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!  





House Projects Update!

13 01 2014

House Projects Update!

Bills of Materials in US$ per house in Phase One: Structure and Roofing
Days it takes to build one house 4 days (depends on weather conditions)

Woods from fallen coconut trees for house structure size 8ft by 16ft
$4.76 per fallen/damage coconut X 8 trees = $38.09
6 pcs 4x4x8ft
8 pcs 2x4x8ft
3 pcs 2x4x14ft
4 pcs 2x4x10ft
12pcs 2x2x14ft
10pcs 2x2x10ft

For chain saw need per house:

10 liters at $1.35/lit = $13.57
2 liters of engine oil at $2.85/lit = $5.71

Nails Average per house:
Umbrella nails 1.8 kls @$1.66 = $3
Common nails #5 -2.3 kls @$1.19 = $2.73
Common nails #4 -1.6 kls @$1.19 = $1.90
Common nails #3 -0.4 kls @$1.19 = $0.47

G.I sheet Roof 24 thickness x 8ft @$5.47
18 tin sheets 8ft @$5.23 = $94.28

Food (lunch only and 2 snacks) for 12 workers = $70.52/house
Each house has representative to work, help build each others houses (My father and our brother Andy included on list of workers.

Total: $236

Miscellaneous Expenses (not included on house building project) approximately:
$100 – for everytime (once-twice a week) a team of saints from the church here would come and bring additional supplies for housing project, food, medicines for sick children up north and gasoline for a 3hour drive up north ($50)
$250 for chain saw operator named Andy from the city, for one month of cutting woods for 10 houses. A chain saw needed someone who knows how to use it.

PHASE ONE: Structure and Roofing
PHASE TWO: Floor and Walls
PHASE THREE: Electricity Wirings
And along the way we provide them some clothings, solar lights, food from time to time, toys, sandals, bags, kitchen utensels, etc…

As of January 13th, 4 houses has been built, and all wood requirements to build the other 6 houses is finished. It has been raining for a week as there is typhoon down Mindanao area, so work ahs been delayed.

For sustainability, we purchase two boats for $119 each, still on the process of making, for two family fishermen. Given as gifts but encourage to feed other two families though their harvest.

We continue making disciples as we go up north Cebu, last time we went, January 3, we made 7 disciples and baptized them directly. Two days after, January 5, another 10 people has been made into a disciple of Jesus. After 3 days, Janaury 8, another 7 disciples has been made. Just in 7 days, we baptized 24 people! And what’s even better is that the disciple-makers were from 2nd,3rd and 4th generations!

Aside from building houses, we continue sending finances to typhoon victims around affected areas like Samar and Leyte specially brothers and sisters in the Lord. We just recently sent a couple who pastor a church in Tacloban, P3,000 as help. Another organic pastor named Willy and Mercy in Dinagat islands, we send some P15,000 to help saints there who were affected by typhoon Yolanda. A burnt child we send to the hospital that cost us some $350 for medicines and hospital bills. Several houses, aside up north we help repair by providing them tim sheets, saints like Jonathan, Roy, Dennis, Auling and some 10 families we help provide tin sheets.

About a hundred sacks of rice, thousands of water bottles and thousands of childrens food we distributed up north. Clothing, solar lights, blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen utensels, what else?

We could have done so little when we started helping typhoon victims on the first week. But because of your big heart we did all these together. My favorite quote from Mother Theresa is what I would liken us, she spit these words out in front of his invited politicians and leaders when she received a Novel Peace Prize, hear it:

“I can do things you cannot do,…” she paused for a moment and continue, “you can do things I cannot do. But if we work together great things will happen.”

The Saints and my family wants to say a “BIG THANK YOU” for extending your hearts and hands in mercy and generosity.

Molong and team.





House2House Questionaire

19 12 2013
I just received a monthly news-letter from house2house.com written by my friend Paul Byrley. He talks about church “movements” including those who are in the simple, organic, house church movement if either we become like the others who are only good for a start but has a “bad or not so satisfying” ending. He quoted an analogy by an author named Mike Breen saying that “so many movements in the Western church have failed in the past century. They are a car without an engine, it won’t go anywhere.” The same is true with simple churches: if we simply do what we have been doing, even multiply it by hundreds of times; the programs, the meetings, the leadership, the systems in our simple churches, it won’t go anywhere.

