What was the insurance of the early Church to have a life of security and freedom?

24 09 2014

What was the insurance of the early Church to have a life of security and freedom?

I love the way the early church shared and lived life with each other. Their sacrificial love among brethren is the pattern we are to follow. Many have tried to make a principal out of the way they lived but have failed to live practically following that pattern. It is, therefore, significant to examine this very important aspect of their body life: Where did they get their security and freedom? When they were made disciples of Jesus, what drove them to sell their houses and lands and joine the community called “The Way” and begin to live an alternative lifestyle? Surely, common sense tells that the one who has many houses, cars, land and businesses is more secured than the one who is trying to get rid of it. What kind of message did they expose themselves to that came from the apostles? What kind of lifestyle did they see that made them do likewise? What kind of security did they see in the ekklesia that the world they lived in could not offer?

What despicable scenery, when we look at the way the Christians today behave and live life with each other! Doesn’t security mean to have more, not less? More money, properties, businesses, cars, insurances, and lands and more not less! Although they believe that Jesus will come back soon they still want more church buildings, more parking lots, more programs, and more leaders. I remember reading a line contrasting the early church and the modern church, it reads like this: Peter preached one sermon and three thousand got saved, the pastor today preaches three thousand sermons and one gets saved!

If you need money to live then you’re not secured. Money seems to be your shield, not faith. If you need your career to live then you’re not really free. Career determines who you are, not God. You see, true security comes from forsaking all you have, giving it all up, not acquiring more and making yourself dependent on God alone. And true freedom comes not from serving others to benefit yourself (like any who work in this world do) but from serving others, laying down your life for others even when you benefit nothing out of it. This is exactly how the early church behaved and shared life sacrificially with one another. Forsaking and serving is the kingdom way of life. How did they do it? Simple. They showed obedience to their King first and then to his kingdom mandate.

Jesus said to us – his disciples, to seek first his kingdom and its constitution and then secondly, all these things shall be added. Let’s do this one by one. If Jesus says ‘seek,’ it means it is hidden and needs to be ‘found’ right? “Seek and it shall be found.’ My friend and brother Peter here asked as we discussed these things among ourselves, “Where? Where is the Kingdom of God?” It’s a very good question by the way. You see, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand’” (Lk 8:10). The priceless pearls of the Kingdom shall not be trampled by those that don’t even know how to ask the right question but carelessly shout Kingdom, Kingdom! It is a hidden secret. Why do you want to blast it carelessly?

Jesus is the King. A king without his domain is no king. Jesus says in Lk 17:21, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” If Jesus is your King, you are his domain. As more people acknowledge him to be their King and pay allegiance to his Kingship, his Kingdom expands and of the increase of his governance and peace, there is no end.
Paying allegiance to the King commands being obedient to his decrees and keeping his commands. A king without decrees, is not a king worthy of respect or obedience. “If you love me,” Jesus said to us as his disciples, “you will obey what I command” (Jn 14:15). When you acknowledge Jesus as your King, he descends his domain all over you. You enter into the King’s domain through baptism, and you remain in it through obedience because you love him. Obedience makes Jesus domain happen in you. Thus, the Kingdom of God is within you.

Let’s go back to Mt 6:33 again, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…The Kingdom of God are those people of God, who have aligned themselves to the rule of King Jesus. Those who have made the allegiance to obey his commands out of love to him. Those people who let the Kingdom of God happen daily in their lifestyle and live in obedience to Jesus’ commands and his decrees. The Kingdom of God talks of a plurality then, a community, a body joined and knit-together in a region. Jesus says, “Seek first such people!” Seek first my people who live according to my Kingdom rules obeying my commands because they love me! And what does ‘seek’ mean? Change your priorities. Get out of all the human allegiance you have made to your church, your organization, to your worldly affairs, to your country, deny your Self, egos, rights, opinions, and enter the Kingdom of God. Lock-in to the Head, King Jesus, and join the community of Kingdom citizens and be part of that Body! (Start such a community if there is none in your region. Seek out such people and extend the Kingdom of God.)

Do you see the hidden secret? The Kingdom of God can be found! It’s right here! Wow!

As you find those people who live the Kingdom life together as a family, an ekklesia in the region (one church, one region) you join together with them. (Even if it may cost you to leave eberything and move to another region, do it! It is worth the Kingdom!) Because that’s why it says, “and all these things shall be added unto you.” Now, we are talking! That is being secure of everything that you need. But how does this work? O course, there is a price to pay. The cost of discipleship is to forsake all and to deny oneself. Jesus said in, Lk 14:33 “any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” Seek his kingdom first, does not mean, seek a good job, a good salary or good weather and your job transfer. We say, “No!” to these things and deny them to define our daily lifestyle. If these things come first to determine our life, then we practice that seeking His kingdom is not our top priority.

