I told a friend today that someone is here now with us from another island to do yahshab.
“What is yahshab?” He ask.
Yahshab is the Hebrew word for ‘dwell’ from Psalm 133:1- Behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.
It didn’t say ‘meet’ together in unity. But ‘dwell together, means live kingdom life together. The meaning in Hebrew is ‘sit together, stay together, a prolonged relationship not a quick meeting. “Dwell together” not “meet together once-twice a week.
This resonates Luke 10 in finding a ‘house of peace.’ Eat what they serve, ‘stay’ in that house and model the life of the kingdom. Then Acts 2&4 also follows resonates here: they live from house to house.
So, in applying this here we don’t do meetings like some housechurch who are stuck with meetings or bible study or Sunday service. We do ‘yahshab’ meetings. Disciples come to my house and sleep here for a day or two or three or even a week or a month and do things together. Gardening together, build toilet and houses together, paint a brother’s house, clean widows houses, serve the poor around like the girls cook food and Albert distribute it to the widows in our area. Or go to another community and find a house of peace, and heal the sick and cast out demons and preach the gospel and make disciples and baptize them.
And while they do it together with others, they talk about what they’ve read from the bible last night or this morning or from a book, or what’s their dreams last night, or have they heard from God for a sister’s situation? and other God-life situations of yesterdays and today’s and tomorrows. They converse God’s Word, mingle it into what they do. They show each other how to love and live the life of God that’s in them. They read together and prayers can happen anytime at a time you don’t expect!
Rather than do discipleship by ‘classes’ and ‘endless’ meetings by schedule, we do by life.
So, behold how good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.
I told a friend today that someone is here now with us from another island to do yahshab.
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Just an hour ago (12:42am now) we just baptized someone at a nearby ocean. He’s the fifth person that we baptized this week. Two of which are Christian ‘already’ including this fifth guy.
Re-baptism is rare here as we don’t try to save the saved already. The command to make disciples is to the lost, not to the found. To the world and not to the church. It is when we lose the effectiveness of the Great Commission when we loses its focus: lost. But since re-baptism happens from time to time here I believe I should give time to explain my side of belief about it. Just when we prepare for baptism in this close to midnight hour I was already bombarded with questions why we do what we do: re-baptism.
This two brothers ‘already’ was not the only person that I re-baptized. There’s a couple of them around my network of friends in my country. One time as I gathered some housechurches in one City in Mindanao I told them if they’re not tired of having meetings week-after-week? “We are” they all said. Doing meetings without being a family is non-sense. Families don’t try to be families by doing meetings. Meetings is not our job, making disciples is. If we make disciples and more people will be saved then meetings would take care of itself. We don’t multiply ourselves by doing meetings, and what, invite people to attend it? As my friend Victor Choudhrie says to Wolfgang Simson when I ask him about doing meetings, “Wolfgang,” he shouted at him as Wolf approaches us “Molong is worried about meetings, and I told him to just keep making disciples and meetings will take care of itself. I told him to go to Thailand and Cambodia, to Asia and start a movement.”
“Yeah,” Wolf muttered “he’s stuck with kids!” (I do stuck with kids around my house).
Back to these housechurches gathering. “If so, then what should you do?” I call for an answer. “Meetings don’t multiply us, making disciples is” I said my point. And I began teaching them on how to make disciples by sharing stories after stories of how we make disciples. I don’t like people to ‘copy and paste’ what we do that’s why sharing our stories is what I normally do. But some common principles I quote here and there. Three men, all husbands in that gathering of Saints decided to get baptize. Yes, re-baptism. And not only them, two of them re-baptizes their wives too! That day about 13 baptisms including some new baptisms.
I was invited to join a wedding, still in Mindanao area. One person was warned about me by the groom but I was not informed and so this person approach me after the wedding saying “I heard about you that baptisms is happening everyday.”
“Nah, that’s not true.” I replied quickly, “Not everyday. Maybe every week or two.”
Our conversation about making disciples for an hour led him to baptized five after one week. He called me on my phone and said, “I just baptized five people and I want you to come.”
“Wow, that’s exciting. I don’t need to come.” I answered him politely. “You’re already doing it. You don’t need me.”
But he insist that I should come. So I did.
“I want you to baptized me.” He said.
“What? Are you kidding me?” I tried to joke him around. “Why?”
