Just came back home from Butuan and CDO, in between province is a long 6-hour drive by bus but we really enjoyed it. This is my second trip the first one was when we attended the Philippine House Church Summit in Tagatay having seminar, talking everyday for 5(five)days, its good but only 10% interesting the other 90% is boring, unlike the trip that we had in butuan its really great.. As we landed in butuan and met kuya Molong’s friend Ronnie whom he had met in his last trip in Davao a month ago, he shared to him on how to make disciples of Jesus quick, simple and fast and after a couple of days of that conversation Ronnie had made three disciples and another five after two days! WOW!!
This is the reason why we visited him at his place. The first night we stayed at his house we slept til three in the morning. There he shared his stories after stories of his journey. Kuya Molong discussed about how hearing God’s voice played an important role in making disciples. An example would be the Eunuch and Phillip, the evangelist in the book of Acts. The next day, we suppose to go somewhere. Ronnie first drop his child to school and we waited til late afternoon. When he came back this is his story of what happened:
“I heard a voice saying, “Go to Budot.””
“I ask the Lord why,” the voice just say, “Just go.”
He obeyed the voice.
Budot is a long time friend but is not a follower of Jesus yet. Ronnie has learned that to make disciples, you’ve gotta make friends like Jesus. Then look for people who believe in you and trust you, like Jesus. Then you make him a disciple.
Many people have many friends but they do not know what to do with them. They are Christians, they talk about Jesus and His church but they don’t know how to make a person a disciple. In other words, they do not know how to make a person ‘ to decide’ to follow Christ. “In that stage alone,” as Kuya Molong says, “we lost the connection and ultimately lose the person, the remain in our circle of friends but have not become a ‘family.’”
Budot, Ronnie’s friend, was one of a kind. So he knows what to do. Budot’s house was quite far that you have to take a small pump boat to the other side of the river. It would be longer to travel if he has to take the bridge around. This river is the longest river in Southern Mindanao called Agusan River.
When Ronnie arrived at his friend’s house, Budot wasn’t there. “What am I gonna do here? Budot is not here.” He inquired the Lord.
“Wait.” The voice just responded.
He waited and waited til he found some people to make some conversations. Thought these are the guys that Father probably wanted me to share the Gospel, but nothing happened. It is important to obey what he just told us to do, and nothing more, nothing less.
Impatient he is, he thought of going back home thinking that the Voice that he heard is just his imagination. As he took the first step going back, there he is, his friend Budot just arrived! They greet one another excitedly, talk about how they are, their families and other stuff. Budot offered to share a meal with him, so he prepared the table. “I remember what Molong says on how to find a man of peace,” Ronnie was reminded. “The first sign is food.” So, he took that as a sign from the Lord, though it’s quite normal for us Filipino’s to offer a meal to everybody but recognizing God’s agenda is quite different.
“So, why did you come here” Budot ask Ronnie.
“God sent me here.” Ronnie said just that.
Silence broke out the conversation.
“But for what?” Ask Budot.
“You are dead and I needed to bury you.”
“What do you mean I am ‘dead?’”
“God has saved you already, two thousand years ago, He paid for your sin, He died for you because He loves you. Do you believe in this?”
Budot nodded his head.
“He died for your sin,” Ronnie continued, “because the wages of your sin is death. And He is not the only one who died for your sin, but you also died of your sin. That is why I said, ‘You are dead.’” And Budot didn’t ask anymore questions.
“If you believe this, then what are we going to do to a dead person?” Ronnie challenged him.
“Of course, bury him.” Budot said.
“See, Jesus died for your sin, you also died with your sin with him. The way Jesus do it through you is through Baptism. So, I will baptized you, this is the ‘burial’ of your body that is full of sin. Your old-self. Then as Jesus raised from the dead, you also raise with Him in new life. That is, your old-self is done away with. You will be given a new-life from above.
“Now, where should I baptize you?”
