Br. Andrew Yu: An Open Letter(2020/5/29)

Dear brothers and sisters,

“The time of the Lord’s return is at hand. For this reason we are reevaluating many matters in the light of the judgment seat.”

The above quote is from “An Open Letter” in Issue No. 1 of The Present Testimony by Brother Watchman Nee published in January of 1928. Today, ninety-two years later, we are even closer to the time of the Lord’s return. Today, seeing all the things happening around us, we feel even more deeply that the time of the Lord’s return is closer than any of the previous ages. The instability of the world situation, the global spread of the pandemic, the panic in people’s hearts, the uncontrollable environment, and the economic crisis all indicate that this age is nearing a fundamental turning point. At this solemn moment, it should be a time for us to have a reevaluation. To reevaluate means that what was formerly the standard can no longer be the standard for today; what’s considered acceptable living can no longer be our living today; the former goals in our lives can no longer be our goals today; our former mode of valuation can no longer be the mode of valuation today; and our former ways can no longer be our ways today. Everything needs to be reevaluated in the light of the judgment seat. This means that everything needs to be reevaluated according to the Lord’s return and the consummation of the age. Our former church life, former services, and former ways of living all need to be reconsidered and reevaluated.

First we need to reevaluate our living. The Lord said, “Do not be anxious for tomorrow,” but “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33, 34). Do we trust in God in everything to live the life of the tent on the earth, having a living that is uprooted from the earth and storing up our treasures in heaven? Or are we still anxious for tomorrow? The young people are anxious for their employment after graduation, as well as their marriage and family. The middle-aged people are anxious for their career and their business performance for the next quarter or next year. The elderly people are anxious for their health, savings, and relationship with their children and grandchildren. We need to reevaluate. The apostles called people to be delivered from sins and turn to the Lord, but the Lord called people to bedelivered from mammon to follow Him (Matt. 6:24). Many preach the gospel of prosperity, but the Lord preached the gospel of poverty. The age is coming to an end, and one of the signs of the Lord’s coming is that people are storing up treasures (James 5:3). The ten virgins are “going out of the world” to meet the bridegroom (Matt. 25:1, note 5). The harvest needs to be “dried of all the earthly water” (Rev. 14:15, note 2) to be ripe for reaping. Brother Lee, in his diary right before the great revival in Chefoo, wrote on December 23 of 1942: “We should not be concerned with what we willeat, what we will drink, or what we will be clothed with; this is what the worldly people seek. We should care only for God’s kingdom and His righteousness. The worldly people lack clothing and food because they care only for their own living and not for God’s kingdom and His righteousness” (CWWL Vol. 2, p. 28). A day earlier, he wrote: “How desolate is the situation on earth today! Even more desolate is the condition within man! How many hearts and souls havesuffered to the extreme? How many souls are perishing every day? The church has lost her function…The church is like this because her consecration in the past was not thorough” (p. 27). On December 26, he wrote: “The reason we are quiet, have no aspiration to spread the Lord’s kingdom, have no power and courage to spread the Lord’s gospel, have no living faith, and are timid is all because we have not had a thorough consecration, have not stopped living for ourselves, and have not lived entirely for the Lord!…If we live entirely for the Lord like Peter on the day of Pentecost, we will also be able to say as Peter said, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene rise up and walk’ (Acts 3:6b). But to say this, we must also be able to say, ‘Silver and gold I do not possess’ (v. 6)!” (p. 29)

We need to reevaluate: does our living today have dispensational value? Do we, our person, have a dispensational significance before the Lord?

In order to have this kind of living, we need to be filled with the Spirit inwardly and outwardly every day (see The Way to Practice the Lord’s Present Move, ch. 2). If a balloon is not filled with air, it cannot ascend. Why do we need to have much and thorough prayer? It is for us to be filled both inwardly and outwardly. Why do we need to confess our sins and repent? It is because they are the requirements for us to be filled with the Spirit. Without a living that is daily filled with the Spirit both inwardly and outwardly, we cannot have a living that has dispensational value. Inorder for the virgins to meet the bridegroom, the requirement is that their vessels be filled with oil (Matt. 25:4). In order for us to redeem the time, we must be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:16, 18).

During these days, the more difficult the outward environment is, the stronger we feel inwardly that now is the time for God’s children to be uprooted from the world and to live the life of the tent. The benefit of migration is to cut off our old background and to learn to simply look to God to live a life of faith. The spreading of the kingdom is inextricably linked to being cut off from the world. The persecution in Acts 8 suddenly uprooted all the disciples and scattered them everywhere, which put the Lord’s command in chapter 1 into action. In order for the gospel of the kingdom to be preached to the whole inhabited earth, there is the need for some to live the kingdom life. For the Lord’s return to become real, man must “go out of the world” as the virgins did in Matthew 25. One hundred fifty years ago the gospel of grace was preached to China. One reason for that was that some in that age saw that the Lord might return in that generation and that the gospel needed to be preached to the whole world in that generation. Today, the gospel of the kingdom needs to be preached to the whole inhabited earth because the time of the Lord’s return is even closer. At this juncture, should we not reevaluate how we should spend our remaining days on the earth? Should we not cut off the old ties at this time to practically live the life of the tent, live for the gospel, and move for the Lord?

At this moment, we also need to reevaluate our church life. Whether the Lord is satisfied with our church life is one thing, we should first ask ourselves whether we are satisfied with our current church life. True, we have very good truths, and we also have a church life that we have been comfortable with for many years. However, what we need to reevaluate is whether or not this kind of church life can satisfy the Lord’s need, whether it can usher in the Lord’s return. In the church where we are, has the number of saints grown? Are the saints vital?

In 1992 and 1993, Brother Lee was deeply dissatisfied with the church life at that time, so he released the messages on the vital groups, hoping to produce the overcomers outside of the infrastructure of the church life at that time, who would be delivered from the three great enemies of death, lukewarmness, and barrenness. Unfortunately, although the messages were released, the practice has yet to be seen. In the past twenty-three years, although the church life in each locality has gone on steadily, they are still mainly composed of meetings and mainly carried out by way of asking people to come to the meetings, and what is treasured among us is still the great number of attendance. Please consider: in the light of the Lord’s return, shouldn’t this kind of church life be reevaluated?

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the brothers and sisters have been limited physically. All physical meetings have stopped, and the saints can only communicate mostly over the internet in smaller settings. But in this process, many found out that brothers and sisters actually prefer this new mode of church life. Over the internet, everyone prays for one another, has mutual fellowship, and cares for the new ones. Everyone is able to function, and everyone practices begetting, nourishing, perfecting, and building in an organic way. This is actually the vital groups that Brother Lee talked about, which is for everyone to function and for everyone to serve as a priest. In this way, many new ones have been saved, and many who have not been meeting have been reconnected. In many localities, the number of people has increased, and many members of the Body have been enlivened. It turns out that this is the way for the Body of Christ to be built up. Of course, we are not saying that we should not resume the physical meetings after the pandemic. However, in light of this new situation brought in by the pandemic, isn’t it worthwhile for us to reevaluate our church life? Shouldn’t we turn more from “meeting” to “people,” from “coming” to “going,” and from “big” to “small”?

