Blogs with inside information and personal opinions from GRN members around the world
David Miller - Wednesday 07 February 2018
The Falcon Heavy is one of the largest operating space launch vehicles. It consists of a central core, based on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, with 2 Falcon 9s attached. In case you aren't familiar with it, the Falcon 9 is a reusable launch vehicle that is capable of returning to the launch site after it has placed its payload into orbit. Fully automated and reusable. That in itself is amazing. To build the Falcon Heavy and successfully launch on the first flight with the 2 Falcon 9s returning to launch site and and the core almost making drone ship, and to insert the payload into orbit without exploding or breaking up is just mind blowing. And they did it with typical SpaceX flair!
This got me to thinking Elon Musk's accomplishments. Reuseable space vehicles reducing cost with SpaceX, electric cars with Tesla, as well as power storage systems such as the battery complex recently installed in South Australia, and being founder of Paypal, amongst other things. He has a history being disruptive in whatever market he enters, looking for ways to do things differently. And they are big missions, he doesn't seem to take on small challenges, but huge ones, like settling Mars!
Which makes me think what would Elon Musk do to disrupt and faster achieve our mission? Global Recordings Network's mission is massive - get the story of Jesus available to all people in the world in their own language so that they can understand. It's something which he could really get his teeth into! And its something too which God has given me to get my teeth into. A mission worthy of a life.
Christine Platt - Friday 10 November 2017
Joy and Rejoicing are foundational GRN elements. GRN founder Joy Ridderhoff was renowned for rejoicing in any and every circumstance. It doesn’t take too long a look at the Bible to realise that God expects His children to be characterised by joy and to be a rejoicing people.
As we look at society around us, we don’t see a lot of joy. In place of rejoicing we see stress, anger, sadness, depression, frustration, fear and busyness. Consider yourself… have the worries of this world stolen your joy and stopped you from rejoicing?
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22). We are called to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col 3:2). We know that Jesus is preparing a place for us and will come to take us to be with him (Jn 14:3). We know that our Father is making us to be like Jesus so that he might be the firstborn within a large family (Rom 8: 29). We rejoice because we are children of the most high God.
It is incredible that we do whinge, whine and complain. For the sake of the joy that was set before him, Jesus endured the cross and disregarded its shame (Heb 12:2). After being flogged the apostles rejoiced because they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus’ name (Act 5:41). The apostle Paul declared that he wanted to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like Christ in his death (Php 3:10). And me? I get frustrated by Sydney traffic!
Here at GRN Australia we are making a concerted effort to cultivate joy over the coming months. It is clear that this journey will take us through the subjects of peace, suffering, longing for home, and probably through territory we have not yet imagined. This endeavour is a godly one and we trust that it will bring glory to God. Joy will be the theme of our camp and a recurring cause of prayer, study and consideration. We will remember who we are and whom we serve and we will rejoice and give thanks. Please join us in our quest and pray for our success.
Christine Platt - Wednesday 25 October 2017
Trust and obey, for there is no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Yes it is very simple, but it is far from easy! In fact it is impossible for us to perfectly trust and obey God in our mortal bodies (1Jn 1:8).
We have three enemies who work against us: sin, our flesh and the devil.
Each of us were born rebels against God’s rule, we were born sinners (Ps 51). We each died to sin when we were made alive in Christ. We were once slaves to sin, now we are God’s slaves. Yet we choose many times each day whether it is sin or God whom we will obey.
Our flesh wars against the Spirit. We are called upon to crucify our flesh with all of its desires and instead we are to walk in the Spirit. We are called upon to deny ourselves, to leave behind the works of the flesh, such things as sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies (Gal 5:19-21). We are called upon to bear the fruit of the Spirit, with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
And the devil prowls around like a lion seeking who he can devour (1 Pet 5:8). He’s a liar and the father of lies (Jn 8:44). He is actively waging war against us (Rev 12:17). Indeed the people in Satan’s grasp are not our enemies. Our enemies are the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic powers of this present darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12).
When you think about spiritual warfare, what comes to mind? As usual, the reality is often very different to our vivid imaginations!
As a new Christian going to church I found worship to be a bit of a mystery. What people called worship, I found to be strange and very boring. I am quite sure that whatever it was I was doing was not worship! Read the last few Psalms. Worship was a time of joy and coming into God’s presence. God’s people, indeed all of creation, are praising God. Their worship sounds anything but boring.
Read through the book of Revelation. People and angels are worshipping God. They are in awe as they see God’s purposes unfold in history. Worship is our proper response to God. In worship we glorify God, we remind ourselves of the reality of God’s victory and our joyful place in eternity, and should the Devil choose to hang around it reminds him that he has lost the war and that his time here on earth is short. Indeed Psalm 22 tells us that God is enthroned on the praises of Israel.
