A Story: Making Disciples is Not About You

24 02 2015

“Why is it that Jay-r doesn’t want to get baptized yet believes in Jesus?” Jomie starts conversing with me just now. It’s the 23rd of February, 7:40pm.

“Who is this guy you’re talking about Jomie?

“It’s our customer at the store who became a friend” Jomie starts telling me about him. “He comes every night to eat BBQ and stays longer so we have become close to each other. Last night, as I was waiting for Albert to leave for home after working with Peter, it was almost midnight when Jay-r came and we had a chat. I started making him into a disciple.” (Jomie is working together with a disciple here named Manman all days as he shared this to me. And they also talked about making disciples while doing something. They discussed how it’s a lifestyle, it’s about talking while doing things together, and a meeting is simply talking.)

“How did it all start anyway?” I want to know the details why his new friend doesn’t want to get baptized yet believes in Jesus. “That’s quite interesting.” As I listened, I see Jomie has presented the Gospel well, explaining how he ‘normally’ does it every time he makes a disciple.

Jomie told his story: “How much is your salary here?” Jay-r asked me.

“Salary? What do you mean?” I replied.

“Working here in the store” Jay-r asked in more detail.

“Nothing. You don’t receive salary from your family, I said to him.”

“Family? Are they your family?” asked Jay-r.

“Not really. Not my physical family. But anyone who follows Jesus is your family in the faith.” Jomie explained.

“What does that mean, a follower?” Jay-r inquired.

“Now, I will make you a disciple of Jesus.” Jomie starts sharing with him starting with believing to a responding through repentance and baptism.

Then Jomie said to me, “Last night, I asked God why did Jay-r not want to go through baptism yet he believes in God. Are there really people who are like that Kuya?”

“Of course Jomie, there are. Don’t expect people to ‘always’ respond to the way you’ve always shared the Good News to them. Why, are you sad?”

“It’s a kind of like….” he replied.
“Is it because every time you’ve made people into a disciple they will get baptized?” I asked Jomie.

“Yes,” he said proudly.

“It’s not about you, Jomie” I admonish, “making disciples is about Jesus. So don’t be sad. Also, what’s important to the person is that he really gets what it takes for him to follow Jesus. It means, you shared with him God’s love and sacrifice, denying self, leaving his sin and being dead to that sin, and baptism, and so forth. Did he get this all anyway?”

“Oh yes, we even talked about his vices that he will need to stop destroying himself by taking drugs. He’s young about 16 years old. He shared with me that he’s using drugs sometimes so I told him that if you want to follow Jesus then leaving sin and burying them in baptism is a reason for you to respond to what He has done for you,” Jomie makes a point.

“Exactly right Jomie! Many so-called disciples start following Jesus yet still follow their sin. Then they wonder why their life hasn’t change. Following Jesus doesn’t require you to change your life first, it’s an exchange of your life for His life but it surely requires you to leave your sin behind. And that’s when He starts changing you as there are good works that He prepares for you to do. That’s obedience and that’s the summary of being a disciple. You are doing alright by presenting to him the Gospel. So don’t you start feeling bad about yourself. Or are you sad because you start taking the glory that’s due Him?”

“What does that mean kuya?”

“As I said, making disciples is about Jesus, not you. Is it because that whenever you shared Jesus you are ‘always’ successful in going to the end – baptism. And now that you can’t somehow get someone to be baptized you feel bad?”

“Sort of” he agreed.

“See, then making disciples for you starts to become about you. If you can get the person baptized you are happy. And if not? You are sad. It’s all about you Jomie, not Him anymore. How proud we are when we say ‘I made a disciple in just 5 minutes!’ And this includes baptism even, right?”

“Yeah!” His response was quite exciting.

