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!
Dr. Atan Taclob is on the Bible Faculty at BJMBC.
We know prayer plays a vital role in missions and ministry. But we don't always know how to offer specific, gospel-centered requests for those on the front lines. Here are seven Scripture-based prayer requests we can pray for pastors and missionaries today.
In his epistles, the apostle Paul often encourages believers to live a life of prayer. However, there are five passages in which he asks churches to pray for him and his co-laborers in the ministry.
1. “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25).
Chronologically, this is the first time Paul asks a church for prayer for himself and his ministry.
This general prayer request may sound like it was added hastily or unintentionally at the closing of his letter. But Paul’s request in 1 Thessalonians 5:25 is purposeful and loaded with evangelistic zeal. Behind this general prayer request lies the many conflicts, heartaches, and physical and emotional sufferings that Paul had already suffered during his second missionary journey:
But we can also add to this list the various trials and oppositions that Paul experienced during his first missionary journey:
Although this first passage is somewhat general in nature, the next four passages in which Paul asks for prayer are all very specific in nature.
2. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
3. “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed” (Romans 15:30-32).
4. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2-4).
5. “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20).
7 Specific Prayer Requests for Those in the Ministry
If we combine all of these prayer requests, it is clear that there are seven specific things for which Paul is asking for prayer. These are the same seven things that we should pray for those who are in the ministry.
1. The fast spread of the gospel.
"that the Word of the Lord may have free course" (2 Thessalonians 3:1a)
2. Acceptance of the gospel among unbelievers.
"that the Word of the Lord may . . . be glorified, even as it is with you" (2 Thessalonians 3:1b)
3. Protection from evil men.
"that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men" (2 Thessalonians 3:2)
"that I may be delivered from them that do not believe" (Romans 15:31a)
4. A well-received ministry to the saints.
"that my service . . . may be accepted of the saints" (Romans 15:31b)
5. Opportunity to share the gospel.
"that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ" (Colossians 4:3)
6. Clarity in presenting the gospel.
"that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak" (Colossians 4:4)
7. Boldness in presenting the gospel.
"that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel . . . that therein I may speak boldly" (Ephesians 6:20)
These prayer requests all have one thing in common—the gospel.
Paul was consumed with the gospel. He lived a gospel-centered life.
He petitioned churches for gospel-centered prayers.
Knowing that many prayed to God for Paul, can we say that God answered their prayers?
God delivered Paul from many dangers. Through his ministry many souls came to know Christ. Churches were planted and strengthened. And at the end of his life, Paul was able to say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."
A crucial part in the success of Paul as a Christian and as a missionary was the fervent prayers of churches to God for him.
We also can help other believers succeed in their Christian life and in their ministry by praying for them with these prayer requests in mind. Let us labor in advancing God’s kingdom on earth by praying for one another with these gospel-centered prayer requests.
Download a copy of these 7 prayer requests for your church or personal use.
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.
Have you personally experienced the gift of God's love?
HOW MUCH DOES GOD LOVE YOU?
1. He loved you long before you loved Him.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:4-5).
2. He refused to just let you perish in your sins (like you deserve).
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
3. He sent His Son into the world to take on humanity so that you could have eternal life.
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9).
4. He poured out His wrath against your sin on His own Son.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).
5. Because His just wrath against sin has been completely satisfied, He now offers you mercy instead of wrath, life instead of death, eternal kindness in Christ Jesus instead of inescapable bondage to sin and to Satan—all (because of His grace) through faith alone.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:1-9).
6. He wants to rescue you from your current sinful lifestyle, apart from any works of your own, by the cleansing and transforming work of the Holy Spirit, freely available through Jesus Christ.
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:3-6).
7. He allows all who have received His Son Christ Jesus by faith to be called one of His children.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God (I John 3:1).
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).
8. He is calling you through the Gospel (through what you are reading now!) to enjoy the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and experience eternal comfort and genuine assurance.
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ….Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace… (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, 16a).
9. He will not make you wait until you arrive in your home in glory in order to enjoy His presence but will instead make you His home during your life on earth.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23).
10. He guarantees you victory over anything that you think might separate you from His love.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).
God Loves You!
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Dr. Philip Kamibayashiyama is the Director of BJMBC.
How can you find genuine happiness in the new year?
Are you happy this new year? We wish people a happy new year, but are we fully happy ourselves?
Actually, relatively few people are happy, even those who seem to be full of fun and excitement.
Why is this?
Often we are unhappy because, as we look back over the past year, we see that things in our life have not improved the way we wanted them to. Your circumstances have probably not significantly changed. Your pressures and problems are still there. Even if your circumstances have changed somewhat, many people in your life remain the same. Most of all, you yourself have not changed much in a year. If you admit that, at least you are humble and honest about yourself. That humility opens the door for change. God does give grace to the humble – those who honestly admit that what God says about their sinfulness is true.
What is the root reason why people are unhappy?
It is because a person becomes like his god. Emptiness is the nature of idols, and our hearts are idol factories. This is why not only pagans but also God’s people worshipped false gods and idols. OT history repeats over and over as if in a loop that people want a god besides Yahweh. Idols can be in the heart; therefore, John wrote near the end of the New Testament: “Brethren, keep yourselves from idols.” The point is that idols are empty (“vain” tôhû; see 1 Sa. 12:21). Therefore, those with idols in their hearts become empty and unhappy in heart.
But it doesn’t have to stay this way! This new year can be different. You can be different. But how?
First of all, realize that the answer is not ultimately in removing problems and pressures from your life. You should avoid overextending yourself, but your God can also do miracles beyond imagining. Secondly, the answer is also not in reforming yourself by your own willpower. You probably know that many New Year’s resolutions--even good ones--do not last past January, because our flesh and our heart fail.
Surprisingly, the answer and means to change is renewing your mind. Your mind includes the thoughts of your heart – having different desires, different values, a different view of life, and a different response to what you will face this year.
Biblically speaking, we cannot change ourselves. But God changes us when our heart is focused on Him. Isaiah 26:3 sings to the LORD, “Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusts in Thee.” God keeps us in peace (shâlôm: wholeness; contentment; happiness) when our minds are on Him. Our minds stay on God when we trust in Him. Where our thoughts dwell tells us where our hearts are.
Consider this application: when you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you want to see? The honest, humble answer of many people would be posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media. What you set your mind upon indicates where your heart is. When it is on vain or empty things, that moment of pleasure will end with an empty, unhappy heart.
Instead, to truly find joy, we need to set our hearts and minds on our glorious God and Savior Jesus Christ. Set your affection on things above. This means to delight in God’s Word and meditate on it day and night. If you do that, this year will be significantly different because you will be changed. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed…” (2 Cor. 3:18a).
May you have a truly happy new year.
A Free Gift for you: 12 Resolutions for Glorifying God this year.
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.