Making Disciples Spontaneous Discussions and Learnings

22 10 2009

“Hmnnn…teaching someone on how to make disciples of Jesus,” she blurted these words out while I’m wondering what she thinks about. “Are you ready to have your own funeral?” She puts exactly the words of Jesus, “Take up your cross and follow Me,” in a personal way.

Sure a person who wants to follow Christ must recognize his old self. After believing the work of Jesus on the cross for him, repenting of his sin, surely he is aware of the new life that God is offering through His Son. His old self must be condemned to death at once through baptism.

The Five[fold] Signs of Making Disciples

The early church has a way of discipling people. Let’s look at five visible facts or prerequisites.

1. Believing

Jesus says that ‘whoever believes in Me’ has life. The is the first prerequisite of following Christ. This includes trust on Jesus on believing what He did on the cross was for him and he ought to give his life also to the one who willingly gives Himself to him. Believe is in the statement, trust is in the person. This equates to FAITH.

2. Repenting

Repentance is a sign that a person admits his fault. “If we say we have no sin we make God a liar,” the Bible says. Repentance is a remorse of your sin. And I say this again and again that it is not something that you do to get saved, but something that you respond to what has done already in order to be saved. There’s a big difference on that, see my previous article down below entitled, “How To Make Disciples.” Repentance is a ‘godly sorrow’ not ‘worldly sorrow.’ It is His kindness that leads us to repentance rather than its something that we should do. No, salvation is done already 100% on the cross, nothing you can do to add what is finished already. Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” not “To be continued.” So here, we see repentance is necessary to follow Jesus.

3. Baptizing

This is where your own funeral will take place. It is a symbol of your own death to self just as Christ was buried with our sin and just as He rose up from the grave we also shall rise up from the water symbolizing our new man in Christ. There’s a lot of discussions going on on how to baptize. Well, as I first baptize Albert I began to think how in the world am I going to do it? Should I let him wear a white dress? Shall we sing some songs first? Shall I have a sermon on baptism in front of everybody in the beach? What in the world am I going to do. One thing struck me though, at that time he is taking with him Jomy to be baptize also. But should I be baptizing them both? I don’t feel it is right. But I wanted Albert to baptize his friend Jomy because he is the one who makes him a disciple, not me. Jomy doesn’t know me at all except in that first meeting. And so I have in my thinking, “What is the easiest, the fastest, the quickest way to baptize Albert that he can instantly do it right away after I baptize him for him to baptize Jomy right there and then?” We did it with no formula, sorry that I cannot even tell you how except for one thing, we uses the Name of the Trinity after thanking God in a very short prayer and dump him in! But as I go over on how the NT baptizes anyone, mine is still even complicated! Let’s start with John baptizing Jesus, did John pray some prayers? He just dump him in! The Antioch guy when he believed he was dump in by Stephen without a word while doing it. Paul has no mention on the how while he baptizes 4 people, as far as he remembers. Poor old guy can’t even remember who are the people he baptizes, guess he has some flue called ‘Baptisomia.’ However, Jesus said to baptize them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost – but these words are titles, not names. Jesus is a Name. Well, please don’t get me wrong. But my point is, is how you baptize easy enough for others to follow? We must do it the fastest way or else we can make a doctrine out of it and fight over terms forever. And forever is such a long time!

Some even believes that baptism is not necessary at all, if it is only a symbol then what matters is the heart right? Well, carry on to that. Mostly also in my country are Roman Catholics in which they are baptize already when they are young, no need to re-baptize again. Well, carry on to that too.

One thing that we in a sort of ‘house church,’ ‘simple church’ whatever church you wanna call it – hope these names be disappeared quickly as they arrive quickly -I wanna call it ‘Jesus Family’ as Biblical as that, well get to the point Molong, is that in doing baptism we still have a ‘holy day’ mindset. We still make schedules of it like “Baptism Sunday,” Have you recognize this or is it me alone? Molong? NT baptisms happen right away!

