Thursday, May 5, 2016

Failure. The End, or The Beginning?

What do you do with failure?

For many of us, failure is one of our greatest fears, and we expend immense effort to avoid it at all cost. If we can’t avoid it, our next option is to defend our fragile egos from feeling  it. We set low expectations, slipping in to Eeyore/Chicken Little mode and become frantic or despondent, or we prepare excuses for why things didn’t pan out and how it wasn’t our fault.  We spend so much energy avoiding or minimizing failure that perhaps it’s time to take a look at what failure actually is (or isn’t) and maybe shift our perspective a bit.
If you ever google “quotes on failure” you will be met with a variety of remarks, ranging from trite to truth, but my favorite ones are from those folks who by most accounts are counted “successes” in today’s culture.

Bill Gates: “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
Henry Ford: “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”
Michael Jordan: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”
Abraham Lincoln: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm… Success is not final, Failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Albert Einstein: “Anyone who has never made mistakes has never tried anything new.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Our greatest glory is not  in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall.”
Francis Chan: “Our greatest fear should not be the fear of failure, but of succeeding at the things in life that don’t really matter.”

The quotations go on, but the theme from  those who have known “success” is the same, the price of success is failure. How we learn to “handle” our failures will determine whether we become one of these success stories, or whether we fade into the oblivion of mediocrity.
We are a culture who exalts the winner. So much so that if you are deemed a “loser” it becomes everything you are and what defines you---Friends, It ought not be so!!  Those who I have just quoted are only “winners” because they refused to allow failure to be the last word of their story! Hollywood loves the “rise from the ashes, comeback kid” kind of story, but when it comes to actually walking it out in our own lives, we want to throw in the towel, shrink back in embarrassment, and “never do that again.” 
So what does it take to fight the status quo? Proverbs 24:10 tells us “if you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small,” and in verse 16,”for a just man falls seven  times and rises up again…” GET UP!! KEEP FIGHTING!  
But, you say, “It’s Hard.” Yep, it is!! There is a reason that “long-suffering” or perseverance is listed as a fruit of the Spirit! We can’t keep going on our own! When we have been beaten and bloodied by what life has to throw at us, the last thing that we want to do is keep going. But we do. Because HE did.
Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us of the bitterness before the victory that Jesus went through. He despised it, but He kept going. Jesus kept his eyes on the prize. Through the beating, the crucifixion, and the grave, HE WON. Jesus persevered, and by his strength we can too. We are not immune to failure, in fact, it is what makes us strong, grows our faith, gives us compassion, and ultimately, brings sweetness to the victory.
So how do you handle failure? Own it. Don’t run. Don’t make excuses. Don’t give up. Allow yourself to be taught the lessons that can only be learned in the classroom of failure and the textbook of pain. Embrace it, knowing that you are in good company, and like all the successes who have gone before you, move through it. Linger long enough to extract the lesson, and then Keep Going.

 “Failure is not Fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Radio for the 21st Century? (Part 1)

I first walked into a radio studio in 1998.... Just to look at that sentence makes me feel old. The room was about the size of a janitors closet, and a good quarter of it was taken up by a reel to reel machine. Yes, in 1998, there were still a few programs that would be shipped on reels, (through the US postal service) therefore necessitating this refrigerator size machine. There was a production computer with the precursor to Audition, Cool Edit, on it, an on-air "assist" computer which played our ad spots, (and about half of our programs), 3 microphones, and CDs...LOTS of CDs. I wandered in on a weekday morning, expecting to "help out around the church" and was called into this closet of a room, where the rest of the staff was enjoying their coffee. I walked in and was greeted by a mic being swung around, and someone said "Say good morning Kelly!" Being slightly sarcastic, (not to mention that it was 7am) I smarted off.."Good morning Kelly" and the DJ pushed play and slid the fader up for the next song... and that ladies and gentlemen was my debut into radio.

It's kind of mind boggling to realize that I've been around this world of radio for as long as I have, but even more surprising is the rate at which things have changed. From thumbing through the phonebook for sales leads, to calling the National Weather Service for the days forecast, or having a DJ live in studio 24/7, radio has changed significantly over the past several years.

There really seems to be 2 camps that radio folks tend toward: "Radio is going the way of the Dodo, get out while you can!" or "Radio is bigger than just another form of media, it will adapt and change its methods, but it will continue to be relevant and needed." I tend to see the wisdom on both sides of this coin, in part because both can be true, depending on your definitions, creativity, and ability to innovate and adapt.

