Fathering The Next Generation

30 03 2010

WE ARE A FATHERING GENERATION

[God woke me up through my daughters crying, can’t go back to sleep, God suddenly spoke about me that this year is more on about fathering the next generation.]

Making Disciples is all about fathering those who you make them. At this stage I am fathering 42 people. They have become my children in the Lord, and some have became my parents in the Lord simply because of their old age. Parenting in making disciples doesn’t mean only bearing spiritual children but it is about creating a family around Jesus. Just as a normal family has parents and children so as Jesus family. We can even have ‘hundreds of fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters’ as Christians has no ‘neighbors’ and ‘friends’ co’z we have all become one family.

A Generation of Spiritual Orphans

I don’t need to make a survey to find out but honestly I have met enough Christians who are ‘orphans’ when it comes to having spiritual parents in the Lord. Christians in modern churches have been transfering to different labels of Christianity looking someone to belong not in institution but to a family, not looking for some sort of hierchies to ‘command and obey’ because they have to but obey because they know that they are their parents in the Lord that love them unconditionally. Our Christianity today are full of spiritual orphans, they have pastors simply because they have been a member to many churches. One of my friend have became Jesus disciples, as I made her I began to explained that I have become her ‘father in the Lord’ and she has become my ‘daugther in the Lord’ just as Paul ‘have become a father’ in the Corinthian believers and a father to Timothy, 1 Cor. 4:14-17, and John the beloved begot many ‘children in the Lord’ in his letters she was shock suddenly realizing how all make sense now to her whenever she reads those greetings in the episles. She has been reading the Bible for years and have been joining different churches yet unable to see the kind of relationship the Father is longing for His children.

One of the many reasons that fathering is not mentioned nor practice in most churches is because the concept of family is absent. Because it cannnot be found inside the church buildings it is my pressumption that is not found as well within family circles. “He who manage his own family can manage the household of God” simply because church is a family, nothing more; nothing less. If it is more than that then it has become an institution that is run by presidents and founders who are nearly have become good fathers with their families. A healthy functional family is not run by hierchies but by parents and children with relationship and love with each other, and so as the church ought to be. A child is not protected because of some rules that you set out in your home, he is protected because you love him. He is even unconditionally loved by his parents not by what he does but because of who he is. Every parents knows that if your child is trying to do something to please you something is wrong with him. It’s the same thing in trying to do things to please Father, you can’t please Him anymore than what His Son Jesus did simply because He is God, an all-sufficient One. Suppose to be church leaders should act more like fathers expressing and reflecting our Father in heaven. They are not to be called ‘fathers’ for we have only one Father in heaven, but that they ‘have become fathers’ to us and treated us more like their own children instead of ‘projects’ of their organizations. Paul is an apostle but never confere himself as one with God’s people but as always a co-equal brother in the Lord, or father in the faith. He could have said to them, “you have thousands of teachers but lack apostle, and I have become an apostle unto you” for he is indeed one but not to me or you but to Jesus “an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

It takes a mind shift of the whole thinking about church to understand this concept. The essense of a family was lost in the church, it has only become a statement in their church signage on top of their church building, “We are a family church. Come and join us.” How can you ‘attend’ a family if you’re a part of it? How can you ‘attend’ Christ? If church is a family, is what we do in a ‘Sunday Morning Worship Service’ normally how a family behaves?

A Fatherless Generation

One Australian woman named Bessie who I meet in India, after conversing with her about how we make disciples I ask her to be one of my ‘mother in the Lord’ and told her the reason why my generation have to asked for it simply because not only that my generation is a fatherless generation but also those ahead of us doesn’t know how to father simply because nobody is fathering them.

