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Set Lights - WHTN Blog

Speaking Terms

Ryan Rehnborg

In the fifth chapter of the gospel of Luke, we’re treated to a series of short narratives about Jesus. What I love about this chapter can be summed up in one word: action. In every verse of this short chapter, Christ is taking action. (It’s a wonderful example for us, isn’t it? And a good reminder: don’t just pay attention to what He said. Pay attention to what He did and how He did it.) In this short chapter alone, Christ called four of His disciples, healed two men, preached to crowds, and debated with Pharisees. But it’s the action Jesus takes at the end of Luke 5:12-16 that never fails to surprise me.

In this particular story – almost a vignette, really – Christ is making his way through a city when “a man full of leprosy” sees him. The leper falls on his face before Jesus, begging: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus responds by touching the man and saying, “I will; be clean.” The man is healed, and although Jesus charges him to tell no one about the incident, the story spreads far and wide. Great crowds begin to gather to hear the word of God from the son of God and to be healed by Him. But what does Jesus do? Luke 5:16 is our answer: “But [Jesus] would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”

This isn’t the only time Jesus withdraws to pray by Himself. We see Him withdraw to pray multiple times in the Gospels. Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12, and John 6:15 are all moving examples of Jesus’s preference for solitude when He prays. It’s that very preference that makes this image so powerful in my mind. Jesus went to these lonely places to pray because He wanted to, not because He needed to.

Jesus was the son of God. Likely, He was already in constant communication with the Heavenly Father – whether He was alone or in the middle of a great crowd or hanging on the cross or working in Joseph’s carpentry shop. No matter where Jesus was, He was hand in hand with God in a way that we humans can only imagine. So when Jesus withdrew to private or lonely or desolate places to pray, it wasn’t because He needed the solitude in order to communicate effectively with God. He prayed alone because He wanted to pray alone. Jesus valued being alone with God enough to withdraw from others to pray many times, even knowing that His time here on earth was short and that He had crowds to minister to and people to heal and disciples to shape. On a regular basis, in the midst of a busy life, Jesus set time aside just to be alone and talk to His Father.

If you’re a Christian, you probably saw this question coming: how often do you withdraw to pray by yourself? Is it daily? Weekly? Monthly? Is it once a year? Or was it only once, six years ago on that Bible retreat for a “solo exercise”?

Next question: do you wish you prayed alone more often?

I’m no expert on prayer. No one is. The good news is that no one has to be an expert at talking to God in order to talk to Him. (What a relief, right?) But something I’ve discovered in my own prayer life is that the more time I spend praying alone (emulating Jesus), the better I become at praying with others or in front of a group. Partly, it’s due to the practice (and yes, prayer requires practice – I think we can all safely agree on that). Mostly, it’s due to getting comfortable with being on speaking terms with God. If you talk to Him like He’s that relative you see once every ten years at the family reunion, that’s going to be reflected in your prayers. But if you talk to Him like you talk to your parent or your sibling or your best friend, your prayers are going to take on new dimensions. It will become easier to pray at the drop of a hat, no matter your circumstance. In grief, you’ll know Who to turn to for comfort. In celebration, you’ll have a Friend to share in your joy and thanksgiving. When you need help, it will become second nature to call on Him. Ultimately, when prayer becomes your go-to action in private, it will become your go-to action in public. And soon, praying earnestly for yourself and for others – whether you’re alone or in a crowd – will become an even greater way for you to serve God by caring for His people.

If you find yourself struggling with your prayer life, consider withdrawing to pray alone more often – whether that’s simply retreating behind a closed door, going outside to sit in the yard alone, or visiting a designated prayer room at your church. Don’t worry about what words to use or how you’ll sound or what so-and-so would say if they could hear you. It’s not about that. It’s about God. He just wants to hear from you because He loves you.

- Allison Rehnborg, WHTN Traffic Manager

Need prayer? If you’re in Middle Tennessee, you can call us for prayer at 615-754-0039 from 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Thursday, or from 8 am to 2 pm on Fridays. You can also submit your prayer requests online through our prayer request page.

Other prayer lines include:

CTN Prayer Line: 727-535-7729
You & Me Prayer Line: 727-531-4888 or 800-716-7729
700 Club Prayer Center: 1-800-823-6053
Life Today Prayer Line: 1-800-947-5433

Cultivating a spirit of service

Ryan Rehnborg

At its simplest, Christianity can be defined something like this: following Christ’s

example and teachings by surrendering our hearts to God, who is our heavenly king. For 

non-Christians, such complete surrender can seem awfully frightening. Their thoughts 

might run a little like this: “Surrender? To Him? But why? I don’t need Jesus or God to 

rule me. I like ruling myself just fine.”  

But at the bottom of that leap of faith, there’s tremendous joy in discovering that our 

mighty God is more than a king: he’s a Servant. He doesn’t want to rule us for ruling’s 

sake – He wants to love us and serve us, and to teach us to love and serve others, in turn. 