4. Receiving

Receiving what? The Holy Spirit on the sign of speaking in tongues. How I wish that one of these days as I continue making disciples suddenly the Holy Spirit will just drop from heaven to the person and he will speak in new tongues! Just as Peter when he preach the word the spirit came and they all speak in new tongues. Wow! Isn’t that amazing? I have been through some spirit movements like the preacher preach about ‘Speaking in Tongues’ and then have some altar calling and pray over and kind of like force something in it. Well I have done that several times though, but if it is done through what you can do you are not really satisfied with it. Do you know what I mean? I am firm to wait on the Lord, even if it takes forever, on the same happenings. Not to even try myself to do it co’z I have been through it and tired of it. Receiving the Holy Spirit happens right after or before the person’s decision to be baptize. I see it as, baptism is the person’s decision but baptism by the Holy Spirit is God’s. I feel sad that I was baptize by the spirit after one year of my conversion. But I was baptize the next day after I repent. But was glad through it all. Whew!

5. Accepting

After baptism, having a meal together is always the best thing to do to let the person feel that he is welcomed. And some affirmation words would be very helpful, I suggest you will say to the person, “Welcome to Jesus Family. We are His family. You have been a part of my family and we have been a part of you.” Then praying the Lord’s Supper should take place here. This maybe a time to shoot some words of comments to every household of God, why not make the Lord’s Supper prayer be the prayer for every meal we have? Instead of just praying for the food, thanking it and then done without recognizing the Lord’s body ‘do this as remembrance of Me,’ and ‘do this as often as you can,’ right? Thanking for the food seems too religious. Jesus didn’t pray always for the food. He just ate, but is He thankful? Of course, He is not just religious. Praying for the food is a tradition. But whenever we have meals together with Jesus Family we pray the Lord’s Prayer, that is remembering what Jesus has done on the cross for us and that by His body being broken, our lives also being broken, selfless to accept one another, empty to be used by Him.

Well, that’s all for tonight folks. Oh not tonight, but this morning, early morning! It’s 3:03 now! Bye.





Redeeming Families

18 10 2009

“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord,

and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.”

A Psalm of David, 22:27

Cathy, Joy and Ej Man

To borrow from Roy Hession’s words from THE CALVARY ROAD,1

THOUSANDS of years ago, in the most beautiful Garden the world has ever known, lived a man and a woman. Formed in the likeness of their Creator, they lived solely to reveal Him to His creation and to each other and thus to glorify Him every moment of the day. Humbly they accepted the position of a creature with the Creator – that of complete submission and yieldedness to His will. Because they always submitted their wills to His, because they lived for Him and not for themselves, they were also completely submitted to each other. Thus in that first home in that beautiful garden, there was absolute harmony, peace, love and oneness not only with God, but with each other.

Then one day, the harmony was shattered, for the serpent stole into that God-centred home, and with him, sin. And now, because they had lost their peace and fellowship with God, they lost it with each other. No longer did they live for God – they each lived for themselves. They were each their own gods now, and because they no longer lived for God, they no longer lived for each other. Instead of peace, harmony, love and oneness – there was now discord and hate – in other words, SIN!

It was into the home that sin first came. It is in the home that we sin more than perhaps anywhere else, and it is to the home that revival first needs to come. Revival is desperately needed in the church – in the country – in the world, but a revived church with unrevived homes would be sheer hypocrisy. It is the hardest place, the most costly, but the most necessary place to begin.

