Thursday, January 17, 2008

Watchman Nee - Spiritual Discipline

I know, I know I'm not supposed to be on email. Well, give me a hand I'm rarely checking my "blackberry" but I wanted to share with you all something that inspired me as I'm here in Canada for my personal retreat. Very simply, Holy Spirit spoke to me to study the life of "Watchman Nee" while here. Watchman Nee is one of the greatest preachers of the Bible and prolific teachers in the 20th century. His writings have influenced and equipped leaders for many generations. While studying his life, one thing that has impressed upon me is his life of spiritual discipline. It reminded me much of my early days also as a new believer.

Nee came to Christ at the age of 17. He was a rebellious teenager, but very bright and highly intelligent. When he finally surrendered his life to Christ and committed to serve Him as Lord, he did not waste any time. In high school, he tried witnessing to his friends immediately, but with no result of fruit being born. Later, a mentor in his life advised him not to give up, but to pray earnestly daily for all his friends whom he had written their names on a list, 70 of them exactly. Within 4 months, all but one of those on his list were radically converted. But in just a short time, he burnt out in ministry and came down with a severe illness. It was in this moment of isolation he learned to live by the Spirit. He committed himself to understand the foundational teachings of Christ and doctrine. He gave himself to a radical daily lifestyle of solitude, silence and prayer. In effect, because he was faithful with the little, God entrusted to Him more.

He ended up spending all his time and money on 3 things.

1) Personal Needs
2) Helping Others
3) Spiritual Books

Through this discipline and practice God increased the anointing upon his life to affect change in others. In a similar way, I also came to Christ at the age of 17 years old in high school. The moment I was converted I zealously preached Christ to all of my friends, but like Nee, I had very little fruit to show. It was later through listening to a set of teaching tapes that my mother gave to me to listen to, that these tapes taught me the necessity of prayer and waiting on God. It was after listening to these teachings that I began to pray for my lost friends. In fact, similar to Nee I made a list of about 100 friends that I prayed for daily to be converted to Christ. After only 6 months, nearly all of those 100 friends had made Jesus their Savior and Lord! Like Nee, I learned that one can not live a fruitful life apart from abiding in the Vine through the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer.

Watchman Nee also lived a disciplined spiritual life in his personal needs, giving of himself to others and self-study. For the past 10 years of my Christian walk, I've done my best to be faithful in having enough, no more or no less so that I will not be overtaken by greed, nor overtaken by poverty. At the same time, I've always made it a principle to not only be faithful with my tithes and offerings, but always look for opportunities to give to others. For one can never out give God. The more you give, the more you receive. Whether in finances, time or energy it is by "helping others" and doing good to others that glorifies our Father in heaven. Lastly, Spiritual Books have been a key to my spiritual growth in Christ. As a early believer, I had no mentors but the Holy Spirit Himself. In my current class, "Mentoring" at Fuller Seminary it was interesting to study that they believe even if you can't find a "spiritual mentor" you can still be mentored. How? By Historical Mentors through the reading and study of auto biographies and the personal works of past spiritual giants and heroes of the faith.

I hear it from many all the time, "I need a spiritual mentor! I wish I had a spiritual father or mother?" Yet, if I look back to my early Christian walk I had no spiritual mentors, but what I did have is the Holy Spirit, the Bible and many many spiritual books. I spent almost all my extra money and savings, not on video games, not on clothes, not on material things, but almost all of it went to buying spiritual books. I would research, read, and look to read more that others recommended or others I knew of through my own personal readings of classic Christian works. By reading these spiritual books, studying the lives of spiritual men and women I learned a great wealth of life principles, Biblical doctrines, and keys to live a life in the Spirit. I ate up close to 10-15 books a month in my college days, it was a spiritual feast and I grew exponentially in my faith.

There is a wealth of spiritual knowledge, heritage and truth available to our generation today, more than any generation before us. It is our responsibility to know the past of what God has done through other leaders in Christian history, so that we may learn and continue on in the same spirit to further advance His kingdom on earth. Many I recognize in this millennial generation are clueless to the great heroes of old, to their life and teachings, but this should not be. Study to show yourself approved. If you will give yourself to studying the anointing and wisdom of the past, both Biblical and historical, there is an anointing that will be entrusted to you to impact a generation for God's purposes. Will you be the one who doesn't wait, but the one who will dive head long into the treasury of God's chest of wisdom?

I write this to encourage and challenge each of you. Don't wait for someone to mentor you. You don't need a teacher. The Holy Spirit is your teacher, is this not what the Bible says? For His anointing is in you and will teach you all things concerning the ways of Christ. So with the resources God has given you to steward 1) Live a Simple Life 2) Always Look to Help Others Daily 3) Acquire and Read Spiritual Books that will help you in maturity and perfection in Christ Jesus. It would be a great goal to read one spiritual book or auto-biography of a Christian hero each month as I have done my best to practice this for the last 10 years.

