4 06 2009

May 28-29, 2009

On The Way  
I’ve just come from a 6 day trip – an hour flight from Cebu to Manila and then a 10 hour by bus trip to Nueva Viscaya, Luzon region ….and on the way, huh, my wallet is gone! Great! For all of the trip my motor driver’s license is gone, plus ATM card, other documents and my money…..but God took care of me along the way. 

At a town called Bayombong, I did 2 seminars on intentional-relational discipleship with about 35 leaders of networks of house church. I found it interesting though, a lot of them expressing that the weakness of their ministry is discipling.  Well I did house church for 9 years with a lot of experiences and some interesting experiment as well. It was good and fruitful and it spread like fire here. But if church is just having endless meetings week after week, as what most house churches are, then it is not what God designed us to be – which is a family.

Sad to say that for a lot of Filipino’s house church has easily become a lot of  just having ‘endless meetings.’ To make them healthy, house churches should start by ‘making disciples’. Then those new disciples will be a part of Jesus’ family, and this will become spontaneous meetings from house to house. Because if a house church starts from meetings then it can easily become just a structured, scheduled set of endless meetings – at least here in my country. A church does meet, but the meetings are not the church. Like in a family, it’s not about when they will meet, but certainly they do meet.  
I talked about ‘Making Disciples’ with two different set of people. I loved hearing their questions and getting into conversations. Most questions had already been asked in my recent seminar trips and you can read them by scrolling my site at: 
Who Should Be Discipling? 
One church leader’s particular question was: When is a person qualified to make disciples?  
To be honest, this question I think arises from a structured mindset of making disciples through a ‘discipleship program.’ And so this question in paraphrase could be, “What training can we give to the person who can be able to disciple others? What teachings should he go through? How many months? Or even years?”  

To his dismay I answer him a quick reply, “A person is qualified to make disciples when he is a disciple. A disciple is one who makes disciples, that’s his purpose.”  

When he starts following Jesus words, hearing His voice, being led by His Spirit – which I believe he can start practicing at the moment of his second birth – then he is able to lead others into the same journey. Taking someone on the journey only means that you go along at his side and go together. The journey will be exciting and full of surprises if there are two walking together in the road to Emmaus, for “where there are two or three gathered, there am I in their midst”.  
Father Figure in Nueva Viscaya 
The highlight of my trip was the relationships being built. A friend of mine is Ambruce, 32 year old, very active in his ministry. As we drove with his old used car, I am amazed as his finger points to many locations sighting the 25 house churches around his town. But at the same time he expresses his realization that ‘making disciples’ is the need for God’s people there. I sleep at their house for a night and didn’t sleep until 1 o’clock in the morning, talking about a lot of things including family issues and concerns and future plans about his children. We’ve had some wonderful times together.  

Another father whom I respected much is my host Dennis Harms, a Canadian 67 year old man married for 40 years to a 70 year old Filipina. See those numbers? I ask them what their secret of marriage longevity was. Sally, his wife, answered me sternly, “Forgiveness.” I was a bit shocked. Here am I, 33 year old, married to a 26 year old woman and about 6 years in married life, see the difference?  

She said that forgiveness is based on your decision to forgive, from the heart, not waiting for the person who mistreated you. Because men normally have some ‘male ego’ (as she named it – my wife agreed and we laugh), and so tend to forget what they’ve done. Amazingly she said that her husband often would willingly ask for forgiveness but then she forgets what the situation was all about. Isn’t this wonderful? Dennis is one of the humblest men I’ve ever known, a father indeed by heart, treating Ambruce like his own children. Ambruce has mentioned this to me word for word that he felt like a son to him, and his family as Dennis’s own family. I couldn’t believe as I talked to Dennis how he’d just sit there and not even say a word while I spoke and made discussions – I admire his ‘just being there’ for me.  
Fathering Your Next Generation 
My message in this ‘Making Disciples’ Trip is how to start fathering and mothering your next generation. Jesus said, “He who leaves fathers and mothers and children will have hundreds of them,” (my paraphrase). How will this really happen? If church is a family, a ‘household of faith’, then there should be some ‘parents in the Lord,’ as there are ‘children in the Lord.’ Of course Jesus didn’t mean to demean your own family, He just redefining it. He who can manage his own household will be able to manage God’s.  

If there is a place where revival needs to begin then it should be where sin begins – in the house, the family. Right from where the O.T. ends is where you can find family relationships being broken, and in the N.T. we find John the Baptist preparing Jesus way, by turning the hearts of the father to the children and the children to the father, to make the way of the Lord.  

The point is, how do we prepare the way of the Lord? Luke 1:17 reveals the way – families being restored. In Luke 10:1 – Jesus sends His disciples two by two before His face…from house to house, restoring families, thus fulfilling David’s prophesy in Psalm 22:27, “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”. 

NEXT POSTING: Continuing the trip in Nueva Ecijas and Manila




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