What did a person or a household see when they got saved in those early ekklesia? He definitely did not see a church and immediately became a member of it, really. So, what did he see? He saw the Kingdom of God. Jesus is so right in saying that when a person is born again he can see the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3). The disciples’ security is found in Jesus. Jesus shall meet all our needs according to His riches and glory and as the church forsakes all in order to receive a hundred fold. This is just one of the principles of the Kingdom life here. Mt 19:29 states, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much.” This is what Jesus has promised. I know, it stands so opposing to the way worldly people think and behave. In the world, the rich is rich, the poor is poor but in the Kingdom, the rich is poor and the poor is rich. The first is last, and the last is first. One who forsakes all has a hundred-fold! Madness? No, it is the normality. In the Kingdom, not doing what Jesus says is the madness! Those who arrogantly, adamantly argue that “what Jesus said, he didn’t actually mean it” will never get what he so simply says. To those he says, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mk 1:15). Repent means, change the way you think. Renew your mind, my friend because the way your mind processes thoughts, needs a complete turn around and a new alignment to King Jesus in order to grasp kingdom stuff. He commands us to ‘repent’ before believing the news of his Kingdom! It requires you to turnaround from your arrogant madness and submit in obedience that comes out of love to your King.

As one truly forsakes all, that’s when he is secure. That is what the early church did, that was their attitude. They did not argue and debate and share opinions. They simply obeyed and forsook, denying their self, their own, their possessions, houses, lands, fields! They modeled a submitted attitude of the heart for us to follow. Today we have made a theological principle out of what they actually practiced. Many fail to follow such lifestyle that begins in the attitude of a submitted heart. In Acts 2, it says that they met from house to house. This means that they did not meet just on Sunday mornings for a couple of hours. That is not what they modeled for us to practice. The obeyed Jesus’commands of one-anothering and modeled what it takes to be a Body. They met from house to house. When one house got saved they just moved to the next house. Consider, what makes of a body if its parts are separate from each other? What kind of foot is that which asks the hand, “See you next Sunday Morning?” Unlike the lifestyle in modern churches that is filled with artificial love and ambition, the lifestyle in the book of Acts is full of sacrificial love and devotion. They lived ready anytime to martyrdom, to die for their King and his Kingdom – for one another.

That kind of selflessness gave them all the security. Think, what do you lose anyway if you are selfless? Now, how about their freedom in Christ. How did they actually get it? Jesus freed us from sin and slavery. “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal 5:1). But how did they practice this new freedom. Jesus who has set us free modeled it for us. He took on the very nature of a servant (Phil 2:7), and came to us in a serving attitude to set us free. You followthat pattern and serve others to live in that freedom. Are you living such a freedom as a disciple of Jesus? Jesus is the one who set us free, he set an example of how to serve one another to really live in the new freedom he bought and brought for us. By serving one another, we live in freedom. Jesus came to serve, not to be served. We should do the same. I serve you; you serve me and we serve one another. How’s that!

In a world that is full of I-me-mine mentality, the Church also adopts such a mind-set. The I-me-mine mind-set does not enhance servant attitude but a leader attitude. Everyone wants to join some ‘Leader’s Conference’ so it’s obvious that nobody wants to serve their brethren. To say that a ‘leader serves’ annoys me to the core. Come on, honestly, a leader does not serve, he leads period. A servant does serve. Even if the job of a leader is guaranteed to serve, then it is more appropriate to call him a servant and not a leader. Jesus didn’t get the job done by leading. He got it done by serving. He came to serve. And we must go and do likewise as we are told to ‘serve one another.’

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought” in Rom.12:3, talks actually about our act of spiritual worship. How do we worship? By offering our bodies as a living sacrifice. How do we practice this? Read the whole chapter and you will see it is all about serving one another! Someone explained to me that the ‘second’ commandment (loving your neighbor) is the same as the ‘first’ commandment (loving God). If loving God is worship, then loving your neighbor is worship to God. “Leave your gift at the altar” Jesus says when offering sacrifices, “and be reconciled to your brother” (Matt.5:24). Relationship is more important than offering a sacrifice. “How can you say you love God whom you do not see,” asks John, “when you cannot love your brother whom you see?” (1Jn. 4:20) See?

And here is Paul’s words of interaction to the ekklesia in Philippi, “Let each of you look out not only to his own interest, but also for the interest of others” (Phil.2:4). Practically it means, I will look out for your needs, you look out for mine. Deal? Imagine this, you take care of your brother’s needs and your brother take cares of your need, and everyone in the ekklesia is doing it the same way! Don’t you think that’s security and freedom in action? Yes, indeed!

Lastly, think about this, there are basically 75 commands of King Jesus, as His disciples we should know them or else we do not know what to obey, and 58 of these are about one-anothering. What do you say? Did Jesus command us leadership or servanthood? One-another, means I cannot live without you; you cannot live without me! I’m not greater than you, you’re not greater than me! In our house, we are 18 of us living in two buildings next to each other. And whatever we do, we always do it two by two, or four by four. When we cook, we all cook together. Once a missionary brother came visiting us and he ate with us. He liked the food and so he asked, “Who cooked this one?” There was some seconds of silence because at first. No one answered “Me!” Then someone broke the silence and answered, “Albert.” Albert then answered, “Ah, Jomie!” And Jomie pointed at Arlen and said, “It’s Arlen.” Then the missionary realized how our family is knit-together as one body! No one takes the credit because we all serve all.

True security comes from forsaking all for the kingdom of God. And true freedom comes from serving one another.





A 14-minute Conversation with a 14yo disciple-maker

10 09 2014

Tonight, about two hours ago, we baptized Ashley, 16yo. A part of Albert’s clan. Two motorbikes we went to the nearby sea with Albert’s sister Jinky and Nancy, their cousin. On our way, Nancy 14yo, who was made into a disciple this year is riding on my back (while Jinky and Ashley is at Albert’s bike) and we started a making disciples conversation.

“So Nancy,” I ask “why is the person needed to be baptized like what we are going to do now to Ashley?”

