What is it going to take to have Zion?
What is it going to take to have Zion? What is it going to take to have Zion? By Doug Smith at CRE Conference/Reunion Thursday, June 28, 2018
What is it going to take to have Zion?
By Doug Smith
at CRE Conference/Reunion
Thursday, June 28, 2018 Sharing Service
Livestream Available at: waldoavenuerestorationbranch.com
“The only thing I offer oh my Lord to thee. Is my whole life and heart, and everything in me, everything I need. . . I offer you my life, and all that’s dear to me.” From “My Only Offering/ Tanging Alay Ko” sung by the Saints in the Philipines.
What is it going to take to have Zion? Just everything in me.
The first time I became acutely aware of the need the world had for Zion, was a time when we were in a town called Eldorette in Kenya and we were talking about Zion. We had done a great job of intellectually telling everyone what Zion was. And they had a lot of questions, especially about this thing of… ”Everyone’s money goes where?” I said, “Well, it comes down to a thing of love.”
When I was growing up, I loved myself. I took very good care of myself. I made sure that I had everything I needed. I had plenty of food and clothes and all of those things. But there came a time in my life, when I met this young lady named Judy Goucher. That love I had for me all of a sudden went out to this other person and everything I had was hers. I would give my life so that Judy would have the things she needed to stay alive and to enjoy life. But you know it didn’t stop there. It wasn’t too long later and all of a sudden our son Brett came along and that love that I had for Judy just expanded to this little guy. He couldn’t even talk, but still I would have given everything I had so that he could have what he needed. Nothing was more important to me than that little guy. But it didn’t stop there. Three years later daughter Lauren comes along. And then it expanded some more. And then three years later daughter Natalie comes along. And there was no problem expanding that to Natalie. And then when son Brian comes along, it was like yeah, everything I have. I will give it. I would give my life so that these will have what they need.
I said Zion is no big mystery. Zion is when the love that I have for me and my family expands to your family. And I would give everything I have, and I would give my life, so that your family has the things that they need. Oh, that threw them into a tizzy. They were like “Yeah, but when my son turns 18 years old, I can’t keep supporting him. They’ve got to get on their own and be able to do things on their own.” They were trying to figure out what we could possibly be talking about. How is this love going to expand and go to everyone?
One of the men in the back was Nathan Muyela. Nathan was sitting there and his face was all kind of screwed up, and he finally put up his hand. He asked me a question. He said, “Doug, is there such love in America?” And with everything in my heart I wanted to say “Yes, there is. In fact, there is a whole city where the people love each other, just this way. Come and see.” But I couldn’t say that. I had to say, “No. But we are working on it.”
Brothers and sisters, that broke my heart. I said to myself right then and there: “I never want to have to say that again. I never want to say, “No.” I want to say, “Yes. there is a whole city where the people love that way. Come and see. Come and learn of her ways.”
Do you see why we need Zion? We talk about who’s right or who has authority. The only reason that we are here brothers and sisters is to build the kingdom of God so that Zion can be a reality. And if you are
doing anything else, then I am sorry, you are not the church of God. I don’t care what authority you claim. If you are not using it for the Lord’s purposes then I doubt that you have it. Apostle Author Oakman once said, “Unless and until the kingdom of God is a reality, the church has no reason to exist.” We are not here to have church services on Sunday. We are not here to have conferences and reunions. We are not even here to sing great songs from all over the world. We are here to build the kingdom of God. To become followers of Jesus Christ. To listen to what He says and follow his law and to love each other in such a way that the Kingdom becomes a reality in our heart and the physical expression of
that kingdom, which is Zion, comes to pass.
Section 98 of the Doctrine and Covenants tells us that Zion cannot be removed out of her place. That means that Zion is not going anywhere. And that means that since Zion isn’t leaving, either we’ve got to build it or we’ve got to leave. That’s why we are here. We have to do it. It is the reason for your covenant. It is the reason for your existence and it is the only hope for the world.
You’ve heard tonight how your brothers and sisters all over the world are looking to you because they want to have a place where they can come to see how this Christ-like love works. To see how people truly love each other. To see God’s kingdom. To see people who follow the king all living and working together. It’s the only hope for this world.
