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June Newsletter-Cancelled

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment


There is an old saying: ‘God loves birds and created trees, man loved birds and created cages.’ Perhaps that’s a simple expression of difference between the heart of God and the heart of unredeemed man.

Tomorrow’s world seems to be moving into: say my opinion, disregard the facts. New York Senator Patrick Moynihan once said, ‘Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.’ Many are mastering their own truth, tearing down known truths at truth’s expense. Scientists have replaced priests, entertainers have replaced philosophers, and truth has been replaced with what we want truth to be, expressed as what’s ‘right in our eyes.’ Proverbs 21:2 says: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD ponders the hearts.” And in Proverbs 14:12 the Bible says: “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Seems the wisdom of yesterday gets thrown out with the misfortune of yesterday. Today, we preach saving ourselves by self improvement, having confidence in changing our lives by our own human ability to do so. For the most part, the idea of spiritual change gets thrown ‘out the window’. More and more the angelic message, ‘Love of God toward men’, is banished. We talk environmental talk about how much wildlife has lost its environment and how critical that is to their eventual survival. Maybe we should look at the environment man is losing and reflect on their eventual survival as well.

Jesus said: I am the Way, I am the Truth and I am the Life. (John14:16) We need to pause after each one of those expressions is read. Taken literally, The Way represents Jesus as the highway and the method of proceeding. The Truth reflects that Jesus was the appearing of reality, revealed Truth. And, The Life speaks to Jesus is the breath of Life, the very opposite of death. Each one of those characteristics attributed to Christ must be taken seriously and soberly. C. S. Lewis states in his book Mere Christianity: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Life can refer to life from man all the way down to the lowest cell-forms of bio life. Life as the Father would have it for you, Life that Jesus secured and invited you to experience, is a gift from God through Christ, and Him alone. Scripturally, life is referenced using two completely different Greek words. One, for existence (bio) and another (Zoe) for Life as the Father would have it for you. Accordingly, God is the ‘Living One’ and nothing exists apart from Him. (Col. 1:16) In Him, we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28) While existence is common to all living things, only Jesus Christ can manifest Life (Zoe). Without Him their existence is simply all there is. John 1:4 says that, “In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men.”

Life as the Father would have it for you is eternal–everlasting. It is a gift from God for those in Christ. (Rom. 6:23) You can exist (bio) without it; however, you will not experience the everlasting unless you choose it. Jesus gave a clue about eternal Life in Mathew 18, Luke 18 and Mark 10. In response to the disciples rebuking the children who were following him, Jesus scolded his disciples ordering to let those children come. Jesus emphasizing that entering into Life as the Father would have it for you is done in such a manner as those children displayed. What manner was that? As children (at least until they or we as their parents destroy the family experience) trusted their parent, believed their parent, ran and jumped in their parents’ lap as an embrace and when scared, ran into our parents’ arms for comfort. That’s what Jesus said entering into eternal Life is like. Understanding is not our problem. Trusting in Who God is and believing what He says about us in the New Testament is the problem. Just as in the beginning, when Adam and Eve became suspicious of the heart of God, abandoning the Love of God, that separation was by their choosing, not His. Each generation gets the opportunity to trust and believe or to reject that Father. We are in the same position to do that today.

Sadly, we’ve been Evolutionized! With evolution, we, and the kids, have been taught that everything that changes is always better than the past thing. It’s automatic; progress always produces good things, right? The motto is: it’s upward and onward! In science and government, if it’s new and not the old- ‘boom’ it’s greater! Throw out the old and march in the new. With evolutionary wisdom, new is always preferred and anointed. We can even explain how all our ancestors crawled out of the sea and easily affirm how species with wings changed those wings into arms. Just trust, gills into lungs work. I know we don’t have any real examples to show you, but we can imagine how that happened. Given enough time we can even make original disorder of the world emerge into order. (I suggest a book, Evolution Impossible, by Dr. John Ashton on this subject) Just believe! Have a little faith. Over time, Evolution has begun to resemble religion more than science; it’s a hypothesis that requires a lot of faith and belief.

A really nice set up if you’re the new. If you can get people to believe it’s simply progress that created the world, just accident after accident built this world of today, go for it! God: canceled! The past few years, new has won by default. Jesus – that’s old stuff, Christianity – a crutch, and Love – you mean lust don’t you? Unity has become when you give the elite their way. You know, let’s come together and do this thing. I know you don’t think it’s a good idea, but let’s be unified and do it anyway. We’re not supposed to question it. Just remember, new ideas are always better than old ideas, period. Your opinion– old school, outdated. The ‘magician-like sleight of hand’ here is that many times the marketed new ideas are actually older than the old ones. A country where citizens are dominated by leaders and an elite political class, that’s pretty old; however, today that’s what we’re being told is the new freedom and our new bill of rights. Let’s see, while we’re at it, let’s get rid of these very bad fellows : Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain, Washington Redskins, and throw out the historical Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson statues for good measure.