“So, that her sins will be gone.” Was her direct answer.

“Have you tried doing baptism anyway?”

“Yes. My uncle Acquillis who live next door to us in the mountain. It’s Aunt Bebe’s husband and my dad’s brother.”

“You baptized your own uncle? Where?” I was dumbfounded.

“At your house.” She exclaimed “didn’t you know uncle? (It’s how she calls me because she lives in my house with Albert’s sisters were living next door to mine).

“I think I remember that incident. I was in one of my trips somewhere.” I replied.

“Yeah, it’s me who speak the words (“I baptize you..”) with his wife helping me. And Ate Lisa (my wife) took the photo.” She reiterated her story.
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The ocean from the house is only about 7min drive. It’s where we normally went to baptized anyone who wants to follow Jesus. We arrive and I took photos of Ashley’s baptism while Nancy’s baptizes Ashley with Albert’s short instruction. It’s quite interesting to listen to Albert’s advice about baptism so I will include it in this story.

“It’s alright to pray ‘before’ you baptize her,” Albert make that clear to Nancy. “But to make baptism simple and easy for Ashley to do the same when she makes her friends followers of Jesus then it’s better not and do pray after or later.”

Nancy baptizes Ashley without delay as I took some photos to document. We do these for the sake of our next generation to learn the ‘how to’s’ of making disciples.

We hurried back to the house. Then i continued my conversation with Nancy.

“We don’t belong to any church group when we become disciples,” I said. “Because we becomes the church. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there the church is. It’s in us.”

“It’s exactly what the book that I am reading says, “Back to the Basics” by Mike Peters.” (This book is what all the new disciples are reading. It’s free for a request.)

“Really? Why, what did you find reading this book?” I interrogate.

“We don’t call ‘anything’ church. Because Papa God’s love (she really uses this name ‘Papa God’) is living inside of us. That’s how we became the church.” She explained.

“If so, then what are these people who goes to church doing ‘worship’ then?”

“We are the church.” She said to me, “where should we go to?” She says this not being ignorant but she questions it’s belief.

“They’re ignorant Nancy. They don’t know the truth. One thing to do with them, make them disciples of Jesus. Tell them the truth.”

“Right!” She replied.

“Ok, if we don’t go to church because we are the church now, then what is our worship then? How do we worship?” It’s obvious she don’t know.

“Our worship is in spirit and in truth. Because God is spirit (I overheard she whispered ‘God is a spirit.’), and those who will worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. Like the wind, did you see it? (‘No’ she said behind my back). But can you feel it? Can you see the trees moving? Means you’ll know that the wind is present. That is you worship everywhere because God is everywhere.

“How? Second is, offer your lives as living sacrifice.” I began a quick story of how the OT people do worship by offering lambs etc. “Our worship is living a holy life. It is when God is pleased when we don’t commit sin, meaning we do His will. His 75 commandments.”

“Seventy-five?” She was shock hearing me “I thought it’s ten?”

“Then ten actually becomes two. Loving God and loving your neighbor (I’m quoting the whole verses here and explain.) Jesus fulfilled all laws of Moses and gave us a new commandment. It includes loving one another, forgiving one another and others. So to summarize, it’s about seventy-five of them all.”

“I see.” She affirmed.

“Keep reading your bible. You will find more of these things that we are talking.”

“Anyway, third is our worship is bearing fruits that will last. Jesus says that He is the one who choose us, not us choosing Him.” She’s got another shock feeling when she heard this.

“Really?” She stops me for awhile.

“Yes, the bible says that we are the ones who are lost. If so, then how can we find Him?” She got it. “So, He chose us to bear fruits for His Father’s glory, that is making disciples. It’s part of Jesus 75 commands that we go and make disciples. It’s like what we are doing now to Ashley.” We are approaching at our house gate now as come to this point.

“It is when we make disciples to our friends that God is glorified. It’s an offering to Him from us. This is our true worship.”

(Two things I am showing you here: intentional discipleship (making disciples) and relational discipleship (parenting). We don’t do our teachings separate from life’s situation. We integrate them. Life discipleship, that is. It’s simply like how Jesus did to His disciples when He said, “Look at the birds…” And it becomes a lesson on faith. “Look at the grass…” At it becomes a lesson on trust.





Finances and Making Disciples

6 08 2014

Making disciples is costly. Yes that means money. But to say that making disciples is dependent on money then that’s different. (And that’s not how we function here.) One is dependent on your attitude towards the Great Commission and the other is a total obedience to Christ’s command.

My first trips (not doing seminars or conferences, done with that) for the purpose of making disciples and immediately baptized people were done because I heard God wants me to go not because someone wants to pay my airfares. Most of the time when someone offered free airfares I often take it as ‘not from God.’ Because you can’t equal opportunity and God’s call. Grabbing opportunity for the sake of it often ends up in a mess simply because the devil can manipulate to appear like it’s God’s will. My trips does not only end up making some people a disciple up to the 3rd generation but also the Lord has been faithful providing what I need while in the field.

True mission is going to a place where no making disciples happen yet. Not going from church to church doing seminars and conferences where talented speakers were not staying ‘from house to house’ but ‘from hotel to hotel.’ I have enough of it. Bringing this kind of attitude and lifestyle to my next generation I simply cannot allow myself to pave a way that leads to comfortable Christianity. So my trips have change. One of my first trips was when I flew for two hours and ride a bus for 6hrs and arriving at my destination at 3 o’clock in the morning with only $1.10 left in my wallet and I have to stay in the area for four days. The next day I baptized one. The next day someone sent $200 in my account. After a year, the area have reach up to the 4th generation in making disciples.

