FCC Public File - contact: Ken Anderson 618.997.1500
    Listen to WBVN online!
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .
  • .

August Newsletter: Focus

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

Dan 7:14-And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom which shall not be destroyed.

It was 1985. Saturday afternoon. I was sitting at my work desk at the time. It was a slow afternoon customer wise with only an occasional person coming into the business that day. And, as I did sometimes when business was slow, I began to read a book. This Saturday, it was a C.S. Lewis book, titled God In The Dock. It was my practice back then, when alone, to read out loud because I seemed to remember the material better. As I was reading a paragraph, out of my mouth (I know this sounds a bit different than most of our general life experiences) came the words, ‘You shall……”. I’m going to leave the rest of that blank. Those were words not written on the page of that book. The words were unrelated to the subject of the book material. It was personal and private. Words that didn’t relate to anything I had been thinking about. The truth is, it was so astounding to me I’ve only shared the exact words that came out of my mouth with Jane. No need for the detail here but it was a spontaneous, significant moment. Recently, I was texting someone and giving them the usual generic, business as usual information, and at the end I typed: ‘I see Jesus in you’. As I hit the send button it was almost like watching me do that rather than me being in control of doing it. People that know me well know I seldom express myself like that in an email or actually any time. I hit the send almost in a hurry, knowing that if I paused very long I’d probably erase that thought. It literally was like I watched myself say that, observed the process rather than planned it. Similarly, while on the phone I recently expressed how much ‘we’ loved them. That, to a man I only know by the heart; not the flesh. Those are samples of things that I didn’t generate in my brain, they came from someplace in my heart. I believe that the Spirit of Christ is buried in there and He speaks through us sometimes. I use those illustrations to simply mention a few of many hundreds of little things that I’ve experience in my Faith Journey that has created ‘steadfastness’ about the Love of God and the personal interest He has in our personal lives.

I hear many people saying that we’re in a special time, special brokenness and hurt. When I hear that I’m reminded of the things my father and mother went through in World War II, being separated for almost 3 years and life threatening day by day danger that my father lived with while landing on Utah Beach in France and marching for 26 months to Yugoslavia. In crises like those and the ones we face today, Faith in Christ is a necessity focus for us. Today, rather than growing less secure, less confident of God’s presence, I’m strengthened and more aware of His presence than at any other time in my life. In March, 2012, when Jane was paralyzed head to toe, when we spent 11 weeks in Chicago, her in a hospital bed on a ventilator and me sleeping and snacking in a chair next to her, the one characteristic we both experienced was the very presence of God and His willingness to be there with us. In some sense we were the center of His focus. Those days we do not live by sight but by Faith. Everyday looked terrible and even hopeless by most definitions. But, we were in the middle of a Kingdom that seemed to surround the terrible with Comfort.

When I type that, I’m aware of how that must sound to unbelievers and perhaps some believers that just find it that hard to understand such an expression. God with us, in our hospital room, paying attention to our problem? And at the same time, God, by His Spirit, everywhere else and involved around the world. But, it was true.

In the days we’re now experiencing, there seems to be days when there simply are no words to express our hearts. I recently said on the radio that sometimes our silent prayers are more powerful than our screaming them. I hesitated when I said it because I didn’t want to give the wrong impression with those words. The silent prayers I was referring to were prayers of confidence, hope and peace. They’re things that are on the inside of us that might just need to stay there instead of being spoken. In the middle of the loud, in the presence of even this worldly demonstration of anger and strife, silence does not always mean voiceless. I’m reminded of the simplicity of Jesus’ response to the questioning of Pilate. Jesus being pushed to declare His authority as King of the Jews simply answered: thou sayest. (Mark 15:2) Few words, two words! Said it all. Matthew (12:17-19) described how Jesus refused to raise his voice in the street. Zechariah 4:6 comes to mind, ‘not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.’ That’s a confidence abiding inside Christ and now in us that does not necessarily need expression.

Silence can be the voice of: I know something, something that doesn’t show up in the newspapers, on television and on social media. God is alive, not dead. God is eagerly focused on me and my life, aware of my life. Christ, according to Rev. 1, is King in a present Kingdom not seen with our eyes. Worldly success, political power, and self-righteous behavior modification are not the showcases of His Kingdom. Paul teaches that the Kingdom of God is not fleshly or a physical kingdom but is Righteousness, Peace and Joy all in the Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

It’s a journey to get to that point. Sometimes finding freshness to God’s Gospel means we have to subtract some of what we’ve focused on previously on our journey. We grow, we increase in understanding, and we simply discover that Jesus’ ministry focus changed from the early Gospels chapters to the later Gospels chapters. He moved from sharing and healing into a concentration of parables on eternal/everlasting life and the Kingdom that had come.