It is the experience of many that worship is a vital component of spiritual warfare. I have found that introducing an element of worship into meetings has a transformational effect and is worth the investment of time and effort. What is your experience of worship? How do you make worship a part of your daily life?
Know your Bible
Think of Jesus being tempted in the desert for 40 days after his baptism by John (Mth 4:1-11). Jesus was tempted three times, each time he responded by quoting scripture:
v4: “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
v7: “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
v10: “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”
How well do you know your Bible? What are you doing to know and understand what the Bible says? The better you know and understand God’s word the more able you will be to recognise and dismiss the lies of the devil.
Have you noticed people hearing the gospel but not coming to Christ? Why does that happen? The Bible tells us that the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2Cor 4:4).
Are you at a loss as to what to do next? Ask God for wisdom because he gives generously to all without finding fault (1Jm 5:5-8).
Are you worried or anxious? Rejoice! Be gentle! The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Php 4:4-8).
We are told that Jesus went off alone to pray quite often. If he needed to pray, then how much more do we need to do the same? How much time do you spend alone with God? Do you turn to him when trouble strikes? Do you thank him when things go well?
Be strong in the Lord/Abide in Christ
We are called to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. To put on the whole armour of God, so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. So we must put on whole armour of God, so that we may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. So we must stand, and fasten the belt of truth around our waists, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for our feet we put on whatever will make us ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. And we take the shield of faith, with which we are able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. We put on the helmet of salvation, and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
We ought pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. We keep alert, always persevering in praying for all the saints (Eph 6:10-18).
And being strong in the Lord is very much like abiding in the Lord:
In john 15:1-11 we learn that Jesus is the true vine, and his Father is the vinegrower. The vinegrower removes every branch in the vine that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. Jesus is the vine, those who trust and obey Jesus are the branches. Jesus calls us to abide in him and Jesus abides in us. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can we unless we abide in Jesus. Those who abide in Jesus and Jesus in them bear much fruit, because apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in Jesus is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If we abide in Jesus, and Jesus’ words abide in us, we can ask for whatever we wish, and it will be done for us. The Father is glorified by this, that we bear much fruit and become Jesus’ disciples. As the Father has loved Jesus, so Jesus has loved us; we must abide in his love. If we keep Jesus’ commandments, we will abide in his love, just as Jesus have kept his Father’s commandments and abided in his love. Jesus told us these things so that his joy may be in us, and that our joy may be complete” (John 15:1-11).
As we trust and obey, we are strong in the Lord, and we abide in him and he abides in us! Pretty amazing eh?
Resist the devil
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Jm 4:8). Invite him in and he’ll eat you for dinner (1Pet 5:8). The choice is yours.
Your salvation is Christ’s gift to you - he became sin that you might become the righteousness of God. Your character, your relationship with God, your walk (in spirit or flesh), your works of service, your worship, your knowledge, your prayer – are you working out your salvation with fear and trembling. Are you fighting the good fight? Have you given up the fight? Are you fighting alone or in company?
Be part of a band, not a lone wolf.
Look at God. One God but three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God himself is in community. Look at Jesus on earth – he chose 12 apostles and had a larger band of disciples following too. Look at the apostle Paul – he travelled and ministered with others. We are called to meet together regularly. The early disciples met daily in each other’s homes to break bread (eat) together. God made Eve because it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. We are made for community. We need each other. You need other people to fight alongside you, encourage you, and help you when you fall (and you will). Who is fighting alongside you? How well do you fight together? If there is no one… who can you ask to join you?
Christine Platt - Tuesday 05 September 2017
Trust and obey, for there is no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Who am I? I am a human being. I am made in the image of my creator, God.
I have been adopted into God’s family. I am his son and heir (true whether I am male or female) (Rom 8:14-17). I have been bought out of slavery. My debt was paid with the blood of my Lord, Saviour, and older brother Jesus Christ.
John H. Sammis got it right when he wrote the words of the famous hymn quoted above. We must trust and obey our Father if we hope to be happy in Jesus, if we want to enjoy spiritual health.
If I don’t trust God, I will worry. I will be tempted to do things my way because I don’t trust that God’s way will be best. I will be tempted to disobey. If I disobey my Father I can expect trouble, as can any disobedient child (Heb 12:1-12).
And what is God’s most important command to us? (Mth 22:34-40) “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” If you love someone, you want to spend time with them. So make the time to worship God, read your Bible, think about what you have read, pray, sing spiritual songs, involve God in your decision making, and do things which will please him.
