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Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

At the beginning of each year, in anticipation of the next, I think about not just one thing, but many things come to mind. Of course, being an expert on none of the things I think about leaves me with the comfort that no matter what I think, I won’t be asked my opinion about most of them and I won’t be responsible for the “way the world turns out.” But I think about “things” just the same. So here goes my, in no particular order, “things” I’ve been thinking about this month.

Terror! Oh, I know everybody’s thinking about it, but I was watching The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers over the holidays and just noticed the similarity between the choices in the fiction and the real choices America (and really the world) faces today. We have many of the same options that Middle Earth had. King Theoden was for running off to the next fortress instead of facing the problems head on. His allies, Aragorn, Gandalf, and the others (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin) were for more of a direct confrontation with the “Orcs”…taking it to them you might say. Much like that “King of Rohan” of fiction, we can tempted by “man-wisdom.” It stands in contrast to Godly-wisdom much of the time and seems to run to a temporary comfort rather than a future good. “Man-wisdom” tends to hide and hope that trouble goes away. Maybe the terrorists will get bored with terror and just pack up their bags and go home. Maybe their “fanaticism” will wane and they’ll decide to give up “their life of crime.” Maybe they’ll take up gardening as a hobby. I suppose, with a little “man-wisdom,” you could think terror will go away by simply boycotting it. It is so ironic that a peaceful people choose to “fight a war on terror,” but sometimes to preserve the peace we will experience “fighting” in the defense of it.

Light is much more powerful than darkness! I remember going to Mammoth Cave several times as our daughters were growing up. Each time our tour guides always did the same thing inside the cave. They turned off all the lamps and just let us, and 50 other people, set in the dark. I mean really dark! Pitch Black! Not the dark that we’re accustomed to, dark influenced by starlight, streetlights or the moon to brighten the evenings. Then the guide would light a candle and the whole room was brightened. WE could see everyone and everything with only that candlelight! It was very impressive moment and illustrates a likeness to the “Light of the World.” Just a little Light illuminates the place where It is present, no matter how dark it is! Now, you can’t say that about darkness. Try taking a little darkness into a room that’s lit. That darkness just can’t dispel the light. Darkness is less powerful than Light! As America (and our friends) tries to make a difference in the world, we need to support this effort to dispel “this present darkness.” We shouldn’t grow “weary of doing good.” Even if we’re small in number, the “goodness” of our cause is stronger than terror. As lonely and as criticized as we are, we must do the right thing to have any chance of bringing the Light to the dark “cave” we all live in. It can be tough, it can be unpopular, it can be dangerous, and it can be tiring, but I think the effort is important. So terror is one of the things I’ve been thinking about.

I’ve been thinking about people a lot lately. I’m concerned about Christians’ lack of observing the emotional toll on people around them. While we all have different problems we face, there’s universality to much of what I see. It seems that all people are “stressed” at some level. It reminds me of a teaching we broadcast by Bill Gillham a few years ago. The Gillhams had a program on WBVN called Lifetime Guarantee. One of the subjects dealt with our emotional condition and how we can get “bent out of shape” so easily and stay there! While being confronted by stressful situations, our “feelers” go to “10” on a scale of “1 to 10.” Bill illustrated how our “feeler” (our emotional well being) gets stuck. The needle on his “feeler meter” gets buried at the highest mark. Bill put it like this, using the threat of a bear on a camping trip as motivator, “Bears eat meat, you are meat; running is an option, but bears can run faster than people. However, you could be running while generating more options; climbing a tree’s no good, since he’d just eat you in the treetop. Then you see a cabin in the woods and you dart into the cabin.” Your feeler is doing one thing and one thing only: it’s generating an emotion we all call FEAR! And even after you reach the safety of the cabin (a cabin made of logs, bolted together; built like a fort!) your emotions are stuck on 10! The problem is you don’t know you’re safe. Even though you are safely inside the cabin, as the bear tears at the wall and raises all kinds of havoc, your “feeler” still remembers thinking “bears eat meat, I am meat!” Every stimulus just peaks the needle even more. If fact, if you don’t watch out, you might be perfectly safe but die of a heart attack because you don’t benefit from your safety. If you benefited from your safety you could do the next thing, believe your safe and trust! That’s were we are today! Stressed and forgetting our safety in Christ. In this time, in the condition we find ourselves in, we need to “lean in on God”.

