Make Disciples: Answering Questions 1

7 07 2017

How we make disciples as quick as six minutes? For those of you who read my blogs about actual making of a person into a disciple I owe you some explanations. Some of you may wonder ‘why’ we make disciples in 5-8 minutes. And yes, baptism in water is already included in those minutes.Some cultural differences is helpful for us to do this. Our country is about 93 percent Catholic, means most have already had an idea of Jesus saving the world through His death on the cross. God’s sacrificial act is spread out to most people and forgiveness is known to those who believe it.

Only we don’t trust trust Christ alone, but a lot. We trust saints and scapulars as charms etc. We thought Jesus is not enough.

OK we shall start on the simplicity of making disciples, yet I warned you, it is still complicated to some men who do not know how to ask the right questions. The kingdom has secrets and only those who are ‘seeking the kingdom first’ who can find it. Jesus says to “go to the world and make people disciples” (Matt. 28:19). Let’s tackle this first. Of course, I paraphrase Jesus words for you to make it simple.

First, He said to “go and make disciples,” He didn’t say to “go and disciple.” Our job is not to disciple the person but only to “make” him into a disciple. A disciple of who? Jesus,not mine nor yours. We are not Jesus you know.

The problem of the idea of discipleship today is many. One of it is we try to disciple the person as if he is “our” disciple. This makes ‘making disciples’ complicated. We thought it that way for many years and still make us confused. Let me make it simple to understand. When someone says to me, “Are you a Christian?” I will say, “I am not. But I am a disciple.” “Who discipled you?”

He may ask for politeness reason. “The Holy Spirit.” Is my answer. “Oh, I mean, who’s disciple are you?” He may ask for clarification. “I am Jesus disciple of course.” “Ah, I mean, yes you are Jesus disciple but what I mean there must be someone like…” “Oh, you mean a pastor? Jesus is my pastor, He is the Good Shepherd, right?” “Ah yes, but there must be someone who lead you to Christ and…” He may explain more. “Oh, you mean, who ‘made’ me into a disciple of Jesus. I see. It is ________ . He introduces me to Christ. He only ‘made’ me into a disciple of Jesus. I am not his disciple.”

 (John 4:1 – Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus MADE and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples). Note the “go and make” and “Jesus made”? How fast and quick?

The problem here is if Molong is the one who discipled you it means that you are a disciple of Molong, right? It just means that Molong is your discipler. No wonder every member of Pastor Molong looks exactly like him, preach like him, walks like him and even dressed up like him! And here is Paul’s blunt words against those ‘human disciplers’ – “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”

Acts 20:30. Are we drawing disciples to ourselves or to Christ? Making someone a disciple of Jesus is introducing him to Christ and Christ to him. How quick that is! If you as my friend, I would introduce you to my other friend who’s name is Jomie, would i start talking ‘about’ you to Jomie and taking ‘about’ Jomie to you?

Or both of you start talking?! Of course, both of you start talking. Hence the very problem of most discipleship is talking ‘about’ God to a group of people who are lock up in a room for a day to four months to four years. It is not “teaching them to obey what I have commanded you” but “teaching them to have knowledge ‘about’ the Son (instead ‘of’ the Son) and assist them in underlining their favorite scriptures in the Bible. Jesus didn’t say, “Come and when you knew me well enough you can become my disciples!” We so reduces Jesus into a discipleship ‘program.’ The command is only to “make” a person into a disciple of Jesus. Making disciples then should be simple, quick and fast to reach the growing population. If your way of making disciples is complicated then you must be the very reason why Jesus Christ did not come back yet. Here’s another complications that we do in making disciples. The command to make disciples to the world, not the church. To the lost, and not the found. To those who are blind, not to those who see. See, we lose the effectiveness of making disciples when we loose its focus: Lost

 

If the command is to the world and not the church, to the lost and not the found, to the blind and not those who can see then what are we doing having ‘discipleship classes’ to the church, saved and found? You cannot save the saved. Remember that the promise of Jesus is to be with us ‘to the end of the age’ it is to those who went out into the world. He went out to seek the 99 who are lost.

 

Be a friend of sinners, not saints. We each make disciples to people differently, that is why I normally write new stories, not new theories. Theories don’t change societies, stories do! But we have some underlying principles that we all follow. Here is one that stands.

Make friends like Jesus did. Knowing people’s names like Nathaniel or Zaccheus before He calls them is a proof that He makes friends with sinners and tax collectors. The problem with our churches is so protective to us and our families. “Do not be unequally yoke with unbelievers” the pastors sermon says. “He who is a friend of the world is an enmity with God” he added. Such messages forbid us to make disciples to the lost. No wonder we so lost contact with the world we live in. We only like to be with people who like us. And if they do not like us, we hit ‘unfriend’ or ‘block’ button in our facebook. And if no one like us, we hit ‘like’ ourselves and say “Look, I just hit ‘like’ in my own post! How wonderful!”

Church is a like a ‘mother’ that’s why we call it ‘mother-church.’ Like a hen gathered by her wings and at the same time being protected by the ‘outside’ world. What has become of us? Light is effective in the darkness! We lost the world and it makes us harder to make disciples. I have a theory, and it’s only a theory that God is not trying to protect the church from the world but He is trying to protect the world from the church.

Unless a person becomes your friend, do not make him into a disciple. You cannot save Albert unless you know Albert. Try to bring some families that you know to swim on a bigger pool in the city. With their children that you know mix with other children whom you do not know in the pool enjoying the water.

If you want to check for security reasons, would you look to children’s faces whom you do not know? Or those whom you know? You can only check and see if they are safe only those whom you recognize. Others whom you do not know, who knows they might be already underwater 10 minutes ago! You cannot save Albert unless you know Albert.

