Disasters: An Opportunity to Experience God’s Power
Well, today (1 September 2014) is a very special day. It’s exactly ten years since I recorded the first, weekly 30 minute “Christianityworks” Radio message. We give God all the glory for His faithfulness over that time, and there are some very important lessons that we’ve learned along the way.
The ministry of Christianityworks (known previously as “Back to the Bible” and “Good News Broadcasting”) commenced operations in Australia back in 1957.
Up until the mid 1990’s, it principally broadcast the American-produced “Back to the Bible” radio programs across Australia (with a small amount of Australian content as well). But in 2001 it rebranded itself as “Christianityworks” and decided to become an “Internet only” ministry. That was a disaster! It was simply too early in the life of the Internet for such a move, so by January 2004, the ministry was ready to close its doors. We had to let the then-CEO go.
I had been a radio volunteer and subsequently a Board member, when – at this very difficult time – God called me out of my IT consulting career, to become the Bible teacher + ceo of the ministry.
On the 1st of September, after a clear, prophetic word from God just a few months earlier, we commenced recording the first few months of the weekly “Christianityworks” program. That basically accounted for the last few pennies that the ministry had in the bank. (The daily “A Different Perspective” program would follow in mid-2005).
So, Christianityworks was broke. We had almost no supporters left. We had 3 month’s worth of radio programs in the can, but no stations to take them.
It has been such an amazing journey since those days and here are just a few reflections on what we’ve learned along the way:
Be Moved By What You Believe, Not What You See
Looking back on it, I was absolute crazy to leave my secure, well-paid consulting career for this! Really!! It wasn’t an easy decision, but fortunately, God spoke very clearly. The call was unmistakable.
We stepped out into the never, never and quite simply God showed up. A young man who, technically speaking was in an “opposition” ministry, stepped up and offered to introduce me to a few Australian-based radio stations, so that on the 21st of February 2005, the Christianityworks radio program went to air on about 20 stations around Australia. We were over the moon.
But still there were no supporters, so we decided that I should go back to consulting to bring in the revenue that the ministry needed.
There were many difficult years ahead, but the great lesson that we learned in our experience is that God is the great unseen reality. On many occasions, ( so many!!) the ministry came perilously close to falling over. But God was always there, moving His people to give just enough to keep it going.
Today, those same radio messages (almost 5,000 episodes later) are heard on just over 1,300 radio stations in over 160 countries around the world by a weekly audience that numbers in the many millions.
Never, ever, ever be moved by what you see. Always act based on what you believe. Because it’s in that place, that He shows up!
It Doesn’t Matter If You Don’t Know What You’re Doing Just Yet
The other scary part of all this, was that I was from the IT industry. Yes, I’d done a lot of public speaking but I had no idea about producing radio programs, running a not-for-profit organisation, connecting with potential supporters, casting a vision for a ministry such as this.
In the IT industry I knew what I was doing. In the radio business, I didn’t have a clue.
No matter, God is faithful. He used the skills I did have (such as they were) – actually He didn’t waste a single thing – but far more importantly brought people around me, to do the many things I would never be able to do.
When I read my Bible, I discover that God almost always calls bog-ordinary men and women to get about His business of winning souls. Look at the Disciples. Uneducated fishermen, tax collectors and country bumpkins for the most part, not the religious elite from Jerusalem. They didn’t have a clue either.
But from the moment the Holy Spirit empowered those misfits until today, billions have come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
God isn’t looking for experts. He’s looking for ordinary people with a simple, childlike faith, ready to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Surround Yourself With Gifted, Passionate, Faithful People
Most people see me as the front man of the ministry. That’s only natural. It’s my voice on the radio, my face on the television. Fine.
But more than anything, the battles that Christianityworks has faced (and will no doubt continue to face) have taught me about the vital importance of amazingly faithful people who are passionate about reaching the world with the Good News of Jesus.
Nathan Brown (technically the “opposition”) without whom we would never have gotten this crazy idea off the ground and without whose help we would never have communicated effectively with our supporters. Max Harding, my faithful producer who coached me in the studio and persevered with me, and who has so faithfully produced each and every one of the almost 5,000 radio episodes. Joy Watkinson without whom the programs would never have made it to the many radio stations around the world. My wife Jacqui who has stood with me through thick and thin, and sacrificed so much to work in the donor relations area. Joseph Kebbie and Bubahase Joseph who distribute the programs across Africa. (Buba regularly travels through war zones to deliver CDs to stations). Elia Kommu and Isaac Krishna, who do such amazing work in India. Board members. Volunteers. Incredibly faithful supporters who over the years have given so sacrificially.
Are you getting the picture here? It’s quite a team.
We truly are the body of Christ. None of us is, in any way, remarkable. But joined together in the power of the Holy Spirit, Christianityworks is definitely a force for Satan to reckon with!
Never, Ever, Ever Give Up
I would be lying to you if I told you that I never thought about giving up along the way. Oh, there were so many times when I was tempted to throw the towel in. A lucrative consulting career always begged me to return. But the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 9:24-27) so inspired me to run the race to the end.
When God is in something, nobody can get in the road. Not people. Not circumstances. Not the enemy. Nobody will thwart the plans of God. (Acts 5:34-39).
And when God is done with something, He’s done with it. It doesn’t matter how much of a blessing that thing has been to ourselves and others, when God is done, He’s done. Which is why every day, in prayer, I hand the ministry back to Him and tell Him that if He wants to take it back and give it to someone else, I will willingly let it go.
The biggest danger of all, is that we can end up worshipping the works of our own hands. (Isaiah 2:8)
The only reason to step out of the boat, is to follow the call of the Master. And when we’re out on that stormy ocean, all we need do is keep our eyes on Him, and we will not sink. And when He calls us back into that boat to take us to a different place, the only thing to do is to hear His voice and follow Him, wherever it may lead, whatever it may cost.