“And when we become proud we forget that we are making a person a disciple of Jesus, not ours! Why did you ask God that question last night without Jay-r present with you?” (The question being: Why he doesn’t want to get baptized yet he believes?) “Why didn’t you ask God while you were making Jay-r into a disciple?” I asked Jomie these somewhat deep questions and he couldn’t answer straight. “Making disciples is ‘introducing’ Jesus to the person, not ‘talking about’ Jesus. It means, Jesus is present in making disciples. Simply put, when you introduce me to your friend it means I am ‘present with’ you. And you can actually ask me questions right away if you’re having a hard time dealing with your friend, right? So why didn’t you ask Jesus right away as He is present with you saying ‘Jesus, why does he not want to get baptized when he believes in you anyway?’ Jesus for sure will answer you. But you did not ask. That means, you’re not aware that He is present or you just simply ignore him because making disciples has become about you. When did we make disciples on our own Jomie?”

“I have learned my lesson” he said.

What a good student this young man!

“When I went to Butuan City in Mindanao,” I shared my own story that resonates with his, “A friend brought me to his friend whom he wants help to become a disciple. The guy was way older than me, 58 years old and loves to debate anyway. The guy started to believe that Jesus has already saved him 2,000 years ago but he cannot believe that he can save himself by doing nothing. “There must be something to do to get save” was his opinion. I was in a bit of a shock. It’s my first time to make a person a disciple like this. So in a moment of silence that I am speechless I ask God in my spirit what should I do. And I got my answer and I did convince him that there is nothing he could do to save himself and finally I baptized him that day.”

“The Lesson for you today is to thank God that you present Him well – that in order to follow Jesus he must deny himself, this includes repentance (leaving sin) and baptism- but he refused to go through the process to become a disciple. Or else, he will use the name of the Lord in vain as a disciple who doesn’t know how to behave by his way of life. He doesn’t know how to live the ‘new life’ simply because the ‘old life’ wasn’t buried in baptism. In Jesus time, many disciples also left Him. He even asked Peter if he also wants to get out of the club!

“Lesson two: making disciples is about ‘introducing’ Jesus to your friend. He is present in the making. Don’t ignore Him, recognize Him. Making disciples is not slow but quick. It is quick in the sense you have to ‘slow down’ because you may need to keep silent for a while if you have a hard time so as to give Him time to talk to the person that you’re making into a disciple and to give Him time to guide you.

“And lesson three: Write your story of how you tried to make Jay-r a disciple. It’s still a good story that encourages people to make their friends ‘new or old’ into a disciple.”

Advertisements




Some Practical Actions

18 02 2015

Here is how we meet needs:

First, we decide if the need is urgent or not, like emergencies. If this is the case, we don’t hesitate to help. If it’s not urgent, we ask ‘who’ is this person and who is asking us to help. Are they saints? Unbeliever? Our priority is the believer, “the least of these my brethren.” The biblical sequence is to help the ‘needy’ saints first, then, if we have extra, we help the unbelieving ‘poor.’ See, we don’t ‘call’ those believing poor ‘poor.’ We call them ‘needy.’ Because if we follow the biblical principle of meeting needs, the result would be that “there will be no poor among them because they own everything.” They share not only the spiritual blessings but also the material blessings. It’s like if there are sick among us we heal them, but if symptoms persist we buy them medicines. Got it?

Let’s continue…

More questions: Is the person able to work or not? If so, then what’s his/her need? Is it important ‘and’ urgent? Or is it just important but not urgent? If so then we let him/her work in our ‘common’ garden (everything is in common except for a few stuff like our wives, etc), or paint something, or plant something, or we ask him/her to wash some widow’s clothing. That is ‘serving’ Jesus’ family. ‘Force’ him to do this? Sure, why not? I am even ‘forcing’ myself to do something I do not like. My brethren, we hardly ‘dole out’ help to someone who is ‘able’ to work. “He who doesn’t work does not eat.”

Is he/she a widow over age 60-65? The Bible tells us to give aid to widows over 65 years old. Does he/she have children to take care of her? If so, are the children able to take care of him/her?

