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

June Newsletter-What Is The Gospel?

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

What is the Gospel? I’m going to simplify the answer to that question and then turn around and expand it. I’ve narrowed the answer down to one word: Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. In the New Testament the Greek word expressed for Gospel is euangelion. It’s a noun and means simply Good News. The Greek word euangelio is a verb referring to ‘announcing the Good News.’ Paraphrased, either word means declaring a victory with joy. That’s Jesus’ story.

What did the disciples preach that got all of them but John killed? They preached Jesus, they preached the Kingdom of God present after the Cross/Resurrection. Jesus present in our hearts. Jesus Christ is the subject of the whole Bible. Indirectly or directly, all the biblical text is about Him. We know that all things are held by Him and apart from Him nothing exists. (Col. 15:17) We also know that without Christ’s messages to us, the Word of God could never have been understood. With Him all the ‘mysteries’ of the Gospel are revealed. Jesus went so far as to express: If you perceive me you can perceive the Father. (John 14:9)

In Genesis, the Creator was the only true God. He was to be worshiped and we’re to have no gods other than Him. He was the only Righteous One and He was, and is, and will be, the final ‘Kingdom’. That’s a promise we need to keep our eyes on today. To Abraham and his seed came the Good News and the promise of a Kingdom where all the families of the earth would be blessed. (Gen. 12:1) In Gen. 15:4, a promise of a Messiah was given to establish the Kingdom, a holy place, ‘Immanuel’s Land’ (literally Jesus’ Land, the name used of God’s Son, Isa. 8:8) In time, the Messiah came and the angels declared ‘Behold, I bring ‘good news’ of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord.’ (John 1:1) It was also prophesied that people would not receive Him; that they would actually reject Him and announced that they would kill Messiah. (Isa 53) However, the murder of Messiah would have no effect on the establishment of the Messiah’s Kingdom. Actually, what it really did was create it. (Luke 24:26) John the Baptist proclaimed it. In Act 3:18; 17:3 we learn these terrible things were to happen; Messiah had to suffer those things, in order for Him to enter into His Glory (Kingdom). In Acts, some believers were imprisoned (Acts chapters 4,5,8,9,12,21), Stephen was stoned (Acts 7:59), another was killed by the sword (Acts 12:1) I list all that because those were rough times, but not the end of HIStory.

Following Acts 28, the next ‘text message’ we get is from Paul and the book of Romans. Saul (Paul) was separated to teach it. (Rom. 1:1) In the Roman letter Paul quotes previously written scriptures but begins to reveal what has never been written before. Paul was instructed by God to bring and reveal some of the ‘mystery’ of God that had never before been expressed. Paul wrote most of those revelations while in prison, penning Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. Paul made clear that in killing the Messiah they were (and this is still true today) rejecting more than a system of ethics or morality, more than rejecting right and wrong found in the Law. They were rejecting Christ’s Kingdom. That Kingdom was one Jesus came specifically to establish with Grace, Peace, and Love.

The Gospel has always seen seasons of rejection, moments of assumed defeat, and yet it’s always ‘raised again’. Rough and tough times are not by definition the end. Resurrections have always been the common characteristic of God’s Word. Today, in spite of what I’m hearing, what I’m seeing, and sometimes what I’m even experiencing, the Good News will not be defeated any more than it ever has. The Kingdom of God that Christ brought to us, or perhaps a future Kingdom, will not be destroyed. Either His Kingdom will rise again in the earth or we will rise again from the earth.

What was declared in Genesis Chapters 1 and 2 that a ‘seed of woman’ was coming to establish a victory, is matched in reality in Revelation 21 and 22. Genesis predicts it, (4 Gospels prophesy it), and Revelation describes it. Everything predicted to take place in Genesis and expressed in Revelation are facts of the Kingdom as originally declared by Moses and finally manifested in John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ. When prophecies and the realities in the Book of Revelation begin, no one will be snickering ‘myths’. As we see those things happening, rather than discouraging our Faith, they should inspire our Faith. Simply, as we see God’s Word become manifested in our lives, become even more obvious for being true, they should confirm our future hope not destroy it.

The Gospel contained within Genesis expresses a Kingdom to come with the presence of Messiah and also sets us up to be aware of the final defeat of Satan (the crushing of his head). If you take a wide look at scripture, back out far enough to get past the current news, secular spins, stress and heartbrokenness of the current day, I think we can characterize the moment we live in as ‘globally significant’. There have always been cultures, regions, peoples that have had many of the same stresses we face each day, but probably never before on such a global scale.

