Category Archive: COVID-19

  1. Pestilence Confronted: Always Pray and Don’t Give Up

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    Pestilence Confronted: “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show that they should always pray and not give up.”   Luke 18:1

    Recently I heard a story about a survivor of the Covid 19 virus. The survivor, an older man, was intent on finding and thanking the nurse who kept him alive both physically and mentally. It seems the man was receiving treatment in a hospital which could not allow his family to visit. Desperately sick and without his family at his side, the only voices of comfort he heard during his struggle to survive were from his caregivers. The man remembered one nurse in particular whose kind and encouraging words meant everything to him. She told him: “do not give-up.” These words were so powerful that the man attributed his survival and recovery to this nurse and these simple encouraging words. He eventually found the women and was able to express his thanks to her for helping to save his life. 

    Jesus knew that the church (the community of Christ-followers) would experience many temptations, hardships and even persecution before the coming of the kingdom of God (Jesus return). He told this parable (Luke 18:1-8) to demonstrate that persistent prayer to God will be heard and honored; even more so than the unrighteous judge who gave in to the constant requests of the widow. The Covid 19 virus has caused much anxiety, suffering and death. It is not over. This condition may continue until a vaccine is developed and widely available. So don’t give up! 

    Be persistent like the widow and “let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-6).

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Pray for God’s intervention as we fight this virus globally. Pray for God’s protection and preservation of the health of all CBMC members across the world. Pray for the growth of CBMC in Africa, even during these challenging days.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray that the virus will not continue especially in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Pray for Malaysia to have a righteous government, political stability, economic recovery and racial harmony. Hong Kong: please pray for peace and God’s intervention. 

    Europe: Pray for our coaches and friends who help the business people and their peers in these crisis times. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Mexico, Argentina, Perus and Brazil, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. 

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  2. Pestilence Confronted: Seeking Peace in the Midst of Turmoil

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    Pestilence Confronted: Seeking Peace in the Midst of Turmoil

    The world has much to offer by way of sensual pleasures and rich opportunities.  This is its great charm but also its basis of temptation.  A further deception is clearly seen in its lack of the most basic virtuous things like fairness, justice, equality and most clearly sustained peace.  The Covid 19 Virus has highlighted the weaknesses of our world systems, pushed many people and their governments to the limits of their abilities and stirred up anxiety everywhere.  One wonders if we can survive this Covid period without a major regional or global conflict: the peace is strained as the pestilence drags on.  

    In the mid-20th century, another time of great economic and political turmoil, it was necessary for Christians to define their predicament and recommit themselves to the timeless truths of Jesus and the Scriptures: “Through him [Jesus) befalls us a joyful deliverance from the godless fetters of this world for a free, grateful service to his creatures.”  This was the Barmen Declaration (1934) of the “confessing church” defining its role in contrast to the German Government Reich Church.  Today Christ-followers must again keep clear their calling and purpose — to love God and neighbor and not this world (I John 2:15).  If I do not condone the sensuous and evil ways of the world then I am free to limit my participation to those activities so that I can be the “salt” and “light” Jesus needs me to be (Matthew 5:13-16).  

    So where does peace come from in all of this? In his final soliloquy, Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).  Jesus, the Savior of the world, the son of God almighty, the one with God in the beginning, the ultimate ruler over the nations of the world, the one coming again to judge and establish his kingdom, is my peace.  

    Blessings,
    Jim

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Continue to pray for the Southern and East Africa Resilience Fund (SEARF) being developed by CBMC Business Leaders. Pray that God would bring trustworthy financial partners interested in the well-being of these small business owners. We will be sharing a Crowdfunding link soon, if you want to participate.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray that a cure will be provided for the Virus and heal our economy and rebuild our broken relationships. Give us wisdom and help us be more effective to share the Gospel and disciple others during these challenging days. Hong Kong: Please pray for the peace and democracy of Hong Kong.

    Europe: Pray for our coaches and friends who help the business people and their peers in these crisis times. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Brazil, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus.

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  3. Pestilence Confronted: Proclaiming The Kingdom Of God

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    Pestilence Confronted: Paul the Apostle “welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God..” Acts 28:30-31

    Last week Emily and I traveled by airline for the first time since February. I went to see my elderly mother who lives in an assisted living home in Minneapolis. Yes Minneapolis is the very city where George Floyd, an infamous man was made famous worldwide because he was brutally mistreated and died at the hands of police. As you can imagine, the mood there was somber and tense; one had the impression that healing is going to take much more time. The travel experience was also dismal since the airlines, hotels and restaurants all have a very low level of service at this time.

