HAPPY 28th TBN!
On May 28, 1973 -- just 28 years ago -- a very small, but also very different LIGHT appeared over LOS ANGELES and all of Southern California. The world could have cared less and hardly even noticed a new light in the heavens. Why would they? A snowy little picture on their TV screens -- one could barely make out the features, and then, only if the weather was just right and you held your arm at the right angle across the room! What small notice the world did make was mostly to ridicule and make fun of this little group of Christians who dared to declare:
On this bankrupt little TV station, that was only on the air TWO HOURS A DAY, the cynics were probably taking bets on how many DAYS we would flicker along before going out like the several others before us!
First of all, this was the worst possible time to try to start a new TV station. America was in a severe recession. The 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel had angered the Arabs and oil prices went through the roof and supplies literally ran out. Remember the long lines and waiting at the gas station for hours? Then the Nixon Watergate scandal exploded with the resignation of the President in August! Unemployment hit every sector of the economy as FEAR hit the nation. Ah, 1973, not a good year -- certainly not a good year to resurrect a bankrupt TV station! BUT GOD just happens to be in the RESURRECTION BUSINESS! He delights in taking "foolish things to confound the wise"! (I Corinthians 1:27)
Who could have dreamed that 28 years later this little flickering light would GROW -- slowly at first -- to finally EXPLODE into a MIGHTY VOICE that would cover the whole wide world with 2,300 TV stations linked together by 17 satellites, over 5,000 cable stations, shortwave and long wave radio, plus Internet streaming video, literally to the WHOLE WIDE WORLD! Surely we can say with Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph: "WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT!"
Many of you "old timers" were there with Jan and me and a small group of scared believers. You have ridden this awesome "roller coaster" with us -- at the top, breathless, seeing the vastness of the challenge before us. You have screamed with delight and sometimes terror as we plunged down, down through another valley of testing and, at times, despair! 28 years later, we can sing Andrae Crouch's song with understanding:
But for many of our newer Partners, you need to know of the many MIRACLES our God has wrought for us. Just as the Old Testament writers spoke again and again of God's great deliverance of His "chosen people" from Egyptian bondage, let us never forget to "raise our Ebenezer" -- saying:
Several years ago, I wrote a book, "I Had No Father But God." It is my -- no -- it is OUR testimony of how our God raised up this mighty Voice proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world. [It is available by writing to TBN. Ask for it by name and send an offering large or small, if you can. If you can't, we will sent it to you anyway.] In the book, I tell of the many awesome miracles God did for us: a mountain that literally MOVED -- yes, a real one! -- a man that walked into the office with $35,000 twenty minutes before the deadline to purchase our first TV station! And it was exactly what we needed -- to the penny!
But I feel led to tell one very personal story that I know today was the key to God's amazing provision for TBN and its explosive growth worldwide. It is also the KEY to your need, because it is a law of God that opens the door to His miraculous provision for body, soul and spirit. The KEY? We have read it, heard it preached until we don't even hear it anymore. It's the words of Jesus: "GIVE AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN UNTO YOU..." (Luke 6:38). "Oh boy, here Crouch goes again -- after our money!" I can hear the heretic hunters rising up again! But hear me -- this is my story:
Jan and I had invested our life savings in the new station -- $20,000. Not much by today's standards, but it was all we had. It was what I call "hard money" -- saving pennies and nickels by doing without, in many cases. We used it to equip a small TV studio and set, plus buy the air time for those TWO hours a night that we were on the air. The money went so quickly we did not realize that we would be broke after only three days on the air -- but we were! Mr. Meyers, the owner demanded cash in advance and was not going to turn the station on that third night! I pled with him and finally begged and borrowed $1,000, about half of what he demanded. He reluctantly agreed to turn the station on that night to have an emergency telethon. I was emotionally and physically spent, so I asked our pastor, Syvelle Phillips of First Assembly of God, if he would host the program with Jan. He graciously agreed as I went home to pray. On the way home, I cried out to God -- I was actually angry at God! My prayer went something like this --
I was pounding on the steering wheel of the car as I drove up MacArthur Boulevard toward home. I have heard the VOICE of God clearly a few times in my life -- if not out loud, just as good as -- and this was one of those times. He spoke gently, but firmly:
The word shocked me to the very core of my being! "But God," I protested, "I've given you everything -- my life, my family, our home, EVEN OUR LIFE SAVINGS!" The Voice spoke again: "NO, SON, YOU ONLY LOANED ME YOUR SAVINGS!" Dear God -- it was true! I had taken a note back so that I could be repaid later -- I HAD only LOANED our money to God! He knows even the secrets of our hearts.
I was now at home -- I hurried upstairs, threw myself across the bed and said:"Okay, Lord, I will GIVE you our savings IF you will match it with another $20,000 tonight!" I flipped on the TV as Pastor Phillips was pouring out his heart for MY VISION of an all-Christian TV station! Oh, ME of little faith! Jan was the first telephone prayer partner -- so I picked up the phone and dialed 714 731-1000. I said, "Angel, God spoke on the way home -- we must GIVE our life savings to the Lord. Do you agree?" A long silence...then I heard Jan begin to weep softly. "Of course I do," she replied sweetly. Later, she said her tears were partly for JOY that God had reached my hard stingy heart! Ah, the lessons we all have to learn -- some the hard way! I said, "Tell Pastor Phillips: 'A man who loves Christian TV very much will GIVE $20,000, IF the people will match it tonight!' Don't use my name!" In a moment I watched as Jan whispered that word to our pastor. The challenge went out and -- wonder of wonders -- the phones rang and rang and rang! Long story short: not only did they match my gift, another $10,000 was pledged that night for a total of $50,000 after only three nights on the air! Yes, "If you GIVE, you will GET..." (Luke 6:38 TLB), and sometimes God asks for it ALL!
And now for the rest of the story... From that day to this, TBN has never been in need. We have paid for everything on time and have never been in debt! When we give what God speaks, the 'windows of Heaven' open up and we will always have EVERYTHING we need and more!
God may not ask you for everything, as He did me, but if you will hear His Voice, HE WILL SPEAK! Some do not even tithe the 10% God commands. I did not many years ago, but I have learned to give God HIS TITHES AND OFFERINGS -- if I want my needs met!
God bless you. If you missed out on last month's Praise-A-Thon, you may make a secure donation or renew your pledge online. Prove God -- He WILL meet your need, just as He did mine -- I am a witness. Help us keep this MIGHTY VOICE called TBN ON THE AIR till Jesus comes. Your gift of obedience is the KEY to your needs, large or small. Jesus said it: "IF YOU GIVE, YOU WILL RECEIVE..." Luke 6:38
P. S. Happy 28th Birthday to ALL our dear Partners!
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