A 14-minute Conversation with a 14yo disciple-maker

10 09 2014

Tonight, about two hours ago, we baptized Ashley, 16yo. A part of Albert’s clan. Two motorbikes we went to the nearby sea with Albert’s sister Jinky and Nancy, their cousin. On our way, Nancy 14yo, who was made into a disciple this year is riding on my back (while Jinky and Ashley is at Albert’s bike) and we started a making disciples conversation.

“So Nancy,” I ask “why is the person needed to be baptized like what we are going to do now to Ashley?”

“So, that her sins will be gone.” Was her direct answer.

“Have you tried doing baptism anyway?”

“Yes. My uncle Acquillis who live next door to us in the mountain. It’s Aunt Bebe’s husband and my dad’s brother.”

“You baptized your own uncle? Where?” I was dumbfounded.

“At your house.” She exclaimed “didn’t you know uncle? (It’s how she calls me because she lives in my house with Albert’s sisters were living next door to mine).

“I think I remember that incident. I was in one of my trips somewhere.” I replied.

“Yeah, it’s me who speak the words (“I baptize you..”) with his wife helping me. And Ate Lisa (my wife) took the photo.” She reiterated her story.
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The ocean from the house is only about 7min drive. It’s where we normally went to baptized anyone who wants to follow Jesus. We arrive and I took photos of Ashley’s baptism while Nancy’s baptizes Ashley with Albert’s short instruction. It’s quite interesting to listen to Albert’s advice about baptism so I will include it in this story.

“It’s alright to pray ‘before’ you baptize her,” Albert make that clear to Nancy. “But to make baptism simple and easy for Ashley to do the same when she makes her friends followers of Jesus then it’s better not and do pray after or later.”

Nancy baptizes Ashley without delay as I took some photos to document. We do these for the sake of our next generation to learn the ‘how to’s’ of making disciples.

We hurried back to the house. Then i continued my conversation with Nancy.

“We don’t belong to any church group when we become disciples,” I said. “Because we becomes the church. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there the church is. It’s in us.”

“It’s exactly what the book that I am reading says, “Back to the Basics” by Mike Peters.” (This book is what all the new disciples are reading. It’s free for a request.)

“Really? Why, what did you find reading this book?” I interrogate.

“We don’t call ‘anything’ church. Because Papa God’s love (she really uses this name ‘Papa God’) is living inside of us. That’s how we became the church.” She explained.

“If so, then what are these people who goes to church doing ‘worship’ then?”

“We are the church.” She said to me, “where should we go to?” She says this not being ignorant but she questions it’s belief.

“They’re ignorant Nancy. They don’t know the truth. One thing to do with them, make them disciples of Jesus. Tell them the truth.”

“Right!” She replied.

“Ok, if we don’t go to church because we are the church now, then what is our worship then? How do we worship?” It’s obvious she don’t know.

“Our worship is in spirit and in truth. Because God is spirit (I overheard she whispered ‘God is a spirit.’), and those who will worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. Like the wind, did you see it? (‘No’ she said behind my back). But can you feel it? Can you see the trees moving? Means you’ll know that the wind is present. That is you worship everywhere because God is everywhere.

“How? Second is, offer your lives as living sacrifice.” I began a quick story of how the OT people do worship by offering lambs etc. “Our worship is living a holy life. It is when God is pleased when we don’t commit sin, meaning we do His will. His 75 commandments.”

“Seventy-five?” She was shock hearing me “I thought it’s ten?”

“Then ten actually becomes two. Loving God and loving your neighbor (I’m quoting the whole verses here and explain.) Jesus fulfilled all laws of Moses and gave us a new commandment. It includes loving one another, forgiving one another and others. So to summarize, it’s about seventy-five of them all.”

“I see.” She affirmed.

“Keep reading your bible. You will find more of these things that we are talking.”

“Anyway, third is our worship is bearing fruits that will last. Jesus says that He is the one who choose us, not us choosing Him.” She’s got another shock feeling when she heard this.

“Really?” She stops me for awhile.

“Yes, the bible says that we are the ones who are lost. If so, then how can we find Him?” She got it. “So, He chose us to bear fruits for His Father’s glory, that is making disciples. It’s part of Jesus 75 commands that we go and make disciples. It’s like what we are doing now to Ashley.” We are approaching at our house gate now as come to this point.

“It is when we make disciples to our friends that God is glorified. It’s an offering to Him from us. This is our true worship.”

(Two things I am showing you here: intentional discipleship (making disciples) and relational discipleship (parenting). We don’t do our teachings separate from life’s situation. We integrate them. Life discipleship, that is. It’s simply like how Jesus did to His disciples when He said, “Look at the birds…” And it becomes a lesson on faith. “Look at the grass…” At it becomes a lesson on trust.





