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Like a Hammer

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Steve White is the senior minister at Plainfield Christian Church, in Plainfield, Indiana. He offered these challenging words after attending Vision Night and hearing the inspiring presentation of Isaac Masiga, guest speaker and regional director from Nairobi, Kenya.

Jeremiah 23:29 says, “Is not my word . . . like a hammer . . .” GNPI wants to share the powerful Gospel with people around the world using media and technology.

Steve’s right when he said that media, like a hammer, is a tool that can be used for good or evil. We could not use the goodness of the tool of media effectively without the passionate provisions from congregations like Plainfield Christian Church and leaders like Steve White.

Pressing On

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

We have produced 27 language versions of The Global Gospel and 11 more are almost finished! Why do we invest so much time and effort in this project? Why don’t we go on to something new?

Here are ten reasons:

Three truths:

  1. We believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word (spiritually alive and incredibly effective). The Global Gospel comes straight from the Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  2. We believe that God’s Word will change the hearts of people (eternally). There are countless stories of how, even during the production process, this project is transforming lives.
  3. We believe that God’s people are to help others receive and understand God’s Word (stewardship). More than three billion people speak the top 25 global languages.

These truths become even more significant when you consider these realities:

  1. Fifty percent of the world cannot read (print is not understood).
  2. Eighty percent of the world prefers visuals of new information (print is not preferable).   
  3. Eighty percent of the world only makes $10 a day (print is not affordable).*

The facts:

  1.  “More than half (58%) of all adults wish they read the Bible more often.” *
  2.  “…many people (39%) point to a difficult life experience that led them to search the Bible for direction or answers.” *
  3.  “…seeing how the Bible changed someone they knew for the better was an important motivating factor for some adults (30%).” *
  4. “…being asked by someone they know to read the Bible (20%).”

* State of the Bible 2017: Top Findings, Research Releases in Culture & Media April 4, 2017

Click on image to expand it.

Digital Delivery

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Remember the days when going out to the mailbox was exciting? Now, for many, only junk mail and the occasional Amazon order arrives in the mailbox. This change indicates the news, entertainment, bills, and more are delivered digitally which has changed the way we communicate. The mailbox, printed newspaper, AM/FM radio, telephone on the wall, or free-to-air broadcast TV stations are not as common. Everything has changed!

Today, GNPI can deliver life-changing words from God to a Buddhist gardener, a Spanish teacher, or Indian technician to answer real questions in this tumultuous world. Scriptural teaching delivered in the language people speak at the times they need is why media is so critical.  

Think of those times when you find yourself awake at 2:00 am as insomnia strikes again. People around the world share this struggle. Are you overwhelmed at the state of our nation, facing a loss in your family, or looking for positive messages to help you cope? Believers and seekers need the same help during a government coup or in the days following the funeral of a good friend.

Free messages, delivered at just the right time through the guidance of the Holy Spirit can make all the difference, and you never know where they’ll hit exactly the right mark. Media recently produced by staff in Ukraine was downloaded by people in Saudi Arabia. A video on teenage temptations produced in Manila was watched in New York City. Life of Christ stories in Cyprus are going to people in Tunisia.

 

My Reflections

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Our 2017 International Meeting in Damoh, India, was a special time to share personal struggles, victories, and lots of other information. It was a chance for the Lord to bring our vision for the future into sync, so we could return to our homelands not only to make media but more importantly, to make an impact.

A Tribute to Dr. Bare

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

A saint has gone home.

Dr. Garland Bare was called home to Heaven on April 2. His physical frame was slight, but Dr. Bare had a huge spiritual influence in the Kingdom. He continually defied the odds from his admittance to medical school when administrators said he was too old, to becoming a missionary when there was no support available, and surviving health issues over and over again to live decades longer than anyone thought possible.

Dr. Bare led a remarkable life but not an easy one. He influenced thousands, including me. I recall Dr. Bare speaking in the Williamson dorm while I was a student at Ozark Christian College in 1980. His passion for God and lost people convicted me, and as a result I became a missionary and I served in Kenya with my family for almost 20 years.

