Apostolic Hub

19 11 2012

APOSTOLIC HUB

taking house/simple/organic church deeper


An apostolic hub is where Christians live together from “house to house.” and begin “sharing everything” that they have with one another. They don’t “buy and sell” from each other or “borrow” resources from each other, but they make everything available to be used up as a “gift” in service to one another. No one owns anything for himself or herself, (except their wives and husbands) everyone shares what they have and therefore own everything. Because they share everything, there is no needy person among them. They are not just “Christian neighbors” who happen to live next door; they are a family!  They don’t ‘support’ a brother; they ‘help’ a brother. 

An apostolic hub is basically, a “spirit” where three things happen: gather, kill and cast. Whenever people follow Jesus, He gathers them to Himself then He kills them, “deny yourself, take up your cross”, let’s go to the cross and crucify you. The life that you knew is over. From now on follow me. In our churches, we gather but we don’t kill. We let each one live as he pleases and fail to teach them to deny their very lives. Then Jesus after killing the person, that’s why we burry (baptize) them, casts them out (in Greek, the word ‘ekballein’ used in Lk 10:2 is the word used in the process of driving out demons) to the field saying, get out and be fruitful; get me some followers to serve me and my family! Today, leaders train other ‘to-be-leaders’ in order to have their own followers. This is not how it is in His Kingdom.

An apostolic hub has four kinds of people with them: 
1. Orphans and widows. In the society, no one takes care of them, God has given them to us (Jas1:27). God adopts us as sons and daughters and as good followers of God we adopt orphans as our own and look after the widows. If not us, then who would do this? Orphanages are not God’s idea, it is a human convenience that replaces adoption.  
2. Spiritual Dad and Mom. They are the “mature spiritual parents in the Lord,” the apostolic dad and the prophetic mom, nourishing, caring, coaching, equipping and releasing their “children in The Lord”. (Ep 4:11-13)
3. Skilled workers with business projects. There are talented and creative people, entrepreneurs who would initiate businesses to advance the Kingdom (Acts 18:1-5) to help the above mentioned to freely do what they are called to do. Especially the spiritual dad and mom to be financially cast out to initiate kingdom movements. Phil 4:15. 
4. Poor people. The last on the list is the unbelieving poor around them. (Mk. 14:7) That is, the poor that is ‘outside’ of them because there is ‘no poor among them.’ Christians take care first those that are in the ‘household of faith’ or else the outside screaming need of injustice and poverty will suck out the entire budget very quickly and we will deprive our own family and miss the purposes of God’s family. We are God-driven; not need-driven.

Remember the kind of church that Jesus said, “a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden”? It is exactly what David also said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brethren DWELL TOGETHER in unity.” The New Testament recognition of ekklesia in a given city is not by religious edifices or numbers. There is one ekklesia in Thessalonica, one in Ephesus and they live like the ‘church in Jerusalem’. It is the first church and it is our model today (Acts 2:42-46) to follow. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 for unity is not about doctrinal unity. Leaders of organizational churches are busy trying to create another doctrine that would somehow unites us, while their own churches are in chaos. Some build churches this way and others that way, showing the obvious that we don’t really know what we build. Simply said, it is not our job to build churches. We steal His job of building ekklesia. Imagine, 44,000 different brands (denominations) of Christianity is competing and hindering Church as God wants it. Looks like Jesus cannot marry a beautiful Bride but a harem. 

In the words of Aristides, when sent by the Emperor Hadrian to spy those strange creatures known as ‘Christians’, having seen them in action, he returned with a mixed report. But his immortal words to the Emperor have echoed down through history: “Behold! How they love one another.” This is one of the profound comments made regarding the early church life (Church Swindol). Wolfgang Simson has a suspicion that the early church “although hate one another, yet still love one another.” Mike Peters along with other 300 saints who live ‘from house to house’ had this experience with one another saying, “we love each other because we hate each other.” 

