As a Christian and as a broadcaster, The National Day of Prayer has always been a significant event. I first became involved when I happened to be on Capitol Hill for other reasons and “stumbled” on an event in the Canon House Office Building. Dr. James Dobson was speaking and I got to a phone to call back and report on the air what was happening. We subsequently broadcast that event live the following year on MIDDAY CONNECTION. Then, under the leadership of Dr. Bob Bakke while I was at Moody, I was part of the team that annually produced the Nationally Broadcast Concert of Prayer. The opportunity to host those events on radio and work with such a great, professional team are among my favorite radio memories.
In 2012, we once again seized the moment on the National Day of Prayer to broadcast a prayer event to the nation. Under the leadership of Dr. Bakke and Byron Paulus of OneCry.com, a special 2-hour, live broadcast was aired on hundreds of radio stations, calling the nation to prayer for a national spiritual awakening. We then did it again in the Fall of 2012, and those programs were recognized as the Radio Program of the Year by the National Religious Broadcasters. They were sweet times of unified prayer and worship.
Now, we are poised to do it again in 2013 on The National Day of Prayer. On Thursday evening, May 2, from 8:00 to 10:00 pm ET, we will broadcast live from the studios of Moody Radio in Chicago to participating radio stations all over the country, asking God for a personal and national spiritual revival. It will be an honor to once again co-host with Bob Bakke. And not just on radio– we will be streaming live and using Facebook and Twitter to reach out and include as many people as we can muster to pray with us that evening.
To read more about this very important and unique prayer gathering, please visit www.OneCry.com. Read and sign the One Cry declaration, and then join us for the live broadcast on Thursday, May 2, 2013.
By the way, my FIRST PERSON interview with Dr. Bob Bakke is also available online and you can listen to it here.
One of the most beloved gospel singers of all time, George Beverly Shea has died at the age of 104. Best known for his long ministry with Dr. Billy Graham, Bev was an amazing man with one of the humblest hearts I’ve ever known.
What you may not know about Bev is that in 1939 he came to WMBI in Chicago as a staff announcer and spent several years on the Moody staff as an announcer and singer. In 2004 while I was still on the staff at Moody Radio, we honored Bev Shea with a special day of broadcasting. The Moody Radio staff put together a great reception which culminated in an OPEN LINE interview. LISTEN HERE to Bev Shea on OPEN LINE.
Several years before Bev’s 2004 visit, I had interviewed Dr. Graham for OPEN LINE. When he arrived in the radio offices on the 10th floor of Crowell Hall, Dr. Graham immediately remembered that this was the place where he had come to meet Bev Shea, whom he had heard sing on WMBI, and ask him to sing on Billy’s radio program, SONGS IN THE NIGHT. So, when Bev arrived in 2004, I asked him to tell me his version of the story, which he did with all the facts matching Billy’s. One thing he added was that it was the 10th floor corner office where Billy pushed his way past the secretaries to gain a audience with Bev. The office which Bev pointed out happened to be my office for many years and my name and title was printed on the door. In telling me the story, Bev looked at the glass door and said, “My name used be be here.” I handed him a marker and asked him to put it back and he took the pen and wrote, “G. Bev Shea, Staff Announcer 1939-1944″. Several years later (and with Moody’s permission!) I took that piece of signed glass with me and still have it today.
Thank God for George Beverly Shea. Heaven has gained a great voice and an even more humble heart.
The month of April marks the release of two new audiobook titles which I have the privilege of narrating.
First is Max Lucado’s Second Chances, More Stories of Grace from Brilliance Audio. Earlier, I narrated Max’s title Grace and this newest provides even more evidence of God’s matchless grace in people’s lives. Nobody tells a story like Max and I often have to pause in the middle of narration as I regain my composure from reading these moving stories.
The second book is another good one. Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision, wrote an award-winning book in 2010 titled The Hole in Our Gospel. Now, he’s followed it up with Unfinished, Believing Is Only the Beginning from Oasis Audio. After narrating the book, I was able to interview Rich about it. That interview is included in the audiobook, but it will also be released on my FIRST PERSON radio program on Saturday, April 13, 2013. The interview will also be available at www.FirstPersonInterview.com.