Are we ready yet? Have you felt the spirit this week? Have you felt the spirit here this night? It’s easy to say yes. But Doctrine and Covenants 10 reminds us, “Now verily, verily I say unto you, put thy trust in that spirit which leadeth to do good, yea to do justly, walk humbly, and judge righteously and this is my Spirit.” the Spirit of God is not just a nice feeling. It is not a chill that runs down your spine when you sing “Tanging Alay Ko”. the Spirit of God is what leads you to do good. there is nothing about a feeling there. the Spirit of God is what leads you to do good. To walk justly. To walk humbly. To judge righteously. the Lord says that is his Spirit. And so if you are feeling the Spirit of God, you are feeling a desire to do. And if you haven’t felt a desire to do something different from what you have ever done in your life before, then you haven’t felt the Spirit of God. No one should leave this room tonight the same person you were when you came in. Because if God has touched your life, you have got to be different. You have got to be inspired to do something different than what you have done.
So I ask you again, are you ready yet? Are you ready to love? Not just lovable people, but unlovable people. Are you ready to love your families? those members of your family that should know better? Are
you ready to love the people in your congregation? those people that disappoint you sometimes? Are you ready to love those people in that congregation that you left because they were being so silly and making such bad decisions? Are you ready to judge righteously?
Oh this thing of judging righteously is really weird you know. If I’m judging righteously, that just means I’m right, right? Absolutely not. What is it that you can judge? It is not another person. the Lord makes that very clear. We are not to be judging other people. So what does that mean to judge righteously? What is it you are judging? You are judging your response and you are judging your actions. that is the only thing that you are a judge over.
The Lord said that in his kingdom he is going to throw out a net and there are going to be all kind of fish in that kingdom. there are going to be good fish and there are going to be bad fish. there are going to be fish that taste great and there are going to be fish that taste lousy. There are going to be fish that are nice and fleshy and there are going to be fish covered in prickles that are poking everybody else in the net. It is not up to the fish in the net to push the bad ones out. It is up to the net (the kingdom) to bring everyone in and the Lord is going to take care of that. He told the story about the wheat and the tares. the wheat and the tares are growing up together. Angels said, “Lord there are some ugly people out there in that kingdom of yours. Can’t we go stomp on them? Can’t we go tear them out?” And the Lord said, “No. If you go tearing up the bad things -- the people that are doing wrong and making wrong decision -- you are going to tear up the wheat too. Nothing is going to grow.”
So as wheat, our job is not to identify the tares and try to make sure that they know that they are bad. Our job as wheat is to put all of our effort into growing and bringing forth the fruit that the Lord has put inside of us to bring forth. the Lord will take care of that in the last day. It is not your responsibility to judge anyone and it is not your responsibility to punish anyone. It is not your responsibility to turn your back on them. It is not your responsibility to ostracize them. It is not your responsibility to leave that congregation and go to a different congregation. It is your responsibility as Saints in Zion to love each other and to decide in your own life what you are going to do. It is your responsibility to judge righteously and make every decision and every action a righteous decision and a righteous action. And when you judge that you have made a mistake, then you need to call yourself out.
The other day I was late getting on my way from home to here and was very nervous about getting here on time. As I started to pull out of our lane and I went down the road, I got to thinking about something else and all of a sudden there was another SUV that turned the corner coming down my road. I was turning right into them and they were just terrified. I looked up and saw that I was probably an 1/8 of an inch from their door. I whipped my wheel around, got out of the way. I thought, “I ought to stop and tell them I’m sorry, but I’m late, I’ll just keep on going.” As I kept on going, I thought, Doug, that was terrible. That wasn’t a good judgement. That was a terrible thing to do.
So, when I got here, I got on my phone and I sent an email out to our Homeowners Association and I said, “Hi, I need this letter sent to everybody in the Homeowners Association. I don’t know who it was, but I almost killed someone on my road and I’m sorry. I thought that I was in a hurry and couldn’t wait and stop and see if they were okay and I just want to tell them I’m sorry.” I put my phone number on there and told them, “You know if it’s you, or someone you know, or a friend that’s visiting you, just have them call me so I can apologize.”
I made a bad judgement and then I made a righteous judgement. We need to judge righteously.