“I just want to make sure that I am dead. I don’t want to bury spiritually dead people into baptism without making sure that I also am dead and was raised to new life by baptism.” The guy is quite serious. He wants to bear fruits and just want to make sure he’s qualified. “And it says in Acts 19:1-7 also that people there were re-baptized.” This surprises me. I knew the incident in this chapter but somehow overlook it? We search the scripture back together then. It is indeed there. They were re-baptized.
“And also I have a confession to make.” He continued. “My wife and I committed fornication before our marriage. And we want this sin to bury in our second time baptism.” At first I was quite reluctant but if the guy talks about an un-confessed sin specially in the family then it’s something. The last book and the last chapter of the OT is Malachi 4:6 and it talks about sin in the family. “Turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to their fathers.” It’s recognizing that unless there’s an un-confessed sin and un-forgiveness in our families then the revival that we have in our churches is merely hypocrisy. True family reconciliation must begin in the head of the family, the father asking forgiveness to his children. Not the other way around. Notice when these things shall not happen. Don’t be surprise with the last word of the OT: curse.
A curse in the family. No wonder revival must begin in our homes. Sin begins in the family: Adam and Eve. So God’s work begins in the family. After the 430 years of silent from Malachi to Matthew here is John the Bapist preparing the King’s way by restoring families. What? By what? Read it yourself.
“He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.””
Luke 1:17 NKJV
“To make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Isn’t that clear enough? If you want to prepare Jesus’ coming, go and make disciples my friend. One family at a time. God saves households, hardly individuals.
“So, looks this man’s reasons to get re-baptized is valid.” I said to myself. I baptized him that day and he in turn baptizes his wife and both of them baptizes another three that they made into disciples of Jesus. That day is Sunday and it’s not only five who was baptized. It’s actually seven. Because the person that we made into a disciple the day after has baptized two!
“I want to make sure I am dead too.” One American says to me during the gathering of the Saints in the same city. “No wonder why maybe we couldn’t do anything for three months staying in Cebu and another three months here. We tried to do something for the Lord’s kingdom but somehow we could not. Let me be baptize again.” That day also he baptizes his wife after him.
The stories above is what I normally shared to barren Christians. “I think I need to be re-baptized” one brother and friend of me and my wife for more than ten years. He tried to make disciples but somehow he could not. After his baptism just last Friday he baptizes his wife after two days (Sunday). And now he’s sharing to me that he’s ready to baptize his younger brother. And for what more reason anyway that he was re-baptized? Same. For want to make sure that he’s dead to sin. For confessing the sin of fornicstion. For fruitfulness sake.
And honestly, after these folks has been re-baptized somehow they’ve started their journey of making disciples. That is, they are making disciples to their friends now. We are full of records, photos and videos and stories that you can find in my site. I make sure I record them for a purpose: for the next generation to learn and follow.
The ‘christian’ friend that we just baptized tonight is ready to baptized his wife tomorrow (it’s too late now, after midnight and to baptize his wife means we have to travel back again to the ocean). At first the wife is not quite convince but she has promptings from the spirit already she said.
“Oneness” I exclaimed saying that it’s the reason she get baptize again, this time by her husband. Her husband has some prompting also “we want to be fruitful together as this is what we’ve desired for a very long time.”
“Oneness!” As soon as I exclaimed the wife said “that’s it. That is the very reason I should do it.” She put a smile on her lovely face.
“Oneness” why I said it? To force her? Not really. But to remind both of them of the word that I got from God for them months ago before they came here. See, this man Donand, that’s his name by the way, has shared some situation to me and offered him prayers from the ecclesia here and see what the Lord’s word for them. And that word is “oneness.” Coincident? Think not. God do works in ways we cannot see but I think He works also in ways that’s quite obvious for us to see. He’s not playing ‘hide and seek’ to His kids all the time. He’s just full of surprises for us. Who would think Don would get baptized tonight? Not even him. Although he has already promptings for a year to do it. Just started making sense tonight as we gather at the table with some saints around and do our Lord’s Supper together.
Ophs! Yeah. We just a ‘meating.’
So to cut this short is, re-baptism occurs for some reasons based on our experience here.
1. They’re making sure that they are really dead in their sins. Somehow their first or second or even third baptisms didn’t do that. They’re baptized somehow to be a part of a church denomination. Or was just baptized because they repent and nothing else.
