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20 Years

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

20 years: January 8, 1990–January 8, 2009

Our Future:

WOW! 20 years. I, for one, would have never thought it would have lasted so long. We started the station to be an encourager to believers in 1990, never thinking far enough ahead to think that we would be encouraging our original listeners’ children some twenty years later. That a new generation of believers would be added to those people that have already joined with us in praising and singing hymns to God over FM 104.5 was never imagined. And certainly we did not know that doing this simple thing would have continued to find a home here in 2009.

It has been our purpose to provide an environment of celebration for our salvation and do that in a way that included the most people. We started out to celebrate what we all, as believers in Christ, have in common with one another and gather together each day on the radio and occasionally in a concert to enjoy our faith and enjoy being together to cheer each other on. Now, after all those years we still do that same thing and celebrate in those same ways through this radio ministry.

There is a trite saying that many have used before. It goes like this: ‘This is your radio station.’ We have tried to make that more than words but true to our listeners for all these years. Every decision, each attempt to inspire, has been our obligation to do what we think will be a blessing to our listeners, not to do just what we want to do personally. We are about to enter another ‘great adventure’ this coming year. We have made significant financial decisions that obligate us to being vulnerable economically and at the same time offer a tremendous opportunity to, again, bring you the very best programming and events for Christian encouragement we can muster. We’ve made that kind of decision with our eyes wide open. We know this is a time when we could draw back and give up some of the many opportunities we have to continue an aggressive ministry of encouragement. The future does not look so inviting, but you know, it did not look so inviting 20 years ago. Two national ministries had publicly failed because their moral and ethical way was lost in personal greed and abuse of the Christian community. However, we continue to trust and believe that God has inspired us, set us here to encourage the church no matter the conditions that are around us. In fact, our future might be the very most important time for this ministry to be here. It could be a season of increased ministry in a time of decreased worldwide security.

As I think about where we are at some 20 years later, I’m aware of WBVN having ‘guarded the trust.’ We’ve had the opportunity to share the Gospel message. We’ve held on to it as a great treasure to be given to others. We have not abused the opportunity or taken it for granted. We have been careful, thoughtful about what we do and deliberated about how we do it. We know exactly Who has given us this chance to encourage the Body of Christ, and we recognize the challenge to not squander the chance to be an ambassador for Christ in these communities. We know exactly how your faithfulness to God and to this ministry plays a very significant role in our being here at all. We have been responsible to keep the vision of this ministry and not get lost in all the trappings of ‘radio.’ We continue to look to our listeners to motivate us each day and inspire us in the effort it takes to continue to bring you this ministry. We took huge risks to start this ministry in 1990, knowing that huge things were possible if we did take those risks, things that we could not even imagine in 1990. Had we not lived out of our hearts those early years, all the things that have been a vital part of our ministry would have never had the chance to take place through this ministry. We’ve had over 76,000 concert attendees, producing 118 events through the latest Big Daddy Weave tour. We have experienced tears and cheers, and changed lives during those events. We’ve had the rare opportunity to film Mark Schultz’s DVD, that was a gift for us all and a gift we could never have experienced without the partnership of our listeners and this ministry. Many people have shared financially to support this ministry for 20 years. With your help, WBVN has provided Christian encouragement for over 1.5 million minutes of programming and hours of gathering together for those 118 events.

At the station, amateurs have been able to provide a radio ministry (certainly no experts) with the help of terrific volunteers and employees that give more than they take from this ministry. The heavy lifting is done during our fundraisers by regular folks: a freight company owner, a handful of housewives, a commercial contractor, a car-body man, a teacher, copier salesman, a gymnastics instructor, a mother of 2, mother of 1, and a mother of 5, a daycare center owner, and a home school family of 6 to illustrate just a few. Well, you get the picture. No hired guns here, just local people that have a passion for the ministry provided here. Most of the time, we are not very good at fundraising. We take our share of criticism for being so silly and having too much fun during the Fall and Spring Celebrations. However, we are light-hearted about the fundraising because we want to be so careful not to be too heavy-handed in our fundraising. While we are weak at it, you will never hear us promise anything we cannot deliver and never say anything just to make sure we’re successful at fundraising. However, we hope to be successful at encouraging people to be givers for the Gospel’s sake. To give for the simple reason that they give to God and not to us. Every conversation that I have in my office is a conversation about what to do and how to do it with our listeners as the subject of that conversation.

