Our corresponding emails today reminded me of him of how he is a father to me though we meet only for a week but the feeling that he left to me as a son remains forever. And what’s better is what I learned from those 7 days I am doing the same then. And the ‘not that good’ is why I just met this man that time. I wish I met him when I started my Christian walk.
I have been a Christian for 9 years and become a follower of Jesus for another 9 years. To have said that, becoming a Christian is easy – just go to any church you want out there and be faithful with its rules to maintain your Christian life. It’s easy, coming to church once or twice every week, either be a full-time worker or minister, part-time or even just a simple Christian on Sunday’s – a ‘Sunday-goer’ as we call it. I have no idea where did we got these themes. I wonder if Christianity is going to church Sunday-after-Sunday, week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year both now and forever, amen…makes you like Jesus. Does Jesus ever went to a ‘church building’ on holy days? We see Him more on the streets raising the dead!
On the other hand, following Jesus happens outside your four corners of the church. I once bump into a site about an atheist named Casper who was paid to work with a ‘resigned’ pastor of a church. Their ‘mission’ is to roam around 3 churches per week and the job of Casper is just to tell the pastor what he’d think about the church whom they visited. One time after the service he told the pastor, “Is this what your God tells you to do? I have read your Bible and I can’t find these liturgies in there.” To get rid of your religious routine you must get out of that religious edifices. Though getting out of the box is easier than getting the box out of your brain, but it’s a good start. Following Jesus is all about ‘in everything you do….you do it for God’s glory. ‘Everything’ can’t be happening in your church eh? ‘Husbands loved your own wives..’ ‘Wives submit to your own husbands’ ‘Father do not provoke your children into anger’ ‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord…,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ These commands can’t be happening inside the church building. They must be somewhere in your home and in marketplaces!
Lots of Christians today have no idea that God is getting out of their churches faster than they think! But quietly whispering to listening ears…”If anyone has an ear, let him hear.” No Hebrew word for obey, if you hear then you obey, if you don’t obey then you didn’t hear. God is calling out His people without asking anyone’s permission. Remember, the temple is a representation of a situation which is invisible to change. It is a static status, unlike the Tabernacle which is really the plan of God is a movable one, a representation of a moving object as He is a God who os constantly moving!
Many Pastor’s but not Fathers
I have been to 2 pastors and 3 mentors in my first 9 years of Christianity. But all of them I didn’t have the communication for years. I am not so sure if they were my father in the Lord and I am their son in the Lord, apart from which they didn’t tell me ‘intentionally’ that they are my father or I am their son, not only a son is a bad co’z he didn’t visited his father or what a bad father who is not concerned with his son but also there is no family thing going on here -just plainly nothing. And you can’t expect something from nothing right? I suspect that there’s many Christians out there right now who have the same feeling. They know many pastors, simply because they have been to many churches, but no fathers. My generation up until today is a fatherless generation, and if I am not careful then I am setting a bad example myself for my next generation.
In our country, calling people like Nanay, Tatay, Ate, Kuya are very normal, we already have a feeling of a family together, call it ‘community’ which is very normal happenings around you. But sad to say we didn’t go enough through the grass roots of our intention to say it word-for-word: “You are my son/daughter in the Lord and I have become your parents in the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1. Do we have to intentionally say it? I believe so for if you will not then how come he will know that he is! Even to your own child at times you must tell him that he is your son and that you are proud of him right? Then how much more to your son or daughter in the Lord whom you didn’t begot? Not only Jesus is intentional in making people His disciples “Follow Me” but also His disciples like Paul and John are very intentional saying, “You have thousand of teachers but lack fathers and I have become a father unto you.” “My son Timothy.” “My dear children,…” Can we be more intentional then? Can we stop making God’s people become ‘members’ of our church and start parenting them? I’ll tell you, if you treat them as your church member I am sure they’ll get out of your church someday for other reasons. By hook or by crook you cannot stop them. But if you start fathering and mothering them as your next generation I’ll tell you that even if they don’t sign up in your ‘membership lists’ they will not leave you even if they’re out of the country. You don’t need a ‘memberships lists’ for you won’t see one in a real family type relationships. Do you have one yours in your home?