I have memories of prayer times with Garland at a local Arby’s restaurant where he loved to have a simple roast beef sandwich. I remember his kind words of encouragement, “Mike, I pray for you and GNPI every week.” I remember his presence in the halls of a missionary conference carrying a backpack in his 80s and moving with determination towards the next workshop to learn from others. I remember his confession of not being quite ready to “go home” because there was a book to finish, a seminar to teach, and a set of sermons to preach!

I received a short note just days before his passing that I will always cherish. As a veteran medical missionary doctor and even while under hospice care, his desire was to support others in global outreach like GNPI.

Thank you, Dr. Bare, for a legacy that illustrates, “through Christ, I can do all things.”

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We are thankful to share the following resources from Dr. Bare in our archives.

A Doctor Looks at the Crucifixion and Resurrection

Dr. Garland Bare presents an in-depth look at both the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. In his graphic explanation of both the scourging and the crucifixion, he shows how physical death must have taken place. Then he goes on to show that if Christ had somehow survived those agonies, death would have resulted from His burial.

Throughout both lessons, Dr. Bare emphasizes the importance of the resurrection to the Christian faith as a whole and to individual believers.

Listen or download the audio only version of A Doctor Looks at the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

A Growing Relationship

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

We have a growing relationship with YouVersion, the number one Bible app in the world, as a content provider. In just 18 months, we have submitted Bible study plans in five languages with 21,000 plan completions. YouVersion is so impressed with the quality of GNPI material and audience connections that they are exploring new content options with us in addition to the current plans that feature The Global Gospel.

Let’s listen now to Jessica Penick, YouVersion Content Partnership Manager, as she shares her perspective on our collaboration.

 

HOPE

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

When considering the meaning of the word hope, I like this acronym:

He Offers People Eternity.

At GNPI, we work with partners around the world to communicate effectively in heart languages that Jesus is the source of eternal hope.

Yes, “He offers people eternity – with God!” That is the best HOPE of all!

 

Easter Resources 2017

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

As we celebrate Resurrection Day, I am reminded of the words of Jesus in John 10:14-16, “I am the good shepherd.” He does not stop with this declaration, but instead He shares openly about His true and upcoming mission via the cross. “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

Remember the Good Shepherd lives! Please enjoy these free resources from GNPI as you celebrate or point your friends toward this great day.

Faces of GNPI

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

I would like to introduce you to a new page on our website that will connect you with our growing global network. Notice the diversity of faces from around the world working to create media to share the Gospel with the next generation.

As you look over the names, faces, and locations of these coworkers, I encourage you to lift them up in prayer. They are your ministry partners in world evangelism.

Click any image above or visit www.gnpi.org/faces to see the rest. We hope to continually update this page, so come back and visit the Faces of GNPI regularly.

Coconut Communion

Mike Schrage, Executive Director

The young man was dressed in orange saffron. His flowing garb, long black hair, and cross-legged sitting posture made him look like a respected guru. I imagine Jesus looking and sitting like this teacher.

This former Hindu teacher is now a Christian in the amazing country of India where less than 10 percent of a billion people are followers of Christ!

He shared from his heart how it is up to the people from his upper caste to contextualize the teaching of Christ for Indians to understand. More importantly, this leader wants the people of India to accept the Message not as Western protocol, but as it truly is: global Good News.

One example of contextualization we experienced was the process of sharing communion with this teacher and new followers of Christ. This kind, soft-spoken, young man picked up a coconut, a very common food in India, just as bread and wine were common in Jesus’ day.

The guru shared how the coconut represents Christ’s transformed body. Then he tapped on the coconut harder and harder with a hammer, eventually splitting it open. Immediately some coconut water spilled out. The tapping represented the beating and piercing of the body of Jesus that released blood and water. As the coconut was split in half, the teacher explained the open space represented the empty grave. He said in order to reach the coconut meat, one has to go through suffering, brokenness, and emptiness to find sustenance and life. The coconut meat is white representing purity and hope.

I learned a lot that day from a coconut, just as the followers of Jesus did from the meal they shared with the Savior.

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