I think this is a profound and necessary discovery on our part. In John 10:10, Jesus simplified the Gospel into just a few assuring words: I have come so that you might have Life and have it more abundantly. That was the purpose of the pre-genesis action of God before creation. He came so that you, and you is everyone whosoever, will accept God’s explanation of why! It’s not political, not economic, not simply religious law that caused Him, the Father and the Spirit (They all were present during Jesus’ ministry.) to come across the other side of Genesis to earth. It is simply He came that you might have what Life the Father, Son and Spirit would have for you. It’s encompassed in the words Peace, Joy, Free, and Love. That kind of Life is present in moments of cultural upheaval, during hospital visits, on bad news days, actually all the time. The leaving Heaven, the suffering, the whole incarnation was for you to experience their kind of Life. Not just human life but Life as God experiences: mutual caring, mutual sharing and relationship.

So much of the time we’re focused on trying to be like Jesus. And, we should be like Jesus. However, there’s a bit of a caveat on how to get that result. Much of the time, what we believe is that the Gospel is designed to change who we are and make us Messiah version 2.0. My little caveat is that we actually fail at being like He is. It’s not that we’re turned into little ‘Jesuses’; rather, the Gospel was designed to let Him live through us. The destination to be as He is is real; just the mode to get there is a bit different. It’s not that we become perfect like Him but that we permit Him to pour out His Spirit (through us) on people around us. It’s similar to my email and phone conversation mentioned early on in this letter. He used my typing and my voice to tell someone a message for their hearts. If I had been thinking about it I don’t know that I would have expressed it in that way. But having it come through me was as real as real can be from me. Sometimes I’ve used the expression ‘I didn’t know I knew that’, but what resides in us is resident there and eager to express itself through us.

The Spirit of God came to live in you so that He could ‘leak’ out and change the world around you. ‘I see Jesus in you’, ‘we love you’ after I thought about it was very appropriate to be said to each of those people, not because they’re pristine or perfect but because they, as much as anyone I know, let Jesus flow out of their sharing as well. I don’t see them as being made into Jesus 2.0, but I see the evidence of Jesus coming from out of their human ‘being’. When Jesus said that he was going away to prepare a place for you, that does not have to be limited to just places in Heaven. Jesus was also preparing a place for us to live now, in a new ‘kingdom come’ He established. To be free in Christ, to experience rivers of living water, to learn to trust, to permit our hearts to become vulnerable permitting us to care deeply, to be fearless, to walk in hope, are places prepared for us by the crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus. This life and the next are characterized by His Kingdom of Righteousness, Peace and Joy, now in this mess and forever more. As Daniel prophesied, His Kingdom will never be destroyed. The Love of God cast out all fear that we can experience the Kingdom of God right in the middle of this mess.

July Newsletter- Chloe Jane

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

This month’s letter is on a subject I’ve never written about. It’s been lying in the back of my brain for 30 years and I’ve never before felt the time to write it was now, but I guess the time is now. I’ve said over the years that WBVN is a ministry to the Church. As such, evangelism, while important to us, is what we do indirectly rather than a direct approach. We encourage the Church and in doing so we hope they in turn become evangelical and share their faith with others. In that way, evangelism is on the other side of our daily efforts to encourage you; it gives even more purpose in what we do.

So, let’s talk Nicodemus. He was a special dude. Reportedly, he was one of the three richest men in Jerusalem. He was a Pharisee. He was a member of the Sanhedrin. He was, as such, a teacher. Simply, Nicodemus was a person of authority and held the position in his community of purposively knowing God. He taught people God! He’s mentioned three times in the Gospels. First, and probably most famously, he was a quizmaster of Jesus. (John 3:2-21) Second, he acted as a defender of Jesus’ right to speak before being judged. (John 7: 50-51) And lastly, he brought 100 lbs of myrrh and aloes for Jesus’ burial. (John 19:30) John is the only Bible author that tells of Nicodemus’s quizzing Jesus. In John’s text, Jesus simplifies the processes of coming to God, knowing God, as being born. Nicodemus, in the great Jewish fashion of answering a question with another question in order to try and get further explanation (and I’m sure with a bit of Jewish swagger) suggested Jesus surely doesn’t mean re-entering his mother’s womb. Jesus follows: unless we’re born of water (literally, rainy from above) and the Spirit, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God…that which is flesh is flesh and that which is Spirit is Spirit. The Kingdom of God is the place where God is present, the place where God reigns. That Kingdom of God can be right here, right now. In fact, Jesus emphasized that the Kingdom had come. I’ll pause the story right there for now.

