“O God in mercy bless us . . . Send us around the world with the news of your saving power . . . How everyone throughout the earth will praise the Lord!” Psalm 67:1 - 3 TLB
Be careful what you ask the Lord to let you do, He may just do it! Even better — He may compel you to do it.
I’m not sure that I fully understood the vision of those early pioneering steps nearly 40 years ago. Why did we name it Trinity Broadcasting Network when at the time all we had was one TV camera, a Sears shower curtain and some folding chairs for a set? How did we dare claim not just one TV station, but then two, then three, then three hundred and more? Today, we stand in awe to see how God has multiplied those small beginnings to become a vast network — His Voice to the world — with over 18,000 cable and TV station affiliates, countless direct-to-home satellite dishes and over 70 worldwide satellite footprints. And, now, through the mysterious infinity of cyberspace, the TBN Family of Networks — 20 strong — are reaching every mobile communications device known to mankind worldwide via the Internet!
So, why did we take that awesome word of the psalmist literally, “Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Ps. 2:8)? Yes, I know we are commanded to “Go into all the world,” but wasn’t it a little ridiculous to think that a handful of God’s kids could literally take on the whole world for Him? Ah, some of the mysteries of God we will not understand until we get to heaven, but now that I am a lot older I think I see God’s strategy, at least in part. I was in my thirties when TBN began — I am now nearing my eighties! Who said, “We get too soon old, but too late smart?” I’m not sure, but there is a lot of truth in that old proverb.
First of all, as I have often observed, God delights to take the least likely, yes, the “foolish things to confound the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27) in order to accomplish His master plan. Why, for instance, did God use Gideon and only 300 men to defeat the enemy, when 30,000 would have made a lot more sense? Why did God take the least likely of Jesse’s sons — the youngest little shepherd boy — to become mighty King David? Why would Jesus mix spittle with dust to anoint a blind man’s eyes so that he could see?
Yes, God still delights in “foolish things.” Why? We could cite a thousand and one examples from the pages of Scripture on miracles that our God has brought to pass through “foolish things,” things that in our human knowledge and understanding seem to make no sense at all! Ah, dear partners, rejoice because together we have all become some of God’s “foolish things,” and the reason is given to us by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians: “So that no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Cor. 1:29). Yes, God gets all the glory for this great Voice — His TBN — that He and He alone raised up.
Secondly, I think God may have used some of us to outwit the evil one! In those early days of TBN we were so “foolish” that even the devil did not take us too seriously! I know the world did not, nor did most of the church world. Let me hasten to say that our enemies were not caught napping too long since most of these nearly 40 years have been knockdown, drag out, bare knuckles, hand-to-hand, hell and high water COMBAT!
They brought glorious reports from virtually every nation on earth that the TBN Family of Networks is alive and well, beaming the message of Jesus Christ 24/7 to “everyone throughout the earth”! Praise be to the Lord God most high! Our rejoicing knew no bounds as reports came from forbidden places like the Moslem Middle East, China and amazing new places that we hardly even knew about like Tanzania and Estonia! To our wonder and amazement, we received new ministry partners who are taking the many TBN Family of Networks and expanding our coverage to regions of the world far beyond our known borders!
As I write this newsletter, we have just come from London, England where your new TV studio is being completed for European, English, Arabic, Farsi, and other language programming! We are on our way to St. Petersburg, Russia. Our partners there are pleading for a larger studio to expand the Russian JCTV and Smile of a Child networks! I can hardly catch my breath, as our next stop will be Jerusalem! Yes, beloved partners, we expect to claim our very own building to produce Russian, English, Arabic, and Hebrew language programming! While there we will rejoice to meet about 2,000 TBN partners from around the world! Years ago, Jan and I took about 200 pastors at a time to walk the dusty roads of the Holy Land. So, has TBN grown? How about 2,000%!
Dear TBN partners — I could fill a thousand more pages with wonderful reports of God’s great miracles. Stay tuned to Praise and Behind the Scenes programs for above and beyond reports of God’s glorious work around the world through His networks!
Yes, while we rejoice with “joy unspeakable and full of glory” for all that God has done, let me assure you that He is not finished with us “foolish things” just yet! Multitudes still wait to hear the Good News that only we can give them. God really will “send us all around the world,” if we will let Him. Then and only then can we truly say with the psalmist:
PRAISE GOD, O WORLD! (Ps. 67:5 TLB)
P.S. Your letters, prayers and support for the Jerusalem studio are needed now! Jan and I love and bless you in Jesus’ name!
Matt, Paul on “Behind the Scenes” from TBN-Italy’s studios