Do you think that all the apostles were perfect before God used them? Do you think they knew every line of doctrine? Are you kidding me? They didn’t even know that Jesus was going to rise again. They didn’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They thought he was gone. Yes, he told them that stuff, but he’s dead right? The Lord had given them power and authority to cast out devils. He was using them, but they didn’t even know that Jesus was going to rise from the dead. Jesus had been teaching the kingdom for three years and yet after his death and resurrection he came back for 40 more days. To do what? Congratulate them on the fact that they had now become perfect? No! To tell them about the kingdom of God and all the things of the kingdom for 40 more days. He said, “You know, I’ve been with you guys for three years and somehow you are just so dense, you haven’t quite caught up with it.”
Even the very week before Jesus died, the apostles were together and they were saying, “Hey, which one of us is better? I think I’ve seen you and I think you are not quite as good as me and I think I ought to be on God’s right hand. What’s more, my mom thinks I should be too.” Who were these people that Jesus was using? Who were these people that God was sending into all the world to preach his gospel? They were not perfect people. Did Peter even understand that the Gentiles were supposed hear the Gospel before Jesus died? No. He and Paul fought about it. Was Paul a perfect person because he knew it was supposed to go to the Gentiles? No. He and Barnabas fought about whether Mark should be able to come with them anymore because Mark wasn’t serious enough for Paul.
So as we look at each other, are we judging each other? Are we saying you don’t know the Gospel enough? You don’t have the right doctrine? Do we have that right? Is that what is going to bring us together in Zion? Are we ready yet to love? I long for the day when we do finally make the decision that we are going to keep the commandments of God and the biggest commandment he has given us is to love. I long for the day when the love that you have for yourself and your family can expand to someone else and to their family. It doesn’t have to be more love than you have for your family, it just has to be the same love. Just the same love that Jesus has given you.
So are we ready yet? What more do we need? Do we need a couple of more big donations. Maybe if we had a million dollars that would take care of it and then we could go and do this work. Maybe we just need to have a few more classes and then we will be ready. It’s very interesting in the DC 98:10c the Lord says, “There is even now already in store a sufficient yea, even abundance to redeem Zion and establish
her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice.” We don’t need one more thing if the churches who are calling themselves after Jesus name, would just hearken to his voice. Just listen to him. Just do what he says. We don’t have just enough to accomplish his work, we have an abundance. We have everything that we need. We don’t need one more thing.
I take that back, we do need one more thing. We need my heart to turn to the Lord. We need me to sing that song we sang earlier with real meaning. My only offering is everything I have. All that is dear
to me. I desire to give to the Lord. Are we ready yet? I hope you are. I am. I never want to have to tell another person outside of this city, “No, we don’t have such love in America.” I want to say, “Yes. there is a city, where the people show this love. Come and see.”
What a missionary tool! That would make what we do out there so much easier, if someone could just see it. Not just in one person’s life. If they could see it in action on a large scale. Wouldn’t they flow unto that city to learn of her ways? How is it that people can do this? How is it that people can love this way?
It just starts with us. Zion will not be moved out of her place and we are the guys that are here. We are the ones. It is time. It is time for us to make that decision to start working together. To start looking for ways that we can show that love to each other so that no one is left behind. I don’t care what faction they belong to. I don’t care what misunderstanding they have. If we are working for Zion, and there is someone else who wants to work for Zion too, we can work together. If the Lord is working on your Baptist friend to come and work for Zion, are we going to reject them and say, “No, this is my job, you can’t be a part of it.”
The apostles came to Jesus and said, “They are casting out devils and they are not with us. We forbade them and said you can’t do this.” Jesus said, “What? If they are doing good things it is because God is with them.” God is working with them too. And if God is working with them, why is it up to us to reject it and say it can’t be. You can’t do it that way. Why don’t we do it God’s way? Why don’t we start looking at the things we are doing and forget about what everyone else is doing. And if God wants to bring someone else along to work with us, let’s work together with him or her.
It’s going to take some work. It’s going to take a lot of love. It’s going to take a lot of prayer. I want you guys to know that your brothers and sisters around the world are praying for you to get the work accomplished.
After a hymn was sung, three people were invited to offer a prayer for Zion -- Saul Reyes from Mexico, who offered a prayer in Spanish, Eric Odida from Kenya and Brian Mundy, from the Center Place.