To Recapture the Church We Must Recapture The Home

Giving the modern description of the church today there is no resemblance to what the New Testament portrays. Instead of its leaders ‘fathers’ the church more like a family, they acted more on like a committee, and treated it as a corporation, and their ‘congregations is the clientele, and evangelism is sales and marketing. And there is competition with other corporations (“churches”) in the same town2.’ What is once a ‘world-changers’ followers of Jesus has now become one of its ‘multi-billion’ enterprise in the business-world who is being conformed to its patterns.3

There are many sad church stories attached to this phenomenon, to name the most deadly one’s in the lists is the attacks of the family in which none of these so called ‘methods and strategies to win and earn more’ can support it nor protect it. Family members are in high risk of our own man-made persecutions. I was once in a ‘Blessing the Pastors Christmas Party’ attended by 200 Christian Leaders in my province. One recognized pastor of a mega-church was invited to speak instantly. I was surprised to hear his message to his co-pastors, “There is one thing that concerns us as pastors if our children would be willing to take over our ministry when we retire.”4

Dysfunctional Families

It was mentioned that for younger generations today the life of a Christian had no appeal; for them, it was a sham of an existence, plastic, stenciled, prescribed, something to flee from, not something to pursue.’5 Or I should be merciful enough to say that church for many is something to run to for temporary relief of the pressures of the world, but still not something to pursue.

I should ask you politely and hope you will give me an honest answer. If you have been going to church for more than 10 years have you ever heard a sermon about family? I hope you did hear it more than 5 Sundays because me; aside those family seminars that I attended, only 4 Sunday on the row: 1st Sunday: Husbands, love your wives, 2nd Sunday: Wives, submit to your own husbands, (the pastor have even a hard time preaching about it in front of children around and singles!) 3rd Sunday: Children, obey your parents in the Lord and 4th Sunday: Sorry, I can’t remember it!

My point, we hardly hear sermons about how we should behave as family together but if you check out most of our problems? It’s almost all about family! One Sunday I was invited to preach in a church in the next city, I purposely tried to ‘prophesy in my mind’ just to see it for myself if this is really true. I tell you, I am not in the ‘spirit mode’ as I did this, as I said, I just tried if what I thought out is true. So, just after I prayed before my sermon on family, I called out personalities one by one,

“There are some wives here that have some marital problems with their husbands, stand up.”

“There are husbands here who have some relationship problems with their wives, stand up!”

“There are some mothers here that have problems with their children, stand up!”

“And lastly, there are some children here who have problems with their parents, stand up!

And honestly, you can count the heads of those who remain seated. Ninety-five percent of them stood up to their feet and the church numbered around 150 members! And I said to all of them,

Our enemy, Satan, will never destroy God’s people by church but by family.”

He, Roy Hession, rightly said, “a revived church with unrevived homes would be sheer hypocrisy.”

His Dwelling: Temple Body

My Dad was saved about 3 years now in an ‘unnoticed’ organic church coffee talk meeting in a pastor’s friend’s house. After few weeks of being a Christian and can hardly go to this pastor’s friend church for a Sunday Service for he lives in the north, about 3 hours from the city, urges me to take my sisters to attend church next Sunday. I told him that ‘God, if He would choose to find a place to dwell either in a ‘church building’ or where he is at his home then He chooses to be with him. In His spirit inside my Dad, God chooses him to reveal Himself to him. That church is not where we meet but where His spirit lives. That church is not about ‘going’ or ‘attending’ a series of religious meetings once or twice a week for 2-3 hours nor ‘doing’ something to maintain his Christian life, but being with Him 24 hours a day, seven days a week,  a daily life that is affected by Him. My Dad ‘talks to God alone every night about his plans and dreams’ and ‘wakes up at 4 every morning and read his favorite Christian books and prays every dawn’ before doing his cleaning routine in his ‘My Home, My Garden’ as he calls it. And he doesn’t need to know what to call that. We Christians loves to have ‘themes’ in everything that we do; that’s a devotion, a prayer meeting, or a Bible Study and even name a ‘testimony’ when we shares our ‘Christian experiences’ to our brethren. Can we stop creating our own ’Christian Dictionary’? A simple person can know Christ without these eh?

God’s Very Own Family

If home is really where the heart is
Then home must be a place that we all share
for even with our differences our hearts are much the same
And where love is we come together there.