Ron Mc Kenzie, in his book “Being Church Where We Live”, believes that the early church way of living ‘from house to house’ is not a principle to follow but only a ‘default system’ that when someone wants to be part of the Kingdom people, “a city that is set on a hill” then he knows what to do. The reason behind is because they want to ‘obey everything that Jesus commanded’ including the 58 one-anothering. They change their priorities and literally decide to be of ‘one mind, one heart and one accord ‘ and live next door to each other obeying the King – their Head, together as His one body. 

That’s why Wolfgang Simson says that a hub is a ‘spirit,’ not much of a location. If it were a location then any human initiation with money, land and resources, without the Spirit of the living God will be able to do it as well. 

The word ‘fellowship’ in Greek is ‘koinonia’ that is connected to the word ‘dwell together’ meaning ‘they are of one mind and one heart, one common life, one common joy and pain, one common purse.’ In his book, Revolution Without Dancing, Mike Peters describes it as, ‘if one buys a ship then everybody owns it.’ That’s what exactly the early church did. “No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had – so there was no needy person among them.” Acts 2:45.

Christians in a city or town, living far from each other and meet once a week for ‘listen-things-together’ and not ‘do-things-together’ like in a house/organic church life-style, cannot simply comply the one-anothering alone how much more the ‘koinonia?’ 

The apostle Paul, in his apostolic journey ‘didn’t stop here and there to preach from house to house’ (Acts 20:20). He stayed in those locations as one of them, as a spiritual parent giving birth to spiritual children, nourishing, imparting, bringing gifts and encouragement to the saints. 1Thes. 2:8, Rom 1:11-12. Whenever Paul traveled, he stayed ‘from house to house’ not ‘from hotel to hotel.’ He stayed where he can do things together with other saints, not do a seminar or conference to them and at the end sell his letters for a $24.99 each. 

Imagine a life of ekklesia in our own city like this! 

I don’t know about you, but in the end, not only God longs to look at the fruit you bear, but also me. I want to see it with my own eyes and enjoy His favor. 

Advertisements




Permission Granted: Lead the lost, Serve the found.

9 11 2012
Permission Newsletter – Special Guest December 2010!
     

NOTE: It has been my privilege for many years to serve alongside Molong Nacua, a church planter and networker, working with Third Day Churches in Cebu, Philippines. I have witnessed first hand a move of discipleship among my Filipino brothers that hang around Molong, that models for me as a westerner, a fresh and vital example of fulfilling the Great Commission.

 

So, I thought I would both send you one of Molong’s recent Blogs, and as well say a very special,  “Christmas Blessing,” over you and your families, and the generations to come. (I have done a little grammatical work on this blog, (with his permission) without trying to change the meat of the meaning. I feel, as a friend that I know Molong’s Spirit and Heart in the matter).

 

Merry Christmas,

Gary (Jane) Goodell

December 2010

 

Servanthood Verses Leadership

 

Thursday, December 9th, 2010 at 4:58 pm by Molong Nacua  

 

I am thinking the Apostle Paul was a leader because people follow leaders, right?

 

People follow leaders, indeed. They normally look for leaders or ask who is the leader. So, let unbelievers follow you, for ‘awhile’ like John the Baptist. He has disciples on his own ‘for awhile’ until Jesus came and then his disciples followed Him, so we don’t know until how long  that people ‘followed’ Paul.

 

I believe it’s ‘for awhile’ since he himself warned the Ephesian elders that, “there are some among you here who will draw disciples for themselves.” So the question really is ‘Are you drawing them to Christ or to yourselves?’ This is entirely up to us. People normally look and follow leaders, let them follow you, but make sure it is because of your light, lead them, but not for long. When they start following you, push them to follow Christ by hearing His voice, being Spirit-Led. In this way, we are only taking men to Christ for them to be discipled by Him. Or as Floyd McFlung would say, “we disciple the lost to convert, we don’t disciple the convert.” Or as in leadership terminology we say, ‘we serve those whom we lead, not lead those whom we serve.’  This is the difference between a servant and a leader.