Radio, as I was introduced to it, has gone the way of the Dodo. Djs can now sleep soundly in their beds while their voices continue to entertain us on that pre-recorded morning show. The ever growing, iconic wall of cart decks, cassettes, LPs, or CDs has been replaced with mp3 or .wav files stored on a hard drive the size of a small toaster. The radio studio has begun to look sleek, almost sterile, as the signed posters and album covers that were status symbols have been replaced by the newest technology in sound treatment, and monitor screens.

I had a computer programmer stop by our studio several months ago, as we needed some specific code written for one of our on air computers, and as he walked in, he stopped, looked at me and exclaimed "I didn't know radio was so nerdy!!" Yep, the gig is up folks, radio in the 21st century is where nerds are cool. (And believe me, the nerds are vital!) It's still a world of voice talent, musicians, sales people, and sound engineers, but the days when all you really needed to get on the air was a mixing board and a mic are gone. Computer programmers. Network engineers. Cyber security specialists. These guys are all vital to the adaptation of radio.

With all of the techno-toys that are available to the radio industry, it's easy to get caught up in the sleekest, newest, most bells- and- whistles gear that you can find, and, if budget allows, that's not all bad. The important thing to remember is that radio is bigger than the gear. This is the reason that the heart of radio will endure no matter what tech changes come down the pike.

In the next post we’ll take a look at some of the reasons that folks still tune in to their favorite stations. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from YOU! In a world of Pandora, Spotify, and podcasts, why do you choose to listen to the radio?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Why Radio?

Why Radio? 

As I was pondering and praying over what the vision for Revelation Radio would be for 2016, I kept coming back to that question...Why? Simon Sinek is kind of a genius in the world of business, and if you check out his Ted Talks: you’ll quickly discover that  his whole discussion revolves around the idea of "Start with Why?" Why do we do what we do? Why do we do it THIS way? What is our reason? Others will start with the what or the how, but the WHY is what will get us out of bed in the morning, and will ultimately INSPIRE others to join us in our vision. 

I was really curious why people, (specifically churches) start radio stations. Honestly, they're a lot of work, money, and hassle. A radio station does NOT keep 9-5 hours, it doesn't always pay for itself, and it can be quite temperamental (kind of like a 3 year old that doesn't grow up!) ...So I did what everybody does : I Googled it. I typed in "why radio," and found plenty of marketing strategies to encourage folks to advertise, but nothing that really addressed the WHY of starting it in the first place. About the time I was opening my 10th page on the topic, The Lord pulled me aside, and invited me to ask HIM---Brilliant!! Where better to get vision, understanding, and purpose, than from the Life Giving, Creator of the Universe, who holds my future in His hands?

 What followed was several weeks of Bible searching (and soul searching) as I was challenged to lay everything on the table. All the things I had been taught, all the methods and lines of reasoning that I had absorbed over the years came under the scrutiny of the ONE who we all say we do it for. I have to admit it was a bit depressing at times. There were days that I would throw up my hands and feel like it was all pointless, but it was all part of the process of the Lord teaching me to find purpose only in Him.

I came to find encouragement in the fact that, often from the world’s perspective, many of the most colorful Bible characters did things that seemed "pointless" simply because God asked them to. Noah built a boat, when no one had ever seen rain, Moses held up his staff over the Red Sea, Joshua marched around a wall, Elijah camped by a dwindling brook...and we won't even go into all the craziness that Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and the others were asked to do! The point wasn't in the what, but in the why. Each of these people did what they did, because God told them to.  

Often we might try to make ourselves feel significant by looking at a radio station as a means of "discipleship" or "church of the airwaves," but Biblically, these purposes are flawed. We as believers in Jesus Christ are supposed to be in fellowship with other people! This is where discipleship happens, and "Church" happens--when we are together with other people, not alone in our cars! If our radio station is taking the place of a human relationship, then our reasoning is faulty, and I would venture that it hinges on heretical. Don't get me wrong, there are great benefits to radio! I love radio, and the encouragement it brings to hurting people, as well as the seeds that it plants for the Gospel, but let's not overstate its importance! Radio is merely a tool, just like Moses's rod, or Peter's nets. God can use it mightily, when it is surrendered to HIM, and when He tells us to do it!

And so, after all of this, you might ask: "Why Radio?" Well, my friends, the answer is as simple as it is complex: Because God told me to. There are many "Whats" and "Hows" that will come in the future, but each one of these steps will ultimately echo back to this one Why--God told us to.