Follow Jesus, Parent your next generation
I just realizes while writing the upper paragraph. Only Jesus who said, “Follow Me.” His 12 disciples including Paul never said it. We know that Paul saying, “Follow me as I follow Christ” is following Christ and not Paul right? He said to the Corinthian church in chapter 3, “What are these divisions among you. One says, “I follow Paul. and one says, “I follow Apollos,’ and other says, “I follow Christ.” We know that this is a sectarian spirit going on that even Christ can be included in the vote! This in interesting co’z real definition of a leader is not being a servant but one who says, “Follow Me” and that is Christ alone who said that. Not Paul nor any apostles, but only Jesus Christ! By the way, if you tell me that ‘being a leader is being a servant’ then you are confusing me. What is he really, a leader or a servant? Or a 50% leader and a 50% servant?
Jesus is our only leader for He is the one who says, “Follow Me.” And what did the other apostles are doing? I believe its fathering and mothering their next generation. 1 Thes. 2:7, Eph. 6:1, 1 Cor. 4:15-17. 1 John. The NT forbid to mention the word ‘leader’ except to Jesus but instead it encourages to focus more on the function – one another. I even believe that the 5 fold gifts are not leaders, they are gifts and ‘gifts are meant to be used’ not ‘lording’ God’s people but serving them.
To make a point, our job is to make disciples and ultimately father or mother them in the Lord, one who encourages them to imitate the Lord just as we are imitating Him!
Days of Fathering…
At first when I was invited to come what I thought is, “what are we gonna do with these 5 days seminar?” And what kind of seminar is this that we’re only about 8 people including this old guy? I am the one who arrived first in the venue from Cebu to Manila. By the way, it’s my first trip to Manila alone that even my Dad warned my of many thing that might happen to me. And first time to leave my family that long! “This must be something,” I said, “for if not then there will be regrets and discouragement when I go home.” Here is this old white man sitting in the restaurant where I waited. He’s having coffee and ‘murmuring’ [spoke in tongues probably]. I approach him suspecting he is the man called “Dan Hubbell.” Yah, that’s his name. I didn’t call him “Daddy'” yet. We introduces ourselves and other several delegates ae coming also. Then we headed to our room and and then having a meal together. At first, I though that we’re just having a meal and proceed to the first session somewhere in the function room but we ended up having a meal all the time! Oh my, what a grand celebration! Food is all around! Non-stop I guess. Here is the program if you don’t mind reading them: Eat, talk, laugh, pray, cry, coffee, snacks, eat, talk, coffee, snacks, ice cream, cookies,, fruits, drinks, talk, laugh, cry, pray, ……and so on for 5 days straight from early breakfast at 8 to 10 in the evening! How would you like that as a seminar? And it’s all happening in the table! Did he preach? I think not. He had a bunch of his notes but he hardly use it! I noticed how bulky that ‘big black book’ that he carries with him that I began to think, “When is he going to use his notes.” He did, but hardly.
Though funny to think, at least to me, but serious enough to think. Whenever one of us asking any questions, thought not all the time but noticeable enough, he would reply: “Hmnn….let’s listen to the Holy Spirit.” Then we all paused a bit and he began talking. Did he talk all the time? I think not. He did talk but he is more on listening to you. Actually, he let everyone talks one by one, he’ll give you time to talk for, just guessing, 6 hours. Co’z we’re 7 delegates from Visayas and Luzon and for 5 days? Imagine that. The after he let each talk, of course with participation of all, he then prays for that person, we all prayed for that particular person. Then he comes to the next without you knowing the system that we go through. It’s a kind of like a ‘spontaneous’ meeting, a ‘spirit-led’ meeting if you don’t mind me calling it. But he didn’t call it that way though. We feel like we’re a family together in the room having some wonderful times. I am the last that he prayed for. I am almost getting jealous really because I noticed that the last ball pass me by. I really though he forget me and so I blurt it out and was a bit ashamed of my assumption he he.
When we finally separate our ways, we said goodbye one by one leaving the hotel and he gave every one a hug, actually he keeps on hugging you and calls you son, right from the first day he calls you son. Maybe that’s another way of not memorizing your name, like ‘bro?’ he he. He did remember me up to this time. Aren’t you glad someone call’s you by your name?
The path that he made and leave them to us have made not only an impact to my life but also doing it the same to my next generation now. I learn to behave as a son and so knows how to become a father to someone. I believe that some pastors doesn’t know how to father someone because nobody fathers them. And a lot of Christians today doesn’t know how to behave as a son because nobody father’s them. To get rid of spiritual orphans in our generation we will not assume to be a father but we will be intentional in our fathering telling someone who we make disciples of Jesus, “I am now your father in the Lord and you be my son in the Lord.” This not only restoring families, ‘turning the hearts of the father to children and the children to their fathers’ but also cutting the ‘curse’ with it. Mal. 4:5-6.
This is how to prepare God’s people for the Lord’s coming! Luke 1:17