Baptism is both, for repentance and for receiving the new life. “Just as Christ died, you also died in baptism. And just as He was raised from the dead you also raised with Him in new life.” Maybe no wonder many who were baptized have no change life because their baptism is only up to repentance and not receiving new life? Hmmnn…..
2. They want to confess some sins. “But there should be some baptism going on to do that?” You may ask. If the person thinks he needed to do that, who should stop him? Baptism doesn’t save you. Jesus work is. But believing without obedience to baptism is not full gospel. “Go make disciples, baptize,…” Genuine belief will want to make you do your best to obey Jesus.
But in their case, baptism is not for salvation, it is to make sure that they get it right. To enter into the kingdom of God is through baptism. To remain in the kingdom of God is by obedience. Many enter into a church denomination by baptism and I think they got the wrong baptism. Just like Roman Catholics here, mostly are baptized when they’re a baby. That’s not real baptism. That’s not Jesus’ way.
3. They want to bear fruits.
“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:8 NKJV
Disciples makes disciples. Bearing fruits is bringing glory to God. He is glorified. That’s our worship.
You don’t wanna be a barren Christian. If you’re really are in serious business in serving God then bearing fruits should be your desire. Bringing people into the kingdom by making disciples is your marching order. If there any that hinders your fruitfulness in God you should be willing to identify them and eliminate them. It’s what Jesus required to become a disciple-to deny yourself in order to make disciples.
Is re-baptism is required to be able to bear fruits? I don’t know. Only you can answer that. But for these people who went into it, the answer is obvious: you shall know them by their fruits.
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“I read a title of an article called ‘Reasons why people leave church,'” I began my conversation with Jomie as we eat our late supper. “I didn’t pursue reading to find it out why because for me it’s a shallow type of article. Surely there are good and bad reasons and even biblical reasons. But here’s another thought that came in to mind.
“What do you think are the reasons why people are so in-loved with the church in the New Testament? Jomie, why you’re still here with us when in fact your family needs you than we do?” Jomie didn’t expect me to personally ask him and have to ask him twice, “Why you don’t want to leave us here?”
You must read Jomie’s story that is found in his site entitled “I did it My Way.” It’s his story of leaving us twice and ended up staying with us. I was once told him when we ride on a bike to baptize someone in the ocean that he is ready to leave whenever he want and will help him with everything that he needs: house, bike, things, money etc. And his answer is “No, I won’t.” I was shock of his answer. He is really that ready to go out on his own and start an apostolic hub somewhere. So I ask why.
“You said we need to follow the early church way right? So I won’t.” He replied.
“Because you disqualified yourself Jomie, that’s the very reason that you are qualified.” I said without another word.
See, Jomie’s answer shows how he is a good-follower of Jesus. Not only following Jesus’ command to become His follower but also he is following ‘God’s ways.’
The psalmist says “show me your ways, O Lord.” “My way is higher than your way.”
Many of us knows God’s heart to save people from their sin but we do it ‘our way.’ Many of us knows God’s desire to build His Church but then we do it ‘our way.’ And we are just so good at it. We want our own dirty hands to be all over His body. Mark with our fingerprints.
Following apostolic patterns such as found in Acts 2 and 4 is not easy. I will let Jomie’s answer amazes you as it amazes me. For 25 years now since I became a Christian I’ve never heard a ‘Christian’ person answer like Jomie’s. So here it is.
“Why you don’t want to leave us?”
“I want to live the life of the kingdom.” He answered straight without thinking.
“And what is that life?” I ask for a detail.
I wasn’t expecting a bulls eye answer!
“Why a life of denial is the way of the kingdom?” It’s always a joy to have a conversation like these with him really.
“Because that’s the requirement to enter into His kingdom. It is how to become a disciple of Jesus. Deny yourself.” He said quietly. Jomie’s has three brothers and two sisters. Honestly, very poor family. Lived in rented land for years, their house is filled with old grandma, moms and dad’s and kids – his sisters and brothers with their wives and husbands live with them in a small tiny house. Whenever we pay a visit we always bring food for everyone. Too poor. Just too poor. Yet, Jomie left them to be with us for five years now.
In the middle of our eating-conversations Albert came in and ate his late supper also. Jomie and I had a coffee in our hands. We continue our conversation this time with Albert asking the same question. It goes this way.
“Albert, do we ‘intentionally’ ask disciples to ‘leave’ their families and live with us?” Did we do that?’
