Receipts must be about the most boring documents on earth, right?
Not to everyone – my wife’s grandmother used to keep them all and read them for hours after a supermarket shopping trip! OK, so she was exceptional. I can barely make sense of the receipt I get for 5 items at Countdown (“where’s my discount? How much was that in the end?” “Did my Onecard make a difference?”)
But if you’re like me, I suspect a receipt is a necessary but slightly dangerous little reminder of how much cash you just extinguished. EXCEPT when it’s your donations receipt. I just received one from Indonesia where New Zealand FEBC donors gave $2000 to allow the staff of a radio station to have a weekend away for training and spiritual refreshing. These people slog it out day after day outnumbered 1 million to 1, sharing the love and grace of Jesus with Muslim listeners, and following up each inquiry with a phonecall or a visit.
I think that is the most wonderful, satisfying, joy-giving little piece of paper I’ve read in a while.
When you get your annual donations receipt from us and/or whatever charities you gave to in the last financial year, grab a cup of coffee and a piece of something tasty, and stare at it for a while. Just enjoy the feeling of pleasure that comes with being generous. You’re allowed to, the feelings are legit.
This is fascinating stuff. In a nutshell 2010 figures show 775 million adults, and 122 million youth (15-24 y/o) on earth lack basic reading and writing skills.
64% of illiterate adults are women. And the great majority of all illiterate people live in what is sometimes called the “10/40 Window.”
It occurs to me that when it comes to communicating the love of God to the peoples of earth, it is the literate people who think first to send books. As great as this is (seriously I am 100% for providing literature and Bible translation), many many people outside the West would prefer to hear or see the Good News. Well, 775 million of them anyway! So let’s keep at it …
Check this out http://www.uis.unesco.org/FactSheets/Documents/fs20-literacy-day-2012-en-v3.pdf
Today I’m simply going to pass on a great testimony recently sent through from Asia. Simple and profound, because this is what it’s all about…
“I want you to know that I became a believer in God through FEBC, even though I live in a country where it is difficult to believe in God. The government won’t let us live our lives according to the Bible. We also don’t have any pastors living near us. But we are strong in the Lord because we listen to the radio. The Word of God that we hear every day helps us keep our faith.”
Thanks for caring,
One of the mission trends of 2012 that our own FEBC research affirmed, is that Cell Phone and Internet use continues to explode.Why is this a mission trend? .. you may ask. Well on a number of levels the advance of digital communications is empowering efforts to announce God’s Kingdom and love.
1. Hostile governments and anti-Christian regimes are having their deeds exposed by cell phone users more and more quickly. Atrocities and persecution are harder to keep secret and the perpetrators are more readily visible, everywhere! This means that those courageous people with compassion to help are sooner informed and mobilised. This is part of the mission of God, and this is where indigenous and expat Christians are getting involved.
2. Evangelism and Prayer movements are harnessing the growth of the net, and smartphone uptake is getting relevant information out to prayer partners in an instant.
3. Internet / Smartphone radio station apps are increasingly mainstream (I just threw away two “ordinary” radios. Who manually moves through a dial anymore!). People can find a station in their language from almost anywhere in the world now. “Local” radio is a term I’ll have to explain to my kids soon. This means a Christian broadcast in, say, Mandarin can be produced in Auckland and listened to live on the street in Chengdu. What’s more, the listener can interact with the broadcaster, or perhaps a counselor in … Hong Kong!
Praise God for technology.
PS. next time I’ll write about how many millions don’t have smartphones and still rely on … traditional radios to hear stuff!
* some info sourced from Assist News Service / Bill Bray
Many people in the majority world are so unfamiliar with our Freedom of Expression that they actually see it as a bad thing; something that opens the door to insult, shame, and conflict.
It isn’t until people hear something shocking that they might reconsider their assumptions. Just for a moment, imagine what it would be like to hear for the very first time that God loves you! Or even: Love your enemies!
Here’s an extract from a listener in the Middle East:
“Your station has changed my life. I used to hate Christians, but you have taught me that we can love one another and live in one country. … Please forgive my hatred.”
Radio isn’t just a good way to reach people who live in places of restricted expression. It is crucial.
WOW – apparently the acronym OMG (O! My God) has been around since 1917, but I suggest it’s a lot older than that.