Children imitate their parents. Jesus could say to Philip that anyone who had seen him had seen his Father (Jn 14:1-14). We should want tp be like God and to have the same values, attitudes and behaviour. As we read the Bible we should see what God is like, what Jesus is like, and try to be the same (it is God’s plan for us Rom 8:29). It can help to develop spiritual friendships with people where you study the Bible together, talk about your life and walk with God, and pray for one another.
God loves his church (the people, not the buildings). It is important to meet with God’s people regularly as you all meet with God together. When you travel a lot it is important to have people you fellowship with when you are home as well as to have fellowship with people as you travel about (Heb 10:23-25). Remember that they are your brothers and sisters. God loves them and you should love them too! (1Jn2:8-12)
The second most important commandment is to love our neighbour as our self. The fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) gives us a good idea about this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Developing godly character is so important. None of us are perfect and it’s good to ask friends to pray with us as we try to develop these character traits and to love the people around us.
Ultimately I think spiritual health comes down to remembering who you are and who your Dad is. Then you need to trust him and obey him – it really is that simple.
How would you describe your effort to trust and obey your heavenly Father?
Do you have Christian friends to study the Bible with, talk to, and pray with? Is this something you can improve?
What do you need to do? Write it down. Ask God for help. Tell a friend/family member and ask them to pray for you.
Spend some time with God.
Rob McDonell - Saturday 05 August 2017
GRN and MegaVoice have been partners in evangelism for many years, mainly though adding GRN content on to MegaVoice players. MegaVoice have made over a million audio Bible players. They have materials available for their players in 4600 languages and dialects, thanks in large part to the inclusion of GRN's recordings in their Audio Cloud.
Now, MegaVoice have adopted SaberCopy as their primary audio duplication software, both for themselves and their customers. It allows content to be copied to any MegaVoice player faster and more accurately than before.
This cooperation has led to many more improvements to SaberCopy over the last year, and there is a lot more in the works. We praise God for this opportunity to work together in bringing the gospel to people all over the world in their own language.
Christine Platt - Tuesday 15 November 2016
I’ve long been interested in prayer. I’ve read many books on the subject. I’ve tried different types of prayer, I’ve prayed and I’ve failed to pray. I know it’s vitally important. Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult. Sometimes I feel like a parrot and then think – surely this can’t be prayer?!?!
Over the last couple of years we at GRN Australia have run at a significant loss. At the same time God has answered prayer consistently with new people, equipment procured, projects funded, problems solved, and work done.
It’s a mystery. I fully believe that God’s work will receive God’s supply. We’ve seen so many answers to prayer of so many kinds. And yet this financial challenge remains. What is God doing? What is he trying to teach us?
I’ve been praying about a replacement vehicle for a few months now. My car needs to go, and yet the process of replacing it seemed too expensive and too hard. So I decided to keep the car until it had a major problem when I was planning on taking it to the wreckers and then working out what to do next.
Last week I received a call from a supporter of the mission asking if we would have a use for his vehicle which he had just updated. An answer to prayer! I rejoiced and gave thanks to him and to God for His provision.
Over the weekend I was pondering this provision and others we have received, and the ongoing gap in our finances. The following things came to mind:
Our Heavenly Father wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to be relating to Him all the time. I think our ongoing financial need has led us to be more prayerful and to put more effort into our relationship with Him than would have been the case if our budget was balanced.
A relationship is dynamic, ever changing, and requires continuous effort. I’ve discovered (to my horror/amazement) that what I really wanted was a method. Deep down I wanted God to say, “If you do this, I’ll send you the money.” Whereas I believe my Father is saying, “Come and spend time with me, get to know me better (Ps46:10).” Jesus, my brother and Lord and shepherd, is saying “Follow me, I’ll lead you in paths of righteousness for my name’s sake (Ps23:3).”
I’ve come to realise that there is no method. Every problem is unique and has a unique solution. I need to look to my heavenly Father, look to my Lord, and ask for guidance in every situation. I need to follow God’s lead and trust Him with the result. How much better is this, in the context of a relationship, than just doing something mechanically with little thought of God once the method was discerned.
I thank God for this ongoing “problem.” It has brought me, and I think GRN Australia, closer to the God we serve. I hope and pray that we will continue to look to God for guidance in every situation; that we will continue to work on our relationship with our Father and our Lord. I am thankful for the assurance we have of God’s love and desire to be in relationship with us – and for the great privilege of being His co-workers telling the story of Jesus in every language.
Christine Platt - Monday 24 October 2016
So easy, even a child can do it.
So complicated, as complicated as the relationship between you and God and all the other people touched by the implications of your prayer.
