Category : Mike Schrage

Home»Archive by Category "Mike Schrage" (Page 16)

The Goal

Well, the USA did not win soccer’s World Cup. I was chatting with a colleague immediately after the game ended. He didn’t want to hear the outcome of the Belgium versus USA game because he was going to go home and watch a recording of the match.

Isn’t it interesting how knowing the score or outcome takes all the internal suspense (and in this case, excitement) out of a game?

The same could be said for the World Cup of life. There is so much drama during the actual game of life, with its challenges and illnesses, that are also peppered with joy and jubilation. However, reading the end of the Book (and taking a sneak peak at the score) indicates that the score is: Jesus 1 and Satan 0. He wins, and when Jesus wins, we win!

Bottom line, knowing the score should help all of us stress less and believe more. That’s the goal. GNPI exists, essentially, to help people understand that they can share in this victory with us.

I didn’t spoil the end of the match for my friend, but letting others know the final score in this game of life is a spoiler alert we should not hold back!

 

Media Helps Make Disciples

I sat in the room with Christian workers from North Africa who work in a tough, resistant environment, listening to a prolific disciple-maker share steps to successful church multiplication. He has helped plant churches in China and India that are now thriving. As I listened, he spoke powerfully to my heart and mind about the priority of Jesus’ command to “make disciples.” Yes, we’re called to share the salvation of Christ, but our work is also about the process of sanctification, creating followers of Christ who carry their cross daily.

We can see the fantastic work so many are doing in the name of Jesus. People are working for justice, drilling wells, taking in the oppressed and orphaned, and feeding the hungry. There is an overarching objective that ties them all together and gives them true power. These needs are met to share the love of Christ and draw others into a relationship with him that blossoms into a passion to draw others. When this cycle is effective, churches begin and they, eventually, lead to other churches!

This teacher went on to say, “It is hard to be a good follower and disciple-maker if you don’t listen to the Master!” In his experience, people make the huge decision to accept Christ by making a host of smaller decisions that build on one another. What truly excited me was when he mentioned the role media plays in helping people who are seeking Christ. Yes, he emphasized what we’ve known for decades; media is key in helping today’s spiritual seekers encounter the Living God.

God continues to confirm, through the people we partner with and reach, that media is more important than ever in the process of fulfilling the The Great Commission. We consider it an honor to be in the same room as people like this great teacher, and we are even more humbled that God would choose GNPI to play a significant role in preparing his bride, the church, for Christ Jesus.

An Important Summit!

I recently sat with 20 vernacular media consultants at an annual summit of media use by minority people groups around the world through Wycliffe Bible Translators.

They concluded that more production of digital media was desperately needed to speed up the translation process, to help them spread God’s Word further, reaching more listeners more economically. They said:

Visual media actually helps people understand Biblical truths!

I shared three components of GNPI: The Global Gospel, project NOMaD, and Solar Kit distribution. Being Bible translators, they were elated that there was a resource so biblically strong like The Global Gospel. Their desire to train more nationals to produce video easily connected with project NOMaD. Finally, their viewing a Solar Kit in action whet their appetites for kits among their people groups. I actually left the Solar Kit I used to demonstrate with a worker, whom I cannot name, so it could be used to share the Gospel with a persecuted people group in SE Asia!  

I wish every friend of GNPI could have sat at that table. One international consultant present at the meeting said, “Mike, after your presentation of GNPI, I wanted to join GNPI!” The intent was not to recruit staff but to recruit partnerships, and I look forward to watching the Holy Spirit will connect the dots!

 

A Life of Significance

Have you ever wondered why people take on the work they do? Some people work through company financials. Some stay home to raise kids. Some even take on high-risk jobs like joining the Peace Corp. And some, like me, even become missionaries.

 Why do we each do the things we do? Part of the answer, in my opinion, is that God gives each of us a calling!

 The desire to live a life of significance is something God, as our creator, placed within each of us. Understanding what he’s called you to do is key to finding that meaning from life.

 At GNPI, we feel called to accelerate global evangelism through media and technology. When you give to GNPI, you’re investing in the lives of more than 80 people throughout the world whom God has called. In fact, by giving to GNPI you may be answering God’s call to partner with us, affecting the life of a Hindu woman, a Muslim man, a poverty-trapped child in Africa, and many more.

 Thanks for hearing God’s call for service in whatever work he’s given you to do, and thanks for hearing his call to help us do the work he’s given us. You’re a blessing to us!

That’s a PRAN!

