How we help…

4 10 2016

Love may be unconditional, it is. But don’t give it irresponsibly. 
When we help needy saints around, say like giving packs of rices, we give it to them unconditionally. Every family receives their share of benefits. Everyone is happy as the ekklesia meets their needs. We work hard here and trying to sell from our store. Everyone works from their specific skills and talent not just to reach their full potential but also to seek God’s kingdom by serving others. As God’s people help meet our needs, we also help meet other God’s people’s needs. It’s how it is in the kingdom-life, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4). It’s a life of sharing, serving, sacrificing, and yes, denying. All of this is good for all God’s people. 
Here comes the hard part and what was most churches have left out. 
We went in to one of the communities that we develop into an apostolic hub (Acts 2&4 Life-Together) and begin helping them, this time is not about giving rices but providing them toilets, deep wells and other projects such as barrel planters to provide food for their families. We brought our power tools and materials needed to do the job and encourage the people in the community to give us a hand but not all of them offered their time. One family refuses me to use electricity power. “I will pay of course, just let me know how much.” I said. But still the wife wouldn’t let me. “I think I saw your face a couple of times accepting my rice with your open hands, right?” Still she wouldn’t let me. 
“Jomie,” I shared directly this learning experience for him to see some differences in giving out our love irresponsibly, “many who wants mutual benefits but not mutual responsibility. If we have done it the traditional ways we would never know these stuff because what they mostly do is give, give, give unconditionally to make these people will be happy and all they required to do is show up in church on Sunday’s. But if we give them responsibilities it is when we know who they really are. We are not here to impress these people with what we can do. If we do it like Jesus we cannot do anything for her because she lacks faith. She has faith to receive of which anyone can but not faith to share what she has. We are here to test them in little things to see if they can be trusted in the things of God later on. Their actions today determines their functions in the hub tomorrow. This is reality.” Several saints help us do the work although everyone wants a toilet to be place in their own houses. 
Widows on their 60’s are the exemption, we should help them without giving them work. The ekklesia here took the responsibility to pay their electricity bills. We send food and medicines around or they come and pick it up. But to those who are able to work, not disabled person but can work with their own hands, we should give them work so as not to be a burden to others. I normally say to disciples coming here, “Did you bring any chickens or rice or bread? You should you know, co’z whenever you come to see us as your extended family you ate my food and drunk my coffee of which another person is paying it, another disciple is going to the market, another one is cooking it, the little girls is preparing the tables and washed your plates after. Others planted vegetables at the back and others watered it. Everyone is serving one another and you should also. And since you come empty-handed why not help me with what I plan to do right now?” 
One time a disciple came and no matter how Albert is trying to entice him to do something, all he wants to do is borrow Albert’s iPod and using computer. And not for long, that disciple went home saying goodbye to me. “What happen Albert?” I inquire with curiosity. 
“Oh, i pulled the plug!” he said. 
“Good on yah Albert.” I admire his wisdom. 
Yes we made many disciples around and we ‘equip them in every good work’ as much as we can. I don’t want a hundred disciples who are all lazy and wants mutual benefits but not mutual responsibilities. “He who does not work, does not eat.” 
Another disciple came and saw me harvesting my tomatoes. “Wow kuya, i love tomatoes,” he said, “that’s my favourite. Can i have some?” 
“Really? Where were you when I planted these?” I ask him bluntly. “I do remember you when I planted these with my own hands. I did asked you to help me and now you want some?” I ended up giving him just five pieces for his family. 
Love unconditionally, but don’t give irresponsibly.