I had my share of “honey, I shrunk the church” for 8 years. I have seen the complications of multiplying the system into smaller churches rather than multiply disciples. I had to face myself of questions of which I do not have the answer. I felt so ashamed of myself in the sight of God and friends. I know how to evangelize and do crusades, start churches and to preach, start a band and do concerts at mall, do discipleship ‘classes’ and sunday schools BUT I do not know HOW to make disciples that makes disciples. I decided, with my wife, to kill ourselves: literally stop doing what we are currently doing and wait on God to give us the work and teach us how to do it. A person who wants to obey the King’s command to make disciples has to stop doing what He is currently doing or else he can’t do what the King have ask him to do. So we die so that He might live.

“What are you doing to be the Church?”

“How do you make disciples?”

“How are you caring for the least of these?”

After reading the article and the above questions was challenge by its readers I want to share a bit of our stories. Although many stories of how we live Jesus-Life-Together as a family in our sites and Felicity has written a new one, allow me to write something.

It is important to “treat” each other’s members as part of your extended family. If someone is at fault or there’s a need of correction and rebuking I always ask myself, “What if he is my own brother/sister how should I talk to him/her?” I normally ended up not talking to the person unless I know exactly what to say, when to say, where to say and how to say it. At times, I wish I had a duct tape on my mouth. “He who manage well of his own children can manage the household of God.” This is what Paul says to his “son in the faith” Timothy. Being the church is being family to each other. Now, that’s a lot of relationships in there. We are a body and so the hand could not say to  the foot, “I have no need of you until next Sunday.” Because the way we look at church as a family, we do not have Christian “neighbors” then. We don’t “support” a brother, we “help” him of his need. We serve one another in the community through our gifting and talent that Father has given to each one of us. We start living next door to each other. We started sharing each others possessions. We do not buy from each other and we do not sell to each other. We give and receive, we “accept” one another. Following the apostolic pattern in Acts 2:42-46 and the life of the Thessalonian Saints, yes, we have had our struggles and challenges. Only different than how most Institutional Churches and house churches look like.

We have orphans and widows among us and around us. We helped the widows on their need and fathered and mothered the orphans. We don’t start “orphanages mentality ministries” such as Children’s Feeding Centers or Orphanages or Elderly Homes. We invite them to our families and become families. We encourage families to adopt a parentless child like one of my sisters adopted one orphan who has two children (orphans too right?) and start helping her of her needs. Thus, widows have families to be with and orphans have father-mother figure. I normally say that a child in the orphanage is an orphan but an orphan in the family is a child.

Because it’s a family-based relationships and not just meeting-based relationships, we don’t do meetings we just meet a lot as any normal healthy families do. We don’t “attend” a family, we are family. We live the Life of Jesus Together in the community in a daily basis (Hebrews 3:13) thus meetings is only a by-product of our lives being knit-together. As one of my fathers in the Lord Mike Peters would say, “A family that you “attend” is not a family, it is an orphanage. People in the orphanage may do-things-together, eat together or play together yet it is still an orphanage, not a family.”

This is what we are doing to be the church with each other. How about to be the church to our neighbor? A story might be a good idea at this point:

“Albert, why not read your Bible in the morning with a widow that we just handed a wheelchair?” I encourages him to not waste his time reading his Bible alone every morning and instead do “one more mile” by reading it “aloud” to a widow who cannot read anymore. I don’t know if I was led or not but one night I kept on thinking what can we do to serve the community around us. I woke up in the morning and start roaming around, get in to small foot paths and right inside to small houses. Found several old lonely people, one is even look like she’s inside a cage for years. Then I went to one of the Japanese surplus shop and get a rusty, flat tire broken wheelchair for $50. Tied it with my bike and went home and fix it and took it to one of the old-widow woman in the community. That’s when Albert starts seeing her every morning, brining her food from our common garden, help cook food, fetch water, clean her house and eat together and read the Word of God. And in four days of loving and caring he baptizes her on her toilet room. Some verses I am not good to remember, but somewhere in the Bible it says that “you young man should take good care of your widows”?

Not for long, the friends we make have become disciples. We know how to make people curious about the Kingdom of God. We just live kingdom life amongst them and then they start asking good questions. Our way of life demands a question: What are you guys? Why are you doing this? Why did you do that? Why you do things differently? Why you see things differently? What is this all about? What is your religion? Any kinds of questions we led them into the kingdom of God by answering back, “Do you really want to know? Are you really seeking the truth? Do you want to know the truth?” And mostly their answer is yes and then we continue, “If so, then I cannot tell you yet what and why. I am gonna have to make you a disciple first.”

