by Laura Berrey
BJMBC's five-pronged approach to redeeming the time while under lockdown.
As BJMBC winds down to a close this week with final exams, a major concern for us is that we don't wind down spiritually. With all of Luzon--and many other parts of the Philippines and the world--under a lockdown of some sort or another, we are approaching the end of the school year with the burden to continue our efforts to grow spiritually during this unique time.
To this end, BJMBC has put together a five-pronged approach to redeeming the time under lockdown. For each of these five aspects of spiritual growth and ministry we have included a page of resources to empower you to take part.
1. Read the Bible in 40 Days Challenge
"Your grandparents were called to war. You are called to sit on the couch and watch Netflix." This meme, which has been floating around social media, is not true for those of us who are Christ followers. We too have been called to warfare, although it is primarily a spiritual warfare. To be effective soldiers of Christ, we need to wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Doing a deep dive into Scripture by binge-reading the Bible is a great way to get a bird's eye view of the big picture of the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation.
Reading the Bible in 40 days or 60 days takes time, but it is time well spent. Two of our BJMBC faculty members have chronicled their experiences in reading the entire Bible in a short period of time in these articles:
Meditations from Binge-Reading the Bible by Joel Arnold
Observations on the 25 Day Bible Reading Challenge by Timothy W. Berrey
2. Feed Your Mind Each Day
School may be out for the summer, and you may be quartered in your home, but that doesn't mean it's time to let a screensaver take over your mind. Instead, view this as a God-given opportunity to pursue more individualized learning. Choose a good book, listen to a sermon, or watch some educational and soul-strengthening videos.
3. Help Filipinos dig into God's Word
With churches taking place mostly online, many of your normal ministries are probably on hold. But you can still minister and have an eternal impact by helping with this extremely valuable translation project. Work together or with a group. Change the world from inside the four walls of your home.
4. Pray for a World in Crisis
This is an unprecedented time in history. Never before has the entire world been under lockdown in an effort to combat a common enemy. Now is not the time to let down our defenses; it is a time to storm the mercy room with petitions for the souls of men. Where two or three are gathered in Christ's name, He is in the midst of them. Let's join in praying for spiritual revival for our needy world as well as physical healing.
5. Share the Gospel of Hope
You can't go door-to-door. You probably can't even be handing out tracts right now. But that doesn't mean you can't share the Gospel. Take the time to email, message, or video chat with someone who needs the Gospel. Learn more about how to be an effective soul winner.
We hope that you, too, will redeem the time during your lockdown in one or more of these five ways. Our goal at BJMBC is to encourage and strengthen you in your work for Christ. May these resources be a blessing and a help to you as you seek to use this time for the glory of God.
Joel Arnold is on the Bible Faculty at BJMBC.
Transform your understanding of the Bible with this 25-day sweep through Scripture.
Read the Bible in 25 days?!?
Another year at BJMBC is nearly finished. The holiday fever has begun as students struggle to stay focused through their last week of classes.
But this year we challenged our students to end the year by blowing the top off of their expectations; to do something so radical it sounds impossible and to use their Christmas break in the best possible way. Specifically, we challenged them to read through the entire Bible in 25 days.
It’s a little crazy, but less crazy than you think. It’ll take about 2-3 hours per day, starting this Saturday.
And now we are inviting you to join us. We have a schedule (see below), a Facebook accountability group to keep everyone motivated, and more than enough excitement. Here are a few practical suggestions to make it possible:
Make the Impossible Possible
1. Be alert.
Don’t read lying down. We all know where that goes. Stand up, or walk around while you read if you need to.
2. Be active.
Buy a cheap award Bible and mark as you go. Keep it super simple—underline things that amaze you. But resist the temptation to get too detailed.
3. Be fast.
There are times to read the Bible slowly and digest every word. There are other times to just keep moving. The goal is to get a fly-by overview of your entire Bible. Discipline yourself not to stop—just keep moving!
4. Be creative.
You could read some books out loud together with friends. (Extra fun is to read it like a play with parts!) Or try reading and listening to an audio book at the same time. I suggest not relying on audio Bibles alone, though—your mind will wander.
5. Be accountable.
Have someone hold you accountable, either a friend or a family member. Or join the Facebook group for daily encouragement and check-ins.
Reading the Bible intensely in a short time transforms the way you understand it.
Why do we view so much of God’s words to us closed, confusing and opaque? Maybe because we don’t read the whole thing! Or maybe because even when we do, it is spread out too far for us to notice the constant, rich patterns in the tapestry?
The most powerful memory I have with reading Scripture was one Christmas break when I decided to read the Bible in as short a time as possible. It was like flying over Scripture in a helicopter. I’ll never forget it. It changed my life.
No question, reading like that is a lot of work. There will be days when you feel like quitting. Life will happen and you’ll have to catch up.
But I’m also absolutely certain that no-one who finishes this project will regret it. One month from now, you could have a radically expanded vision of the richness of Scripture. What better thing could you hope to accomplish in the next 25 days?
Come join us!
On Tuesday, November 12, BJMBC honored the 70th birthday of Jeanne Raymond, missionary to the Philippines for 34 years. In addition to her work as a homeschool teacher for missionary children, Jeanne taught at BJMBC during many of those years, and has given her students an excellent example of what godly femininity, selfless service to God, and a heart for prayer looks like.
During this special chapel service, she also shared the following wise words of advice for the students.