Relationship….. love, faith, hope, grace
…… patience, forgiveness
……. endurance, suffering, persecution, persistence
I don’t pray (or at least don’t remember doing so) and God shows up and does something miraculous. Thank you Lord.
I do pray and He answers immediately. Thank you Lord.
I pray and nothing happens. I pray and enlist others to pray. God shows up. Thank you Lord.
I pray. I enlist others to pray and still it seems that there is no answer. Thank you Lord.
It seems that I can’t make a box that God fits in neatly. Every box I make, bits of God keep on sticking out. The answer is: to stop trying to put God in a box but to worship and adore Him as He is, to pray not demanding a predetermined response but rejoicing in His presence and love, and not getting discouraged because He’s not doing what I think He should do but giving thanks in all circumstances.
The trouble is that I want to be in control, I want to know what’s going on and I get frustrated when I don’t. Guess that I need to repent, let God be God, and get with His program (which without a doubt is going to be better than mine). Help me Lord Jesus!
James Thomas - Monday 15 August 2016
In 2015 21,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 24 were surveyed in Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico.
The most used phone feature was music. Phones are no longer primarily a person to person communications device.
The majority of users also wanted to hear a Bible Story on their phone.
If a young person in these developing countries owns a phone it is now more likely to be a smartphone than a basic phone.
The opportunity to reach the world with the gospel via smartphones is continuing to rapidly increase. Our challenge is to make GRN's recordings easily accessible to smartphone users everywhere.
You can access SIL International's survey results and report at http://vision-emaus.net/resources/every-cellphone-a-bible-survey-report/.
Graydon Colville - Thursday 11 August 2016
I have grown up hearing about the urgency of mission and indeed there is an urgency. Every moment people are dying and going to a Christ-less eternity. I wish more of the church would share this sense of urgency.
Yet I feel a sense of disquiet when I hear language like 'doing mission in order to speed the return of Christ'. I understand and applaud the sense of urgency that is behind it but can't help wondering if something of our Western agenda for urgency and 'instant' is not creeping into our missiology. After all that is not the purpose of mission! God already knows the time of Jesus' return. The purpose of mission is perhaps better expressed as “to glorify God through the peoples of the world coming to worship him!” or some variation on this theme.
When I read the Scriptures I am constantly amazed at how God seems not to be in a hurry. We read in a few minutes chapters that span generations; 400 years went by between the Old and New Testaments. Why didn't the Messiah come earlier?!
Well the scholars among us can give historical reasons that relate to the state of the Greco-Roman world and the use of the Greek language and can even quote Paul who said “When the time had fully come...” but couldn't God have moved a bit quicker? Still, it is easier to accept God's apparently slow time scale when we look back into the Scriptures than when we look at the world around us. Maybe we forget that the distinction between a day and a thousand years seems not to be overly significant to God!
My point is simply that as humans our knowledge and perspective is limited when compared to God's. He sees the whole picture. We see only a small piece. We must be careful before we allow our own culturally informed business or marketing strategies drive agendas and strategies that may not be quite what God has in mind. We would seldom put it so crassly and we are skilled at dressing it up in spiritual language but… do we risk doing damage to God's work because we are not prepared to wait on his time? There are many proverbs in English (probably other languages too) that suggest that too much haste results in slower or less progress e.g. “more haste less speed”.
There are strategies being acted on in the word of missions today that appear to be driven primarily by the perceived need for speed. I find them concerning. God will always achieve his purposes – sometimes through us, sometimes in spite of us! Cutting corners to get things done quickly may not achieve God's purpose though it may achieve ours!
I'm not arguing for laziness! We are called to work while it is day, but let us not rush in and do damage when a little more time and thought – and listening to God, may result in a better outcome for the Kingdom of God.
Rob McDonell - Thursday 11 August 2016
Our SaberCopy application has been available since we launched the Saber player a few years ago. It is a useful way to package the audio files into the best strucvture for the Saber, and allows copying to multiple devices at once.
Despite the name, SaberCopy is equally useful for copying to other removable devices, such as SD cards, USB Drives and even other players and smart phones.
We've now released a new version 3.0 of SaberCopy, with several great new features.
You can now create audio announcements from text as you copy. You can have announcements by folder and by track. This is particularly useful for players that don't have screens, or for use by anyone who don't read. And the announcements can be created in any language for which you have the text-to-speech option installed on your Windows computer.
Another new function in SaberCopy is that you can now copy to folders on a hard disk. This makes it easier to create a master folder structure on your own machine, perhaps with audio announcements added, which can then be copied directly to other device without further processing.
One more function worth mentioning is that SaberCopy now supports the Megavoice Storyteller range specifically, and can create the audio structure the way these devices need.
SaberCopy is free. You can download it from the SaberCopy page.