    As moved about the city I began thinking about my personal responsibility as Christ’s representative, His ambassador there in such a troubled place. I happened to reread St. Paul’s adventure and trials as he was escorted to Rome (Acts 27-28). He faced great danger by storm and shipwreck and many threats to his life. Yet he kept his focus on his life’s mission and witnessed to all around him. I was encouraged and challenged by this account in Acts. It reminded me that I am to see myself as presently in the world, but at the same time “I do not love the world or the things in the world” (I John 1:15-17). This clearly means that I do not agree with most things in the world, they are foreign to me. My calling is not so much to fix the things of the world but to bring the peace, grace and truth of Christ to bear upon it. Like St. Paul, I can do and be that kind of witness even in the most severe circumstances.

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Continue to pray for the Southern and East Africa Resilience Fund being developed by CBMC Business Leaders. Pray that God would bring trustworthy financial partners interested in the well-being of these small business owners. 

    Asia/Pacific: Use this season to strengthen CBMC members as ambassadors of Christ to love the people He put around us in the marketplace. APAC Saturday Prayer Meeting to be a model to CBMC teams in Asia/Pacific nations to start online meetings for prayer and encouragement during this pandemic. Hong Kong: Please pray for the peace and democracy of Hong Kong. 

    Europe: Pray for our coaches and friends who help the business people and their peers in these crisis times. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Mexico and Brazil, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. 

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  4. Pestilence Confronted: Blessed Are The Peacemakers

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    Pestilence Confronted: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.” Matthew 5:9

    Tensions rise as anxious moments increase, as life and routines are continually disrupted. A common refrain has become: “when are things going to get back to normal?” The “virus” has killed thousands, unemployed millions, strained relationships and devastated our businesses. It is all very real, and it is only going away slowly, if at all. Our collective patience is stretched and strained: single local incidents can blow up into national ones. Look how a terrible police incident in Minneapolis has inflamed 40+ American cities in demonstrations and violence.

    Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) is considered the greatest moral treatise ever written. Its preamble is a collection of “blessings” or beatitudes in which Jesus teaches the attributes of the truly virtuous from a heavenly perspective. One of these attributes strikes me as perfectly suited to our turbulent times: “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). In his letter to the Galatians, Paul lists “peace” as of one of the nine fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Clearly, those of us empowered as “ministers of a new covenant” (2 Corinthians 5:6,9), the “ministry of righteousness” and “reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19), must bring peace until Jesus returns in glory. Like other trials and troubles, the virus tests our steadfastness in faith in many ways. May those who desire to be “called sons of God” find words and ways to calm the conflict brought on by the virus.

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    AFRICA: Continue to pray for the Southern and East Africa Resilience Fund being developed by CBMC Business Leaders. Pray that God would bring trustworthy financial partners interested in the well-being of these small business owners. 

    ASIA/PACIFIC:  May all CBMC members be sustained with wisdom and grace from the Lord supporting each other in love. Please pray for a cure for the virus and heal our economy. May the Lord bring a quick and miraculous end to the darkness in our world. Hong Kong: Please pray for the peace and democracy of Hong Kong.

    EUROPE: Pray for establishing a V-CBMC (Vision CBMC) of next generation for Europe Korean CBMC. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    LATIN AMERICA: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Mexico and Brazil, ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    NORTH AMERICA: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. 

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  5. The Unshakeable Kingdom

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    …my Kingdom is not of this world.”  John 18:36

    The “virus” has become the dominant concern and source of anxiety among people everywhere. I live in the United States, arguably the most powerful and richest nation on earth. Yet the USA government like every other government, is powerless to stop the virus and can only try to manage its impact on its citizen’s health and economy. As hard as they try, and despite the speeches, programs and best wishes, the virus seems to be able to appear and spread independently. And so like most natural, destructive phenomenon we encounter, the virus has exposed the many weaknesses of governments run by men and women. In effect they have shown themselves once again to be truly shakable kingdoms.

    As Christ-followers our hope is in Jesus and his kingdom. After he was arrested, Jesus assured Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor, that “my kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews exclaims, “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees” (Hebrews 12:12); instead “let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom (and gospel) that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).

    My hope is that in the midst of this trial, which is quite grave and severe for so many, that we in CBMC might encourage one another with these thoughts and words. That the “God of peace may equip you with everything good that you may do his will” (Hebrews 13:20-21). This is our great promise and heritage: that our hope is not in governments of this world, but in Christ and His unshakable eternal kingdom.

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership. 

    Africa: Pray for the Southern and East Africa Resilience Fund being developed by a CBMC Business Leader. Pray that God would bring trustworthy financial partners interested in the well-being of these small business owners. 