“It’s not ‘us’ who ask them to leave their families.” Albert also answered straight to me as he look into my eye. “I think it’s the Lord.”
“Good point Albert.” I said. “But have we as an ecclesia in Cebu ‘positioned’ ourselves like when there are people watching us they can say ‘I want to be with these people. They are family,’ is it?
“Kristian, (a 3rd generation disciple who has just baptized Diego recently), just said to me he wants to leave work and family and just be with us.” I shared, “and I ask why, and he said that ‘oh, my family is not family. My dad is just a dad and me as his son by name. But we’re not family like here.’
“And Diego also, is the same. The reason why he wants to become one of us is because of how he sees you and Jomie’s life living differently.”
“That’s what we’ve read in the bible last night until 2 in the morning with Diego,” Albert answered back. “We were stuck when we read about Jesus’ statement that ‘unless you hate your father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.’ And also ‘he who left fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters shall have hundreds of them.’ Did Jesus really meant this?’ He ask.
“Well, one of Jesus’ statement harsh statement is ‘Do you think I have come to bring peace? No. But I have come to bring a sword to bring division. A father against son, a son against daughter. A daughter against mother.” I said. “Looks like Jesus is into something and you know what? Creating His own family on earth. By dividing families? I think not.
If your parents is just ignorant of God, don’t leave them. If they’re aware of your new found faith and reject you then leave. But be aware of your ‘new’ family. And living with them as close as you can can enjoy some benefits of it. Just as ‘bad company corrupts good character’ the vise versa is true also. That’s why the question for a new disciples after baptism is “where are they living their new-life in Jesus-together with who?” It ask a location. That’s why ‘seeking first His kingdom’ becomes the priority of a new-disciple. To seek out those people who are living the kingdom life. And if you find them go and join with them. Live the Life-of-Jesus that you have with them, don’t live it alone. This is our kingdom mandate as disciples of Jesus. Our apostolic pattern.
“See, many Christians and leaders try to apply New Testament principles of church yet fail to follow their way of life. And so it doesn’t make sense. Paul says, ‘follow my way of life’ he didn’t say ‘follow my principle.’ We, as disciples follow a Life, the life of Jesus and how He lived. The kingdom is about life, not creeds, either you live or you don’t.
“No wonder it ask us to deny ourselves if we want to live the life of the kingdom. Unless we do that we cannot live in His domain. God cannot simply allow such person who is very opinionated about Him. He can allow you to start your own little kingdom and celebrate you yourself as its human founder. But at the end of the day, you end up alone and no ‘hundreds of mothers, brothers and sisters’ with you simply because you didn’t deny yourself and follow Jesus’ Way of Life.”
This is our eating-conversation.
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My dream is about two kingdoms:
One kingdom has a king, and the other has no king. But the people of the kingless kingdom are well aware that their king will soon come. Therefore while they wait for his arrival, they behave as if he is already present with them.
The king with the kingdom becomes greedy for the kingless kingdom, simply because there is no king yet and it is vulnerable, easy to take over. He wants to becometheir king as well. This greedy king has a brother. Aware of the king’s greed, he offered to go to the kingless kingdom and make a wager. He offers to play games with them and if the kingless kingdom looses the games, theywill have to allow his king-brother to reign over them.The kingless people were easily enticed and accepted thenegotiation. They lost and the king from the other kingdom was installed with grand ceremonies and celebrations. Those who do not pledge loyalty to the new king were being killed.
I saw the sick, poor and needy hide themselves in their houses. Some young ones did not want to pledge to the new king, because they are loyal to their coming king. I saw a soldier about to strike down two such young ones and I came in and struck down the soldier and saved the young ones. I started to gather a troop of young ones to fight against the new king and I convinced them to fight with me. “That is not your real king; he is still coming; get yourselves straightened up”, I told them. Pointing my right finger towards the young ones who want to be loyal to their coming king, I said, “Let us join in these household,” But the majority who easily let the other king rule over them shouted back at me saying, “We can’t; their houses are burning.” I knew in the dream that the phrase their houses are burning meant, “their houses are filled with the Holy Spirit.” I was given a Bible verse, Acts 9:14-17. I don’t know what it says.
In the dream, Wolfgang Simson came to visit and speak to the young people. I explained to him about the “two-kingdoms” dream and its meaning:
The kingdom with the king is the kingdom of man; the kingless kingdom is the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of man wants to rule over God’s people, not by waging war, but by deceiving them through harmless games.