I know a person who becomes my friend and I respected him as a ‘man of God’ and treated him as my mentor. I just suddenly stunned when I knew that he falls into adultery with his secretary in the church. I was feeling sad about the incident for he was my friend. Months passed I met the sister of his wife and found out the cause. It might not be the real issue but there is some truth about it. I am astound to know that this man has no ‘father in the Lord.’ “Because no one is fathering him” the sister in law says. “How important is fathering is then to a person?” I ask myself. How can this be with him having no ‘spiritual father in the Lord’ yet pastoring a church? What impact can this be to a person who continue serving in the church, roaming around between brothers and sisters yet no father? Does this happen as a result of being a rebellious son? As anyone can remember, he was grown up and trained by a pastor. I know his pastor by name but how come ‘fathering’ becomes as issue? Is ‘pastoring’ different than ‘fathering?’ I believe so, a big difference between a ‘pastor-member’ relationship and a ‘father-son- relationships. One takes care of his organization, the latter takes care of his family.

Church Is Family

A house-church is a ‘household of faith,’ that is, a family in nature. When Jesus said that ‘He who leaves father and mothers…shall have hundreds of them.” And, “He who does not hate his father and mother is not worthy of Me.” He is not trying to destroy families here, He is only redefining what a ‘household’ of God look and act like. Unlike churches today, they act and think and behave like orphans. This story illustrates what I mean. A couple who cannot bear children decided to adopt a child who lives in the street. One day, as they ate around the table with so much food, the boy after eating grab a plastic bag in his pocket and gatehr the leftovers, he does this when his new parents is not around. When his parents goes to work the child grabs some things around the house and keeps them in his room. Not for long his parents found out and called up the boy, “You are our son,” the father said, “everything that is ours is yours. You don’t have to hide food nor toys.” In the same way, this behavior still can be found in most Christians today in churches and their daily lives.
One visit to Dumaguete, one of our islands here. In the middle of this fathering and mothering discussion a 20 year old woman caught our attention as she cried. Her parents are both separated, making her as elligitimate child without brothers and sisters. She is looking for family. I told them that a situation like this needed an intentional way of affirming her saying, “I have become your father or mother in the Lord.” Young people are longing for family who can love them, accepted them for who they are.

Last verse of the Old Testament is about family, broken family. ‘I will send the prophet Elijah….to turn the hearts of the father to the children and the children to their fathers.” And the last word of the Old Testament is ‘curse.’ It’s obvious that this curse is upon families! Four-hundred and thirty years have passed, John the baptist came with a ‘fathering’ message, “THe spirit of Elijah is upon me,…to turn the hearts of the father to the children and the children to their fathers.” And for what purpose? “To make ready a people for the Lord.” To what? To prepare God’s people for His coming! If you want to help clean up the road of where Jesus can walk and visit, help reconcile broken relationships of husbands and wives, restore relationships of rebellious children. In Luke 10 Jesus sends the twelve to the village and find ‘a man of peace.’ Find the house, whatever that family offers you, receive it. Verse two says that Jesus ‘send them ahead of Him.” Wow, in other words, He said, “If you want to prepare my way, go find a house and if they accept you leave your peace there, reconcile, restore broken relationships. Let the father ask for forgiveness to their children and in turn their children would ask for forgiveness to their fathers.” If there could be a place where revival should need to begin, not in our churches but in our families. It is only mere hypocrisy when we have a revived church with unrevived homes. It must begin in our homes simply because that is where sin begins.

Relationships

The focus on making disciples, fathering the next generations is relationships. Church is all about it: Love God and your neighbors. Through what? Through relationships. Fathering is about building some good, healthy and devoted relationships to your children in the Lord. To raise a son needs relationships, not discipleship materials.

Ministry is Life

Your life is ministry. Often people ask me, “How was your ministry?” Trying to separate my life with it. This question is a church-based relationship not family-based relationship. Family-based is, “How are you? How was your life? How was your family? How was your life?” But church-based relationship questionaire are: “How was your ministry? What church did you go to? Whois your pastor?” Questions are based on church stuffs which is no relationships at all to you of whatsoever.

What Have We Been Doing Then?

We make disciples, this is our sole purpose. The those who we make disciples becomes a fmaily to us, our ‘children in the Lord’ and we became their ‘parents in the Lord.’ In a practical way, those who we make disciples knows who made them a disciples and knows who their ‘spiritual parents’ are. Because we do them ‘intentionally.’ “Mentoring’ ‘couching’ ‘trainor’ ‘leader’ ‘pastor’ falls short whenit comes to fathering. Fathering is intimate, intentional and relational. You don’t use a manual to raise a son, you use your time and resources, your presence, not your ‘present,’ your relationship to raise him or her up in the Lord.