    Asia/Pacific:  Give us the faith and strength to endure this difficult season and deepen our relationship with our neighbors. Thank you for sending the Comforter to all who cry out to You, giving Your perfect love to cast out fear and anxiety. Hong Kong: Please pray for the peace and democracy of Hong Kong.

    Europe: Pray for establishing a V-CBMC (Vision CBMC) of next generation for Europe Korean CBMC. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection and healing of CBMC families and team members who are in Brazil, a ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray for establishing an e-CBMC (next generation) in North America Korean CBMC. Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. 

    If you have a prayer request, please send an email to CBMC International.

  6. His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

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    “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.”   2 Chronicles 20:21

    For most of us, the Covid 19 virus has in some way altered our lives. Some of us have had to endure much hardship and even pain directly or indirectly as we watch others suffer and try to cope with the virus and its many effects.  Many governments have taken the drastic decision to shut down large parts of their economies and this has negatively affected even more. Understandably, under such circumstances, it is hard to be thankful.  

    In the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 20) the account is given of an incident where the Jewish people faced certain annihilation as three large armies approached them. The times were uncertain and dangerous. The Jewish King Jehoshaphat (one of the good kings!) was fearful upon hearing the news, but something happened as he and the people fasted and prayed together: they remembered God’s promises and how reliably He kept them. They sang and worshipped together and remarkably their faith was “established.” The King said “believe in the Lord your God and you will be established; believe in His prophets (promises) and you will succeed.”  

    The Lord responded to this simple faith with a great miracle. The Jewish army did not even have to fight. Instead God caused the approaching armies to destroy themselves!  

    When we give thanks to God in the midst of difficult circumstances it is not the trouble we are thankful for.  Rather, in such times as these, our thanks, praise and worship to God demonstrates our trust and our faith in His steadfast love, power, might and precious promises. “Give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love endures forever!”

    Global Prayer Points

    As we seek to see our marketplace transformed by the Gospel, join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership: 

    Africa: Pray for the Southern and East Africa Resilience Fund being developed by a CBMC Business Leader. Pray that God would bring trustworthy financial partners interested in the well-being of these small business owners. 

    Asia/Pacific: All authority is God’s, but He has given authority to leaders to protect and guide us. Today, we ask that God would give all leaders wisdom, discernment, strength and resolve. Keep them healthy, safe and rested so they can continue to guide us through this troubling time. Please keep praying for God’s wisdom to choose the right CBMC leaders to serve and lead the CBMC ministry.

    Europe: Pray for our friends in the marketplace to find the right approach to make Christ known as the hope for this world. Specific Europartners’ prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection of CBMC families and team members who are in countries that are ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. Also, for the finances that are needed to do ministry in Canada.

    If you have a prayer request, please email CBMC International.

  7. Treasures In Heaven

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    “…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” (Matthew 6:20)

    There are always people in need near us if we are willing to look carefully. But now, during this “virus,” it is hard to miss the people who are sick, those mourning the dead, the unemployed, those whose businesses have been closed by government order, the hungry, the depressed, the weary and list goes on.  

    During the recent Easter celebration, I was able to reread the passion and resurrection of Christ in all four Gospels. A very meaningful exercise to try if you have not done it. This year as I reading, I was struck by the mention in all four Gospels of Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:50-56). This wealthy and well-known businessman used his position of influence to persuade Pilate to release the body of Jesus to him. What a brave and courageous man! He risked his position on the Council, his business, the safety of himself and his family all to assure that the burial of Jesus was proper.  

    It would have been easy for him to ignore the incident. Yet he wasn’t  thinking of himself but rather the brokenness of the situation and how to bring a sense of rightness to family, friends and followers of Jesus. Luke writes that Joseph “was looking for the kingdom of heaven. 

    During this “virus” time of trouble, suffering and brokenness, those of us who are kingdom-minded like Joseph of Arimathea, should look to lay up “treasures in heaven, (Matthew 6:19-21) where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Like Joseph of Arimathea, our acts of mercy, kindness and rightness without earthly reward are truly the treasures of heaven worthy of God’s eternal blessings.   

    Global Prayer Points

    Join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership:

    Africa: Pray for the Southern and East Africa Resilience Fund being developed by a CBMC Business Leader. Pray that God would bring trustworthy financial partners interested in the well-being of these small business owners.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray for all our leaders to have wisdom, discernment, strength, and resolve about what needs to be done to stop the virus and stabilize economies. Pray for the APAC online board meeting on May 16 to be a fruitful discussion. Also pray for the Saturday online prayer meetings for sharing stories and encouragement.

    Europe: Pray for our friends in the marketplace to find the right approach to make Christ known as the hope for this world. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection of CBMC families and team members who are in countries that are ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. Also for the finances that are needed to do ministry in Canada.

