Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sleep Walking

I have been noticing something for a while now that has really been surprising. I've payed attention to the people who, "leave the church" and have found that more often than not, not only do the leave the church, but they leave everything...Even Jesus. 

I see people who have believed the polished history the Church preaches and, when they discover the deceptions that lurk behind the outward presentation, rather than take the time to untangle the knots of deceit, they decide to throw the whole mess of yarn into the fire. Because their relationship with God had been tied to the teachings of the church, when they find out the church hasn't been honest with them, they assign God as the Author of the tangled mess and walk away entirely.

Maybe you know someone who has left the church and left God too? 

As my husband and I raise our children we are always trying to think of their future. Who knows what they will gravitate to when they are older, or what things they will try or places they will go? Only the Lord. And He is the only Gift we can give them. The greatest Gift we can give our children is to teach them how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That's all. If they are able to learn how to have His Spirit to be with them (as is said in the sacrament prayers), then they will be in possession of the Greatest Gift of all.

The next portion of this post I am going to combine my words with teachings from the author A.W. Tozer to help illustrate the struggle the church is facing today with the continuing decline in church converts as well as the exodus happening with millennials and lifelong members. Not only are they leaving, but they are taking little to nothing with them. We need power in the priesthood or all is vain. Without power in the priesthood, we are nothing more than sleep walking saints. We appear to be awake, moving about and performing tasks, but it is a false reality. Only when you are alive in Christ can you see your bed in disarray and the odd behaviors and tasks you did while you were sleeping.


The greatest event in history was the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and to die for mankind. The next greatest event was the going forth of the Church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His Salvation throughout the earth. It was not an easy task which the Church faced when she came down from that upper room. To carry on the work of a Man (Jesus Christ) who was known to have have died as criminals die - and more than that, to persuade others that this Man had risen again from the dead and that He was the Son of God and Savior: the mission was, in the nature of it, doomed to failure from the start. Who would credit such a fantastic story? Who would put faith in one whom society had condemned and crucified? Left to herself the Church must have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and have left nothing for a future generation to remember.

That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of Spiritual energy. And she accomplished within a few brief years such prodigies of moral conquest as to leave us wholly without an explanation - apart from God. 

In short, the Church began in power, moved in power and moved just as long as she had power. When she no longer had power she dug in for safety and sought to conserve her gains. But her blessings were like the manna; when they tried to keep it over night it bread worms and stank. So church slowly turned into scholar lessons, institutions, or monasteries. When we see this happen, it is indicative of the same thing: the absence of spiritual power

Today we are in a state of very low spiritual energy: for it cannot be denied that the modern Church has dug in up to her ears and is struggling desperately to defend the little ground she holds. If we are to advance we must have power. Paganism is slowly closing in on the Church. The Church must have power; she must become formidable, a moral force to be reckoned with...the revolutionizing, conquering thing it once was. 

Since "power" is a word of many uses and misuses, let me explain what I mean by it. First, I mean spiritual energy of sufficient voltage to produce great Saints once again. That breed of mild, harmless Christian grown in our generation is but a poor sample of what the grace of God can do when it operates in power in a human heart. The emotionless act of "Sunday school lessons" practiced among us bears little resemblance to the whirlwind fiery conversions of the past. We need the power that transforms, that fills the soul with a sweet intoxication, that will make a former persecutor to be "beside himself" with the love of Christ. We have today theological saints...instead we need saints whose lives proclaim their sainthood, and who need not run to the leaders of the church or the church handbook for approval.

Secondly, I mean a spiritual unction that will give a heavenly unction to our worship, that will make our meeting places sweet with the divine Presence. In such a holy place showy sermons and streamlined personalities will all be out of order, a very grief to the Holy Spirit, and the emphasis will fall where it belongs, upon the Lord Himself and His message to mankind. 

Where is the energy which God has, both in biblical and in post-biblical times, released into the Church and into the circumstances surrounding her, which made her fruitful in labor and invincible before her foes? Miracles? Yes, when and where they were necessary. Answers to prayer? Special gifts from God? All of these and more. It is all summed up in the words of the Evangelist Mark: "And they went forth, and they preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the words with signs following." The whole Book of Acts and the noblest chapters of Church history since New Testament times are but an extension of that verse.

Such words as those in the second chapter of Hebrews stand as a rebuke to the unbelieving Christians of our day: "God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will." A cold Church is forced to "interpret" such language. She cannot enter into it, so she explains it away. Not a little juggling is required, and not a few statements for which there is no scriptural authority, but anything will do to save face and justify our half-dead condition. Such defensive exegesis is but a refuge for unbelieving orthodoxy, a hiding place for a Church too weak to stand. (Miracles in the scriptures vs. Elder Rasband's talk on the generator working 'miracle' of modern day times link)

No one with a knowledge of the facts can deny the need for supernatural aid in the work of world evangelization. We are so hopelessly outclassed by the world's superior strength that for us it means either God's help or sure defeat. 