Alex Shaw - Wednesday 20 July 2016
We do not only have opportunities to share about the ministry of GRN in churches but also in other group meetings. At one home in the middle of the week our hosts had invited a number of friends to come for lunch and to hear about the ministry of GRN.
After the presentation and chatting over lunch one man came and was asking many questions about the work and how God is using it to spread the Gospel to the least reached people groups of the world. Then he asked this question, which I could not really answer, "I have been interested in mission work for a long time. I have been praying for many missionaries and missions. How come I have never heard of this vital, marvelous ministry until today?" He was a man in his early 80s. He asked then and there to have his name added to the mailing list to receive the GRN publications, "Every Language" and the prayer sheet "Rejoice."
May I encourage you to receive these publications by email. Just get in touch with GRN at our email address email@example.com. You can also receive the prayer item for the day of the GRN Mobile Phone Prayer App, "Pray". You can have this come up on your phone each day around the time you normally have your devotions. Thanks for your encouragement and prayers.
Alex Shaw - Wednesday 20 July 2016
I want to give thanks to the Lord for going before Sybil and I on our recent GRN promotion trip to Queensland. It was a real encouragement to meet a man from Iran who was able to help us with a review of the recordings in his language. He was quite excited to hear it and that it was so good and clear in its presentation of the Gospel message.
At another meeting it was good to meet a man who was one of the first staff members of the mission way back in the early 50s and he is still praying for and supporting the ministry of GRN.
Christine Platt - Monday 27 June 2016
Mission was at the heart of Jesus' life and ministry. He travelled around Israel preaching the coming of God's kingdom, healing the sick, casting our demons, and all the while he was training up his disciples to follow in his footsteps. His final instructions to his discuples left them in no doubt as to what they were supposed to do after he returned to his Father (Mth 28:18-20, Act 1:8).
Missionary societies like GRN came into being as the outworking of the church obeying Jesus' instruction to make disciples. And so GRN exists by God's grace through the prayers, offerings and sacrifice of God's people - the church. It makes sense that a strong church will support a strong missionary effort and a weak church will see the missionary effort diminished.
It seems to me that missions have a vested interest in seeing strong churches in their sending/funding countries as well as in the countries where they minister, if they want to minister effectively.
And so I think it makes sense for GRN to be praying for those churches who share with us in giving as well as those who receive.
Dave Hughes - Tuesday 24 May 2016
I've always enjoyed variety in my work, and wow - in missions there is plenty of variety. We seem to have very broad job descriptions. And I'm one that loves it that way.
My current role involves implementing an online training system for our Recordists around the world, so that they can update their skills over the internet.
In the past I've been involved in email marketing, search engine optimisation, website translation projects, user experience testing of websites and applications, customer relationship management database installation, writing scripts for radio and the list goes on.
So if you are wondering about how you could use your gifts in mission, there is very likely to be a place for you. Contact us here at Global Recordings, or approach another mission, and enjoy the privilege of using your gifts in His kingdom.
Anton Meyer - Friday 20 May 2016
STOP! STOP! Someone hit the brakes! Get your foot off the accelerator! It’s the end of May and it is only one month from the middle of the year. But… but it’s only just started. That’s the way it feels anyway. I’m recording and compiling videos for “distance teaching/learning” for the training of trainers and every time I look around, another month has passed. As they say: ”Time passes when you’re having fun”.
Is that true or is it just that life has become so hectic that we don’t notice the passing of time as we used to. We move from one engagement to the next without noticing the passing of time because we are so involved in everything and we have piled so much onto the plate that we no longer have time to be quiet and to take a good look at ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, we still have our quiet time with the Lord, because we have made time for that and have put that into the schedule. But is that all it has become? Just another entry in the calendar or to do list?
I just don’t seem to get the point where I can go and sit on the rocks and stare at the sea to drink in the tranquillity it brings so that I can take a good look at myself. Where do I stand in my relationship with my family, my friends and my colleagues? Jesus went off just to have time to Himself away from His disciples.
The quiet time with oneself often turns into quiet time with the LORD. The difference is that it is not regimented quiet time with Bible and study notes under the arm. This is just one on one quiet time with the Creator of the universe. Quiet time with a very dear friend and Father. Irreplaceable and incomparable.