I have learned a lesson in that trip regarding money. That resources is sent in the field not in your home. If I am a soldier and have been ordered by my commander to go to Iraq then resources like food and guns shall not be sent to my home here in Cebu but to Iraq. Simple as that. Means, I have to obey God first. I have to go to the field and God will provide.

Now, how did I get my air ticket. Did I raise funds? After I knew God wants me to go to a specific location I normally look for cheap/promo fares. Then later would ask friends to fund it. Even so, either they give or not it doesn’t matter anyhow coz I’ve already booked my ticket. That’s when I ended up having $1.10 when I arrived at my destination. This does not only happens once though. Stories after stories are in my site. Even this very story is documented for the purpose of helping others do mission just as we were told to do, not having our own opinions of the Great Commission. That is to obey and trust God when it comes to doing ‘His’ work.

Now about sending disciples to make disciples. Do we need money before obeying?

We ‘all’ wait for the ‘go’ signal. ‘All’ because not just me who decides when and who decides to go out. And a ‘go’ signal because we just don’t go for the sake of going. We are a body of believers that sends disciples, not individuals who does our own thing. And more than that we are told to be spirit-led.

So, one time while we were doing relational discipleship, means doing something while talking, discussing, persuading, teaching about Life, God, Bible etc. We don’t just sit and do bible study, we don’t do program to raise spiritual kids. We work something together like in this case we are making cabinets. In the middle of our discussion Albert and Jomie said harmoniously “Kuya, we are going to Olango island.” I agreed but something in me disagreed. Why? “They could have ask first if I’ve got money to send them.” That’s my concern. For two days I kept asking and start worrying where to get the funds as the days to go nearer and nearer. Then suddenly as I open the door of my room I heard God speak to me saying “The Holy Spirit sends them.” Then I remember two scripture in Acts that says the same exact words. (It’s right there in your bible).

I am glad I got some confirmation but at the same time have felt shame because I worry much of the finances issue than what Jesus has told Albert and Jomie to do. I lack trust of the Holy Spirit to speak to them. That’s mostly our problem. We trust God to talk to us but not to others. This is the very reason that we like this ‘leadership’ role because it stops us to do something and start telling people what to do!

Now, this island that God wants them to go, how did we reach them out without planning much of where to get finances? We bought used tire and made it into a flower pot. The used tire cost 5 peso ($1-40peso). We create something out of it, a flower pot, and we sell it for P100 ($2+). We’ve made 20 of them so that’s $50. They will sell it in the island and use the money for whatever needs they would have. They will find ‘house of peace’ and make disciples there. Now, there many families there who are Jesus followers. They’ve reach up to the 6th generation. This is a very good sign to start an apostolic hub!

Are we needing funds to go and make disciples? Oh yes. Making disciples is not free. It is costly. But we’ve paid the price ourselves. Why? Obedience first. It’s not the issue of money, it’s more than that. It’s our hearts that wants to obey.

People, friends who gave to us because they are seeing us functioning ‘already’ as a sending ecclesia. They ‘laid down at the apostles feet’ like in the early church. They give without question. Simply because they see us how we live but most of all is that we have relationships with them.

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Living A Life that Demands Questions

23 07 2014

“I think I’m going to be dipped in the water as well!” Edgar came into conclusion after being convinced by his friend Romy who stops smoking after his baptism.

“So Edgar,” I’ve started my conversation with him after his baptism today, “what is this story that I’ve heard about your friend Romy?”

“Yeah, it’s unbelievable!” Edgar exclaimed. “Who would believe he could do that? I knew him as a smoker for 30 years and it’s quite a shock to see him stops!”

“And when did he stops smoking anyway?”

“After his baptism.” Edgar replied.

This photo was taken today. He was baptized by his friend Litoy who is also a disciple. Edgar’s wife was baptized by Albert.

Like Romy, we should live a life that demands questions.

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“Jesus died for our sin, and so are we. You are dead in God’s sight and what should we do with dead people?” These are the words that I spoke to Edgar during his baptism.

“We should bury them.” Answered Edgar.

“People who wants to follow Jesus must be baptized in the water as a symbol of his death. Your old life that’s the result of sin we buried in baptism. Why? Because you will be given a new life. A new life for you to live in following Him. Are you ready to to follow Jesus and become His disciple?” I ask Edgar.

“Oh yes!” Was his big answer.

“Are you ready to become a part of His kingdom?”

A resounding yes we heard while taking a video.





Starting an Apostolic Hub

19 06 2014

I heard God” when I decided leaving Institutional church system behind of which I’ve spent 9 years in it. That was in 1999 then. He did not actually told me to ‘stop’ doing something but instead He told me to ‘start’ doing something ‘new’ by leaving the ‘old.’ Simply put, obedience requires you to ‘stop doing what you are currently doing’ in order for you to do what God has told you to do. With a small band of brothers with me we’ve started ‘experimenting’ on what is called ‘house church.’ And what was suppose to be a response to the calling became an 8-long years of maintaining these small churches with meetings-after-meetings. We had more meetings than when I was in the institutional churches. I had built a ‘house church ministry’ based on what God has told me to do eight years ago! The problem with that is obvious: I did not ‘continue’ hearing God.