 

If people followed Paul, and they did, they were following Paul as he was following Christ. If so, he himself did not call this ‘leadership’ but servanthood. He calls himself a ‘servant.’ Neither a ‘leader’ nor even a ‘servant-leader.’ Even that word ‘servant-leader’ confuses me, is he a ‘servant’ or a ‘leader?’ Or, 50-percent, or both?

 

People follow Jesus, because He is the Leader. I think Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Jesus. So if Paul was not a leader why did he say? Follow me?”

 

Yes, Jesus is the Leader, and the ‘only’ leader in His Kingdom. Everyone gets a privilege to serve. But it doesn’t mean we are leaders just because people follow us. Just the same as just because you go to church you become a Christian, or by going to the garage you become a car. I believe in HIS Kingdom, He is the Leader, and everybody follows Him. I couldn’t find verses that say, “lead one another,” only “serve one another.” Maybe, all they mean about ‘leading’ is someone is ‘serving’ someone. Serving those whom they lead to Christ. We do lead souls, unbelievers to Christ to come to repentance; we do lead the lost by our light. But when they themselves find The Light, there is no need for human guidance because they will be Spirit-Led. We all have the same Holy Spirit. Each one can be Spirit-Led. I cannot tell you what to do or else you will be led by me. You cannot tell me what to do or else I will be led by you. We cannot be Spirit-Led then. That doesn’t mean that being led by the Spirit necessarily makes you a leader. Are you led to lead? Don’t try to use what is God’s Word to use somebody else. God hasn’t given anyone the Headship of His Body yet, and will never ever allow anyone to replace Him!

 

So again, maybe all this sort of ‘leadership stuff’ means ‘serving?’ Jesus discouraged human leadership, either Roman style or Jewish style, He said, “NOT SO AMONG YOU FOR YOU ARE ALL BROTHERS,” (Matthew 23:8). There is leadership, it is called being SPIRIT-LED. I respect the Holy Spirit as a PERSON, because He is.  So it’s just like if Kevin is your leader, then he can lead you, not me right? If I try ‘leading’ you then that would be a great insult to Kevin. It’s the same using the word ‘my disciple,’ then you cannot be a disciple to others, or others cannot teach you. They will be but may in trouble if they try. We only ‘MAKE’ disciples, we are not ‘to disciple.’ I may teach, but I cannot teach the WHOLE, ALL truth, but the Spirit can teach ALL truth.” “He will guide you into ALL TRUTH.”

 

Have you ever tried hearing God teaching you? Did you try to argue? Nope, why? Because it’s the Truth! Each of us is only ‘filtering’ the words that we discuss and hear from each other. But we must let them hear God for their own situation. I cannot hear God for ‘your’ situation, sorry. I can only hear God for ‘my’ situation. Let’s teach, but let’s not try to tell them exactly HOW to do it. Tell them WHAT to do. Teach them to obey, but don’t teach them HOW to obey, rather let them hear God for their own situation and follow His leading. I cannot hear God for other people’s lives, I may try but the person has to CONFIRM it, or else, it’s not true.

 

Honestly, you must display a ‘Spirit-Led Life’ here. We do surely learn from you. So, when you guys left, Albert and Jomie stayed close to me, we do a lot of conversations of the Word while Doing-Jesus-Life-Together, but when it comes to the finality of it all, they know how to hear God for themselves. Example, they went to Bohol Island.  First time they did a local missions trip. They didn’t ask my permission at all despite their lack of funds. Instead they just let me know that they were going. I thought deeply about it and was wondering what has happened. I didn’t say anything, I just let it go. Then one night as I opened the door of my room, God reminded me of Acts saying, “The Holy Spirit sends them, “remember in Acts that they went somewhere? And it says that, it’s “The Holy Spirit that sends them,” (Acts 13:2-4).

 

Another example was the craziest. They make me crazy here, because they keep on praying for the sick without asking my permission. You know in a traditional church, when leaders want to pray or do something, they would ask the Pastor’s permission? Everything would pass to him. But these guys Albert and Jomie, they just went and the person was instantly healed! So, the Holy Spirit keeps reminding me about being Spirit-Led. I posted it on myFacebook wall, “We cannot appreciate the Holy Spirit until we have tasted His fullness!”