Alex Shaw - Wednesday 11 May 2016
After getting to Yirrkala in Arnhemland, I found that my plans to return to Elcho were to be changed. I had a number of Yolŋu ring to see if I could continue travelling on to Ramingining for the quarterly Church Area meetings on last weekend. So without going home to unpack, I stayed for the half an hour stop at Elcho Island’s airport, before MAF was carrying me on further westward to Ramingining. The focussed of the meetings was to be about the Bible translation work. Representatives came to the meetings from all of the Yolŋu Uniting churches of north East Arnhem. One of the ladies representing the Yirrkala church was Vanessa, a 'MAF wife’. Her husband is a aircraft engineer, from PNG. The meetings were full of reconnection times for me, so when I sat with Vanessa, there was much to share, but what she said startled me… "I have come to this meeting so you could tell me about 5fish! Have been so blessed to see my PNG dialect/language with these Bible stories, but I can also find my husbands language on it! I can’t wait to get home to share it with him!"
Now primarily, my volunteer time in Sydney with GRN was to work on Yolŋu languages, but I was surprised to see the LORD has been blessing many others, far beyond what I had expected!
Alex Shaw - Wednesday 11 May 2016
At Caloundra, I met up with some old friends for a couple of days holidays. One friend is married to a Sri Lankan Tamil, and you can guess what... as the conversation swung around to what I had been doing in Sydney, … out came the mobile phones and the 5fish app. Together we searched for Tamil as an example, and my friend's husband was delighted. (Now to say he was delighted is something very special, as he has been getting confused about what to believe. Only last year he admitted to me that he thought he was an atheist!) Well he acknowledged that reading the Tamil scriptures just hasn't worked for him, but after sampling one of the recordings on 5fish, he said that listening to these stories on 5fish was something he was looking forward to!
Alex Shaw - Wednesday 11 May 2016
Holly and daughter Candy(~7y old) a small Mandarin family attending CKB church for the past 8 months.
Holly is very happy being a part of this same church where her daughter is loving the children’s program. Candy has made friends and no longer feels a stranger there. Her mum came to Australia to do HR work for a Chinese Company in Sydney. We sat together in the second session of the weekend's Easter Church Conference. I was so encouraged by a previous response after the first session, that I jumped straight in to talk with Holly about her home, country and language. I asked her if she had a Mandarin Bible and found she was already familiar with the various mobile apps for reading Mandarin scriptures. Then I asked her if she had heard of 5fish. She quickly pulled out her mobile and asked me to show her how it worked. Her mobile had a better connection than mine, so we went from there to download the app and trial out Mandarin. There were so many Chinese varieties, that initially she went to listen to a Chinese Mandarin dialect that wasn’t hers. She laughed and said: "I don’t understand this language!" We returned to find the ‘nest of Mandarin’ dialect options under ‘M’ (rather than ‘C’ for Chinese) and she was amazed at the range. She just about lept out of the chair with excitement to find her own dialect there. She downloaded a sample and shared how this could really fill a need in sharing the Bible Stories with her daughter Candy.
Alex Shaw - Wednesday 11 May 2016
A Young Nepali women living near Arncliffe, Sydney, has been going to a small local CKB church since December.
I joined this same church for their Easter celebrations, to find this young woman sitting beside me. She was alone and expressed after the service that she was not finding it easy in Australia, but happy to be at church. She is looking for spiritual encouragement. I asked her if she had any Nepali scriptures and suggested she could try getting them on her mobile phone. She quickly pulled it out and we set her up together with 5fish. She was ecstatic to find her own Nepali dialect there! I felt like I had offered her a family friend in this new land, that can share the gospel with her through 5fish. She was also keen to get Nepali text on her mobile too.
Graydon Colville - Tuesday 19 April 2016
For many, this question is about fitness and body image, and while being healthy is important, I'm thinking about something much more important. I'm thinking about the what is shaping my attitudes, reactions and thought processes. Maybe you have heard the story of the two dogs... a man once said, "it is like there are two dogs inside me and they are fighting. There is a good dog and a bad dog. I want to do what is good but it is a fierce struggle and sometimes I do what is bad. How can I can control those dogs?" A wise friend replied, "The dog you feed will win".
Filling our heads and hearts with the noise and messages of the socity around us will cause us to act like everybody else. We will put ourselves first, and seek for our own comfort and wellbing. Feeding on God's word and allowing ourselves to be transformed and shaped by the renewing power of God's Spirit working in us will enable us to be different - to live to serve God and others. In so doing we will find our niche in the plans of God.
"Don't copy the behavious and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Romans 12:2(NLT)
Alex Shaw - Wednesday 16 March 2016
This is the text of an email received recently.
"Unexpectedly I was asked to give a testimony at the youth group in our church. It occurred to me that there could be an opportunity to challenge them to be involved in cross cultural evangelism. I thought of the 5fish cards as an easy way for them to begin.
As for me I like to use those sort of things when I meet with people on my train travels into the city.
In this way, GRN is meeting the needs of the churches - giving something back to the churches - a tool that they can use in cross cultural outreach. It is a highly commendable gift.
