16 03 2017

“Hey uncle, thanks for the ice cream” says James, “and can you bring a cake next time?” He is about five years old. 
Just got back from visiting a family of saints in the city. About an hour drive on my motorbike. The father of James came to visit us here and another father came too. We did some work together helping Albert and Jomie’s plant business. We ate together, laugh, discussed things and be encouraged. As it’s time for them go home I drop James father to their place. It’s when I bought some ice cream for everyday and bread. And here it is, James, certainly the younger giver I have ever witness. He prompted to write this story. 
He holds one box of ice cream in his hands and roams around and told every kids, his cousins and nephews about 15-of them all I think. Pack in a small community in a small house. After he shows everyone the ice cream he took the other box, as I bought two for everybody, and again he roams around showing everyone. Then every kids brought their own cups to get a scoop of ice cream. James, is busy roaming around encouraging and calling every one to get some ice cream. He actually held in his hands different cups for everybody, one by one. “That son of mine loves to share.” The mother says to me. 
As I watch him going back and forth giving every one their cups of ice cream, I heard him speak “Mom, how about grand pa?” Her mom told him to get a cup for grandpa. He went. 
After everybody got their own ice cream, yes even me I got a cup too. James came back and says “where is mine, momma?” Her mom gave him a cup of ice cream and says “is this all? It is small!” 
I burst with laughter. 
Moving backward years ago when he was just about months old at the hospital, as he was sick, he is a sickly child. It’s when I met his father and his mom beside him. After a week or two, I baptized his father and his father baptized his wife and they baptized their son and so on. 
Today, about 3 years since then, the relationship is still there. No need of ‘master of ceremony’ to have that. No meetings, no follow ups, no religious programs whatsoever but just a lot of relationships – family. 
You know in most churches what a ‘family’ is to them? It is when you belong in the same ‘group’ or ‘denomination’ such as ‘Jesus Reigns Family’ because they attend the same gathering and they are on one group as a ‘committee.’ But have we really ‘become’ family to each other? Where were you when one of their child is sick? How about when a mother needed milk for her child? Can we meet together without an agenda? Just because we are family!! 
Church is family. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.


