NRB Strategic Partnership
August 2010 Prayer Newsletter
The World at War
Earlier this summer I started reading Jeff Shaara’s historical novel on World War II. The Rising Tide tells of the battle for North Africa, and is told in the compelling style backed by the thorough research that has marked Shaara’s work. You may have seen the movie “Gods and Generals” about the US Civil War. That was based on Jeff Shaara’s novel by the same name.
I learned that The Rising Tide was the first of a trilogy written byShaara on World War II, and I am now halfway through the second book, The Steel Wave. The third book in the series lies next to my chair, ready to pick up where the second book left off.
Shaara’s style is compelling, and it is highly acclaimed for capturing the reality of war and putting you alongside the men who fought so valiantly during that major conflict. As one critic said of Shaara’s accurate novels, “All that’s missing is the smell of gunpowder.”
OK…so you are probably asking, “What does that have to do with NRB’s international work through Strategic Partnerships?” I could probably stretch some things and talk about the Balkans, an area of particular interest to me right now. I could expound on the Allied forces and relate that to partnerships, and their value in this ministry work.
But what has really captured me is what makes Jeff Shaara’s books so compelling…the role of individuals in a harrowing war. You ride alongside men in tanks in North Africa, and experience the horrors of a battle gone wrong. You jump alongside young…very young… paratroopers in Sicily and at D-Day, experiencing the fear that grips them as they realize the enemy is real and is surrounding them.
Yet it is not the fear that stands out, it is the bravery of these soldiers. It is their training that has prepared them for such a battle, yet they still have to execute what they have learned. Some do so with valor. Others…only a few…shrink back, frozen by fear and overcome by the enemy.
And the connection? You are probably already making it. We are in a war today…one that grows more challenging every day. It is not a battle for property, people, or power. It is a spiritual battle for souls.
As I travel various places around the world, I am acutely aware of the battle Christians are in. In many of the countries evangelical Christians are few…0.02% of the population. That means that in a city of 500,000, there would be only about 100 evangelicals! Surrounded by the enemies of Christ. Even where the number of believers in Christ “soars” to 2%, the soldiers of Christ remain small.
Yet in spite of these overwhelming odds, the Christians I come in contact with are strong, dedicated, even heroic. They battle government attitudes that marginalize Christians and often list evangelicals as a cult. Or…maybe worse…they battle abject apathy, a culture that cares little for God or His Gospel.
Our goal through NRB’s Strategic Partnership is to put the best tools (weapons) we can find into the hands of the soldiers of the Lord. We want to get the best training and information that will help them in their battle against Satan’s forces. And we want to encourage them as they share the Good News…the joy and hope found in Jesus.
It is interesting that one of the key areas for our work these days is in the Balkans. These countries in Eastern Europe…Romania, Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, and others…were under Communist rule for decades. They were not untouched by that war about which Jeff Shaara so movingly and graphically writes. Yet the greater battle, even greater than World War II, is for the souls of those who live in these countries.
This November NRB will assist Christian broadcasters in the Balkans with four days of targeted media training. A dozen or more Christian media professionals from the US and Europe will come together to teach, network, and mentor. Some 20 topics will cover everything from production work, editing, news writing and producing, to budgeting, funding for ministry, and follow-up with listeners and viewers for spiritual growth.
Wrapped around this time will be fellowship and worship, an opportunity for Christians from different countries and cultures to grow deeper with God, and develop a relationship with one another…to bond…for more effective service to Christ.
NRB is helping to cover a good bit of the cost for those attending from the Balkan countries. Our original estimate of possibly 100 attending the training event has just about doubled, as has the cost…from $18,000 to almost $35,000. With the help of NRB members and generous individuals and ministries, we have commitments for all but $10,000 for the budget.
If you or your organization would like to share in this effort, it would be greatly appreciated. You can send a check to National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) and put on the memo line “Balkans Training”. That can be mailed to:
9510 Technology Drive
Manassas, VA 20110
If you would like to know more, feel free to contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org or at 817-446-1094.
The battle rages. Let’s be sure the troops are well prepared for the war they face in their world, with the best tools and the best training…all for the cause of Christ.
Prayer and Praise Reports
As mentioned above, God is blessing the Balkans Training Initiative in a wonderful way. We have over 175 signed up for the conference, with interest from several more. I suspect we will hit our capacity for the hotel at around 200. A number of key Christian broadcast professionals have already committed to teach the workshops, with others to come. Pray for these current needs:
• Contributions of about $10,000 needed to cover our conference costs.
• God to lead us to the remaining faculty needed for a successful event.
• Clarity of thought for the many details of the conference. The Balkan planning team will carry the load on many of these details.