The (1) terror, (2) the pressure of the culture, (3) the difficulty in relationships, and (4) the distractions of this world have established a lot of us at a level “10” and we’re stuck there! We get accustomed to that “10” feeling and forget how to get the meter down in the lower levels. We need to be aware of the emotional “meter reading” of others. We live in a time when any thing said casually, carelessly, could get a big reaction from our friends and family. Even when there’s no threat there at all, people can feel threatened. We stay in that “9 to 10” range. If we’re not careful we’ll assume that “10’s” are natural feelings to stay at. Ten’s become the norm! Because of all the stress, it doesn’t take much to bury the needle. We need to be more observant of the world around us and understand the environment people live in and how that affects their emotional responses. We all need to be more careful. People are at “10’s” all over the place, and as believers, as spiritual people, we need to recognize and interpret the condition of the world we live in and apply the Gospel attitude with care and knowledge. Well, that’s the second thing I’ve been thinking about.

Next, as we begin our 16th year in broadcast ministry I’m thinking “beginnings.” Actually our beginning. How close are we to the original purpose we began with in 1990? Are we still relevant today? How do we begin to increase the amount of ministry in direct proportion with the increased need of believers for encouragement? Relevancy is an important factor for ministry. Fifteen years of CCM and 89 WBVN concerts and still going is a great testimony for us, but is the radio ministry still valuable to people who listen. I did a little research and found that CCM is the fastest growing “genre” in America. Four out of 10 adults listen to Christian Radio each week, that’s 75 to 80 million people per week. Amazingly, one-third of Christian radio listeners do not claim to be born again! Thirty-two percent of the listeners are college students. Seventeen percent of adults that do not attend a church or are not affiliated with a denomination listen regularly. Thirty-eight percent of the “Baby Boomers” listen. Importantly, Christian Radio gives “life-style” stewardship and expresses “core-values” at a time when most broadcast media want this country to live “above God” not live “under God.” WBVN’s not just entertainment; its more than that. We have about 15,000 people that tune in each week and WBVN ranks in the middle of all broadcasters (secular and Christian) in this listening area. Those facts encourage us of our relevancy. They encourage us to continue to encourage you.

Lastly, I’ve been thinking about this quote because it was the most encouraging quote I read in 2004. It’s from Dwight Lyman Moody, and in the times we live in, it offers some comfort to Believers. “Someday you will read in the papers that Moody is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I was born of the flesh in 1837; I was born of the Spirit in 1855. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit shall live forever.” I really don’t have much to add to that. In this time of trouble, almost a “Jacob’s trouble”, to know this one truth encourages me. Terrorists and bears are not much of a threat to people that believe like Moody. This life’s pressure is only a moment in the time and as believers we’re “timeless.” No thing can separate us from the Love of God; nothing set against us can destroy what is eternal. God Bless and we look forward to being an “Encourager” for the Body of Christ for year number 16…

Beginnings BVN

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

You don’t mind if I congratulate you do you? The reason I can say it that way is because WBVN is celebrating 15 years of ministry this month, and we’re always aware that it’s because of two things that we get to celebrate anything at all. First, we really do believe The Father directed us to bring the station into the area in 1990. Secondly, we know for sure that we would not have been able to continue to do ministry here without the generosity of our listeners. That is why we congratulate you! You’re directly responsible for the effects of having had WBVN in the area. I’ve ways said that the testimony of WBVN must first point to the Spirit of God and His sure movement to establish the station. And secondarily, we would identify the role that listeners have played to keep us on the air all these years.

