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July Newsletter- Purpose

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

I once heard it said that education is what’s left after you have forgotten everything you learned in school.  We learn a lot about how to work in school, but I think the longer we are away from school we realize how much it did not teach us about relationships and respect. Those come later in our lives.


It’s been a busy 2019.  We’ve done 6 events in 7 months on top of broadcasting 24 hours each day.  All that activity caused me to think about our beginning in January 1990 and why we ever started WBVN.  Somehow, by the grace of God, we’ve been able to stay on course and focused on the first things of this ministry.  By first things I mean the reason for having begun at all.  Fortunately, it’s been easy for me to think about our original purpose daily, weekly, yearly over the years. The dependency we have on our listeners, what I’ve described as vulnerability, their advantage of having WBVN, what we do and why we’re doing it, is paramount in my memory.


I remember an idea by a Christian philosopher suggesting we should define life backwards and live it forwards.  His thoughts: we should be starting from our destiny and letting that redefine our journey.  It’s been suggested that instead of asking children what they want to do when they grow up, we should be asking what kind of person they want to be when they grow up.


Writing these newsletters is similar to that.  I’ve told people for years, with a smile of course, that each month, while driving, or walking, or working, or doing something unrelated to the newsletter, I simply ‘discover’ a single thought I want to write about and just follow a path through the newsletter to get to that single sentence.  A poet once described his work as a process of writing the last line first and following the road back from there.  I like that as a life-philosophy.  Live life backwards.


If we’ve developed purpose, we surely can find a way to live it.  That’s what the Gospel is about.  Living out what is coming before it actually happens many times.  Finding out what’s true and making our lives fit the definition of that truth.  The end determines the way of the journey.  The problem with a materialistic world-view is that it leaves us bored, unfulfilled and, as the old adage goes, it suggests ‘sex-drugs-and rock and roll’ as a way to fill the boredom.  Believing in God gives us a destiny and the starting place of our journey.  Ravi Zacharias said “… they (the disciples) knew Jesus in the chronological sequence of His birth, life, death and resurrection.  Paul encountered Him in the logical sequence of His resurrection, death, life and birth.  Through the keyhole of the Resurrection, Paul peered backward in time.  C.S. Lewis addresses this same theme in an allegorical form that effectively captures truth in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe…”as the bewildered children hasten back to the scene of his death, they are greeted by Aslan, triumphant over that death and the children yearn for an explanation:  ‘It means,’ said Aslan, ‘that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know.  Her knowledge only goes back to the dawn of Time.  But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation.  She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.'”

As we complete 29 years of ministry at WBVN our heart has not changed.  The vision for why and what is still as strong today as the day we started.  Truth is, I really never expected it to last this long.  Ours is a bit of a David and Goliath story.  Incredibly small radio ministry, donor funded station, and yet broadcasting over 15 million minutes of programming and producing over 200 community events.  If you knew me very well you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I had a short-term plan in case we failed and no long-term plan if we succeeded.  And, while I say that a little ‘tongue in cheek,’ there’s just a little bit of truth in it.  We came to do this ministry for as long as our lives and your partnership with us lasted.  What we came to do in 1990 is still what we do today, why we do it today.


Because we knew where we were going (serve believers), we could find out how to get there.  Caring for a fellowship of believers was always our goal. We weren’t guessing about it, we knew it ahead of time.  As believers, our personal lives, business lives, family life can follow that same map.  It’s like recognizing where we want to end up and living backwards from that, following whatever road it takes to get to where you’re already at in your heart.


WBVN came to be an encourager; we haven’t been diverted from that purpose.  The hard part is, it’s so easy to add to the original purpose God has set out to accomplish.  Easy to jump off the tracks and move away from the original unction.  You can begin thinking what you might do in order to do something new, fancy or expanded.  And, you can imagine doing that ‘in the name of Jesus’.  However, if you live life backwards from purpose, you’re less likely to be persuaded away from the original.  What do you really love about the Gospel?  Now, slowly and with as little planning and demanding as possible, do it!


God, before time began, looked to the future and said, “Yes, let’s do this,” then proceeded to get to that yes through Jesus Christ millennia later.  It’s a future hope and destiny that we find purpose in today.  We can find joy even in times when we’re not happy.  That’s because we know something about the future and we let that future affect the present.  It’s not that we are trying to figure out everything; it’s that we’ve simply made up our minds about tomorrow.