We know this from the way Christ lived his life on earth, and we’re also blessed to know 

it from His own lips. Read His words in Matthew 20:24-28 and see it for yourself:

But Jesus called [his ten disciples] to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the

Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not

be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and

whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not

to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

These verses demonstrate that part of our mission on earth is to serve others no matter 

what. Christ spent thirty-three years serving the lost, the found, and the guilty by 

teaching, baptizing, comforting, instructing, and healing them. He laid His life down 

daily for others, and then paid the final ransom by sacrificing Himself on the cross for all 

humanity’s sake. 

But because we are human and imperfect by nature, cultivating a spirit of Christ-inspired 

service doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something we have to work at, day after day, week 

after week, and sometimes we all fail. In fact, we might fail a lot of the time. But when 

we do serve, we succeed in being good stewards of God’s grace to us. Look at 1 Peter 

4:10: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s

varied grace.” 

At WHTN, we take “serving others” as a serious charge. Not just because it’s our job, but 

because it’s our responsibility as followers of Christ to serve one another. As we look 

forward to this year, we want to launch our 2016 blog by listing some of the ways we can 

serve you. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to look for new ways to serve others. 

Programming and Air Time: We broadcast quality Christian programming 24/7 to the 

Middle Tennessee and Nashville areas. Some of our programming is national, such as 

The 700 Club and Life Today with James and Betty Robison. Other programs are 

produced by local churches, like World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Mt Zion 

Baptist Church in Nashville, and Victory Baptist Church in Mount Juliet. Some 

programs, including Rise Up, Jesus Is The Answer, and Bridges, are produced, filmed, 

and edited in our very own HD studio. We work hard to keep the costs of airtime and 

production affordable, too, so that even the smallest church can pursue a calling to 

television ministry.

In-House Productions: With a fully-equipped HD studio and multiple video editors and 

producers on staff, our station also has a special heart for creating high-quality programs 

in-house. From exercise programs to teaching programs to comedic variety shows, our 

production team enjoys working with clients to create beautiful and edifying content to 

spread the Word on the air. We also produce, film, edit, and air commercials for local 

Christian authors, community events, and churches.

WHTN Prayer Line: Every Wednesday morning, we air a program called Bridges that 

features local pastors and ministers praying for real viewers’ prayer requests. From 9:30-

10 am CST on Wednesdays, Monica Schmelter (our general manager and the host of 

Bridges) invites viewers to call the station for prayer, where staff members and 

volunteers are on hand to pray. And that’s not the only way you can ask for prayer – you 

can also go online to our website to submit prayer requests. Prayer requests can be 

anonymous, and no matter what, you can rest assured that we’ll keep praying for you 

even after we hang up the phone.

Live Studio Audiences: At least once a month, we host a taping in our studio and invite 

members of the community to attend and be part of our live studio audiences. Tapings are 

great for us and for the public because they give us a chance to meet and fellowship with 

our viewers (and serve them lunch!). In-studio tapings also give our viewers a chance to 

see our studio in person while working with us to create exciting new Christian programs. 

Love Basket: WHTN’s Love Basket ministry serves our local community in a very real 

and necessary way. The Love Basket consists of funds set aside specifically to pay utility 

bills for viewers who might find themselves in need. We aren’t always able to help 

everyone, but when we can, it’s something we love to do. The Love Basket also 

represents a direct opportunity for you to serve. It’s easy and rewarding to donate to the 

Love Basket because you’ll know the money will go to pay a bill for a family in need. To 

donate via credit card, call 615-754-0039 and make sure to specify that it’s for the Love 

Basket. Or you can mail a check to WHTN at 9582 Lebanon Rd Mt Juliet, TN 37122. 

No matter what your gifts and resources are, there’s a way for you to serve other people 

in the name of Christ – all you have to do is decide how. A skilled gardener could 

volunteer to care for an elderly neighbor’s lawn. A teenager could offer to babysit or pet-

sit. Next time you’re batch-cooking, make a few extra casseroles or sandwiches to give to 

a hungry individual or needy family. Donate money to worthy causes. Pray with people 

who are struggling. Look for how you could serve others – then do it, in the name of 

Jesus!

We thank you for reading, for watching, and for serving your community alongside us. 

God bless!  

- Allison Rehnborg, WHTN Traffic Manager

Set Lights - WHTN Blog : Neighbor to Neighbor

Alex Baldwin

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At its core, a television station runs on people – especially a small, local, Christian television station like ours. We rely on “our people” to keep our station signal going at all hours, to keep our content fresh and relevant, to keep our programs running on schedule, and to support the community with our work. But do you know who else we rely on? That’s right. It’s you! Without you, we wouldn’t be here. Without your support – spiritually, physically, and financially – we couldn’t broadcast quality Christian programming across middle Tennessee every day. Our station is only as good as the people that make it, manage it, and watch it, and that’s just one of the reasons we love people.

There’s another, more important reason why we love people, and that reason is in Mark 12:28-31:

One of the scribes came up and heard [people] disputing with one another, and seeing that [Jesus] answered them well, the scribe asked Jesus,, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

With love for our neighbors in mind, we wanted to launch Set Lights today by making a few introductions, one neighbor to another. There’s no better way to learn to love your neighbors than by getting to know them. In this blog, you’ll meet the crew of WHTN and learn a little bit about each one of us. Then we want to learn about you!