We enter our 20th year facing unstable economic times and an uncertain future. However, our commitment is to stay on purpose, to act on the vision of this ministry. We have arranged for one of the premier vocalists in the world to be here on January 10th. Christy Nockels is unlike any other performer with a unique voice and terrific purpose in ministry, having toured the country with the Passion Worship ministry. We would be shrinking back from our promise to do such events and would be cowardly to not take the opportunity to bless this community of believers for this coming year. We would be shying away from doing the best we can do for you. Akin to David, as believers we run to the battle rather than running away. We will have Michael O’Brien minister to us this February, a homecoming of sorts for Michael, having performed here for so many years with NewSong. March gives this ministry a chance to encourage and bless families with the VeggieTales performance of “God Made You Special.” That production is expensive, and it’s lots of hard work. But, it’s loaded with potential ministry to children and their families. Not to do those events, to let that opportunity go on down the road, would be akin to us moving away from our pledge to give our lives away for the sake of the Gospel. We could quietly shrink back from doing the best for our listeners, but it would be a violation of the trust you have placed in us for those 20 years. We came to do the best we can do to encourage this community of believers.

Financially, WBVN is a month to month ministry. Somehow that has grown to 228 months so far. We’re vulnerable to the culture and the economic climate we find ourselves a part of. We have chosen to spend our time celebrating the Gospel, exercising our Faith, and being an encourager of the Body of Christ. We pledge to so do as long as we can, as carefully as we can, and as thoughtfully as is possible for us. Having a testimony of 19 years is terrific. The opportunity to have spent the time together each day on the radio or at those 118 events has created a great respect from this ministry toward our listeners. In 2009, we have already scheduled community Christian events for January, February, March, April, May, June, September, November and December. Now, in these times, is the time ‘to show forth His praises’; now is the season to draw close in rather than to scatter and hide. Today is the day of Salvation and this is the very moment that this ministry is to do even more encouragement than probably anytime before. We trust you will join us in that. We ask for your support and prayers. We started this ministry on January 8th, 1990, with a short scriptural reference on our newsletter. ‘For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20).’ We are still about that today. Twenty years ago we knew that we came for one reason and one only. We are not to teach, although teaching is fundamental to the Christian Faith. We did not come to declare a doctrine, although choosing a doctrinal point of view is a proper thing for Christians to do. We came to encourage the Body of Christ, and encourage it is what we have done and continue to do, even more aggressively today.

Thank you for all the kindnesses, the nice words over those years. Thank you for your trust with your financial gifts. Your attendance has provided some moments of ‘super’ praise at some of the concert events. 2009 looks to be the most active and a year with the most potential to make a difference in people’s lives since we began the station 19 years ago. We look forward to a refreshing of celebrating Christ through WBVN, FM 104.5.


Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

Optimism? The Lord of Hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand.” (Isaiah 14:24)Finally! The great-divide. I’m excited by that. Well, at least let me admit that while I’m excited, I still see the future with some concern, simply because I’m made up of this spirit man, mixed with a soulish man. So yes, I have emotions that sometimes get in front of my confidence and my nervous system. But, all in all, my heart stays excited. Finally, the world seems to have come to the place of choosing Him or rejecting Him. Can you see the choices we are facing today? Christians are now fighting feverishly for so many things we took for granted 20 years ago when we started the ministry of WBVN. That battle will intensify for sure. I don’t think we could have even imagined the things that need to be protected for our grandchildren’s future. I’ll not list them but you get the gist.

Seems to me we have come to that kingdom against Kingdom moment. In this country it’s darkness versus Light with an intensity that might not have been matched before. Jesus said that if you’re not for me you’re against me. That seems to imply a neutrality is possible about His things that really is not a neutrality at all. Not choosing Him is the same as choosing something else. We have three groups of people on the earth, those that believe in Him, those that oppose Him and those that just haven’t got a clue, they simply don’t care. We now live in a time when it will not work just to be right for the wrong reasons, a time when it will not work to be ‘playing with’ an evil heart attitude just for entertainment. In this day we are beginning to see the consequences of choosing against God coming quicker and harder than ever before. Given the choices and the types of rebellions we are messing with today, if you make a mistake just trying out some things, it might do life-long damage to you or your family and friends. Today, in just a few simple steps it’s easy to be caught up into something that threatens your financial security, your relationships and possibly your very life.

God, from His very first words to us, obligated us to ‘choose Life’, to choose Him. He did not mean biological life, but a Spiritual one. It is Zoe in the Greek and it’s Life as the Father would have for us. It’s not living a good life alone, because being good can separate us from the necessity of God’s Life just like an evil life can do. It’s Life dependent and attached to the very heart of God. So, it’s come to this choice: a life that the world can provide or Life that the Father provides! His wisdom is for us to be dependent upon Him and no independence from Him would work for us. Now that contrast is huge. This world has been able to find band-aids for its troubles, but has not found the balm that heals the disease. It can cover up a lot of heartache but does not provide the remedy for heart damage that can restore the condition outright.