These questions have become ‘normal’ to me/us here. I don’t even have to ask for a ‘meeting’ to find out. If we have to ‘have’ a meeting then that is ‘meeting a need.’ This is the kind of meetings that we have – instead do a meeting in a coffee shop, why not do it instead in someone’s else’s house fixing a families yard? And yeah, have your coffee-talk-about-Zoe-Life while doing things together? That’s what we are just doing this whole week!

I simply know them by name and their situations. It’s what church is all about anyway: relationships. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. These guiding questions we learn simply because we ‘keep on’ helping needy saints and the unbelieving poor. You just have to become wiser and wiser normally as you go do the work of meeting needs ‘everyday.’ That’s helping fulfill Christ’s law by ‘carrying each other’s burden.’ My good friend, Mike Peter’s, shares about this, saying, “if a mother needs milk, go buy her milk. That’s how you help carry each other’s burden.” Guess ‘mere’ prayers can’t get the job done right? ‘We’ ‘you’ ‘me’ are just the ‘answers’ to the prayers of these needy saints. Simple, hey?

God gives us the work, and the work has taught us how to do it. We hardly say “no” to someone who has a need, but we find ways to help meet that need. Even if one is on drugs we help give money. Yes? Yes! How? Simple, I let him write down 50 verses from the bible then he report to me and then I give him 50 pesos. Crazy ideas? Yes. No wonder only the ‘crazy’ people can change the world. A person who refuses to help, or refuses to find ways to help just makes an alibi for him not to – or I should say the real deal is that he just doesn’t have the ‘desire’ to help? Where is Christ’s ‘passion’ for the ‘lost’ and the ‘least’ in you?

If we know what the person’s need is, then we can decide how to help – should we help him with the ‘full’ amount he needed? Maybe ‘half’ the amount but let him ‘work’ for the other half ‘with his own hands’ working in the garden. Or, maybe just provide 20 percent of the need, or nothing’ at all, simply because the need is non-sense since he wants money to pay his electricity yet he does nothing except watching tv?

Now let’s go to some examples we do here:
1. Jomie’s brother came one night and needed 300 peso as his boat fare to another island ‘next night.’ So, he still has one day vacant. Should we give him 300 directly? No. He has one day vacant. We let him work for a day. His need is important but not urgent.
2. Three guys in school we provide them 30 chickens, 10 chicks each to raise. Later I would buy the chickens from them per kilo. But they can feed them, no money, they’re high school students. What did we do? I hired them to work here two days a week (sat-sun) and paid them to buy feed for their chicks. Dole out? Don’t think so.
3. Peter came to ask help, a father of two kids. He came at 9 in the evening. He had just lost his work. He came because he wanted his wife to be admitted at hospital due to suffering of asthma for three weeks already! Did we wait to let him work first before helping? We send him directly to the hospital using what was left in our account. Did I let him repay? No. It’s a help for a needy brother.
4. A widow in her 60’s asked help for medicines. She lives in a slum area. I knew her for 20 years. She’s still poor and her family is still poor. Her children are working but still poor. I gave her a nebulizer machine and vitamins and medicines.
5. I saw a child suffering a leg burn who had a fever. He keeps crying. I called up a bunch of guys to take care of him. They live in another island. He was admitted for a week, they have no money to even pay for their own food at the hospital, not even a jeepney fare for $6/person back and forth, fare from island to the city. Yes, it’s that much, too much already for a normal Filipino! We provided everything, and all went well. Paid about $350 in hospital bills but ended up not paying the doctor’s fee. He’s a Christian. He’s the one who even thanked me for taking the child in. It was my first time to be thanked by a doctor who didn’t charge me.
6. Went to another island to drop house supplies worth $500 for typhoon victims. On our way to the pier going back home and while on a jeepney, we saw a lady whose shoulder was deformed due to some wood dropping on her during typhoon incident. I left with not much so we handed her some 500 peso. She’s a Christian? No. But should I have to witness to her first? No. But she needed immediate assistance. We came back after a week to do a mission- to fix her shoulder. I sent two people spending $250. They found the lady, took them to hospital for check ups and laboratories. She needed a quick fix for $300. I told Albert we have no money yet. But Albert says he’s got money in his account from his hammock business sale and said he could use it. You can guess the kind of people we have around here.
6. Peter came again and said a child needs to be taken to hospital. It was already delayed. I hand him 700 peso, but my wife says “no, give him 900.” And that’s all money we’ve got that day. “Next time that something like this happens,” I said to Peter, “don’t hesitate to ask me to help. Ok? Now you know who to go to. Go.” Are exactly the words I said to him to make a point that emergency problem needs to be taken care of directly.
7. Another widow came taking with her a girl named Juliet. I knew them or years. I took Juliet to the hospital when she was two years old. She won’t eat and she keeps laying down and weak. She has a hole in her heart. Four holes actually. She came to visit me sometime here and I visited her sometime to bring what I can. She came to receive from me food, milk, toys, dress, and shoes ,and yes, prayers for her dear heart.