Let’s see, Jesus was cancelled physically 2000 years ago, and the new idea is to cancel him, take him out of people’s hearts today, and do it now. In many ways, the world is living in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John again, ‘crucify him!’ is the shout being repeated today! Look, we can progress on our own just fine. Just look at the progress that has been made from the original one cell organisms to the evolution of human lives we see today. That suggestion by today’s elite is as old as the serpent’s suggestion in the Garden of Eden whisper! You can be like God! Bye-bye, God; we got this.

May Newsletter-Memories

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

The last few months I’ve been writing about thirty years of concert memories, not just the onstage but the backstage as well. This month’s letter is not artist memories, but memories just the same. Do you remember your first memory? The very first thing you can just see in your mind when you pull out the memory file in your brain? Mine has always been easy to remember. I was about 3 years old, my mother and father rented a house on what was called the Martin Odum Hill. My first filed away memory was of me and our two terrier dogs (Snoopy and Poochie) playing under the porch. That porch went all the way across the front of the house and rose away from the ground so that it was easy for someone my height and two dogs to play in the dirt. The dirt was dry and soft because the dogs slept there and kept it in perfect condition for a little cowboy to spend the afternoon. The house was located west of the Springhill Church in the community of Palzo, South of Crab Orchard. My grandfather, Parker Holmes, was the postmaster there and ran a general store near his home (just like Ike’s in the Walton’s TV series). I still have one Palzo cancelled envelope that was given to me by my grandmother.

Another early memory is of the church at Springhill. There, I remember sitting in Dennis Tanner’s Sunday school class and actually listening. Some of the others kids (I won’t incriminate them by giving names) were passing notes, giggling and whispering. Sharing chewing gum seemed to be a big church thing in that class. Even then, I was serious and attentive about the Gospel. Those church memories take me back to a unique day when I was 16 years old. I remember that afternoon I was washing my red with black interior, two door, 1962 Impala. It was a sunny Saturday and I’m washing that car and I had tears in my eyes. Something was going on inside my heart. L.G. Hartley was holding a revival in the church that week and I knew, deep inside I knew, if I went to church that night I was a ‘goner’. As it turned out, I went. Dale Beasley, who was sitting behind me that evening, put his hand on my shoulder, never said a word, but the next thing I remember is standing down front, I don’t remember how I got there. After that, Leslie Hartley and I became good friends. I was a teenager, he was in his 80’s and a retired pastor. I became his chauffer for nighttime church meetings around the area. Those road trips ended up changing my life. To this day, I’ve never met any other man like L.G. Hartley.

For many years after that, I became quiet about my faith; my belief was alive, but silent. When I was about 35 years old something went off inside me again. All of a sudden I couldn’t study enough; I read lexicons, concordances like they were great novels. Studying more lead to hearing more, those lead to following my heart more. Memories can be markers that identify special times and changes, moments similar to Robert Frost’s poem ‘the road less traveled’, places where our lives take on a new direction. I’ll now skip to 1987; it was another ‘road less traveled’ decision.

That year, someone, knowing how much the Gospel meant to me, asked me if I’d ever thought about getting into Christian radio. This part of the story would take far too much room than this letter can give so I’ll use to the short-cut version. My answer: No, I had not. I didn’t want to even think about the risk involved with something like that. One, because of the insecurity it created for my wife and three daughters. Secondly, I had no skills for broadcasting, speaking or engineering. I would be for the most part a fish out of water. Third, there were no financial resources to even begin that kind of project. You can’t imagine how little finances Jane and I had, and Christian radio would be a pretty big undertaking. I was pretty much exhibiting the spirit of Jonah at that time. The person making that suggestion didn’t know that just a few days earlier I had walked down the hall to my boss’s office to knock on his office door and tell him I wouldn’t be able to stay on the job much longer. I didn’t know what ‘not going to be able to stay’ meant, but I knew that it was true. For some reason, I didn’t knock. I turned around and went back to my office and simply prayed, asked God to calm me down on the inside. Something was going on inside that I’ve often described as ‘being with child’ and a birthing needed to take place. Had I left that job position on the day I went to resign, the next step in the creation of a WBVN would never have had a chance to happen; from my standpoint, one of the early miracles in BVN’s history.