While I’m excited by the thought of needing God more severely, I also know that we will face some very stressful times. Let me say that I understand the temptation for people to think that I’m just being optimistic for the sake of optimism, just talking myself into a false security. I hope that’s not the case. I think I’m optimistic because Faith, practiced and believed, eventually convinces us that no matter what, we are in a relationship with God and that relationship has a provision in it. As a ministry, as a family, as part of the community and just as an individual trying to make my way along this timeline looking for the return of Christ some day, I’m not suggesting to go around ‘whistling in the dark’ and acting like there are no troubles to deal with. However, looking further down the road it becomes clear that we have an opportunity to, not just talk of our faith in God, not just believe in God, but to have a real, practical, tangible seeing Him in our lives. Times that breakdown the things of our worldly system always offer the opportunity to restore a relationship with the Father and Creator of all the universes. The God we trust, our partner in all this mess, is a God who has no beginning and no end. Sees the beginning and the end of time and everything in between and had a plan all the way through on how to deliver the Body of Christ through this mess. That’s not just ‘happy-talk’, I trust it’s real talk.

No matter what the future holds for all of us, no matter what man does or does not do, God (Emmanuel) is with us. Faith is not just Faith that gives us our way; it’s a Faith that has confidence in a life that depends on His way. If it goes for us, we trust Him. If it goes against us, we trust Him. Can we trust enough to take a deep breath and relax in the middle of any storm?

As believers, we are going through this together. WBVN is set to provide a daily encouragement toward the future, no matter the future. We fully expect that the more pressure we find ourselves in, the more opportunity for this ministry to comfort one another. We’re currently working on some things that will take place months from now but they are things designed to celebrate all our faith and confidence in God regardless of the future. I think believers can experience more of God even as we experience the next attempt of the world system to ‘kill Him off again’. We can find and know those things that are described as Kingdom of God: Love, Joy and Peace in the Holy Spirit of God. Things that are not exactly the things found at Wal-mart. Not things that can be purchased but things that are free gifts from God.

The masquerade is over. Everything is being exposed. The edges of Truth and The Lie are becoming more apparent. It’s harder to play in the gray. Not so easy for us to piddle with evil and act like we don’t understand the significance of our choices. We will not be left alone in this; we will not be fending for ourselves by ourselves. As we are pressed by the pressure against us, at the same time we will ‘see’ Him more clearly, more practically. With pressure will come a way through.

Emotionally, I’m aware of the vulnerability that we find ourselves in. Emotionally, it’s not pretty. However, my confidence is not in how my emotions feel. I have to learn to control my emotions and rule over them with my heart. I welcome the clarity. I’d rather have an obvious definition of the things we choose, the things we do. Whatever we do, let’s do it in the light of day rather than sneaking around in the dark. Being children of God, we have been given the possibility to easily distinguish the enemy of our hearts now more than ever before. Finally, we are getting a clearer definition between a conflict that has been going on continuously from the beginning of time. Finally, the Great-Divide. We will sing Hallelujah.

Little Foxes

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

Do you ever feel like nothing that you are doing about the Gospel, even the simple everyday things, seems very necessary or important? And, when we think we are really ‘stretching ourselves for God’, many times our imaginations don’t match the way things turn out. They don’t have the big outcomes or the results we sometimes hope for. It seems the mundane, daily grind of life just takes the spiritual away and leaves us with empty actions. I don’t know how many times I’ve dismissed the little things, seemingly insignificant things, as not making much difference. Over the years, I think I’ve taken a second look at some of what we consider not to matter to God’s kingdom.

“Sarai, for her part, was even more anxious than her husband regarding the promises of God. Abraham had already entered his eighty-fifth year, and she herself was seventy-five.

And lo, O Lord: we are as childless as the day you first gave hope to my husband and me!

That hope had been planted a full ten years ago. Sarai was intensely aware of time. She had suffered the passage of every barren month since the coming of the promises of God. For the Lord had said to Abram, ‘I will make of you a great nation.’ But a nation begins with the birth of one child.

Where is this child? Often the old woman placed her hand upon her sunken belly and thought, Where is my child?”
(from The Book Of God by Walter Wangerin, Jr.)