Needy saints come with different needs and we do different approaches.

++

Another story, recently just last week. A mother with children, one was bitten by a dog, had asked help for anti-rabbis injections, etc. What did we do? Surely prayers would work, hey? But any mom would like to make sure that her child is ok.

By the way, this mom had her two kids ‘accidentally.’ Why? Because she herself has a brain problem. Her mom also had a brain problem and ‘accidentally’ (or was taken advantage by it?) got pregnant. She’s the result of it. Yes, you might ask “how about her two kids?” Obviously, they had it also.

So, my sister has taken the three of them into her care. They’re living with her. And the ecclesia here has been helping whatever needs would arise, such as this. Not all the time can we help, but we do our best, as always, to each other as ‘brethren.’

We don’t build orphanages to ‘support’ orphans or needy children such as this woman. We ‘help’ put them into a family. We don’t ‘support’ a sister, we ‘help’ a sister.

See, God is not an orphanage ‘director’ or a ‘supporter.’ He’s a Father who adopted us as His own children. We, as an ecclesia here, do likewise.

Orphans are not ‘projects’ to raise support. They’re humans like you and me.

A child in the orphanage is an orphan. But an orphan in the family is a child. Thus, we provide families for the fatherless. Literally. We encourage Christian families to adopt an orphan or foster a child, even ‘temporarily,’ without documentation, with only an agreements between families.

Imagine, if only—-I must say this again, IF ONLY 50 families would do this, that’s fifty fatherless children that we are providing a family.

However, if indeed you have a hard time doing it on your own, then help a family who’s doing the job like this. That’s two families, then, working hand in hand: one does the actual raising, and one does the financial assistance. The only predicament for this to the latter family is that the first family, who literally took care of the child, can’t provide you with a ‘tax deductible’ receipt! Again, in the kingdom it’s all about relationships and trust. If you can’t trust the person, forget it. People need receipts for what they give because they have no relationship to the person. And, they don’t normally give from their heart to reach the needy. Imagine, you want a ‘refund’ in some way to what you’ve been given? Whatever the reason is, it is not ‘real’ giving in a biblical sense. Personally, people who ‘ask’ me for a receipt, photos, or a report are the ones who don’t really know us and what we do. To those whom we know, however, we normally just communicate what’s going on here. The documentation stuff becomes natural.

My friend, for goodness sake, do something different in your life and to other people. I wrote something that’s suppose to be posted on my Facebook wall, but I didn’t. I will put it down below, then, as I see it fits! Here it is:

“Are you a Christian, and a disciple even? What did you do? Read your Bible and a book? And then what? Take a walk with your dog and drop him to a clinic and spend $300? What a sloppy commitment. It looks like your life doesn’t depend on who you are. Being a disciple, our life depends on it. If we could sign our own name to everything that we do, could we be trusted?

The life we have is the only life we get here on earth, and it’s not a dress rehearsal. Every minute we waste is gone forever. We can either choose to take responsibility for what we do with it, or make excuses.”