Archive for January, 2011

Putting the GTCA into the GTCA – part 4: Activities

One year, not too long ago, we decided that for the new school year we would pack the first few weeks of the term with lots of activity.

We had three, all-day, Bible distributions on campus, two gospel dinners the first week, a gospel dinner on the weekend, for mainland Chinese scholars, a big pot-luck seminar mid-month, the launch of our Thursday evening campus meeting and a Lord’s day afternoon campus “service”, a table staffed for two days on Clubs’ Day giving out more Bibles, several campus Bible studies organized (practically one for every weekday), and many off-campus dinners.

We generated hundreds of contact names. So, compared to previous years, we thought we were making real progress.

However, barely any of those we contacted during those frenetic months, are meeting with us today. It was a frenzy of activity that we thought would end up producing substantial results. All it did was produce little, if any fruit and a lot of exhaustion.

Now, in retrospect and in the light of the fellowship shared in the last three posts, we can see clearly that mere activity, i.e., activity without prayer-driven and fellowship-guided goals, without consecrated management of our time and without Body-conscious coordination will get us nowhere, fast!

Though I knew that the Lord’s recovery was not a mere movement, but something of God’s organic move on the earth, I still allowed a flurry of activity to predominate. I missed the essential matters of life that are the basis of al that we do.  In chapter one of Messages in Preparation for the Spread of the Gospel, brother Lee shared some important principles with the trainees in Taiwan, in anticipation of the move to gospelize, truthize and churchize that nation:

The work of the Lord on earth was never a movement…Outwardly speaking, our spread to the countryside does have some organization and arrangement. But these are not what we are after. What we are after are the things of life behind all these arrangements, activities, and moves.

What, then, distinguishes the Lord’s move from other Christianity events? The short answer is, “The things of life!”

Yes, we will have many activities during the GTCA move. There will Bible and literature distribution. There will be the passing out of 1000’s of tracts. There will be the preaching of the gospel, seminars and Bible studies. There will be appointments with new ones in their homes. We will be contacting people, unbelievers and Christians, alike, to present to them the unsearchable riches of Christ as our gospel.

But to do this, we must have the living word of God and the Spirit. To be living, we must be full of the dispensing of the Spirit. So, we need to pray. I impressed by this one basic realization from our experience on campus – our level of activity was not matched by a higher level of prayer.  Our prayer must match, even surpass our activtiy. So then, how should we spell activity? Let’s spell it, P-R-A-Y-E-R! All our activities should begin with prayer, continue in prayer and end in prayer.

The prayer is not so much to pray for the many things that have to get done during this move. Rather, it is the way for us to get beyond the “things of action” to the things of life. So the end result will be that bear fruit. Brother Lee put it this way, in Messages,

To be a fisher of men may still be an outward activity; but to bear fruit is an outflow of the inward life. It is a transmission, an expression, and a dispensing of life…Today God is cultivating only this tree, which is the Lord Jesus. We are all branches which are grafted into this tree. For this reason we cannot be separated from Him. We must live together with Him. He is our life within, and we are His expression without, living Him out in our life. It is in this condition that we bear fruit one by one. Hence fruit-bearing is not a movement in work but a result in life through man living before the Lord and being joined to Him…A gospel preacher must be one who is full of the flavor of new life. When this life enters into man, it results in fruit-bearing. When you go down to the villages, you are not promoting a movement but are conducting a living that is full of the flavor of the new life and that bears new fruit through living Jesus.

So, how do we prepare for the upcoming GTCA move? Set goals? Sure! Manage time? Of course! Coordinate? Without a doubt! Have lots of activity? Yes — as long it is driven by prayer and focused on life, on abiding, and on the cross. Again, in Messages, brother Lee helps us to see,

…to prepare for the gospel…You have to continually consecrate yourselves, continually pray, and continually receive the dealings in the environment…The most important thing to remember is to have the Lord, the experience of the cross, the Spirit, and the word.

Dear Lord help us to put the GTCA into the GTCA!