The other day I was reading the book mentioned above and went through the story of Abram and Sarai. I was struck by how unique that moment in time was with them. Many times we read the Bible and only see the picture painted by the one single story or one specific person mentioned in the Scripture. As I continued to read about Abram it dawned on me that there were thousands, if not millions, of people on the earth at the very time God was speaking to this very old man. People were in tents and in the cities. Some were raising sheep, some were merchandizing, others worked their crafts, some were grandparents, some parents. Many were carrying on, doing their everyday experiences, with no awareness of what was going on between a simple herder and his wife and the Creator of the universe. Very likely millions of people were complaining of the life they were living, probably most thought the world would not change in any appreciable way from what it was that day. They were probably thinking that all would remain the same. Perhaps they thought that their children would do what they themselves were doing. They believed that their children’s children would do the same things in the next generation.

Yet, out in that sandy, dry desert, God was making a promise that would change the whole world. A single man getting up before daybreak, dividing the animals, cutting the sacrifice, making oaths of trust when no one else was even aware of what was going on. People would have been completely oblivious to what was taking place. Imagine the vastness of the whole world and all the population on earth. And, somewhere God is talking, directing and building a relationship with a tent dweller, promising the old man that he and his wife would be responsible for birthing a nation that would outnumber the stars. By just reading the story you can tell that Abram and his wife had no idea of what was to take place in the future. For Sarai it was a laughable situation. Who in the world could have guessed what God and Abram were up to? Abram didn’t need to take a vote of confidence and did not need to be cheered on by others. He just believed God. He and God were alone in this. It was between God and one obedient man. Who would have thought that what was taking place could and would be so profound, so relevant to the entire world? It was such a small thing, such a simple plan. That a man almost 100 years old and his wife nearly 90, would give birth to a son. Now that sounded ‘crazy’ enough, but that that child would be the first of a group of people called My People which would be a nation greater than the countless number of stars!

What about your small plans with God? Think that they can’t matter much? It is not a fact that if it’s not a big plan it’s no plan at all. We are talking about the birth of one child, one child in all the world to some isolated desert tent people! Who knows what is happening in some insignificant way right now will not be profound tomorrow. I think we give in to the big ministry idea and sometimes miss the potential of something small. We forget that being faithful in little creates the opportunity for being faithful in much. Abram believed, and look what happened. Of course we need a promise to believe in, but many people have had a promise only to give up because it did not come as soon as they preferred.

It’s the little things that make such a difference. Even in our own lives. Someone once asked Earnest Hemingway how he went bankrupt. His response was ‘a little at a time and then all at once.’ Little decisions and omissions created the environment for the huge failure that followed. Our lives can be the same. I remember an acquaintance of mine started pushing the limit of the secular life, just doing a little thing here and there that seemingly did not make a huge difference at the time, but in a few years those little omissions lead to a complete, catastrophic collapse of his life. He did not consciously choose to get as far away from God as he ended up but just gradually found himself isolated and completely separated from the Christian life. The little things we do to resist God and the little things we can do to follow Him contain potential. Don’t underestimate the little rebellions we make or the power of the little steps we take to follow God. It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. It’s the little things that spoil the big. Sometimes, when we don’t see something happen that we feel God has promised it’s because of some little decision, some decision that we put no value in, that cuts off the promise. Sometimes we act like we are hidden from God when really our hearts are open and exposed all the time. I’m reminded again of God addressing Adam, asking him ‘Where are you Adam?’ It was not that Adam was hidden from God after pulling off that apple trick, it was that God was saying to Adam: where’s your head at Adam…what are you thinking, where is your heart? Adam supposing he could hide from God!

What might be happening in your home, office, or family right now might be eternally significant. I know the news is bad. What you think is too simple and too small might be just what is needed to supply a difference to your world. Simple obedience and faith can make a significant difference around you even when you can’t see it or may not be aware of it. Just do the ‘thing’ of God. He will take care of the application.

I’m aware that some people are in outright opposition to the things of God. But I have a hope that God is talking to an Abram somewhere. Something is going on that I cannot see. God is doing something to prepare a way for those that are His to be preserved in all this mess. Somewhere God is whispering a promise to someone, someone we might think is insignificant at the moment, a whisper to confirm and deliver His People. We are a people who are not moved by what we see (or hear), but by what we believe. Somewhere, God is providing for His plan for the spiritual man, and secular man will not be ultimately successful at his rebellion. We know that somehow, God is the successful One in the earth. It can come from a single man, isolated in some room and holding a conversation with the Creator of the universe. I do know He is working it out as He wills. Let’s celebrate the opportunity to do the small things. If God works in the small, He certainly can work out the big. If we will take care of the little things, do what He has given us to do on a daily basis, He will take care of the big picture.

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