In the light of the Lord’s return, we should also reevaluate our service. The ultimate goal of our service is to perfect people. The work of the ministry is to perfect the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ. Today our work is not to raise up a work but to raise up people. The effectiveness of our work today is not measured by how much work is done but how many people have been raised up. Strictly speaking, our work today is not to do the work but to distribute the work. Today the question is not how much we ourselves have done buthow much others have done. The parable of the slaves in Matthew 25 reminds us that the question is not how much we have maintained but how much we have reproduced. The five- talented one perfected another five-talents, and the two-talented one perfected another two-talents. Thus, they received the Lord’s approval. But the one-talented one did not perfect anyone, and he was cast into the darkness. The Lord is coming to settle an account with each one of us.

Today in the light of the Lord’s return, we all need to reevaluate our service and see whether our service, in the light of the judgment seat, will be approved or not. The good and faithful slaves were not those who merely maintain their portions but those who reproduced themselves. The evil and slothful slave was not one who abandoned his service but one who did not reproduce himself. Whether in the church or in the vital groups, our duty is to perfect others unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ. We need to use all wisdom to perfect others. We need to use all those whom people regard as useless. We need to dig out all the one-talented ones from the earth, so that their talents are no longer buried in the world. The growth in life is gradual, but the trading of one’s talent is immediate (Matt. 25:16). In the light of the Lord’s return, we need to evaluate our service to see whether it is up to the Lord’s standard.

Lastly, in the light of the Lord’s return, we need to reevaluate our work. There are two basic questions: whether our work is of a maintenance nature or of a pioneering nature, and whether our work is static or dynamic. The pattern of the brothers who went before us is that they were always moving and progressing. At the outset of the Sino-Japanese War, Brother Nee founded the magazine called The Open Door. He reminded the co-workers that they should not merely try to cope with the environment; instead, they should preach the gospel everywhere to spread the Lord’s testimony. The co-workers should not stay in one place but should travel everywhere. Actually, the testimonies today in many places throughout Southeast Asia were all started at that time.

The Lord’s testimony has been on the island of Taiwan for over seventy years. From the beginning Brother Lee’s hope was that Taiwan would be a starting point wherethe Lord’s testimony would spread to the whole world. Today in this special time, should we not reevaluate the direction of our work? Actually, just in Taiwan alone, there are still quite a few cities and towns that do not have a church andrequire propagation there. The needs outside Taiwan are even greater. Now is not the time for us to stick to our own place. Now is the time for us to spread the gospel of the kingdom with a view of the whole earth. Should we allow ourselves to be stuck in one place till the Lord comes? If Abraham had not left his own land and his own country, God’s move on earth could not have begun. What the Bible gave us is not the biographies of the apostles but the acts of the apostles. Recently after the three rounds of 24-hour prayer and the 30-day global prayer, a brother in China saw lightning and heard voices of thunders in his prayer and immediately consecrated himself and migrated with his factory to a place in Southeast Asia where there is not yet a church. Is this a precursor of the Lord’s move?

May the Lord cause us to see the opportunity afforded to us today to cooperate with His move. At a time when the whole world is facing an unprecedented challenge, may we reevaluate our living, meetings, service, and work in the light of the Lord’s return.

Andrew Yu

May 29, 2020

Instructions for Online Zoom Gospel Meeting

Precautions for online Zoom gospel meeting (for reference only, it can be flexibly adjusted and supplemented according to your local church conditions)

Before the meeting:

  1. Encourage saints to list all the names and pray for them
  1. Invitation card (do not include too many words, just highlight the theme of the gospel meeting), attach the call-in phone and meeting ID.
  1. Arrange the saints to share in the meeting: who is the host, who to lead to sing, who to witness, who to collect information, and who to conclude:

-It is necessary to test the smoothness of the network for the ones who will be sharing on Zoom in advance. And if the voice/sound is loud enough?

-The saints (especially the ones who are giving testimonies and messages) need to practice  to speak on Zoom, because some people will not be used to it, and time will also be limited.

-Pay attention to your appearance, clothing, background, lighting.

  1. Arrange the technical operator(s):

-Share your screen (hymns, verses, outlines, reading materials, video, etc.)

Use share-screen bottom to share, remember to check “share computer sound” if you want to play video. It is not recommended to use Chat to share the link, the link will become text format instead of hyperlink, you need to copy and paste to the browser. (Currently, the function of directly sharing files in Chat seems have not been enabled)

-Mute/unmute operator(s):

If you unmute all, do not allow participants to unmute themselves. This is very important, otherwise someone will unmute themselves, it will interrupt the meeting.

-Spotlight/cancel Spotlight

This person needs to spotlight the host and the sharing saints, so that everyone can see. This is the service of “switching the camera”.

-Grouping operator(s):

Grouping is very difficult. Especially when there are so many people, some gospel friends leave without grouping. If you want to group them, it is best to group them for 5-10 minutes, let them introduce each other. Some people can stay in the main room to watch when grouping. Some people can be added or not. If you want to divide them into groups, consider how to divide in advance. Each group must have serving ones. It is best to divide at the beginning or end of the meeting. Many people will leave if the grouping happens in the middle of the meeting.

5.To clearly write down each process of the meeting, what each link does, and what to broadcast. The host needs to rehearse 1-2 times from beginning to end with the shared saints and technical operators.

6.Encourage the saints to turn on the video. If the gospel friends do not see us, they will not turn on their video either. The saints who technical operators should also be dressed appropriately and also turn on the video.

7.The core serving ones must have a WeChat group to respond and make any adjustment for the meeting in time.

8.Zoom setting:

You can modify the account after logging in on the webpage, please update to the latest version.

Personal-> Setting-> Meeting

-allow co-host: Assign co-host is required for technical operation person.

-only host / co-host can share screen. turn off annotation

-mute upon entry

-Auto saving chats

-allow Break out rooms (if you want to grouping them)

-Allow participants to rename themselves

Personal-> Setting-> Recording

-only host / co-host can record meeting.

-Don’t turn on “Recording disclaimer” otherwise everyone who enters Zoom will receive a reminder of the meeting recording.

During the meeting:

  1. Play photos of the church life in advance (it’s a video: PPT with music), which makes gospel friends feel friendly, comfortable, and familiar.
  2. The host(s) should have a loud voice, preferably two hosts. Saints and gospel friends everywhere are welcomed to wave their hands. Encourage everyone to turn on the video. If you want to group them, you can consider doing it at the beginning or end of the meeting. Group them and use 5 minutes to introduce each other (virtual handshake).
  3. Sing hymns:

-You can sing along with the hymn video recorded in advance.

-Or there may be a dedicated saint (1 or more) to lead the sing, they just sing, other people mute to sing on their own.

-Or a few families (the best one has 2-3 people), prepare in advance and practice singing well.