Jane and I have a new granddaughter. Chloe Jane has re-kindled the wonder we’ve experienced when observing the miracle of birth with our own daughters. Birthing, bringing forth a new life, parallels the birthing that God did when He created Adam and with every person since Adam. The experience we have with babies is the same kind of heart experience God has when creating His children. So much hope, so much love, so much caring. Simply put, God loves His children just as easily as we do when we look over the crib seeing our new part of the family. These first few months have had Jane and me amazed at Chloe’s personality and her rapid growth mentally and physically. Have you ever thought back to your first 9 months? (That’s a bit of a trick question.) I know the answer to that- you have not! No one has because we don’t remember the first 9 months at all. I’m talking embryonic stage of our lives. In some ways, that pre-coming-to-birth 9 months can be representative of our whole lives. I’ll explain. I know people that simply turn away from any reference to God simply because they can’t see Him, can’t feel Him and can’t imagine Him. Without the physical confirmation of a God, they simply deny the presence of God in the world: no proof equals no God, no belief.

For 9 months, each of us was sustained and nourished as a gift from someone we weren’t mentally aware of. However, that someone was someone we still we have an intimate relationship with. That’s mom. Our mothers provide every need for our development for 280 days. They provide an environment for us to be comfortable and they provide the umbilical cord, our only source of life. That whole 9 months, we’re completely, totally unaware of mom and her provision. All we knew was ourselves: were we comfortable upside down? Did we want to stretch our arm? Maybe kick our leg? Did we want to sleep all day and wander around birthing space all night? Then, we’re born. A whole new world appears to us. Mom becomes the center of our universe and we know her, depend on her, we cry for her attention and we become aware for the very first time that mom is our life source. Suddenly, we’re awakened to someone we actually had a relationship with all along, we just didn’t recognize it. We’re moved from unaware, to being aware that someone existed besides us, someone who looked out for our safety long before we became aware of them. Our not being aware of mom, not feeling her presence, not seeing her, did not define her existence. She did exist and played the central role of getting us where we were supposed to be after 280 days. Being unable to recognize ‘MOM’ in that first 9 months, didn’t mean there was no mom. Jesus’ parable to Nicodemus concerns what’s True, even Truth that we might not presently be aware of. That’s the Gospel that Jesus shared with Nicodemus. God is here, the Kingdom of God is here, and our being unaware of it gives us no excuse to deny it. Truth is real whether we perceive it or not. As Jesus said, people need a birthing to become aware of Who has been present with them all along. Without that new birth, we simply are like infants in the womb of our mothers, without the knowledge of who has been with us since cell two.

Faith is the bottom line of our Gospel. Proof is not the bottom line of our Gospel. It was never intended that we would prove Jesus, prove the Father or Spirit. Jesus did not come to prove He was the Son of God. His miracles were signs but they were not requirements to prove who He was. With Compassion and Love, yes, Jesus did respond. He could have done a million things to prove who He was but did not do that. Significantly, all the temptations offered to Jesus by people or by Evil, were all suggestions to express proof in a fleshly manner, not the Spiritual. Throw yourself off the mountain, turn stone into bread, others, were offered to tempt Jesus to prove His deity, turning the Gospel into power not faith. He refused to give seeing, feeling, touching as way to God. Faith was the only way to discover Him, become aware of Him. Awareness by the Spirit, not the flesh, was Nicodemus’ lesson on being born again. In the original language, redemption did not mean just changing one’s behavior or mind but included a qualifier, a necessity requirement: changing our heart. The Life of God doesn’t just affect our flesh; it sets up our heart to rule and reign over our flesh. Godly Life is not just about good and evil, but also contains a change in why we live, what in our heart motivates us. Coming to Faith is just that. We don’t arrive at the doorstep of God and present him our faith; we arrive asking for Faith and He ‘rainy from above’ Faith on us as a gift from Himself.

