Bob Higley

Bob Higley   My name is Bob Higley, and I’m the CEO and President of Upliftv Foundation (CLF). Upliftv is a unique faith and family network that features inspirational movies, documentaries and ministry programs. Upliftv is the new paradigm in Christian television.

   I was born in 1953, during the baby boomer era, and grew up in the 60s and by the 70s. My hair was long, and wanted to be a hippie. Peace brother. I was a hippy for the Lord. We loved Jesus back then. I thought that it was the coolest way to rebel.

   I grew up in a divorced family and didn't meet my dad until I was twelve. My mom wanted to become a professional singer, so she took my brother and me to our grandparents. I was about three and a half years old and my brother Randy was two when Mom divorced my dad. My first memory was that of going on a train ride and walking between the cars. Mom was holding Randy, and couldn't hold me and the bags. This was the most fearful part of my life when we were walking between the cars. Mom dropped us off at our grandparents and we would see her off and on. She soon became an alcoholic. Her dream of becoming a singer and travel around the country, ended on the streets of Detroit. They picked her up off the streets, and we were taken to the hospital to see her. We were told that she was about to die.

   My first introduction to Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship was at a World Convention in Detroit, Michigan, in 1982. I was fascinated to see all these big ministries in the Detroit, Michigan. That's where I was working with the ministry called Faith for Miracles. There was Paul and Jan Crouch, Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts just to name a few. We were there having a great time and afterwards, Joanie and I wanted to get behind the scene to see who the director was.

   I told Joanie, “Let's see if we can sneak back to the control room and see all their stuff.

   We eventually ran into someone we knew, Paul and Jan and Crouch. While they were getting into a van, I said to Paul Crouch, “How are you doing?" This was our first initial meeting, and Mr. Crouch invited me to his office headquarters and asked me to manage one of his TV stations. This was an amazing opportunity developed through networking at the full gospel convention.

   Mom had Yellow jaundice and tubes sticking out of her. The Lord allowed her to live. During this time, we were raised by my dad who attended a Baptist Church, and my mother’s parents in Tennessee. We would go to church with my grandparents, who attended the Church of Christ. There was nothing really exciting that would draw me closer to God. I remember at the age of twelve in Flint, Michigan, we listened to Jack Van Impe at South Flint Baptist Church. I can't remember what he preached, but Randy did. He started going to the altar.I said, "Where are you going?" I joined Randy going forward and I was glad I did. The ministry team took us back to a room, and prayed with us to receive Jesus. It didn't stick because I didn’t meet the Holy Spirit.

   I ended up moving in with my dad at the age of twelve. I didn't know my dad and I was a rebel. I questioned, why would my parents do this me? They loved me; and I'm just going to rebel. I rebelled at school and started taking drugs like LSD, pot, and meth. I didn’t get into the OxyContin, that's bad stuff. There is an epidemic hitting our country, and doctors are giving out prescription drugs. I didn't want to end up on drugs like my mother, but finally my mom had gotten off drugs. The Lord brought her back, and she was saved at RW Schambach tent crusade.

   I left my father and went to live with my mom, to get to know her. I lived with my mom at fifteen. I didn’t bond with either parent. I remember going out to see my dad one summer and had really long hair.

   He said, "You're not coming to this house like that."

   I said, "Okay see you" and went back to Detroit. 

   I joined the Air Force, and met my wife Joanie. We just celebrated our fourth anniversary. Joanie is an amazing woman of God. The Lord has used her tremendously.

   Joanie and I first started off as friends and dated. I still wasn't a Christian and we went to some bars. She wasn't interested in going to the bars. Then I started to dabble around with pot again. Here in Northern Michigan we had light duties, and I'm still seeing a lot of the dorm.

   I was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, for basic training with P.C., a friend. The Air Force gave us a list of places to go after basic. There were all these exotic places, Hawaii, Paris and others.The last place that I thought about was Michigan. My friend P.C. wanted to go Michigan, and little did I know that God had a plan for my life. It turned out that P.C.’s cousin was Joanie’s Dad.

   God was already starting to link us up, but I wasn't ready. I didn't know the Lord then. We lived on an AFB in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  Now if you had never heard of the upper peninsula of Michigan, it borders Canada. We were so far north we could see the Northern Lights. It would start snowing in September and end in May.

   We laugh when it snows in Texas. A little dusting of snow, and they close the schools. It is so funny to us. We were accustomed to plowing two or three feet of snow. You're not getting out of school.

Joanie’s Dad brought the whole family up during the summer. Joanie did graduate, and I'm now friends with the family. Her father thought I was a nice guy.

   P.C. wanted me to take him to take him to the airport in Canada. I had to drive him across the border into Canada and we smoking pot. As I came back across the border, I forgot to roll down the windows because it was freezing cold. Customs asked me where I was going and asked to see my ID. The agent must have smelled the pot, and he wanted to check my car.