Stop winning souls, start making friends. We do not do evangelism, we only make disciples. We don’t do ‘hit and run’ evangelism style of reaching out to the lost of whom we do not even know their names. We build relationships first. One time a friend in Manila pick me up at the airport and we took a taxi to our destination and just when we sat down and the driver turns on the meter he starts preaching to the driver. “We don’t do that in Cebu.” I said. “What?” he wants to hear right. “I said, we don’t evangelism.” I clarified “unless he is a friend.” “Really?” he thought a bit. “Well, what if God wants you to make him into a disciple?” “Simple.” I replied. “I will make him my friend. Why, for how long can you make a friend to someone?” See, as God’s people we are supposed to be the most expert in this area of building relationships to non-believers. The problem, our problem is we do not have unbelieving friends anymore. We do not know how. We have lost the contact. We lost the world and the world lost us. A friend from another country contacted me saying he would come and said he made a new material on how to protect yourself from “prosperity gospel” preachers or message and he wants to teach the disciples here. “It won’t apply” I said, “the disciples are new and no traditional baggage.” And I added, “how funny we try to solve our own problems in churches instead of the world’s.” Now we are trying to protect ourselves from our own church doctrines. Scary.

So we don’t do evangelism, we make disciples. We don’t do discipleship, we only ‘make’ people disciples. Our job is to make disciples. The Holy Spirit’s job is to disciple the person. Jesus’ job is to build His Church. If we do Jesus’ job then it is obvious we didn’t do our job. And what do you call to a person who’s doing a job that it’s not his? Disturbance!

We are doing a job that it’s not ours to do: discipling the person and church planting. The church was planted already by Jesus, we only ‘add and multiplied’ to that number by making disciples. See Acts stories of making disciples like “and the disciples were added to the church daily.” What could be the job of the Holy Spirit living inside each of us? “And He will teach you all truth” John 16:13.

What can I teach? Don’t get me wrong, there is teaching, there is discipleship, but please not ‘our’ way but His way! See, we have done all our ways of serving God but somehow Christianity is still confused. People are still leaving their mother-church and seeking the Father’s heart for His Church. They stop asking “what church is good for me?” and start asking “What kind of church God want me to be?” We are so good at ‘going to church’ and ‘doing church’ but bad at ‘being church.’ How to ‘be’ the church? We do now know.

The whole idea of teaching our way and style is based on ego saying, “If I don’t teach you you will not grow.” How pathetic. Teaching is geared towards ‘obeying’ not ‘knowledge.’ You get what I mean? The subject on ‘what to do after baptism’ takes another article for me to write. But let us go on with my point: Until we realize that ‘God can do it without me’ we will never realize that we can do nothing without God. We will always have another idea of serving God our way to justify He uses us!

Stop! Sit! GO and make a person a disciple of Jesus. That’s your job and everything else follows.

Honestly, this whole new way (at least for us but is not in the Bible) of making disciples is learnt through obedience moment by moment. We didn’t get it by ‘figuring it out first’ and then do it. Well, that will not be called faith. Many of us try to figure it out first before obeying it. Sorry, we tried, it didn’t work and that’s not how ‘seeking the kingdom first’ works. ‘Seeking the kingdom first’ works in ways we cannot see, but we know it’s there. It is seeking His ways, means stop trying to figure it out. If it’s something new, do it. That’s what we did. The Lord’s word is a lamp unto my feet, not a 100-watt light. And a light unto my path, not the whole street. Means, we can do this one obedience at a time. Imagine this, if God could have given us a 10-year plan list on what to do and how to do it, He would not have given us His Holy Spirit. See, we are so dependent on our 10-year church discipleship program that we forgot to listen to the Spirit. If the church leaders told you what to do then you are not spirit-led but church-leaders-led. And church-leaders-led people do not know how to serve God ‘outside’ the four corners of their church building. Their loyalty stayed with their church and their pastors, not to Jesus, the King.

So, if our job is to make disciples to our friends, how to do that?

(Jesus went to the jailers house, to Cornelias, to the tax collector and others houses, He knew them all and He was making whole households into disciples)

Advertisements




Today’s story 

7 07 2017

A mom came today. While I do carpentry work making a toy house for my daughter, I let her peel some cranberry fruits to extract some seeds for planting and sell its seedling sprouts. Three things we talk I will highlight: 
1. Sharing to her that as disciples it’s not a question to help other disciples. We should. It should be our heart to extend help as we are told to ‘carry each other burdens so as to fulfill Christ’s law’ and many other admonishments. The question is ‘how to help.’ We should let them help us too. Example: we plant something not just to eat but also to sell. And then someone just came asking for money or things? We work with our hands creating a product and sell it for 2,000 peso and someone just came asking 2,000 peso without working for it? At least give them something to work like cleaning the backyard or get some cows poo and fertilizer or plant some seeds. Anything for him to contribute something to the community. Love may be unconditional but it is not irresponsibility. Teach the person how to live. Let him set a good example for others. Two kinds of disciples in the kingdom: one is the ‘well done, good and faithful servant. And the other one is the ‘lazy and wicked servant.’ 
2. She is handling a couple of simple groups. She said that her busiest times is sit down and think what to teach. She murmurs that she’s tired of feeding them and yet they still do not know how to feed themselves. That’s a lot of discussion we have in that topic. 
3. As she peels the cranberry fruits to extract seeds she said “a seed must die in order to grow. Is it really like that?” And we had a great discussions about the kingdom. 
Get some faith lessons from what you do together with other believers. Don’t just sit and open your bible and share truths. Live truths, daily ‘from house to house.’ Do something together. Learn together. It’s discipleship by life, not by book.