As normal in our making disciples conversations one would ask more, “Why?”

“Because spiritually dead people could not understand spiritual things. So, I’m going to make you a disciple first and then later I will explain to you what kind of stuff I am made of and what country I belong.” This is how we bring people into a decision to become Jesus disciples. We don’t give our pearls to pigs and let them trample it. People who ask questions about the way you live are normally ready to enter into the Kingdom of God. Because the kingdom will not be given to people who do not even know how to ask the right question. You have become the “witness” of it, an “ambassador” of your country, the “Kingdom of God.” This is how we start making disciples and within 3-6 minutes “making,” the person is already willing to be baptized immediately without delay.

We don’t negotiate with dead people. We bury them as quick as we can. When Jesus said “go and make disciples AND baptize them” means that it is your prerogative to make baptism happen, not the other guy. But if he himself offered to be baptized during the “making” like the Eunuch with Stephen who shares the Messiah then you’re an expert if making disciples!

“How are you caring with the least of these brethren?”

Here is the architecture of the New Testament Church: 1) They have orphans and widows 2) They have spiritual parents who look after their “children in the Lord” as a family, the one’s that they’ve made into disciples 3) They have kingdom projects that in turn support the 1 & 2 and number four, their “last priority” is they support the poor that is “outside” of them, why? because there is no poor “inside” of them. “No on is poor among them because they own everything.” (Wolfgang Simson)

When it comes to loving one another as disciples of Jesus, we ask a question: How much can we lay down our lives to one another? We’re not that expert yet about it but we have had some wonderful times together obeying Jesus commands to take care the members of our family.





SHARE-SAVE-SPEND

11 12 2013

Keeping records with what we spent the money for specially to help typhoon victims in my province is not my gift. So I gave that job out to one of the disciples here named Arlen, she’s Albert’s sister then who lived among us. One night, I told her what I want her to do: “Could you staple each receipt to the voucher?” “Could you make a daily record of spending?” Could you get all receipts of petrol from so and so…” And all she answered is: “Done” “Yes” “It’s finished Uncle.”

“Wow, I am amazed how good you are then!” I praised her.

“And here they are,” showing me all the paper works, “It’s time for you to sign each of them!”

Quite took some minutes for me to signed them all. And at the end, I spot on the “To:” and it says, SHARE.

“Ah, why is it the “share” part is here?” I ask her. “It should just be those that we spent after the typhoon.”

“You forgot Uncle, You’ve used up some of our shares to help typhoon victims.” She answered back.

I was dumbfounded.

We don’t normally kept receipts of ‘what’ we spend, however we do keep records of ‘how’ we spent the money for. My wife Lisa keeps the record of bills payment, a sack of rice, etc. We kept the receipts for awhile then throw it away. This is how my ‘family’ does some stuff here. “My” family of 8 kids plus those who comes in and goes out from time to time, we are a family, there is nothing more intimate than that like a mother to her daughter, and a father to his son. Paul admonishes Timothy his “son in the Lord” to “treat those who are older men as fathers, and older woman as mothers, younger men and brothers and younger women as sisters.” And he continue saying, “that he who manage well of his children can manage the household of God” (1Tim.1:1; 5:1; 3:4). Have you ever “seeing” someone as a brother? That’s easy to spot. But have you ever “treated” someone as a brother? or sister? Like how you treated your “own physical brother.” That boils down to how we manage our own individual families hey. Many who doesn’t really like “church as family” because their family is in a mess. The same way as many who cannot see God as their “Father” because their father messes them up. So much family damaged and destroyed that even that last message of the Old Testament prophet Malachi speaks of a broken family and if that generation shall not heed the prophets warning it shall bring a “curse” to it. Read the “last” chapter and the “last” verse and the “last” word of the OT and you’ll see (Mal.4:5). No wonder then that in New Testament times, Jesus is saving “households.” He is quite interested in our families thus fulfilling King David’s prophecy: “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him.” Psalm 22:27