-You can also try to sing openly (not all unmute, who wants to sing and raise their hands, unmute, spotlight) to stimulate the atmosphere.

-Choose short, easy-to-sing hymns to lift up the spirit, encourage everyone to sing, and clap your hands.

-If you feel the testimony, the speaking is weak, you can use short hymns to stir up the atmosphere and spirit.

-You can let everyone declare “Hallelujah” at the end of the hymn, you can unmute all for a few seconds, let everyone’s voice come out, there will be impact.

  1. Testimonies must have been prepared well beforehand; try to speak on Zoom, voices should come out, proper expressions, do not exceed the time limit.
  2. Brothers who give the message: release your spirit, and let your voice come out, not too fast, and be proficient in the content. You can take everyone to call for the name of the Lord and read the verses. Host or co-host can say amen to support in a timely manner.
  3. The switch of Spotlight should be proficient, mute/unmute should be fast.
  4. During the meeting, the saints who are responsible for the recording can turn the page to record all the participants, and then record the statistics. Especially when calling to raise your hand.
  1. Someone who ushers in Chat and promptly responded to the host with feedback.
  1. It’s best to end within an hour, gospel friends cannot stay too long.
  1. Call: Raise your hand to express your willingness to accept the Lord. Encourage a few more times. Also encourage them to reply in the Chat to be willing to believe in the Lord and to be baptized. When you lead everyone to pray, please close your eyes, “I pray, everybody please follow me.” The host can echo to pray for everyone, because all are unmuted. The brothers who are calling out can then pray. After praying, you can ask the gospel friends who prayed to reply “I am saved.” You can also encourage everyone to join the Bible reading group at this time.
  1. Leave some time after the report, let the saints who are willing to stay sing hymns, take turns to sing, it would be very happy!

 

After the meeting:

 

  1. Statistics: total number of attendees, the number of attendees changing over time. Number of saints (local and other localities), number of gospel friends (local, other localities), number of the ones who are willing to believe (local, other localities).

 

  1. The response from the gospel friends, and follow up.

 

  1. Review every segment of the meeting.

 

Br. Andrew Yu’s Fellowship on Now is the Time for Vital Groups to Reopen for Business(2020/4/15)

In the past weeks, since there have been signs that the coronavirus outbreaks are slowing down, most governments are actively promoting business reopening and resumption of production. We should be much more desperate for our vital groups to reopen for business and resume production in order that the functions of the vital groups can be fully restored.

Practicing of the vital groups, on the one hand, is to vitalize ourselves so that we can become the overcomers; on the other hand, is to recover the functions of the saints, so that every saint can participate in begetting, nourishing, perfecting and building. The purpose of resuming the work of vital groups is to restore the vital groups’ original functions and to bring them back to the normal condition. The purpose of practicing vital groups is to recover the saints’ the original condition ordained by God of the believers.

At the moment, western countries are trying to figure out how to get the society reopened after the outbreak. However, their focus is on bringing people back to their normal life, e.g. going out to restaurant, theater and other public places, etc. What the government concerns the most is to restore the society’s superstructure, but not the substructure. The latter is the underlying framework of the society. If we want to stabilize the substructure, the reopening of work and production is crucial.

In a certain sense, we can say that the vital groups are the “substructure” of our church life. The two things that the vital groups can help recover, the normal Christian life and the function of each member of the Body, are extremely essential. Without the foundation laid by the vital groups, we cannot have a solid “superstructure” of the church life.

Similar to the restoration of the quality of people’s life, the reopening of work and production is necessary so as to restore the quality of the church life. Therefore, the reopening and resumption of every vital group is necessary. Practicing the vital groups is for everyone to function and to serve God. The spreading of the gospel today should rely on every member, rather than “the spiritual giants; likewise, the work of shepherding and perfecting should be carried out by all the saints, instead of some “gifted ones”. Therefore, to resume the production of the vital groups, every saint needs to rise up to preach the gospel and take care of others.

During the coronavirus outbreak, the vital groups played an important role in sustaining the connections among the saints. We should go on practicing the vital groups, not only in the sense of “reopening for business” but also “resuming production”. We should not just “stay at home”, but “work from home”; we should not only pray, but also produce the building materials for the house of God.

After this epidemic, the industries need to first restore the connection with their clients and with their suppliers, before they can reopen for work. This first step is to take care of both the upstream and the downstream. Likewise, every vital group also needs to take care of its “upstream” and “downstream” connection. To restore the connection with the “upstream supplier” is to receive God’s dispensing in the Spirit through the word of God, so that each member in the group can be a vital member and an overcomer. Meanwhile, we should also develop our “downstream” relationships by renewing the old relationships and building more new relationships. With the assurance of both “supply and demand chain”, we can have our vital groups ready to reopen for work and resume production

To recover the society from a months-long epidemic, we need the full cooperation and collaboration of all the parties. It is more so to recover the church from centuries-long “hibernation”. For this we need the one accord among the saints. In this new stage, we should not only renew our old relationships, but stretch forward to approach the new ones for their new needs and new challenges. In doing so, the work and production of the vital groups can soon be resumed, the running of the great wheels of God can go on, and the plan of God can be carried out.

The turning point in the fight against the virus is coming near, and people’s heart are now widely open. After the gray horse ran on stage, now it is the time for the rider on the white horse to go forth and conquer.

Brothers and sisters, rise up! Be a diligent priest of the gospel of God! Let’s preach the gospel and Save the fallen! Save millions from perishing!

Rise! Preach the gospel now!
Rescue the fallen!
Lo, millions perishing daily in pain!
Quench not your heart of love,
Count not possessions:
Rise! Preach the gospel while moments remain.

At the same time, in order to gain the up-to-date revelation, we need to keep praying unto the “utter exhaustion” (Dan. 9:21). The original 24-hour/21-day prayer has been extended to 30 days. We encourage all the saints to join this global prayer, especially the ones who have not participated yet. We hope every brother and sister can partake of this move of the whole church. (For more information, please visit http://unceasinglypray.org )

Announcements for April 12-18

1.       Morning Revival:

               •This week we will pursue morning revival on “Crystallization-study of Deuteronomy”, week 3 days1-3;

2.        Prayer Meeting:

               •Prayer meetings will be held by Zoom;

3.         Home Meeting:

•Home meetings will be held by Zoom;

4.         Corporate Gospel Outreach: 

               •On Saturday mornings, the gospel outreach prayer will begin at 11am by Zoom.

5.          Next Lord’s Day Meeting:       

 •The Lord’s day meeting will be held by Zoom;

6.     The Entire Church’s Goal to Next Labor Day: 

Based on each district’s goal, the saints in Church in Alhambra will labor on Christ as the Good Land in 2020, to gain 94 remaining fruits in this year. Our average Lord’s Day attendance number will increase to 180. We will practice home trainings to reproduce 23 more new serving ones. We will increase 5 home meetings and 1 new district and raise up a new church in Temple City!