Putting the GTCA into the GTCA – part 3: Coordination


Goals and time management are crucial to the practical out working of the Lord’s move in North America, but all our efforts can grind to a halt if our coordination is not adequate. Coordination is not limited to leaders or responsible one. Together with fellowship, coordination is the way of the Body.

With proper coordination there are results.  Brother Lee, in the Life-Study of Ezekiel (Chapter 8, Section 6), points out that coordination will:

  • Produce The Corporate Expression of Christ
  • Result In those who coordinate together to become burning and full of light and will enable them to enlighten others
  • Cause the move of the Great Wheel
  • Bring in God’s administration
  • Cause the carrying out of God’s will

We might add that our GTCA service should also result in the building up of the saints. Such a building up service depends on coordination, This is how brother Lee puts it:

As to the service, it must be done in coordination. The one thing that requires the most spiritual consideration in service is the matter of coordination. We have to realize that if the Lord is to gain the goal in the church in this age, the saints must be built up together. This building up is the coordination. (The Elders’ Management of the Church, Chapter 11, Section 3)

Body Consciousness

For the upcoming GTCA move in North America, we need a Body-consciousness. Brother Lee put it this way:

In our service to God, we must be brought by God to the point where we have the consciousness of the Body and do not serve individually but in coordination with the brothers and sisters. We must be brought to a point where the brothers’ move is our move, and our move is the brothers’ move. Regardless of the circumstance we are in, our feeling should always be that what the brothers are doing is no different from what we are doing. The two should be the same.(Being Apt to Teach and Holding the Mystery of the Faith, Chapter 5, Section 1)

We need to realize that blessing and authority is with the Body mobilized in sweet coordination. And in this move, and for all practical purposes, our gospel Team represents the Body. We are not merely following schedules and plans to carry out some work, we are in the Body, coordinating to bring in the results of coordination mentioned earlier, to a given locality. Furthermore, if the locality has a church then the Team, with Body-consciousness, will respect that church, honour it, coordinate with it and blend with it.

The Cross

Coordination implies the cross, that is the denial of ourselves. But it also implies resurrection, because as we deny ourselves, we simultaneously, live in our spirit.

Coordination is a restriction; it is a total restriction by others. I cannot serve alone; I can only serve together with the brothers and sisters in the church. I can only accept the others’ restriction and coordinate with them. If they are spiritual, I have to coordinate with them. If they are not spiritual, I also have to coordinate with them. If they are deep, I have to coordinate with them. If they are superficial, I also have to coordinate with them. If they are natural, I have to coordinate with them. If they are carnal, I still have to coordinate with them. I can only stand on their side. I cannot ask them to stand on my side. All the reasons for not being able to coordinate should not come from my side. I have been led to learn the lesson of the cross and have been broken. Today I will take the restriction of the whole church. I accept this coordination. At this time, we will have the genuine coordination, and at this time, such a coordination will be in oneness, and it will be knitted together firmly and fitted together properly.(The Elders’ Management of the Church, Chapter 12, Section 9)

Oneness and One Accord

To carry out what the Lord desires from this move, we must keep the oneness and the one accord at all costs. In the grueling pace that the Team will have to endured during the two-week sowing, it might be easy for Team members to descend into the realm of opinion, wasting needed energy in useless debate. The Team members will have to learn to put away their views, beliefs, judgements and estimations and just say, Amen. In other words, each Team member will have to stay on the cross.  As a Team we must keep the oneness in the uniting bond of peace which is the issue of the working of the cross. When we stay on the cross, we have peace with others. This peace becomes the uniting bond in which we keep the oneness of the Spirit. (see footnote 3 of Eph.4:3)   Again, concerning opinions and views, we must learn to drop them and just know to labour. Leave the results to the Head. Instead, learn to be the glue, even a peacemaker (Mtt.5:9, Heb.12:4) in your Team. Don’t be a problem.

Mutual Care and Shepherding

We must learn to watch and care for one another with practical shepherding. We must look out for each other during this time. Pray for each other.