This is the prayer offered by brother Eric Odida from Kenya:
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, the God of Elijah, we thank you with the opportunity to come before your presence in the manner by which you have already welcomed us as testified by the Spirit that has been here with us. We lift this land up to you oh, Lord — even this land of Zion that you have meant to be the Center Place and whose boundaries you have marked with your own hands. In asking you for this blessing, Oh Father, we remember the testimony of Elijah, when the Syrian army came to capture him. Lord we know that you opened up his eyes — and his servant’s — that they were able to see the security that was surrounding them.
We are not asking that we see your angels Lord, even as they are armed, but we are praying that Father, you come back and look upon this land, again, and that Father you put a hedge around it. And that those very angels, those very fierce fighters of yours, you stationed around it. We pray that you may be able to lift up a wall around her and raise it up high. For the enemy has trained it’s focus on this place, even thy Center Place. As the latter day has come upon us Father, so is the enemy ready to wage fierce battle against the people of this land and against your truth, weakening her strong places and trying to destroy that which has been here, of which the ancients spoke, and is coming to realization. We pray that you look back upon this land Father with favor and that you be able to put a gate that is strong and not easy to be pulled down by the enemy.
We pray that your light would be able to shine upon our streets and Father that her fathers and her sons and her old men will turn back to you again with full hearts. We know that this is the last time. I know
that the time is near, very, very close Father. Return the sons and daughters of this land to you Lord. Return her children back to your Father. Return her marriages back to you oh Lord. Return her relationships to you Father. Those that have strayed and walked out of the land, Father, return them back to the land and to her God — the God of Abraham, the father of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Let the excitement come again upon the people of this land.
We ask you father to bring healing upon the entire breadth and width of the center place. We pray healing upon the people of this land. We ask to raise them up again Father one more time — this last time, — to the realization of the goal that you placed before them. On behalf of the entire world, and the peoples of the world that are called by your name, as a testimony Lord and hope for those that are hopeless, we take these people and place them into your hands. We lift them up to you.
Bless them Lord. Let your blessing come upon each and every one of them. Walk into their homes, into their places of work, into their businesses, into the schools where their children are. Visit their children, who are out of this place in other cities and beyond, and turn there hearts and their minds back to this land and the calling unto which they have been called. Look into their health issues and into their burdens. Lord Jesus take these upon yourself. Father heal this land. Heal this land, Lord. Put your security around it. Heal this land. In Jesus name we pray and trust, Amen.
This is the prayer of brother Mundy.
Almighty God our Heavenly Father, I want to join my voice with that of my brothers, for you have said that where two or three are gathered together touching one thing that you are in our midst. Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for the inspiration that has already been shared. Father, in my prayers of preparation, even for this night, I saw an administration taking place upon this land. For you have told us in your word that if there are any sick among you that they are to call for the elders of the church and they will anoint their heads with oil and they will pray over them and the prayer of faith shall save the sick and if they have committed sin oh Father, it shall be forgiven them.
As Elder’s in your church Oh God, we place your hands upon this Holy Land. It is so sick and encumbered by sin. Almighty God, I pray that your spirit would flow over this land and wash it clean. It
would wash over every building and every people and that even the animals might rejoice, Father, in your mercy and your love that you are showing to them. Oh righteous and heavenly Father, we have allowed sin to creep into our lives and into the lives of this city and it has failed to be that which you have had it to be —even an example, an ensign unto the world.
And so heavenly Father, even as my brothers and sisters are joined hand in hand, we hold this land up to you. Father we beg of you, to go down the highways and the byways and find those things that are unpleasing to you. And it tears my heart up Father that there are those even within the hearing of my word and those that would hear this prayer that might be left out of when the circle is placed upon this land, even as our brother White experienced so many years ago. Father, we pray that the endowment might take place and a cleansing might take place upon this land -- that even the streets might glisten and the building would glisten and that we, Father, as lively stones might glisten. So Father forgive us, forgive this land and heal it. Take away that, Father, which is causing pain, and minister unto the root causes of the illness that has plagued this land. And so heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, we seal this blessing both in heaven and upon this earth, for the sake of thy Kingdom, even so, in Jesus name, Amen