Hands on fathering…

12 10 2017

“Two days we have no class.” A 6th grade boy said to us when we ask him to go to school. He likes to skip school even before he’s not with us and now that is he still does things his way. He chose to just stay home and help our plant rental community business here.

“You know when you tell the truth,” I said, “people believe in you. Right?”

“Yes” he said back.

“And when you tell a lie, they would still believe in you, right?”

“Right” he said. He simply knows the logic.

“Yes. Because they do not know that you are lying.” I said. “But when you start telling lies and then you tell them the truth later, would they believe in you?”

“No” he said straight.

“Why?”

“I don’t know” he replied.

I have to repeat it 3 times, a need for him to understand why is important. He keeps saying “I don’t know.” At he finally understood,

“No. Because they know you’re a liar!”

We all laugh out loud by the way he said it. The moment a person, as young as he is wanting to start using his right, give him some responsibility. They go together, plus accountability. No short cut.

This is important when you start fathering and mothering your next generation. This boy doesn’t want to go home because he felt his mom doesn’t like him. In front of his friends his mom would say to him “he’s not my favourite son.” Imagine how low his self-esteem is. He has no father. So he wants to wrestle with Albert, tickle him before he wants to obey anything what Albert would like him to do.

“How to father someone, Molong?” Someone ask me here as they observe what we do.

“Simple.” I said back, “just ask yourself one question whenever you want to teach or correct him, “if he (she) is my own child/son (daughter) how would I talk to him? How would I treat him? How would I rebuke him or discipline him?”

No wonder Paul says to Timothy “He who manage his own children well can manage the household of God.” Simply put, church is family, having dads and moms and childrens and sons and daughters. Too much fatherless generation we have here and Jesus knew this then before this would happen so he said “I shall not leave you as orphans.” Means, He knows our need of fathers and mothers. And He Himself became a father to us all.

Today, we have so many christian ‘spiritual orphans’ roaming around churches. They are not looking for a good church service or programs they can attend. Yours and mine are the best in town and yet they still are hopping from church to church. They also are not looking for good pastors and teachers etc. Yours and mine leaders are the best too. However, What they are looking at are people who would treat them as sons and daughters in the Lord. People who could raise them up to be sons and daughters of God. They want a ‘father and mother in the Lord.” Eph.6:1

Leaders aren’t naturally fathers. John Maxwell is famous for his leadership style all over the world but he is obviously not a father to many. Fathers are naturally leaders. But no one calls them a ‘leader’ of your family. They will be called a ‘father’ of your family. That’s why we don’t ‘train’ leaders, Jesus didn’t do that. He develops servants. From servant-child to a son then becomes a father themselves (1John2). Fathering their next generation.

How we lost this aspect of leading like a father. ‘Like a father leads his children. Like a shepherd leads his flock. The Lord will always guide us and show us where to walk.’ Today, we copied our best leadership pattern from the world and so the church have so much lackness of people who are ‘serving their next generation.’

Below is the letter this boy has made himself for her mom that makes it appear it comes from his teacher. Look how not only that it’s funny but obviously he lied as well.

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Just do it

11 10 2017

“Get some cooked rice” I said to John, 12yo as we prepared some chicken soup together. He helped sliced some veggies, ginger and string onions.

“There’s no cooked rice.” He said as he check out the rice cooker.

“Do you know how to cook rice?”

“No” was his reply.

“Come here, I’ll show you how.”

We went into the kitchen, prepare the rice cooker and rice, get a measuring cup and started counting 1,2,3-7 cups for everybody. Wash the rice with water twice and put 8 cups of water, etc. Ready, turn on the rice cooker and showed him how to know if the rice is cook.

We consumed 50 kilos of rice every ten days. About a dozen to 2 dozen of people comes and goes to do ‘yahshab’ here during the week to practice denying themselves and laying down their life to one another by serving one another. Teaching them how to live, not just about God. Teaching them to obey, not underline their favourite verses in their bibles.

We ate together that night (last night) with others as we work in the garden.

“So, John, you know how to cook rice now?” I ask him as he grabs his food.

“Yes.” He said.

“How do you know? Have you cook rice yet?”

“No” he replied.

“If not, why did you say you know how to cook rice?”

“Because you taught me how.” He said with a smile.

“So you mean if someone taught you how to do this and that without doing it yourself you know how?”

“I’m confused.” A 12yo boy were selling cigarettes in the cockfight arena just trying to figure things out in his head of what I said.

“Which do you think of these two who can say he knows how. One who were taught and was shown how but didn’t do it himself yet or one who were taught and shown how and did it himself?”