Mike_Schrage_Blog_GNPI

By Mike Schrage, Executive Director, GNPI

The Kikuyu man insisted that we, the missionaries, had to have a PRAN – we just HAD to have a PRAN! We thought we knew English and Swahili languages, but we were all stuck to figure out what in the world the word PRAN meant! Then it dawned on us that our Kikuyu colleague naturally switches R’s for L’s and that what our brother was hoping to communicate was that we needed a PLAN! We agreed!

At GNPI we have a new Strategic Plan! It’s a road map of taking the best that we can conceptualize, adding a component of faith, and intentionally moving forward with God’s people by God’s grace. Here is a summary of those steps:

GoalsTan

Why Apps?

Because it is the digital delivery system of the future.

Why prepare discipleship materials for Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus?

Because almost half the world has one of those three religious worldviews.

Why the emphasis on The Global Gospel and NOMaD teams?

Because these are successful programs that need to grow!

So in the months ahead, our marching orders, our prayer posture, our conversation at the table and around the water cooler (digitally on Facebook and Twitter) will be, “How are we moving forward with our strategic plan?”

We believe this is the way to make GNPI bear more fruit – that’s the PRAN!

Defining Moments

Mike_Schrage_Blog_GNPI
by Mike Schrage, Executive Director, GNPI

The cross. The swoosh. The golden arches. I probably don’t have to tell you what any of those symbols mean. They all powerfully represent something very specific.

Through the last four decades, the symbols representing the ministry of Good News Productions, International have changed in various ways. After hours of research, surveys, and discussions, we’ve decided it’s time for another change. You may have noticed in our recent ministry report that we’ve upgraded our logo. Just like any symbol, the new design has specific meaning inherent within its various components. So let’s unpack it a bit:

logo-gnpi-earth-homepageFor some time now, we have been known by the shorter “GNPI” as compared to the longer “Good News Productions, International.” Much like International Business Machines uses IBM or Christ in Youth uses CIY, this shorter name is easier to remember and speaks well to a new generation of prayer partners and financial supporters. Our new logo represents that by simply offering the letters GNPI.

Mike_Globe GNPI is an international organization, based in Joplin, Missouri. As such, we were very intentional to keep the foundation of the logo as a representation of the world. We were also very intentional about placing another location, other than the U.S., in a more prominent position. Though we are based in the United States, our mission is to serve the rest of the world with culturally relevant, Biblically based media. Specifically, we chose Africa to appear in the center of the globe, as it is GNPI’s birthplace.

Mike_ColorBlue has always been a predominant color associated with GNPI. According to branding experts, blue represents loyalty, trustworthiness, strength, and dependability. This rightly describes our LORD and YOU, our donors.

Mike_Arrows Finally, the motion icons are similar to any you would see on a modern digital player. We’re a fast-moving, international ministry that is seeking to fill the whole earth, from top to bottom, with the Good News of Jesus. As our vision statement reflects, from Habakkuk 2:14, we work toward the day when “…the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea….”

I’m so pleased God has blessed me with the role of representing an organization that continues to advance and stay relevant, not only to cultures across the sea, but our own culture right here at home too.

It’s a new day at GNPI, and I’m excited to usher in the next era with a new look. It represents so much more than an image on a page. It represents passionate donors and supporters like you partnering with us to write the next chapter in our story of accelerating global evangelism through media and technology.

Our Digital World

Mike_Schrage_Blog_GNPI
by Mike Schrage, Executive Director

“Digital” Alters Everything, Everywhere, for Everyone!

This headline, found in the Digital Evangelism Issue (12/17/2013), reminded me of the Maasai warrior in Kenya who slid his Nokia cell phone through the loop in his ear so that his hands would be free to shepherd his cattle! Or, the time I was in India and at an intersection I saw this young, nicely dressed, Sikh, businessman walking across the street just jabbering away with animated arms flying. I thought he might be a bit crazy until he turned and faced me at the crosswalk. I saw that he had his cell phone wedged between his jaw bone and his turban so that his hands were free to “talk!” It gives a whole new meaning to the term “hands-free device,” doesn’t it?

Digital technology archives everything from breaking news, to blogs, TV shows, to homemade videos, and it’s all at our fingertips. Mobile Apps allow us to mix business and pleasure easily and instantly.
digitalworld
Dave Raley said something that really struck me in his article The Mobile Revolution, in OUTCOMES magazine. Dave said that for every Christian organization the question is not, “Do we need a mobile strategy?” The question is “Now that the mobile revolution is upon us, at this stage in our development, how does our ministry need to respond?”

In 2014, we at GNPI will be talking with you about our strategy to use the mobile phone as the next BIG delivery system. Just like the uplink dish of the 80’s, the mobile phone is THE delivery system that alters everything, everywhere, for everyone.