A House Church Explained 

3 07 2016

A simple, organic, house church is not 15-20 people dropping to see each others faces once-twice a week in someone else’s house over a cup of tea with cookies or a meal doing bible study ‘meetings’ complete with praise and worship and prayers. Nothing wrong with that but nothing also could go right. We have been doing this for decades yet most Christians are still wearing their spiritual diapers and bottle milks, irresponsibly neglecting that it is their duty to either grow spiritually or buried in stagnancy. They still blamed this to others. 
A house-church, however you may want to call it is still the same number of people either living in one roof or in separate houses next to each other. Each one or family decided to live the Zoe-Life of Jesus to be live-out in a ‘daily’ basis and ‘together’ as ‘one family,’ not ‘Christian neighbors.’ (Acts 2&4, Heb.3:13). 
It’s a people who decided to deny themselves and so started serving one another. They make disciples to their friends and neighbors, baptizes them and get cleaned. Whenever someone wants to follow Jesus He said ‘sin no more.’ Be part of a bigger family: He who left fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, houses and lands shall have hundreds of them (Matt. 19:29). It is how Jesus defined His Church. 
They take care of each other’s needs. Instead of collecting money to pay high-maintenance facilities such as building rents and bills they go chose the low-maintenance of a widow who needs daily foods or medicines. They’re not only sharing their resources to anyone who has needs but they also share their burdens, struggles and yes, their sins to confession. They start ‘living’ that Life of Jesus they receive by ‘giving’ it to others. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 Jn. 3:16 
One of the disciples here is living with two widows. He buys them food out of his plants sale. He picks up woods for cooking and now building a wall around their room and a toilet for them to use. The ecclesia decided to rent them a land and build something that they can live in. One family we have decided to take in 3 orphans. They treated them as their own, clothed them, feed them, send them to school. And yes when they’re sick they bring them to the doctor. The ecclesia here decided to help that family when they needed something. Other disciples we sent not just to make disciples but to help pay electricity bills of widows in need. Repaired their leaking roofs or ceiling or build them a toilet. Some disciples decided themselves to help send children, orphans to school. Others served to drop them to school for safety. And others help prepare their school assignments. One disciple encourages the kids to type a chapter of a book in the computer as practice and rewards them. It be printed out and give away to other disciples or send them through email. Recently they type the “75 Commandments of Jesus” printed it and put it in every Bible to be given away to Saints around. 
These are unseen happenings because it is not a ‘weekly program,’ it is daily-life-together ‘from house to house.’ They cook food together with children to learn how to slice onions or make a dough. Saints washed togethers clothing with an extra clothes from a widow who cannot do it anymore. The boys are doing gardening or sewing a hammock or belt bags to sell. Their business is theirs, profit is shared and then everyone lays down not just their lives but also their money to help those who are in need. Kingdom principles of living is not meant to be limited only by memorizing them. You have to practice it as Jesus says “He who practice these things.” See also 1John 2:29 
So much needs to meet but if you’re just wishing to receive help and not give you will never get it. 
Everyone has something to offer. So everyone offers something. It’s when we believe we have nothing to offer when we start looking at ourselves. But when we look at other people’s situation you will be able to see how you can help them. A story below should help you understand what I just said. 
“I do nothing there if I go with you” says a foreigner, “I don’t speak your language so the people won’t understand me.” 
“Are you going to ‘talk’ there anyway?” Albert answered back. “Why not bring a nail cutter and cut the children’s finger nails there. You don’t need to talk. There’s so much to do. Surely you be cutting nails all day long!” 

Obedience is better than calling 

21 06 2016

“Why do you keep flying?” I commented on someone’s facebook post. “Is it business or ministry trips?”

His reply was direct: “It’s about me, me, me. My calling, my calling, my calling.”

His reply gave me one sleepless night. I was taught that our calling is irrevocable. Romans 11:29 says that “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” And it is explained this way: If God called you to be a pastor (evangelist, teacher etc) you can’t run away from it.

And so I was told.

Abraham, our father in faith, has a calling too. His calling was to father many nations through one offspring called Isaac. God himself established this everlasting covenant through Isaac even before he was born! (Gen 17:19). Then one day God called Abraham to come up to the mountain to worship him. He said offer your son as a burnt offering on the altar. What did Abraham do? He simply obeyed. His obedience to God was more important than God’s “calling” upon his life! Let this sink in for a while.  

But, what about my “calling”, good Lord? Are you sure you want to revoke that “calling”? Abraham could have reminded God as if God doesn’t know how to keep His promises. His “calling” was not his driving force, but simple and immediate obedience was. No questions asked!

