NRB Strategic Partnerships Prayer Newsletter
A Concerto of Praise: Lessons from the Classics
[This month, allow me to dig into my archives for an article I wrote about two years ago. As I reread it recently, it seemed to strike a chord. We live in divisive times. Whether it is politics, economics, or ministry, there is polarization on all fronts. Jesus prayed to the Father that we who follow Christ would be one, even as He and the Father were one. Where are we in that process?]
I recently attended the prestigious Van Cliburn Piano Competition, held every four years in Fort Worth, Texas. You may remember Van Cliburn as the (then) young, tall Texan who competed in the 1957 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. The contest was supposed to show the world the superiority of the Soviet world, right down to its gifted musicians. The only problem was that Van Cliburn wowed the Russian audience and judges, and he became an instant favorite, winning the prestigious contest.
Now, every four years, the best of the best head to Texas for a grueling piano competition that lasts several weeks. We did not know it at the time, but the three gifted artists we heard the night we were there ended up being the top three winners.
Their skill was amazing. I was astounded at their dexterity, their musicianship, and the fervor with which they played. One of the contestants was a 20-year-old blind pianist from Japan. The music was some of the toughest repertoire to be found. Yet these young people played the works with ease…or so it seemed.
I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of time, energy, focus, and total commitment it takes to perform at such a level. Few people do. Yet it didn’t stop with the contestants. The symphony played flawlessly. The whole evening was astounding to behold.
Naturally, I got to thinking about those who serve the Lord Jesus. Do we possess the same kind of commitment to Him that these musicians showed for their love, music? Are we willing to focus on Christ, study His Word, give our lives to the pursuit of excellence for His glory, not our own? I’m quite certain that not all the orchestra members agreed on every interpretation of a piece. And there is no doubt that there were vast cultural and socio-economic differences between all the artists. But when the conductor gave the downbeat, all that was set aside.
Under the able direction of a strong leader, many individuals in the orchestra gave up their right to be individuals and worked together as a unit. Not everyone played the same notes…no unison here. And not everyone played the same amount of notes. A few had solos, but most were simply part of the ensemble.
Somehow beautiful, glorious music was produced. There was a unity between the pianist, the orchestra and the conductor. Not unison, but unity.
Do you ever find yourself wondering why someone else gets more of the spotlight than you in the ministry work? Do you find more differences than similarities among those around you in the ministry, letting it become a barrier to the work?
Maybe more pointedly, do we give ourselves to the Lord in such a way that we offer Him our very best…our time, our energy, our focus, our total commitment? What would happen if we did? If we overlooked the little differences (and sometimes the big ones) and worked together under the Lord’s direction?
Henry Blackaby, in the book he authored with his son Richard Blackaby, Experiencing God Day by Day, says of our service to the Lord:
“You do not serve Him in your spare time or with your leftover resources. The way you live your life for God is your offering to Him.”
Our time, our energy, our focus, our commitment.
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give,
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all….
Ministry Updates and Prayer Requests
HopeFM continues to work toward a 24/7 presence in Stockholm. This is requiring a big change of strategy in programming and funding. Roger Arnfjell and those who work with him are to be commended for staying with the task when the challenges have loomed large.
At the same time, an opportunity has come to expand across Sweden with HopeFM programming. The ministry is moving forward in faith, though it will require some US$15,000 to gain many frequencies available to them.
• Pray for the continuing work and support needed for HopeFM to be heard 24/7 in Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm.
• Pray for the US$15,000 needed to secure an opportunity to broadcast the Gospel on more than 40 community frequencies across Sweden.
• Pray for encouragement for Roger Arnfjell, the HopeFM Board, and those working with them to bring this about.
• Pray in thanksgiving for Peter Kerridge of Premier Radio, London, for his willingness to mentor and guide HopeFM in their ministry work.
ELION Media Ministry in Belgrade is seeking a ministry partner to share their offices and share in the expenses. This will allow ELION to continue to grow and serve the needs of evangelical churches, schools, and ministries in this predominantly Orthodox country.
ELION will be hosting a two-day video training seminar led by Craig Forrest of Los Angeles. This media professional has worked extensively for major networks, and now teaches production at Pepperdine University in California. Craig has held these seminar and teaching sessions in many places around the world, bringing top-notch insight and training to individuals engaged in media and ministry. The conference will be September 9-10, 2011.
• Pray for at least 20 people to sign up for the video conference to cover the costs of the seminar.
• Pray for a suitable ministry partner to share the ELION Media offices in Belgrade.
• Pray for continued opportunities for ELION to share the hope found in Christ with the lost of Serbia and surrounding countries.
• Pray for the needed personal financial support for Sasko and Ira Bogeski of ELION Media Ministry in these important and critical days for the Gospel.
Radio 7 in Tirana, Albania, is continuing their growth by adding a new station in Pristina, Kosovo. With great financial support from listeners to KCBI Radio, Dallas, the ministry is able to purchase the needed transmitter and antenna for the station. Radio 7 is now seeking the best location for the station, possibly in one of the local churches. In a country like Kosovo that is almost totally Muslim, it is important to keep the station, its staff, and the location that houses the station safe from any potential persecution.
Radio 7 is also working to secure a broadcast license for northern Albania, to reach an area that desperately needs a strong Christian broadcast witness to support the small evangelical churches in that region. The government has delayed the licensing process at least two times.