One of the events I’ve looked forward to for many years now is the annual National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention. As a matter of fact, the first time I ever stepped onto an airplane was in 1973 to attend my first conference in Washington D.C., representing WCDR at Cedarville University. Paul Gathany was a wonderful mentor in those days and allowed me to tag along.
For the past several years, the convention is held in Nashville at Opryland, a sprawling complex that adjacent to The Grand Old Opry. This NRB gathering is always a place to greet the many friends I’ve made through the years, make new friends, and even catch the wave of a few new projects in the coming year. The sessions are always inspiring and, yes, challenging.
One of the highlight this year was to be a member of the team that received the honor of being chosen as the radio “Program of the Year”. In May and October of 2012, we did a series of prayer summit broadcasts live on Moody Radio. The events were birthed by One Cry, an offshoot of Life Action Ministries. So, the award was shared by One Cry, Moody Radio represented by Dan Craig and producer Joe Carlson, and Dr. Bob Bakke who served with me as the host.
I agree with the email that Bob sent out to the rest of the team who could not be in Nashville to accept with us:
“We received this award the other day in Nashville, but you should have been there to receive it with us. Thanks so much for your partnership in the Gospel. The “Program of the Year” award is a recognition, I believe, of the growing hunger for a new work of heaven in our day. We don’t make more of the award than it is. The only awards that are ultimately meaningful are 1. knowing that Christ was magnified, and 2., that a spiritual awakening sweeps our land. If this recognition helps helps us get more people in pursuit of God with us, we will be thankful. One of the messages has to be, though, the part you played. Thanks so much. The Lord’s favor is upon our prayers.”
By God’s grace, we will have the opportunity to do more One Cry programs in 2013, calling the nation to prayer and a spiritual awakening.
What a great treat to have the opportunity this past week of traveling to Moscow on behalf of Far East Broadcasting Company. I was invited by my friend Ed Cannon, the President of FEBC, to witness the effective ministry of FEBC radio in the countries of the former Soviet Union. What I found was a mature radio staff who are producing many hours each week of live programming for distribution via radio and satellite to homes and cars all over Russia. There is a local station in Moscow (which is seeking funding to move from AM to a less expensive FM frequency), one in a Siberian location, one planned for Ukraine, and still another on the air in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Pray for all of them and if you can help, I know FEBC would welcome your support.
Actually the trip accomplished 3 priorities. The first was to get a first hand look at FEBC’s ministry and to offer encouragement. But as so often happens, I was the one encouraged and challenged by what I saw. Secondly, along with several others from National Religious Broadcasters, I was able to take part in the ACB Russia Media Forum, put together by my long time friend, Hannu Haukka. I led a workshop on interviewing which I hope was helpful as we all seek to sharpen our skills. Third, my Board role with Russian Ministries enabled me to facilitate making a connection between FEBC and others in ministry in Russia with Pavel Tokarchuk who heads up the Russian Ministries affiliate, The Association for Spiritual Renewal. Pavel and Boris Volkov met with the group and briefed us on ASR’s work including the School Without Walls project.
Trips like this one enable me to stay in fresh wonderment and awe at what God is doing all over the world. It reminds me of the very small part I play in the world, but of the importance of doing my part faithfully.
It’s been in the works for several months, but I am pleased to announce a new radio feature on behalf of Care Net, a network of pregnancy counseling centers and a Pregnancy Decision Line (PDL) counseling service.
Called CARE NET CONNECTION, this 2 minute radio feature tells the stories of young women who have received counseling with the result that thousands of baby’s lives have been saved.
The Co-Founder of Care Net, Melinda Delahoyde, joins me in the studio to host this new feature. Melinda has been at the forefront of the prolife movement for many years and brings a wonderful, warm, caring heart to the need to save these little ones, one life at a time.
Radio stations can contact me for more information about adding CARE NET CONNECTION.
Click here to listen to a sample program.