“The members should have mutual care one for another” (Gk.). In the Body we must have a mutual care  for one another. Paul goes on to say, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it” (v. 26). This is mutual care . (The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 16, Section 2)

Those who have been on gospel trips in the past may recognize in a younger trainee tell-tale signs of need. Those more experienced should be ready to care for that needy one, be it to provide spiritual uplifting, practical advice (eg., how to deal with Canadian winters) or physical succour (lending a scarf or woollen socks).

How to Coordinate

Besides all the things mentioned earlier about coordination, there are two more things that should characterize our coordination, i.e., prayer and fellowship. As a Team members we should do lots of praying, together as a whole, in two’s and three’s and individually. Real and effective prayer is the life-line that will save us from individualism, the opinions and the self. Prayer links us with the heavens and with the members in on the Team. Pray ourselves into God, first and, then, pray for people and for situations.Genuine fellowship is not mere talk; it is another life-line. Here the Triune God flows in our spiritual and practical considerations about all the matters that must be covered as we labour together. This is an opportunity for all that we handle to be coated with the divine and organic element. With these two ways as our foundation for the move in Guelph and Hamilton, we should see a burning expression of Christ,  full of light, causing the move of the Great Wheel, bringing in God’s administration, causing God’s will to be done in these two cities and the building up the Body of Christ.

(To be continued)

Putting the GTCA into the GTCA – part 2: Time

In our earlier post we said that the current GTCA move will need goal setting, time management, coordination and productive activities. The Lord is ready to bless His move, but we must cooperate by setting goals and sub-goals that are measurable  and not mere aspirations for a happy ending after the sowing.

In this post, we wish to continue with the next major step we can take to cooperate with the Lord, i.e., managing that most precious commodity: our time.


The Sowing Team headed for Guelph and Hamilton comprises 20 saints who will, in total, have at their discretion, some 4800 waking hours (i.e., assuming fifteen days of 16 hours in duration). Imagine 4800 hours! What a resource this is!

But, quantity is only part of the picture. It is how efficiently and effectively  we use those precious “saint-hours” that will decide how successful this move will be. Therefore, we need to manage our time.

Scheduling: To begin with, we need to develop Detailed Schedules that will encompass times for activities (distribution, seminars, gospel preaching, home meeting, one-on-one appointments), for coordination, for rest, for meals, for transportation including dealing with weather contingencies, for personal & corporate revival, and for personal needs. We also need a Daily Schedule that spells out when to rise, when to gather the Team, when to go out for distribution and gospel preaching, when to lunch, when to rest, and when to go to home meetings and appointments. We need to be accountable to the schedule, so we will have to have regular fellowship throughout the sowing time to assess and make appropriate adjustments to our schedules and to our performance.

Handling Time:  The way we use our scheduled time will determine the efficient use of this valuable commodity. But there are factors that can rob or defraud us of effective time use. First, while we should do our very best to adhere to the schedules and plans, we need to be flexible. Rigidity may rob us of prime opportunities to share with hungry people, to make valuable contacts, and to nail down a solid appointment. For instance, those of us who are phoning contacts or past BfC Bible recipients during the Tilling period, may get a wrong number but the person on the other end may seem unusually open. So, why not speak to him and see if he wants a Bible, is willing to come out to an event or even wants the Team to visit him? Be flexible. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that you make a habit at the end of a distribution, when supplies are packed up, the rest of the team is headed for the exits and the vans are waiting to pick you up, to stay with a passer-by who, at the very last minute wants to know what this is all about. Curiosity may signal a hunger for God, but jsut as easily, it may not.   Still, be flexible!

Be discerning! We will be contacting many different kinds of people. Some “look” like they are not the right material, and yet are hungry and desperate for God, while others look like perfect “candidates” for the Lord’s move and are completely devoid of desire or longing for reality and God. Use discernment. Pray and stay close to your spirit as you contact people.

In a another matter related to our being with people and its impact on time, we must learn to be disciplined!  For instance, when speaking with people at the Bible distribution table, we must not let people who merely want friendly chatter, to sop up our time. We should be friendly, warm and inviting, but never to the extreme that one person eats up valuable minutes and in the end walks away happy to have had a chat, but with little infusion of God. And to make matters worse, while we chatted away the time, other seeking, hungry sons of peace may come and go, not having someone to share Christ with them. Be disciplined.