7.         Pray for GTCA(Gospelize, Truthize, and Churchize America)

300 qualified saints (an average of 30 saints per city) to commit to migrating to the 10 US cities/churches. These brothers and sisters can range in age from young adults to seniors and may be university students, single saints, or married couples.30 full-time campus workers to form five campus teams, each with a player-coach (an average of six full-timers per team).

 8. 21-day prayer (4/1-4/21)

The Lord answered the saints’ prayers from the first two rounds of prayers. Coronavirus is being contained in China. Now we need to pray more in a watchful way.

9. 2nd Quarter Online Gospel Meeting

Our 2nd Quarter gospel meeting will be held online. Please invite the gospel friends both near and far. Details will be announced later this week. Let’s cooperate with the white horse by preaching the gospel of the kingdom to those who are in fear and uncertainty due to the pandemic.

Br. Andrew Yu’s Fellowship on Praying for the Ending of the Global Pandemic(2020/2/28)

Come! Let’s Pray for the Ending of this Global Epidemic on the Lord’s Day of March 1!

 

1 Tim. 2:1-2: “I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men; On behalf of kings and all who are in high position, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and gravity.

Isa. 62:6-7: “Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, / I have appointed watchmen; / All day and all night / They will never keep silent. / You who remind Jehovah, / Do not be dumb; And do not give Him quiet / Until He establishes / And until He makes Jerusalem / A praise in the earth.

Since last week, the virus situation in mainland China has been gradually put under control, but there has been a sudden outbreak worldwide. The day before yesterday, South Korea’s daily number of newly confirmed cases exceeded China’s number for the first time, reaching a total of 2022 confirmed cases. Italy now has 655 confirmed cases, Japan has 214, and Iran has 270, with 26 deaths. San Francisco and Orange County in the US have declared a state of emergency.

God’s eyes are upon the whole earth. The Lord listens to prayer. The prayer offered by the world for China has been effective. We need to cooperate with Him, to fulfill our ministry of prayer, not keeping silent all day and all night. As those who remind Jehovah, we should not be dumb.

Brothers and sisters, rise up! We need to be the watchmen on the wall. On March 1, let us join one time slot during the 24-hour watchman’s prayer to respond to His heavenly intercession in our spirit, co-working with Him and paving the way for His move. Let us pray to the Lord of heaven and earth, the most high God, for

  • The ending of this global epidemic, the stabilizing of people’s heart, the restoring of the normal way of life, the Lord’s blessing upon the whole earth, and the whole earth’s turning to the Lord!
  • The Lord to particularly remember China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, and Iran. When the pale horse of pestilence runs rampantly, the white horse of gospel should run even faster, conquering and to conquer!

The more the saints on the whole earth intercede for one another and pray in one accord, the more we will experience the one new man; and the more we pray, the sooner the one new man will appear on the whole earth!

Br. Andrew Yu’s Fellowship on Praying for China (2020/2/20)

May the Lord Bless China

A few days ago, some government officials asked some brothers to pray for the Lord to bless China. This, of course, is the God-given duty and responsibility of Christians.

The Bible says: “I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men; on behalf of kings and all who are in high position, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and gravity.” (1 Tim. 2:1-2)

Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The petition of a righteous man avails much in its working.” (James 5:16) “And seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to Jehovah for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” (Jer. 29:7)

And My people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways; then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)

For we are not presenting our supplications before You based upon any righteous doings that we have done, but based upon Your great compassion.” (Dan. 9:18)

Truly I say to you, Whatever you bind on the earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on the earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again, truly I say to you that if two of you are in harmony on earth concerning any matter for which they ask, it will be done for them from My Father who is in the heavens.” (Matt. 18:18-19)

In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:6)

Reviled we bless.” (1 Cor. 4:12)

And indeed the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made expiation for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped.” (Num. 16:47-48)

The ancient church father Tertullian (155-240 AD) said:

“For we offer prayer for the safety of our princes to the eternal, the true, the living God, whose favour, beyond all others, they must themselves desire…Just because he [man] is less than heaven, he [God] is great. For he himself is His to whom heaven and every creature appertains. He gets his sceptre where he first got his humanity; his power where he got the breath of life. Thither we lift our eyes, with hands outstretched, because free from sin; with head uncovered, for we have nothing whereof to be ashamed; finally, without a monitor, because it is from the heart we supplicate. Without ceasing, for all our emperors we offer prayer. We pray for life prolonged; for security to the empire; for protection to the imperial house; for…a virtuous people, the world at rest, whatever…an emperor would wish. These things I cannot ask from any but the God from whom I know I shall obtain them, both because He alone bestows them and because I have claims upon Him for their gift, as being a servant of His, rendering homage to Him alone, persecuted for His doctrine, offering to Him, at His own requirement, that costly and noble sacrifice of prayer dispatched from the chaste body, an unstained soul, a sanctified spirit…With our hands thus stretched out and up to God…the Scripture says, “Pray for kings, and rulers, and powers, that all may be peace with you.” [(1 Tim. 2: 2)]

We respect in the emperors the ordinance of God, who has set them over the nations. We know that there is that in them which God has willed; and to what God is willed we desire all safety, and we count an oath by it a great oath…But why dwell longer on the reverence and sacred respect of Christians to the emperor, whom we cannot but look up to as called by our Lord to his office? So that on valid grounds I might say Cæsar is more ours than yours, for our God has appointed him. Therefore, as having this propriety in him, I do more than you for his welfare…” (Tertullian, Apology, ch. 30, 32-33)

Brother Nee said, “We should change our attitude. We should not criticize, curse, or slander. As long as a regime does not forbid us from worshipping our God, we should bless it.” (CWWN, Vol. 59, Ch. 9)

On February 17, the Jews prayed for the virus situation in China at the Wailing Wall. Shouldn’t we, the Chinese, pray more for our own people? Some believers have been praying continuously for the past few weeks. We suggest to set aside February 23, from 00:00 to 24:00, as a special day of prayer. During this time, let us set aside 15 minutes or more to pray to the Lord, individually or with companions, in person or online, for:

  • The ending of the plague
  • Peace in people’s heart
  • The stability and peace of the country
  • The restoration of the normal way of life
  • The Lord to bless China
  • China to turn to the Lord

Br. Andrew Yu’s Fellowship on Christian Living Under God’s Government (2020.4.5)

The Christian Life Under God’s Government

On March 31st, we practiced the 24-hour/21-day global prayer. In China, there were about 850,000 saints who joined this prayer. Outside China, there were 39,557 people who registered as 7341 small groups through the six websites hosted in the East, and 24,751 people who registered as 5273 small groups through the websites hosted in the West. The total number of saints is 914,328 (12614 groups), plus those who participated but didn’t register. For example, the prayer burden posted on 11 websites reached one million people outside China,. Thank the Lord for what He has done! May all the brothers and sisters who participated continue to pray steadfastly, and go on in a strong way. (For more information, please visit http://unceasinglypray.org).

