Olango Trip 2

29 03 2013

“Hey lolo (grand father), I will baptize you.” Jonathan said. 

 

I overheard them talking to each other inside the house while I was lying on the hammock. Jomie got in and joined the conversation. As quick as 2-minutes, they got out together.   While holding the bucket in his hand,.Jonathan asked me, “will my lolo fit in this big bucket?” His grandfather is 73 years old and Is sick as well. 

 

“How about will take him to the nearby sea?” I said. He can hardly walk and move. 

 

They filled up the bucket with water and as soon as it was ready, Jonathan and his mother, Jomie and Albert, baptized his grand father. (Video here). 

 

After we ate our lunch together under the tree, we prepared to go for a swim. I went out… while waiting for them to get out, I heard them murmuring.   They were praying for Jonathan’s lolo for he was sick. I simply took a photo with my phone. As always; when this kinds of things happen, all I could do is just look on for they won’t ask me nor wait for me to pray for the sick! They just did it without me. So sad yet I am loving it. 

 

On our way to the beach riding on the bike, I thought. With all these baptisms we’ve got in this island, how are they going to grow when we don’t do what I have been doing before when I was a house church guy full of meetings? Yes. We are a family, we met as often as we can and build relationships together to become family together. With these guys, we hardly met! It’s been months since we came. Should I teach them about reading the Bible or what? I told them to read and gave some of them bibles to read. Are they really reading their Bibles? Honestly, the truth is I am looking for someone ‘like me’ that knows what and how to do things pertaining teaching and doing ‘training.’ This is mostly our belief that if we don’t do teaching they won’t grow! Shame on us, we thought their growth largely depends on our teachings.

 

We are not the Vine, Jesus is. The branches; that includes me and you, must connect to the Vine and there we start bearing fruits. (John 15:7-8) 

 

Jonathan has a friend who watches over a small island attached to Olanggo island. Yes,  there 167 of these little islands in my province alone and 7,107 islands in my country and more when the tide is low! As we enjoyed the heat of the sun (it’s summer here!)

 

 

we started conversing about the Life-together we have with Albert and Jomie and others. “Mama, listen to this.” Jonathan ask for her mom’s ears to listen to me as I shared about the way we live. Then Jonathan said, “You know, that’s what makes me stick with you guys. I have been to a Baptist group and other groups but nothing like a family.” 

 

“You can become a member of a church,” I said, “without being a member of a family. That’s sad.

 

“Church is having hundreds of mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and persecutions and even eternal life to come. 

 

“Like us coming here,” I continued, “when we came the first time to meet you (Jonathan’s mother), you seemed to be angry and grumpy. Did you just had a fight with your husband that time, right?” She nodded her head. 

 

“You were not excited and happy at all. But during that day we made you a disciple of Jesus, although your husband didn’t accept it but you responded and we baptized you. Since then, we never knew what happened. We went home and never showed up for months. What happened? “

 

“I was amazed seeing you that I even told Jomie that something’s really happened to you since the day you were born into the Kingdom of God. You are very excited to host us, even offer to cook the rice for your family for us! (Everyone laugh) 

 

(Haha, just now she walked behind singing a song. She’s a happy mom ;-)) her name is Aznar, she even prepares food for us for an early dinner now while we wait for our departure time to main Cebu. 

 

“And you Jonathan,” I grab his attention as he laughs as well. “You have the fastest way to make someone a disciple. You just said to people, “hey, I will baptize you” like what you did to your grandpa now. 

 

“Yah, I know. I even remember Boboy when I made him haha” 

 

“Well, if you know for sure anyway that this friend of yours believe in you and trust you, I believe you can just do that – baptize him first and later explained. Anyhow, how can he understand if you explain it first when he is still dead!? 

 

“Man’s status is dead because of sin. The least we can do is to explain God’s love to him. But if we can bury him first in baptism without questions why not? Then later explain and he will be able to understand it.  Why?   Because he is made alive by that baptism. He is a new man with a new heart.”

 

“Finally,” Aznar interrupts, “my father is baptized now. Before, whenever Jonathan reads the Bible to him he won’t listen.” 

 

At this time I realized what’s going on. My questions about their growth will be answered without knowing. God is full of surprises! 

 

“So, what do you mean, Jonathan is reading his Bible?” Jomie and albert and I starts staring each others eyes. 

 

“Yes.” Both him and his mom answered in harmony. 

 

 

“Hmmm…I see. This is interesting” I said. “Tell me what’s going on here. I want to know.” 

 

“I have been reading them the Bibles because they can’t read.  I have to read it in English and cebuano in front of them. 

 

“I see….maybe that’s the reason you just told your grand father, ‘i will baptize you!’?” 

 

“Maybe!?.” He smiled. 

 

I realized again that the Holy Spirit is able to do it without me! In Acts, when they prayed it says, “the Holy Spirit says,…” It didn’t say, “the Holy Spirit says through Peter or through anyone…” But it only says that. The Holy Spirit is the third “person” of the God-head. Got that? He is just like a person and He will talk to us.  I am just saying that we should not put a limit on the Holy Spirit on what He is capable of doing. 

 

God has His own ways of dealing with the next generation. 

