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.
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.
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.