Sometimes I miss Danny Orlis. God used him, and the medium that brought him to me, to plant a vision in me.
At 11:30 every Saturday morning growing up, I and my siblings gathered in the kitchen. We tuned the family radio to KARI, then shut up and listened to the latest episode of Danny’s story. Every week the fictional young Christ-follower got into a scrape. Every week his story ended on a cliff-hanger. And every week we came back.
Our radio tuned in other stations, their call letters as memorable to me as any alphabet jingle: CJOR, CKNW, CKWX and CKLG. They introduced me to pop music and talk radio; to journalists like Jack Webster, Pat Burns, Ed Murphy (Reaction Line), Jack Cullen and a roving reporter named Roving Mike.
We had no TV. Radio delivered our entertainment. But only KARI delivered soul-food. Its Christian programming introduced me to a faith perspective wider than the small church our family attended—though not one I appreciated at the time. The station played stuffy music, and I had little patience for the preachers who frequented its airwaves.
Danny’s stories made up for all that. Danny taught me how to live like a Jesus-kid.
Much later in life, when I began freelancing for CBC Radio, I found I loved making radio as much as I enjoyed listening to it. One day I posted a yellow sticky note at the top of my computer, “Pray about doing radio spots,” it said. I wanted to do for others what Danny did for me.
For years, whenever I really noticed that yellow rectangle, I prayed, “Lord, if it fits in with your plans, I’d love to broadcast a few simple words of faith.”
Meanwhile, in Yorkton SK, a man named Dennis Dyck, who had a gift for sales, a passion for Jesus Christ, and a love of Christian radio, began a 50 watt station called The Rock, 100.5 FM. And in Calgary, Ray Sargent, an ex-clergyman-turned radio producer, began EnjoyRadio.org, producing two syndicated gospel music programs, Enjoy the Mix, and Sunday Side Up.
In his time and for his higher purposes, God caused all our passions to increase and our paths to intersect.
In January of 2011, my 90-second radio spot, Simple Words (shorter versions of this column) began airing on 100.5, Rock. One year later, the Rock sits at 98.5 FM, with a newly increased power of 50,000 watts. (Congratulations, Rock gang!) Simple Words is just one of many weekday features God uses to inspire faith in that station’s listeners.
Within a month after its first air-time, Simple Words caught the attention of Ray Sargent. Today his programs, including Simple Words, air on more analog and digital gospel radio stations than he can count, in no fewer than twenty countries around the world.
In every Christ-follower’s life, God plants his own vision—always three sizes too big, to leave room for him. Our part is to accept it, keep praying, and take action.