Being Sober-Minded

“But the end of all things has drawn near. Therefore be sober-minded and be sober unto prayers (1 Pet. 4:7). Darby, brother Nee and brother Lee all showed us that the subject of both the books of First and Second Peter is “the Christian life under the government of God”. This government is not something only for the life after death or in eternity, but is something specifically for the present. The pandemic is now spreading across the world. Humanity has never faced such a severe trial like this. This is God’s administration. We face not only the outbreak of COVID-19, but also the problems such as the environment, population, refugees, economy, international conflicts, etc. All these problems are without solution. It shows us that “the end of all things has drawn near”. Nowadays all mankind, from the world leaders to ordinary citizens, has been plunged into fear. People started to worry about the future. In the verse above, Peter charged the saints to “be sober-minded”, which means to “be of a sound mind, have a mind of sobriety, and be able to understand things properly and thoroughly without being disturbed “(footnote 3 of 1 Peter 4:7), and also means to “be calm and clear in mind, able to realize God’s economy in His salvation…without being disturbed by fear, anxiety, or any care” (footnote 2 of 1 Peter 1:13). This is the attitude we should have in order to face the challenge of this epidemic. As a brother puts it, “during this time, let us watch less news, but read more Bible; worry less, but pray more.”

Being Sober Unto Prayers

This calm and clear life, without fear and anxiety, is “unto prayer”. Prayer is the center and the purpose of the Christian living. The Lord charged us to “Watch and pray” (footnote 3 of 1 Peter 4:7). To have this kind of prayer, we need to be watchful. We must pray steadfastly. We cannot be loose, otherwise the enemy could give us a sudden attack when we are relaxing. Because of the spreading of the virus, most people have no other choice but to stay at home. Psychologists suggest that people spend quality time with their family at a set time and in a set place. For Christians, we should much more set a time and a place to pray to God. For us, to have a proper living is not just to take care of our psychological condition, but “unto prayers”; not being disturbed is not for redeeming the time only, but “unto prayers”; having no fear is not an issue of positive thinking, but being watchful “unto prayers”.

Having Love Among Yourselves

Then verse 8 says, “Above all, have fervent love among yourselves…” Today this is a great opportunity for us to practice the church life according to the new model, which centers on loving one another and taking care of one another. “One another” in Greek is ἀλλήλων, which is used multiple times in Romans chapter 12 (vv. 5, 10, 16) to describe the genuine church life. It shows us very clearly that the genuine church life is centered on “mutuality”. During this time of seclusion in our homes, we should exercise to stay connected with one another, to take care of one another, and to implement the new model of the church life through the internet. This matter is “above all”. Let us minister the word of God among ourselves “as good stewards of the varied grace of God” (v. 10).

In the next chapter, verses 1 to 4 speak of the shepherding in the church. Verse 2 says, “shepherd the flock of God among you.” The “flock” here, according to the original meaning, does not refer to herds, but “little flock”, i.e., a group of sheep in fairly small numbers. In other words, it refers to the groups in twos and threes. Today, the online social contact in twos and threes provides a perfect setting for the saints to practice this organic shepherding. These “little flock” will produce “vital groups”. The elders should take the lead to be the “patterns of the flock”, shepherding the saints in the vital groups. Then all the brothers and sisters “in like manner” shepherd one another. This is the genuine church life according to the New Testament model. This is the way ordained by God today.

Preaching the Gospel

During the times of crisis, we need to “be humbled under the mighty hand of God” and “gird ourselves with humility”. We need to show people that they cannot “set their hope on the uncertainty of riches”, but they should humble themselves under the mighty hand of God and turn back to God. This way they could be brought through these difficult times and be exalted by God “in the due time”. We should keep preaching the Gospel by making phone calls, sending Bible verses to others by texting, and reaching out to people actively. We can say to them, “you could practice ‘casting all your anxiety on Him’, because except for God, no one can really ease your anxiety, which is ‘the whole lot of your anxiety throughout your entire life’, and ‘the whole life with all its anxiety and all its worries’.” We should speak to them the mystery of human life.

Withstanding the Evil

In the meanwhile, the work of the devil somehow prevails. He kills and hurts men’s body and soul, and “as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking someone to devour”. Therefore we must watch and pray, not only for the unbelievers, but also for the saints. May God keep all men away from the evil so that they will not be devoured by the enemy, and preserve their spirit, soul and body complete at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we recover many saints who were lost and bring them back to the fellowship of the Body through our prayers and care.

Remembering All the Saints

Finally, we should pray for the children of God throughout the world, for “the same sufferings are being accomplished among your brotherhood in the world.” We should pray especially for those who are ill, who are in need, who fall into afflictions, no matter what kind of affliction it is—physical, economical, psychological, familial…We should pray according to 1 Pete 5:10 that after they have suffered a little while, they will experience the Lord as the One who Himself perfects, establishes, strengthens and grounds them.

May God strengthen us with varied grace, all grace and true grace during this special time, so that the Gospel can spread continually, the saints could be perfected, and the church could be built up. “To him be the glory and the might forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:11)” 

Brother Andrew Yu

April 5, 2020

Br. Minoru Chen’s Fellowship concerning Watchful Prayer and 21-day Prayer

I wonder if you brothers can help to appeal to the saints who have signed up tojoin the subject round-the-clock prayer to particularly intercede for the United States regarding a stoppage of the virulent spread of COVID-19. Thismorning, Dr. Anthony Fauci gave a grim prognosis that the US may have millionsof infected cases and possibly 100,000 to 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus. Apparently,America is facing a daunting task to bring this outbreak under control. Whilethis pandemic is allowed by God under His sovereignty, Satan no doubt capitalizes on the opportunity to destroy humanity and instigate chaos,thinking he can frustrate God. I would like to make an appeal to the saints andthe churches in the US to pray specifically for our nation, but hearing thatthere are many saints who have already joined this day-long prayer, I think it would be appropriate to make this special request. That said, we should nodoubt remember a similar need in the European countries and nations and peopleall over the earth. In brief, the main burdens are:

(1)That heaven would rule;

(2)That Satan would be bound;

(3)That the pandemic would be stopped;

(4)That the authorities would trust in God;

(5)That people would repent and be saved;

(6)That the saints would be sanctified and preserved

(7)That the kingdom gospel and the recovery testimony would spread

(8)That the bride would be prepared for Christ’s return

Br. Andrew Yu’s Fellowship on Practicing the New Way and Building up the Church according to the New Model in the Last Days(2020/2/11)

The Foresight of Brother Lee

Before the Lord comes back, how the church will be? Brother Lee had seen it. He had seen further than all of us. He saw that the church will gradually, slowly  be recovered back to its original way. What is the original way of the church? It is the way in the  first  century, where there were no big meetings, but only small meetings. As the day of the Lord approaches, the church will increasingly return to its original way.

Changing the Concepts, Changing the System, and Changing the Ways

The recovery of the church needs the change of systems. In order for the change of systems to be successful, first we need to change our concept. We must first change our concept, and second, change our systems, and third, change our ways.