Christ established a Kingdom not of this world. It’s present in the world because of one reason only, He is present. Kingdom, in the spiritual sense, refers to sovereignty not territory. In His Kingdom the only requirement is His presence. It’s described as a Kingdom we should seek first. (Luke 12:21) Mark 9:1 indicates it comes with power. Mark 10 tells us, if we are to experience it, we will have to come as a child. Luke also shares that it will come without observation (not physically seeing it, or pointing a finger at it on a map). We know from Paul’s writing that it is not meat or drink but Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Spirit. Grace was preached in the O.T. through the practice of the Day of Atonement, through the Year of Jubilee, and through the feasts of the Jewish tradition. At the Cross all those atonements became available 365 days a year. Now, Jubilee is not just the 49th year but every year. Scripture says we now have a better covenant. ‘But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.’ (Heb. 8-6)

Today, I think we can easily miss the uniqueness of the moment. We can live it up ‘as in the days of Noah’, however, the decisions we make today, the consequences of our attitudes today, are going to be magnified in our lives in the future like never before. There’s an old expression, ‘separation for clarification.’ (Timothy might suggest it as rightly dividing the Word of Truth: 2Tim 2:15) The Word of God is like a sword and able to separate, for our clarification, what gives Life and what produces death. Today the choice is becoming clearer, more obvious, than ever before. Our choices today make huge statements as to what we believe. What we choose to do, what we choose to focus on, what we choose to observe, is intensified in our world, our country, community, family, in you and me.

If I were to summarize what seems to be true today I’d probably say it like this: As the days grow ever closer to the fulfillment of Genesis’ promises, as we see a greater opportunity for the experiences found in Revelation to be real, the spirit of anti-Christ is on an adrenaline rush. Evil is attempting to blind the eyes of people all around the globe. He doesn’t want anyone to believe in prophecies of his ultimate defeat predicted in Genesis 3:15 and to be seen in Rev. 21; 21. He’s in a frenzy to hide the Good News from people. Christian persecution is an attempt by evil to shut the book on the Wisdom and Peace of the Gospel. I’ve always believed that just as Jesus was crucified physically at Calvary, the pre-tribulation mode will be to crucify the Spirit of Christ that’s been placed here as a witness.

Believer’s role, and becoming more so each day, is to share the Gospel, the Good News: a Savior was born. This whole thing we call Gospel is Jesus and his Kingdom. The end of HIStory is this: someday all enmity toward God spoken of in Genesis will come to an end. (Gen. 3:15) In that moment described in Genesis 3 there is the first mention of the Grace of God. Adam and Eve were present when God, after the ‘fall’ expressed His eventual restoration of mankind. The seed of a woman would bruise evil’s head once and for all. In that moment Adam and Eve became aware that God was not abandoning His creation. They learned, and we know as well, mankind would not be shunned and should not be fearful of His presence. In his book published in 1879, Thomas Erskine stated it like this: ‘As the work of the serpent was to draw them away from the love of God, so the undoing of that work was to draw them back to the love of God; as the serpent’s work had been to introduce sin and its consequences into the world, so the undoing of that work was to destroy sin and its consequences. Someday in the future His Kingdom, both the spiritual Kingdom and physical Kingdom, will be united as One. That’s our blessed Hope.

May Newsletter-Testimony

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

I don’t assume I’m right about all things Gospel, so this is not a step-by-step letter about mimicking anything I will say. Sometimes I’m actually suspicious of my being right about the Gospel. I’m faithful to it, but don’t expect others to have to agree with me. I’ll say it like this, this letter is more accurately described as ‘my experience.’ I’m sure my high school buddies, my military guys, my family and some of my best friends must scratch their heads at the thought/sight about what I’ve experienced over the past 34 years. ‘No way’ might be the general response to where I came from and where I’ve ended up. In my thinking, writing over 400 newsletters and creating 225 concerts just proves the Spirit of God can sometimes make something out of nothing. I’m not writing a formula, but it’s a testimony about Him. Keep that in mind and I’ll be more comfortable about this letter. I know very little about radio, not very knowledgeable about ministry, I only know about what God has done through Jane and me. This testimony is about ‘Life’ that He creates in my life, not because of me, but many times, in spite of me. In a way I didn’t do this. Example: Mark Schultz, Big Daddy Weave, and NewSong happened to us, we did not make those happen; we could not have made those happen. We observed it, did not cause it. That’s one way we knew it was Him and not us.

