Christmas is a season of giving and I’ve recently been a part of some significant radio projects which I feel are worthy of your support.
1. Angel Tree – Started by Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship, Angel Tree is designed to give gifts at Christmas to the children whose parent(s) are in prison. The gifts are given in the name of the parent so that the child makes the connection with his or her parent. This year, as in the past 2 years, I hosted the syndicated ANGEL TREE RADIO SPECIAL with Prison Fellowship CEO Jim Liske. But in addition to the Angel Tree radio program, I invited Jim to join me on FIRST PERSON so that we could tell his personal story as well as tell the Angel Tree story of love and spiritual connections made possible by your gifts. You’ll be able to hear Jim on FIRST PERSON on Dec. 14, 2013 and afterwards in the audio archive at FirstPersonInterview.com. If you’d like to give to Angel Tree, please click here.
2. Gift Of Hope – My friends at Russian Ministries have conducted Gift Of Hope/Project Hope for several years. Samaritan’s Purse is unable legally to conduct their Christmas gift program in the countries of the former Soviet Union, but by supplying the funds to the local churches, Russian Ministries can equip local believers to provide boxes of gifts and a children’s Bible or Christian material to orphans and other needy children. I featured Project Hope through an interview with Greg Yoder and his daughter, Anatasia, on a recent FIRST PERSON program which you can listen to here. Learn more and give your gift at this website.
3. The Word to the Muslim World – Beyond Christmas, we are wrapping up production of a radio special in association with Open Doors USA to raise money for the printing and distribution of Bibles in predominantly Muslim countries where the church is often persecuted. The phenomena of Muslims seeking Christ continues around the world and we want to provide them with copies of God’s Word. Be listening for this radio special coming to a station near you soon in 2014.
Russian Ministries is taking on an incredible initiative right now to fund the printing and distribution of a special Russian/English edition of The Gospel of John for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. These can be printed and handed out for only $1 per copy. In addition to that, a donor has made it possible for every gift to be matched during this special effort! So, for every dollar given, 2 copies of John will be provided. And a network of churches and students of the School Without Walls throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union will be personally be sharing John with not only athletes and fans, but also to many others in major cities.
I wanted to do what I could to help spread the word about this evangelistic effort, so we’ve created a special 26:00 minute radio program featuring both Sergey Rakhuba and Wally Kulakoff of Russian Ministries. In addition to the program, there are spots which radio stations can use to partner with Russian Ministries in providing not only John, but the printed plan of salvation as well. We have the commitment of one group of radio stations who plan to partner with Russian Ministries, and we’d welcome even more stations to join us. Stations can contact me for additional information.
Anyone is welcome to give a gift for The Gospel of John at the winter olympics. Just call 1-888-462-7639, and extension “0″ for the operator. Or give online at www.russian-ministries.org.
If you would like to listen to the Russian Ministries Radio Special, it’s available online by clicking here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Most Important Story
Christian Group Achieves Milestones in Print, Apps
and Potential Merger
(Naperville, IL) Syndicated radio host Wayne Shepherd announces the achievements of the ministry group “Most Important Story” as they reach milestones in print distribution, smart phone apps, the launch of the Go Kit!, and now speculation of potential mergers with major ministry partners.
“Most Important Story” is a suite of evangelism resources developed by Dr. David Hunt, owner of Envoy House Publishers, who create and distribute the MIS family of material.
“David and I have been friends for many years and have traveled the world together in a ministry context. I have seen firsthand the effectiveness of these resources and am pleased to have played a small part in David and his team reaching their goals,” says Shepherd. Recently Shepherd recorded Hunt for the “First Person” radio program, which will air August 17th.
The 32-page “Most Important Story” booklet has recently crossed the mark of 91 million copies distributed to children around the world in 118 languages. The booklet was converted into a smart phone app with voices, narration and music and tells the same story of Jesus but in the digital arena. The app is now in English, Spanish, Arabic and Farsi languages, which completes the initial launch. The print and app combine into the Go Kit! for short term missions and children ministry workers who use a tiny projector and display the app on a big screen to a group and then distribute the print books to the onlookers, creating a never seen before experience in evangelism. After months of R&D, the Go Kit! is now launched. These milestones have led Hunt to prayerfully seek the next step for the materials.
The outcome is that this powerhouse of evangelism assets could potentially now be combined with a major partner.
Hunt clarifies, “It will look less like a merger and more like a the greatest expansion of the brand and its distribution since its inception. Having achieved the milestones in print to the only apps like this out there – I am looking for the right person and company/ministry to take these materials exponentially further than we have done. We are looking to partner with someone who has a heart for the children of the world and are committed to evangelism and discipleship using Scripture.”
In addition to the booklets, apps and Go Kit!, the suite of materials also includes a one-of-a-kind New Testament, an illustrated children’s Bible, coloring and activity books which allow a child to “color their way through the Bible” and the Gospel of John. All materials are in multiple languages.
Shepherd summarizes, “Whether a merger or an outright acquisition, The Most Important Story will go on to impact even more children the world over than ever before. David often quotes Ephesians 3:7, ‘By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving Him by spreading this Good News.’”
There are never two days quite the same in my world. I enjoy having the opportunity of hosting a number of different radio programs– some daily, and some weekly. Each has it’s own personality and style and I am often “the other guy” on mic with the person (or people) who provide the bulk of the content. It’s a role I’m very comfortable with. Even on my own program, FIRST PERSON, I like to make sure that the guest and their story is front and center– not the interviewer. Although I’ve wanted to be in radio since I was a child (even though I had NO idea what that meant), I agree with the person who said, “We don’t get the life we deserve, but the life God designs”. I never could have dreamed or outlined the direction I would eventually take, but it is very rewarding at this stage of life to be able to say that I love what God has designed and equipped me to do.
In addition to the regular and special radio programs I host, here are some recent audiobook titles which I have voiced:
You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado. A gifted writer, it always amazes me how simply Max writes, and yet how emotionally powerful it is.
This audiobook was produced by Brilliance Audio in Grand Haven, MI, and recorded in their studios. A very busy shop, I counted a total of 10 recording booths all working simultaneously recording all sorts and genres of titles. Brilliance is part of the Amazon company.
Two other titles that were offshoots of You’ll Get Through This were also recorded, God Will Carry You Through, and God Will Use This For Good.
While I was in the Brilliance studios, we decided to also tackle a short Christmas audiobook by Dr. Billy Graham, titled God’s Blessings At Christmas.
Watch for the release of these audiobooks soon from Brilliance Audio.
Another very enjoyable recent audiobook narration was The Spiritual World of The Hobbit, by James Stuart Bell. Produced for Oasis Audio in my own studio, I had to go deeper than I had ever gone before in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien (yes, he preferred to pronounce his name Tol’keen). Jim Bell and I once worked at Moody Bible Institute at the same time, he at Moody Publishers and me in Moody Radio. This is a very fine book, bringing out the spiritual lessons to be learned from Tolkien’s great book. More information and an audio sample of the book is here.
Finally, a good business book: The Lemonade Stand; What Every Entrepreneur Should Know to Succeed in Starting and Running Any Business. The title and subtitle describes it well. I enjoyed narrating and learning from this book by Ara Bagdasarian and Nick Gustavsson. It’s found at Audible.com here.
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.