For example, in the nineteenth century, the Manchu government promoted the Hundred Days Reform, hoping to enforce the new law. However, her fundamental  system was not changed; they merely changed some of their ways. For instance, the Westernization movement was just a way of doing things, by merely changing the ways of factories and shipbuilding. However, the system was not changed; it was still the feudal system. Eventually, the new law failed and the reform stopped. In contrast, why was Meiji Restoration successful in Japan? It was because the government not only changed a certain ways of doing things, but also westernized the entire system and adopted the western law. This not only ended the feudal system with the samurai that had lasted for more than six hundred years, but also established a new government with the separation of powers.

Turning from Meetings to People, Big to Small, and Coming to Going

A few years ago, I spoke of “turning from meetings to people, from big to small, and from coming to going.” This is to change the concepts and to change the system. Actually, I am not the one who first spoke this; it was Brother Lee. When Brother Lee began speaking of the

new way, the God-ordained way, he spoke of changing  the concepts and changing the systems. And then he endeavored to discourage big meetings and promoted group meetings and district meetings. He said, “The heaven and earth can pass away, but we must go to the small group meetings!” This is to turn from big meetings to small meetings. But after speaking much of it, he realized it was still not good enough, so he turned from groups to homes, turning to even smaller gatherings. This was what he spoke in Taiwan. After he returned to the US, he began to speak of the vital groups. Actually, vital groups are small groups, which are even smaller  units than the home meetings and group meetings that he spoke of in Taiwan.

This means that after big meetings are divided into groups and districts, the saints go from the group meetings, to the home meetings, and then to the vital groups. Actually, the gatherings are getting smaller and smaller. This is to turn from big to small. Furthermore, in that period of time, he constantly spoke of door knocking, visiting people, contacting people, caring for people, nourishing people, seeking the dormant and backslidden ones one by one, and also visiting and contacting gospel friends one by one. From this we see how much he regarded people! This is to turn from meetings to people, and from coming to going.

Changing Concepts

Surely, this does not mean that we no longer have “meetings,” nor does it mean that we no longer have big meetings or we do not ask people to come. Rather, it means that “meeting” is no longer the central figure. The most important central figure is every single “person.” However, many brothers and sisters still have not changed their concept.

For example, some local churches say that they are practicing the God-ordained way, but the responsible brothers still regard the Lord’s Day meetings the most. On the Lord’s Day, they dress neatly. Why do they regard the Lord’s Day meetings the most? Because the number of attendance in the Lord’s Day meetings is the most! Because the number of people in a local church is basically their Lord’s Day meeting attendance. Furthermore, whether a church is strong is also determined by theLord’s Day meeting! When others ask

about the condition of a certain church, they also refer to

the condition of the Lord’s Day meeting! Therefore, we need to hold good Lord’s Day meetings. However, this is “meeting,” “big,” and “coming.” There is no question that the Lord’s Day meeting should be good. When we say “turning from meeting to people,” it does not mean that we are abolishing the Lord’s Day meeting; rather, it means that your mind, attention, and concepts need to turn from “meeting” to another direction, to be set on “people.”

This is first thing: our concepts need to be turned completely; we need to see that the most important matter is every single member, every single person, and we must build up personal relationships with them. In order to build up personal relationships, we need to be “small.” If we are not “small,” we cannot build up personal relationships. Since you can go to where a person is to take care of him, why do you ask him to come? Actually, you want him to come to support your facade. Without the facade, will you still ask him to come? For example, if today the government stops you from having big meetings, or you yourself feel that the facade does not matter and you do not need to have a facade, you will not ask people to come. You would even give up asking people to come, and “coming” would no longer be a problem. Actually, it is tedious to ask people to come to the meetings. Therefore, the concept is crucial. This is a matter of changing our concepts!

Changing the System

If the concepts are changed but the system is not changed, it will still be a problem! What system should we change? We have the elders administrate the church. How do the elders administrate the church? There are always three to four elders administrating together. This is equivalent to a decision-making council. Basically, the first circle are the elders, and the second circle are the district responsible brothers. In a big church, the elders need to oversee the district responsible brothers; otherwise, if the district responsible ones take their own way, it is equivalent to having another church. Therefore, the elders need to spend a lot of energy to oversee the district responsible ones. The most important responsibility of the district responsible brothers is to maintain the Lord’s Day district meeting by devoting their effort and strength to the district meetings. Besides the districtmeetings, areas that require much devotion of

strength are various services: children service, young people service, college service, the managing of church finance, as well as the maintenance and usage of the meeting hall, concerning the different assignment of rooms in the meeting hall, etc. In the early days, the district responsible ones needed to take care all these things.

Now we have improved a little, that is, we have the infrastructure of the gospel, home meetings, group meetings, and district meetings. From homes we expand to groups, and then to districts. However, not many elders can oversee the homes; they can mainly oversee the districts. As far as groups, only a few churches can oversee them. For example, in some localities, now the elders do not even oversee the groups, but let the groups take care of themselves. The elders do not know the condition of the groups, let alone the condition of the homes. So you say, Oh, now our infrastructure is gospel, homes, groups, and districts. Not to mention the churches that have not established the infrastructure of gospel, homes, groups, and districts, even those churches that have established such infrastructure, they have but only the skeletons without the muscles, blood vessels, or nerve endings.

Building the New System of Organic Relationships

Now we speak of changing the system, but how to change? In addition to the old system, the entire administration of the church needs a new system that is more fitting to the organic relationships. In other words, it is not to annul the current old system, but to establish a new system in addition to the old system. The old system is established upon “meeting,” whereas the new system is established upon “relationship.” For example, if a church is to establish an organic relationship now, it will be like   a neural network that has the first circle, the second circle, the third circle, etc. The establishment of this organic relationship can be carried out by the home, group, and district responsible ones taking care of the same group of people, or it can be carried out by another group of people, or even the sisters. Moreover, we need to at least spend half the time to build up and strengthen these organic relationships. Actually, it would not be too much if you spend all your time on doing this.

This    means    that    you    cannot    take    building relationships as a peripheral matter, but a particularly important matter. If you still treat it as a peripheral matter, of course it will become a secondary matter, and you will still take the homes, groups, and districts as the major, important matter; it will still be about meetings, and you will still ask people to come. For example, it used to be that the district responsible ones need to go to take care of the district meetings. If he does not go, the church will  fall apart. But now whether the district responsible ones go to take care of the district meetings, it does not matter, because the new system has the reminders to oversee and to sustain the relationships. For example, two people take care of ten, and ten take care of one hundred, and one hundred take care of one thousand; they call and use WeChat daily, weekly, to connect and supply, so the church will never fall apart.

From the Church of “Meetings” to the Church of “Relationships”

This means that when the responsible ones cannot meet together with the ones they are caring for, they can connect by phones and WeChat daily and weekly to supply, maintain, and strengthen that group relationship. The saints can also use phone and WeChat to supply, maintain, and strengthen the group relationship. Brothers and sisters all learn from patterns. When they see everyone doing things, they will follow to take this way. In this way, the system of the entire church will gradually and slowly turn and change until the church becomes a church of “relationships” and not a church of “meetings.” However, as yet we do not see such a condition! This is to change the system. Actually, this is to spend more time emphasizing, building, and strengthening this new system, and there will spontaneously be a leaning,  developing, and building in this direction.

