Author Archives: Karl

Digital Missionaries!

Jesus_Film_Media_App_250In the past few months, we’ve had the privilege of giving missions updates at Pine Grove Church in Bowmansville, PA, and at Christ United Methodist Church in Venice, FL. And this weekend is our annual Missions Conference at Christ Community Church in Carmel, IN. Liesl will be reading some scripture in German and helping the kids understand what it means to be a missionary wherever you are.

We’re excited about the tools that Cru has been developing to help Christians everywhere share the gospel. One that keeps getting better is the Jesus Film Media app. It contains:

  1. The Jesus Film (script completely from the book of Luke) in 1356 languages – and increasing all the time!
  2. Magdalena, the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, in 130 languages
  3. The Story of Jesus for Children in 158 languages
  4. Many other training and conversation-starting films

Here’s a story that was reported to us about God using this app to bring glory to Himself:

“On weekends, I drive to Washington, D.C., to see my mom, who is 93 and lives in a senior care facility,” says a private school teacher near the Capital. “[My mom] has an aide to help her whose name is Matilda—a woman from Sierra Leone who was raised a Muslim.”

“Recently, I shared my new JESUS Film Media app on my mobile phone with Matilda. She was excited to see her language as a choice to see the evangelistic film, so I sent the link to her.
Matilda insisted that Hannah, another facility aide, would want to see the film, too.

“I found Hannah, and she was thrilled to see her own language from Eritrea available. She is a Christian and couldn’t wait to send it to her daughter who doesn’t know the Lord. She felt that watching the movie in their native tongue might answer some of her daughter’s questions.

“Then I received a call that Hannah and Matilda were sharing the app with all the other aides from various countries; because of them, it has become the talk of the care center! This is how easy it is to be a digital missionary.”

Wherever we are, we’re representing Christ. Now you can share the gospel with those around you who don’t have English as their heart language – you can be a digital missionary! You’ll find this app and GodTools in the Apple and Google app stores.

Reasons to be Thankful!

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
– 1 Chronicles 16:8

In the spirit of the season, here are some of the many reasons we have to be thankful…

Liesl and I are thankful to have finished an online class in Apologetics (giving reasons for our faith).  We’ve learned so much about how to interact with and challenge the ideas that come against biblical Christianity.  We both enjoyed and recommend Tim Keller’s book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism.  Keller deals with “defeater beliefs” that prevent people from believing in God and then provides positive reasons to believe.  The class also made us thankful for people who are gifted as philosophers – we are not!

I (Karl) am thankful for the challenge of starting a new job within Cru!  I have rejoined the headquarters Information Technology team (now called “Digital Products and Services”).  After a few reorganizations at headquarters, this is now the team that solves technology problems and creates tools for our ministries all around the world.

Cru is trusting God for 10 million Christ-centered, multiplying disciples by 2020.  If that’s going to happen, we also need to trust God for better systems to plan and keep track of what’s going on around the world.

We will remain in Indiana and continue to help out with the regional office here, but I will spend most of my time working remotely with an Orlando-based team.  The combination of working in a small office and supporting large, global systems really motivates me.

Of course, we are so thankful for you!  Your prayers and gifts keep us going.  It’s hard to believe that we have been in ministry for 24 and 22 years, and many of you have been with us the whole time.  Be encouraged!  God is building His kingdom and the gospel is changing lives.

Fruitful Online Witness

EveryStudentIf there was a book or article that God used to draw
you to Himself, then naturally you want to share that with as many people as possible.

This is the story of Yared, from Ethiopia, who discovered God through the site EveryStudent.com.  As a new believer, he signed up for the 7-part email series called the “Spiritual Starter Kit” (which can be found on the companion site StartingWithGod.com).  It explains the basics of Christianity.

After that he signed up for the series “Skip the Stress” which helps people understand the Spirit-filled life and how to walk with God.  And the next series, which goes through the gospel of John to teach people more about Jesus and how to study the Bible.  And the final series “How to Talk About God”.

Yared had been sending occasional encouraging messages to Marilyn, who runs the web site.  He emailed, “My eyes are opened now through your lessons!!! I started to teach your lesson on whatsapp, to the new believer’s.  All glory belongs to God.  Thank you ‘go extra with jesus.  ~yared”

And later, “…this study and websites continue to bless many of life through me – reaching Muslims on whats app – I tell the truth around 700> people blessed through this.  I have now new believers around 33 – daily their numbers are increasing”

Marilyn was intrigued and contacted Yared to find out what he was doing.  He was using the WhatsApp messenger app on his phone to share the gospel with people all over the Middle East who speak his native language.  He would record himself reading some of the articles from EveryStudent.com and the email series to share them with people in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, UAE, and Libya.

Yared is now reaching nearly 1000 people!  Praise God!

Here’s a simple way that you can do something similar: check out EveryStudent.com.  If an article encourages you, share it on Facebook and ask your friends to give feedback.  You never know where God will lead the conversations!

Here’s a screencast of Marilyn telling the story:

Cru15

moby-outside-1800moby-insidejoshua-ryan-butler-1000We’re back! Our time in Colorado was great, but it’s wonderful to be home.

Thank you for your prayers for our summer. Cru15, our national staff conference, was challenging and inspiring.

There were 4 emphases:
• Our continuing commitment to be people who share the good news
• Our movement toward ethnic diversity
• Moving forward in building partnerships and a partner-friendly organization
• Taking the good news beyond our borders to the people of the world

We were challenged by guest speakers like Joshua Ryan Butler, a pastor from Portland, Oregon. He taught us that when we partner with another ministry (or just another believer), we need to be willing to act as a sidekick, not the hero. We need to acknowledge that they have better ideas than we do.

Pastor Butler told the story of a man who wanted to confront the human trafficking happening in Portland. He recruited a bunch of guys to partner with the police department. They published their phone numbers as if they were teenaged girls, took the phone calls and texts from would-be exploiters, and confronted them with truth, resources, and a letter from the police telling them that they’d better stop what they’re doing. Another group that was studying trafficking in the US discovered a 58% drop in Portland that corresponds with this group’s efforts!

You can listen to Joshua Ryan Butler’s presentation here. While you’re there, feel free to click on the Video Content link and explore all of the other sessions from our conference.

Thanks again for your gifts and prayers that kept us going this summer! We were able to help keep the conference running smoothly and fix a lot of Cru computers and smartphones while we were there.

“Waves” video and discussion tool

“What does it take to break out of patterns of destruction?”

Our friends Zak and Becky Alwin perform in their original hip-hop style as “Rhymz Suhreal”. I’m excited that I got to help with the launching of their new web site at www.thebandRS.com. But I’m even more excited about their new music video “Waves”.

The video speaks about how we can get caught up in circular patterns of destruction that pull us back in like riptides in the ocean. It ends with Zak still in a hopeless state, but the Alwins have created a discussion guide that can be used to introduce people to Jesus, the “circle breaker”, who can set us free.

Becky says, “Our hope is that after viewing the videos, the Spirit would move on hearts for those wanting to go deeper and seek answers on how to break free from their own circles and destructive patterns of living. We hope that people will utilize the tool we created in their small groups to start a dialogue and collective effort to seek freedom found through Christ.”

“We’ve already used it in Marion County jail and the discussion tool sparked and fueled meaningful conversations and we witnessed personal breakthroughs in the men who gave their lives to Christ. Other groups that could use this tool could include: counseling & recovery programs, college campuses, bible study groups for people new to the faith or seeking, and more.”

Check out the “Waves” video, the “Behind the Music” video, and the discussion guide at www.thebandRS.com (click on the 3 lines at the top left to open the menu).