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November Newsletter-Hood’s Studio

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When I was a kid, there were two popular photography studios in town. One was Dunning Studio and the other Hood’s studio. Dunning had the contracts to take the school pictures that, as students, we passed around to one another so you knew who your friends were. Hood’s studio was on the South edge of town, located on farm land. Today most of that area is subdivision.

For some reason, ‘studio’ pictures taken in our family always ended up being at Hood’s. I remember them like yesterday because they seemed to make us uncomfortable. We sat in a sterile room, one with no personality, waiting for the ‘lights’ to flash and catch that perfect smile. I specifically remember when my mother dressed me in a pink and black polo shirt and slipped a leather and silver string tie under the collar. Ties apparently for some reason were big deals in photography studios. I remember a brown and red (paisley) bow tie I had worn during one of my Hood experiences. Not real, never wore a tie any other time in my life other than at Hoods.

I got to thinking about those photographs the other day and how they were so very far away from the truth. Not one of those pictures showed how my family really lived, not one expressed who we were or what we did. They were pictures of ‘society’s’ expectations for the most part. They were fake, done for correct and appropriate reasons, but still fake. I remember going to Hood’s with my little brother and sister, twins, and them standing in front of, what I think were, boxes covered with carpet to give them a nice ‘warmy’ image– my brother and sister that were rug-rats at home.

As I thought about those pictures, it reminded me of our lives. In fact, it seems we’re spending more and more time giving images of what society expects, or especially today, what society demands. We dress up, step into personalities and environments that look nothing like who we really are. We get all dressed up in our finest and off to the world’s Hood’s studio we go.

The Gospel provides a home for us to be who we really are in Christ Jesus. Just like those Hood’s pictures, who we are ‘in Christ’ is not very well represented by the mask we wear daily. It can be, but does not have to be an evil mask you wear; it can be just a cover hiding the identity that Christ gives. Sadly, the current social definitions of human life don’t recognize heart or spirit. (I just read the other day that the new AI bible being written is leaving out the ‘in Christ’ parts and simply providing a scholarly interpretation of Bible teaching, abandoning the spiritual interpretations: mind superior, no reference to Spirit.) Mind and body, emotions and physical response, Yes; the third part of life (spirit) as the Father created it, No! It’s possible that our religious community can become similar to the Supreme Court, creating its own ‘current’ interpretation of the law rather than enforcing the original intent of the law. Much of the gospel today is a ‘what we think it should be,’ (hope it to be thing), rather than a ‘what He originally said’ thing.

The biblical ‘I am’ teachings of Jesus in Scripture are dismissed; simplified, that’s apostasy. That has a future danger for humanity. Current culture would be very happy if you understood that you are simply a highly intelligent animal, not a creature created by God. They are happy if you major on reason and logic, happy if you believe your life patterns are simply evolutionary instincts. Happy to pass laws that they deem superior to God’s law, happy to have you feast on the Tree of good and evil but you’re not permitted to approach the Tree of Life. Sounds familiar! What we’re seeing today is not new stuff, it’s the same old stuff dressed up in modern clothing.

One of my favorite people to write about is the Apostle Peter. Peter often reminds me of all of us. He was actually Simon Peter. He wasn’t called/commissioned by Jesus because of his firmness of character. In fact, Simon was just the opposite of firmness. He was probably the most failing apostle with the exception of Judas. Simon Peter was like a rolling stone in his human nature; in one place today and the next day in another place. In spite of that, in Christ he was apostle and an elder according to Scripture.

It’s interesting that only two times does Jesus directly address him and call him Peter (the name Jesus placed on him). In the original language ‘Peter’ can take on a couple references. One petra, a firm, immovable rock. Secondly, petros meaning a stone fragment of petra, a small stone that one could simply kick out of the way or throw as far as you could pitch it. In John 1:42, Jesus refers to Simon Peter, son of John, as Peter: Jesus looked upon him, and said, Thou art Simon the son of John: thou shall be called Cephas (Peter). Only one other time in Luke 22:31-34 does Jesus refer to him as Peter. Jesus addressed the disciple as Simon when referring to Simon’s human nature, Simon’s weaknesses, and then called him Peter when Jesus was identifying him as a Christ-inspired apostle. ‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not… And he said unto him, Lord, with thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death. And he (Jesus) said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, until thou shall thrice deny that thou know me.’ As Simon, Jesus is reminding Peter, referring to him, as the fisherman before his calling. Then again calling him Peter to establish Jesus’ call and name change. (Simon also addressed in Mark 14:37, John 4:17)

An interesting conversation takes place between Jesus and Peter in Matthew 16:15-18. Jesus asked Simon, ‘But, who do you say I am?’ Simon’s answer to that question changed Simon forever. In Matthew 16:17-18, Jesus addressed him as Simon Bar-Jonah (man), blessing him: ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.’ What Jesus had heard Simon say caused Jesus to re-reference Simon Bar-Jonah as Peter. What was the statement by Simon that caused Jesus to do that?–‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ In some sense, what changed Simon to Peter, into who he was in Christ, can also create who you and I are into who we are in Christ. When we say and believe the same thing that Peter said, we become a new person in Christ. We walk in the knowledge of a new identity, which reveals to us what Jesus believes about us.