Jesus too ‘learned’ that obedience. Hebrews 5:8 says that ‘though He was a Son yet He learned obedience by the things that He suffered.’ Jesus was promised by His Father a Kingdom (Nation of nations) but He too like us humans not only ‘tempted in every way ‘ (Heb.4:5) but also just for a few seconds leaned on his own strength and flesh saying “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.” (Matt 26:39)

To step into God’s calling in our lives is not an easy road to take. The name of that road is called Denial. Death is the key to Life in Christ. Death to Self, death to your own future, agenda, vision and mission. Don’t be like the person mentioned above who has all the money in the world and can just fly anywhere he wants, even when God has not permitted him to do so. Money can buy many things, even God’s mission!

The common solution to one of the most common problem in missions is to believe: if God provides then it is His will for me to go. I believe this belief mainly comes straight from hell. Surely the devil can also provide your need. The devil was capable to provide even Jesus’ need! Lk 4:6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. He wants you to go into your “calling” when it is not yet the right time! He did it to Jesus offering him the ‘kingdoms of this world’ and quickly make Him King, by taking the easy road. (Math 4) and not the road of Denial! Jesus simply said to the devil, “I obey not you”. Splendor and wealth does not buy Kingship; Jesus’ mission was to obey His Father. Phil 2:8 He humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

I admit, in my early mission trips I relied on people who promised me airfares, food and accommodation to come to them. But as I matured in the Lord, I learned to discern that such promises are the very first signs that it is not God who is calling me but mere men. To go just because someone already provided the necessary resources ahead of the “Go” signal from God – is not from God.

Don’t limit yourself by your calling. Don’t “specialize” your calling. “I’m only called to sing in a choir so I cannot go to evangelism activity”. “God called me. God called me. It’s my life and it’s my calling.” Let not “calling” determine what you can or cannot do for God. Simply hear and obey what God tells you.

Sometimes God may want to take that calling back to rescue yourself from your own ego. Sometimes humans may fail and fall short of God’s calling. Don’t be consumed by your “calling”. Let Jesus consume you. He is your King, and you submit to obey Him; not your calling. You see, “calling” is not about you. Jesus brings the kingdom on earth and it’s central message is Him being the King, not you or your “calling”.

I believe, only the gospel of the Kingdom will awaken His people who slumber in their favorite pews on Sunday Christianity. We are not here to fulfill our “calling”, NO! We are to increase His Kingdom, His government. Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. What does it take to see that happen? My and your obedience to what he says.

Are you willing to lay down your “calling” again at the altar of God like Abraham? Or do you limit yourself and so limit what God can do in and through you?

Shifting from Church needs to People’s needs

10 06 2016

I remember when Jomie and I dropping by to see an extended family. Sitting beside an elderly lady having a conversation asking and answering questions. And to cut the story short, before we left we bought her some medicines for her kidney maintenance and a dozen of tin sheets to replace her roofing that’s leaking when it rains.  Spent about $120 on that visit that day. 

“I am a change man.” I said to myself as I went out her house. 

When I was pastoring a church it only taught me to become selfish. I want a church building and facilities. I want members to help me pay for it ‘in the name’ of the church. I taught people to give ‘to the church,’ of course what that means is the ‘building.’ But when I decided to ‘be the church’ I started getting rid of unnecessary things to make church ‘simple.’ Church is people, not building with a staple. 

When visiting families and friends my questions started to change. The topic of my bible studies becomes them (because they are the church right?) It becomes more personal and directed to their need rather than sharing what church ‘building’ needs. I learn to listen more instead of talking ‘about’ my church. My eyes started recognizing things that needed to be fix around their house rather than what I can ‘remember’ that I needed to fix in my church.  I began changing their lives by letting them see how the Word is being applied right in their own eyes. 

To start changing your life, start changing other people’s lives. Don’t wait for other people to help you first. That won’t happen even for a hundred years. Do you know why? Not a lot of people wants to help other people because they wanted to get help first. 

