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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

3-2-1 We're Live!

  • As I sat outside, avoiding going in, because the pain of going in and facing having to see all my things was too great, I was faced once again, with deciding what was of most value because we could not afford to take everything. I still had a few things in our home in Tallahassee, the short sale was close but as of yet not a sure thing and far from being final. My nature is one of organization and to have the people and the things I love close, so this had caused me great stress. And one day, when I feel stronger, I will tell you the story of when Kenny found me sitting outside on a yard sofa too mentally distraught to enter the house, I had been sitting in 30 degree weather for over 4 hrs.  All my hanging fixtures I had custom ordered, most coming from inexpensive stores where I had found the exact shape and color and design. The boys, fan/light fixture I had hunted for weeks, because it was an airplane stainless steel combination that went along with the theme of the boys love for everything "country" (American). And Emma, I had to have a pink hanging chandelier, it sounds expensive but it wasn't, it was just the investment of  my time, but it was so worth the weeks and weeks I had spent looking once it was hung and her stuff was moved in.  Bella's antique art table I had sanded and her hand prints were sealed in the top. All of these things, thanks to my Dad, were down and sitting in a corner of our  dining room, but I didn't have the space to bring them. I thought God, All my things are of no value to anyone, but me, my style is of an eclectic (a sort of disjointed style of decorating) nature, it would bring no money, but it would cost a huge amount for us to move. Well the Virgina job didn't work out, and the program that had been assisting us with our rent had left Ms.Betty a message that they were out of funds and would not cover any more of our rent and the rent was coming up in 2 weeks. So our only option was to get what we could and head down south and move in with my Dad. I thought back and wondered, "How did I get here?". In 3 yrs. Such a short time! Now, having to be put out of a house when we had already lost a home, been separated, moved in with my mother, moved into this house and now having to leave the few things I had left behind.  I had mentioned in a previous post a woman we had met at a funeral Kenny had presided over. A wonderful woman with a beautiful voice (she was a professional level singer). After the funeral, she came up to Kenny and said my husband is the station manger of a local Christian television station and I want you to call him. Long story short, we became friends with that couple, and their three children, and within about 3 months someone had underwritten, for free, Kenny an hour long, weekly television program! For free! We had felt, for the entire year of 2007, that something dramatic was  about to come to us, a huge and unexpected change.  We hoped it was going to be something with the Church we pastored, but we were really wrong about that.  The moment we heard that proposal (it was all the way into November) we knew this was it. But, this gentlemen, who was such a likable person, made an odd statement, just in passing, to us and I don't even think it registered, "Good luck with all this, everyone I have ever known that has ever gone into television has had great tragedy in there life". Well we kinda laughed, kinda ignored it, didn't really know how to take it, because we weren't familiar enough with any of this to make a judgment either way. We prayed many times to have the privilege to influence many, many people.  So often the modern Church hides away, never speaking to the people in their community about what it is they believe, and today many, many people have grown up having never been in a church, nor having been exposed to anything at all concerning the Scriptures of the Christian Church. This was unthinkable four decades ago, most schools, in the south at least, read the Bible every morning before class (Yes, it is True-a Bible being read In a Public School). We had spoken in that church for several years, but had probably no more than 50 visitors in that time.  Kenny had always structured his speaking for people who have little or none of the Church's nomenclature (unique vocabulary-which makes no sense to most people outside of church circles), but it did little good with average Church folks, sometimes making them frustrated. Mr. Norman, whose funeral this was, had also told Kenny that he saw Kenny in this light someday. It was a strange series of events and how they played out. 2007 things were going great, work was coming in, we were pastoring a small church and they had under written our medical insurance, which was very gracious. Life was good. Let me also say, that because of our business, Kenny and I took a unique stand to not ask for money from the platform of that program.  