During the recent semiannual training in Anaheim there was a special time of fellowship with around 900 former FTTA trainees in response to some recent negative writing online. During this gathering, brothers Minoru Chen, Chris Wilde, James Lee, and Albert Lim shared their testimonies and their heart for the next generation of the Lord’s recovery. Afterwards, a group of graduates of FTTA testified of their encouraging experience in the church life, their appreciation of the Word and the ministry which opens up the Word, and of their one accord with the older generation.
In these days, the Lord is moving to close this age. As the army typified in Numbers is being raised up, the enemy would try and drive a wedge between the generations of the Lord’s recovery. This blended speaking, given in an atmosphere of love and tenderness, was a testimony of the oneness among us and our stand against the enemy’s divisive work. Rather than be distracted by the enemy’s tactics, may we have the heart of those with Nehemiah to “rise up and build, and strengthen our hands for the good work” of the building of God’s house (Neh. 2:18). May the Lord richly bless His recovery through this speaking!
The audio recording of this meeting is now available here. As a point of clarification, the tremors of a distant earthquake were felt during the previous evening’s message and were referenced in some of the brothers’ sharing. Also, we strongly encourage the saints not to search out the referenced online negative writing out of curiosity.
12 thoughts on “Special Fellowship at the 2019 July Semiannual Training”
Very moving, and timely fellowship. I wasn’t able to be there, and am grateful that the audio is made available. It helps me to have a perspective of where we are in our present age and condition in the Lord’s work. It matches my sentimate and some of our burden, experience and fellowship locally.
May the Lord continue to bless His recovery in the midst of multitudinous attacks from the enemy — “All He could do, the foe, was just release the flow! And God just keeps on flowing!”
As an FTTA graduate of the Spring class of 2014, and of the “millennial” generation currently living in Berlin, Germany, I am very grateful for this post. What words of grace pouring forth from all the saints! The fathers with the sons as one corporate speaking. I am so thankful that the Lord has raised up such a people living to Him. My experience in the church life is experiencing the life that mends. I owe everything to this ministry and the shepherds it has produced. I am eternally grateful that I came into the “inn” where I experienced the church life being my hospital to heal me, a family to cherish, nourish, and shepherd me, and a school to perfect me. After reading through the entire post that was referenced in this fellowship, I have to say what a difference there is in the healthy speaking of God’s New Testament economy! Thanks again for sharing.
I very much appreciated the release of this fellowship as I did not make it to Anaheim this time around. I would appreciate and enjoy this fellowship even more if we could also have the video of the fellowship. I believe seeing the video of all the dear saint’s testimony will have even more impact.
When things like this happens I just pray that the the Lord will be fresh and appear to me constantly! I Pray read his word and find life! Negative speaking will keep coming and it might increase over time but what it counts is the deposit in us, the Christ that is living and real in our mingled spirit! The ministry has always been helpful to usher me to Christ! May be all just keep your hearts soft and loving the Lord and his recovery!! may our spirit experience the freshness of the Lords person!
To those who, as Bro. Minoru referenced at the end of this fellowship, take issue with “lack of equality” in the recovery–equal opportunity, as it were–I can, as a sister, testify that life in the recovery is full of opportunities, ordered by our Father’s hand–everything is the best it could be–for what? for our personal interests, to further our hidden ambition (yes, sisters can be and are very ambitious), to affirm natural, worldly concepts in our unrenewed minds, for us to have some pseudo-spiritual experiences? No, for us to gain Christ in reality, be matured in life and to minister Christ for the building up of the Body of Christ: sisters and brothers alike, no exceptions. If we are here for something else, the Father will show us. At the right time, our wise Dad will engineer particular circumstances that will boggle our right-and-wrong-mindset, will expose both the worst and best of our self, whatever is not Him. He will touch our self-righteousness; He will begin dismantling our individual “recovery-religious” spirituality. He has to; He can’t bear see His children being stunted in growth. And rest assured, we will have reactions. If we didn’t, it means He wasn’t zoning in on the most heavily guarded parts of our being, the areas in which the enemy has done most damage and would still hold sway over. But He is. So we, because we are Jacobs, will be forced to wrestle with all our might. Whereas before we might have been politically polite, now it’s no-holds-barred. We may think it is men or circumstances that we are struggling against but at some point we will realize it is the hand of God coming to us. He isn’t wanting to merely bandage those places up and hope for the best but to tear off the bandage and do radical surgery. We will resist and want to flee, because it will hurt like nothing else. All kinds of germs will be there; we will emit, we will excrete. And so we may escape for a while, but if we ever open to the process again, He will do it again, with another person, another set of circumstances, still aimed at that part. He is committed to this.
We shouldn’t kid ourselves and think that transformation costs nothing. Yes, we’ve gone through the first stages, dealt with sin, dealt with our conscience, given up the world. We did pay that price. These are outward to us. The inward dealings in the third stage of the growth in life costs something more, who and what we are in our natural man. But the healing balm is here. The Word is here in abundance, and the ministry that opens up this Word and ushers us into the heartbeat of God’s desire is here. When we read them with an exercised spirit and loving, not criticizing, paranoid heart, and open to the Lord Himself, we receive life, we receive light, we receive anesthesia for our suffering situations, we receive His rhema speaking as we pray and praise-read and mix the Word with faith, we receive the sword of the Spirit to slay the enemy within lest he hijack our subjective emotions, we are strengthened, enlivened, our hands which hang down and the paralyzed knees are set straight, and what is lame is not put out of joint but rather healed. We will then be buildable. Some have gone before us in the process, so we have patterns. They are patterns not of perfect men but God-men: men who have been and still are in the process of being torn down in their natural life and rebuilt with the divine life and built with others.