MEET MONICA, STATION MANAGER & HOST OF BRIDGES

How long have you worked at WHTN? I have worked at WHTN for 19 years.

What do you do at WHTN? I lead the team at WHTN in fulfilling God’s plan for Christian television in our community.

What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is leading the station in making Christian programming that makes a difference in our community.

What’s one unique thing about you, separate from work? I love diet lemonade from Chick-fil-A!

What do you want to be when you grow up? I decided a long time ago that being “grown-up” was seriously overrated! With that in mind, I decided to pass on growing up!

MEET RYAN, STATION ENGINEER & PRODUCTION TEAM MEMBER

How long have you worked at WHTN? Two years.

What do you do at WHTN? I am the station engineer, so I maintain and operate the systems that play all of our scheduled programming on the air. I have this Staples “Easy” button in my office, but it doesn’t work for engineering! I encode, record, route, and play all of the different kinds of video that we get. I also work on the production team: editing programs, color correcting, operating cameras, and developing motion graphics templates.

What do you love about WHTN? I love the part where you see the finished product (either an edited TV program or a play list on the air) and it all flows together seamlessly, with myriad elements all synchronized and coordinated.

What’s one unique thing about you, separate from work? One of my favorite pastimes is listening to Disney musicals and Broadway show tunes. If I’m with my wife, I sing them really loudly and embarrass her.

If you had to spend one hour a day for the rest of your life doing something, what would that something be? Definitely things I need to do on a daily basis, quiet time with God and the Word, investing in my marriage, et cetera. My wacky side wants to say learning gymnastics or practicing accordion (which I used to play regularly).

MEET RACHEL, STATION CREATIVE DIRECTOR

How long have you worked at WHTN? Three years.

What do you do at WHTN? I oversee production. I help direct, shoot, produce, and edit shows. I also do on-location interviews for Bridges and other programs.

What do you love about WHTN? CTN is a pure ministry. All donated money goes to sending the message of Jesus Christ out to the world. I believe WHTN makes a real difference by letting people know they are unconditionally loved by the Creator of the Universe.

What’s one unique thing about you? I am addicted to sour candy!

What’s your favorite pastime? I enjoy riding my bike, hiking, making visual art, watching indie movies, and listening to music.

MEET DERRICK, STATION PRODUCTION TEAM MEMBER

How long have you worked at WHTN? I have worked here since February 2014, so about a year and four months.

What do you do at WHTN? I do a variety of tasks at WHTN each day, including editing shows and promos, designing graphics, operating cameras during tapings, updating our website and Facebook, and other little tasks that fill in the gaps that come up each day.

What do you love about WHTN? I love knowing that where I work is directly making a difference for Christ in our community over the airwaves. Seeing the fruit of that is very satisfying.

What’s one unique thing about you? I love to eat. This world has so many good flavors to explore, and for that, I give God all the glory! Yay for diversity!

What fascinates you? What fascinates me is that I am alive! How did God think up all of this stuff in what we call the universe? God is pretty awesome in all of His ways, though I’ll never fully understand them. But that’s okay! I’ll keep enjoying all of the wondrous and marvelous things that life brings.

MEET ALEX, STATION PRODUCTION TEAM MEMBER

How long have you worked at WHTN? I have worked here for about 9 months, since September 2014.

What do you do at WHTN? It varies day to day, but my main tasks are editing various shows, making graphics and holiday animations, filming our shows in the studio and packages on location, and making a couple of daily show playlists.

What do you love about your job? I really like my co-workers. We’re like a family. I also really like how diverse my job is. One day I could be editing, then the next I could be filming on a red carpet for an awards show.

What’s one unique thing about you? I produce electronic music as a hobby of sorts. I also grew a full and fairly epic beard a few months ago for the first time in my life. I like it far more than I thought I would.

What’s your ideal lunch? I quite enjoy a good ol’ sandwich, but I’d say my ideal lunch is pizza. Then again, there’s never a bad time for pizza.

MEET ALLISON, STATION TRAFFIC & OFFICE MANAGER

How long have you worked at WHTN? Six months and counting!

What do you do at WHTN on a daily basis? In addition to answering phones, I schedule the station’s daily television traffic, which consists of programs, TV specials, spots, and commercials. I also handle administrative tasks, like bills, invoices, and ordering supplies. Finally, I cover the WHTN and Faith Film Fest Twitter feeds.

What do you love about WHTN? For the station to operate at its best, we all have to collaborate, from the manager to the engineer to the production team. But we also have to work on our own a lot of the time when we’re editing programs, researching marketing strategies, or doing little projects. So I love that we can be together at work – but we can also be separate at work. And every member of the team is really good at doing both.

What’s one unique thing about you? I have a one-eyed dog named Malley who daily reminds me of what it’s like to love selflessly, to wait patiently, and to exhibit joie de vivre no matter what.

What is your favorite cute Internet video? That’s a tough one, but I love watching Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund, no matter what he’s doing!

* * *

WHAT DO YOU THINK? 

All right, now that we’ve bared our souls and our lunch preferences, it’s time for us to hit the studio. Check back with us in September for the next edition of Set Lights!