Then, within weeks, a man gave me $5000 and told me to do with it whatever I wished. A few days later, the suggestion about creating a radio station was mentioned to me again. An AM station had become available for purchase. After that I began to pay attention to the idea more and more. Jane and I did attempt to purchase the AM station, the attempt failed. Actually Jane and I learned about the failure at midnight the day we had signed the purchase contract. One moment we thought we owned a station and the next I was simply unemployed. Amazingly, almost immediately a second radio opportunity presented itself. The FCC opened up the possibility of a new FM. Pretty soon I had contracted an FCC attorney in Washington to help make an application. I had left my job, was unemployed, and I had a big, fat loan approved for starting a new FM station, but no real station and no real skills to do one. From there, I could literally stack miracles on top of miracles. The incidents were so numerous and obvious that Jane and I could not find excuses to run from what seemed to be going on. Things were happening without us initiating many of them. Impossible things became possible. Those didn’t happen because we were special, they were happening because the Father getting His Grace message to you was special. We were just willing; He was enabling.

Since we began the station in January, 1990, our ministry story would contain mentions of hundreds, perhaps thousands of miracles. Instead of a marker every few years, there would be markers almost every week. Literally, there’s not enough space and not enough time to list them here. In many ways, I can’t even describe the life of WBVN. Years ago I wrote a family history document for my daughters to read about their father’s life, a short little summary of my history. The first half of my life was easy to write about. When I came to the part about Christian radio, I haven’t added one sentence further in that document. It’s just too big, too amazing, for words to express. It’s been so overwhelming it would be hard to argue against the reality of God’s hand being on what we’ve seen with this ministry. WBVN has not been something accomplished by our abilities but something that happened simply by following His lead. So much of what is now BVN was not planned or easily explained. Much has just simply been discovered along the way of walking with Christ Spirit. Again this year our story has been amazing. Covid had changed so many lives and certainly had its gut punch to the station. Our announcers have an isolated work area, and everyone has their unique schedule, headset, mic cover and very little contact with the others announcers. The office doors are locked; there are no concerts (we love concerts). As I write this letter, we’ve had one DJ hospitalized for some length of time, two of the staff have had surgery incidents to manage through. Add to that, being a listener supported station while many of our listeners are financially stressed. Yet we’re still here for 2021. The kindnesses and help from our listeners is one of those continuing miracles we’ve experience again this year.

Memories. We began on January 8th, 1990, with two announcers and 7 volunteers that helped run the audio board, one each evening. That was long before doing 213 concerts. So much has happened that we never imagined. Even today, as I write this letter and describe these memories, faces and names flash across my mind of people we’ve met along the way that have become part of the pleasure of doing radio. Artists, lyrics, stories from our listeners, testimonies of how those artists and lyrics have changed people’s lives, all those have been powerful moments and memories. I’ve always said ministry is addictive. Once you’ve experience how ministry changes lives, or hear about how a song can change the whole day for someone, you want to do it again and again. Loving God and loving people is following Christ. When believers experience a simple smile from someone affected by their having given compassionate care, they experience encouragement a hundred fold in their lives as well.

I’ll mention one more of my early memories that I’ve always found interesting. At the time it was an incident that seemed so misplaced, now not so much. I was in my teens. I had gone with my cousins to visit some of their friends. While we were there the mother of that family said to me, ‘You should be on the radio.’ She explained that she was teasing that because I pronounced my ‘ings,’ therefore, I should be on the radio. Instead of huntin’ I said hunting, instead of goin’ I said going, and instead of hunerd I said hundred. Her statement was a bit shocking back then, so shocking it’s become one of those markers in my memory. It crossed my mind that day that this shy, scaredy-cat kid was never going to be on the radio. Sometimes it still sounds strange to me even today. But, maybe Gatha knew something on the inside of her that day; something so impossible did become possible because God cares immensely about you

April Newsletter-Jesus Behold

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

Jesus Happens:
Now this is just my opinion, it and $4 might get you a Starbucks. Why didn’t God just sit down one guy (ok, or girl) and have him or her write the New Testament? Why Mathew, Mark, Luke and John? Why Paul? Using one author certainly would have simplified the manual and be enough to share one Message, one person’s opinion from beginning to end. To me, using 40 authors and 1500 years to share His story points to the Wisdom of God revealed again. The Creator knows the created, knows each is different from the other. And, God sees the beginning, the middle and the end all in one frame. To Him, each human life is like reading a novel, He can describe the current moment, the past, and look a few pages further and tell you the future. You’ve heard the phrase ‘all knowing’ applied to God all your life. Part of the all knowing/wisdom is being aware that each person will hear and see things differently. Result: Mathew, Mark, Luke and John each describing the same thing but in somewhat different manners. Because God was revealed progressively, I always prefer to read the Bible backwards. Paul is my go to guy, and of the four Gospels, I like to read John the best. Paul just speaks my language for some reason. I can say that about John, similarly. Simply put, Jesus happens when we behold him. Each Biblical author’s writing is in so many ways trying to permit that to happen to whosoever will.