  8. Blessed Are The Merciful

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    “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7)

    The “virus” has been with us long enough so that most of us are acquainted with its victims.  Some have been sickened by it, some have lost loved ones, close friends, jobs, businesses and hope. 

    Once when Jesus was leaving the city of Jericho a blind man named Bartimaeus called out, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me” and “let me recover my sight” (Mark 10:46-52).  I am struck by how Jesus stopped and went out of his way to engage the man, to show mercy to him by meeting his request, his need. Mercy is always an intentional act. 

    The conditions for being merciful are wonderful right now! Opportunities abound! Many of us know a “Bartimaeus” who needs mercy. Maybe you are one? Cry out to Jesus for mercy, He will hear you and stop and meet your need. He said he would. (John 16:23-24).  Then go and show mercy to your Bartimaeus.

    Global Prayer Points
    Join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership:
    Africa: Small and medium size businesses will not receive a stimulus package from the government and they don’t have money to restart after the lockdown. Pray that God would bring trustworthy partners interested in their well-being and freedom.
    Asia/Pacific: We give thanks for the technology that helps us stay in touch with each other and do the ministry more effectively during these challenging days.
    Europe: Pray for Europartners’ work and your friends asking God to have mercy on us. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]
    Latin America: Pray for protection of CBMC families and team members who are in countries that are ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.
    North America: Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. Also, for the finances that are needed to do ministry in Canada.
  9. Be Strong In The Lord

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    “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”

    This is going to take some effort. All around me the world is  changing in response to the virus. No one likes it, but we are in it together; and on a social level there is a sense that the best thing to do is try and make the best of it. As the popular wartime British saying goes, “keep calm and carry on.”  

    The other day I was trying hard to stay calm and receive God’s strength to overcome the trials of the day. I remembered Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was written while he was in prison, a nasty environment designed to discourage and render one hopeless. 

    As I read Ephesians it seemed to me as if it the letter was written not from a dungeon but from a palace! It extols the blessings, power and hope of God. As I prayed and pleaded and waited on God, it came to me. God’s world is like a palace, an unmovable, unshakeable kingdom of power, glory and peace. This is part of the “mystery of His will” for me (Ephesians 1:9). That I should live and endure this world yet always be aware that I belong to another. Such thoughts lifted me and allowed me to address the trials and troubles of that day from a position of peace and calm relying on the wisdom of God.

    Lord, today cause me to remember your many “blessings” and to rely upon your strength. 

    Global Prayer Points

    Join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership:

    Africa: There is very little testing for the pandemic. Many are dying without knowing about COVID 19. Pray that God would have mercy on these families and team members.

    Asia/Pacific: Give us wisdom to draw closer to God; and overcome the economic collapse we’re in right now. Help us to find ideas for more effective ways to share the Gospel and team-build in the midst of social distancing.

    Europe: Pray for the world, Europartner’s work and your friends asking God to have mercy on us. Specific prayer requests can be sent to [email protected]

    Latin America: Pray for protection of CBMC families and team members who are in countries that are ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.

    North America: Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. Also for the finances that are needed to do ministry in Canada.

  10. Come To Me All Who Are Weary

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    Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest…”

    In this time of the “Virus,” many of us are being asked to do more with less, and often less is all we can do.It wearies us, drains us, overwhelms us. We want it to end.

    Jesus understands burdens. He was severely tortured in crucifixion but he overcame death and offers us hope and even help.Jesus says, “come” and “take my yoke upon you” (Matthew 11:25-30).This is an offer to join us in our weariness and trouble.As we put on Jesus’ yoke our burden is shared (as two oxen pulling a cart) with Him and thus becomes “light” and “easy.”

    Lord, as you called to Peter to “come” and join you walking on the water (Matthew 14:29) so you also bid us to “come” to you with our burdens.Here I am Lord, I will come to you and share my troubles, trials, and burden. Strengthen me; make me “gentle and lowly in heart“ like you Lord.

    Blessings,
    Jim

    Global Prayer Points
    Join us in prayer this week for the following requests from our Global Leadership:
    Africa: With depressed economies, there is very little testing for COVID 19. Many are dying without knowing about the pandemic. Pray that God would have mercy on these families and team members.
    Asia/Pacific: Give us wisdom to draw closer to God; and overcome the economic collapse we’re in right now. Bless the board meetings of South Korea and Japan in finding ideas for more effective ways to share the Gospel and team-build in the midst of social distancing.
    Europe: Pray for Europartners’ work and your friends asking God to have mercy on us.
    Latin America: Pray for protection of CBMC families and team members who are in countries that are ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic.
    North America: Pray that Christian leaders would take the challenge to lead other leaders who need Jesus. Also, for the finances that are needed to do ministry here in Canada.