"THE LORD HATH MADE BARE HIS HOLY ARM
IN THE EYES OF ALL THE NATIONS; AND ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF OUR GOD"!
Yes, Happy 36th birthday to our TBN! Dear partners, if it had not been for the obedience of one man, I probably would not be writing this newsletter to you this month of May 2009! The story is frightening, then amazing, then glorious beyond any human language!
Go back with me 36 years to May of 1973. Some of you "old timers" will remember that first little low power TV station that flickered on the air, May 28. Some of you could not see the picture, but you still called in to say you could at least hear us! You encouraged Jan and me to go for it anyway and that you were supporting us with your love, prayers, yes, and even your finances! Talk about FAITH — well that, indeed, was what kept us all going in spite of impossible odds!
Well, everything went from bad to worse when that first little station, Channel 46, caught fire in the antenna and was gone! Oh, how our faith was tested and now we couldn't even call on you to pray! I remember walking into my little rented office to clean out my desk when GOD SPOKE! His Voice was strong and clear, "CALL MR. ANGEL LERMA FOR CHANNEL 40!" After the immediate shock I said, "But, Lord, I have already spoken to Mr. Lerma — his station is not for sale!" The Voice spoke only once more — "CALL!"
I immediately obeyed and of all things Mr. Lerma personally answered my call. To make a long story short, Mr. Lerma explained that his station was failing and that he had decided that very morning to sell Channel 40! He invited me to come that same morning and discuss a purchase plan! WOW! After regaining my composure I was headed up the Santa Ana freeway at breakneck speed to North Hollywood toward Angel's office. In hours we had signed a preliminary agreement to purchase Channel 40, KLXA TV for ONE MILLION DOLLARS! Angel would fi nance the deal, but demanded a $100,000 down payment.
Here is where another awesome miracle began. Jan and I did not have a million pennies, let alone a $100,000 down payment; so, as usual, we brought the glorious opportunity to YOU, our pioneer partners. That whole summer of 1974 we held a desperation-a-thon program night after night! Whether or not we could have our very own 24/7 TV station was up to you and of course to our God!
As the day grew close to the time we had to perform on the agreement with Mr. Lerma, our faith began to waver! Jan and I had already exhausted our $20,000 life savings that first year buying time (just three hours a night), plus renting a small studio and a few props for a TV set. Now the deadline was upon us and we had raised only $65,000!
So many of you, our precious partners, have called, written and emailed to bless and encourage us. Many have complimented Jan and me for our faith in stepping out into this great voice called TBN! While we appreciate your love and confidence, I simply want to fall on my face and cry out, "To God be the glory, great things HE hath done"! I have often quoted the Apostle Paul's word — "God hath chosen the foolish things to confound the wise." Why? "So that no flesh shall ever glory in His presence"! This way our Lord gets all the credit for the "GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE"! Praise the Lord for His great TBN!
Well, back to our crisis!
Jan and I realize now more than ever that we were a couple of those "foolish things" as we look back on these 36 awesome years of many miracles. As I said, the day of our deadline had come — we did not have the $100,000 down payment! I was pacing back and forth in my office praying! Sweet Jan was in our tiny prayer chapel with a few of our volunteer workers — eyelashes gone, mascara streaking — also fasting and praying. It seemed all hope was gone, not to mention faith!
Back then the banks closed at 3:00 PM and as I looked at the clock it was 2:30 PM. Suddenly my phone rang. Mildred, my volunteer secretary, called and said, "Paul, there is a strange, little man out here asking to see you." My heart did a flip- flop as I asked her to send him in immediately!
Ah, dear partners, what another great lesson God taught us that day. "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent his Son…" (Gal. 4:4). God is never early, He is never late — He is always right on time! I asked the Lord one time why it seemed that He always waited to the last minute before bringing that next miracle to pass. God will speak if we will get quiet and open to His Voice! God spoke clearly to me and said, "Son, so that when your answer comes there is never any doubt Who did it!" Again, God gets all the credit, all the glory! Praise the Lord!
My visitor was a total stranger, Scotty Scotvold. His name sounded Scottish, but never mind, it was now 2:45 — only 15 minutes to disaster! Scotty told me he was on his way to buy a yacht, but that God had spoken to him! Scotty mentioned he was a Lutheran by faith and that he wanted to be a part of a 100% Christian TV station in Southern California. To my shame I honestly thought, "Does God really speak to Lutherans?" Another lesson, but that deserves a book of its own. As the clock ticked on, I silently prayed that he would get to the point! Finally, Scotty reached into his vest pocket and — could it be a check? Yes! And, as he unfolded it, my eyes fi lled with tears. Dear partners, it was a cashier's check for exactly $35,000! I snatched it from his hand and raced out the door — I didn't even say thank you! Oh, I did later, but it was now 2:50 PM. I broke all speed limits and made it to the United California Bank at 5 minutes before 3:00 PM! I literally ran to the escrow offi cer's desk and triumphantly laid the miracle check down and demanded it to be dated that day!
Dear Scotty recently went home to heaven at 92 years of age. What a reward surely met him as he passed through those gates of pearl!
Yes, obedience is truly better than sacrifice, because today 70 satellites and 18,027 affiliate and wholly owned stations are fl ashing the GOOD NEWS around the world, 24/7, via NINE full TV networks. All praise to our most High God!
As Jan and I move on into our sunset years, we need you NOW more than ever! I'm 75 and, well, Jan is 71 and HEALED! The doctors said colon cancer gave her six months to a year to live — that was six years ago — no radiation, no chemotherapy — just JESUS!
Will you help us keep this greatest Voice in all the world ON THE AIR TILL JESUS COMES? We know you will! How we love you, need you and are praying for you, now, 36 years long and strong!
"And all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation
of our God"! Isa. 52:10