1 John 2:27
As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

Read the excerpt on Nee's life below, absolutely INSPIRING!

Under the mercy,


Equipping and Training

Watchman Nee attended no theological schools or Bible institutes. His wealth of knowledge concerning God's purpose, Christ, the things of the Spirit, and the church was acquired through studying the Bible and reading spiritual books. Watchman Nee became intimately familiar with and greatly enlightened by the Word through diligent study using twenty different methods. In addition, in the early days of his ministry he spent one-third of his income on his personal needs, one-third on helping others, and the remaining third on spiritual books. He acquired a collection of more than 3,000 of the best Christian books, including nearly all the classical Christian writers from the first century on. He had a phenomenal ability to select, comprehend, discern, and memorize relevant material, and he could grasp and retain the main points of a book at a glance. Watchman Nee was thus able to glean all the profitable scriptural points and spiritual principles from throughout church history and synthesize them into his vision and practice of the Christian life and of the church life. Watchman Nee received much enlightenment and help from a number of Christian writers, as follows:

Specific Enlightenment Source

1. The assurance of salvation: George Cutting, a Brethren writer

2. Life: John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Madame Guyon's biography, Hudson Taylor's biography, the writings of other mystics

3. Christ: J.G. Bellett, Charles G. Trumbull, A.B. Simpson, T. Austin Sparks, others

4. The Spirit: Andrew Murray's The Spirit of Christ

5. The Three Parts of Man: Jessie Penn-Lewis (body, soul, and spirit), Mary C. McDonough

6. Faith: George Müller's autobiography

7. Abiding in Christ: Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor's biography

8. The subjective aspect of Christ's death
and spiritual warfare: Jessie Penn-Lewis

9. Christ's resurrection and His Body: T. Austin Sparks, others

10. God's plan of redemption: Mary McDonough

11. The church: John Nelson Darby, other Brethren teachers

12. Prophecy: Robert Govett, D.M. Panton, G.H. Pember, other Brethren writers

13. Church history: John Foxe, E.H. Broadbent

14. Bible exposition and many other truths: John Nelson Darby, the Brethren

Watchman Nee became familiar with many of these books through Margaret Barber, a former Anglican missionary. Early in his Christian life he received much spiritual edification and perfection from her. Primarily through his fellowship with Miss Barber, Watchman Nee realized that to be a Christian is altogether a matter of the divine life. Through her shepherding, he learned to pay more attention to life than to work and to live by Christ as his life.

For more of his life work & resources goto:

Watchman Nee Resources: Online Books

Watchman Nee "Life and Works"

(Read this above link to his life work and ministry, it brought me nearly to tears. He is a true apostle, one who suffered and died a martyrs death for the Gospel in China)

Spiritual Man - By Watchman Nee (E Book) This is probably Nee's best work of literature on the Christian life ever. Download this and devour it!



At 1/18/2008 04:15:00 AM , Anonymous anna (grace) said...

Thank you Jaeson for posting this blog. I'll try to find my answers from the books written by Watchman Nee. Lastly, I hope that you'll enjoy that few days of your holiday! May the Lord bless You more and I hope that the Holy Spirit will teaches you more, so that you can spread it unto us!

At 1/18/2008 09:47:00 AM , Blogger Matthias said...

Wow, I've been in the same situation. Some years ago, Jesus told us that He would teach us, but I still felt without teacher all that time. Just yesterday I heard Patricia King say the very same thing and it finally dawned upon me that He had been teaching me all the time! And just a few hours ago, looking back, I wondered what a wonderful teacher He actually is!

He knows our heart and has so much patience with our immaturity. And He never sees immaturaty as rebellion. I can trust my daily life and my future into His hands. He's beautiful, He's glorious, and He's worth to die for!

At 1/18/2008 09:50:00 AM , Blogger Brian Francis Hume said...

Sounds like you're having a fruitful time! Here is a great quote from Winkie Pratney that I've quoted often in the past: "Read biographies of God’s great men. Try to read at least one book a month. These dead still speak. Time proves a man’s work. Dwell on the lives of those who had power with God and prevailed. Look for secrets of their Christian walk. What did these men have that you can develop?"

Regardless of whether or not someone has a spiritual mentor speaking into their lives, I think it is crucial for all believers to feast upon a steady diet of Christian biographies! Bless you!

At 1/18/2008 10:19:00 AM , Blogger Jaeson Ma said...