Playing games with the world, i.e. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.
When God’s people negotiate, what they lose is not harmless games, but their loyalty to their King.
When God’s people who are lost say, “we can’t join; their houses are burning,” it actually means “We can’t join; they are filled with the Holy Spirit.” The King, even if he is not physically present has left behind his Holy Spirit with these households and they are on fire.
Wolf agreed to my explanation. Few pastors had come to hear Wolf speak. But they had brought many many young ones, ages 12-20. I invited the pastors to let the young people sit in the front, because they were hiding the young ones in the back. Then I saw the sick, the poor and the needy. I invited them to come and sit in the front. We were all sitting under a tree. As I saw the sick and the needy I want to see them get healed so I was crying, “Where is the tree of Life?” Suddenly I could see it. We were sitting right under it. I cried even more with joy now, “Yes, yes, this is the tree of Life.” I woke up and my eyes were all wet with tears.First thing, I grabbed the Bible and read Acts 9:14-17.
Ac 9:14-17 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
It talks about how the young man Saul was chosen and set apart to carry the King’s name, just like the young colt was chosen to carry the messiah into Jerusalem. This is about the next generation, the ones who are today between the ages 12-20. They are kept hidden somewhere in the very back by the old traditional church structures and policies. Such old traditional systems sit like scales in the eyes of the young, blocking and blinding their view.Someone has to call forth this young generation who are not after man-made systems, but are passionate and loyal to their King and his Kingdom to step over the established structures and positions and sit in the front. That stepping over the old, is the act of the scales falling from young apostles. They must shed those scales that are put over their eyes by traditional church systems. The young generation must see, they must receive their sight back. Their cry is not church but Kingdom. Churchianity must fall for the Kingdom to arrive. Their loyalty is not to the church, but to their King. They are waiting for their coming King. They are filled with the Holy Spirit to burn for the Kingdom of God.
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“Why is it that Jay-r doesn’t want to get baptized yet believes in Jesus?” Jomie starts conversing with me just now. It’s the 23rd of February, 7:40pm.
“Who is this guy you’re talking about Jomie?
“It’s our customer at the store who became a friend” Jomie starts telling me about him. “He comes every night to eat BBQ and stays longer so we have become close to each other. Last night, as I was waiting for Albert to leave for home after working with Peter, it was almost midnight when Jay-r came and we had a chat. I started making him into a disciple.” (Jomie is working together with a disciple here named Manman all days as he shared this to me. And they also talked about making disciples while doing something. They discussed how it’s a lifestyle, it’s about talking while doing things together, and a meeting is simply talking.)
“How did it all start anyway?” I want to know the details why his new friend doesn’t want to get baptized yet believes in Jesus. “That’s quite interesting.” As I listened, I see Jomie has presented the Gospel well, explaining how he ‘normally’ does it every time he makes a disciple.
Jomie told his story: “How much is your salary here?” Jay-r asked me.
“Salary? What do you mean?” I replied.
“Working here in the store” Jay-r asked in more detail.
“Nothing. You don’t receive salary from your family, I said to him.”
“Family? Are they your family?” asked Jay-r.
“Not really. Not my physical family. But anyone who follows Jesus is your family in the faith.” Jomie explained.
“What does that mean, a follower?” Jay-r inquired.
“Now, I will make you a disciple of Jesus.” Jomie starts sharing with him starting with believing to a responding through repentance and baptism.
Then Jomie said to me, “Last night, I asked God why did Jay-r not want to go through baptism yet he believes in God. Are there really people who are like that Kuya?”
“Of course Jomie, there are. Don’t expect people to ‘always’ respond to the way you’ve always shared the Good News to them. Why, are you sad?”
“It’s a kind of like….” he replied.
“Is it because every time you’ve made people into a disciple they will get baptized?” I asked Jomie.
“Yes,” he said proudly.
“It’s not about you, Jomie” I admonish, “making disciples is about Jesus. So don’t be sad. Also, what’s important to the person is that he really gets what it takes for him to follow Jesus. It means, you shared with him God’s love and sacrifice, denying self, leaving his sin and being dead to that sin, and baptism, and so forth. Did he get this all anyway?”
“Oh yes, we even talked about his vices that he will need to stop destroying himself by taking drugs. He’s young about 16 years old. He shared with me that he’s using drugs sometimes so I told him that if you want to follow Jesus then leaving sin and burying them in baptism is a reason for you to respond to what He has done for you,” Jomie makes a point.
