrounded him. In Jesus’ mind, he was completely and hopelessly cut off, abandoned, isolated, surely God had ‘left him behind’. We can feel like that as well, even as believers. Jesus was the biggest believer of all and he felt like that. The thing we must bring to mind is where was God at the Cross and where is God at times of pressure in our lives? He was right there, and He is right here! He hears us! He does not turn His face from us. It may seem like that, but ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me’ was a question, not a statement of fact. It was what Jesus said, it was a picture of the moment, but it was not the whole story. Just remember the next Psalm David wrote: the Twenty-Third.

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