 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” said the Psalmist (119:105). This Scripture doesn’t promise us that God will give us light to brighten up the whole street that we are going to walk upon but only provide a light to our ‘next step’ to set our foot in! That is why seeking Him what to do next requires trust as we obey, not trying to ‘figured out first’ before we obey. “Seek ye first the kingdom” it says. It didn’t say, “Figure out first the kingdom.” Many of us when we hear what God wants us to do are so excited to do them without listening ‘continually’ to His instructions along the way. The result is clear enough, the’ work’ becomes ‘all about you and me’ and not ‘about Him’ anymore. Remember, that if God could have given us ‘lists of things’ on what to do for the rest of our lives He could not have given us His Holy Spirit! So, let’s be guided by Him because the work that we do is not ours, were never ‘ours’ and it will never be ‘become’ ours but His ‘alone.’ God is a jealous God, He would never share His glory with men who are like ‘flowers that would wither and fade away.’ (1Pet.1:24)

He ‘killed’ us both first, me and my wife, of our own desires and opinions about the church and His kingdom. Anyhow, that’s what the first calling anyway to anyone who wants to follow Jesus to “deny yourselves and take up your own cross daily” of which the goal is to crucify yourself unto death. Death to self. Before we’re even married I told my wife that ‘my heart is to go from place to place starting something and then leave.’ Is it possible that it can be that I prophesied my own journey? I never knew what it is. Not until we are prompted to start our second hub somewhere.

 

Nine locations, cities and towns, in my province alone (there are places outside Cebu also although not directly connected here) that ‘making disciples’ has had an impact. This is the result of ‘sending out’ disciples to make disciples. Making disciples is our ‘first foot.’ We step in to an area where there is no ‘making disciples’ happen yet. I don’t care if there are ‘churches’ around. If those churches didn’t make disciples then we have to step in and do it. We don’t go into churches and train Christians ‘already’ on how to make disciples, like T4T model, if I do then I would have some qualifications for them to follow, but that’s another topic to discuss.

 

We are looking for Luke 10 people, “finding a house of peace.” If we cannot find one, (we had some experiences too that we haven’t found even one) then we go to other places. But if we did then that family becomes our ‘temporary’ hub. We don’t go ‘from house to house’ obeying what Jesus said. But we ‘stay in that house’ and model the life of the kingdom. From that family, when they themselves make disciples to their own family members or clan and friends, as it normally happens here, then we start considering setting up a ‘permanent’ apostolic hub with that family. Starting an apostolic hub then is our “second foot.”

 

It is when ‘making disciples’ happen in the area that we go in and saturate it with the gospel. That means, we don’t do something on our own initiation and ask God to cooperate with us by asking His blessing. Instead, we were ‘prompted’ first by the spirit to go and make disciples and when we see God is opening doors, that is He is pouring out His spirit in that area that’s when we go and pour out ourselves also with Him. We follow where God is already blessing.

 

An apostolic hub is like living the life of the early church in Acts 2:42-47. Where disciples lived next door to each other, shared life and things together, no buying and no selling, “no one is poor among them because they own everything,” etc. They have four things among them:

  1. Orphans and widows, the fatherless and those who needed care. The early church took care of their widows and took in orphans. This is what true religion is (James 1:27). Not building orphanages but providing families for the fatherless. A family for an orphan is actually better than orphanages for God is not an orphanage director or a supporter of it. He Himself is a helper and a father to the fatherless. (Psalm 10:14; 68:5) It’s easy to support an orphanage, you just have to send your money and you’re done with your guilt. But accepting an orphan and treats him or her like your own child is totally a different story to tell to the world. Families were God’s design also to change our orphan ‘mentality’ among Christians who has many pastors but lack fathering. Without ‘parents in the Lord’ creates orphanage mentality!

  2. Apostolic dad and prophetic mom – serves as ‘parents in the Lord’ fathering and mothering their next generation. If we, the older generations will father/mother our next generation then we would not have spiritual orphans roaming around from church to church today. I believe that the very reason why Christians transfer churches they want without a need to change their lives is not because they’re looking for ‘good sermonizing pastors’ but actually looking people who can father and mother them. People who will not treat them as ‘projects’ to raise funds but ‘people’ to be loved and cared for. A place like a hub provides “hundreds of mothers, brothers, and sisters,” this is exactly how Jesus defines church!

  3. Kingdom projects – they create their own economics. They are secured by the way they live: seek first the kingdom of God and ‘all these things shall be added unto you. Their security is found in their King, Jesus and in the ecclesia. We lived because we do His work and He provides everything that we need. We seek His reign and obey His commandments. Unlike, in the world: we work, eat and merry, pay taxes, burn, and die. So, because God provides us of our need by living the life of His kingdom, our businesses/projects in the hub then helps the 1 & 2 above and then the 4th which is the,

  4. Poor ‘outside’ of them. Helping the poor that is ‘outside’ of them because there is no poor ‘inside’ with them. Unbelieving poor comes in second on the list when it comes to doing charity work. First priority of our helps is the ‘poor among us.’ Jesus said that ‘the poor will always be with you’ and that ‘he who does these (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those who are in prison) to the least of My ‘brethren’ you did it unto Me.” Thus, we don’t ‘support’ a brother, we ‘help’ a brother because it’s a family. If all money of Christians today would be use to help the poor ‘among us’ I believe we would literally have a ‘real prosperity gospel’ message that can say to the world, “We are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hidden. Look, how we love one another!”