I need to express what I’m not saying. I’m not saying all the world’s religious belief systems are the same or OK. I’m not saying all are right and made for each individual. Abram was a moon worshiper until he found the One True God. Then Abram dropped everything and followed Yahweh. Knowing God, Abram became Abraham or Abram with the name of God attached (breath). This God was not one from Abram’s imagination. Likewise, the God that is I Am is not a morality or an ethic. Yahweh is not simply a God defining Good and Evil. He’s Creator. He knows all things; He is Wisdom, Love and the One God, only true God. We can make up many gods, most often creating them in our image. But He (Father, Son and Spirit) existed on the other side of creation, sits outside of what we refer to as the cosmic universe.

I had a friend years ago suggest to me that the writings of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John were similar to each looking at a different side of a mountain; same mountain but each author was expressing a different way of describing it. It’s interesting that God had 40 authors write Scripture. Each is describing the same thing but in a different manner. The four Gospels seem like that to me. It’s interesting to read the first red lettered words in each. They are all different. Jesus’ first statement in Matthew is about Jesus’ role of fulfilling Righteousness. In Mark the first Jesus statement is about the Kingdom of God. Luke’s first red letters refer to Jesus being about His Father’s business. And, my favorite, is Jesus’ first words in John, ‘What do you seek?’ My favorite because the original language implies this is a question, not posed just to the disciples, but to every man/woman ever birthed. Sometimes I listen to the music we play and realize that one song speaks specifically to a person and it’s possible that 3 minutes later another song will hit home with someone else, meeting their unique needs. I have no idea how many times I’ve had a song come across my desk and think to myself, ‘That’s not really what I was looking for or imagining,’ but I go ahead and send it through anyway. And when it rotates it gets more calls than the 10 other songs I added that month.

The Bible is written to reveal God to us but also written to reveal God in us. It’s His attempt to share Who He is and also what He does. It’s the manual to learning how to participate in our salvation. It’s God’s attempt, through what Jesus did, to tell us what’s true about us. Jesus is referenced all the way from Genesis through Revelation. The Bible is inside surgery. It heals us from our heart outward. I once had a small surgery and they left the wound open, no stitches. They told me they did that because the wound heals from the inside out. God’s healing begins in the same place, He is in us. It’s interesting that, as far as I can remember, all Jesus’ miracles were transformations rather than creations. He took broken things and changed them to healed things. He redeemed the already existing into the new. Even in the first words of Genesis:
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created (bara: using non pre-existing material) the heaven and the earth.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was (i.e., became waste and ruin)( has reference to Ezek. 28:11-17) without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved (brooded) upon the face of the waters.

That story of the beginning of heaven and earth was true about creation and it’s a story that remains true about each of our lives as well. Originally, we were created to be in the relationship with God; Adam voided that environment and Jesus’ work recreated us from the material of our old state into a new one. Again, he takes broken things and transforms them into redeemed/healed things…you and me.

For over 30 years at WBVN we have had the opportunity to experience what we have in common with our listeners and concert attendees. Jesus is common to each. Many may have some differences in expression, just like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but all are believers, each perhaps just using a few different words to express that love for God. Here, we do not try to discover and push our differences. I have a dear friend that, when he and I talk about the Gospel, the vocabulary we use is not very similar at all. He loves God passionately; he proves that every day of his life. We both know God and we each express the God that we agree sent Jesus, raised Jesus from the dead, and shares Heaven with an alive Jesus right now. As those four Gospel writers did, each of our expressions permits someone to hear the Gospel in their unique manner. Like the different songs, each person has the opportunity to respond to DC Talk’s ‘Jesus Freak’ or Christy Nockels’ ‘Holy Over Me’. Remember when Jesus said, ‘Who has ears to hear, let them hear’? You know they all had those little floppy things on the side of their heads. But, what Jesus was saying was, in spite of all having physical ears let those that can mentally/in their hearts hear this. Some could, some could not; but to those that could, do so. I think he was saying, I’ll find another way, use different words, a while later for the others. Scottish author and Bible teacher George McDonald once said, ‘In the future we will be amazed at what we now believe about God. Until then, we can give others respect and grace until we come to truly fully beholding Him.’

One of my favorite BVN things to do is sell concert tickets out of my office. It’s an opportunity to meet people who listen to the station. They represent many denominations stopping by. Never once a question about which denomination they or I hang our hat on. I’m very grateful for that. We each have a library of experiences and expression about the Gospel but none of that separates us from one another. In these days we live in, it seems important that in the very near future Christians are going to have to gather together, respecting one another in order to protect one another. Differences which are associated with which side of the mountain we’re looking can simply melt into ‘Jesus loves me, this I know’. As Big Daddy Weave sings, ‘I Believe’ we all can have that in common.

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