We don’t disciple people, we only ‘make’ them a disciple. There’s a difference. They are not our disciple so we don’t disciple them. They are Jesus disciples so the Holy Spirit who lives in them is their discipler, that is hearing His voice, being spirit led. What could be the purpose of the Holy Spirit living in you 24/7? Our job is to make disciples to the quickest way, the easiet way, fastest way to reach the growing population. Fourty-two families have become ‘household of faith’s’ an extended family to me in 15 months.

How to maintain?

We don’t maintain our relationships through having ‘meetings’ week after week. You don’t maintain your brother in that way. Your relationship is enough for both of you to be family. Families have no meetings, they have spontaneous gatherings, Heb.10:24-25. We don’t do Bible studies, but reading and discussing Bible stuff is everywhere. We don’t do prayer meetings, but prayers happen every time, at any place.

Orphans and Widows

True enough that true religion takes care of the ‘orphans and the widows’ in their need. We took care and support widows in the surrounding area. We give them food and shelter and money when able to help their need. We are in prayers of getting 2 widows and house them close to where we live. We continue hearing the Lord’s voice in this. Widows are so left behind in churches today, they have children’s thing but not taking care of widows. When I was single, I took care of my friend who is a widow, she said crying telling me that the Bible says, “You, young men should take good care of the widows.” Pray with us as we go nto this journey of treating widows in the Lord.

We house 7 people in my house, I mean rented them a house on their own living close to us. We do things together like eating together, walking together, praying together, walking together to the market, reading books together and other ‘one-anothering’ in the Bible. We help send them to school, 2 is going to college, 2 is in elementary and 3 is in high school. My wife and I is parenting these kids, we treated them as our own children, and we ‘become’ their parents, 1 Cor.4:14.
Helping them to get to school is only a part of parenting. If you wish to help through your giving do so with an attitude of serving your next generation. I don’t ‘sponsor’ a brother, I help a brother. Though receipts are approriate only when relationships is weak, trust really is built on relationships, not receipts.

Push the paypal button on the side, class enrollment is on soon…….help us send this kids to school.

Wish this article change the way you think about church.

Molong and Lisa





FAITH IN THE AGE OF THE HORIZONTAL SELF

28 03 2010

Faith in the age of the horizontal self :

*Worship service becomes a pseudo media event
*Church building becomes theme park
*Christian leader becomes christian celebrity
*Teaching becomes entertainment
*Salvation becomes self help
*Discipleship becomes lifestyle enhancement
*Soul becomes self
*Denomination becomes brands
*Gospel becomes slogan

The horizontal self looks for identity, approval and acceptance in others. The creation and cultivation of public image is paramount.The vertical self obviously looks to God for identity, approval and acceptance.

From “The Vertical Self” by Mark Sayers





Three Things That I Learned…

15 03 2010

You call a situation an ‘experience’ if you only learn from it. A journey of which your life grows…

“If someone says to you you’re a horse, ignore it. If two people calls you a horse, look for a tail. If three people calling you a horse, get inside the cradle!”

This has been to me a guide to find out who is committing a mistake or sin. So one experience has taught me a lesson. Someone has been telling me that I have committed mistake but the way he deals with me is blame me for it. You know that when someone who is at fault, the Bible says that you approach your brother in private, if he does not listen then take someone with you and if still he does not listen, tell it to the church. He did tell it to everyone but without directly telling me that I sin. So that comes out as a gossip. Never mind to that.

Second time we met, still he reminded me of what happened and still poking my head, so I listened and started to find it out myself. It’s true. The person was hurt and disappointed about my action, and worst, for almost 2 years! I admit my fault and he forgave me.

At the same time, the same person who blames me for it has different disappointment with me of different matters, also for about a year at this time. Again, reminding me for it a second time I listened and admit my fault in front of him, he agrees and said that he waited for me to say it for a long time!