-Sandi Patti

“You came back” says the older Gorilla to Tarzan, after fighting over with the humans which he thought was his family. He replied, “I came home.” Coming back home from my trips is important for it is where I could be with my family. And we all share the same longing: to be with our loved ones. It is the person’s last resort or request here on earth aside God is to be or to see his or her loved ones! He maybe in death bed a husband always calls his children, or tried to find his lost son and see his face for the last time. Remember the rich man and the Lazarus? What was his last request? Is it to put his money and treasure in a safety box? Or is it to let Lazarus go back and take over his properties? Nope, but to let Lazarus go back and warned his five brothers to his current situation in hell. Who can live without a family? I interviewed a lady of his 60’s, we recognizes each other’s faces when we bump into each other. When I ask about how she feels being separated 15 years with she said, “It’s ok.” But when I ask about her not having their own children she replied with regrets by not having a family. “How pity I am and poor and needy that even when I die no one will take care me.” I realize then how important family is to her. Another incident I could not forget was when I was a youth pastor. Playing ‘ice breaker’ questions we bump into, “What is the most painful experience you’ve been through?” The answer turns out to be a story – it is to see my dad having a fight with mom.

God’s Broken Family

In my own experience was when my Dad was once have another woman and see my mom hurting I cried out in my bed. I was very young being a Christian then. I ask God many times with the same question: Why. God switch the topic from my family to His and said to me, “Have you not felt how it hurts me so bad to see my own family, Adam and Eve fell?” Those words cut so deep in my heart that I was crying for hours like carrying Gods burden in me. With just that sentence I was feeling the heart of God. I have the desire to see my own family restored but God gives me that desire by putting His desire in me!

“Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4. It can be read also as follows, “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you what to desire in your heart.” I am having His desire to restore families wherever I go. This is the way ‘to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ Lk.1:17

God’s Way of Family Redemption

To be continued…..

Footnotes:

  1. The Calvary Road, Roy Hession. Chapter 6: Revival in the Home. http://www.christianissues.biz/pdf-bin/sanctification/thecalvaryroad.pdf
  2. Reimagining Church, Frank Viola. Chapter 5. Page 99-100
  3. http://www.truthwatch.info/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=130&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
  4. Pastor Mel Caparus of Living Word Christian Fellowship. ‘Blessing the Pastors’ Party hosted by OMF Lit. Inc. held at Royal Concourse, 2006.
  5. http://www.simsonwolfgang.de/betterthantheHippies.pdf




A Serious Conversation Tonight

18 10 2009

flower6Hours of talk tonight with a close friend of ours named Cathy. All has to do about on how to start a house church. Though I have been sharing to you about this on my past articles but as we get into specific details there are some important points that we came up with. This will be only a short one though.

In the middle of our discussions, “How to make disciples of Jesus” by starting to write down your friends that surrounds you and pick the people who has these 3 qualities on you – believe in you, trust you and loyal to you. Then talk to each of them for a meal or coffee and invite them to become Jesus followers. We started from sharing God’s love and let him repent of his sin as a response to what Christ has done for him. She was stuck realizing that I didn’t include in the sharing of the Gospel to the person about his sin, “For all have sinned and….” It’s quite awhile that I  didn’t get what she mean, actually she was referring on how we share the Gospel traditionally like you start from Romans 3:23 6:23 or somewhere pinpoint to him his sin.

I told him that man’s awareness of his sin is undeniable and irrefutable. He knows that he sinned against God. We only need to share the Good News that Christ died for him of his sin, no need to pinpoint, or make him guilty about it for he knows it. Actually we often use guilt to a person because we want him to repent of his sin. And that will look like ‘repentance’ is something that he do to GET saved rather than a response to what Christ has done for him to BE saved. Repentance then would be a bit harder for him to do it since his salvation was dependent on that. She understood when I first said to a person who you make disciple, “God has already saved you.”

THREE QUALITIES

Why find within your friends people who believe you, trust you and loyal to you. Here are some important points.

1. They are the workers of the fields.

2 Timothy 2:2 – “…find faithful people who can be able to teach others also.” You only know them by the three qualities that you look for. They are the easiest to make them Jesus disciples. They are the one’s who can carry the baton of disciple making.  Making Disciples up to your fourth generation can only be possible by these kinds people, even without you!