Its first recorded use was in a letter from Lord John Fisher to Winston Churchill, apparently he was excited to be considered for a new knighthood. OMG joined FYI (For Your Information) and LOL (Laughing Out Loud) as officially recognised terms in a recent online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Isn’t it great when terms capture and sum up wonderful truths? Believe it or not, all three of these are ancient and powerful biblical concepts that appear throughout scripture, and in the case of OMG it is word for word!:
OMG is the cry of the Psalmist as he looks to God for rescue (Psa. 3:7), and as he offers his whole life for faithful service (Psa. 40:8);
FYI is a driving thought in the Apostle Paul’s ministry as he sought to “fearlessly inform of the mystery of the Good News… pray that I may inform of it fearlessly.” Eph. 6:19-20
LOL is the response of a delighted Sovereign God, and a thrilled people. When the nations plot against God – He laughs out loud (Psa. 2:4; 37:13). And for people who weep today at the brokenness of the world, Jesus promises there will be laughing out loud (Luke 6:21).
Good evangelism and missions informs, evokes an intelligent response, and touches the heart. FYI, LOL, OMG!
When Paul spoke at his own trial before Festus and King Agrippa around AD60 (Acts 26:23-25) he explained very simply the message of Jesus Christ – that he suffered, rose from the dead, and enlightens all humanity today. Festus was gob-smacked and shouted “You’re out of your mind!
But Paul respectfully disagreed –‘ “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. What I am saying is true and reasonable.”’
When this same message of Jesus was shared in an Asian village recently a Buddhist spirit medium heard it and agreed that it was “true and reasonable”. He believed it and enrolled in a radio Bible correspondence course FEBC offers. These are his words:
“So now as I am studying the Bible Correspondence Course, it is as if someone is leading me out of darkness into the Light – and away from the strength of the spirits and Satan. Now I am in Jesus Christ and my sickness is gradually disappearing. May God bless you!”
Is following Jesus insane, or reasonable? Ask the healthy Buddhist.
As we communicate the amazing things we believe and experience of God, it soon becomes evident to our listeners (whether they’re in Thailand or Iraq) that our message of hope in Christ for eternity is like nothing anyone else has ever said!
Some people listen for years, making up their minds. Others listen once and make contact immediately to put the tough questions to our staff. I recently hosted a visitor from our India offices who shared that when they lease time on local government FM & AM stations they cannot mention the Bible or Jesus Christ! They can only speak of Christian values and ideas. Typically people phone or write to them with comments and questions like this:
“You people must be Christians! No one else talks about forgiveness like you do, or mercy, or love the way you do. Please send me some literature. When are you meeting in my area?”
When the temple guards were sent to arrest Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles, they returned empty handed. Why? At the risk of their lives or at least their jobs and reputations, they simply answered:
“No one has ever spoken like that man!” (John 7:46)
The announcement of the love of God in Jesus Christ, whether subtly expressed in Community Radio programmes or boldly announced in unambiguous testimony, is an unprecedented message! Will you join us in making it known? Please sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter Skywaves, full of radio initiatives and encouraging testimonies. Email your name and address to me today. Your support makes a huge difference and the message is getting through!
Bless you greatly,
One of the wonderful things about radio is that it is both a “broadcast” media and an intimate “one to one” at the same time! Even though this is a bit of an oxymoron, it is true that radio is both “broad” and “narrow” in its communication. I regularly get stories from around the world about listeners who first heard about Jesus because someone else took their radio to work, turned it up, and made sure others in the factory or shops or market could hear as well.
Then there are stories of those who have heard of Jesus and the hope that Christians enjoy, so they sneak a radio off to a quiet place and listen in privately.
In both situations people often say things like “It was as if God was speaking just to me!”
Along these lines, here is a wonderful testimony I received today from Russia:
Tatyana, 28, said: “Growing up in a secular Jewish family, I always felt that there is something more out there, something deeper than our cultural traditions. When I became FEBC listener, I felt that God began a dialogue with me. And Jesus, the most famous Jew in history, became my Lord and my Savior.”
I hope you enjoy the same intimacy, dialogue and hope.
Several times in the Gospel of John we’re told that people “put their faith in Jesus” while he was either speaking or doing amazing things (John 2:11; 7:31; 8:30; 12:11). In fact in John 8 Jesus was in a powerful verbal struggle with the hypocritical religious Pharisees who were simply trying to catch him out and discredit his words. Jesus had just declared himself to be the “Light of the world” (v.12), then the argument took off. What I love is that after all the back and forth of words, we’re told “Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.”(v.30)
Whether it’s a bold radio programme or a contentious discussion on the street with a neighbour, conversations are powerful. The key in this text seems to be to stay loving and to stay on subject:
- your testimony (v.14);
- God is Father (v.16, 18, 19, 27, 28, 29);
- Jesus is Lord and God (v.12; 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25);
- the suffering and resurrection of Christ (v.28);
- light for this life, and eternal life are available for all who will follow Jesus (v.12).
The promise of being the light of the world that Jesus spoke of was not side-tracked in the exchange of words, it was actually what was happening – the truth was being revealed as Jesus and the Pharisees where speaking. The thing was they thought they were discrediting Christ, while He was in fact illuminating truth!