I mentioned to someone the other day how the ministry called WBVN Radio is made up of resistance and miracles. I could list a dozen times of heavy resistance, major crisis type events that have occurred. However, the miracles I could list would fill a book. Most of the miracles have been people miracles: practical help from unexpected people. People that have volunteered to do the labor it takes to do the concerts and financial help from people that you would never expect to experience such giving from. The loyalty of the BVN staff, from my point of view, is a miracle. They are so dedicated to blessing BVN listeners. Each employee is a perfect puzzle piece, all with different personalities but one united heart for ministry. It reminds me of Jesus choosing the 12 disciples, some fishermen, a tax collector, etc. to create a group to witness and share the Gospel. We had technology help from a Saline County deputy sheriff thirty-five years ago; he’s still giving that today. And people have given us kind words to encourage us just at the right time.

We’ve created 225 concerts; maybe back when we started in 1990, I could have imagined 30-40. We’ve found favor with many artists, many artist agents to make that happen. We’ve experienced concert nights that the attendees felt like they didn’t want those nights to end. We have a loyal volunteer group that sets those concerts up and works many unseen hours making them possible.

It’s hard to deny God when you’ve seen so many miracles, powerful moments that kept this Word going over the radio for over 33 years. I don’t think it’s possible for me to draw a complete picture of the miracles. It’s a thirty-four year miracle made up of hundreds of little miracles. I think they’re present because of our purpose and our stubborn attitude to care and serve the community of believers God has given us to encourage. In doing so we’ve experienced an extraordinary Christian Life. I think that the Christian Life is not only raising the dead, healing the sick, but a ‘newness of life’ as well. It’s a Life we can experience; Life as the Father would have it for us. (Rom. 6:4) In my memory, that started years ago in a conversation with a dear friend of mine and his simple three word statement: ‘Dad ain’t mad.’ Nothing’s been the same since that moment. I still can see and hear him uttering those three words. As I type them, tears appear because I know what those words released, what freedom they brought, what a difference they made in my life. Those words created WBVN, and placed me in an extroverted world, a studio filled with equipment and wiring– not my cup of tea. They were powerful three little words. But dropping those into my brain caused them to travel to my heart. It was sealed there. I didn’t set out to do this, it was not my goal in life, there was actually more ‘uncertainty’ than peace doing it because of its public nature and the technical aspect.

I recently told a friend, ‘I’m sometimes embarrassed of what the Spirit of God has shown me.’ I know me and I know I’m way above my pay grade when it comes to ‘revelations.’ I could prove that to you with just a few facts, but let me express it this way; the Spirit of God can make you look pretty knowledgeable in order to accomplish His work. I’ll say again, ‘This is testimony about Him, not what I’ve accomplished but what He has done.’ When you measure the distance from where I was as a young man to what I’ve experienced, both in the world and in my heart, the distance traveled is a great deal of distance. Here again this could not have been possible without those little miracles creating this one very big and amazing miracle called WBVN. People’s names and faces come to my memory as I think about these 33 plus years. It’s easy for me to see the hand of God in my life because of how much of the ‘New’ Christian Life I’ve experienced. I remember years prior to doing this ministry how I prayed that God would take me out into the deep water of Faith. I wanted to be so far into it that I could not possibly ‘tip-toe’ to keep my head above the water. I wanted to be in a place where something had to hold me up other than my ability to do that. That prayer/dream certainly came true.
Why am I writing this story? Because so many things that seemed impossible became possible with the truth of God. There is one little caution I would add to that statement: the Christian Life is not God following our imaginations, our plans, our way, but it’s more akin to us entering into His plans, His ways. By that I mean, Jesus did nothing except what he saw the Father doing. I remember a song we played back in 1990 when we first started the station. It was the Imperials song, “Come Into My Life.” I remember thinking at the time how I’d like that song a little better if it was titled, “Come Into His Life.” He has plans/thoughts for you. (Jer. 29:11, plans for your peace and a future reward) They’re not prewritten plans, not a script that you can’t help but live out. We have free choice to say yes or say no to Life as the Father would have it for us. We choose who we will serve; He invites; He does not shove.