We can go through 90 years of life like a baby goes through 9 months. We can only be aware of self all our life or we can come alive into the new world of knowing God. We can remain in a pre-birth condition, unaware of God providing for us, nourishing us, caring for us, without our awareness of Him. Or, we can be made alive to His presence by the Spirit. Eternity will not change our minds and hearts. That’s what this life is about, birth now, not then. We will enter Eternity knowing or not knowing, awareness or not awareness. One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 5: 6, ‘blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.’ Seeking God is the way to satisfaction in this life. The reciprocal works for that statement as well, those who do not seek Him will be ‘uncomfortable’ (my word) all the time. Get your Peace now; there are other things in store in the future. Faith can’t prove God; but unbelief can’t prove its belief either. The bottom line is: faith in God is one way to live and faith in not believing in God is just another faith to believe. Both are belief systems. Which one you choose is simply choosing a faith either way.

It seems because of Nicodemus’ social position, he chose to meet Jesus at night, in the dark, not to be seen. Maybe Nicodemus was hiding from other Pharisees or was just simply too embarrassed to be seen with Jesus by his friends. There is a parable in that story as well; darkness is where we all come from to meet Jesus. We all are blinded by our own minds; we have built in prejudices and cultural traditions. We can’t see Him in our darkness. Reason? Darkness is associated simply with the absence of light. Actually darkness can’t exist if any light is present at all. A single candle can light a whole room. Darkness only exists if light is missing. Scripture crowns Jesus as the Light. We must all come to the Light, a Light that illuminates our surroundings and surroundings that we have not been aware of before. And, similar to Chloe becoming aware of her mom at birth, the light of a new world revealed mom to her, the Light of Christ, our delivery into a new life of God, reveals the presence of God in order to experience the Kingdom of God right now.

June Newsletter- Dad Ain’t Mad

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On January 8th 2020, WBVN began broadcasting in a new year for the 31st time. I’ve had people ask me over the years where the impulse to start a Contemporary Christian Radio station came from. It’s not a simple or necessarily an easy question to answer. There were many things that occurred to push the process forward. At the time, there were many things happening to me and Jane. Our lives just seemed to be propelling us in a direction we had never anticipated, in what seemed to us, unexpected ways. If I had about 10 pages instead of this one, I would discuss all that, but for this letter let me just say the twists and turns were so exaggerated we could not have been mistaken about the evidence of the fingerprint of God in the mix. Most significantly, I think the reason we were experiencing such new and, let’s call them wonderful, things was we were increasingly following our hearts. We were following what was coming from deep inside us, not in our logical brains but our spiritual being. There was one single knowledge that had occurred in both of us pretty much at the same time, the one thing that set us out on this journey. That knowledge that we came to believe with everything within us was that ‘Dad ain’t mad.’

Somewhere along the way, we became overwhelmingly convinced that God was a giver, a lover, an encourager. That knowledge was in contrast to some of our previous thinking. Over the years, it had been suggested that God was holding out on us a bit, was slow to give much of the time. That’s a thought very similar to the whisper of Satan in the Garden in the third chapter of Genesis. We became persuaded God was a friend. That He was not angry at His creation but was actually the remedy for people of His creation. He was not mad at us, not repulsed by us, not trying to find an excuse for eliminating us from His Life. Rather, God was, in Jesus, providing a way for us to enter into that Life. We discovered that God so powerfully Loved that He could not help but Give. We had come to believe that He takes every opportunity to bring us into Himself, not looking for ways to keep us out. He was making a way for us, not getting in the way. He was eager to be a companion, not an angry God finding reason to separate us from His Love. If ever there was one reason, one thought, one thing that was the seed that eventually grew up into WBVN, it was that truth. To take the kind of steps we were taking, the confidence in those thoughts was the only way for us to have been so bold. For us, we found that believing in God’s Love for people was a full-time thing. As we did that we saw our lives change. We saw more and more opportunity to say that over and over again. That ‘knowing’ led to more opportunity to do what we had been doing in the privacy of our home and eventually to do that publicly with thousands of WBVN listeners.

