These have been a busy few weeks, including a fast trip to the US and back (more about that later). But before I touch on our own matters, please indulge an older brother in the Lord for a moment. I don’t usually write long letters, so I’d appreciate it if you would take time to read this when you can.
I speak as a fool in saying this, but with over four decades of ministry behind me, I have some thoughts from my perspective regarding the state of the Lord’s church today. If working through them helps me, maybe it will help you too.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
As a whole, I don’t think we take seriously the spiritual warfare we are engaged in. The Scripture states clearly that the four categories of spiritual enemies are very real and very present. (This does not even include our daily battle with our own hearts’ desires for wrong things, nor our daily battle with a world that is not merely anti-Christian—it is increasingly “anti-Christ.”) In the spiritual world around us forces are at work that are utterly evil, relentlessly pursuing the silencing and destruction of the Word and works of God. The demon gods of the Old and New Testament are not false gods nor made-up idols; these demonic principalities and powers and rulers of spiritual wickedness in high places are still at work (John 14:30; 16:11; Eph. 2:2; Dan. 10:12-13; etc.) defiling the opinions of this world and forging a vile worldview against God. These fallen sons of God and their blasphemous breed have distracted, discouraged, and destroyed God’s people from Eden on, and they have not stayed nor slackened their venomous and sadistic attempts to annihilate the Word, the work, and the people of the Lamb even to this present hour. And this we must keep in mind daily.
Our beloved nation of PNG is held in the grip of Satanic opposition. God’s works are in constant conflict from forces without and within. The spiritual worldview of many here causes them to fear the spirits; and what you fear, you work to appease. Entire people groups still remain in the grip of demon oppression and control. Multitudes are taken captive in the snare of the devil at his will—so we must comprehend our enemy, and “in meekness [instruct] those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” (2 Tim. 2:25)
This is not only true where we live; it is true where you live, whether you sense it or not. Grasp that. We all are in a great spiritual warfare. We all must put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:11,13). We all must stand and fight.
I offer here some simple, biblical suggestions to fight this good fight, but they are by no means comprehensive.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6:18)
Pray for the Lord’s churches, His people, and His servants.
First, pray earnestly for your pastor and ministry leaders.
Then, read your missionaries’ prayer letters—and pray for them. [I always enjoy hearing from those who read our letters, though I fear there are many who don’t read them. I’d appreciate your input as to what we can do better. Email me your thoughts at email@example.com.]
If you don’t read a specific prayer request in a letter, remember there is always a battle going on for the souls of the missionaries themselves and for the people to whom God has called them—so pray!
Perhaps if Christians spent less time being distracted by Netflix, the news media, and social media, they could engage in this real spiritual warfare as soldiers, not as spectators.
PERSONAL CHURCH ATTENDANCE
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42)
Get back in church, in person.
Ten years ago God’s people would have disdained the idea of staying out of church to watch the service online week after week. Now we have droves who stay home in their PJs on the couch. They have no fear of catching an illness; they simply have lost the godly habit of fellowship with the saints. And dare I say that most are not really paying attention to the online sermons they are hearing? Hear me, brethren—the Lord’s army doesn’t wear PJs under the armor of God. O Church, arise!
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31)
Preach with biblical authority.
There is a lot of good, biblical preaching in the church today. A lot of it. But what seems to be lacking in much of it is a “prophetic voice.” Not the fake prophets who claim visions and words from God—we have God’s Word already, and His Word is inspired, complete, preserved, profitable, and sufficient for us today.
What we need is the voice of a prophet; the preaching that not only says, “thus saith the Lord,” but actually looks at the hearers and reminds them, “you need to obey this Word from the Lord.” Not a preacher’s thoughts, mind you, but God’s words. At times we are afraid to say, “you,” so we say, “we”; as in “we need to do this,” and “we need to obey the Lord.” We include the speaker, so as not to offend the hearers. But the prophets and apostles of old did not fear to say, “you”! Preacher, do not fear being labeled legalistic if what you are preaching is biblical truth. There is a prophetic aspect to preaching—the “forth-telling,” that authoritative word which is based on the words of the living God, not the preacher—and I believe many times that voice is lacking. Let us humble ourselves before our God and our people, and then let us preach the Word with boldness!
Wedding & Family
Lena and I were able to travel back to the US for the wedding of our oldest granddaughter, Ariel, to Luke Lunsford. It was beautiful! And best of all, we were able to be together with all the kids and grandkids in one place for the first time since 2011. (Would you pray for Luke’s family? A couple weeks after the wedding, his father passed away suddenly. Thank you.)
We were also able to be in a few churches, and how rich the fellowship! Preaching, teaching, singing, glorifying the Lord, —and how edifying it was to see old friends and to make new ones!
Back in Class at BBIPOM
We have started our new term at Baptist Bible Institute of Port Moresby. A good number of our students are in their third and final year, plus we’ve picked up 10 new first-year students. Praise the Lord! Pray for them and for me as I teach and mentor these servants of God.
Beginning the Front Translation of 2 Corinthians
The Kamea Bible Project continues to progress. I’ve begun working on 2 Corinthians. Pray for me to have minimal distractions from the project, maximum clarity in translating, and the power of the Spirit as I have the privilege of doing this holy work. Remember Pastor Ben Samauyo in the same way as he labors to translate the Word directly into his heart language.
Thank you for your continued prayers for the Lord’s ministry here and for Lena’s health, and thank you for helping us be your representatives here on the field in Port Moresby, PNG!
Because He Is,
John & Lena Allen
2 Thessalonians 3:1
Enjoy some photos from the last few weeks:
Thank you for this admonition! I needed a reminder today of how serious our constant spiritual battle is. It’s easy to spend time distracting myself from the war, but so much harder to face it soberly like a true soldier.
Brother Matt, thank you for the book on spiritual warfare.
I like your thoughts regarding our spiritual situation in this country. I would like to order some (20) copies for our Bible institute here at Tentcity Baptist Church Lae.
Brother Michael Saka
Hi Pastor Michael,
You are welcome to print copies of the blog post and share them as you will. May they be a help to our preachers and believers here in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere in the world.
Yours in Christ,
John Allen Sr.
Enjoyed reading your prayer letter! Great encouragement. God Bless.
Amen Brother I enjoyed the exhortation very much!
Thank you for the word reminding us of our daily warfare
Praises to our Lord Jesus Christ for you and Mama being a blessing