Most of my trips are mostly chaotic, messy, or unplanned but appeared ‘fractal’ in each location. Part of the reason, as my Singaporean extended family, Hezekiah Tee, would say, “We plan and plan until God is out of the plan” I became more convince of this truth. Even getting my airline tickets are messed up, I waited for cebupacificair to shoot me an email that they have promo fares, so to avail their marketing strategy I don’t have time to even to check with my friends in the places where I should go to. I simply asked and pray to Papa where and when within the given months that the airline offers. For 4 years that I have been traveling 2-3 times a month, at least some months I travel more than that either by air or by bus, once I flew 16 times in a month! I only canceled twice of my flights and stayed home knowing confidently that it is not His will for me to go. No ‘super-spiritual’ feeling that I need to discern but simply trusting Jesus of His leading. I’m glad I did, that He did, ..we did it together.
It was my second visit to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, about an hour and half flight from Cebu to Clark airbase, and an 8 hour by land trip. Normally flights there are in the everning, so I arrived there as usual at 4 o’clock in the morning! And Edwin, which is my extended family there always fetch me at the terminal with his trycicle, that is a 3 wheels motorbike use to fetch people and gain some coins. I should say that for most of the places where I’ve been in my country, Vigan is the best so far, it was voted with UNESCO’s favorite tourist spots. The Spanish hetitage is brilliant in its structure, the Filipino history will be mostly found there. A very small city but there’s a lot of things to see. Anyway, Edwin treated me a tour around on my first visit. This time, it was more focus on how was he doing when it comes to making disciples and building Jesus family intentionally.
Wherever I went my task is two-fold: Making disciples to those who see my life becomes a light and salt, that in turns creating themselves to believe in me, trust me and become loyal to me….’for while.’ I call this, Disciple for awhile, since you will not ask them to follow you but to follow Jesus. Second is teaching them HOW to make disciples of Jesus through their friends. In a nutshell this is what is all about…
Our job is to ‘go and make disciples to all nations,’ don’t need to go through theological stuff here, am not good at that, never been to college and surely never been to a Bible School. And by the way, I am glad I did…not. “Going” is simply where you are right now that is God would want you to make people His disciple simply because anywhere you are now it has people around you that you can make one! Jesus has already given the command to ‘go’ and ‘sent’ you in the field. To simply ‘ask’ and ‘wait’ where only shows our timidity.
How can ‘making disciples’ becomes an easy job to reach the growing population? It is found in the word ‘make’ not in ‘disciple.’ Our job is to MAKE disciples not to disciple. I will only ‘make’ you a disciple, a disciple of Jesus Christ. If my job is to disciple you then you are my disciple. The question is, “Who’s disciple are you?” Jesus right. “So who is your discipler if you are Jesus disciple?” The Holy Spirit. The reason why disciple making becomes hard simply because we have come to believe that it is our job to disciple. Honestly, it is very hard to disciple people simply because it is not our job. But it is very easy to ‘make’ disciple simply because that is our only job.
Visitation Versus Habitation
When it comes to seminars on Discipleship, the teachers or speakers would quote how ‘Moses and Joshua” and “Elijah and Elisha’s” way of discipleship. Studying and recognizing traits of a disciple who follows his master “Moses” and “Elijah.” Sorry, it connot be done this way now simply because we are not trying to create our own disciples, but Jesus disciples. And Jesus has given us a better way to do it. Our job is to make disciples. The Holy Spirit’s job is to disciple. Jesus job is to build His Church, Ekklesia.
Old Testament way of handling the Holy Spirit is based on friendship principle, that is ‘give and take.’ The Holy Spirit was given only to three  kinds of person: Priest, prophet and kings. King David was such a man who has this three position. Though he is but still he knows that he only ‘borrowed’ God’s spirit that is in him: “Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord. And TAKE NOT Thy Holy Spirit from me.” was his prayer when he sinned against God through Batsheba. And it was the same in the case of many, “When the spirit of the came…” and He gladly came down and help in their troubles.
Indeed God is a faithful visitor…He visits Revival Nights Services on Sunday’s and what an awesome God who instantly revives people from the dead who mostly those people had just been on the mornings Sunday Worship Services! My my my, if we can revive people why don’t we do it everyday? Well, the fact is even if we are faithless He will remain faithful. We ask God to come down and He did but have ask God to stay with us? Knowing the Holy Spirit was given to us to stay within us ‘forever,’ ‘Never will leave you nor forsake you,” “I will be with you to the end of the age.” He is not ‘in’ and ‘out’ in if we fail Him but always ‘in’ in Christ Jesus, He is not looking for a place to visit but to stay at home! A visitor obviously visits for an hour or two simply because it’s not his house.
“God became flesh and dwelt among us.”
