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Happy 40th Dear TBN!   >>

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” ISASIAH 43:19

The date: August 2, 1973. I was standing in the office of the Secretary of State for the State of California somewhere in the towering heights of Los Angeles — yes, the City of Angels. The lady asked me, “And what will be the name of your new non-profit corporation?” With trembling hand I wrote for the first time TRINITY BROADCASTING NETWORK! Ah, but I’m getting ahead of my story, yes my trek — along with many of you, our trek — across our 40 years of wandering through our “Wilderness of Sin”!

As I thought and prayed about what to write — what to say to you, my partners, and to all who may read this 40 year celebration and testament — what could be more wonderful, more glorious than to tell you about the FIVE TIMES that I have literally heard the Voice of God?! Yes, I could take you to the very places where I heard Him. For example, how many could tell me where you were and what you were doing November 22, 1963, when the electrifying news came that President John F. Kennedy was dead? In the same way, I can take you to five different times and places where the word of the Lord came to me and twice to Jan and me at the same time!

There are times when that Voice comes — always with great amazement and mostly joy — but this time His word was so sudden and unexpected that it shocked Jan and me to the very foundation of our souls! We had just come from an exciting TV rally. We were working for a church in Glendale, California that owned a radio and TV station. I felt we were settled and secure for the future. Over 1,000 people had rejoiced with us at a great rally at the Hollywood High School auditorium where Doug Oldham was our special guest. Pastor Ray Schoch, our pastor and leader, spoke along with Jan and me about reaching all of Southern California with the gospel! We were settled and secure for the future — WRONG!

The Voice was clear and unmistakable: “Paul, I release you from your work at KHOF-TV and radio”!

Yes, as I said, I could take you to the place leaving Hollywood High School auditorium that fateful night in January 1973. In partial shock I turned to my Jan and said, “Angel, you will not believe what I just heard from the Lord.” Without hesitation she replied, “Yes, I know — I heard Him too. You have been released.” Dear Father, the very same word that I had just received! Who would have believed the 40 years that had just begun?

The next Voice came — and it seems always in a time of great crisis. We had just purchased two hours a night on low power channel 46. We were so excited. Some of you will remember that glorious night: May 28, 1973! Our vision was to purchase the TV station for 24-hour a day, all Christian television. Today that sounds almost commonplace. But back in 1973, an all Christian TV station and even a network was asking the impossible!

So, we were on our way. Yes, our very own all Christian TV station — WRONG AGAIN! A Christian brother (to remain unnamed) stepped in and bought TV 46 right out from under us! So our hopes and dreams were dashed again!

I remember walking into my tiny office. It was time once again to clean out and head for home! Ah, but that Voice — oh blessed Voice — once again it was unmistakable. “Call Angel Lerma!” By now, I had begun to know and understand that Voice.

I protested, “Dear Lord, I have already spoken to Mr. Lerma — his station is not for sale.” The Voice spoke one more strong word: “CALL!” I called and wonder of wonders Mr. Lerma himself answered the phone! When I asked about the availability of his Channel 40 TV he paused and said, “How did you know?” “Know what?” I asked. Know that only that morning he had decided to sell his TV station! WOW! Before that day had passed we had a preliminary agreement to purchase his TV station, ten times more powerful and soon to be ours in Jesus’ name!

So, as God would have it, Channel 40 was ours. We were on the air — praise the Lord! Well, yes and no. To secure the debt on that first TV station Jan and I had been required to sign personal guarantees. This meant our home and all personal assets were on the line, even our $20,000 life savings we had invested to get TBN up and going.

Ah, some of you old-timers will remember. After only three days of “Christian TV” we were broke! Our dream — vanished once more. But then, that Voice again: “Paul, you have given me nothing!” This time I was shocked beyond measure! “Father,” I protested, “We have given you everything: our home, our car, our $20,000 life savings, everything.” The Voice, strong but tender spoke: “Yes, but you only loaned me your savings.” Ah, it was true; I had taken back a note. I had only LOANED God our savings. Long story short: That night, as I made a deal with my heavenly Father, our pioneer partners pledged not just $20,000, but $50,000 to keep our dream alive. All praise to God my faithful, heavenly Father.