Seek the kingdom

10 03 2017

“Why Jesus says, ‘Seek first the kingdom’” I ask John, a conscious young man in his 20’s , “and didn’t say ‘Seek first the King’?” 
Without hesitation he quickly reply “Because it is where the King is found.” 
I was surprised how he got that revelation. 
Of course, The King can be found in the people He rules. He cannot be found in the people who do not respect Him as King. The people who has no king lives a life of ‘doing what is right in their own eyes.’ Eats from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, not from the tree of life. 
The King, Jesus, is found in the people where His laws are obeyed. His people is not lawless. The King has laws that govern His kingdom. Many Christians believed we only have to obey two laws: love God and neighbor. If you are Australian and you come to my country and I let you drive my car, but since your country is driving on the left side of the road you ought to obey your laws there here. So here you are, in my country, driving on the left side of the road, not for long you will hear people yelling at you “Right, right, right!” And you replied to them, “love your neighbor! love God! let me drive in the left side!” Simply two laws cannot run a country. 
The Kingdom, is where His domain is. The people who live the kingdom life that when people who are outside the kingdom sees them, then they will know that they have a king. They are living not as kingless people. “They must a king” when they see them “because they are not living life as they want to live and to whom they want to please. 
One night I have a dream and it is like watching a movie. That there are two kingdoms: one kingdom has a king but the other one has no king. The kingdom that has no king ‘knew’ well enough that their king is still coming to reign over them. And while their king is away, they have to behave as if they have a king. And so they live. 
On the kingdom that has a king, knew this other kingless kingdom and thought how vulnerable the people are. This king has a brother and at the same time his adviser. “Why don’t we entice them? Let’s invite them for a game and if they lose we make a bargain?” The king was pleased with the idea, “And what is the bargain?” the king inquired. “That we rule over them!” The brother replied. 
And so it happened, the kingless people accepted the offer. At the end of the day, they lose and so submitted themselves to another king to rule over them. In the dream, I saw a platform was set up for an inauguration: the transference of their loyalty from their king who went away for awhile to king of another kingdom. The king came with his army, and the executioner. Anyone who does not submit to the king, his head will be cut off in front of the king and the people. 
As I saw this scenes in my dream from a rooftop, I was in a rooftop. There was a pole with a rope, I glide myself going down and ended my foot in front of the platform. “This is not your king.” I shouted at the top of my voice, “Your King is still coming! You know better than that. Do not submit yourselves to this King!” 
In my dream, I saw myself rescuing people from the executioner. I actually killed two of the kings soldier and save a couple of people from them. And so as I spake of these words to the people I pointed my finger to a house where the people I’ve rescued saying, “Let’s join them!” But the people relied, “No, that house is burning with fire.” Implying in my dream means ‘full of the holy spirit.’ 
But the people refuses to go inside the house. My dream ended. 
Christians have accepted the game that Satan wants us to play. It is called religion. The opium for religious people. At first, they should have not accepted the offer to gain whatever that ‘other’ king has promised. They should have had continue living the life of the kingdom, behaving as if the King is present with them in the spirit which gives life – to live the kingdom life. The Holy Spirit was not given to you to do religious work. It was given for Jesus to rule over you. So, as my friend Daniel Zeigler in his ‘not-for-sale’ book Right Here Right Now he says: Any ‘church’ that isn’t based on each member having Jesus rule in their hearts as King is not the ekklesia we read about in the New Testament. In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter if you have the most informal, friendliest, least traditional life-style of any religious assemble on earth. If the kingdom of God isn’t within you, what you have isn’t the kingdom of God. 
So begin asking God for it. And position yourself to be a part of it by submitting your own heart to His reign. Then call others to do the same. 
And by the way, that young man John after hearing the gospel of the kingdom message was baptized the same day, that night at 8:30.