We live Kingdom-values such as equality, “sharing everything in common” except our wives, undies, and money. So, we’re starting Acts 2:42-47 in my city and two others around my country are starting also with the work of making disciples ‘from scratch.’ As voluntarily as we can we transfer next door to each other, thus the commands and benefits of the 58 one-anothering in the New Testament will be tasted to all authentic disciples of Jesus. And I am telling you, it has quite a different challenges, BUT loving it anyhow. I am sure that those who “came and see” how we live can tell you stories after stories. One such example is when we receive a gift of used clothing and toys from other saints we started “dividing” them among other kids. And when we open another box of it, guess what? More toys and my kids started “owning” it: “Oh you can have that, (getting rid of their first toys for others) and I can have these!” Then, I took back all their toys, put it back to the box and said, “These toys,” pointing my fingers to each of them, “is not yours. No one owns these toys.” Then I paused and have to see their faces getting sad and I continued, “Because all these toys are all yours!” Every one is happy. And suddenly it dawned in my mind how the early church did the same: “No one is poor among them because they own everything.” It’s quite interesting really when you want to obey before “trying to figured it all out” and obey? And so it began, Albert and I shares clothing, shoes and “whatever” – that’s basically means what we can agree with. And the kids also tried to share what it would be like to be sisters and brothers in real family setting. I got more stories to tell as we don’t think of great “theories,” we do more stories.

In the Kingdom of God is about relationship and trust. If you don’t trust the person, forget it. Saying that means, if Albert is in another island should I ask questions like: Should I give him money? And when I do, should I need a report on it? How about some photos? How about some receipts? That would be ludicrous to think! Albert is living with me for years, we live Jesus-Life-Together as family, we live Acts 2:42-47. I know him, he knows me. He’s my brother and I don’t send him money to “support” him, I help him because he’s my brother. How much can I lay down my life to Albert? If he has a kidney problem then I will give him my other one!

We SHARE, that’s the whole meaning of our English-shallow word “fellowship.” It’s koinonia! It is living the life of Jesus together as family.

Back to my introduction story, I signed even the voucher that has “Share” in it. What’s the word anyway? Well, here’s a story, again.

We kept all our coins and bits of some paper money, we make rules and encourage them to obey without understanding. Then we reward obedience like washing dishes and clothing, cleaning toilets and beds, cooking rice or chicken and reading books and bibles. We taught them, older brothers and sisters serve their generation. This is what it’s all about. We just don’t teach them “about” God but we also taught them “how” to live. This is what most 21st missionary is missing out in my country, they come and live in a nice village free of karaoke sounds in the evening and chocks in the morning and minister to the slum people in the next barangays. Live out kingdom life “for awhile” praying for sick for two hours and then goes back home taking showers for four hours (That’s exaggeration, I know). You know what, the Divine has clothed with human dirt and lived in our neighborhood (Jn.1:14 paraphrase). If we really loved the people that we are ministering then we have to live among them. Sometimes I joked around visiting missionaries that the early church book says that “from house to house” they stayed, not “hotel to hotel.”

Our mission is to change lives by making disciples. I often challenge myself and others when we see crooked lives in the life of a person or disciple: “Do I/you really know how to change a person’s lives?” This is my opinion, if this question gives you a good sleep then you’re not fit even to live because you don’t know how to serve your next generation. What a waste of your life.

The moment when my children received their rewards, they then directly divided it into three piggy bottles: SHARE-SAVE-SPEND. Then weekly they gather their “share” and send it to the widows we help. Thirteen, yes 13, (and probably it’s growing now as we just made more disciples currently) widows we helped around us and other islands. Sometimes, they take the money with them and visit them, buy food, help clean house and sometimes make disciples to neighbors. It happened many times. Arlen keeps the record of every penny they share like my 3 and a half son Mico gives his first share of 100 peso and 15 cents. That 5 cents with a hole in the center is quite funny to look! A minimum of $30 to 50 a week we collected, sometimes more. Children are from 3 to 21 years old are mostly who give, some older disciples contributes. It’s quite an encouragement though when my wife and I just decided to keep the receipts and calculate it. In two months time we distributed 30, 510 ($726) of cash help to needy saints and poor people around.

We hardly give without letting them do something that he or she needed to learn first. We give them “assignments” (widows are exception). But then, if you live next door to us and we do-things-together like gardening, welding, sewing, cooking, typing and translating books, cleaning “whatever” how can you not learn to live life? I normally tell single men-disciples, “This is how you get married and have a good wife: Learn how to live.”