Concerning the district meetings meeting once a month, if we are unable, it is not a problem to meet once every two months. Nevertheless, we still have the district meetings; but in daily living there should be the constant connecting to build the organic relationship. This is to say that there is no question that the local church is one church in one locality, but the one church in one locality does not necessarily mean having weekly meetings. Even sometimes the Lord’s table meeting can take place in the middle of the week. Therefore, to practice the new system

is not to demolish and dilute the old system that is presently practiced, but to put a greater part of our energy on the new system, that is, to build, strengthen the framework of “relationships.” This framework of “relationships” has layers just as the physical body has layers and every layer is organic.

Practicing the New Way under the New System

Once there is a change in the system, what follows will be the practice: door-knocking, gospel preaching, home meetings, drip-dispensing online, and so forth will automatically come into place. In this way, the entire church life will advance and be built up and strengthened in the direction of the new system. In other words, the new system has its framework, but it is not of the former framework. Presently in the Mainland China there is already this framework, and it will be more so in the future.

The World Situation Becoming More Dictatorial

Many people hope, pray, and ask the Lord to get rid of the dictatorial governments; however, according to the Bible, the world situation will become more dictatorial and not more democratic. The Antichrist will take the way of dictatorship and in the end, it will be a dictatorial form of government. Therefore, the present one-party dictatorship in the Mainland China will definitely continue. Even in the United States, democracy is tending more towards dictatorship. The worldly form of government is heading towards dictatorship more and more and there will be more restrictions in religion with increasing limitations and even suffering of persecutions and tribulations. At that time, the church will return to the way taken by the early church.

The Church Needing to Take the New Way

This is to say that before the Lord returns, the world will become more and more dictatorial and the church will be more and more restricted. However, this does not mean that the church will become weaker and shrink; rather, it should become stronger and blossom all over the earth. If the church is not like this, she will not be able to confront and exist under such a dictatorial system. For the church to cope and adapt to the coming worldly situation, the dictatorial governments, she must take the new way, the God-ordained way. Therefore, I say that Brother Lee

had the foresight to lead the Lord’s recovery in the new way. He did not only look at the expansion of the church, the increase in numbers; rather, he saw what kind of world situation there will be before the Lord returns and the direction that the church must take.

Building according to the Pattern on the Mount

Just as Brother Nee said, this direction that the  church should take is to build according to the pattern on the mount. When the church takes this direction, the  world will begin to see what the church is. In other words, until now, this kind of church has not appeared. When  will the world see what the church is for the first time? It will be during the time of the great tribulation. The great tribulation will be the result of the victory of the dictatorship and not the result of the victory of democracy, because this world will become more and more dictatorial. Some people say, due to the severity of the current coronavirus, So-and-so will be removed. From what I see, he will not be removed! In actuality, the more authoritarian the way he handles this situation the better!  If the onset of this virus had been in the United States, the free press of the US would have scared everyone to death! For the virus of fear is more dreadful and more harmful than any material virus.

Christians Needing to Pray for the Government

We Christians need to pray for the rulers and governments of the countries. Praying for the government is the responsibility of a Christian. This is God’s command and revelation. In terms of the world, the government is the highest organization; although it is the highest organization, it needs Christians to be the priests to intercede for it. If this world does not have Christians, there would be no one in the world who can intercede for the countries, the governments, and the rulers. Therefore, Christians in this world do not only have the right but also the responsibility to pray. What to pray for? To pray that God would help the country, pray that the head of the governments would be upright, have wisdom, make the correct choices, and pray for them to be healthy. This is the basic responsibility of a Christian.

Some people say that Christians should have a mission in society. This word is correct but to implement this mission in society is to pray for the leader of the country, for the government. This is the prime and

greatest responsibility of a Christian as God’s priest. This is like what a church father said to Emperor Constantine, the gist of which is: You are not the one having jurisdiction over me but it is I who is praying for you. If I do not pray for you, you would not have a way to go on! This is really so. As the ruling one, if he persecutes and slaughters the Christians, when he has tribulations, who will pray for him? Only the Christians can pray for him! Praying, interceding, is the way for Christians to participate in their mission in society. The way is not to be like some people in Christianity in Hong Kong, participating at a level below that of Christians. Christians participate in the mission of society mainly by interceding for society and thegovernment.

Negligence in Prayer Being the Forfeiting of Christians’ Responsibility

The clamor in society and in the government is already so confusing, so raucous; if Christians were to add their voice, what kind of participation is this? Marching, demonstrating, protesting, and resisting are things that everyone, whether Republicans or Democrats, knows how to do; but what they cannot do is to intercede for society and for the government. Therefore, the proper job of Christians is to intercede. For Christians not to pray for society and for the government is to forfeit their responsibility. Today Christians are on the streets marching, demonstrating, and protesting, just like what the Hong Kong Cantonese say “Gao Gao Gong”—having nothing to do, so they are just messing around. This is not the way the Christians participate in their mission in society.

The Church Becoming More and More Organic

Therefore, what is most important to us today is to transform, to change our system. The entire world is tending more and more toward the direction of dictatorship; how can the church in the Lord’s recovery confront this situation? This is relevant to the advance of the Lord’s recovery and to the increase or decrease of the number of people in the future. To handle the dictatorial way is by becoming more and more organic and not by becoming more and more political. Let me give you a real example: In 2019 in the midst of the protest in Hong Kong, the loudest noise came from those so called “megachurches.” Having thousands of people, their  noise

was  quite loud. However, I am waiting to see  how many

years will their noise last. After a few years, their mouths will be shut and the noise will be gone. Once China completely takes over Hong Kong, they will have nothing to say.

I spoke to the brothers in Hong Kong in this way: You should now repent; you must wake up! When in 1949 the Communists took over mainland China, the leading brothers did not have time to prepare adequately; therefore, facing a sudden change in the situation, the churches truly did not know how to handle the government. However, now, you have the equivalent of over twenty years to properly prepare. One thing is certain and that is your future will definitely be the same as that of the mainland China. How could you suppose that it will not be the same? You suppose that by making noise on the streets, doing this and that, you will not have the same future? Actually, once these twenty odd years are over, everything will be over. You say, Oh, I will go abroad for my education and migrate to another country; that is fine, but that applies only to a few. The entire church of thousands of people still needs to change its way in order to adapt; if you do not change now, you must do so then. Why not be wiser now and start changing so that when the dictatorial system comes, you will not be caught short-handed.

This is the situation in Hong Kong; actually it is the same everywhere in the world. According to my observation, the world is going in the direction of a centralized authority, not democracy. To want to go the way of democracy, just like Hong Kong, is a naive way of thinking. They say that now Hong Kong is entering into the age of democracy. Actually, democracy is gradually declining; it is near evening, and about to die. You are just beginning to engage in democracy when others have been doing this for decades. You have boarded the wrong boat because the world is not following the trend of democracy. Now they are saying, “Oh! Democracy is right; centralized authority will one day collapse.” But look at the history of China. Since the time of the Chinese revolution of 1911, it is not that China has not tried democracy, but that they were not successful even after several attempts. Even Sun Yat-sen struggled and had to request help from Russia.