I am reconciled to them both as quick as I can…but I can’t imagine how so delayed this kind of process of reconciliation.

What Have I learned?

First, I learned that all of us commit mistakes or sin yet it needs a brother to tell it to us plainly. Yes, I believe it is possible that we sin and we do not know it. That’s why ‘one anothering’ verses in the New Testament appears fifty-eight times! No one is better than anybody else. We cannot just live without one another. I cannot live without you, you cannot live without me.

But this takes a real friend and brother in the Lord to tell you honestly and plainly that it’s your fault without using many words that it comes out blaming you. A friend and brother protects your friendship, this takes honesty between you and him.

Of this two people I encountered that month, none of them is honest enough to treat me as a friend and brother though we know each other for quite some years. They did told me that its not right, it’s my fault, or even a sin but you know what comes out if such words came out, “If I were you I should have not done that, I should have done it this way…”

I learned my lesson, “Did anyone hurt me or make me disappointed of something?” There is, another friend who withdraws his support of something that we agreed on. I plan to meet with him in a coffee shop and I told him that I was hurt and feeling bad of what he did and I am sorry for this. He admit his fault and we reconciled together. Honestly, he didn’t even know that what he did hurts me. He thank me for letting him know.

Second thing that I learn is about forgiving. The two brothers showed mercy on me and forgive me as I admit my fault. By they way, I learn from my spiritual father Stuart Gramenz that you cannot ask for forgiveness, for forgiveness is given not requested, you can only admit your fault and then you can be forgiven. I believe this is important, for if someone does not admit his fault then it means that he is not convince that what he did is wrong. If he is not convince that what he did is wrong then how can he change his ways? This is where the spirit reminded me of what Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son, the son admitted his sin and then his father forgave him. And John says, that ‘if you say you don not sin then you make God a liar’ simply because God knows it and you deny it.

I was reminded of what I read that those ‘big’ people have learn to say the three ‘little’ words that’s most difficult to say, “It’s my fault.”

Third thing I learned is admitting your mistake. To rhyme it this way, ‘It’s easier to forgive someone than to ask for forgiveness.’ I found a book entitled, “The Joy of Forgiveness” but hadn’t found a book called, “The Joy of Asking Forgiveness.” For rhythmic sake let me say this, “It’s not how many times you forgive your brother but how many times you ask for forgiveness.” I am trying to remind myself how many times I admit my fault, in my entire Christian life I can count them around five. Not much and no wonder there are times I have a hard time forgiving someone. I believe the key of admitting your fault, asking for forgiveness when you err is when you learn to forgive someone in your heart. Many people have a hard time admitting their fault because they have a hard time forgiving someone. Many people as well has a hard time telling their brother plainly that, “It’s your fault,” or “I believe what you did is wrong” it’s because they have not learn to tell the truth in love. They don’t really care for you, love you and is not concern of your life. Each of us as Jesus disciples, must learn how to do brotherly talk with each other.

A lesson from one of my spiritual fathers Gary Goodell, he said to me as these things happened are in the process: “Molong, there are three things that you do if you have already forgiven those who err against you.

1.] Do not let other people talk about it
2.] Do not let him talk about it
3.] Do not let yourself talk about it

Honestly, these are wonderful guidance at least for me, and honestly, I have a hard hard time doing this to myself. One of the ways to stop myself gossiping is keep my words down to a few or I will have a long silence to answer those who ask. Include me in your prayers as I battle on this ground.

Three Things I learn Today:

1.] I must learn how to talk in a brotherly love and tune when someone errs.
2.] I must learn to forgive those who err’s against me, even if they don’t admit their fault for forgiveness is based on the forgiver, not on the one who errs.
3.] I must learn to admit my fault, ask for forgiveness when I err.

For if I do not do not do these things I will loose all my friends and brothers. Simply because each of of us errs.

I bump into a quote saying, “Admit your fault and settle the matter quickly or else there will be exaggerations of the story and you will have a hard time justifying yourself.” Or put it Jesus way,

“Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.” – Matthew 5:25-26