So, we taught them how to “share.” And then we taught them how to “save.” They invest in our hammock business, one of our kingdom projects. We use this hammocks to make disciples. We took them with us to the island and find “house of peace” to stay in. If we couldn’t find one then we sleep in a hammock under the tree. And if we need some money to make disciples, we sell the hammock! The kids uses their “save” money to invest in this kingdom projects we have. They gave 400 peso ($10) to Albert as he owns the business now, for the materials and he sews it for them and sells it and the profits will be given back to the child thus he can start dividing it again into his piggy bottles. We taught them how to “spend.” That doesn’t mean that they have the money to spend that they can just buy anything they want. Yes, we allow them of course to get the ice cream they want, or dance in the machine and drop 5 peso. Spending for that is fine, but spending for their own shoes and clothing is great. If they needed more we share to the lack!

As soon as they learn the habit we go on building another habit. Each reads their kiddie Bibles. We reward them 2 peso for each page they read. The older ones we don’t. And honestly, they don’t want to be rewarded anymore. But I will still give them reward and in turn uses that to reward their younger generations. As my friend Peter Stieckie would say in his last words to me before we departed each others ways the other day: We help father each other, mother each other, brother each other, sister each other.

“Guess what,” I replied, “these words were not and will never be some “theological” terms that we can use to a family but they come from the Father’s heart down to our own hearts and to our next generation and the next to come.”





Doing Things Diffrently – how do we respond to typhoon victims differently?

22 11 2013

I love doing things differently. That’s how probably one of the reasons why I put myself into trouble? :-)

When it comes to the command to “go and make disciples” to the world, we don’t do ‘discipleship’ to the found. We make disciples to the lost. We don’t lock up people in the room and taught them ‘about’ God, we ‘cast’ them out to the field and taught them ‘how to live.’ We don’t create our own ‘discipleship materials’ but uses what Father has already created for us to learn. “See, I have told you earthly things and you didn’t get? How much more if I told you heavenly things?” Jesus said to Nicodemus. (Paraphrase, Jn 3:12) “The Kingdom of God is like,….” “Faith is like,…” “If anyone hears my word and does them, I would liken him,…” We do ‘discipleship’ right there on the field, right there in the community where miracles happen. We don’t even call it ‘discipleship’ anymore for when you start explaining and defining things then it becomes complicated.

When it comes about “doing church” we don’t do meetings, we gather as a “family” thus meetings becomes the by-product of our relationships. We don’t do “bible study programs” but we read and discuss the Bible a lot. We don’t do “prayer meetings” but we talk to God with one-another a lot. We live Jesus-Life Together Daily. Thus, making our days full of one-anotherings.

When it comes to “be the church” we change our priorities. We live Acts 2:42-46. We live “from house to house” “shared everything in common” “no buying, no selling but only giving and receiving” “no one is poor among them because they own everything.”

When it comes to giving, we don’t take up an offering. We voluntarily lay down our lives for the sake of the brethren. We don’t pray for a need to be meet. We meet a need. The best way to meet a need is to meet a need.

When it comes to “orphans and widows” we took care of them. We have them among us everyday.

When it comes on “how to handle children” we raise and treat them as our own. Thus, erasing the ‘orphan’ mentality because we have become “hundreds of fathers and mothers” to them. Take notice that a child in the orphanage is an orphan, but an orphan in the family is a child. Thus, we don’t build orphanages as we are not called to do so. We are called to be family with each other. Adopting those who are fatherless and motherless. Thus, eradicating spiritual orphans that are roaming around spiritual orphanages (churches).

And lastly, when it comes to responding differently in this recent typhoon that devastated our country we want to do things differently. Red Cross and other organizations does their own thing by putting up their own names. They have their own place but honestly, even the anti-christ can do that. Watching an end of the world Christian movie “Megiddo” the cast played as anti-Christ told his wife to feed the hungry people and children of the world using all his money. Indeed, he can as he owned the whole world. But, how do we respond differently? Giving food and clothing is not enough, we know better than that. Even building them a decent house won’t do. Well, as my friend Wolfgang Simson wrote to me, “Molong, now you can start as many apostolic hubs as you can. What could be the purpose of wiping out many areas?” I know, we know that he is only joking to make me laugh right?

My heart is to start apostolic hubs around my country. Make “making disciples” a “movement” by unleashing the church to the barangays of the Philippines. Why not? (search ‘apostolic hub’ in google or my site)

When I started doing “house churches” in the year 1999 for 8 years, I was so bored at doing meetings and trainings and I gave up and start from the ‘early church’ way – making disciples. Now, after 4 years we’ve reach up to the 16th generation. We have our stories on our websites, (yes, that’s with “s”), names, photos of baptism, dates, videos are documented for the purpose of helping the next generation to make disciples. Chart is available too of who made who into a disciple of Jesus. I may not have a thousand house churches, but we’re connected to at most 600 individual families around the country.