To the south, Radio Emanuel continues to look forward to the upgrade of their antenna for its main frequency. The ministry is working with communication giant Vodaphone to use one of their towers, which will greatly increase Radio Emanuel’s reach. It is a somewhat complicated operation but, with the help of Galcom International, the project should be completed soon.
• Pray for Radio 7’s efforts in Kosovo, as they establish the first Christian station in this predominantly Muslim nation.
• Pray for Radio 7 to have favor with the broadcast licensing authorities for the awarding of the frequency in northern Albania.
• Pray for Enkelejda as she leads Radio 7 on these multiple fronts for the sake of the Gospel.
• Pray for Tani and Efti Baraku with Radio Emanuel in Korce, Albania, as they expand their reach.
• Pray for the successful completion of the new antenna.
• Pray for the expansion of the ministry into Macedonia and Greece.
Christian broadcast ministries in this largest of all Muslim nations need training for leaders to manage new stations. With some 7,000 inhabited islands in Indonesia, there is need for many small stations to serve the people and to place God’s Truth in the marketplace. A key Christian leader and church planter has told me the major need is training in broadcast skills and management understanding.
• Pray for an opportunity to establish a Christian Media Training Institute in Indonesia.
• Pray for Christian broadcasters to stand strong against intimidation that comes from those of other religions in that country.
The population of India is over 1.2 billion souls. Though Christian missions and churches have impacted this region for well over 100 years, the subcontinent is dominated by Hindu, Muslim, and other religions. The pastor of one of the largest Christian congregations in India recently said that media must be utilized effectively if Christians are going to impact India with the Gospel of Christ.
Christian broadcasters will come together on September 30th in Chennai, India, to discuss how they can strengthen the proclamation of God’s Truth by use of the media. NRB has been asked to come and share insight and encouragement to this group as they seek to grow, organize, and bring Christ’s hope to their land.
• Pray for the September 30th meeting in Chennai, India, and for all who will attend, that we may know God’s heart and His direction for Christian broadcasters in India.
• Pray for the safety and protection of these who take a stand for Christ as they publically proclaim the Gospel with power. We have already seen instances of persecution on some who use media to reach people for the Lord Jesus.
• Pray for the leadership of this meeting as they organize and invite other key broadcasters to come.
We recently met with Canadians who want to organize Christian broadcasters in Canada to stand together in a changing climate. Those in Christian media (and in the church) operate under very restrictive regulations as it relates to teaching and proclaiming God’s Truth. Many know that NRB was born out of a deep need. Evangelical broadcasters in the mid 1940’s were faced with being denied access to national radio. NRB has become a strong “voice” for Christian broadcasters in the US, and Canadians feel the need for a unified, strong voice in their country to face the challenges of today and tomorrow. NRB is always glad to give insight and guidance to their counterparts in other countries as they unify around the Gospel of Christ.
• Pray for God’s clear direction for Christian broadcasters in Canada as they seek to effectively stand for Christ in a changing and challenging climate.
• Pray for God’s guidance as they consider forming a unified group to represent evangelical broadcasters in key issues of free speech and religious rights in Canada.
After a successful Balkans Media Training seminar last fall, this region is looking to hold another gathering for Christian broadcasters. NRB is in discussion with a US broadcast ministry group in giving key leadership in a new Balkans Media Training Institute.
• Pray for a meeting in late August to discuss this possibility with this US organization.
• Pray for God’s direction in the hearts of this ministry’s leaders, as they consider how such an event would fit within their significant international strategy for the years ahead.
The NRB Strategic Partnerships division has been limited in its involvement with Christian broadcasters in Africa. Many of our NRB members with significant international outreach, such as HCJB Global, TWR, and Far East Broadcasting, have been providing leadership, training, and ongoing assistance throughout Africa for many years. However, we always want to stay open for ways NRB can encourage and strengthen the work in this vast continent.
To that end, I will represent NRB at the Africa by Radio Conference in September, to be held in Accra, Ghana. Our hope is to learn how God is working through faithful servants of the Lord, and to encourage them in the ministry through media.
For several years I have been aware of a ministry called Vision Africa that has now placed a broadcast station on the air in Nigeria. In recent weeks they have increased their power and the height of their tower to now broadcast to a population of over 20 million people. Vision Africa is now seeking a US Christian broadcast professional who would join them for at least a year to give leadership and direction to this station in Nigeria. It would likely mean several trips to Nigeria in a year’s time, spending up to two weeks each time. Anyone interested can contact me and I will connect you with this ministry to learn more.
• Pray for all God is doing in Africa, bringing revival in many places, in spite of amazing challenges and difficulties.
• Pray for Christian broadcasters who are effectively getting God’s message of hope in Jesus into the hearts of all who hear.
• Pray for protection for many of these broadcasters who serve in difficult and even dangerous places.
• Pray for God to call out some from the comfort of our world to serve in lands that need the expertise and wisdom He has given them.
This is an exciting time to serve the Lord. Not an easy time…but an exciting one. We know that almost all ministries face financial needs, this one included. But we also know the resources of our King, and the desire of His heart to reach the lost of our world. I would rather labor with great challenges in a cause that is right, than be at ease in an endeavor that produces nothing of lasting value.
At times of greatest challenge, I am encouraged by the words of the Psalmist:
“Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass”
Trusting in His Grace,