We started the initial steps to build a Contemporary Christian Radio station in 1988 with only about $5,000 dollars in the bank and no “deep pockets” to fund the ministry. Somehow, in a way only God could explain, WBVN began broadcasting on January 8th, 1990. There’s a tangled web of stories about how the impossible became possible during the two years that it took to get the station on the air, too many to mention in a short letter, but there was an essence of just watching God do what we could only imagine! We’ve never been smart enough, or clever enough, to bring WBVN to pass and continue for 15 years. Simply, we know who “worked the works” for this ministry.

The early days are still vivid in our memories. Our first contribution came from Rick and Laurie Chapman a couple months before the station went on the air. The first contribution received in the mail was from Charles Carter of Carterville, at that time a grandfather supporting the station because he knew it would encourage his grandchildren to hear the Gospel in a Contemporary Christian Music fashion. Our first month’s deposit to the bank was for $372, not a lot when expenses ran upwards of $9,000 a month. It took three years before our annual budget needs were met without additional capital being spent. Each year since, we’ve been able to “keep up” with the cost of broadcasting and keep CCM on the air. The hourly cost has risen over the years. We started out needing about $13.00 an hour to broadcast; today that figure is more like $19.00. Many people have been good to increase their giving or to start giving when others needed to stop. Each year it takes about 650 contributors to keep WBVN on the air. Some churches, businesses, ministries and individual families all make up the annual group that help financially.

We’ve had our share of miracles for sure. Sometimes we didn’t know how we were going to get through the “current crisis,” or how to prepare the next one. Having an understanding that the Father, who had encouraged us to “go and do” this in the first place, would supply the needed help to make WBVN “happen” comforted us in times of trouble.

FM 104.5 has offered a unique opportunity for thousands of believers to “be on the same page” by bringing people together for a single moment in time for praise and worship using CCM. I believe there’s a “regional importance” in having believers connected by an “encourager” throughout the day. I guess it’s more appropriate for a radio station to describe that occurrence as “being on the same wavelength.” Literally what happens is that all of us are listening, at the same moment, to a wavelength of 104,500 wave cycles per second. Oh, I know that’s some just some “mumble-jumble” for “radio heads,” but something is very interesting about it: if we don’t all get on that one wavelength, if we just move off it ever so slightly, we’ll not be able to hear WBVN. But when we find FM 104.5, we all gather for a common experience of Praise “on the other side of the radio.”

Amos 3:3 says unless two men agree, how can they walk together? The implication is they must be “on the same wavelength” to be productive in their effort. Finding the mind of Christ, and the common purpose of the Gospel, is essential for believers. We trust WBVN’s format does that, offering Christ-centered Christian Music 24 hours each day. 1Peter 1:13 encourages us to “gird our minds for action.” It’s important to let the Word of God affect our minds. Teaching, studying, sharing and sometime listening to “hymns and songs” are ways that gets done.

Moses wrote in Joshua 1:18 that the Word of God needs to be studied and meditated on in order for us to be successful. Clearly, God obligates us to “work on our thinker” in order to experience more of the Christian life. Having been freely given a spirit of Love, of Power and a Sound mind, we can access the “Mind of Christ” and be in daily contact with the Great Counselor, the Prince of Peace. We begin that process by permitting Philippians 4:8 to operate in our lives. Let our minds dwell on “whatever is True, Honorable, Right, Pure, Lovely, and of Good Repute, of Excellence and worthy Praise”. If we do that, according to scripture, the “Peace of God” will be with us. If we dwell on Christ, we will be able to overcome the biggest enemy we face, the thing that causes us to fail the most: our thinking!