     

    An apostolic hub is basically a ‘spirit,’ not a location or else anybody who has resources can do it. It a spirit where ‘assembling,’ ‘killing’ and ‘casting’ happens. They ‘assemble’ as a family. They just don’t simply gather to do meetings, any group of people can do that, even a ‘house church’ group. Little pieces of puzzle can be gathered but not assembled. A family-based church live Jesus-Life-Together, so their meetings is just the by-product of it. Families don’t do meetings, they just meet a lot.

     

    Killing” simply means ‘discipling.’ Because we live ‘from house to house’ like one family, means we can ‘show’ to new believers ‘how to live’ and not just ‘teaching them about God.’ Lives change because we do things together ‘as we sit, walk, and as we lay down’ (Duet 6:4-6). Killing means, denying, dying to self. Means, I’m not looking after my need but to your need. Same of you to me. The selfish life that we know has come to an end. Behold, God gives us new Life and that Life is not meant to be live in isolation but with other members of the body accepting and caring one another.

     

    Casting” means ‘sending’ disciples to the field. “Pray to the Lord of the harvest that He will ‘cast’ (original Greek word) workers in to His field. “Go out and make disciples” with a ‘little’ training but for Jesus it is enough because you have the Holy Spirit in you. The promise of Jesus to be with us “at the very end of the age” was given to those who “go” and not those who “stay.” In reality here when it comes to ‘casting’ out disciples in the field means that they have reach generations upon generations on their own without a need of you and me. It happens, that’s why when starting an apostolic hub we are only following where God is already blessing and join with Him there.

     

    So, how to start an apostolic hub? Basically you can’t. No one can. That’s actually asking the wrong question and basically you’ll get the wrong answer. The right question is “how to start a making disciples movement in your area?” If you can do this then you’re not far from starting one!

 

 





An Anointing of Baptism?

12 04 2014

This weeks baptisms of twelve (12) new disciples of Jesus in two different locations in my province has raised me some questions about it and I would like to address some questions of people around which they throw at me regarding water baptisms in the past 5 years and present. They are good questions which helps me find answers as we go on making disciples. Although some have accuses me of majoring in baptising people to the point of questioning me: “Are they for real?” or “Are you guys just looking for people to baptise?

When I met this guy named Wolfgang Simson in Bandung, Indonesia during the 1st Asian House Church Summit, think its about 5 years ago now, he said to me while having meal together: “Molong, when my plane was delayed for two hours in Cebu from Mindanao going home, and as I was sitting at the airport the Lord told me that Cebu would be a church planters launching pad in the Philippines.” Well, since then that’s how we start making disciples and sends disciples to other islands to make disciples. I say “since then” because five years ago backwards all I did is train up leaders to maintain my house churches that does meetings after meetings to traditional christians from different churches. And did that for 8 years but that was a different story of my life.

Back to the 12 new disciples being made this week, it happens in one of our island that we reach out from scratch. “From scratch” I mean is that we don’t go to places where there are Christian churches or Christians and connect them to do seminars on house churches. Instead, we go to places where there’s no making disciples happen in that area. We know no one, not a “Christian person” at all but just have a friend, not just a friend but an “unbeliever” friend who became our “man of peace.” Talking about “seminars, summits and conferences” on house churches, we the saints in Cebu has graduated from doing that. And sad to say that we fail, for 8 years of doing it, didn’t pass the exam: we didn’t make any disciples at all. Not even one. 

As we kept on making disciples one, two, three people we don’t wait for others to be made that day and have a “grand” baptism of twelve people, we just don’t delay baptisms. We did three sets of baptisms. When we’re done on the second set and went back to our “house of peace” where disciples assembled as family together, some three pregnant women sitting on the grass outside the fences, honestly, they look like in a cage as they are the only ones who is “outside” the fence and wish I took a photo of them and showed it here because its a prophetic scene I perceive. Anyway, while I face the saints and had some wonderful times together, the father of the house called me from my back saying, “Hey Molong, these three mothers too would like to get baptise.” And as normal as this approach have become around here it’s still always leave me dumbfounded.  

“Well, did you or someone have already talk to these ladies?” I ask the father and everyone. It means that if these ladies wants to get baptise then someone must have made them disciples of Jesus right? Of course, can’t get baptise if you’re not deciding to become His disciples! I found out that no one talks to them yet. Finding out the problem right away, I called out Jonathan, the man who knows them, with some saints and have them sit down somewhere and listen to the gospel of the Kingdom to them and ask them to decide if they want to become a part of the kingdom of God by becoming a disciple of Jesus. in about a couple of minutes, they were baptise immediately. We don’t make disciples to someone unless he is our friend. Relationships is crucial in making disciples as it sets the foundation of growth of the life of Jesus in us in a family atmosphere.  Jonathan is our guy who knows them as they are from the neighbourhoods. 

Our second to the last baptisms in that island (“Olango” is the name of the island), which happened 3 weeks before is a man running towards the ocean where some 10 baptisms happened by some disciples. Oh, not me baptising those 10 and this guy running but the disciples there. Disciples in this island is from 3rd to I think, maybe 6th generation. Quite confusing now as we reach up to the 14th generation now. We lost count. Sorry. 

Anyway, why is it unbelievers are acting this way wanting to be baptise? A good question right? It is my question too. But honestly, I do not know, however, I have an assumption. Later,..