“Exactly right Jomie! Many so-called disciples start following Jesus yet still follow their sin. Then they wonder why their life hasn’t change. Following Jesus doesn’t require you to change your life first, it’s an exchange of your life for His life but it surely requires you to leave your sin behind. And that’s when He starts changing you as there are good works that He prepares for you to do. That’s obedience and that’s the summary of being a disciple. You are doing alright by presenting to him the Gospel. So don’t you start feeling bad about yourself. Or are you sad because you start taking the glory that’s due Him?”
“What does that mean kuya?”
“As I said, making disciples is about Jesus, not you. Is it because that whenever you shared Jesus you are ‘always’ successful in going to the end – baptism. And now that you can’t somehow get someone to be baptized you feel bad?”
“Sort of” he agreed.
“See, then making disciples for you starts to become about you. If you can get the person baptized you are happy. And if not? You are sad. It’s all about you Jomie, not Him anymore. How proud we are when we say ‘I made a disciple in just 5 minutes!’ And this includes baptism even, right?”
“Yeah!” His response was quite exciting.
“And when we become proud we forget that we are making a person a disciple of Jesus, not ours! Why did you ask God that question last night without Jay-r present with you?” (The question being: Why he doesn’t want to get baptized yet he believes?) “Why didn’t you ask God while you were making Jay-r into a disciple?” I asked Jomie these somewhat deep questions and he couldn’t answer straight. “Making disciples is ‘introducing’ Jesus to the person, not ‘talking about’ Jesus. It means, Jesus is present in making disciples. Simply put, when you introduce me to your friend it means I am ‘present with’ you. And you can actually ask me questions right away if you’re having a hard time dealing with your friend, right? So why didn’t you ask Jesus right away as He is present with you saying ‘Jesus, why does he not want to get baptized when he believes in you anyway?’ Jesus for sure will answer you. But you did not ask. That means, you’re not aware that He is present or you just simply ignore him because making disciples has become about you. When did we make disciples on our own Jomie?”
“I have learned my lesson” he said.
What a good student this young man!
“When I went to Butuan City in Mindanao,” I shared my own story that resonates with his, “A friend brought me to his friend whom he wants help to become a disciple. The guy was way older than me, 58 years old and loves to debate anyway. The guy started to believe that Jesus has already saved him 2,000 years ago but he cannot believe that he can save himself by doing nothing. “There must be something to do to get save” was his opinion. I was in a bit of a shock. It’s my first time to make a person a disciple like this. So in a moment of silence that I am speechless I ask God in my spirit what should I do. And I got my answer and I did convince him that there is nothing he could do to save himself and finally I baptized him that day.”
“The Lesson for you today is to thank God that you present Him well – that in order to follow Jesus he must deny himself, this includes repentance (leaving sin) and baptism- but he refused to go through the process to become a disciple. Or else, he will use the name of the Lord in vain as a disciple who doesn’t know how to behave by his way of life. He doesn’t know how to live the ‘new life’ simply because the ‘old life’ wasn’t buried in baptism. In Jesus time, many disciples also left Him. He even asked Peter if he also wants to get out of the club!
“Lesson two: making disciples is about ‘introducing’ Jesus to your friend. He is present in the making. Don’t ignore Him, recognize Him. Making disciples is not slow but quick. It is quick in the sense you have to ‘slow down’ because you may need to keep silent for a while if you have a hard time so as to give Him time to talk to the person that you’re making into a disciple and to give Him time to guide you.
“And lesson three: Write your story of how you tried to make Jay-r a disciple. It’s still a good story that encourages people to make their friends ‘new or old’ into a disciple.”
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Here is how we meet needs:
First, we decide if the need is urgent or not, like emergencies. If this is the case, we don’t hesitate to help. If it’s not urgent, we ask ‘who’ is this person and who is asking us to help. Are they saints? Unbeliever? Our priority is the believer, “the least of these my brethren.” The biblical sequence is to help the ‘needy’ saints first, then, if we have extra, we help the unbelieving ‘poor.’ See, we don’t ‘call’ those believing poor ‘poor.’ We call them ‘needy.’ Because if we follow the biblical principle of meeting needs, the result would be that “there will be no poor among them because they own everything.” They share not only the spiritual blessings but also the material blessings. It’s like if there are sick among us we heal them, but if symptoms persist we buy them medicines. Got it?