With a smile he said “the last one.”

“You got it. So do you know how to cook rice now?”

“Nope.” He said plainly.

“Why?”

“Because I didn’t do it yet.” He understood.

He will be cooking rice for everybody to practice what he learns from now on. Not all at the time but sometime. Raising a child to a son involves some responsibilities to do for other people.

++++

“He who has an ear, let him hear.”

“He who has understanding, let him understand.”

Many who were taught and was even shown how to do things – in seminars and conferences – yet thought they think they know without doing it themselves. “Teaching them to obey” is different than “teaching them to have knowledge.”





Do Yahshab, not meetings

11 10 2017

When we have a ‘schedule’ to have fellowship with other believes that means we don’t have other believers living with us everyday.

I encourage you invite others to do ‘yahshab’ to other believers than just do a quick 2-hour meeting. ‘Yahshab’ is the Hebrew word for ‘dwell together’ in Psalm 133:1, it resonates with Acts 2-4, and Luke 10. It is not a quick meeting but it is a ‘prolonged relationship’ ‘sit together’ ‘doing things together.’ It is living-out the Jesus-Life that is in you ‘with’ others who has it too.

Stay together at someone’s house for a day or two or for a week or month to a year. To learn each other how to brother and how to sister each other. Learn how to father and mother each others children. To learn how to become a family. Having a 2-hour meeting is a business meeting, not a ‘church’ meeting.

See, church is not only because we have relationships with each other, “Oh, I go to that church because I know a lot of people, I got friends there,” but because also we ‘serve one another.’ If we don’t do this then we are just like any social club. We do things together to have fun. Fun of what? Singing? Dancing? Joking around? Drinking and eating?

Our joy should be found in serving one another because that’s where our freedom can be found. In serving one another we become free. Our meetings should be meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters. My recent trip is with over 20 businessmen and woman and presidents of banks who does meetings for four years already yet their leader says to me “we are not family because we cannot even help a brother who has heart problem.”

We know how to do meetings for years. But do we know how to treat our own brothers as ‘our’ brother? Our sisters in the Lord as our ‘own’ sister?

We all say we want to be family but after a meeting we say our ‘goodbye’s’ to one another. The hand cannot say to the foot “See you next Sunday!” Oh, how exciting!!!

Many came to ‘visit’ us here and politely tell us what to do “oh you should do this and that” or “you’re good at this and that yet what you lack is this and that.” And will politely answer them all back,

“Where were you yesterday?”

And they haven’t got a clue of what I said.





How we live community

6 10 2017

One new disciple, 24yo, is living daily with us and doing things together like cooking, gardening, making tables and chairs and other community projects to serve orphans and widows and the poor around us.

People, specially younger ones needed to be told what they needed to do because they do not know what to do. As young as they are they can learn playing all day long on their phones without someone telling them to do it. So a part of training is to “equip them in every good work.”

One time Albert told him to paint the assembled rocks with clear epoxy for our plant rental business. He was specifically told what to do. He should have not used all of it for a number of rocks but, “why, did you used it all for others?”

“Oh, they’re not shiny enough.” He said.

“You were told only to paint a number of rocks.” Albert says, “even if they’re not shiny enough that’s not what you are told to do.”

“Well, I thought it may look more beautiful!” For the last two months he’s with us he loves to put colourful words to everything that he do.

“One question,” I interrupted, “is what you did more is obeying what you are told to do or not?”

Without a long pause of thinking what to answer either yes or no, he said “No.”

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Practicing obedience as you equip them in every good work is important for the obedience of Christ when we fully are ready to be used by Him. Many wants to be used by Him yet come unprepared.

Like most of us, when God only told us to this and that we want to do more. The end result is disobedience to what He only called us to do. We want to please and impress Him or the people around us.

In living with others there are community ‘works of service’ daily ‘from house to house.’ Unlike in nominal churches, ‘ministry’ is defined by specific things you do like leading songs, playing guitar, cleaning floors, teaching Sunday school, leading bible study group, leading youth etc. We ask “what’s your ministry?” But in the community we ask “who do you serve today?” That’s why whenever any saints come to ‘visit’ here I encourage them to do ‘yahshab’ instead. You don’t pay a visit for your family. You come to live. And if you can’t live among us next door then at least do ‘yahshab’ (psalm 133:1) “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.” That word ‘dwell’ in Hebrew is ‘yahshab’ means ‘sit together, prolonged relationship, not a quick meeting.’ You don’t maintain your relationship with your own brother by doing meetings. Families don’t do meetings, they just meet a lot.