I’d like to talk more about this with you, but three-year old granddaughter, Brynlee, wants to play with the painting App on my phone!

Happy New Year!

PS: Speaking of archived news, here’s a 2013 “year in review” video I found. I thought you might like it.

Mary Did You Know?

Mike_Schrage_Blog_GNPIby Mike Schrage, Executive Director

Common folks who meet famous people often make human-like comments don’t they?

“Why, they are just a normal, typical family.” (like the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty) Or they say, “He puts his pants on one-leg-at-a-time just like you and me,” referring to a movie star or political leader’s commonality.

MaryThe crowd saw Jesus in a similar way. They said, “What can be so special about him? We know his parents and where he grew up. His siblings were our classmates in school. He’s just a carpenter’s son. How can he be this special ‘Son of Man’ or ‘Son of God’? How can he take away sins, be a miracle worker, and have the audacity to equate himself to God?” (Matthew 13:53-57)

To me, being completely human, it is remarkable that Jesus persevered through the pain and suffering on the cross. Equally astounding is that 33 years earlier he poured all the majesty, all the power, all the glory, all the honor, all the wisdom and yes, all the creative love, that the world has ever known into the eight-pound body of a baby!

I guess that’s why the song Mary Did You Know resonates with me so powerfully at this regal time of year.

“Mary did you know that when you kissed his face, that you kissed the face of God?”

God is as present with you and me now, today, as when we will live with him in eternity. The only difference is that in heaven, we will be more AWARE. That my friends, is what the miracle of Christmas can, and should, be all about, a heightened awareness of the incarnated Presence that we call Immanuel, God With Us.

So have a Merry Christmas with God!

Fallen One

Mike_Schrage_Blog_GNPI
by Mike Schrage, Executive Director, GNPI

A week ago today I received word that one of our own, Deepak Dhingra, went to be with the Lord. He was 53. Deepak’s death has to be tremendously difficult for his beloved wife and four children. It’s hard for me to be thousands of miles away, unable to comfort the family or console his (and our) colleagues in person.

Deepak Praying

I have to wonder what occurred that day in the spiritual realm. Just months earlier we as an organization unanimously said we must do more to “be” and to “take” the Good News to the people of India. Ephesians 6:10-12 describes the reality of the challenge; actually, Paul calls it war. Deepak was recently making plans to become even more effective than he already was, to go further with the battle.

So was Deepak’s death a simple medical reality or was there more? I don’t pretend to have it figured out because I know and believe the truth “that He who is in me is great than he who is in the world” and yet the Bible is clear that Satan revolted in heaven. Satan negotiated with God about torturing Job. Satan “fell from heaven” and Jesus was there. Satan delayed the arrival of angels that God had deployed. So bottom line, I see through a mirror dimly. As C.S. Lewis says, “this life is our ‘shadow lands’ imitating on earth what is being played out in the spiritual realm.”

Yes, one of our own has fallen. However, Deepak, like a growing number of us through the centuries, have pledged our allegiance to the only “Fallen One” to rise again, Jesus. That is Good News and gives hope even in times of grief.

Accident or Providence?

Mike_Schrage_Blog_GNPI
by Mike Schrage, Executive Director, GNPI

Every once in a while God raises His voice from more than a whisper; today was one of those days!

I had set up a 30-minute meeting with a representative from the Betenbough Foundation in Lubbock, Texas. This visit came as a result of going through some of our former ministry partners with my colleague Matt Brock, who suggested we make contact.

As I shared about the ministry of GNPI, the foundation representative became more and more excited about the connection. After the first half-hour she offered another half-hour and called in a few more people, including an IT specialist and one of the principals of the foundation.
Accident_Providence
I shared about GNPI’s 37 years of ministry. I mentioned our passion of partnering with nationals and seeking other engaging partnerships. Later, I talked about our goal to have an element of sustainable growth in each of our regional centers as a part of our strategic plan. I listed projects that address evangelism and leadership training, two primary elements of any financial partnership with Betenbough.

God had gone before to arrange the time, to enable a principal to be available and present, and for the incredible connections to occur. Accident or providence? I’m leaning towards the second and I’m excited to see God at work!

David Langford, senior minister at Quaker Avenue Church of Christ, friend of GNPI said, “We supplied the heart and He (God) supplied the money!”

December 17 Update – GNPI was privileged to receive a check for $13,500 from the Betenbough Foundation. Praise God that the Betenbough Foundation decided to provide the requested grant, and with their gift, the ultimate goal of $100,000 for the Multi-Purpose Resource Center in Ukraine was reached!

UA-961736-4