More questions: Is the person able to work or not? If so, then what’s his/her need? Is it important ‘and’ urgent? Or is it just important but not urgent? If so then we let him/her work in our ‘common’ garden (everything is in common except for a few stuff like our wives, etc), or paint something, or plant something, or we ask him/her to wash some widow’s clothing. That is ‘serving’ Jesus’ family. ‘Force’ him to do this? Sure, why not? I am even ‘forcing’ myself to do something I do not like. My brethren, we hardly ‘dole out’ help to someone who is ‘able’ to work. “He who doesn’t work does not eat.”
Is he/she a widow over age 60-65? The Bible tells us to give aid to widows over 65 years old. Does he/she have children to take care of her? If so, are the children able to take care of him/her?
These questions have become ‘normal’ to me/us here. I don’t even have to ask for a ‘meeting’ to find out. If we have to ‘have’ a meeting then that is ‘meeting a need.’ This is the kind of meetings that we have – instead do a meeting in a coffee shop, why not do it instead in someone’s else’s house fixing a families yard? And yeah, have your coffee-talk-about-Zoe-Life while doing things together? That’s what we are just doing this whole week!
I simply know them by name and their situations. It’s what church is all about anyway: relationships. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. These guiding questions we learn simply because we ‘keep on’ helping needy saints and the unbelieving poor. You just have to become wiser and wiser normally as you go do the work of meeting needs ‘everyday.’ That’s helping fulfill Christ’s law by ‘carrying each other’s burden.’ My good friend, Mike Peter’s, shares about this, saying, “if a mother needs milk, go buy her milk. That’s how you help carry each other’s burden.” Guess ‘mere’ prayers can’t get the job done right? ‘We’ ‘you’ ‘me’ are just the ‘answers’ to the prayers of these needy saints. Simple, hey?
God gives us the work, and the work has taught us how to do it. We hardly say “no” to someone who has a need, but we find ways to help meet that need. Even if one is on drugs we help give money. Yes? Yes! How? Simple, I let him write down 50 verses from the bible then he report to me and then I give him 50 pesos. Crazy ideas? Yes. No wonder only the ‘crazy’ people can change the world. A person who refuses to help, or refuses to find ways to help just makes an alibi for him not to – or I should say the real deal is that he just doesn’t have the ‘desire’ to help? Where is Christ’s ‘passion’ for the ‘lost’ and the ‘least’ in you?
If we know what the person’s need is, then we can decide how to help – should we help him with the ‘full’ amount he needed? Maybe ‘half’ the amount but let him ‘work’ for the other half ‘with his own hands’ working in the garden. Or, maybe just provide 20 percent of the need, or nothing’ at all, simply because the need is non-sense since he wants money to pay his electricity yet he does nothing except watching tv?
Now let’s go to some examples we do here:
1. Jomie’s brother came one night and needed 300 peso as his boat fare to another island ‘next night.’ So, he still has one day vacant. Should we give him 300 directly? No. He has one day vacant. We let him work for a day. His need is important but not urgent.
2. Three guys in school we provide them 30 chickens, 10 chicks each to raise. Later I would buy the chickens from them per kilo. But they can feed them, no money, they’re high school students. What did we do? I hired them to work here two days a week (sat-sun) and paid them to buy feed for their chicks. Dole out? Don’t think so.
3. Peter came to ask help, a father of two kids. He came at 9 in the evening. He had just lost his work. He came because he wanted his wife to be admitted at hospital due to suffering of asthma for three weeks already! Did we wait to let him work first before helping? We send him directly to the hospital using what was left in our account. Did I let him repay? No. It’s a help for a needy brother.
4. A widow in her 60’s asked help for medicines. She lives in a slum area. I knew her for 20 years. She’s still poor and her family is still poor. Her children are working but still poor. I gave her a nebulizer machine and vitamins and medicines.
5. I saw a child suffering a leg burn who had a fever. He keeps crying. I called up a bunch of guys to take care of him. They live in another island. He was admitted for a week, they have no money to even pay for their own food at the hospital, not even a jeepney fare for $6/person back and forth, fare from island to the city. Yes, it’s that much, too much already for a normal Filipino! We provided everything, and all went well. Paid about $350 in hospital bills but ended up not paying the doctor’s fee. He’s a Christian. He’s the one who even thanked me for taking the child in. It was my first time to be thanked by a doctor who didn’t charge me.