Redeeming the time is still another crucial matter in the way we handle time. This is certainly related to being discerning and disciplined. Redeeming of time is another way of saying, “seize the opportunity”

“All those who know how to work know that success in every task depends on the seizing of time. What is an opportunity? Opportunity is the seizing of time. When you seize the time, you gain the opportunity. When you let time slip by, you lose the opportunity. Whoever can seize time is a diligent person.” The Elders’ Management of the Church, Chapter 4, Section 4

When brother Lee penned those words he may not have thought about the GTCA, specifically, but for those of us who will be helping to sow and reap in Guelph and Hamilton, in a few weeks, never were words more applicable.   In the waking hours that we will be devoting to that labour, many opportunities will, no doubt, arise. A student on campus who has received a Bible, is very open and plans to attend one of the seminars later that day, is on her way to meet some friends and mentions that they would probably be interested in all that she heard. You and another sister offer to go with her for lunch, bring some Bibles, and tell her friends about the seminar. Instead of one, you get a cluster of contacts. This is seizing the opportunity.

Together, with schedules and plans, the proper handling of your time will afford the Lord a way to gain profit for Himself and His kingdom. The schedules and plans are the structure, but the prudent handling of our time provides the organic basis for the Spirit to do His work; first in us and then in the people of Guelph and Hamilton.

(To be continued)

Putting the GTCA into the GTCA – part 1: Goals

There is no doubt that the success of the GTCA move in North America, will be due to the Lord heading up all things and to the pouring out of His seven-fold intensified Spirit on the 30 target cities. Ultimately, it will be all of Him. Praise His name.

On our side, however, cooperation is required and the single biggest contributing factor will be the prayers being lifted up among the saints in His recovery for each and every aspect of this move. However, it is also clear, that there is the need for planning, setting goals, and determining the measures of satisfactory achievement.

Based on some recent fellowship from brother Minoru Chen, I would like to consider how we can cooperate with the Lord’s current. Let us, therefore, re-define GTCA as Goals, Time management, Coordination and Activities. This post, and the next three, will explore these important factors for cooperating with the Lord in a practical way for His move.


Where do we want to be? What is our destination? A goal articulates the destination of our efforts. As the saying goes, “if we don’t know what is the destination, how do we know that we have arrived?” For instance, to say we want more churches in North America is a noble aspiration, but not much of a goal. But when we say that within ten years we want 250 new church trees planted in as many cities, now we have more than an aspiration, we have a goal. Goals require planning, even long-term planning. Brother Lee, while commenting on the Thessalonians’ work, labor and endurance, said something quite helpful,

“The believers should live, walk, and work by faith and love in the hope of the Lord’s coming back; but they should not have the erroneous concept that the Lord will come immediately and, thus, that they need not make any long-range plans.” [Footnote 2 of 1Thes.1:3, Recovery Version of the New Testament]

For the upcoming move in February, each target city and the supporting churches should develop plans with goals and sub-goals. For instance, concerning distribution of materials:

  • How many gospel tracts shall we distribute? 5000? More? Less?
  • What about Bibles?   Will we distribute all 750? Less?
  • Literature sets? Will we distribute all 750? Less?
  • What about BfC brochures? 5000? Less?

What about people:

  • How many people will we contact? 1000?
  • How many appointments will try to make for further contact?
  • How many homes will be visited while Team is with us? How often? 20-30, at least once? 10-20, at least twice? 5-10, at least thrice?
  • How many unbelievers saved? 25?
  • How many newly saved will be baptized? 5?
  • How many solid remaining ones? 5-10?
  • How many regular home meetings set up?  2-3?

As we set goals, we should focus on people and remaining fruit, not merely on tracts, literature and, even, Bibles. The latter are the means, but we want especially to end the sowing time with homes opened and solid ones contacted.

(To be continued)

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