Our trust has always been that having Christian broadcasting over FM 104.5, our minds (our thinkers) will be centered on Christ and as believers we would benefit. Added to tapes, teaching, books, preaching and praying, we believe CCM “makes a difference” in the way we’re all able to walk the Christian faith. We provide a daily opportunity to keep your mind on Christ by listening to Songs of Praise on FM 104.5. Believers’ minds have been changed during the past 15 years through WBVN. We thank you for the opportunity to do that. Surely, without the prayers and contributions of our listeners all the benefits from having the music, programming and artist testimonies at the concerts would have been missed, and we would not be as “peaceful” a people. Hebrews 12 tells us that if we will keep our mind on Christ, He will keep us in perfect Peace. That’s one of my favorite promises in the scripture and one I think is extremely needed in the world we live in today. For these 15 years I hope it’s been a joy to be on the same “wavelength,” 104,500 cycles per second. We love bringing you “the very best in Contemporary Christian Music on WBVN.” We look forward to year number 16

Rub A Dub Dub

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

A message from Ken…
Rub a Dub Dub, Three men in a tub. And who do you think they be? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker…

Well, finally, the elections are over and about half of the people in America are thrilled and just a little less than half are upset. And, although the election was decisive, obviously it did not “fix” everything that needs to be fixed in this country or around the world. We have a leader but he does not control the world; he only deals with it. In some way, we are all in the same boat, the thrilled and the angry, candlestick makers, bakers, butchers, teachers, professionals, the “right and the left,” all headed to our destiny. What we do to get there will make a difference in what we find when we get there.

In the “Perfect Storm,” Bill Johnson referenced Mark 4:35. That’s the Biblical text describing a moment when the disciples were in a boat, crossing “to the other side” when a violent storm began. It was not just “rough seas;” this was a “killer storm.” The disciples feared for their lives and they cried out, waking up Jesus who was sleeping in back of the boat, “don’t you care that we are perishing?” In other words, Jesus “do something about this, don’t you understand!” Jesus in turn, rebuked the storm, enforced Peace and asked the disciples, “Why are you so fearful, how is it that you have no Faith?” How he did that can make a difference in out “all in a boat” experience as well.

Jesus could release Peace because he had Peace. It was the place he stayed. It was not something that occurred occasionally in his life, it was something that was always there. He knew that where God is present, Peace is present. There’s no fear in Heaven, no faithlessness there, because He is there. Jesus lived in the knowledge of that Peace. His heart was established in Peace. That Peace is not the absence of something; it’s the presence of Someone! That was the secret to Jesus response to the storm. The “Shalom of Heaven” overpowers the presence of something! All that Jesus needed to know as he entered that boat was that God had told them to go to the “other side.” That was enough for him to be able to sleep in the middle of that storm. Knowing the Will of God gives us the comfort of God. The disciples should have told the storm to be still because they knew “going to the other side” was God’s Will, and knowing that, they could “calmly” go through the storm that raged. As for the storms challenging our boat, why should we worry? If we are doing the right thing (righteous thing), why should we fear just because it’s rough?
The election will not remove all the trouble we will face, but trouble should not identify whether we should “go to the other side” or not. If this country will do the “life thing, the right thing” it will get to the place we are to go, no matter what seems to obstruct our way. We may struggle, we may have to pay a price, but if our goal is “in the Purpose of God, in the Will of God,” if it’s done with the right heart attitude, we’ll get there no matter what happens along the way. To set high goals and to walk toward the Purpose of God will automatically bring a storm upon us before we get to the “other side.

“Once the disciples reached “the other side,” they ministered to a man “full” of unclean spirits. In effect, a man and a country were changed because they “crossed to the other side.” Had that storm stopped them, the “other side” would never have happened! There was a storm because there was a great thing about to happen. It was a storm that, once the fear passed, did not hinder; it was a “perfect storm” because it had perfect results.

If this country is in God’s Will, and in His Purpose, we will get through the present storm. We have huge domestic problems and dangerous international problems. But this country was set in a boat and told to go to the “other side.” We were sent to live in freedom and to spread freedom to others, to enjoy liberty for ourselves and share the joy of liberty. It may cost us something to get to the other side of that, but if we pay the price, we will benefit from that experience. That perfect storm was not about the disciples; it was about their future. We’re all in the same boat. If we will remain visionaries in “God’s ways” we will get through and past the storm and find purpose on the other side of our journey. If we do that, the storm will not destroy us. We can Rest; we can be in His Peace. We will not cry out in fear. Because He is present we will be able to “calm down” and trust; we will get the to the other side simply because He told us to go!