Amen! Glad you guys are challenged! I'm turning off blackberry, phone, email and internet for the next few days so I can truly get some "rest" here :P Much love to all you out there in blog land! JMA

At 1/18/2008 11:10:00 PM , Blogger Cathy said...

I too have been greatly encouraged by the writings of Watchman Nee. It has brought me much deeper understanding of the Life of the Spirit..The book The Spritual Man was pivotal for me in understanding the flesh and the spirit..its long but well worth it!

At 1/20/2008 06:14:00 PM , Blogger Cora said...

I absolutely LOVE watchmen Nee. :) He is probably my fav. christian author! :) If you haven't read "the normal christian Life," I would highly recommend that you read it. :) It is always encouraging to read what you are doing for His kingdom. Keep pressing in.

At 1/20/2008 06:27:00 PM , Blogger Cora said...

I absolutely LOVE watchmen nee. He is probably my fav. christian author. :) If you haven't read "the normal christian life," I would recommend that you get your hands on a copy of it. :) Thanks for your continual obedience in expanding His kingdom; it is always encouraging when i hear about what you are doing. keep pressing in. :)

At 1/20/2008 11:05:00 PM , Anonymous mk said...

God blessing be with you. I'll pray for you. God interferes into human affairs by prayer. As George Muller, he also pray to God and by faith He ask and trust God faithfully for all the supplication for the orphan.

Take good rest. After this, u guys (Philip and Asia for Jesus team) will have no rest. :) God will grant u all everything to work with Him.

At 1/22/2008 04:16:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Pastor Jaeson,
Amazing the impact you have had in Asia. What a role model you are here and a sign and a wonder to an entire generation. How I thank God for you. Please, please take time for you and also so you can model rest to a culture that is so driven. I truly believe as you put intimacy first and Him above ministry, the revival ripples will splash all over Asia. I truly beieve more will be done as you rest than as you run. You are amazing. May you be as kind to yourself as He is and strive only to enter rest. You are amazing. absolutely amazing...

At 1/24/2008 08:40:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi jaeson ma!
you don't know me, and i don't know you, but i stumbled upon your blog and found myself very encouraged reading your past entries... and when going back, i found out that you know benson lee?? he used to be my xanga friend, before i shut down my xanga!

anyway, i read a couple entries back that you're interested in getting back into acting.

WELL.. ... i'm an actor right now.. and i actually have an audition next week for an indie film and as i was reading the breakdown... ... it seems like you may fit the bill so if you have time, maybe you can at least submit to it? :)

here's the 411:

Karen Shih Productions is casting Office of the Dead, a feature. Karen Shih, prod., Matthew Chung, dir. Shoot starts late Feb.

Seeking—Ben: male, late 20s-early 30s, any ethnicity but Asian preferred, attractive, software engineer, should have a broad emotional range, you want to like and identify with him and his passion for his project; Raj: male, late 20s-early 30s, any ethnicity but Middle Eastern or East Indian preferred, attractive, speaks and acts with a slight hip-hop demeanor, nice guy, looking for love, Ben’s fellow software engineer, on an H1 visa; Liz: female, late 20s-early 30s, any ethnicity but Asian preferred, would be attractive if not for her anal attitude, project manager; Angie: female, 20s, body of a Baywatch girl, hot thing in the office, must be able to play the playful flirt, Raj’s love interest; Amanda: female, late 20s, any ethnicity, very attractive and put together, must be able to play a driven office employee who likes to party but wouldn’t hesitate to kiss up to get ahead, in marketing, with Rob and Wil; Rob and Wil: males, late 20s, any ethnicity, must have that GQ kind of attractiveness and be able to play driven office employees who like to party but wouldn’t hesitate to kiss up to get ahead; Gladys Chu: female, late 20s-early 30s, any ethnicity but Asian preferred, attractive, news reporter for a local station; Six Background Zombies: 20s-50s, any ethnicity, office zombies.

Send pix & résumés to Matthew Chung, 2728 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404. For more info and sides, visit Deferred pay, copy, credit, and meals provided.

OH, my name is christina july kim by the way :D

good luck jaeson and hope you're having a WONDERFUL time in canada!!!

At 1/24/2008 06:56:00 PM , Blogger Jaeson Ma said...

hey thanks Christina!

I really appreciate the tip for the audition. I've been getting back into acting recently and was just praying that God would open up more doors to audition for roles :)

Hit me up on facebook so we can support one another in the journey. Wishing and praying the best for ya!


At 2/03/2008 10:29:00 AM , Anonymous DannyC said...

Jaeson, hey bro from KC!

I found your blog while searching for stuff about Watchman Nee for our Fuller mentor assignment! Are you writing about him too?

I love you brother. Hope your time in (location) is going great! Talk with you soon.

Definitely let me know when you're coming out to KC next time.

Peace, Dan C.


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