That’s where we’re at today. What are we going to say to that simple question by Jesus? What are we about to say in the middle of the stress and uncertainty of today? The Gospel is Jesus Christ; Jesus is the Truth/Way. The Gospel wants to change our minds from what the culture’s vision of us is to one that Jesus prescribes. Simply, the world is okay with you being evil or good but opposed to you being like Jesus.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day who had been asked a question that was a very serious, very sincere question. No need to go into the details but it was a question that required the total understanding of the God of Abraham. She was asking me what my response might have been to that question. My first statement was I really don’t think we can get to the point of understanding all about God, His creation, His purposes or have complete knowledge of all the whys. Isaiah 55:8 states that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts; His ways are not our ways. Thoughts there refer to God’s plans and His ways is referencing the road we travel. I’m not sure that that’s what we’re called do-to understand all things. I don’t think the motto on Heaven’s ‘coin’ will say: I understand, now I can believe. More likely it would read: I believe even if I don’t understand. We’re scripturally described as only knowing in part, with God knowing all. Do you think when Simon Peter made the quote above that he completely understood what was going to be happening in the next few moments and days? To me it’s more likely that he simply knew Jesus, never completely understanding Jesus or what was about to happen to Jesus. One of my favorite Jesus quotes is found in Mark 16:7. There a risen Jesus specifically mentioned Peter by name (the one who had denied him three times) to be told of His resurrection. That was compassion for Simon Peter’s weaknesses.

In Acts 3:14-15, Acts 5:31, Hebrews 2:9 and Hebrews 12:2, one Greek word is translated four different ways: Prince of Life, Prince and Savior, Captain, and Author and Finisher; bottom line in all four references: leader. Jesus leads us to Life, Victory and Triumph. We have to remember that fact whether we understand all things or not. Is Faith and Believing based on proof or based on embracing trust? The world we live in is tough, unjust and swarming with evil hearts. However, the Gospel (the good news about Jesus Christ) came to provide comfort and peace in the middle of all those things. I like the words given in Isaiah 33:12-13: ‘For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing; and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree; and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle-tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.’ That scripture doesn’t say there will be no thorns or briars; it simply states that, by the Lord, trouble can be turned around.

Historically, all the disciples died without changing their confession. With all the issues we deal with today, will we say what Peter said: ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Just as with Peter, it has the potential to change our lives.

October Newsletter-Modification

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

On January 8th we will be celebrating our 34th birthday! In some ways, much longer than we ever imagined in 1990 when we threw the switch and started our first song. (Keith Green) Many things have changed since that beginning; however, our purpose and the journey to achieve it haven’t varied very much. For the most part, we still use music and lyric to share the gospel. We still concentrate on just a few things to accomplish ‘the gift of FM 104.5’. That term was our first logo phrase on our first WBVN newsletter. ‘Gift,’ I think is appropriate because in our mind and experience, God gave this to our community of believers in many ways. Gave us the inspiration and imagination to create this radio ministry and manage it for a particular fellowship of listeners. Gave us the ability to do something that, even today, still seems pretty impossible to do given our skills and simple economic resources. Gave it to our community of believers as a gift to encourage, inspire and to experience a daily ‘togetherness.’ Given to all BVNers, to experience the joy of caring about one another. BVNers are people that love to get together on the radio each day and get together at BVN events. That’s special, ‘un-duplicatable’ for the most part: the gift of FM 104.5.

The Church, followers of Christ Jesus, is a creation of God just as Adam and Eve were creations. Adam and Eve were so precious to Him that He walked in the garden with them, shared with them, cared for them, spent time directly with them, to be a Counselor, a Motivator; He loved them. After the fruit incident, God did not throw up His hands and quit, didn’t turn them into ash. He sought them out, peeked under the bushes and, even knowing their guilt, embraced them with love and passion. He did not say everything’s ok, no big deal or say I understand. He, in His Wisdom, told them the truth of what consequences there are from living outside the things that He alone had prepared for us; the chaos of ignoring His Love and Wisdom. The Church today stands in very much the same place as Adam and Eve were. God still loves it, cares for it, seeks it, and has passion for it. It’s interesting that if you study the word translated in our Bibles as jealous you will discover that God’s definition of jealous is an aggressive, hope-filled passion for someone, not a damning, crushing of someone. God was so passionate for His creation He sent His Son, His only Son, to provide a balm, a remedy for the foolishness of men and women.

Being involved in Christian ministry for 35 years have done a couple of things to my vision of the Gospel. I’ve often shared how each time Jane and I have been confronted by stress, disappointment, or misunderstanding, our Faith in God has been discovered to be far greater than we ever imagined. As an example, I’ve expressed that fact many times about the incident in 2012 when Jane was paralyzed from head to toe with a GBS illness. Our expression out of that moment was: ‘we discovered God’s love and comfort was greater than we ever had imagined.’ Jane’s expression after her recovery was ‘Jesus was more than enough.’ I recently wrote in a newsletter ‘the Gospel is Jesus.’ That’s how simple and how amazingly understandable the Gospel is. All our hope and dreams since we were first married have been about that Gospel. It has been a journey that involves coming to know Him more and more, and at the same time, always learning even more about Him every day. God’s first description given to us in Genesis is that He moved on the face of the earth. Today our confidence is that He’s still moving right now, no matter what we might be seeing or hearing from a secular world (system).