   I said, “There's nothing there.”

   He said, "We're going search you.”

   I panicked and said, “I got it and here it is. That's all I have.”

   I thought it's only a $100 fine. Anyway, the Air Force took that charge seriously. I didn't know we were supposed to report it to the Air Force.

   I just said, "I'm going to pay the $100 fine."

   It was just a joint. Joanie came and picked me up because they impounded my car. I was a medic and helped deliver babies when I was in the Air Force. I helped to deliver 50 babies.

   My first sergeant was reading the paper about my arrest and called me down to the office, "You're going to have extra duty, and you’re not going to get any raises for a year. We’re going to hold your rank. You're going to go through drug rehab and be drug tested regularly. You’re going to follow the Military Code of Conduct while your friends are off duty.”

   I had to go through the whole drug rehab and I thought, "You're got to be kidding me." But God was using this to ween me from pot.

   I told everybody, "I'm not coming around you guys.”

   Actually, the investigator said, "We're going to find out who your friends are."

   I said, "No, I got everything from Detroit” and I'll blame them.”

   I tried to stay in the dorm and already knew the Bible thumpers, always trying to get me to go church. But some of the people I didn't really know. One was Doug Hoffman, who later became our best man. He invited me to church. He said, "Hey there's going to be a movie at the chapel." That didn't seem alarming and I also went to see a music group. This group was Charismatic. They started playing their guitars and thought this must be the international group, because I kept hearing different languages. I loved being around them and kept going back.

   They had the life, and the spirit thing, and we were immersed in it. We wanted more of this. They invited us to get saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. It was like osmosis. Then someone invited us to the Assembly of God Church. The pastor preached a sermon that I just couldn't wait to run up the altar and that's what happened. I just ran up there. I didn't even check with Joanie. It wasn't like when I went forward with my brother Randy for salvation. I didn’t walk, I ran to the altar. Joanie ended up there later. I noticed her there, but we're all being prayed for.

   The Holy Spirit was moving. This spiritual encounter brought us together with God. We started getting serious. I told Joanie that we needed to get married. Joanie told me... "We didn't go down to get the ring, and I didn't plan for flowers and a fancy restaurant. I didn’t know you're supposed to do all that; but it just came on me." She later told me it was the right time and that's how I remember the moment. We were glowing and that's how the Lord brought us together. We were saved together.

   Her dad was clearly Air Force. We prayed and we felt like we were to leave the Air Force. The Air Force trained me in allergy and immunology. I was scheduled to run the allergy clinic. They were telling me that theywere going to make me an officer. I would be a Lieutenant with a quick promotion to Captain. They're offering me everything. I could be a physician assistant. Actually, that's the next step to be a doctor. I said, "No, the Lord's leading us out." We didn't even know where and people were saying, "What are you going to do?"

   I replied, “I don't know what the Lord has planned, but He is leading us out the Air Force.”

   Now we're getting Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, and Andréa Crouch, and all this cool music to replace them. I remember saying, "Why don't they have Christian radio stations?" We didn't have anything like that in North Michigan. We would get our albums and record them on my cassette player. We only had an 8 track in the car.

   I remember asking Joanie, “How do I approach music?”

   One night I was listening to the Air Force radio station, and they said, "We need disc jockeys. If you come down to the radio station, we'll train you and you could do your own radio show." I said, "That's it." I went down there to be trained and brought all my Christian albums and played them for two years. That's how I got started in broad-cast media. I was playing Christian rock music.

   I didn't know the station manager and he called me in and asked, "What do you want to do?” This was in the 70s when everyone was listening to Disco, Pop, soul, and rock.... I said, "I want to do Christian rock." He asked, “What's that? I've never heard of that?”

   I pulled out an Amy Grant album. I was able to tell him a few years ago, when I came to Celebrate Freedom; I was backstage at an Amy Grant and I said, "Amy, you're responsible for my career. If I hadn’t given that radio station manager your album to play, he would have never seen the cover."

   The album cover was ugly. It looked like she had pimples. She didn't like to hear that part of the story. They changed the cover on the album. But station manager liked it and I said, "He was going to let me do the TV show “Faith for Miracles.”

   That radio gag is when we got out of Air Force, and after six years in Air Force, we took a week off and didn't do anything. I remember saying Sunday night, "It's okay Joanie, let's pray and ask the Lord open the door tomorrow.” I went down to the hospital to apply for work. Joanie had great administration and secretarial skills.

   When we came back from the hospital, my mom said, “You're not going to believe who called here.” I asked, “Who called? She said, "The Faith for Miracles (FFM) studio called and they want me to come down tonight to be interviewed.” What? How did that happened?" I asked my mother.