Well done GRN.
Anton Meyer - Monday 07 March 2016
When I started to write this blog I whent back to the last time I wrote here in September 2015. At that time I wrote about the "Life of Privilege" we lead as children of God. Two months later I was told at Sydney airport, while on my way to GRN USA, that I would not be allowed back into Australia because my visa had expired. Not really what you envisage as a "Life of Privilege" when considering the ramifications of the simple statement by the Immigration people at the airport. The immediate reaction always seems to be "What now Lord? How did this happen?"
Lucy and I prayed about this with very concerned and troubled minds. There is a sudden feeling of being cut off and set adrift like a boat that has broke it's mooring in a storm and is headed for the rocks. Then the captain takes the wheel, starts the engine and steers into the storm away from disaster. This is exactly what God did for us. He reassured us from His word that He was in control of the situation steering us away from disaster. He spoke to us through Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
Still a life of privilege. God is in control and he steers the boat. All we have to do is to trust Him completely for every aspect of our lives. Even in the darkest of times He "makes a way in the wilderness" and leads us to a safe haven to re-attach our mooring in the safety of His harbor.
We don't know what the way forward looks like, but we do know that we can trust Him to do His will in our lives and ensure a good outcome.
Christine Platt - Saturday 05 March 2016
Everything and pretty much everybody around us tells us to avoid suffering – even pain itself!
During a recent month long visit to GRN staff in Thailand, Myanmar and PNG the issue of suffering has come to my attention time and time again.
As I talked to different people and heard their stories a steady stream of suffering came through along with the encouragements and challenges of ministry. World events have also brought suffering very much to mind.
I started to ponder suffering in the Bible.
Jesus suffered terribly for the joy set before him (Heb 12). Paul rejoiced in his sufferings and wrote repeatedly that a true disciple will share in Christ’s sufferings. I think of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Elijah and so many of the prophets.
Yes, suffering is a normal part of the human condition and having Jesus as your Lord and Saviour does not exempt you from it. If anything it seems to ensure that suffering will be part and parcel of your life (otherwise your adoption into God’s family is in question Rom 8 ).
We see that suffering does have a purpose:
My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 NRSV
… we boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us , because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Rom 5:3-5 NRSV
Hebrews 12 says we should endure trials as discipline.
But it goes further than that:
I want to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death…. Phil 3:10 NRSV
… and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. As they left the council they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the sake of the name. Acts 5:40 NRSV
And so the Bible calls upon us to rejoice in suffering, endure it expecting good to come from it, and to feel honoured that we have been considered worthy to do so.
These are challenging words at any time. In the midst of our current culture where suffering is considered an evil to be avoided at all costs, they are jarring.
My ponderings on suffering were challenged when I met a good friend who has recently succumbed to a rare syndrome which has left her in excruciating pain. There is no treatment, the pain is just managed. You’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t say any of the above to her – I listened to her story, we talked about other things, and I prayed for her.
Afterwards I wondered…. How does my friend’s situation fit into what I’ve written here? I have absolutely no idea. However, God says in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. My friend and I have the choice of believing what God says and trusting him in this or turning away in unbelief. I believe that God is good and trustworthy and that I can rely on him even when I don’t understand.
Let us reconsider our attitude to suffering and make sure it’s in line with what God has to say. We will be much more in tune with reality if we do, less susceptible to disappointment, and better able to cope with suffering when it comes, as it inevitably will.
James Thomas - Friday 26 February 2016
The Global Information Systems Team at GRN attempts to produce technology that can be used in any part of the world. However, one size does not fit all. For example, there is no point relying on users to download GRN’s recordings from a website in countries where internet access is slow or expensive. SD card distribution or portable audio players might be best in that scenario.
Keith Williams from Mobile Advance has done an excellent job in creating a template that evangelists can use when preparing for their next mission trip. The template contains links to the latest information for each country in the areas of mobile, internet, social media, and video. You can use the template by focusing on one particular country and writing down what you observe from the information presented on the websites. Keith has done the hard work of finding some good websites. We just need to focus on our country of interest and write down what we observe from the information presented. This should help you to make an informed decision about how to best use technology in your next outreach.
GRN has gospel recordings available in a variety of digital formats that can played on CD and MP3 players, mobile phones, and the Saber hand wind player. GRN’s 5fish mobile apps make it easy to find languages and recordings for download and playback.
Alex Shaw - Tuesday 23 February 2016
A friend sent this message. "In Bangladesh we are sharing with tribal groups, Bawm and some others. They want to express their thanks for the 5fish programs. They remember you when many years ago you gave them the handwind player. They had lost connection to the recordings but now with 5fish they have found it again. We are demonstrating the 5fish in the local Christian school and encouraging them to use the device. I thought you should know how they love these recordings."
