Going away gift is DVD of “Friends” TV program
By Wayne Pederson
As I’ve been watching the incredible events in Libya, I’ve been thinking about an amazing man I met last year.
He was a university professor in Libya. Even more amazing, he was a devout follower of Jesus and a university professor in Libya. Amazing, because by his estimate, there are only about 4,500 Christian believers in Libya. Most Christians have been either deported or put in prison.
95% of Libyans will never meet a real follower of Jesus. So as a Christian professor, he was a bit of an oddity among students and faculty.
Most people in that part of the world get their impression of Americans from American television and movies, such as Baywatch and Dallas. They think most Americans are rich, sex-obsessed alcoholics. And their impression is that American and Christian are synonymous.
Well, when the authorities discovered that my newfound friend was a Christian, he was immediately removed from his faculty position and plans were made for his deportation.
His loyal students and faculty friends, knowing he was a Christian, wanted to give him a Christian gift as a going away present. What do you give a Christian? Something American, right? They presented him with a DVD set of the TV series, Friends.
We chuckle at the irony, but it’s really sad. Much of the world thinks of Christianity as an American religion. And they associate Christianity with American culture, which is, this is an understatement, greatly flawed.
So how can we effectively communicate Christ when our image is so tragically associated with Hollywood. We need to present Jesus of Nazareth, a mid-Eastern man who changed, and is changing, the world.
As long as we associate Jesus with American entertainment, or American politics, we create barriers to the real Jesus. Jesus is the God of the nations. The Savior of the world
Hopefully with the change in government, followers of Jesus will have freedom to live out their lives as Jesus commanded. But whatever happens politically, we know that in the end, Jesus prevails. Every tongue, every tribe, every nation, will worship and confess that He is Lord!
Wayne Pederson is the President of HCJB Global (www.hcjb.org). As a longtime media professional, Wayne Pederson has a passion for reaching the lost through technology tools. In past roles, Wayne focused on media ministry in local communities through his years with Northwestern College Radio and Moody Broadcasting. He has also taken a national stage, serving with National Religious Broadcasters, Christian Music Broadcasters and Mission America. Wayne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in Radio/TV Speech from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Theology from Free Lutheran Theological Seminary in Minneapolis. He has served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern College and Bethel University. Wayne is a founding member of Need Him Ministries and serves on the board of National Religious Broadcasters. Wayne is married to Norma Pederson, and together they minister around the world to HCJB Global staff and partners. Wayne and Norma have two children, Christy and Michelle. T hey also are proud to have nine grandchildren. His e-mail address is: [email protected]