How to make a person decide to follow Christ 

6 03 2017

A 4th generation disciple named Jimton arrived at my house with his cousin John. They came to help me set up something in my yard. It’s actually the iron grill that hit my foot and gave me ten stitches three weeks ago. I can start walking now and slowly back to work. The grill needed some finishing. It’s to put hammocks around and let my grape vine climb too. 
Jimton was made a disciple by his brother named Christian. And Christian was made by his cousin named Jason. And Jason was made into a disciple by Albert. Among them – Jason, Christian and Jimton, it is Jimton who mostly is doing the job of making a person into a disciple. When I say ‘making a person into a disciple’ it simply means the introduction or introducing Jesus as King to the person and the person decided either to follow Christ or not. The next step to do is still need to be done after baptism. 
We are working the whole day today(Sunday) together. Planting and replanting, arranging and cleaning. Albert and Jomie had their new business set up which is to offer company offices to put our plants for beautification. In other words, rent a plant. For so many many things that they have learned like fixing home appliances, cooking, sewing hammocks, building houses and toilets in our hubs and other things, finally something that stands out – landscaping. They love plants and they’re making a serious business with it. They found their niche. 
Jimton, a disciple, came with his cousin John, not a disciple yet) to help something. When the iron grill/bar was fix with a cement, three of us sat together in the lawn relaxing. That’s when I started sharing the kind of life we have here and where we got it from – the early church. 
After some explanations I decided to get my bible and started quoting Acts chapter 2 and 4. Along the way he mentions about religions, catholic statues and other belief. Quote some scriptures from Psalm 115 which is talking about idolatry. He also ask about ‘going to church’ and I quoted from Moses about the temple to Paul about us ‘being the temple’ now and ‘how do we worship’ in Romans 12. As jomie is cooking our dinner, surely he overheard us and says to me later after his baptism “he is serious.” As we went on discussing we are stuck talking about the King and His kingdom. 
“From Jesus first words when He started His ministry” I started sharing, “He said the ‘kingdom of God is at hand. It simply means ‘I am the King and I am bringing My kingdom with Me to establish here on earth.’ And on Jesus last word in the cross He also said about His kingdom. When the thief says ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ Means that this man believes that Jesus is the King! Because He has a kingdom. What kind of king who has no kingdom?And what kind of kingdom who has no king? 
All these I spoke to John along with Jimton. While I’m in conversation, Rhuel came, who also was made into a disciple by Albert. He sat down with us, introduces him to John. Jimton and Rhuel knew each other already. Going back to our conversation. 
“See, the thief got it right along this time in the cross. He heard about this Jesus as a king. If you and I were born in their time we would never hear about ‘going to church’ but only if you want to be a part of the kingdom or not. Are you in or out? 
“Unlike the religions of today, all are the same. You go to church? They go to church too. In fact, their churches (buildings) are better than ours! You got a pastor? Well, they have priest and bishops, what’s the difference? You sing some worship songs? They sang too. You are slain in the spirit and crawled on the floor? They climb walls my friend. They cried, they dance, and jump. What’s the difference? 
“Christians now a days made Jesus their Savior alone but not King. ‘Save us from sins Jesus’ they cried. ‘Save us from our sicknesses. Save us from our debts. Save us from calamities! But let me do what I want, when I want, how I want to live my life!’ Such a kingless statement. We prayed this prayer for a long time then ‘Our Father, Who art in Heaven. Holy is Your Name. My kingdom come…!’ 
“But Jesus came as a King! And He has a kingdom! And He has subjects! He has a law!…..” 
John made me stop and listened to him. He said “Yeah, I read the commandments of Jesus.” 
I said “what?” 
“I read it just there in your door.” He replied. 
I left them for awhile as they work to drop something and that’s when he approach my door which has a poster of the 75 commands of Jesus. The Constitution of the Kingdom. 
He got the idea there first. No wonder he is serious about it. I explained more about the Jesus as King and His Kingdom. About an hour or so. Then we are invited for dinner as Jomie done cooking chicken with onion, garlic, black pepper, green pepper, red chilli, mix with soy sauce, vinegar, oyster sauce. As we are together I ask John to make a decision. “So, do you want to be a part of the kingdom of God or not? Are you in or out?” 
“I want to.” He said. 
“There is something that we needed to do for that to happen.” 
“What is that?” He ask. 
“Denying.” I said straight. “What does this mean? Jesus says ‘if you want to follow Me you must deny yourself.’ It means that all you have believed at this time on going backward, yesterday, last week and month and years since you were young – you must not believe that anymore. The idolatry, the sorceress, the belief that that’s not based on God’s word you must believe it as a lie. And you start believing what Jesus said now in His Word, in His 75 commandments. 
“Second, the wages of sin is death, means you are dead because of your sin, Ephesians 2:1. Yes?” 
He nodded his head. 
“If you are dead what are we going to do with it?” 
“Bury me.” He said. 
“It’s called baptism. The burial of your old self which is the result of sin. The burial of your sin also. And that how you enter into the kingdom.” I explained the difference between baptism in Catholics and other religions. 
“Seek first the kingdom.” I continued. “John, do you know why Jesus as King ask us to seek the ‘kingdom’ first and didn’t say ‘seek first the king?’” 
Without hesitation John replied “it is in the kingdom that the king can be found!”
Wow! His quick answer gave us some chills. “I didn’t expect answer from him!” Jomie says. “That’s a hard question” he added. 
“Exactly. Wow” I am amazed. “You got it. Of course, where else unless it’s in His kingdom! It is in the place where He is obeyed. Where people do what they ought to do not do what like to do.” 
I explained the difference of democracy style of governance and Anarchy. Our country is democracy. Jesus kingdom is anarchy. “In democracy we can say what we want to say” I shared “but in the kingdom your opinion is not invited.” And I shared many differences to make sure they get it. 
After dinner we head directly to the ocean for baptism. It’s about 8:30 in the evening already. Albert, Jomie, Rhuel and Jimton does the baptism. I stayed at the shoreline watching the starts praying for them. After going up from the water they all laid hands on him to receive the Holy Spirit. John confesses his sins to God right there and then. As they walk back to the shoreline closing by I overheard Albert took the time to instruct John what to do next? 
“Go to those people whom you sinned and ask their forgiveness. Example, you took his watch or money, go to him and confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. You may have to repay him back and do it.” Albert gave some instructions. 
“And also go to those people who has sinned against you and say you forgive them. Example, say’do you remember that you didn’t pay me back your debt? I forgive you. You are forgiven. You don’t have to pay me back anymore. Debt canceled.’ Something like that.” Albert continued. 
“And when you think you are done,” I said to John “come back for your next step ahead entering the kingdom of God. This stage is only the beginning to cleanse you and purify you.” 
Handed John a new bible with a print out of the 75 commands of Jesus for him to start obeying. I shared a lot of daily stories of getting things done explaining the ‘teach them to obey’ commands that it didn’t say ‘teach them to have bible knowledge.’ One will walk limping without the other because they do not now how to obey. Worst than dropping an iron grill on your foot! 