The business afforded us that luxury. Television has such a negative and cheesy appearance most of the time(that is Christian TV). We wanted the program to broadcast during church hours, so it reached nonchurched people, we didn't feel like our destiny was to the church goers, but to the ones that found themselves outside the church, Kenny's style was, also, very much geared to college town students, professors, and also the ones who had never been in a church.. I have had too many to count, of Emma's friends, call and say, they had been out partying all night and at 11:00 on Sunday morning they had put Mr Dyer on because he was a teacher and he was funny. Kenny was careful to speak as if he was talking to someone face to face instead of this "special"  language we seem to go into when we all gather together, Who is that for anyway? I think it might be to impress each other? So sad. So we did not get money for the program and to this day that program goes out in Tallahassee (and also in Knoxville, Tenn) and, to this day, we have gotten no money (3 years later) from it and we have asked for none, in spite of numbers of our friends disagreeing with this approach. So we were so excited, not about the notoriety, but the opportunity to speak of the hope we had found and share it with thousands of people, that never find themselves in a church pew. So we decided through the program we certainly would get invites to come and speak at local churches, and if that happened, we would have some form of extra income. Another odd, odd thing was that we both, instantly, knew we were suppose to resign the church we were currently pastoring. That took a lot of soul-searching, because even though we gave away most of the money we received from the church, we did have health insurance through them, but we were sure of what we should do and we decided God would take care of the rest. So we began 2008 the very first Sunday, a live broadcast in which Kenny spoke for almost 2 hours!! (Yeah I said "spoke" for 2 hours)He was worried how he would react, whether he would either freeze or turn into some alter-ego, so he over-prepare notes so that
if necessary he could just read them. I am glad to say he was a natural at just being himself and after that first program, which was not recorded at the studio, he never spoke over 45 minutes.  What was amazing was that the very first broadcast was LIVE.  We never edited the programs, even after about two months when we had to stop the live broadcast because of needing to have people for cameras and sound and master-controls, because we wanted it to be real, even if we made mistakes that didn't look good on us(or at least Kenny!!). So the worst year of our lives. In my intro, I said it as best I could. I would see a child arrested for drunk driving, one almost died, our livelihood actually did dry up and die, and Kenny and I would have  our relationship tested and stretched to the max, and thought it was in jeopardy of disintegrating!!  After four months we thought any time the calls from churches would start trickling in, we could speak, they would hear and understand our approach and motives and would help us along as if we were part of their church.
We tried to speak about Baptist, Methodist, Charismatic, and most all types of Christian churches, not just one group and we mentioned them by name, as well as their leadership.  Then came six months, then nine, then twelve.  What was just as ironic was that we personally knew over thirteen local pastors and in one year we spoke at only about five churches (only two of which was part of the group we knew), and this will not seem strange to you if you have never been in church circles, but of those five churches three did not
even take up an offering for our gas or food expenses(That is Completely Unheard of)  1000 men could go to 5 churches, be the worst public speaker in history, close the service, and out of that 1000, not 2 men could say that 3 or less had not even taken up an offering (offering just means any amount the people wished
to give-without the church itself being obligated to anything).  The point is, this was an impossibility, yet one which we managed to stumble into. But, once again, we seem to stumble into the most outrageous, unthinkable of things. Week after week, Kenny would leave whatever work he had, come home, shower get dressed, at our expense, drive to the studio and record the program, and nothing. Absolutely nothing came from that program.   Those are the times, I know for me, I had to continue to stand on the promise that God had made us, because we were seeing nothing, visible with our eyes reaffirm that we were on track. All we had to go on was a hope and a prayer. The studio manger, the other ministers  who had programs would scratch their heads, it just did not make sense. But we would put our last 20.00 dollars in Kenny's truck to get to the studio, because we were confident that God was using Kenny to reach people that the conventional church was not able to reach. I would  get ready and we would make it something we would do together, and I am shamed to say, I got so discouraged, toward the end I didn't even have the heart to go. I thought God, I feel like a complete hypocrite sitting in that studio listening to Kenny, when I don't know if I have the faith in my own heart to believe what he is saying. Emma had been arrested, the money was beginning to go, and things were just getting worse and worse. The ancients would say (by that I mean my
Grandma's generation) You just have to obey God!  It might seem as if we were doing everything right, that we had the purest of motives, that we were straight arrows, that was not true.  However, we did make a decision and that decision was to continue in whatever we felt we should do at the moment, even if it really,
really cost us, we had just not imagined it would really cost us THAT MUCH.

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