Category Archive: COVID-19

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  6. 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.
  7. Do Not Be Anxious About Your Life

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    I know Jesus’ said this is his great sermon on the mount (Matt 6:25), but it brings to mind an old saying “easier said than done.”  Are you getting anxious and weary from the new routine of uncertainty?  Uncertainty of the future: family, work, health, food, shelter etc. When will it end?  I feel slightly like I have lost control of things. Perhaps I have and we all have in a way.  Our freedom and movement are dictated by others; we sense that our options for making a living especially are being drained away; we wonder if we or family or friends will get the virus;  there is daily negative news about the virus and economy.

    God does not work with or through anxiousness and fear. God works by faith, in faith, through faith (Heb 11:6).  Jesus says “O you of little faith” have you forgotten about the provision of God for the birds, flowers and grass of the field?  In the midst of all this change and sacrifice, 

    I was struck by Jesus Easter sacrifice for me.  He suffered greatly as the Son of God so I could see love demonstrated, receive and have faith, forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him in heaven.  It seemed to put my present sacrifice and weariness in a different light.  

    What is Jesus ultimate solution for anxiousness and all of the troubles of the human condition?  He asks us to remember: “your heavenly Father knows you that you need them all” that is all these things you are anxious, worried and fearful about.  And he says do this: 

    “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). 

    Lord Jesus grow my faith enough to trust your promises to provide a way for what I need today. 

    Blessings
    Jim

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

    Africa: Pray that God would enable the Connect3 groups to have internet connectivity during these tough days to allow for the teams to continue to meet online.

    Asia/Pacific: Pray for strength for the CBMC teams. Reveal to them how they can help each other to reach the needs of those around them during this pandemic. Bless the Saturday Prayer Meetings held online as a platform to encourage and inspire each other, understand each country’s situation and prayer requests.

    Europe: Pray for the world, Europartner’s work and your friends asking God to have mercy on us.

    Latin America: Pray that we may reach new business and professional people for Christ during these tough days.

    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.

  8. You are the Light of the World

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    The Covid 19 pestilence will have long-lasting impact even beyond the suffering it brings now. Our lives are being turned upside down by sickness, death, quarantine and business shutdowns. Yet we have one, Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world and its pestilence (John 16:33). 

    As Christ-followers and CBMC marketplace ambassadors, let us be determined to use this period (however long) wisely for the kingdom of heaven. This is a time for each of us to understand, once and for all, that our joy comes from above, from God, not from earthly circumstances and success here. (James 1:16-18) The more we can live with this deep truth, the brighter our lights will shine (Matthew 5:14).

    Personally, I am trying to see each day as an opportunity to reach out to family, friends, neighbors and colleagues in the marketplace – just one or two people everyday. Some of them I have not spoken to in many months.  Everyone I speak with appreciates this contact. They know I cared enough to reach out to them. 

    I have already had opportunities to pray with and for friends who do not know Jesus. It helps and encourages them and points them to “the way, the truth and life” (John 14:6). Somehow these conversations give them hope which the world cannot give. We give each other hope when we live and share the love of Christ (I Corinthians 13). Give it a try; especially during this Easter Season as colleagues, friends and family may be searching for answers.

    Blessings,

    Jim

    Global Prayer Points

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

    Africa: The virus has created serious viability challenges for African small businesses. Pray that these pressures do not lead to business closures, and serious stressful challenges for the entrepreneurs.

    Europe: Pray for Europartners as we are preparing for the next decade and for after Coronavirus.

    Latin America: Pray for wisdom as various new initiatives are launched to support, encourage and equip the CBMC family and leaders in the region.
     
    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.

  9. From the Desk of Jim Firnstahl – April 6 2020

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    Staff directors global-leadership

    Dear Beloved CBMC Colleagues:

    These are truly unusual times! The Coronavirus has altered many aspects of our daily life and this fact alone causes many to be fearful and wonder what the future will bring. Yet for the Christ-follower, we know the Lord wants to give us His strength to carry on. Knowing the great challenge that Joshua faced before entering the promised land, God instructed him this way:

    “Be strong and courageous. Do not be dismayed, for the Lord is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

    Please stay strong and courageous during these difficult times. God will bring us through this and together we will continue to bring His Gospel to the marketplace.

    Allow me to I offer three simple practices:
    1. Keep praying everyday for family, local church family, neighbors, co-workers, employees and CBMC colleagues. Ask God to guide your every step, grant you his peace and safely deliver you. Keep praying also for those on your Top 10 List.

    2. Try and meet with your CBMC team every week, online if necessary. Pray with and encourage one another; go through devotionals (Monday Manna) together and help each other with issues at work and home; keep planning events in the future and keep discipling. Allow God to knit you together during these trials into an effective CBMC team. This may also be a good time to go over the basics of CBMC ministry: the Six Ministry Practices and Operation Timothy.

    3. Try to speak with one or two people everyday outside your close circle of family and friends; old friends and work colleagues, neighbors and your Top 10 list. Phone them or go online. Let them know you care about them; show them love, kindness and gentleness. This could have great impact. As we spend more time apart, we will need to hear from and be encouraged by one another.

    Finally, please contact me directly or the CBMC International office with any concerns or questions you may have. We are here for you. May the love, grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be yours in abundance.

    Blessings,
    Jim Firnstahl, President