That word ‘dwelt’ in Greek simply means ‘Tabernacle.’ We become His temple, His habitation. He cannot abandon us just as He could not abandon Himself. He is with us, in us, for us! Church is simply Christ in you. It is where His spirit lives, not where we meet. Has He find His habitation in you? Or He just simply visits because you put a limitations for Him to do that?
One of the ways we hinder Him to fully be in us is just around 12 inches from our hearts – the way we think of Him! When I was in Baguio, we joined a seminar called “Hearing God’s Voice.” The theme was very interesting but to our dismay with Art and Eric, my extended family who’s hearing the speaker speaks it was not what Jesus teaches. One of the many statements that was so frustrating is: “If you don’t feel the love of God then you are not in the spirit.” Much more of the statements ca be read like this: The Holy Spirit depends on what you’re doing, if He likes it then He will stay in you, if not? Sorry, He’ll leaves!
The Holy Spirit is IN you and will always be in you “until the end of the age.” Either you feel it or not, you don’t have to. Read 1 John, get a marker and start marking the word “know” and you be shock! I don’t feel that I have an ears both sides of my head but I know I have it. I don’t feel my intestine in my tummy but I know its there. Christ in me the hope of glory. Even if I ‘try’ to backslide, sorry, I cannot because that is against what He told me!”
Three days I spent with Edwin and his wife Norma, most conversations revolved around life, family and making disciples. The family have grown there. Actually, my visit prompt us to make his personal website here: www.edwinsarona.wordpress.com. Our sites on making disciples are more personal rather than like an organization where everyone visits and get help in one site. Those 42 that I made disciples for a year are the ones who are connected more simply because they are the one’s who are closely related to me. They are my ‘children in the Lord’ and I have become their ”parents in the Lord.’ Of course, others may visit and learn but we encourage everyone to make their own personal site for their friends who they make disciples can visit their own too. In this way, all we’ve got in our sites are more personal experiences on HOW we make disciples and in the ‘Blogroll’ are other personal sites and so on. At this time, since we’re just starting there’s only three for now. Visit also albert’s site on how he make disciples throguh his friends here: www.albertpacquiao.wordpress.com
A Quick Note on Albert
Albert is the first person that I make disciples last November 2008. He is 16 year old at that time, now 17. And on this span he make 10 disciples of Jesus. He ‘buries’ them hismself! Actually two days after I left home to Vigan, January 17th, he baptizes three. Oh, sorry, only one but there is three of them who was baptized. He only baptized one, and the one that baptizes, baptizes also the other one and so on….Fell free to visit his site and see it for yourself and how this chain works. He has all the stories of his journey there. Ophs, feel free to give comments to enourage him.
How ‘making disciples’ be the job of everybody? Everyone has friends, look for people who believe in you, trust you and loyal to you. I am sure there are. As you recognize them they are mostly younger than your age simply because you will be fathering or mothering them soon. As my father in the Lord and friend Mike Peters always reminded me of one of the powerful words Jesus spake to have ‘hundreds of fathers, hundreds of mothers, hundreds f brothers and hundreds of sisters.” That will be second intentional word to say to them, “I have become your father in the Lord and you are now my children in the Lord.” 1 Cor. 4:14 – 17, Eph. 6:1. 1 John.
Disciple for Awhile
Looking for people who believe in you, trust you and loyal to you are the traits that only you will look for a person to qualify them as ‘faithful men who can be able to teach others also.” 2 Tim. 2:2. Of course, how can ‘obey’ you as their ‘parents in the Lord’ [Eph.6:1] if they don’t believe in what you say, and you cannot be trusted as a person? Or say, what does it take for them to believe in you and trust you? Surely your life must be a ‘light’ and ‘salt’ of this earth right? Hey, we don’t bring Good News to the people, we are Good News!
‘Disciple for awhile’ as we mean it because when you finally recognize that they have your belief and trust and loyalty then you help them how to become His followers. Before he follow Jesus surely there is someone that he follows, let it be you. Because normally people will look someone who can be their leader, let it be so to you but not for long co’z there are two things that you cna do to them who normally follows you. Either you draw them to Christ or you draw them to yourself. Remember the warning of Paul to the Ephesian elders: There are those among you who draw disciples for themselves.
Again, Do it Intentionally
Being intentional is simply saying the word: I will make you a disciple of Jesus. And so on….[as you go under my HOME site you will find the article “I Will Make You A Disciple” in which my conversation with Albert and the other 42 of whom that I make disciples for a year and 2 months now. Of course, this is not a formula as these words will not work in most Ausies, however what works there is “I will help you how to follow Jesus.” And you can add to that, ” we can go together in this journey!”
PART TWO is coming….
Always IN HIM,
Long for short