“Look, what are we waiting for. There’s a river!” Budot raised his voice.
Ronnie baptizes his friend right there and then. And after his baptism, Ronnie commissioned him to go and make disciples.
“How should I do it?” Budot inquire.
“Simple, just the way I just did it to you in a couple of minutes.”
“Just that?” Budot was a bit shock.
“Yes, that’s how you make disciples.”
And they separate each others ways.
Ronnie came back home and shared these stories four times! Ronnie was quite blunt and probably offending when he says to his friend, “You are dead and I needed to bury you.” Budot could have just punch him on the head and done, right? But the very key here why the conversations turned out OK, not just God has told exactly Ronnie to go and make disciples but also Ronnie’s relationship with Budot guarantees the outcome.
I remember a story of an enthusiastic Christian who is a barber. At his shop, a customer wanted to shave his beard. This Christian guy was very excited of the Lord and make ready of his blade, sharpening it and while doing it in front of a mirror in the other room he encourages himself, “I must witness to this man, I must share with him the Good News!”
He got out and look intently to his customer in the eye as the man laid down to be shaved. And while he feels the sharpness of his blade on his hand he said these words seriously: “Sir, are you ready to go to heaven?”
The man, seeing how he feels the sharpness of the the barber’s blade unto his hand, jump quickly from his seat and head out to the door and slam it close!
This is the big difference between a ‘hit and run evangelism’ type sharing the Good News and an ‘intentional’ disciple-making. Intentional discipleship means that the person that you are sharing with is simply your friend.
Someone ask me, “Does it have to be your friend? Or, do you wait til a person becomes your friend before you make him a disciple? What if God wanted you to share without knowing the person?” Well, my answer is simple. Why not be a friend? How many hours do you need to start making yourself a friend? Why not?
See, Jesus, knew His disciples first before calling them. He knows them by name. He spends thirty years before He started His ministry. That means, He spends time with people around in the neighborhood first. How come He knows Zaccheus name?
Many Christians spends more than 15 years where they live yet hasn’t made any friends at all. They justify themselves with these Scriptures saying, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers…’ or “A friend with the world is an enmity with God” or even this family verses, “If anyone does not hate his father, mother or brother is not worthy of Me.” Such attitude has no love what the Father loved: the lost.
I never forget what I read when I was a young Christian [church-goer], and somehow today it make sense! Here it is for you to ponder: “You cannot save Budot unless you know Budot.”
Ronnie knows how to make disciples. When does the process of [hate to call it a “process” because it is just as easy as that] making disciples start? Many Christians keep on preaching, sharing the Gospel, giving reading tracts, even preaching in the air [radio] but hasn’t really made anyone to decide to follow Christ. They boast about their many decisions [signing Salvation card] on their crusades, do a ‘sinner’s prayer’ and gave or declare that they have a new life. Really? How can one receives ‘new life’ without burying the ‘old’ through baptism?
One frequently asked me, “Can baptism saved you?” Before I answer, let me ask you if a ‘sinner’s prayer’ can save a person? Because so many of us uses this ‘cannot be found in the Scripture’ way of letting a person decide to follow Christ, [maybe decide to become a ‘Christian church-goer] and declare to a person that he is saved. Really? In the Bible, baptism, the burial of the old self is recognized by God as a valid outward expression that a person is saved.
Check this statement of Jesus about baptisms when He discussed it with the Pharisees: By rejecting John’s baptism you refuse God’s purpose in your life. See, it’s really up to you. Would you rather make Mr. Dwight Moody’s invention of ‘Sinner’s Prayer’ serious or make baptism, the prerequisite of the giving of the New Life to a person who wants to follow Jesus?
A 12-year chairman of the board of a mission training agency has challenged me if do i have to baptize the person if they decided to follow Christ? By not encouraging the person to go through baptism, you have not convince him of his sin that brings death to his life and thus needed immediately to be buried or else he get stinky!