Sun Yat-Sen worked on democracy, but eventually the presidential orders could never be carried out. Even

men like Yuan Shikai and warlords during that time also worked on democracy by having presidents, vice- presidents, congress, etc. Go and study the histories of Yuan Shikai and the warlords. Although Yuan Shikai wanted to be a king, which certainly was a misstep, he actually had always wanted to work out a constitutional monarchy. Constitutional monarchy is both monarchic and democratic. He was also working out democracy! I am not afraid to tell the American brothers and sisters that democracy is a dream! Out of the thousands of years of human history, how much of that is in democracy? Speaking from the point of human government of the recent 300 years, democracy is actually an infant.

The great human image in the book of Daniel signifies human government. At the end, human government will be partly democratic and partly autocratic. For this reason, some people say that half of the countries in the world is democratic, and the other half is autocratic. Actually this is not the case; rather it means that there is democracy within autocracy, and autocracy within democracy. For example, such is the case with the United States now as well as mainland China. Currently, they are condemning China for being autocratic, dictatorial; actually China not only has the People’s Congress, but they also have different parties and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). What is the CPPCC? It has all kinds of parties, including the nationalist party. But as far as China is concerned, democracy belongs to the periphery, whereas one-party autocratic rule is central. They even clearly stated that one-party rule is the dictatorship of the proletariat. Basically, they do not speak of autocracy. Actually, capitalist rule is also an autocracy!

Similarly, can United States be considered a model of democracy? Today, if you want democracy, just like Sun Yat-Sen’s Three Principles of the People, which is nationalism, civil rights, and people’s livelihood. Civil rights are actually the working out of democracy. The Zealots in the Bible were purely political; at the end, they were all destroyed by the Roman Empire. Did the Bible tell us to pray for the Zealots? No! The problem is the world is not going in the direction of democracy. Democracy is only a naïve idea, a childish dream. This is speaking from the viewpoint of the government of the world. But today, we are saying that under today’s

environment of autocracy, we need to take the God- ordained way!

Traditional Christianity Being a Dead-end Road

Today, we are talking about taking the God-ordained way. This is not a question of whether to take it or not; this is a question of life and death. If you do not take this way, there will be no way for you to go. If you do not change, and still continue in the way of traditional Christianity, the way of big meetings, you are on a dead- end road with no way to go on. It does not matter if you have two thousand, three thousand, or five thousand people; you will have no future. This is because this is the world situation; it will not allow you to go on this way. Actually, the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan is also going the way of autocracy. Taiwan says they do not want the autocracy of mainland China, and mainland China says they do not want the autocracy of Taiwan. Today, those who are working out democracy are really nonsensical!

The New Pattern for the Church Being the Establishing of Relationships

Today, the new model for the church life is built on relationships. As I have spoken previously, there are four kinds of relationships: first, friends; second, brothers, third, partners; fourth, disciples. This means that the contact, the connecting network of the new model for the church life is a network of relationships; its principal object is to establish relationships. Then there can be gospel, home, group, district, Lord’s Day meetings, etc. In other words, gospel, home, group, district, and the Lord’s Day meetings all hang on the network of relationships. Thus, gospel, home, group, district, and the Lord’s Day meetings are not everything; just like a man’s body does not only have bones, but also has muscles, nerves, blood vessels, etc.

Good “Relationships”: Full of Caring, Sharing, and Fruit-bearing

You say a person has a good complexion because his blood circulation and nervous system are healthy. Similarly, when you say a church is good, it does not mean that she only has good Lord’s Day meetings, but much more she has a good network of relationships. Apparently, meetings are first in the church life, but

actually, the real nucleus and spirit of the church life are  in the relationships built up through care, share, and bear. Thus, everything is carried out in the relationships. What use is any church that merely has many so-called good meetings yet without the caring, sharing, and fruit-bearing?

If you ask those who attend today’s “mega churches” why they meet there, most of them will tell you it’s because of the speaker or for financial reasons. There are no personal relationships! He comes by himself and leaves by himself. You say he belongs to a church, but actually he does not belong to a church; he just comes to make up the number. Is there anyone in the Lord’s Day meetings who comes just to make up the number? Yes, many! Because there is not one who is building up relationships.

Building Up Relationship with the Lord

After my stroke, I was recuperating in Korea. In my reading of John 14—17, I realized that the thought in that passage was basically on relationships. The Lord Jesus said in chapter 5, “You search the Scriptures…Yet you  are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (vv. 38-40). Actually, “come to Me” is to build up a relationship with Me. What is meant by eating the Lord, drinking the Lord? Actually, that is to come to Me, eat  and drink of Me, and have a relationship with Me. For example, the Lord Jesus said in chapter 14, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me,” and “I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in You” (vv. 10, 20). These are actually speaking of a relationship, not a congregation nor an organization. He is speaking of the relationship between the Triune God—the Father, Son, and Spirit, and the relationship of the Triune God with the believers.

Building Up Relationship with Man

After you have a relationship with the Triune God, then you need to build up a relationship with others; that  is the fruit-bearing in chapter 15. Once you have borne some fruit, you will have a relationship as believers with others, progressing from friendship to brotherhood. Then in chapter 17, the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father, “I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one” (v. 23). All this is speaking of building up relationship. The entire book of the Gospel of John does not speak of congregation or organization. It does not care for those things.

Taking the New Way Being to Work Out “Relationship”

Thus, now that we are taking the new way, regardless whether it is the vital groups, one-on-one shepherding, shepherding by “dripping”, or home meetings, they are all for the working out of relationships. The first relationship is not so spiritual: just have an enjoyable time as friends. Just like Brother Nee said in a message that the Lord Jesus came first to be a friend of sinners before He became their Savior, not first to be a Savior then a friend. You see from the record in the Gospels, He was first a friend, then a Savior. But some of us pursue spirituality to such an extent that we cannot be friends unless we are brothers. However, the Lord Jesus was first our Friend, and then He became our Savior. This is not my word; it is Brother Nee’s.

Relationship of Love and an Open Home

At the end, when Brother Lee spoke on love, actually it is on cherishing and caring. At that time, he performed “surgery” on a brother’s house: he said they were making the brother’s house like a fortress, and that was not right. If you only allow those who are spiritual to live in the brothers’ house, how can you gain those who have not met in a long time? How can you care for man, gain man, and bear fruit? It will become a closed brothers’ house. Back in the days when we met in Elden Hall, as soon as a brother and a sister got married, they immediately opened their home, and in the earlier years, they opened even their bridal chamber and never built up their own nest. But later, for the sake of better blending between the newly-weds, they were allowed to move out to live on their own. After a few years, their homes are not open anymore. This opened a big back door for the younger generation. Actually this is very important. Once you do not have a good beginning and there is not a good pattern, what follows will be worse.