Much of what has happened to Jane and me was not done using our own ability. Our experience is better described as following Him rather than leading. Following Christ is not always logical, not always obvious. Following is not simply mimicking Him, it’s more heart-felt than that. I’m more comfortable describing it as us being persuaded by an ‘unction’. That’s something greater than just trying something. Unction is not just a good idea and not simply what we’re thinking; it’s more felt in the heart than the head. Unction is more associated with tears rather than our ability, our wealth or power. Before starting the station, we had the tears, we had none of the other. Believe me, doing a listener supported station in 1988 did not qualify as a good idea. Because two national ministries had just publically failed, one of my best friends said it was a terrible idea. But, it wasn’t my idea to do this; it was a knowing that this was to take place no matter the outcome.

My definition of the Christian Life can be stated as this: living above our ability. Given the right heart attitude, it’s trusting God to create a way for us to live that is only seen one way: Spirit. I’ve always thought if you can get purpose down in your heart and let it travel to your brain, you can hear the whispers and nudging of the Spirit on how to hone in on His purpose. If you wish to serve people, if that’s a purpose in your life, there are spiritual inklings that lead you to how to do that.

I’m writing this letter to encourage you that it’s hard not to believe when you’ve seen the things I seen. Three little words changed everything in my life from that day forward. Those words took away any double-mindedness about His desire for my life, my family’s life. The Christian life can be witnessed in our hearts. But, it’s not guaranteed to be trouble free. I quoted G.W. Chesterton in my year end letter sent to all our contributors. He wrote, ‘Jesus promised his disciples three things: that they would be fearless, absurdly happy and in constant trouble.’ The Spirit is described as the ‘Comforter’ in times of trouble. The Christian Life can be experienced even when trouble is present, it will be found in our relationships, and there will be fruit of the Spirit in our lives. (Gal 5:22, Eph. 5:9/love, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, righteousness and truth) With that Life, we can experience the freedom to care, to share, and to love without fear. The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (Rom 14:17/19)

April Newsletter-John 13:14

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

John 13:36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, where goest thou? Jesus answered, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shall follow afterwards.
John 13:37 Peter said to him, Lord, why cannot I follow you even now? I will lay down my life for you.
John 13:38 Jesus answered, Will you lay down thy life for me? Verily, verily, I say to you, The cock shall not crow, till you have denied me three times.

Chapter 14
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me.
John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
John 14:4 And whither I go, ye know the way.

If you remember, the Jewish leaders marveled at Jesus as a young boy when he entered into the sanctuary and quoted scripture and said mysteries to them. Those present were well versed in the Torah and Prophets of old. Some of them could probably be characterized like the description given Nicodemus: a teacher or rabbi, an overseer of the Jewish Faith, the learned, masters, and the elite. Yet Jesus amazed them. I think the Biblical word used was ‘astonished’ and described as filled with Wisdom and Grace. (Luke 2: 41-52) I’ve heard people ask, ‘Do you think Jesus always knew he was Messiah or just discovered that at 30 years old?’ After this temple incident, when he was 12 years old, Jesus responded that he was ‘about His Father’s business’; he knew. The reason for the 30 year mark in Jesus ministry is that in the Jewish tradition, priests could not perform their religious duties until their 30th birthday, therefore Jesus was simply fulfilling that Jewish Law.

The words Wisdom and Grace are to be noticed in their response. Both those characteristics are evident in the exchange between Peter and Jesus found in the Scripture at the top of this letter. Jesus was wise in seeing Peter’s fleshly characteristics and he was gracious even when identifying and raising that issue to Peter. The context of John’s text is amazing and it’s one of the characteristics of God that I ‘hang my hat on.’ Jesus and the disciples were in a meeting. Judas leaves. Peter was a very enthusiastic disciple, very aggressive, and even in the conversation saying he would lay down his life for Jesus. Jesus’ response was that, in spite of all the enthusiasm, all the things Peter had seen and heard from Jesus, Peter would deny Jesus three times. You can imagine Peter’s thoughts at hearing those words. What’s interesting, and this is the Grace part, Jesus’ next words to Peter were: ‘Let not your heart be troubled…’ We know context of that moment because, without moving away, without identifying a different day or any such thing, Jesus turns to Thomas and addresses that disciple. The ‘Chapter 14’ break was added much later by the King James folks. Chapter breaks are not in the original text. Jesus’ statement to Peter was immediately followed by Jesus’ statement of Grace and encouragement. Imagine how Peter must have felt after Jesus told him that he would deny Jesus three times. Imagine also how Peter must have felt when Jesus simply said not to let his heart be troubled. I’ve often told people in many discussions that one of my favorite expressions seen in the Biblical Text is Jesus’ statement after his resurrection. Included in Jesus’ first words following being raised from the dead, he told those present to go tell the disciples and Peter, Peter mentioned by name. Why? I believe Jesus was aware of the devastation that Peter must be experiencing having denied him those three times and having heard of Jesus’ death and burial. Even the disciples not present at the crucifixion (only one was), those seemingly having abandoned the Lord at that crucial hour, were subject to the thoughtfulness of the risen Jesus. That’s the God I trust, the One I believe, the Heart of God that I embrace.