“Did you bring any chicken? How about a banana for one of our widows? A loaf of bread? A sachet of milo or coffee?” Are our normal questions to prompt you to share something in the household of faith. “What can you share?” Is a kingdom-economy principle to ask. This is how we live in the economy of the kingdom of God. Sharing, no buying, no selling. Give and receive. “If you cannot bring anything, do some gardening, wash those widows clothing, clean her house, I don’t want guitars and pianos here, get some things done for other people, not for yourself. Practice denying and laying down your life for your brethren.”





Learning to be family

5 10 2017

On being a brother (sister) to each other…

It’s 10:03pm, just got back from an hour swim in the beach with some brothers. As I walk on the shoreline towards the deep waters my son Mike, 7yo and John, 12yo starts holding each other’s hands. It’s actually my son who got a hold of John’s t-shirt and and John immediately put his hand on Mike’s shoulder as they walk behind my back with a waterproof flashlight.

“See, he is your younger brother.” I said to John. For the past week I have been helping John and his older brother Clifford to start treating each other as brothers. They normally fight bullying each other and sometimes my son will be included and made them cry.

As I said the very word “See, he is your younger brother” it dawned on me “how come when we Christians call each other ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ yet live far from each other?” You know, “you’re my brothers and sisters yet let me live my life alone so please let me live a bit further from you. Anyhow, it be good to see you once a week. That’s good enough to be family.”

How come we want to be family yet doesn’t want other people to be involve in our lives? Honestly, I advocate living next door to each other, “from house to house,” “together.”

Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren dwell together in unity.”

We learn more to become family to each other when we live close enough to each other, yes, literally.





Principles of Community: 1. The Culture of the Kingdom

2 10 2017

“Relational communities cannot be “organized”, they cannot be bought with money. They cannot be created by gifting. They come out of death to self, out of humility to serve and wait upon people.” – Stephen W Hill

Filipino’s have communities. When I ask Rad Zdero about a chapter in his book about community his answer was “you don’t need to understand Molong as you already have it.” If he means ‘Filipino’ community based on our culture he is partly right. To understand more, an American couple came and as while we sat outside my house having coffee two person from my neighborhood came, one handed a cake and one a jackfruit from his garden. I am grateful saying thanks and they left with a smile. The wife says “this is what I like about here, there is community!”

“So you see this as community? When those people aren’t a part of us?” That’s when I understood how western people thinks of the word ‘community.’ Very far from what we are trying to do.

Last night as we are preparing plants to be delivered to 3 companies this week Ruelh, Albert and I had a discussion. “Our community here is different than the community that is outside of us.” Ruelh said.

“You see the difference?” I ask more for his own observations.

“Yes” he said. “Because we may live next door to each other like everyone else in their communities but we loved and cared for each other. We treat our younger men and women as brothers and sisters…”

Exactly what Paul says to Timothy, “do not rebuke an older person but treat him as your father. Your older men as your mother, your younger men as your brother and younger women as your sisters. 1Tim.5:1-6

And how Jesus defines His Church is family, “he who left fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters,…shall have hundreds of them.”

The big difference between a Filipino community and a Kingdom-like community is what we call The Culture of the Kingdom. It is the 58-one anothering in the Bible. It is those commands of how we should behave towards one another. It is not a Filipino-culture or American-culture or African-culture. Far from it.

It is a life that’s full of denying to self to look at someone else’s needs meet. A life that is being laid down to one another. That is the very reason why the early church positioned themselves to live ‘from house to house’ to ‘obey all that Jesus commanded’ as a body, not individual obedience but corporate obedience. When one of them says ‘let’s do it’ they don’t suggest their own opinions because they want to get the job done quick.

We know that the world is full of people who likes to tell us what to do, when to do it, how you should do it, you should have done it this way or that way, what you lack is this and that, blah blah blah,…and if you didn’t obey them it’s your fault! This only prompt us to hear God and obey Him.

I was reading an fb post on quote about leadership and it says that ‘the leader should leave to leave space for other leaders to grow.’ “Yeah, sounds right.” I said to myself. And other quotes again on the same subject, ‘Train leaders and send them out.’ That makes me confuse really. As I ponder, I heard God say to me “Obey Me Molong, they don’t do that.”

Exactly. My point is, before you obey what other people are telling you what you should do, look at their life first. I love how my friend Mike Peters would respond, “what can they show? These people are living their life in isolations, watching football games on TV just right after their Bible study meetings when they should be at their feet praying for those people who just attended the meeting.” He lives with other 300 believers who’s living next door to each other, sharing their life daily for over 35 years. “I got 300 people that can defend me” he said.

