Friday, July 23, 2010
The Heavenly Man - Part One
Reading is something that I greatly enjoy. However, I have tended to read within a relatively small genre. I don't enjoy reading fiction or self-help books. I struggle to stick with works of history and I'm certainly not into "Chick Lit" like my darling wife is. So most of the time I find myself reading either 1) The Bible, 2) books about the Bible, or 3) books written about persons or topics from the Bible. I guess it could be a lot worse, huh?!
Last week my friend Adam lent me a copy of THE HEAVENLY MAN: THE REMARKABLE TRUE STORY OF CHINESE CHRISTIAN BROTHER YUN. (Adam just returned from his honeymoon and apparently he read like seven books during his time in Ireland....REALLY, ADAM, come on!!!) I was certainly familiar with the name (Brother Yun), but I had never read anything firsthand about this pretty incredible man of God.
I've been reading as much as I can each day and am about half way through the book. I thought I'd share a few thoughts here related to what I'm seeing so far. First, I have already come to a deeper appreciation of the house church movement in China. There are many different expressions of "church" in our North American culture. However, I'm pretty sure that I haven't seen or experienced anything like the description of suffering and witness of the Chinese house church believers in this book. For this reason alone, I'm glad I'm reading this book. I personally believe that we (in our comfortable North American context) have a lot to learn about what it means to be the body of Christ. Believe it or not, there other (perhaps more biblically oriented) expressions of the church than the ones you and I are most familiar with.
Second, as I'm reading this book I feel as if I'm experiencing the same thrill and excitement as when I read through the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES (Book Five of the New Testament). There is something simple and powerful about the expression of the church found in this book. I'm sure plenty of folks take issue with the record of visions and miraculous things that happen in this book. My counsel to those who take such an approach: Be careful about standing in a seat of judgment when it comes to the acts of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mark 3:29; Acts 7:51). Maybe we would experience more of God's power and presence if we lived more biblically. (I say this to myself.)
Finally, I have been personally and deeply challenged by the courageous witness of Brother Yun. At times I have found myself wiping away tears as I read the accounts of his torture and tremendous faith in Christ. There is a refreshing singleness of heart to the character of Brother Yun. The Scripture flows through this narrative in ways that point the reader towards a loving and faithful God. Now, I'm only halfway through, so I'll hold off recommending this book to anyone who may be reading this....but so far, I've been moved and blessed by every page.
Father, may the things we see, hear, say, and do be pleasing in Your sight. Reveal to us those things which need to be "put off" and that which, once again, needs to be "put on". You are a loving and faithful Father. Amen.