6. Went to another island to drop house supplies worth $500 for typhoon victims. On our way to the pier going back home and while on a jeepney, we saw a lady whose shoulder was deformed due to some wood dropping on her during typhoon incident. I left with not much so we handed her some 500 peso. She’s a Christian? No. But should I have to witness to her first? No. But she needed immediate assistance. We came back after a week to do a mission- to fix her shoulder. I sent two people spending $250. They found the lady, took them to hospital for check ups and laboratories. She needed a quick fix for $300. I told Albert we have no money yet. But Albert says he’s got money in his account from his hammock business sale and said he could use it. You can guess the kind of people we have around here.
6. Peter came again and said a child needs to be taken to hospital. It was already delayed. I hand him 700 peso, but my wife says “no, give him 900.” And that’s all money we’ve got that day. “Next time that something like this happens,” I said to Peter, “don’t hesitate to ask me to help. Ok? Now you know who to go to. Go.” Are exactly the words I said to him to make a point that emergency problem needs to be taken care of directly.
7. Another widow came taking with her a girl named Juliet. I knew them or years. I took Juliet to the hospital when she was two years old. She won’t eat and she keeps laying down and weak. She has a hole in her heart. Four holes actually. She came to visit me sometime here and I visited her sometime to bring what I can. She came to receive from me food, milk, toys, dress, and shoes ,and yes, prayers for her dear heart.
Needy saints come with different needs and we do different approaches.
Another story, recently just last week. A mother with children, one was bitten by a dog, had asked help for anti-rabbis injections, etc. What did we do? Surely prayers would work, hey? But any mom would like to make sure that her child is ok.
By the way, this mom had her two kids ‘accidentally.’ Why? Because she herself has a brain problem. Her mom also had a brain problem and ‘accidentally’ (or was taken advantage by it?) got pregnant. She’s the result of it. Yes, you might ask “how about her two kids?” Obviously, they had it also.
So, my sister has taken the three of them into her care. They’re living with her. And the ecclesia here has been helping whatever needs would arise, such as this. Not all the time can we help, but we do our best, as always, to each other as ‘brethren.’
We don’t build orphanages to ‘support’ orphans or needy children such as this woman. We ‘help’ put them into a family. We don’t ‘support’ a sister, we ‘help’ a sister.
See, God is not an orphanage ‘director’ or a ‘supporter.’ He’s a Father who adopted us as His own children. We, as an ecclesia here, do likewise.
Orphans are not ‘projects’ to raise support. They’re humans like you and me.
A child in the orphanage is an orphan. But an orphan in the family is a child. Thus, we provide families for the fatherless. Literally. We encourage Christian families to adopt an orphan or foster a child, even ‘temporarily,’ without documentation, with only an agreements between families.
Imagine, if only—-I must say this again, IF ONLY 50 families would do this, that’s fifty fatherless children that we are providing a family.
However, if indeed you have a hard time doing it on your own, then help a family who’s doing the job like this. That’s two families, then, working hand in hand: one does the actual raising, and one does the financial assistance. The only predicament for this to the latter family is that the first family, who literally took care of the child, can’t provide you with a ‘tax deductible’ receipt! Again, in the kingdom it’s all about relationships and trust. If you can’t trust the person, forget it. People need receipts for what they give because they have no relationship to the person. And, they don’t normally give from their heart to reach the needy. Imagine, you want a ‘refund’ in some way to what you’ve been given? Whatever the reason is, it is not ‘real’ giving in a biblical sense. Personally, people who ‘ask’ me for a receipt, photos, or a report are the ones who don’t really know us and what we do. To those whom we know, however, we normally just communicate what’s going on here. The documentation stuff becomes natural.
My friend, for goodness sake, do something different in your life and to other people. I wrote something that’s suppose to be posted on my Facebook wall, but I didn’t. I will put it down below, then, as I see it fits! Here it is:
“Are you a Christian, and a disciple even? What did you do? Read your Bible and a book? And then what? Take a walk with your dog and drop him to a clinic and spend $300? What a sloppy commitment. It looks like your life doesn’t depend on who you are. Being a disciple, our life depends on it. If we could sign our own name to everything that we do, could we be trusted?
The life we have is the only life we get here on earth, and it’s not a dress rehearsal. Every minute we waste is gone forever. We can either choose to take responsibility for what we do with it, or make excuses.”
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