To many leaders of that day, Jesus was demon possessed, he was a rebel, a crazy person, an illegitimate baby born to a young Jewish girl, a law breaker, an associate of prostitutes, tax collectors, and the unclean. I’ve often expressed that the origins of most of the war about our Faith begins between our ears. As believers, it’s critical to establish who Christ is in our hearts before we experience him in our heads. Our brains are a bit like our eyesight, they need prescription glasses to focus and see Christ for who He really is. Our thoughts need to be renewed, transformed (Romans 12:2: transformed literally meaning ‘metamorphose’ changed like a butterfly). Brain washed I suppose is okay to use for illustration, washed by the Word. I’ve expressed this in letters for 33 years: Adam and Eve didn’t fall away from God by the apple eating, they fell because they were deceived, they were thinking incorrectly, they were simply following the whisper to eat and suffered the consequences of that mental decision prior to the first bite.

Remember how Satan accomplished that? Being the angel of light, according to scripture, Satan was more subtle than any other creation in the field. He didn’t raise cain with Adam and Eve, he raised doubt. He misquoted scripture to deceive, asking Eve ‘Has God said you shall not eat of every tree in the garden?’ That was the first recorded lie in history. Eve corrected it by saying that they could eat the fruit of all the trees but the tree of good and evil. Satan whispers again but if you eat of that tree you will be as gods, knowing good and evil. That’s still the Anti-Christ M. O. (modus operandi) today. The temptation was: we can determine good and evil, not God. We can be god over ourselves. We can become our own master and create our own pride of life. Sound familiar? So much of today is about culture determining its own definition of good and evil, it’s ours to decide, it’s eating off that same old tree of Adam and Eve’s. Eve’s description of that event discloses her thinking about that fruit tree: good for food, pleasant to the eyes and made them wise. (Gen. 3:6) That was Moses writing some 6000 years ago, and still today the world pretty much offers the same temptations to us. Satan didn’t physically make Adam and Eve eat-he simply put the idea into their minds. He did the same thing to Jesus, tempted him by the same things in the same way. Matthew 4:1 expresses it: food, eyes, and pride. Adam and Eve failed, Jesus did not. (1John 2:15-16)

It’s important that Christians be aware of the heart of God in order to experience the intent and blessings of God. Important that we not fall for the same, original suggestion and sin expressed in the Garden of Eden. Eve was persuaded to believe that God was holding out on her and Adam; Truth is God was sharing Wisdom.

God does not play hide and seek, Jesus came to be seen and heard. He did not simply come to teach but also to be present, then and now. Jesus revealing the Father’s heart was central to His coming. But after His sacrifice, after the Cross, after the resurrection, Jesus was raised again to a New Life and one that is here, right now, and present within us. Ephesians 1:13-14 whispers the Gospel to us, making three distinctions: Hear the Word for salvation, believe and be sealed, the Spirit delivers that promise.

We’re living in tough times. Stress seems to be spoken in the days of most the people I know. In the DVD The Chosen there’s a line where Jesus says that he was doing God’s Will but that didn’t make life easy. Today the same opposition exists that existed back then. Traditional writings indicate that all Christ’s disciples were killed except John. Why were 11 of those Apostles killed? Why was Jesus killed? It was not because he or they were preaching traditional Jewish Law. Their offense, offense taken by the Jewish elite and the Roman rulers, was in preaching about a New Life, about liberty, peace and joy in Jesus Christ. That message is still offensive today.