A challenging read

I finished The Heavenly Man yesterday. It's a book about a Chinese brother named Yun and his life and ministry in China. It's his story. Actually, it's the Lord's story through Yun, but it's an amazing story either way.

I won't give too much away, but the book is like reading Acts. Amazing. He was tortured, imprisoned, and made a fugitive because he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Oh, but he loves his Lord and never denied Him, never once! I recommend that everyone who calls themselves a Christian read the book. I mean that.

I wanted to post some of his observations and comments on the Western church (Europe and the US) that he observed after his escape from China. It's only a few pages of a 300 page book, but his words truly struck me.

When I'm in the West I see all the mighty church buildings and all the expensive equipment, plush carpets and state-of-the art sound systems. I can assure the Western church with absolute certainty that you don't need any more church buildings. Church buildings will never bring the revival you seek. The pursuit of more possessions will never bring the revival you seek.

The first thing needed for revival to return to your churches is the Word of the Lord. God's word is missing...Not only is God's Word missing, but obedience to that Word. There's not much action taking place.

When revival came to believers in China, the result was thousands of evangelists being sent out to all corners of the nation, carrying fire from the altar of God with them. When God moves in the West, it seems you want to stop and enjoy his presence and blessings too long, and build an altar to your experiences.

You can never really know the Scriptures until you're willing to be changed by them.

I've seen people in Western churches worshiping as if they're already in heaven. Then someone invariably brings a comforting message like, "My children, I love you. Don't be afraid, I'm with you." I'm not opposed to such words, but why is it that nobody seems to hear a word from the Lord like, "My child, I want to send you to the slums of Asia or the darkness of Africa to be my messenger to people dying in their sin."

Yeowch. And that's not all. But that's enough to think on.

What do you think? Does that challenge you? It challenges the heck out of me. So much as to ask, "What are we even doing?" That's a good, and really scary question for me.


Anonymous said...

While I was in one book store looking for this book a lady came up and said "I heard you mention Heavenly Man, then she said this is the most incredible book I have read and I bought all the copies they had and gave them all away."
I had to put it down for a while because his descriptions of the way the Chinese government tortured him was so disturbing. Then I had to ask myself "If I am such a "wimpy" christian I can't even read about someone being tortured because of their faith in Christ, what would I do if ever confronted with this reality?" At least for now I am comforted by the fact that I am an American and our government doesn't torture people because they are Christians. At least for now.
I will finish reading the book because I think it has a happier ending then the beginning. Yes it is scary, yes it is indeed a challenge. And yes, I need to read it. Thank you for telling me about this book.

Mike Messerli said...

I just got this book today, so I'm not going to read your post yet, but will come back to it when I'm done. Thanks for the recommendation, brother.

KB said...

Brandon, I hear the words but wonder about em.
Sure I agree 100% churches do not need more stuff, but more locations to spread the word with right standing leadership is defiantly needed. I say this based on the fact that here in the Metroplex everywhere I turn there seems to be another mosque poppin up. Forgive the analogy here but to me lost people are like drivers runnin low on gas, they will eventually pull in somewhere.
Just my initial thought, based on this very, very small portion of the book.
When we git our move all settled I will have to look this one up, seems like a fascinating read.

Brandon and Jenny said...

You have a great point. And that's a scary sight, all those mosques. Very, very few of those here in Guatemala.

I think the author would say that churches can meet in houses or something to that effect instead of needing to build something else. But his main thing was that people aren't going and telling anybody the gospel, aren't giving all those people with empty tanks any hope.

If for every mosque built each member of our churches talked to just 5 people about Jesus, I bet the mosques would stay empty.

The author has a huge desire for reaching the Middle East and Asia with the gospel and breaking into the fortress of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. And he thinks the Western church is key to that.

It's an incredible story, for sure.

KB said...

Brandon, got another question for ya. How do you propose we approach people nowadays when most people we see are either on a phone, ipod or pretending they are on the phone just to avoid human contact. I can talk with folks that seem approachable, but when this electronic interference is waved it is an effective deterrent. Just wonderin cause it has me stumped.

Brandon and Jenny said...

That's a great question, Kent. Really is.

I guess it depends on where we are. It's hard to get to know people in the line at Kroger. Interrupting a conversation doesn't seem like a very polite nor effective thign to do.

I guess at some point, people hang the thing up and we take advantage of it when they do. Maybe it's more keeping an eye out for opportunities and taking them when they arise.