When Felicity Dale wrote to me and ask me “how many ‘families’ should we plan to help?” I said a thousand. And suddenly that was translated into a “Molong has a ‘thousand’ house churches.” Well, I wish. But honestly, I was challenge by it. Who knows what this tragedy would bring? Like the persecutions of the early church followers have pushed them to make disciples more! Can WE really turned this “mess” into a “mass” production of disciples? The early did it first with 3,000 souls in one day. My uncle Victor Choudhrie did a million in over a period of one year in India! But the question remains “how?”

Many of you are so willing to hold the handle and push us like a knife. We’re the tip that’s sharpen enough to penetrate, that means, we make disciples and baptize the person already within 3-6 minutes (see our sites for more stories). Actually, last month there’s 14 people that was made into a disciple, 14 people is not much but you got to know that the one who made these people a disciple is a 2nd generation mother who is widowed that was passed into a 3rd generation and fourth. Last week there’s two baptisms by a 4th generation. Today, a baptism by a 1st and 4th generation. And that is only happening in here. And as normal as ‘making disciples’ happens here spontaneously and around the country, there are numerous of us that does it. Like my recent trip in Butuan that 100 plus was made into a disciple in 4 months by just one couple alone. Another couple is planning to have a “mass baptism” as she calls it that’s happening this month.

As we go and respond to this crises and as you continue pushing us like a knife, remember that our mission is not to feed a hungry tummy for awhile but our goal is to have a long-lasting impact to these affected families by showing Jesus love without strings attach by a group of disciples who doesn’t bear any name except “being” a disciple, and start a “making disciples” movement and establish apostolic hubs around my province, Cebu.





DO, dont think.

18 11 2013

.

Yesterday as we’re on our way to north Cebu, we stop by to a terminal for my teams breakfast, seeing a bakery I wonder if I could add some more breads ready to eat. I ask how much each and negotiate to lower the price and offer to buy it all. I did. A pack of slice bread is about P32 – 37 (about $1) and it can put food on a stomach of 5 members of the family. What a brilliant idea, not heavy to carry, it’s in the plastic already ready to give. So, a part of distribution would be to buy all slice bread packs and hand them over to families.

As you pass along the highway where the eye meets the land at Cebu, people are all over the street having signs or shout at “Help me” and going back to main city they shout “Just some leftovers” or “just some water please.” Broke my heart, what a need for food.

Seeing the big sign going to north written in a mess up plywood and paint saying, “Thank you for helping the typhoon victim” I cried. And going back saying, “Keep it up.” It’s not normally traffic going north, but this time it took us long to go there and back, probably its Sunday and most families and small companies are giving relief goods. Many people, normal people went to help in every way. My heart leaps for them.

I encourage every Filipino to do something, your P2,000 ($50) can get a snack of juice and cookies to 300 starving children. Buy them at La Nueva, and get a friend with a motorbike or a small cab and start giving smiles to kids. Don’t just do a painless alms giving, remember that a slice bread pack feed a family, you know better than that. Get involve, not just give, but also go. It’s only a 2-3 hour drive from the city. Give up your coffee at Bo’s or Starbucks for awhile and take a ride to North Cebu, be on the ground. For goodness sake, at least for once in your life stop watching news and talk, but do something about it. Wanna have compassion to our people? Then get out and be with them.

Jesus did, “when He saw the multitude He feel compassion on them.” He took a chance to make a history, now not just the Bible has been written about Him but also people wrote books. Although it’s sad that while others are on the ground helping, some people wrote books!

We took chance to do things differently, we come as disciple makers while we demonstrate the life of the Kingdom. Just here while disciples were doing-things-together packing food they made disciples. Their unbelieving friends were invited to help the victims and then they ask questions as we live a life that demands it, kingdom living, then they make them disciples. That’s how you make people ready for the Lord: live the life of the Kingdom together daily, that makes them curious and ask questions then when they ask. “Why are you guys doing this? Why are you like this? You are so different.” Then you respond, “Are you interested? Do you really want to know? Then I’m gonna have to make you a disciple first.” And you can start making him into a disciple. So, we have two baptisms the other day then.

Molong with the saints in Cebu.








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