Latest News from the KBM World Headquarters

post date: March 20, 2007
This Sunday I’m speaking at Pontiac (IL) Bible Church in both morning services. This is a treat for me on several levels. When we moved to Oak Park in 1989, Brian Bill was one of the pastors on staff at Calvary Memorial Church. I knew immediately that he was a gifted leader. I can remember telling him early on that part of my job was to do whatever I could to help him be ready for bigger things because I knew he wouldn’t be on staff with me forever. Eventually he served at a church in Rockford, later he and Beth were missionaries in Mexico City. About seven years ago I had the privilege of speaking at his installation service at Pontiac Bible Church. I told the church that under his leadership, they should expect great things to happen. For once, I proved to be a prophet. The church has grown and prospered in many different ways, and Brian has used the Internet to expand the church’s outreach around the world. Beyond all that, we have been good friends over all these years, and when we organized Keep Believing Ministries, I was glad that Brian agreed to serve on the board.
PBC is planning a major evangelistic outreach on Easter Sunday when they will have one large morning service at the local high school. Brian is challenging everyone at PBC to bring a friend with them on Easter. He has asked me to preach this Sunday about God’s call to the harvest fields. This is a topic close to my heart, and I am glad to do it.
So in two days we’re leaving for Chicago. We’re going to spend two days working on podcasting. On Sunday we will be in Pontiac. On Monday we’ll be in Chicago for a KBM board meeting. Then it’s back to Tupelo on Tuesday.
A few days ago I mentioned that I had started transferring my Oak Park sermons (over 600 of them) from cassette to digital format. Because the transfer must be done in real-time, it’s slow work. Once you have the digital file, you can then create a "peak file" on the computer screen that shows every nuance of your voice. I have spent hours listening to the sermons, removing extraneous material, getting rid of "uhs" and repeated words, and in some cases, I have deleted whole paragraphs. The resulting file ends up several minutes shorter than the original sermon. Then you have to use the noise reduction feature on the software to get rid of the cassette hiss in the background. Because recording quality varies from tape to tape, that can be tricky. So at all hours of the day and night, I’ve been hunched over my computer with headphones on, listening and cleaning things up. Late one night Marlene (who had already gone to bed) came downstairs, saw me with the headphones on, and said, "You’re a wild man." As wildness goes, that pretty tame, but I have greatly enjoyed working on the sermon tapes. So far we have completed 23 sermons plus a tape called the Prayers of Gary Olson.
Brian encouraged us to bring books and CD sets to Pontiac this Sunday. Books I have plenty of, but until now we’ve never had CD sets. We have discovered there are many "moving parts" to a project like this. You need a CD duplicator (which we don’t have) plus the cleaned-up sermon files (which we now have) plus labels and binders and individual sleeve inserts plus blank CDs plus printed covers for each series. Marlene ordered the basic supplies over the Internet and we purchased the CDs and labels at Wal-Mart yesterday. Last night I stayed up until midnight trying to finish cleaning up the remaining sermons on the three sets we are taking to Pontiac. We got up early and spent the entire morning working on the project at the "KBM World Headquarters"–the corner of our cabin overlooking the lake. I sat at the dining room table with headphones trying to clean up the last few tapes while Marlene worked at another computer, figuring out how to print CD labels. I thought it would take an hour. Wrong. Four hours later we still weren’t finished. We were about halfway done when I discovered that I had mistakenly thrown away one of the sermon cassettes without making the transfer. So I fished through the trash and found it at the very bottom–naturally. It was a sermon on hell (no kidding). So there we were–my sweet wife and I–working on labels, creating master CDs, cleaning up the files, trying to go as fast as we could. At one point, I looked up and said, "I wonder if this is how Chuck Swindoll got started."
When we finally finished, we had three CD sets ready to go:
Paul, Teach Us to Pray: Eight World-Changing Prayers by the Apostle Paul
Countdown to Armageddon: What Jesus Said About the Last Days
Final Questions: What the Bible Says About Life After Death
Marlene bundled up the master CDs and drove into town where at this moment she is making copies with the help of Linda Hale, using the duplication equipment at Harrisburg Baptist Church. Just before she left, Marlene said, "I love this project."
Things have changed a lot since my days in the pastorate. Now if anything gets done, it happens because we sit down and do it. From the small to the great, we do it ourselves, working side by side at the "KBM World Headquarters". It’s not fancy, but it works, and I am happy to say that I think we’ll have the CD sets duplicated by the end of the afternoon.

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