Now I’ve said all that to take away any doubt about Who and What we believe in. I have over the years written a small genealogical biography. I did that to give our three daughters an idea of the road Jane and I have traveled to get to where we are today. One thing I’ve not been able to articulate just yet is any description, chronology or step by step of WBVN. My little bio stops in 1988 when we made our FCC application to create the station. The reason is it’s too overwhelming, too seemingly impossible, too many miracles, too many nice people that have helped us so much, too unbelievable, too amazing. I wish I could articulate it all but it would take 35 years (12,775 days) to do so. So that Who and What is pretty large and actually very powerful.

So that brings me to this month in this year. I praise for what we have experienced and what was so much of a surprise for us. Never imagined, never considered, never thought it possible to see what we have seen, done what we have done. If that sounds trite, believe me, it’s not trite when actually lived and experienced. Ask my friends if they thought I had the intellect, the wisdom, the sense to do what WBVN has been for 35 years. Even my wife and daughters would just grin I suspect. I know I do when thinking back over it.

Now since I’m reminiscing a bit I want to touch on something that takes me even further into the history of this radio ministry. I remember the first day, the first concert, the first check from Charles Carter of Carterville that came to support the station, the first cash donation from Laurie and Rick Chapman from Marion, the first Celebration with Mike Middleton (He is so much responsible for what happened here), remember the first volunteer crew for both on air programming and concerts, and I remember meeting the first annual budget three years after January 8th, 1990. I’ve always said the testimony of this ministry is the people that help physically and financially. The reason I say testimony is because Jane’s and my belief is that all those people, including the people that attended over 225 concerts, are carriers of Christ in their hearts. It’s people’s hearts we work with, more than their flesh and brains. That statement is made to lead me to my bottom line in this letter, it follows:

Thirty-five years of witnessing ministry, loving people and seeing the Gospel on display hopefully gives me permission to suggest something to add to this conversation. I don’t consider it being critical of anything or anyone. It’s not an alarm, it’s just kind of a 35 year observation. I suppose it’s a ‘be careful.’ It’s just that with all the issues the Christian community faces today I want to wave a flag to add to your database. One side of that equation is stress from the secular world added to our lives, the anti-Creator stress I call it. The other side is more subtle. Let me begin it with a statement: I’m overwhelmed with the amount of effort and the sincerity, the kindness of the Christian people we’ve met and worked with for 35 years. But, the flag I’ll raise is one that deals with what I’m witnessing more and more, not just in Christian Radio but, in the Christian community as a whole.

Where is Jesus! I’m seeing a lot of what might be called the Gospel of self-improvement. It embraces a Gospel that focuses on changing your brain, your behavior toward others, and away from changing your heart. Everyone has a spirit/soul that’s separate from their brain. Unless we’re careful, the Gospel could become merely behavior modification. God’s Love could simply become being kind to one another, simply absorbing some of the other person’s understanding and be encouraging to them; we can be accommodating all differences in the name of Jesus. Then slowly, the Gospel can be accomplished with our flesh, our brain-computer. The result of that Gospel: it can be accomplished without a Savior. It’s human kindness without the Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness of God. One that’s absent the purpose of the Bible: Hope for a better life, a new life, not just a good life, but a life changed by Christ Jesus.

For many years the secular marketplace has taken on the tree of good with its vocabulary but ignoring the God given Tree of Life. In today’s world, love is a two sided coin. Worldly love and God Love are not from the same tree. I’m not suggesting kindness is not part of the believer’s responsibility, it definitely is, but simple human kindness is to be mixed with the heart of God. To share with people that to experience all that God has prepared for them means to follow biblical Wisdom and Creator ways to Life as the Father would have it for you.

When reading the Bible I like to think of Scripture as Wisdom, and I also remember how Scripture can be interpreted by imagining the reciprocal of it. One of my favorites is 1Peter 2:6, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.’ The reciprocal to that is: behold I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect and precious: and, he that does not believe in him shall be shamed (and observed foolish). Likewise, ‘seek you first His Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Math. 6:33). Reciprocal, don’t seek then don’t expect to experience God providing them to you. God made foolish the wisdom of this world. (1Cor. 1:20) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools… Rom (1:22) Foolish marks the day in much of the current environment we live in. I read the other day that AI is writing a bible, China is writing a bible. I’ll just betcha there’s no Jesus Son of God in those, but they’ll tell us how to be good. Blending God and worldly logic, worldly wisdom is not an option.

The station is trying to be careful and thoughtful about the message we share, not only in what to share but also in what not to share. We thank you for trusting us to bring you a simple and powerful Christ centered Gospel. There’s one choice: Believe God’s Word or not believe God’s Word. The Bible is the only Wisdom, Peace and future that works.

Mark Schultz

Posted on by Laura Posted in Concert Photos, Uncategorized | Leave a comment