It is written that the righteous shall be bold as lions.
The good book is full of incredible promises, to give us hope, promises of a future and prosperity. It says that you will be blessed coming and going, that you are the head and not the tail. It says that you will be blessed in the presence of your enemies. Is this happening in your lives, at home, at work and among your friends and neighbors?
In John 14:12 Jesus tells us that our belief in Him will result in us doing the works that he has done, and even GREATER things than that. Wow, what a promise!
In 1984, I sat in my dorm room at Roosevelt University’s Herman Crown Center in Chicago creating long distance phone fraud. On the heels of the government breaking up of AT&T as a monopoly, then known as the Bell Telephone Company, a door was opened for other companies to offer long distance phone service where before then it was all AT&T.
Dialing for Depravity
MCI, US Tel and other companies were providing a dial in number, then once there you would touchtone in a 5-digit pin number that those companies had assigned you and then you’d dial your long-distance number.
If the call went through, then the pin was good, so my depraved mind began coming up with words that were 5 letters long, like PIZZA and others, and I would dial into the company, using the numbers associated with the letters, I’d touchtone in the code and if it rang I’d write down the word, and within hours I had a list of 30+ words that worked.
As a poor college kid, I didn’t have to worry about how I would make long distance calls, that was now pretty much covered, and some unsuspecting guy who had 74992 as their pin, and others were paying for any calls I would make.
I was introduced to cocaine in 1985, and as a kid who knew he’d never do drugs, I must have forgotten because from the first line to the 50th, we’re probably talking about a 10-day period.
Later, I would succeed at other fraudulent scams like a loophole that had Blue Cross Blue Shield sending checks in my name to my house. And finally, on December 8th, 1990, I pulled off a credit card scam with a friend where we shopped for thousands of dollars in merchandise and while he was freaked out about getting caught, I had the confidence of knowing the system, and he didn’t.
He may not have gotten caught and I might have gotten away with it too, but on that night, something happened to me as I went to a punk rock club to see the Connells play at Club Baby Head in Providence RI. When the band was done, and the bar was closing, a little tipsy, my girlfriend and I went to my car to head home, except for one minor detail.
My car was not there.
It was stolen. Of all the cars in the parking lot, why would thieves choose to steal a 1988 Ford Festiva?
As I sat in the back of the police car filling out the police report, for the first time in my life, I realized that God had my number. I thought it was karma, but it was God’s system of order that simply says, “You Reap What You Sow!”
It Happens in Threes
The following day I went to Kix 106 in Providence to do my air shift, which I did, and I talked about my car being stolen on the air. That ended up being my last shift as I wasn’t fired or anything, my name just never again appeared on the schedule. I begun to learn that there are two basic things a girl would like you to possess to have the privilege of dating her, or in my case, to continue to date her. One of those things is a job, and the other is a car. I now had neither, so soon enough, I lost the girl too.
It happened in threes; car, job and girl.
The God who is three in one, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, allowed the same evil I had done unto others to be done unto me. Notice that God did not do the evil, he simply allowed the devil and his minions to do their work as Satan is a tool in God’s hand.
I tried for two more months to do it all by myself, letting my ego lead, but on February 8th, 1991 I found myself out of money, no job offers, no longer able to make rent or feed myself and in great desperation, depression and despair, I uttered words to a God I wasn’t yet sure existed.
“God, I cannot go on in this life, if You aren’t in my life.”
And in that moment God had fully embraced me in a love I had never known, and in the blink of an eye had changed everything about me; mind, heart and soul. And while I didn’t yet know that this was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I knew whoever He was, He was God.
From Dead to Determined
I went from wishing I was dead on a Tuesday to preaching to friends on a Wednesday, and if I wasn’t already at 800+ on the word count in this writing, I would tell you of the hundreds of miracles God did in my life from that day which made believing in His promises quite easy for me.
I quit radio because I recognized how it had been a gateway to sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, but God used a very strange man who would encourage me to keep going in it, a man who never believed in me before; my father, and then through prayer, God confirmed I was to stay the course.
My phone was ringing without sending out demos. That’s God. I loved Him. I wanted to serve Him fully, so I geared my sights on Christian radio, but God bolted those doors shut and instead sent me back to those who already knew me, but those who would see me in a completely different light.
And while they liked the old Rob better, God’s promise to bless me in the presence of my enemies came to pass, and secular radio taught me how to be a highly effective and sought-after promo writer and marketing mind. He put me face to face with the smartest music tacticians, and when it came to people, the God who saved me sent me reading the Word, to which I devoured in a matter of days and learned how to treat people; from the snakes to the saints, to the neighbors and before long I had a full arsenal of skills that took me from Alternative radio in Vermont to 93-3 the Power Pig in Tampa to Syracuse to Greenville SC to New Orleans to Los Angeles to Charlotte to NYC, where God’s promises kept elevating me each step of the way.
The amount of people I met on the other side of Christian radio, whose lives I was able to have some impact on, for God is a staggeringly high number. Still from time to time, I will get an email or a call or a text from someone whose life has changed; and their heart doesn’t let them go too far in their new life without sharing that Jesus has landed in their hearts.
He will bless you coming and going. I had a boss in Tampa who would attack my faith and make fun of it, and not include me in any of the reindeer games, but when it came to try to fire me, which he had full control over, something always thwarted his efforts. And I succeeded beyond those who came before me, and those who came after. It wasn’t a goal, it was just a promise, and I would see that pattern for years to come, sometimes leaving a place or being fired and later, hearing about the implosion of what God helped me build.
Remember that mind that allowed me to scam systems to be used for evil? God never took that skill away from me, but instead He changed my heart and when a heart is full of God’s endless love, the gifts he gives aren’t used in abusive and self-seeking ways, but instead through creativity and ingenue, ideas like an endless fountain go from thoughts to actual execution and the results are miraculous, literally.
I haven’t begun scratching the surface of the many promises in God’s word for Kingdom building and personal reward, but if God’s Word is true (and it is), have you fully embraced it for your life, your co-workers, your listeners? If you’ve seen His promise enrich your life in any way, we’d love to hear about it, and perhaps share it with others.
Greater works you will do!
Since 1991, Rob Wagman has been known first by his faith, and then by his skills in the secular side of this Industry, and now is known by his versatility, having succeeded in both radio and records in multiple formats from Christian Contemporary, Rock, Alternative, Top 40, Rhythm, Urban and Hot AC, in various roles from On Air to Programming to Marketing and Promotions.
Wagman has worked in all of the Top 3 markets, LA, NYC and Chicago, and returned to LA in 2012 as his entry way into CCM, in PM Drive at KFSH, 95.9 The Fish before becoming the Network PD for WAY-FM.
In 2013, Wagman launched Straight Path Media + Entertainment, a consulting firm which hyper focuses on talent and each station’s greatest need for growth, supplying a la cart programming services for branding, from music strategies, promotional and marketing think tank brain storming, promo and imaging creative, talent coaching and airchecking. Wagman presently coaches 27 air talents, consults 13 stations plus 4 clusters.
Contact Rob Wagman at [email protected]