Last Saturday in Medina, OH was our annual CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA show with two performances in front of enthusiastic audiences. Put together by the team at The American Policy Roundtable, the featured guest was Eric Metaxas. Hosted by Dave Zanotti and yours truly, the program was produced by David Mullen and featured music from Nicole C. Mullen, Nicole’s father Napoleon Coleman, the husband/wife duo Johnnyswim, and the ladies of Four Wall Flight. David Mullen also sang and put together a great live band for the event.
With the The War Years theme developed by Dave Zanotti, the program was a marvelous blend of music and conversation. As a matter of fact, Eric Metaxas said afterwards, “This is among the best Holiday Radio Programming I’ve ever heard and I had the HUGE privilege of being a part of it. The music is just FANTASTIC. Please check this out!”
We featured the first half of the program on this weekend’s edition of THE PUBLIC SQUARE, and you can listen here. The second half will air next weekend, December 22. But in addition to the two part program, radio producer Alan Duncan has also edited a 54 minute version of the show for any radio station who wants to run it as a one time radio special. Contact me if interested.
Thanks, team, for such a great holiday program!
I’m excited to once again host CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA with Dave Zanotti the team at The American Policy Roundtable. Our weekly radio show, THE PUBLIC SQUARE, is going live on stage with special guest Eric Metaxas on Saturday, December 8 in beautiful Medina, OH. There will be performances at 2:30 and 7:00pm– and tickets are still available.
We will release the recording of this live event on our regular weekly editions of THE PUBLIC SQUARE on Dec. 15 and 22, but we are also providing a 54:00 compilation of the live event as a stand alone radio special for interested stations.
In addition to Eric Metaxas, we will have several musical guests, including Nicole C. Mullen, husband and wife duo JOHNNYSWIM, and Four Wall Flight.
‘MERRY CHRISTMAS– ‘Hope to see you there!
Little did we know in 2011 that when we recorded the Angel Tree Radio Special on behalf of Prison Fellowship that by the time 2012 rolled around Chuck Colson would have been called home to heaven. Chuck was passionate about Angel Tree and always told great stories of how God took what God provided through listeners and used it to bless thousands of kids whose parent(s) who were in prison. But, there’s no question that Chuck would have wanted Angel Tree to continue long after his death.
So, this year’s radio special is now airing on stations all over the country. Prison Fellowship President, Jim Liske, did a great job this year communicating the joy in these kid’s lives when they are given a gift in the name of their incarcerated parent. Plus, Chuck Colson’s voice is still heard in recordings from previous years.
To donate to Angel Tree, go to www.angeltree.org.
Pictured here is the team that put this year’s Angel Tree Radio Special together: Tim Hollinger (editor), Wayne Shepherd (host), Jack Hibbard (www.TheHibbardGroup.com), Jay Payleitner (Producer), Jim Liske (Prison Fellowship CEO).
It has now been 6 years of life as an itinerant announcer, interviewer, producer, and broadcast consultant and since this is Thanksgiving time, let me give thanks for the way God has provided. It has not only met our needs materially, but the assignments I have are soul-satisfying as well. Sometimes, it is a daily radio program, and sometimes it is a single VO project, but I love the variety and the scope of the work. I paused today to think back over the year and counted over 30 ministries and organizations which I was given an opportunity to serve in some way, most often with my voice, but sometimes in other ways as well. In addition, the start-up of FIRST PERSON has been both a challenge and a joy.
One of the things I keep on my office bookshelf is my father’s lunchpail from the days when he went to work building crankshafts for Pontiacs. Its gritty aluminum and worn handle reminds me of the dignity of his hard, but humble work in providing for our family.
Many years ago I had the privilege of interviewing Doug Sherman and William Hendricks who had just written the book, Your Work Matters to God. Their book had a profound impact on me at mid-career and I’ve never forgotten their presentation of a theology of work. Os Guinness and Wayne Grudem have also been instrumental in forming my perspective on our calling and work that glorifies God. There are many worthwhile careers and many ways to honor God with our work, but I’ve always been aware that God specifically called me to what I have done and do today. There is great satisfaction in that.
“What ever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” Col. 3:23-24