Writings of Branko's Blog

All around Central Europe


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Sister Sarah’s Book [blog]


I would like to introduce you to a book today. It is “Esperança para a alma” written by Sister Sarah Catarino, the AGLOW coordinator for Portugal, but also a known author, preacher and speaker. I met Sarah in Mafra, at the Radio Transmundial offices (www.rtmportugal.org). Here is what Sister Sarah says in this book:

“A successful woman is deeply woven into the integrity of her character. When you have an extreme situation, you know the exact moment in which the right decision should be made. “Integrity is a commitment to live consistently with what we know is right and proper.” God is looking for women of this caliber, for people who at the last-minute know what to do, and what is right, and without fear. Integrity is a way. In this way, we learn to be honest with ourselves, with the other, to have compassion for the mistakes of others, to balance situations.

There was a king poet one day who sang these beautiful words: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Whatever comes into our lives, He has the ability to meet ALL! So he said it is impossible to fully know God. For we know that we can be intimate with Him, talk to Him, hear Him speak to our soul. We have a relationship with Him. The biggest insight of my life is knowing that, whatever the task, the level of development, or the fight, I have intimacy with God and receive strength, direction, comfort and wisdom from Him. Somewhere in the Bible, God’s book, it says: “Knowing God is the beginning of wisdom.” We might paraphrase: “To know God is to have a life full of success.” So I consider myself a successful woman!”

What a great prayer warrior Sarah is. She has also been writing scripts in Portuguese for Women of Hope programs for more than two years now. Her inspiration and delight in the Lord which transfers into her writings are the things she sees in the lives of the ladies in this beautiful country. Her vigorous inspiration and dedication is captivating. Check out their FB account in Portuguese!


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Another Serious Report on Evangelicals [blog]


I have not yet read in full The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s global report on the Evangelicals, collected mostly among the Lausanne participants of the Third Congress held in Cape Town last October, and among others who could not participate, but filled the questionnaire on-line. I am nervous about the findings!

This report, published in June 2011, shows some features of “the dynamism, complexity and maturity of global evangelicalism,” Doug Birdsall enthusiastically shared. The executive summary report is on this link:
http://pewforum.org/Christian/Evangelical-Protestant-Churches/Global-Survey-exec.aspx

In one of the segments of the research that I was most interested in, named “What are the Major Threats to Evangelicals?” I learned that 82% Europeans see the influence of secularism as a major threat. This percentage in the ME and North Africa is 37%! It is notable, however, that one-third of the surveyed leaders think that evangelical leaders are leading a lavish lifestyle (30%), which I count for money. In this group we may put consumerism and material goods (67%). Another 26% – or they may be the same as the above ones, believe that evangelical leaders are violating sexual morals, which is obviously a sexual sin. Again, 30% of evangelical leaders are seeing theological divisions among evangelicals as a major threat. I read this as a power struggle. So, again we have the three sins originating in the very early days of human kind – sex, power and money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so glad the Pew Forum did not perform the same research among the Europeans alone. The picture might be rather grim, gray or black entirely.

When I try to count how many organizations exist today that fight against the persecution of Christians, against governmental restrictions on religion and judicial pressures, etc. – from the denominational groups who hide themselves behind some NGO names, to the Council of Europe and the Supreme Court of Europe, I cannot do otherwise but to contemplate how much more similar organizations and advocates the evangelical leaders would need to get fighting their lust for power, sex or money.

And what do you think?


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Behind the Media blog launched [blog]


About a month or so ago, when visiting our office in Vienna, Austria, I met Lane Arnold, our summer intern for social media, coming from the US. This remarkable and creative young person, created a vlog (video blog). You need to go and see it, there are several posts already waiting for your social response.

Here is what Lane says about this project:

“Our blog is built on the idea of being “behind the media,” focusing on the people and personalities that makes up TWR Europe. We have just launched our first post (A vlog) of an interview with our HR Intern (me- Lane Arnold). Please check out our site and check back every week to see who we will introduce next!

 
Please spread the word to everyone you know and forward this link so we can really let people in on our mission here at TWR Europe.”

http://behindthemedia.wordpress.com/

So, have you seen it? Are you impressed? I am.