Wise Words for Bible College Students
1. If you want to know the will of the Lord for your life, the best thing you can do is be in the will of God today.
The Lord will lead you by opening up opportunities for you to serve. While you are still in college, get as much experience in ministry as you can, whether that means
2. The Lord usually leads us step-by-step; He doesn't usually lay our whole life out before us.
When I graduated from college, the Lord didn't lead me into mission work right away as I thought He would. Instead, He led me into teaching in a Christian school for several years. That was God's preparation for me, because He knew that one day I would be teaching homeschoolers. I also taught a Sunday school class at my home church, went on visitation, helped in the bus ministry, and prepared the devotions for the monthly ladies group. The Lord will be able to use any experiences and education you have for the future.
3. The Lord will lead you by opening opportunities for you to serve and by confirming those through His Word.
Before I made the final decision to come to the Philippines, I asked the Lord to confirm His will through His Word. He did that for me through several passages of Scripture. Ask the Lord for confirmation of His will through His Word. In the future, as you face trials that might discourage you, you can lean on those passages for encouragement.
4. Always be flexible when making your own plans.
It isn't wrong to plan, but sometimes the Lord has other plans. Be submissive to His will because His plans are always the best. Don't run ahead of the Lord, and don't lag behind. Learn to wait on the Lord. Sometimes we think our timing is better than His, but the Lord is never late.
5. The key to fruitfulness in the ministry is how much time we spend with the Lord each day.
If we spend little time reading His Word and praying, we will accomplish little that has lasting eternal results. Serving the Lord is less doing and more being: specifically, being right with the Lord. Reading and meditating on the Word of God is where we get our wisdom, insight, discernment, vision for what God can do through us, spiritual perception, foresight, understanding, and discretion.
6. The more we pray, the more we will see God work.
Be a person of prayer. If you truly become a man or woman of prayer, you will see God accomplish things you could never accomplish in the lives of the people to whom you minister. He will make up for the abilities you lack. Don't forget to pray the Scriptures back to the Lord.
7. Go back to the Cross often.
Let the Cross of Christ ever remain dear and precious to you. Don't forget the sacrifice of Christ that saved you.
8. Don't compare yourself to anyone else.
If you want to be wise, don't compare yourself to anyone else, don't compare your abilities to anyone else's, and don't compare your ministry to anyone else's. Just be faithful in what God has given you to do and focus on that. Also, don't be critical of others who are ministering; instead, encourage and build them up. We are all pressing toward the same goal--seeing people saved.
9. Keep growing in the Lord for His glory, no matter what age you are.
Pictures from Ate Jeanne's years of ministry in the Philippines
Timothy W. Berrey is the Director of Graduate Studies at BJMBC.
In 2018, Tim Berrey led the BJMBC Footsteps of John and Paul Study Tour to Turkey and Greece. The following is an excerpt from the Footsteps of John and Paul devotional book.
Ancient Ephesus was a city dear to both John and Paul. Paul labored here first and, in fact, visited the city on multiple occasions. Even as early as his second missionary journey, when he directed Aquila and Priscilla to take up residence there, he seems to have felt it God’s will for him to minister there at some point in the future. Almost three years of his third missionary journey were devoted to preaching Christ in Ephesus and only the riot in the nearby amphitheater convinced him the time had come for him to move on. However, the “damage” (so to speak) had been done. Before he left, “all Asia had heard the word of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:10).
Even after he left Ephesus, he remained burdened for the church and wrote them an epistle preserved in our Bibles as his “Letter to the Ephesians.” The courier of his letter was none other than Tychicus, an Asian believer who was probably from Ephesus and likely a convert of the Apostle Paul. Paul’s personal footprint in the city was further extended by the ministry of Timothy, his closest son in the faith, whom he personally requested to help the church to stand against some who were teaching false doctrines (1 Tim. 1:3-4).
Church tradition consistently affirms that Ephesus later became the headquarters of the Apostle John’s ministry in the Roman province of Asia, much of which he seems to have traveled, overseeing churches and encouraging believers.
Ephesus was home to the Temple of Artemis (Diana), one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This huge structure was four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens and was revered by many in Asia as the chief place of worship to the goddess Artemis. As Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, speaks of their spiritual “rags-to-riches” story, he climaxes by pointing out that the church, the “new man” composed of both Jews and Gentiles, is actually being built into a Temple or, in more direct terms, God’s dwelling place.
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22).
How ironic this must have been to the Ephesian church. They—not the nearby Temple to Diana—were actually the dwelling place of the one true God and could now experience all of His divine fullness.
Of course, one cannot think of Ephesus without thinking of Christ’s words to them in Revelation 2, where He censures their faltering love.
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love (Rev. 2:4).
Strikingly, almost no other New Testament letter of Paul uses the word “love” more than his letter to the Ephesians. Everything we enjoy as believers is because of God’s love for us (Eph. 2:4). He bestows on us so much grace because of our union with His beloved Son (1:6). Rooted and grounded salvifically in His love, we are to go on to experience the infinite dimensions of Christ’s love for us.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God (Eph. 3:17-19).
We are then to mimic God’s love by loving others the way He and His Son have loved us (5:1-2). Paul ends his letter by praying grace upon all those who love the Lord Jesus with an undying love.
Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 6:24; HCSB).
The church at Ephesus evidently triumphed over the false teachers of Timothy’s day, but the resurrected Jesus’ comments spoken to the Apostle John reveal something lacking in their love. His criticism reminds us that one can work hard in His name and hate false teaching but do so without the love that He deserves.
Hymn for Meditation:
Here is Love (William Rees)
Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Loving-kindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout heav’n’s eternal days.
On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.
Let me, all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only,
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see;
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.
In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting,
As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and pow’r on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee.
Reading, learning, growing. God calls us to be changed through His Word. At BJMBC, our goal is to speak truthfully and clearly about that Word, while we prepare a future generation of students to proclaim it.