 

Jonathan now has made 6 disciples in the island. 

 

Jonathan (4th generation) was made into a disciple by his friend Joana (3rd generation). And Joana was made into a disciple by Arlen (2nd generation). And Arlen was made into a disciple by Albert (my 1st generation). 





Olango Trip 1

27 03 2013
Image“Come with me and I will baptize you.” 
 
This 20 year old disciple named Jonathan has been using this kind of introduction for every friend and family members he has whom he likes to become a disciple. His first generation disciple named Boboy, was baptized first ‘without’ an explanation. This happened when I first went with some disciples whom we sent to this island (olango), I ‘explained things longer’ to Jonathan because he was baptized already by Albert and Joana. His friend Kevin was with him listening to me as we sat together at the cottage on the beach. Jonathan then went to baptized his friend kevin then I told him, that he can start making his friends a disciple of Jesus. 
 
“Just by the way I explained to you,” i said, “you can do it as well.” 
 
“I cannot remember all you’ve said (I think I talk about 30min explaining how to become a disciple), that’s too many” he replied. 
 
I stopped and think for awhile. I thought the way I explained it to him was simple enough. But to the new generation, still it’s complicated.  And that’s not good. If i myself cannot explain it simply then i did not really understand it. If I continue doing it this way I may be the very reason why Jesus wouldn’t come back yet! 
 
Jonathan look around and call someone walking and said, “That man,” he spake out, “come here, I will baptize you!” 
 
“What is that?” The man ask. 
 
“And I will explain it to  you  later why.”  Was his reply. 
 
Right there and then, he did baptized the man, that’s after he baptized Kevin. The man named Boboy. 
 
What can I say? When it was totally so wrong for me specially against my way on doing it that’s when I want to stop and think and ask God. Although He doesn’t answer me, guess He just wanted me to see what He will going to do. 
 
When we first saved, we loved doing things ‘for’ God. Then we mature a bit and we began to do things ‘with’ God. And then finally, we don’t do things ‘for’ or ‘with’ God anymore but we just ‘watch’ God do His thing without asking our permission. And if He ask us to cooperate with Him then let’s do it. If not, we better not disturb Him. We, this generation should father the next generation. And the older generation should learn how to become a ‘grand father’ to the next generation. You know, children doesn’t only need some fathering but also some grand fathering. Unleash the church! 
 
How do you know that you have made a disciple? Simple, you baptize him. 
 
Please read on, I’m not sharing to you a new theory, but a new story. Stories from the field where making disciples should happen: to the world, not inside churches (barn) having discipleship classes. 
 
As I’ve always said, many Christians loved to evangelize and preach the gospel, this is so right, but most of them doesn’t know how to bring a person into a decision to become a disciple. A brother just shared his experience of how he was so appreciated by a young man about his presentation of the Gospel that his was so different than any others. He was glad and so happy and ‘made my day fruitful’ he said. 
 
“And then what happened?” I ask. I got no reply. 
 
The person whom you are sharing the Gospel may be full of excitement as he listens to you. But what comes next is crucial. How are you going to entice the person to become a disciple? How are you going to bring him into the kingdom of God? In other words, do you really know how to make disciples? Or you just like to keep on sharing the Good News but left them empty handed afterwards. 
 
You may ask, “What if you have shared the Gospel and he accepted it and even repeats the ‘sinners prayer’ with you, is he not a disciple yet?” 
 
Maybe a half-baked Christian. I got a theory, its only a theory that Christians goes to church, disciples follows Christ. No wonder that most of them who does the unbiblical ‘repeat after me prayer’ can only served God “part time” and not “full time,” or “just a “Sunday-goer” Christian and not a “24/7” one. They always attend meetings and discipleship classes but never made any disciples yet. Baptism is the sign in the NT that a person is saved.  And that is done ‘immediately’ within some minutes of conversation. Phillip did it with the Eunuch. And I often thought that he was so good at making disciples that it is the Eunuch himself that ask him to be baptized in water! Never delayed baptism once a person realizes that he’s dead because of his sin, dunk him in the water. Delayed baptism is disobedience. 
 
Evangelism is a “hit and run” activity. We do not do evangelism, nor the Bible ask us to do (what is that?). Making disciples is the command. Evangelism in the NT maybe ‘befriending’ with those people who are seeking for the truth and reality of life. Jesus did, He makes friends with people and if He finds that there’s some ‘curiosity’ in them about His life and teachings with the demonstration of His kingdom life, then He would make them into kingdom citizens. But the Bible doesn’t call that ‘evangelism,’ nor calls it any ‘religious activity’ name. Well, the Pharisees just sees Him as ‘friends of sinners.’ Simply put, make friends to make disciples. Now, that shows us some problems in Christianity. We don’t have unbelieving friends nor knows how to make friends with non-believers either. If all we’ve got are believers then it is likely that we have become religious. Evangelism activity doesn’t treat people as friends, they are treated as ‘projects.’ 
 
Making disciples should be simple, quick and fast to reach the growing population. Jonathan did it simply, the quickest and hopefully we can learn from him. How? Watch out for part 2.
 
(I wrote this on my phone while laying on a hammock at his house)