• Good transportation planning for the attendees.
• Smooth scheduling for those from the US who are arranging their travel plans to Timisoara, Romania. Few, if any, of the major US carriers fly there.
• God’s leadership in all aspects of this exciting opportunity.
This is one of those lands where apathy for God and the Gospel seems to reign. Those who serve here feel more like they are in survival mode, just hanging onto the opportunities they have. Yet I have to believe it is the heart of our Lord that people in France, and those in other French-speaking countries, would come to Christ and live a dynamic, vibrant, spiritual life. As I do a bit of research, French is the official language of 29 countries, and 200-300 million people speak French in countries all over the globe. What if…what if there were a revival in France that became the springboard for evangelism throughout these countries and among these people?
• Pray for the evangelical Christians in France who are trying to gain a media beachhead for the Gospel. The work is difficult and often discouraging.
• Pray for the funds needed to keep these ministries going.
• Pray for Paul and Laura Harrigan and their media ministry. Radio Gospel/France for Christ still needs $50,000 to continue their ministry work this year as they try for a full-time FM frequency that covers Paris.
• Pray for Denis Steffen as he gives leadership to those in France working in media. Pray for fresh insight and for favor as they seek to expand the impact of the Gospel in France.
ELION Media has grown from a dream and a vision to a ministry this past year. Sasko and Ira Bogeski operate the ministry out of their bedroom, and need a location for ministry offices.
• Pray for ELION Media to find appropriate facilities that are convenient to Sasko and Ira.
• Pray for favor with those who have such office areas, and for the financial support needed for this important step.
• Pray for wisdom for Sasko as he structures the ministry to provide for the ongoing work and for his family.
• Pray for Ira as she translates for other ministries and organizations for the ministry work and for financial support.
• Pray for financial support and spiritual strength for these who serve so faithfully.
• Pray for the organizational meeting in September with pastors for the Mega City Campaign in conjunction with IRR/TV from Finland. This month-long media blitz will impact tens of thousands for Christ in the target cities.
HopeFM continues to grow in its ministry outreach to the secular culture of Sweden. They have actively covered evangelical gatherings and rallies and broadcast them to a wide audience. A new media regulation taking effect this month will give HopeFM the opportunity to greatly expand that reach.
• Pray for Roger Arnfjell as he leads a dedicated team providing hope and joy found in Christ to the people of Sweden.
• Pray as the ministry begins to contact local churches across the country that own community stations and broadcast frequencies. The new regulations in Sweden will allow networking of these stations and syndication of programming that will help bring quality and meaningful Christian programming to more of the country.
• Pray for financial support among the evangelical people and churches in Sweden for this outstanding ministry effort.
There are several new opportunities before us that we cannot address due to the need for administrative support. The cost of international travel is the single largest limiting factor in working with other media ministries around the globe. We are grateful to those who in recent days have been impressed to give specific financial gifts to this ministry work. And we are thankful to God for those who have committed to give on a regular, ongoing basis. It is a blessing and an encouragement.
• Pray for a specific partnership possibility that could address the issue of a travel budget. It seems God may have opened a possible way to extend ministry resources and help with travel at the same time. Still awaiting agreement for a proposal that was offered.
• Pray for new opportunities to tell the Partnership ministry story to those God has blessed with financial resources. I believe God will lead us to just the right ones in the days ahead, as He has over the past two years.
• Pray for the Lord’s continued leadership as we see how we can encourage and enhance the work of Christian broadcasters and broadcast associations around the world.
I am constantly reminded of the battle I spoke of earlier in this newsletter. To the degree that I am in the battle, I want to be spiritually prepared for combat with the enemy. I find I can get distracted from the daily training…in God’s Word…and can become immobilized by the overwhelming task. My heart’s desire is to be a good soldier, following the Lord’s command, and recognizing that His battle plan already includes winning this spiritual war. “The battle is the Lord’s, and He will win the victory.” To God be the glory!
God’s best…for His glory,
Ronald L. Harris, DD
Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnership
National Religious Broadcasters
703-330-7000 ext. 400 (NRB HQ)
Dr. Ron Harris
Sr. Vice President for
Strategic Partnership, NRB
"And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes...."
Sometimes we don't feel like praying. Bur if there were ever a time that we need to pray, it's when we don't feel like it. We need to pray until we do feel like it.
Prayer takes the promise to the bank of faith, and obtains the golden blessing.
Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons...but they are helpless against our prayers.
-J. Sidlow Baxter
Prayer is the link that connects us with God. This is the bridge that spans every gulf and bears us over every abyss of danger or of need.
-A. B. Simpson