Guidelines for the Propagation of the Lord's Recoveryby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this chapter we will consider the matter of being fervent for the gospel by preaching in the homes and by spreading through migration. There are several hymns in our hymnal that stir us up and encourage us to preach the gospel. For example, Hymns, #921 is a simple and effective hymn. Stanza 1 and the chorus say, “Rescue the perishing, / Care for the dying, / Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; / Weep o’er the erring one, / Lift up the fallen, / Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save. / Rescue the perishing, / Care for the dying; / Jesus is merciful, / Jesus will save.” This hymn was written by an American sister, Fanny J. Crosby.
There are two prerequisites for preaching the gospel. The first prerequisite is to be crazy for the gospel. Whoever preaches the gospel must be crazy. A person who is not crazy cannot preach the gospel. It is difficult for a person who is very rational to lead people to salvation. Preaching the gospel requires us to be crazy. The second prerequisite is to be thick-skinned. The countenance or expression of a person who preaches the gospel should not change; otherwise, he cannot preach the gospel. A gospel preacher must be crazy and not self-conscious; that is, he must be thick-skinned. These are requirements for preaching the gospel.
When I was young, I was embarrassed to meet people or converse with them. I avoided guests, and I did not visit people in their homes. After I was called by the Lord, I practiced contacting and speaking with people. Initially, this was difficult for me, but after practicing for many years, there was some progress. If we want to preach the gospel, we need to be crazy, and we cannot be self-conscious. We should not become angry when we are rebuked, and we should not be elated when we are welcomed. We need to be thick-skinned so that our countenance remains unchanged regardless of the environment.
Furthermore, a crazy gospel preacher must learn to sing gospel songs. It is not easy for a calm and rational person to sing. The more we sing the gospel songs, the crazier we will be. Before I stand at the podium to preach the gospel, I have a time of thorough prayer. This is my secret. I also exercise to be crazy, but I am not irrational. The more rational a person is, the more he is self-conscious. It is difficult for a person who is too self-conscious to speak. When he sees a relative or a person who has a doctorate degree in the audience, he becomes timid and cannot speak to them. This is wrong. A crazy person can say even to the president, “We all need salvation.” Only a crazy person has the boldness to preach the gospel to the president.
Dear young brothers and sisters, you should not make plans to go to Africa or India for the gospel. Rather, you need to be crazy and preach the gospel in Taiwan first. This applies especially to those who have consecrated themselves to serve full time. The young people need to learn to contact people at school. There are about 120,000 college students, 50,000 high school students, and 50,000 junior-high school students in Taipei. This is a total of 220,000 students. The young full-time serving ones need to go to the various campuses to contact the students. You should not be crazy the first time you contact a student. Rather, you need to be proper, but you should not feel ashamed. Gradually, after you have preached the gospel to a certain extent, you will need to be crazy.
We need to learn to be crazy and thick-skinned because we were not born this way. Before we go to a campus, we need to have an adequate time of prayer to pray ourselves into the spirit. After we pray thoroughly, we will be crazy. Our spirit will be burning, and our skin will be thickened. We also need to sing hymns in a released way. We can sing short gospel songs, such as “Rescue the perishing” (Hymns, #921) and “You’ve fallen into sins” (hymn #715 in the Chinese hymnal). “Rescue the perishing” is concerning our need to preach the gospel, and “You’ve fallen into sins” is about the sinner’s need to be saved. Furthermore, we should be expressive when we sing the hymns, especially the gospel hymns. “Rescue the perishing” should be sung with a strong voice. “You’ve fallen into sins” should be sung softly, but the chorus—“He longs to save you! / He’s waiting for you! / Won’t you let Him save you / While it’s today?”—should be sung with a strong voice.
Beginning from 1940 I led the brothers and sisters in northern China to preach the gospel. It was in Chefoo that we first used the term the gospel preaching of the church. At that time, every year we had a four-day gospel campaign of eight sessions. We used the first four days of the Chinese Lunar New Year and had one session in the morning and another session in the evening. During those four days I was crazy. I gave myself fully to preaching the gospel. The only other things that I did were to eat and to sleep. I was so exhausted after every meeting that I could only sleep until the next meeting. My whole being was spent on the gospel.
Formerly, I did not know how to sing, neither could I speak well, but whenever I preached the gospel, I was crazy. There are several gospel hymns that we sang often in northern China—for example, Hymns, #1044, “Are you ready God to meet?” and #1080, “What profit all the labor here?” After singing these hymns, we felt that everything was vain, including our spouses and children. This was the result of our singing with expression. Another hymn we sang often is #309: “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought / Since Jesus came into my heart!” The chorus of this hymn is very releasing; it says, “Since Jesus came into my heart! / Since Jesus came into my heart! / Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll, / Since Jesus came into my heart!” We sang the chorus until it seemed as if our entire being was “rolling.” Other hymns we often sang include #930, “Must I go, and empty-handed” and #918, “Christians, make haste, your mission high fulfilling.”
The brothers need to learn how to properly lead the singing during the gospel-preaching meetings. A meeting can be killed or enlivened by the way we lead the saints to sing the hymns.
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