Two weeks ago, a “Conference” takes place up north of my country Manila. It was attended by 130 pastors and leaders. A one-day event that I have to speak the whole time. I know, it’s a “conference” LOL :-) it wasn’t me who set me up but my host there which what’s suppose to be a teaching on house church life with her 4 students in a prayer school that she started became a “pastors and leaders” event! Well, to cut a story short I shared stories upon stories of making disciples here with two of the saints shared their stories also and at the middle of the day I baptise someone as a demo to them. Wait, a what? A “demo?” What’s going on here Molong? The candidate was my host driver name Jojo, she was made into a disciple by my host then the night before the event but I ask her if I can have the privilege of baptising just for the sake of doing a demo in front of everybody. It is actually our rule that he who can make disciples to the person is the one baptising him, but this time I made changes for a purpose. But my host is with me on the side while doing it. 

We put a big barrel inside the venue and filled it with water. Then I said to these leaders, “This may sound ridiculous or am I being proud in doing this because I know all of you has been doing baptisms, why should I do this in front of you then? Please give me the privilege of doing something different and judge yourself if how we do baptism is the quickest and simplest way to make ready a way for Jesus to return? As I said earlier” I continued, “If your way of making disciples is complicated then you must be the reason why Jesus Christ didn’t come back yet. The same way we do baptism. If your way of doing it is complicated: let him have the ‘fruit’ of repentance first (good works), or let him go through “stages of growth” first and only then he can be baptise. Then we set a “day of baptism” of which is called “another holy day” to baptise him, ophs, he and the other participants for baptism must wear white robes, and then the pastor will share a lesson on baptism or a preaching about it to make sure the “spiritually” dead person understands it (?) and finally dunk him underground for 5 minutes to be sure he’s going to heaven!” Everyone burst into laughter (I am glad!). Poor Jojo interrupts me saying, “Maybe 2 minutes?” True, he was that willing for me to bury him and that’s because he get it!

“I baptise you in Jesus Name.” I said while dunking Jojo underwater. Done. This man’s sin was forgiven and wash a minute ago and has new life. He is ready to follow Jesus then. See, “old life” of Jojo doesn’t know how to follow Jesus. Only the “new man” knows how to follow Jesus. In most evangelistic crusade in my country, like big “man of God” preaching to the crowd and then do “sinner’s prayers” and then declared, “Now, receive the new life” (something like that, you know what I’m talking about). My question is: how can the person received the “new life” without burying the “old life” into baptism? 

When we just started making disciples and baptising people immediately, a friend ask me, “Do you have to baptise people?” Here is my one-dollar answer to his one-million question: Before I will answer you, answer me first. Is the person saved after saying the “sinner’s prayer” or not? If so, then where can we find that in the Bible? And I can show you that “baptism” not “sinners prayer” is the sign that a person is saved. Do I have to baptise the person? Well, if you don’t have to baptise the person that you are making into a disciple of Jesus then you don’t know how to make disciples at all. When you make a person a disciple of Jesus you let him know that he is dead because of his sin. It is not only Jesus that has killed because of his sin, he also was killed because of his sin. And the life that he is living is the result of it called “old-life.” And Jesus way of dealing with the “old life” is not to repair it but to kill it and bury it in baptism. We may have our “own ways” of dealing it and ask God to cooperate with that, but we know that Jesus way is to bury it in baptism. So if you’re not informing people of their “deathness” then you’re not making the person into a disciple. You’re not doing making disciples, maybe “evangelism” like what they most do.

We make disciples and bury them directly without delay. “Baptism delayed is disobedience” as my friend Victor Choudhrie says. Only one thing you can do to dead people: bury. Can’t teach them, not yet. “Make disciples,” Jesus said, “then baptise them” and then “teach them to obey.” Teaching comes “after” burial of old self. Of course, spiritually dead people cannot understand spiritual things of God.

We make disciples and baptise them immediately. You know, when I did some “evangelism activities and crusades” I have never encountered people saying “I want to be baptise, can I?” Never happened for those many years, although for sure we had many “decision cards” that was filled up by the crowd but people asking to be baptise? No way. So, I myself have questions that needed answers like you. So this week, I ask God: “Why I was being accused of being an expert in baptism?” And here is what God said to me:

“Molong, if only My people would obey to go and make disciples then it is not only you that will be accused of it but all of My people.”

I cried.

My “Conference” host named Virginia while on our way to the airport going home to Cebu ask me to lay hands on her, she said, “Give me your anointing of water baptism,” I laugh hard and didn’t do it. “My 92 year old chinese buddhist mother was baptised last night because of you.” She said, “Many pastors I bring, many months of prayers. She accept Jesus but said no to baptism. But when you came you didn’t even say a word but when she knew that you came to baptise her she said yes.” Of course, how can I communicate to her chinese mother when I don’t know how to speak chinese?! So I said to her, “It’s nothing to do with me Virginia as you see that I didn’t do anything at all except baptise her as you ask me too. You and your chinese friends did the talking.” 

An Ausie couple came this week, a long time 7 year friend. Our second time to met then here. After hearing our stories and witness 12 baptisms (just 12 up to the what generation?) he ask me that before they will leave we will lay our hands on him and his wife. In obedience everyone of us did lay our hands on each other and prayed for the “anointing” no basically to “water baptise” but to make disciples. 

