Many of you know, from the several posts that I put up last week, that ACT 3 hosted the well-known Chinese minister Brother Yun this past weekend (September 20-21). We invited Brother Yun to speak at several different events we sponsored. We could not have done this without the support and cooperation of Zondervan. As a result of Zondervan's commitment to mission, and a wonderful new book, Living Water, we did not have to invest ACT 3 money into this venture, which we could not have done. There was a lot of hard work and a great deal of earnest intercession going on for weeks but this was a great joy to be honest.
Over the course of the next few days I want to tell you about this wonderful man and his ministry to over 2,000 people in our area Saturday and Sunday. No event, and no speaker, has ever done more for me personally, and no one has ever more clearly opened to me what the Lord was saying to this servant and this mission during this time in my life.
Last evening Brother Yun spoke to the World Christian Fellowship at Wheaton College. We met in the Coray Gym, a converted gymnasium now arranged with about 800 chairs for large meetings. By the time we began the meeting, at about 7:35 p.m., we had (according to the college building staff) between 1,100 and 1,200 people. I am guessing about 800 were Wheaton College students, and the rest included students from other schools (Moody, Judson, Trinity, etc.) as well as Christians from all over the region, representing literally scores of different churches. As many as fifty Chinese Christians were present. They were able to understand Bother Yun in their own language, which created an interesting dynamic since they understood his words before the rest of us heard the translation. At times this was quite obvious when they would say "amen" to a statement or laughed before the rest of us got it.
I have never been in a place where the presence of God's power was more evident upon hundreds of people than Sunday night at Wheaton College. I left at 11:30 p.m. and Brother Yun was still ministering to people and praying over students who had waited for up to two hours for a personal word. The man gave and gave and then just kept on giving. He is so unlike American ministers who preach and then leave. He just kept serving with all his heart and soul. Even though I struggle with physical issues I determined again last evening to be more like Brother Yun and less like an American. I have tried to be this way but very often have failed.
Francis Schaeffer once said, "There are no little people." Brother Yun lives this truth very openly. His actions moved me to new depths of love. For this I am in his debt, a debt of deep love.
Toward the end of the public service last night it appeared a demonic manifestation took place. I was not actually surprised at all. I believe some healing was also happening in the room. Clearly lives were being transformed in the very presence of Christ. Even near midnight students were still praying.
After I preached in chapel on Wednesday morning (September 17), the buzz about Brother Yun's visit increased on the campus. The bulletin boards and the Internet were hot with messages pro and con. This did not surprise me. There is a great deal of anti-Brother Yun response in the church around the world. If you spend anytime on the Internet you can find this. (The major source of this is one man who has influenced several others.) You can also find excellent presentations that explain what is wrong with this opposition and how it has been advanced without biblical warrant. I will say more about this in posts that I will write this week. There is a lot to consider, for me and for all of those who read these blogs and care about how to sort out gossip and rumor.
Brother Yun and I shared a meal together on Saturday evening and he prayed with me twice last night as well. In our final prayer he gave me four prophetic words. I am not sure if I will say much more about these words, but I assure you that he could not have known some of the things about me that he knew except the Lord gave him certain words and insights. He "knew" me and thus spoke into my life so powerfully that I awoke yesterday morning and fell before God in pure praise. I now know, more than I have ever known, what God intends for me to do with my life and the mission of ACT 3. I had a clear sense before last night of this direction but the Lord nailed it and made it all very, very clear to me. Parts of this message included words that will likely increase pressures in my life, but the blessings will all be worth these pressures if I am obedient to God. This is the way it always is in the kingdom when you seek first "his kingdom and righteousness."
Brother Yun's words to me released a sense that Christ has been with me in some great storms and that he is still with me while he prepares me for blessings. Through suffering comes glory and grace. I am learning this and I needed this simple, humble Chinese minister to become Gods powerful instrument of grace to my own soul.
Today I have resolved to pursue the following commitments:
1. To become an intercessor more than ever.
2. To believe that God has a unique role for me and ACT 3 in the coming work of the Spirit that will spill out upon all the nations in the coming days. I believe he began to call me, even as a child, to invest my life in this global mission.
3. To remain committed to serving people, not just large groups and ministries. God loves people, all people. My call is to be a Barnabas. I am sure that in being such a man God is pleased with me. I will never ever doubt this again.
4. At the same time God has called me to remain involved in the world of scholarship and academic interest while I stay fixed on the church and those dear people who love Jesus with all their heart. A "mind on fire for God" is my personal prayer.
5. God will provide all that I need---strength, health, resources and more faithful intercessors---to move forward in faith, hope and love.
I would like to thank two very dear friends who first introduced me to Brother Yun through his story. Several years ago Ian and Christy Brown (Santa Cruz, California) gave me a copy of the book, The Heavenly Man. I did not read it for over a year, thinking it was just another book about a Chinese preacher. But when I did read it I was literally on my face before God. Christy is now battling with a serious form of cancer. She has been one of my true intercessors. I ask all of you who read this blog to lift her up in prayer for God to heal her completely. She is a kingdom woman, a lady of true faith, and a sister focused on the one thing that truly matters. I want her to live and prosper for years to come so I am praying that God will grant this for many of us who love her deeply. I also thank God that her kind and generous husband loved me enough to insist that I read The Heavenly Man. Ian you are a real encouragement to me brother.
You may never know what will happen when you prayerfully give a book away, provide a gracious word, pray for a Christian brother or sister, etc. Remember to live your life in the fullness of the Spirit and make it your goal to press into the kingdom with all your heart. This is the way of Christ.