 

Leadership was never in the mind of Paul when he left the church in Ephesus, because he “entrusted them with the Holy Spirit,” While at the same time he worried  – “there are some among you here who will draw disciples for themselves.” That is taking over the leadership of the Holy Spirit. He warned against that.

 

So again, maybe these so-called ‘leadership characteristics’ are actually ‘servanthood characteristics.’ Why? Because the Apostles never used the word ‘leadership’ instead they uses the word ‘servant.’  Paul calls himself “a servant, he doesn’t call himself a ‘leader.’ Even in the often quoted Hebrews 13:7, the word ‘lead,’ or ‘leader,’ or ‘leadership,’ is not in the original text, so we cannot make this a doctrine of leadership.

 

Paul says, “follow me” because he is ‘following Christ.’ In other words, he “serves those whom he leads [to Christ], not the other way around, “he leads those whom he serves.” One is servanthood, the other is leadership.

 

Also as a Father myself I lead my wife and children by example. So is this leading? Yes, a Father is a leader. It is because I am in full agreement with servant leadership. That is the model.

 

But call it ‘servanthood,’ don’t mix it. You want to SERVE YOUR NEXT GENERATION, like David? Begin by serving your next generation, namely your children and your grandchildren. We know that there is always more a fight for “Who is the leader?” than “Who is the servant?”  Sure, our children may fight ‘who is the ‘next’ leader?” when we die. Well, isn’t the ‘older brother?’ Remember the ‘older brother’ in the Prodigal Son story? I don’t want to even start teaching this to my kids. My motto is to, ‘lead souls to Christ, and serve my brothers!”

 

“Servant Leadership” as a phrase is not found in the Scriptures, ‘Servanthood” is. Jesus is the only Leader, and everyone follows. How’s that?

 

The five-fold ministry, I think has to be people. “It was given someto be Apostles, some to be Prophets.” Paul, we say, is the “Apostle Paul” so I think the five-fold in Ephesians 4 is people not just gifts.

 

It is gifts to His people, whoever the Spirit wills. Some may be more visible than the others. No, I don’t say the “Apostle Paul.” I say, “Paul, an Apostle.” Big difference. One is using his gifts as a title; the later is simply mentioning his gifting. Just like if I play a violin, would you call me “Violin Molong?” or “Molong, the violinist?” So, “Paul, an Apostle.” Rather than the “Apostle Paul.”

 

Sorry, I may be a bit strict here on wording because I care what are we communicating to the next generation. Definitions define relationships. If we are not careful we may communicate the wrong message. Just like saying, “I go to Church,” means that the building is the Church. Very misleading as,” A.W. Tozer bluntly said.

 

So, the five-fold is gifts to His people. Fathering and mothering their next generation, serving their next generation. Jesus is always pushing servanthood, not leadership. He is the Head, and we are not. It is His Body; we are only a part of it.

 

So where are these people, these gifts? Hiding? O maybe the church has thrown them out, hee, hee, hee, hee, hee. Probably, the Church has thrown them out. They are found in the world and do simple church! Sorry for ‘disagreeing,’ but know that this is not the main issue; we all want to practice what is right? Being Spirit-Led.

 

Finally, I bump into quotes like what Albert Einstein once said, “If the practice doesn’t fit the theory, change the practice.” What do you think? I think, its even ‘change the theory’ right? (and the practice) What’s the use of a theory if it doesn’t work?

 

Molong Nacua (molong.nacua@gmail.com)


Third Day Churches is a fellowship of permission givers encouraging each other to experiment with doing church differently, and hopefully more effectively in this postmodern twenty-first century. 

As a partnership of leaders, and a network of churches, ministries and businesses, we are endeavoring to cultivate relationally-based encounters that release the priesthood potential of all believers in a given geographic locale or region, within a language and/or people group.  Our desire is to help each individual believer discover their unique identity in Christ and to embrace fully their destiny.

This is now happening in twenty nations around the globe.