The Shack: Quick Notes 

3 03 2017

Please read my story.

I don’t know. But what can you say about this?

My mom was saved through reading the book. She’s a hardcore catholic almost everyday at church and activities. Her friends are priests and nuns and leaders of groups. She reads the book four times and says how wrong the belief of the Catholic Church are. She has been listening to me whenever I share the gospel. She decided to get baptized.
I was surprised anyway. But what can I say? What’s more interesting to me she hasn’t stop being friends with her catholic friends and priests, she continued to communicate with them. Unlike us ‘the christians’ forget our old friends after we are saved.
More? The reason behind my mom indulge herself in catholic activities is because my dad has another woman. And what kind of woman? A born again christian woman. Yes, she too is hardcore born again believer, going to church and donating and supporting pastors. How’s that?
Want More? Yes. The reason I was saved and my entire family members ‘clan’ , yes, clan. Because she sends me to a youth camp meeting and I decided to follow Jesus and even heard God called me to minister to people someday. That’s when a bunch of folks in our clan got saved. And I was baptized next day at the camp. All it started because of that ‘another woman’ of my dad who’s a born again ‘christian’ and who’s the very reason why my mom indulge herself in being a catholic.
What can I say? What can you say? Even now, talking with my siblings how did that happen and where is the connection to make sense of that situation we could not fathom.
My life is full of surprises. I am sure if I write a book it be labeled as ‘heretic’ too?
Here’s a quote I cannot forget during my first year of being a christian: whatever Satan designed evil in your life, God can turn it into good.
Some younger generation watched the movie also and yes, all cried a lot. I ask them “what have you learn?”
“That we must forgive the person who does wrong to us.” They said in agreement. “Or else we cannot love them.” Sounds not bad at all.
The movie touch my heart. Yes, I lost our first son. That’s quite justifiable right? But you know what? Most ‘theologians’ I know have lost their feelings. Surely they win a lot of arguments but surely they’ve lost a lot of good friendships too.
Do you know why I am so open? A professor once told me: ten years ago your belief/theology now wasn’t there. So you think ten years from now it won’t change?
That professor have masters of divinity of whatever. He once challenge every one saying “want a debate with me? I am the first Hebrew and Greek scholar in the Philippines.” Everyone just responded with a laugh. When I shared to him about God being a woman, he replied: “God has a mother side too!”
“God’s ways is higher than ours.” I don’t need to quote a scripture to back that up. I know that most who will read this claims to know The Shack is heretic. “His thoughts are higher than ours.” Folks, should we demand a question from God? Question His method? Or should just enjoy His benefits. God is mysterious, live with it.