   She said, "Well, a few weeks ago. I was watching Faith for Miracles and couldn’t sleep for three days. I had such a bad back pain. I couldn't sleep and had the TV on during the day and night. Mom said, this TV evangelist said, “There's a lady here who has back pain, you're on your couch, stand up right now, God's going to heal you..."

   Mom said that might be me, and She stood up with the TV still on. He started praying for me to receive my healing. She felt a warm feeling going all over her back and said, "It's like he knew." He was talking right to me and said, "Now get on your phone and call in and give that testimony." She did, and the prayer partner wrote it down. You know its funny how this process works. Here's my whole career on the line while waiting to get that prayer slip. They called mom to come down and share her testimony. Joanie said, "We will take you down there.” We took my mom down to the TV studio.

   Mom gets up on the stage and they put the mics on. I had no idea what they were going to talk about. The lights and cameras were on. The Lord was doing something to me. "Wow, I could hear the director giving instructions in my headset.” At the end of the show, my mom and the main pastor, Richard Brooks, the emcee of The Faith for Miracles, are walking toward me and he says, "Son your mom told me you were in the Air Force, and you did radio, and you know all those buttons and knobs."

   I said yes and he said, "We need someone to run the audio here." I said, "Wow!" The sound and audio was probably like a 747 compared to what I did in the little Air Force radio station. He took me in. and it was like a 747. I said,“I could do it.” I said,“I want to learn everything.” He said, "Sure, come in." Within a year and a half, I was the Director, Producer, and Editor. It was where the Lord took us. My degree in Business Administration also helped.

   The Lord was equipping me on the administration side of TV, and I quickly learned production. Faith for Miracles followed right after Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Every Sunday at 3:00 PM, Richard Brooks knew the nearby churches had a chance to go eat lunch, and he would put on a Miracle Sunday at that time. He would always bring in visiting Evangelists, and I got to know Marcus Lamb. He had his studio in Montgomery, Alabama. We became friends, and I would give him free tapes. Marcus never forgot me. We followed Jim and Tammy Bakker with the Faith for Miracles on WGBA in Detroit. It was not a Christian station. Richard Brooks bought time on independent stations. He was smart; and we actually started out in tourism with doing commercials.

   People came down to Heritage USA and would fill up a bus. After one more commercial, the second bus was filled, and more time joining. I had to go down and head up the tour. But when Jim Bakker fell from grace, guess what happened? Half of our Faith for Miracles income dried up.

   Richard Brooks called me and said, "I'm going to have to lay off everybody. Bob, you got to definitely stay around."

   I was his main TV guide, but can only afford me half time. I told Joanie, but now we had three kids and I can't make it on a half 50% of my original income. We needed every penny to live on.

I started looking for a new job. I sent resumes to all the TV stations and their headquarters. Slowly but surely, twelve rejection letters came back. I couldn't even get a job directing a high school football game. Nothing was working. Mom came over and said, "What's wrong with you? Give me your hand." She was acting like R.W. Schambach and said, "In the name of Jesus! We claim that job on TBN! Jesus, make it happen! Amen.”

Within a week, I got a call from a woman named Margie Tuccillo from TBN. She was Paul Crouch’s secretary for decades and said, "Mr. Crouch would like you to fly to California and he wants to hire you. You will need to work out the dates on this."

   I said, "You're so on." What's the position for?" She said,“Station manager.” I thought to myself, "What?"

   I flew out there, thinking there's going to be a line of people. But, I was the only one with Margie. We were sitting while waiting for Paul Crouch. Paul arrives and said, "Bob, come on in, you're just the person we need. Can you go to Indianapolis, and by the way, can your wife type?"

"Yes, she can type."

   She's hired too. I called Joanie, We got hired.”

   Anyway, that just became another chapter and God used that.

   Now we have to learn station management. “Okay, Lord, we're learning station management.” My assignment was to create a new market.They didn't require Christian stations to be carried on cable back in the '60s, '70s, and '80s. They would only carry the big broadcasts and didn't have all cable channels. Remember, there's no CNN or HBO.

   So, Paul said, "You're going to have to go and knock on these cable doors and convince them to carry your station so they can reach all the people." Back then, cable had taken over 50% of the audiences. If you weren't on cable you're only have half of the audience.

   I did like he said; here I am managing the TV station. I'm also the director, and the editor, and I'm the producer, and Joanie was learning the business. She's really good with people and became a great floor director. She learned everything I did with Faith for Miracles between three babies. She's staying at home nursing babies while they grew up, we worked on it and she was handling all that.

I started knocking on the cable doors and making big deals. I got Comcast in Indianapolis, and in Bloomington, Indiana. Then Paul called me and asked, “Can you do the whole U.S.?"

   God was teaching me and giving me favor. God will also bring you up and equip you. Media has been used and still being used to reach people all over the world.

   As I am closing, I would like to ask anyone if you feel called. If you need that calling to take you to the next level, or maybe the Lord will show up today.

 

Bob's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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