More than we could have ever imaged in the beginning has happened to us.  Never forgetting the ‘why’ in anything we do at WBVN is incredibly important in staying the course.  What we’ve discovered for ourselves we try to share with others.  Trusting Him, you can set a God-inspired desire as your ending point and start from there.


The Christian Life is much like that education we accumulate; at the end of the day, the Christian Life is what we experience after we’ve tried everything else that didn’t work.  We can start living a life that He guides us to pursue, guides us by whispering the end to us before we start the journey.  At the station it’s not that every song is profound, although many are.  It’s not that the conversations are so well placed– some are but others not so much.  It’s being present for 29 years, by  offering a place, a home, for your thoughts, and paying attention to your needs that keeps us here.  By being present we know He is present.

Stephen McWhirter and Iron Bell

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June Newsletter-More Christ-Like God

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

One thing that should have happened when Christ came was that we would be persuaded to see a more Christ-like God.  In some ways that’s a hard thought for our minds to process.  Jesus was God’s direct intervention into the very definition of Who God was and is the mirror image of the face of God.  Jesus was a new wrinkle in the Gospel story, our story.  He was stepping into what had previously been given only to prophet, priest and king.  He spoke uniquely as God spoke, did exactly as God would do. Part of the conversation Jesus had with the world was that He knew the Father better than anyone else- anyone else ever!  Jesus wasn’t the end to this story; he was the bridge to bring us home (to ‘Father’).  Jesus came to reveal God, not just in talk, but in walk.  Jesus told us he only did what he saw the Father doing.  He exposed the heart of God, not just the stone letter of God’s law.  That in turn should have caused us to ‘see’ the nature and characteristics of God more clearly than ever before.

From Adam and Eve forward, we developed a God-view that sometimes misunderstood much of the purpose and function of God.  Adam and Eve developed an eye problem (Gen. 3: 5-7), being persuaded away from their personal relationship with God, moving to an opinion of God that was centered on self-guilt.  They relied on their interpretation of who they thought God was rather than their experience of God.  They moved from a God that walked and talked with them, from a God that encouraged them and made them the focus of the Love of the Creation, an intimate God, to a more suspicious, even angry God.  Simply put, they doubted the goodness of God.  Double-mindedness set in, not simply seeing a God that loves but also a God to be feared.  The truth is they saw a God that was bent on throwing Adam and Eve away as they hid in the Garden, a God of anger, and they failed to see the God that moved toward them with compassion and a plan of reconciliation.  This God stepped further into their world rather than withdrawing or shunning them. They began to see God holding out on them, not being fair to them.  Sometimes, God gets interpreted much the same way today.  While their vision of God was wrong, that vision of God created a suspicion in our minds that resulted in walking away from God’s fellowship and trust.  Their problem was a seeing problem, a perception problem, which resulted in them separating themselves from God and doing that by their own choosing, not His.  Instead of being drawn to the face of God, they (and we) turned away in shame and fear.

Here’s my motivation for this letter.  Jane and I have three adult daughters. If I had the opportunity to share any one thing with them, a significant part of it would be what’s in this letter.  We’re all His children, created to share Life with Him.   We create children for the same reason God did: to share our lives with.  It pleases us to do that, as it pleased Him.  We fill ourselves with hope for our children, we dream about them, pray for them and hopefully we learn to be patient and forgiving as they journey through the life we’ve given them.  Somehow, each of us seems to default to the same vision of God that Adam and Eve so efficiently started.  In effect, we can participate with His Love or go our own way, bite our own apple.

The Bible calls that darkness. Darkness is simply the absence of light.  Oh, Adam and Eve believed in God, they just started believing wrong about Him.  In the believer’s world, it’s that kind of darkness that stands as the hindrance to a clear view of Christ, a clear view of His Father.  It’s similar to the moon blocking the light of the sun, an eclipse occurs in which no light passes through.  It’s not that there is no light, it’s just blocked from our eyes.  And just as the moon gets in the way of the sun, so our earthly cares can block our ‘seeing Him’.  As the moon moves away from the sun, more light is revealed.  The same is true of the Gospel.  As we abandon our interests and replace them with His interests, more revealing takes place of the true nature of God.  It’s to be remembered, darkness isn’t a good or evil problem, it’s a vision problem.  Jesus declared that he is the Light, the Life of the world.  He’s not asking us to agree with that for it to be true, He declares that it’s true whether we agree or not.