Living with other saints near you is not an easy-go-lucky life. Deciding to live ‘from house to house’ is not a principle to follow just because the Bible says so and that the early church did it. No. Living ‘from house to house’ is only a by-product of our life wanting to deny ourself. It’s a default system. The principle is: follow my way of life. We so love to follow the early church doctrine of leadership and everything else without following how they live. No wonder we’re in a mess. We may want to serve but we appreciate if anyone could call us ‘leaders’ please?

Here is how they live and the real principle behind living ‘from house to house.’

“I want to love you more. I want to care for you more. I want to help you more grow. I want to deny myself to look up to your need more than mine. I want to see your children as mine, so please have a key in my house. Take over anytime you come. I want to help you how you should treat your wife and kids when I see you’re not treating them well. And yes, if you see me not treating my wife and kids well rebuke me and help me. I need your gift to help me care and love my family more. Be a priest to me.

“And because I want to do this all to you, I will transfer next door to you! Wow! That makes me easier to do all these to you! Why should I live my life in isolation when I want to love you and you want to love me? Who’s husband who wants to love his wife yet lives in someone else’s house? A kingdom-life community, what is their relationship look like? It’s like a relationship of a mother to her daughter. That’s how intimate it is.

Isn’t it how Jesus showed this to us too right from the start? “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14. I think in the The Message translation by Eugene Peterson it says “The Divine clothed with human dirt and live in our neighborhood.”

Simply put, if you really love the people you serve, go live among them. Deny yourself. Lay down your life.

Jesus did.





Daily-life-together stories

29 09 2017

John Lou, 12yo.

Is reading his bible every morning in front of Albert. He was once selling beers and cigarettes for someone at the cockpit arena nearby here. Getting $1 a day. While his older brother starts working here the Saints decided to get him also. They both doing ‘yahshab’ here (dwell, psalm 133:1, sit together, prolonged relationship, live life together, not a quick meeting).

Just as ‘bad company corrupts good character,’ the opposite is also true. God use earthen vessel. God uses people with gifts to assist change a person’s lives. ‘Train up a child’, not a son, ‘in the way he should go so that when he is old’, when he becomes a son, ‘he won’t forget it.’

To live the Life of Jesus in us in isolation, the hand cannot say to the foot “See you next Sunday”, is not how Our Father designed us to live. If Jesus had only spent 12 hours a day with His disciples for 3 years it would take 68 years for us to become His disciples by the way we spent our time together on a 2-hour Sunday Worship and 2-hour Wednesday Service. It cannot transfer kingdom values. And, no wonder that it takes many years of being a Christian to be matured.

Time to eat after work. As we eat we talk, what gets talk gets done.

“God created man and woman, not gays..” I started talking.

“Yes, I read that there in my bible.” John Lou says.

“Let me read from your bible.” I said but I couldn’t find it quick, “how come there are gays?” I kept the discussions as I go on trying to find the scripture.

“Because they taught the boys about Barbie!” Clifford says.

Thought he’s trying to switch the topic but realize they’re just boys in thinking. Better use what’s in his thoughts as a based to go on with the topic. This is called “relational discipleship”. The traditional discipleship is by the book. Relational discipleship is as we eat, sit, walk, lay down (Duet 6:4-6) let’s have a conversation about God, life, death, joy, hate, love, and jellybeans!

“Yes, boys do boys stuff, girls do girls stuff.” I replied. “How about dish washing? Is it boys stuff or girls?”

“Girls!” Clifford says.

“Think, its boys and girls. Why?” I ask. “Because everyone eats! Both should learn how to wash dishes.”

“How about cooking?”

“Yes, everyone should learn.” They said.

“Let’s name some boys stuff.” I said

“Planting, painting, making chairs and tables, cementing, …” all shares what they know.

Someone asked me before “how do you do teaching Molong?”

“I teach them how to cook, paint, do plumbing, sewing, cleaning, washing dishes…that’s teaching right?”

“No. I mean teaching them the word of God.” He clarified.

“Oh, while we do these we start a conversation by asking “what have you read today?” “What is your dream last night?” “What chapter of the Bible you are reading now?” “What have you learn today?” “Who did you help today?” “Did you drop some fish to our widows today?” “Can you help clean someone’s house today?”

Traditional discipleship is teaching them about God.

Relational discipleship is teaching them about God while teaching them how to live. One is geared toward knowledge. The later is teaching them towards obedience.

If you want to know what I believe I have to show you how I live.