This month also we were visited by two men from south of my country, Mindanao. They came knowing nothing what to do except to see me as they were told by their friend from Australia to see me. After a week here, helped build houses for typhoon victims with my team, they went home and in two weeks they baptise 43 people! I showed interest so I ask what’s going on and their reply is, “Maybe this is the result of our visit to you?!” I inquire more to find out if there is something in common here on how they did it. Words that stand is, “I will make you a disciple” “You are dead because elf your sin” and one of them said, “We got many bible study groups and we told them that maybe your life hasn’t change because you were not buried yet in baptism? All agreed and so they did what needs to be done.” By the way, if you ask me if we “laid our hands” on them, answer is No. 

I finally ask one of them named Ronald, “Out of 43 baptisms, how many starts making disciples to their friends and do baptism?” 

“Eight.” was his answer. 

Last month’s baptisms is 27 mostly by a widow of 49 year old. This month’s baptism is 76 in 4 different locations.





Sent Two Disciples Today

1 02 2014

“Hey uncle,” Arlen approach me today, “can I go home to the mountains this afternoon while there are still some waters at the river?”

“What? What about having ‘waters in the river’ mean?” I’m quite confused.

“I should go home with Analyn today,” she explained,” because it rained a lot last night and we had some five baptisms pending because of lack of water.”

I get it.

Arlen, 19yo, along with her younger sister Analyn were the 2nd generation disciples. Their brother Albert, 1st generation 21yo, has made them both one morning during breakfast here. They all, along with their other two younger sister, have been living with us for almost 5 years now. Their father died two years ago, their mom named Auling who became a widow, (2nd generation also, Albert made her into a disciple), is a disciple-maker also. The families were all involve in disciple-making, about 30 people have been baptized last month reaching up to the 5th generation.

The family has a house up in the mountains where their father has built for them. They went to school there walking for an hour in the bushes and of course another hour going back. When we transferred in the same town closer to them (after our family house was burned with fire 7 years ago) we decided to help them have an easy access to school, this requires them to live with us. From time to time, they go up to their own house and make disciples there. Their own family clans and old friends have become disciples too. “Who are they anyway?” I ask what’s the relationship between these five people who were ready to be baptized and Arlen. “They’re my barkada before.” she replied. “Barkada” is a Cebuano group name for your circle of friends. There comes a time in your life in school where you met nice people and they became your friends and your relationships with them deepens until they will become a sort of your “second” family. You go to them not only just for fun but also for advices when you need a hand. No leadership of one person required, only what all can agree with and all directly do it together. When they meet together they don’t depend on schedules or programs, they just come and wants to see each other because they liked each other. Most of these people who has become your “barkada” would also become your best friend “in life.” A “barkada” is so common to us as Filipinos. Almost everybody has one either they’re religious groups or not, in school or in companies, each has one or can create one without knowing it. One can start it even without realizing. And then later he would know.

One thing we have in common here why a disciple can easily find people to make disciples: friends. We make disciples to those whom that we have relationships already. We don’t evangelism in this definition: preach at to someone in the park to the person whom you do not even know or knows you. We make disciples through our circle of friends.

Well, Jesus did.

Calling peoples names like Nathaniel, Zaccheus, Nicodemus, surely He has built some relationships with among them. If not, then He knows how to, like the Samaritan woman. I once was in the taxi in Manila with an “evangelist” friend of mine and right away he shared the gospel to the driver. “I don’t make disciples to the person unless he’s a friend.” I interrupted him.

“Wait a minute,” he’s confused I know. I intentionally do that to him. “Did I hear that right? What do you mean?” He insisted.

“I don’t just do what you did. We don’t do that in making disciples.” I replied, “but surely I understand if one is doing some evangelism. Are you?”

“Well Molong, what if God told you to make disciples to the person you just meet?” A very good question right?

“That’s easy. I will make him my friend.” How long does it take for you to become a friend to the person? How long does it take for Jesus to become a friend of the Samaritan woman? To the tax sinner and collectors? I don’t know about you but one thing I know for sure: Jesus makes friends with sinners. He was even called a “friend of sinners.”

Here the problem lies, we don’t have an “unbelieving” friends anymore! We’ve lost them all. We’ve been deceived by these Bible verses itself: “Do not be unequally yoke with unbelievers.” “He who is a friend of the world is an enmity with God.” “Do not love the world.” We simply miss the point if we’re not looking unto Jesus way of making disciples – He makes friends first!

Jesus is 30 years old when He started His mission. What did He do then before that? I believe He makes friends. The disciples He has been long His friends. He “calls them by name” when He choose them to become His disciples. He knows Nathaniel’s name and calls him as He sits under the fig tree. How did He know his name?

Back to the story above. People up in the mountain depends on rain water so much for their daily use. Their wells dried up on hot season. They can’t even plant vegetables on their soil because there’s lack of water. As much as they can, they gather rain on big buckets. We baptized many people in the rain there. And yes, it’s very cold water for their bodies. It has been raining here since the biggest typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan, its international name). Recently, about 13 days of non-stop rain and flooding a lot of cities and landslides and many died too. In three months straight, we were bombarded with a 7.2 quake, a biggest typhoon ever, and floods. And honestly, the very reason why Arlen went home with her sister to do some baptisms with their friends at the river while there is still water because we just had a category two typhoon last night! It rained more water with some air blowing everywhere.

Thanks for the typhoon, God must have sent it to use it to cleanse people’s sin? huh!  








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