Our next valley was a deep one. Powerful forces tried to take our first station, Channel 40, away from us. Read my book, Hello World, for the rest of that story. The time came when even our FCC attorney felt we had lost. He said, “Give it up. We will lose this battle!” That night Jan and I went to bed with the most heavy hearts. Ah, “but God!”

I shall never forget that next great word. Early the next morning, I felt as though I was lifted up above my bed as I heard these words, “The yoke of the oppressor is broken!” Twice I heard these amazing words. The next day our miracle deliverance came — our TV license was delivered. We were saved, once again!

By now our faith was growing much stronger. Yes, right in the middle of the most serious threat to our firstborn station, Channel 40, the Voice came for the fifth time.

In prayer one day in the den of our home a vision came: The North American continent appeared on the ceiling! Bright lights flashed on — New York, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle . . . . As I sat transfixed, hundreds of little lights flickered on across the whole of our U.S.A.! He spoke one more time: “SATELLITE!” I cried, “When?” One final answer: “SOON!”

Within two weeks RCA Americom came knocking. It was the first domestic satellite covering North America. They needed customers, were we interested? Ah, how Satan fought this one. Again, read my book. See how our God has honored that first step — yes, over 80 satellite footprints now cover the globe! All praise to our heavenly Father!

Where do I begin and end? The many times our God has intervened to save His great Voice, His TBN, to all the world! I have given you a few examples — there have been many more as together we have traveled these 40 years of God’s miracles.

What does the future hold? The songwriter says it best:

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

Jan and I love you the most — yes, 40 years of God’s miracles — together!


Paul hosting an early Behind the Scenes program. A couple of ladders and a bedroom set table served as props.

Paul and Jan on Praise the Lord doing what they still love to do: sharing another miracle victory with TBN’s partners!

August 2, 1974: Paul was overjoyed as he went to Western Union to pick up the FCC telegram with the glorious news that the license for Channel 40—TBN’s first station—had been granted!

Precious Scotty Scotvold, the “$35,000 Lutheran,” whose last minute, miracle gift helped save Channel 40 and ultimately TBN . . . with five minutes to spare!

The “Holy Beamer on the 18-wheeler”— a remote satellite production truck and mobile studio — was cutting-edge technology in 1980. Paul and Jan joyfully told TBN’s partners how the Holy Beamer would be used to broadcast live Christian events from around the country.

The salvation report slips were placed on the set as hundreds phoned in to receive Jesus during a glorious night on Praise the Lord.

1980: Paul preaching at the great Washington for Jesus rally. Up to 1 million people attended this historic event.

A powerful time of anointed ministry with Joseph Prince, Paul, Matt, Laurie and the TBN team from Caesarea, Israel.

Paul and Jan in Lenin Square in St. Petersburg, Russia where a mysterious lady came out of nowhere, handed Jan a rose and thanked her for bringing Christian TV to Russia — and then vanished without a trace!

2004 Baghdad, Iraq: Paul and Matt on the parade grounds in front of Saddam Hussein’s former “Arch of Triumph,” a 150 foot replica of his hands holding crossed swords.

1986 Phoenix, AZ revival: Paul, Jan and R.W. Schambach tossed salvation reports in the air as they praised the Lord for thousands that received Jesus that night.

2012: Yes, TBN is EVERYWHERE — even in front of the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai — the world’s tallest building!

1986: Paul with Chinese evangelist Nora Lam in the government approved church in Shanghai, China.

Paul and Jan in the TBN prayer partner room reading praise, prayer and salvation reports. Over 36 million people—that we know of—have received Jesus as Savior over the past 40 years.