So I say again that as a sister, life is full of opportunities. Our God is the Potter in whose hands we are; in the kiln of the church life we are being burned so that we clay men would not crumble and dissolve and what vision has been painted on us can be permanently fused with our being. Like Jacob, we will come to Bethel a second time, the elation of seeing the vision for the first time having been tested through many a tunnel of suffering. Then we ourselves might have the ministry of reconciliation, reconciling others from not only the world but their natural life. We would then be able to say with Paul and our fathers, say to the struggling ones, “Our mouth is opened to you…our heart is enlarged. You are not constricted in us but you are constricted in your inward parts. But for a recompense in kind, I speak as to children, you also be enlarged.” When full-grown, we will not be fazed when not only the glory comes but the dishonor, not only the good report but the evil report, of being labeled deceivers yet in actuality being true (2 Cor. 6:8); rather, we will know that such accusations are proof and part-and-parcel of living out the divine life within us. The Lord operated in Paul, He operated in our fathers, and He is doing it now in us if we would cooperate.
The Lord has a need today. Our rich God is poor; He is lacking those who would give themselves to Him without reservation. The Word and the ministry that expounds it with the consummation of the age in view say plainly that a Nazarite can be either man or woman if they would vow the vow. The side door is open. Which brother, which sister, will respond to this call? As a sister, the echo in my spirit was strong when I read the life-study of Exodus: “We are living in a critical time, a time when the female life is urgently needed…In a critical time such as now, the male life that is independent of God is not useful. Only the female life, the life that depends on God, is prevailing. If we see this, we shall have a great appreciation for the female life, the life that is wholly dependent on God.” I gladly follow a ministry that cuts straight the Word of truth. I gladly follow this betrothing ministry. It is seeking to bring us to full dependence on God our Husband. It faithfully warns us to not “overly esteem” the matchmaker, the planters and the waterers, but to look away to God who causes the growth (1 Cor. 3:6, note 1). It causes our love and appreciation and understanding of Him to ignite, blossom, deepen over the years like fine wine. It helps make the country girl into the mature Shulammite, her love and faith having been developed in equal proportion, Christifying us so we match and can marry our dazzling white, ruddy, distinguished Solomon. He will bring us into the vineyard of His work. We will build battlements and enclosures for our little sisters, the walls and the doors (S. S. 8:9), because the same has been built up in us. To many, our lives will have been nothing, we will be counted as no one, but our whole being is at peace, because we are at the center of God’s move. At times of attack we can’t waver despite wanting in ourselves to waver, because the Christ built into us is strong. We thank the Lord for our fathers, for all that they have poured into us. The army is being readied. Let’s take the land, oh, brothers and sisters, the land that God has given us.
Thank you for your frank and encouraging fellowship that comes out of genuine experience.
Saints, we really need to open to the Lord for revelation and a larger vision. I’ve really been convicted and enlightened when reading the following in the ministry from chapter 6 of the Normal Christian Church Life page 113. When writing to specific ministries and ministers, which included himself and those who would follow him, Watchman Nee was very emphatic about some fundamental points we seem to have disregarded whether intentionally or not.
“Let us lay it to heart that our work is for our ministry and our ministry is for the churches. No church should be under a specific ministry, but all ministries should be under the church. What havoc has been wrought in the Church because so many of her ministers have sought to bring the churches under their ministry, rather than by their ministry serve the churches. As soon as the churches are brought under any ministry, they cease to be local and become sectarian.”
Lord open our eyes and make us open to Your speaking and what You want to gain in us!
Thank you, Jeremy Vandergoot.
I was so watered and supplied by the sharing of the Brothers and the testimonies of the Saints who have gone on after the training. One of my favorite lines from a hymn I heard once is “The church life is not perfect, but it is genuine. This is were I love to be this is were I belong.” For anyone, whether church kid or new one, to feel like the church life has let them down, that is an attack from the Evil one. We should never look at the churches situation or any ones particular failures or defeats. To God the church is Glorious, the church is precious, the church is what is on his heart. All the believers in Christ are precious to the Lord.
Satan is a liar and he belongs in the lake of fire. We have to stand against his lies and bind his evil work in ourselves and in all the saints, and pray for Christ to make His home in our hearts more and more each day.
Lord, may Your kingdom rule in this situation and in any situation that rises up to frustrate the building of your church.
I would like to give a short testimony. I believe it was my first term in the training. I was 22 and had only been in the church life consistently for about a year and a half. I requested an appointment with one of the training brothers out of curiosity because I heard that it was good to fellowship and saw that he had some availability on his appointment log. This matter of “fellowship” was a completely new concept to me. I grew up feeling like I could not open up to my biological mother or father about anything that had ever bothered me, but I felt comfortable in this training brother’s presence nonetheless. With so much care and patience he began to ask me questions that helped to identify what was hurting me the most. I do not remember every word of encouragement that he spoke into me at that time, but I do remember looking up and making eye contact with him. I didn’t know there were tears in his eyes as I was speaking. Though I have had very limited contact with him since then, I believe he became a true Father to me on that day. In regards to these recent attacks, I believe it is simply another opportunity to take refuge in the word of God. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another, not setting your mind on the high things but going along with the lowly; do not be wise in yourselves. Repay no one evil for evil; take forethought for things honorable in the sight of all men. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live in peace with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord’ (Rom. 12:14-19).”