A principle I learned from someone who started selling woods and cleaning shoes at the pier to selling planes once shared to me saying, “Do not let a day passes by without doing something good to others.” Look around you, there is always a need to be taken care of. Be it a widow who needed her own room or an orphan who needed food. A mom needs milk for her baby or a sick person needed medicines. Somehow I believe that why sometimes God would not always heal the person no matter how we prayed it is simply because God wants us to act in kindness. A pastor visited his member in the hospital offered some prayers of which the patient interrupted him and suggested saying “Pastor, you’re the 42nd person who visited me and all they’ve offered is only prayer. My bills is 42,000 ($1,000) peso up to this day.” Looks like every time or everyday when someone visited him it adds a thousand peso to his bill. Well, not true as hospital rooms here started from 1,500-3,000 a day. It’s like staying in a hotel. The more you stay the more you pay. But what if every time we visited a sick needy brother or sister in the Lord let’s bring something to contribute? Prayer is good but they need cash. 

Christianity is very good at providing ‘spiritual blessings’ such as prayers and bible studies etc. But very bad at sharing ‘material blessings.’ 

It’s 2:29 in the morning as I wrote this short, what, encouragement or correction? My wife and I just came back from seeing a friend who just lost his father in a lung cancer. Yesterday, 8 hours ago, we did something good, we sent $90 to a mother who needs it. And just as we got back now someone handed me $100 Canadian. Our money is ours only to give away. Until you give it away it is never yours. 

Love isn’t love until you give it away. 

Mission or Worship, Which is ultimate? 

28 05 2016

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.” John Piper, Let the nations be glad 

Here’s what Mercy Simson has to say about the quote above: 

Define “worship.”

If worship is to sacrifice your future before God and die to self, then yes! God lives, self dies! 

The first time the term worship is used int eh Bible is in Ge 22:5-8 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” 

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” 

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. 

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

Worship is always to do with burnt offering. In the New Testament, Worship is again defined as the act of sacrifice: Ro 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

This again means death to self, so that Christ can live in me. Paul was able to say this: Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me!

If worship is defined as music, (singing, good band, fog, and lights, air-conditioned hall) that lifts up our spirits as it speaks to our emotions (If the music is fast, then your spirits are high; if the music is slow, then your spirits are soft and mellow), then it is a definite NO!

This seems to come from someone who is still churchy. Because the argument seems to be around the ultimate goal of the church. If he would ask differently, what is the ultimate goal of Jesus Christ, the King? Then we are talking about His Kingdom and not the church as we know it with music, fog and lights.

Jesus com”mission”ed us to go and make disciples of all nations. He did not commision us to worship in the sense to sing fast and slow rythmic songs.

Until mission is no more, we are commissioned to go and make disciples. Celebration comes later at the wedding of the lamb.

What I pick up in this statement is what man can do for God outside of God; and not what man should do for God because God commanded so.

Podcast: Apostolic Hub

7 03 2016

Hi everyone, was interviewed by TheNomadic Prophets, from a friend of mine named Michael Cox. You can also find other two interviews of mine on making disciples and gatherings. 
Up next tomorrow will be Albert’s raising the dead experience on the same podcast host. Shall give a link later. 

Have you found the Kingdom yet?

3 03 2016

Have you found the Kingdom yet?
Jesus once said, SEEK first his Kingdom (Mt 6:33). Kingdom does not come easily to us. We need to search for it until we find it. It is a well-kept secret for those who are with him. “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ (Lk 8:10). 

Again, Jesus warns, “not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom.” I guess, only those who seek will find it. Kingdom requires our act of searching it. Jesus says it like this in his parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, when a man found it he hid it again. And then in his joy, went and sold ALL he had and bought that field.” “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold EVERYTHING he had and bought it.”
Talk about entering the Kingdom, you got to talk about leaving home, getting out of your comfort zone, being on a journey, tackling hardship, dying to self, search, search, search, sell all that you own, just because you have found something of much greater value than what the whole world could offer! 

Have you found the Kingdom yet?