Elise Cooper - Monday 22 February 2016
There are many stories about displaced people in the Bible and the way God spoke into their lives and circumstances. My particular favorite is the story of Hagar and the way in which God sought her in the desert. She wasn't involved in the main plot in the way that Abraham and Sarah were but was drawn into the story as a result of their impatience and choice to subvert God's commands. Hagar was manipulated and abused by those in power and sent away from her home. As she turns away from her son unwilling to watch him die of thirst and hunger, we see God intervene as the Angel of the Lord calls to her: “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Genesis 21:17
It's not just an empty platitude without any practical implications either because God then opens her eyes to see the well of water that allows her to give Ishmael a drink.
Stories like these must have an added dimension for refugees who can identify in many ways with the circumstances of Joseph being sold to slave traders and taken far from his home or with Daniel as he refuses to compromise his beliefs to please the whims of capricious King Nebuchadnezzar while exiled in Babylon. Surely, they would understand better than I - the sacrifice Ruth made when she elected to remain with her mother-in-law Naomi rather than return to her own people and with the Israelites wandering for 40 years in the wilderness seeking their promised land. Perhaps they would relate to the flight of Joseph and Mary as they flee their home in order to save their baby from King Herod's cruel regime.
GRN are currently developing scripts to specifically address the needs of refugees. Pray that through these scripts refugees may find refuge in God, that they may find in Him 'refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.' (Psalm 46:1)
Alex Shaw - Monday 08 February 2016
The other day I was purchasing petrol. When I went to pay I noticed the name on the attendents badge was a name I had not heard before so I asked about its origin. He said that it was Turkish but he was Egyptian and had never been to Turkey.
My next question was, which language do you speak. He said it was Coptic Arabic. Looking on the 5fish app we found Arabic Egyptian with reference to it being colloquial Arabic. So I downloaded it to my phone and played it. A big smile broke over his face with the explanation, "That's it, that's my language." I asked him if he had a mobile phone to which he responded that he did so I gave him a 5fish calling card and showed him that he could go to the APP store and download the app and then the recording to his phone.
His next comment was interesting. Still with his big grin and excitement in his voice he said, "You have been a very good friend to me today. I look forward to seeing you next time."
Graydon Colville - Sunday 07 February 2016
No doubt, one of the biggest challenges facing the world at present is the challenge of displaced people. Europe in particular is facing this challenge but it touches many countries in the world.
Several of our European offices are ramping up efforts to impact the lives of refugees many of whom come from countries and contexts where the good news of Jesus faces considerable opposition and restriction. Amidst the suffering, frustrations and hopelessness some of these refugees are finding hope and new life in Jesus.
While we acknolwedge the evil in our world that has given rise to this problem we know also that God can bring good out of it. The flood of refugees seeking asylum in the 'West' is providing the church with an unprecendented opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ in practical ways and share the good news of salvation. We don't want to ignore either the physical needs or the spiritual needs of these people.
GRN Audio programs available through the internet to your phone or computer give Christians everywhere the ability to share words of life and hope in the language that speaks best to those coming from other countries - whether they are refugees, migrants or just visitors.
If you are not yet equipped to do this I would encourage you to get yourself up to speed. Then pray for God given opportunties to tell others about Jesus.
Dave Hughes - Tuesday 02 February 2016
I have the privilege of often being the first person spoken to by those considering some staff or volunteer involvement with GRN Australia.
God works in many different ways in peoples lives, and it's a privilege being a part of their journey.
At GRN our philosophy is to pray with them that God will make his way clear. We only want them in GRN if it's clear both to them and us that this is the place that God wants them to be.
This is quite freeing. There is no pressure from us, but rather we are there partner with and assist them in their decision making.
And God's makes his will clear in many different ways. For some God seems to call them into GRN very clearly. But for others, like myself, there isn't that clear voice. For me it was more of a fit with the things that he had put on my heart, as well as the match of my gifts and experience with the needs of GRN.
However it comes about, for those wondering about what's next, and whether missions work or GRN may be a part of it, we pray that you will seek and find where God wants you to be. There is no better place to be.
James Thomas - Friday 13 November 2015
Have you ever tried to share GRN’s recordings using the 5fish for AndroidTM app?
Just imagine that you are sitting on a bus and you start a conversation with the person next to you which leads you to sharing part of an audio gospel message in their heart language. You will be getting off the bus soon and don’t know whether you will see them again. You want to put the recording on their phone so they can listen to it later.
There are several ways to achieve this. The best method will depend on what type of phone the user has and whether you expect they will have a good internet connection.