What we trusted in the most, what we said the most, was that God Loved us before we loved Him. That He chose us before the foundation of the world to be in Himself. And, it was His Purpose and His Will that we might live and move and have our being in Him. It was God’s dream to do that and we’re the benefactors of His dream. In spite of thousands of reasons and justifications to turn us into ash, God has always desired for our relationship with Him to be real. He literally provided cover for Adam and Eve. He placed blood on the doorposts in Egypt so that His people might be spared. He provided a ram for Abraham. He put Abram to sleep and cut a covenant, one that He knew Abram could not keep, so God did that by Himself. He provided a Day of Atonement in the Law to offer forgiveness to Israel. He provided manna from Heaven. Does that sound like a God looking to separate Himself from His people? He personally buried Moses with loving kindness. He chose David (in today’s terms kind of a jerk) in spite of David. He chose Saul (Paul) even though Saul was the chief persecutor of believers. And amazingly, immediately after the resurrection Jesus instructed Mary to go and tell Peter of His resurrection. That was the same Peter that had just denied Him three times. And it was God that gave the ultimate sacrifice, the final sacrifice, His Son for a perpetual sacrifice so that we could approach the throne of His Grace. God searches us out, offers us a Grace and Mercy we don’t deserve, provides access for the unworthy. He sent the Comforter of God to be in and on people who will need comfort. And, what was once reserved for only the Prophet, Priest or King became a companion to all that believed. Does that sound like a God that was trying to find a way to eliminate people from His presence? Does it sound like a God that we have to persuade to love, care and share? Does that sound like a God that’s holding something back?

He paid a price we could not pay. He gave us a Gospel that, if anything, is too good to be true. He pledged that He wouldn’t leave or forsake us. He obligated Himself that nothing could separate us from the Love of God. He promised to set a rainbow in the sky as a testimony of His Grace and Forgiveness and being totally and completely satisfied with Christ’s life and blood as a propitiation for our Sin.

For us, it’s constant that ‘Dad ain’t mad!’ His hand is still reaching out. He is, in Jesus’ parable the Good Samaritan that paid the price. He is the Father that stands at the road’s edge watching and hoping for His son; places a ring of covenant on his son’s hand and a covenant coat on his back upon his return in the story of the Prodigal. Bottom line is He’s not the problem, we are the problem. Our alienation, fears, embarrassments are self inflicted.

People sometimes say to me: Yes, but! And I’m okay to have someone describe the Gospel in other ways and in other expressions. However, if I had to tell you what’s the most important truth, what changed our lives the most, what’s the secret to seeing the impossible happen in people’s lives, what’s the most profound, most powerful, it is this: God told Abraham that He was the Friend of Abraham and we are Abraham’s seed and we have inherited that same Friendship and Love. (2Chr. 20-7,James 2-23) Dad ain’t mad is the most powerful truth Jane and I have found in the Gospel. He is the Center of our attention, and amazingly, we are the center of His. We believe God has sought us out, reached for us, gone through the heart-ache of the cross for us, all for the moment of hearing someone say, ‘I Believe,’ to Him. He has done all these things for us so that believers can do just as the angels have done, declare ‘Peace on Earth, good will toward men’! That Peace has been declared, a covenant of Love has been fulfilled and we can be the beneficiaries of that Great Love. It hasn’t been a revelation of who we are that changed our lives; it was a revelation of who He is that made that difference. When we began to live like ‘Dad ain’t mad,’ things that we had struggled with all our lives fell off our hearts. Peace became our home. We finally entered into His promised Rest that comforts us daily. When death stood at our door in March of 2012, His Rest had already filled the room, filled our hearts.

Well there! I’ve done it. I’ve blown our cover! In Ephesians, Paul teaches that in order to understand the height, width and the length of God; we will first need to know the Love of God. That’s step number one in knowing Him. That’s the order of His revelation of Jesus Christ. Any other order than that one, Paul calls a foolish pursuit of the Gospel. Simply put, God intervenes in our lives every time we see Him for who He really is. Jesus said in so many words, if you can perceive me, correctly perceive who I am, you will be able to perceive who He (Father) is.

For us, that was the turning point. That truth has brought liberty; it has brought a freedom that doesn’t take advantage of the Love of God, but has expanded what we have seen and what we’ve experienced. We all know what is wrong with the world; we know what is wrong with us. The mystery is to discover what He has made Right in us. Why and what we started broadcasting in the beginning is still in our breath today. WBVN continues with one message and one hope: that all those who have come to trust and obey that trust, will find the God of Abraham who was Abraham’s Friend, is their Friend also.