Not receiving that Truth sometimes leaves us bargaining to get God to do something for us, negotiating to get our plans endorsed rather than trusting in Him.  Rather than celebrating what He has done for us, we can miss so much of what He hopes to share with us.  The process of knowing His Love makes us free.  It’s not freedom to run away, although we can, but a freedom in Him that makes it possible for us to be healed and restored.  It makes us free to care, share and be fearless to love others.  Discovering the truth of belonging to Him is the first step in experiencing a whole and healthy way of living found simply in the knowledge of God’s Love for you.

Our discussions about what’s good and what is evil are all well and good, and indeed, necessary. But that alone is not sufficient for this generation of young people who are looking for what will lead them into Life, a better Life.  Paul teaches in Galatians that the Spirit must supersede the conversion of the flesh. (Gal. 3-3)  Simple rules alone won’t fly with this next generation.  Theirs is a playground where it all boils down to this: will this Gospel truly enrich (not money but relationships) my life or will it fail to do so?  Is the Gospel really able to deliver something better, or is it no better than the promises and pipe dreams of this world’s system?  They’re not looking for God in just our Sunday version but a God that enters into the brokenness of their every day.

 A change occurred in the garden.  What was not distinguishable by Adam and Eve before the fall, their nakedness, their natural fellowship and trust with the Father and their confidence, all disappeared.  Two people who earlier had experienced intimately walking and talking with God suddenly saw the world and God with new eyes.  They saw everything a different way.  Their eye correction prescription became the wrong prescription and prevented them from seeing with original eyes.  This new vision had a sting in it.  At the very moment of their disobedience, their new thinking about God became a self-imposed lie.  In some ways we’re stung by that same bite, influenced by the same lie today.  That’s a default in our birth package; you got that suspicious attitude at the hospital, took it home with you.  The curse of the Tree of Good and Evil caused us to change our minds about how see Him.  And now, just simply by being born, every person has an Adam and Eve moment to overcome.  That’s the original and historical Sin of man, the separation from God of our own making.  The remedy for that is the Light of Christ that comes and dispels that darkness.  We need a renewal of our minds to the understanding of the mind of Christ.  We need a vision to see ‘peace on earth, good will toward men’.  Instead of seeing separation, we need to perceive the God of adoption.

From the human perspective, the cross looked like a place where God was not present. It looked hopeless and a lonely place to those gathered there.  When Jesus cried out ‘where art thou’, in reality, he was not alone at the moment.  [To confirm that simply go to Psalm 22 (prophecy of the crucifixion) and read the next Psalm (23) Jesus is proclaiming.]  In reality it wasn’t a cross of abandonment, but a cross of trust.  Our Gospel encourages us to pick up that cross of Trust and follow Him.  In our worst moments, under the surest pressure, with the faintest of heartbeats, we’re not to doubt or be persuaded away from the Truth of God and His presence.  We’re not to repeat the failure of Adam and Eve but be captured by the vision of Jesus Christ.  We are to know He’s trustworthy, He’s exactly the same God that’s walked and talked to us our whole spiritual lives.  God ran toward them rather than turning away!  Adam and Eve were moved away from what they knew about Him to what they thought.  They saw the wrong picture of Him in their minds and created a wrong picture in the eye of their heart.  It was a mistake then, it’s a mistake now.

Jesus handed us Eternal life.  That Life is both about our everlasting (the next) life and the quality of this one.  The next generation must find Hope in the Gospel and confirm its value for their every life.  With the re-establishment of the Tree of Life (Jesus Christ), this time into the Garden of Gethsemane, and His new Creation through His resurrection, God again walks and talks with us each day, meets us each morning just as He did in that first Garden.  That’s the redemption, the new Life of Christ.  The Garden has been re-opened for ministry and relationship between God and people.  We were all born as blind men.  We need new eyes.  With Jesus, blind men saw instantly. That’s still happening today.   I’m reminded of what C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘Joy is the serious business of Heaven.’  The business of Heaven, the reason for Christ, was to deliver the Joy of a new day, possible by simply opening our eyes to our adoption, through Christ.

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