In every denomination, missionary society, local church or individual Christian this law operates. God works as long as His people live darlingly: He ceases when they no longer need His aid. As soon as we seek protection outside of God, like doing Temple work or magnifying our callings, we find it to our own undoing. Let us build a safety-wall of rules for exaltation, Temple attendance, follow the leader and stay in the boat, handbooks, $100 Billion dollar safety net, prestige, endless time-consuming callings, and creeping paralysis sets in at once, a paralysis which can only end in death. 

Look around today and see where the miracles of power are taking place. Never in the Sunday school or seminary where each thought is prepared for the student, to be received painlessly and at second hand; never in the religious institution where tradition and habit have long ago made faith unnecessary. Invariably where the faith is struggling to increase against hopeless odds, there is God sending "help from the sanctuary." Having the "authority" and "keys of the priesthood" cannot save a movement from barrenness. There must be also the work of power. Speaking of the keys of the priesthood is meaningless unless there is power. If there is no power, it doesn't matter who holds the keys.

But I am more concerned with the effect of this truth upon the local church and the individual. Look at that church where plentiful fruit was once the regular and expected thing (Joseph Smith's time experienced great miracles and angels), but now there is little or no fruit, and the power of God seems to be in abeyance. What is the trouble? God has not changed, nor has His purpose for that church changed in the slightest measure. No, the church itself has changed. The members have been taught to look to the church leadership and General Conference for security rather than to God for guidance in the battle between good and evil (if they realize there is a battle between good and evil at all). The Church has become a school instead of a barracks. Its members are students, not soldiers. They study the experiences of their leaders instead of seeking new experiences of their own. The churches security is its deadliest foe. The church that fears the transformative power of Jesus Christ writes its own epitaph: the church that uses Jesus Christ as the destination walks the way of revival. 


This last portion comes from a book called, "The Heavenly Man". It is the true history of a man called Brother Yun who lived in Main Land China and was persecuted for his belief in Christ. You can listen to the book for free on YouTube. The story of him praying and fasting for a bible will wake your soul immediately. It shows an image of true hunger for the Lord that most, including myself, have never encountered before. The starvation, beatings, and persecution he endured for Christ are heart wrenching and inspiring to the soul. He spoke of coming to the West and being in shock of our Christian churches:

“Before I travelled to the West I had absolutely no idea that so many churches were spiritually asleep. I presumed the Western church was strong and vibrant because it had brought the gospel to my country with such incredible faith and tenacity. Many missionaries had shown a powerful example to us by laying down their lives for the sake of Jesus.

"On some occasions I’ve struggled while speaking in Western churches. There seems to be something missing that leaves me feeling terrible inside. Many meetings are cold and lack the fire and presence of God that we have in China."

"In the West many Christians have an abundance of material possessions, yet they live in a backslidden state. They have silver and gold, but they don’t rise up and walk in Jesus’ name. In China we have no possessions to hold us down, so there’s nothing preventing us from moving out for the Lord."

"I can assure the Western church with absolute certainty that you don't need any more church buildings. Church buildings will never bring the revival you seek. The pursuit of more possessions will never being revival. Jesus truly stated, 'A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions' (Luke 12:15)."

"The first thing needed for revival to return to your churches is the Word of the Lord. God's Word is missing. Sure, there are many preachers and thousands of tapes and videos of Bible teaching, but so little contains the sharp truth of God's Word. It's the truth that will set you free. Not only is knowledge of God's Word missing, but obedience to that Word. There's not much action taking place."

"All genuine revivals of the Lord result in believers responding with action and soul winning."

"They open their fat wallets and search for the smallest amount they can give."

"Just because you have a church building doesn't necessarily mean Jesus is with you."

"If you truly want to see God move, the main things you must do is learn the Word of God and have the obedience to do what God tells you to do."

"Tears always come first before the Lord truly moves."

"In China, the greatest miracles we see are not the healings or other things, but lives tranformed by the gospel. We believe we're not called to follow signs and wonders but instead the signs and wonders follow us when the gospel is preached. We don't keep our eyes on the signs and wonders; we keep our eyes on Jesus."

"I feel so sorry that many Christians live in bondage though Jesus has signed their release forms with his own blood. When you've been set free, you should act like it!"

"If we truly claim to follow Jesus then we must do so without imposing any conditions or self-made plans."

"We're not called to live by human reason. All that matters is obedience to God's Word and his leading in our lives. If God says go, we'll go. If he says stay, we'll stay. When we are in his will, we are in the safest place in the world."

"Many people have said to me, 'Yun, you must really love Jesus.' You need to realize that any love I have in my heart for Jesus is only because of his love for me. 'We love because he first loved us.' 1 John 4:19"

"In a similar way, I pray that God might use the Chinese church to help the Western church rise up and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s almost impossible for the church in China to go to sleep in its present situation. There’s always something to keep us on the run, and its very difficult to sleep while you’re running."


Lastly, blogger is discontinuing the option to "subscribe" to this blog. If you are someone who has subscribed then you usually get notified when a post is made. This will no longer happen. I am super technologically illiterate so I don't know who has subscribed to this blog or how to do a different blog location altogether. I'll try to make a new blog someday but for now, I apologize for those of you who have subscribed. Thank you for reading these thoughts. 

Soul On Fire
Third Day