2. They are your genuine fruits.

Imagine having people who believe in what you say, trust you as a person and follow your leading, just what kind of a person you are? Trustworthy, honestly, integrity, character what else do you have then? So, what does it take for people to believe in you? What does it take for people to trust you? And be loyal to you?

3. They are committed.

These people simply would read their Bibles, pray and obey the leading of the Lord in their loves. These people will do what you ask them to do, go where you want them to go. Why? They have your trust!

LEAD FOR AWHILE

In these stage, you lead for awhile, disciple for while, then draw them to Christ. Do not draw disciples for yourself. We have been doing that for many years and ain’t no good at all – the become dependent on me and not the Lord. However, don’t cut off your relationship with them – they be your ‘children int he Lord’ and you be their ‘parents in the Lord.’ Ephesians 6:1

THE JOURNEY

Following Christ is a journey. The mistake in traditional church is that they want their members to become perfect, and so whenever someone is in error they can easily find it out who, what had happened and what should need to be done for it not to happen again. They became an expert of fault finding and problem solving in spite of broken relationships that may result. They value more on the church legislation’s than building healthy relationships. Their relationships is a church-based relationship, not family-based.

In this journey of making disciples, you treat a person as if your own son or daughter. How will you raise a son? Simple, you allow him to make decisions on his own and though he commits mistakes you still have the patience to teach him. No short cutting in building healthy relationships, there are risk to enter into such reality.

Have a nice day.





Church Unleashed!

14 10 2009

[I feel led to re-post this last years trip with Roger and Brooks Thoman. This was posted at wwwlk10.com site for quite awhile.]

“I will take a bath first,” I said.

“No, stay AT my side.” She says. “You can brush my teeth Papa.”
And I did.

She missed me so much that she wanted me to do everything for her. She’s my sweet little princess, Shirley—my 31-month old baby.

Sorry, I am not that good of a missionary yet. Leaving family for just a couple of days and then coming back home for a day and traveling again is not what I am used to. But I have to since the network is growing and needs someone to initiate things…

Thanks for Roger and Brooks Thoman, without them I could never do this on my own. They traveled wtogether as we visited several areas. I have been in a shipwreck you know, floating for 2 hours without a life jacket at 4 o’clock in the morning and all you see is a bright fire, not God’s Shekinah glory but just the ship burning! That was a couple of years ago but since then I have had fear of taking a boat overnight. Fortunately, God provided us the ability to fly.

It is my first visit to these places where we’ve been. When someone wants to join the network, that means they want more information about simple house churches, most of them have already seen them as a way to reach more people. All we did was to affirm what they have been believing either for months or years, or even days or hours. We trust that they heard God speaking through us.

It’s all about the Holy Spirit…

During one of our meetings a pastor friend from the Island joined us as we discussed the idea. We have done seminars with some of his leaders but somehow it’s not his time yet. His heart was moved after hearing the testimonies of the Cebu Network friends who have tasted the freedom of the Spirit. His comment was, “I am a traditional Baptist pastor. I love the stories very much and I am troubled. What should I do now?”

Without hesitation, Roger could have said the ‘steps’ to do but instead he bluntly and with kindness replied: “Listen to the Holy Spirit.”

A human question such as, “What should I do” can draw so much attention to our flesh with all its human strength, “Here are some tips you should follow” or “Why don’t you give up your church now?”

This movement of house church, simple church, micro-church, organic church, call it whatever you want as long as it is simple enough to duplicate. He has been speaking to hundreds of like-minded people like us all over the world, and even in my country. We have to realize that we could never create another vision except what has been started 2,000 years ago. God may allow us to have our day dreams of what our church should look like, but for your next generation’s sake do not ask God to cooperate with your plans trying to build your little empires of denomination.

God is in the move, let’s join ourselves in Him!

Read the rest of this entry »