SHARE-SAVE-SPEND

11 12 2013

Keeping records with what we spent the money for specially to help typhoon victims in my province is not my gift. So I gave that job out to one of the disciples here named Arlen, she’s Albert’s sister then who lived among us. One night, I told her what I want her to do: “Could you staple each receipt to the voucher?” “Could you make a daily record of spending?” Could you get all receipts of petrol from so and so…” And all she answered is: “Done” “Yes” “It’s finished Uncle.”

“Wow, I am amazed how good you are then!” I praised her.

“And here they are,” showing me all the paper works, “It’s time for you to sign each of them!”

Quite took some minutes for me to signed them all. And at the end, I spot on the “To:” and it says, SHARE.

“Ah, why is it the “share” part is here?” I ask her. “It should just be those that we spent after the typhoon.”

“You forgot Uncle, You’ve used up some of our shares to help typhoon victims.” She answered back.

I was dumbfounded.

We don’t normally kept receipts of ‘what’ we spend, however we do keep records of ‘how’ we spent the money for. My wife Lisa keeps the record of bills payment, a sack of rice, etc. We kept the receipts for awhile then throw it away. This is how my ‘family’ does some stuff here. “My” family of 8 kids plus those who comes in and goes out from time to time, we are a family, there is nothing more intimate than that like a mother to her daughter, and a father to his son. Paul admonishes Timothy his “son in the Lord” to “treat those who are older men as fathers, and older woman as mothers, younger men and brothers and younger women as sisters.” And he continue saying, “that he who manage well of his children can manage the household of God” (1Tim.1:1; 5:1; 3:4). Have you ever “seeing” someone as a brother? That’s easy to spot. But have you ever “treated” someone as a brother? or sister? Like how you treated your “own physical brother.” That boils down to how we manage our own individual families hey. Many who doesn’t really like “church as family” because their family is in a mess. The same way as many who cannot see God as their “Father” because their father messes them up. So much family damaged and destroyed that even that last message of the Old Testament prophet Malachi speaks of a broken family and if that generation shall not heed the prophets warning it shall bring a “curse” to it. Read the “last” chapter and the “last” verse and the “last” word of the OT and you’ll see (Mal.4:5). No wonder then that in New Testament times, Jesus is saving “households.” He is quite interested in our families thus fulfilling King David’s prophecy: “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him.” Psalm 22:27

We live Kingdom-values such as equality, “sharing everything in common” except our wives, undies, and money. So, we’re starting Acts 2:42-47 in my city and two others around my country are starting also with the work of making disciples ‘from scratch.’ As voluntarily as we can we transfer next door to each other, thus the commands and benefits of the 58 one-anothering in the New Testament will be tasted to all authentic disciples of Jesus. And I am telling you, it has quite a different challenges, BUT loving it anyhow. I am sure that those who “came and see” how we live can tell you stories after stories. One such example is when we receive a gift of used clothing and toys from other saints we started “dividing” them among other kids. And when we open another box of it, guess what? More toys and my kids started “owning” it: “Oh you can have that, (getting rid of their first toys for others) and I can have these!” Then, I took back all their toys, put it back to the box and said, “These toys,” pointing my fingers to each of them, “is not yours. No one owns these toys.” Then I paused and have to see their faces getting sad and I continued, “Because all these toys are all yours!” Every one is happy. And suddenly it dawned in my mind how the early church did the same: “No one is poor among them because they own everything.” It’s quite interesting really when you want to obey before “trying to figured it all out” and obey? And so it began, Albert and I shares clothing, shoes and “whatever” – that’s basically means what we can agree with. And the kids also tried to share what it would be like to be sisters and brothers in real family setting. I got more stories to tell as we don’t think of great “theories,” we do more stories.

In the Kingdom of God is about relationship and trust. If you don’t trust the person, forget it. Saying that means, if Albert is in another island should I ask questions like: Should I give him money? And when I do, should I need a report on it? How about some photos? How about some receipts? That would be ludicrous to think! Albert is living with me for years, we live Jesus-Life-Together as family, we live Acts 2:42-47. I know him, he knows me. He’s my brother and I don’t send him money to “support” him, I help him because he’s my brother. How much can I lay down my life to Albert? If he has a kidney problem then I will give him my other one!

We SHARE, that’s the whole meaning of our English-shallow word “fellowship.” It’s koinonia! It is living the life of Jesus together as family.

Back to my introduction story, I signed even the voucher that has “Share” in it. What’s the word anyway? Well, here’s a story, again.

We kept all our coins and bits of some paper money, we make rules and encourage them to obey without understanding. Then we reward obedience like washing dishes and clothing, cleaning toilets and beds, cooking rice or chicken and reading books and bibles. We taught them, older brothers and sisters serve their generation. This is what it’s all about. We just don’t teach them “about” God but we also taught them “how” to live. This is what most 21st missionary is missing out in my country, they come and live in a nice village free of karaoke sounds in the evening and chocks in the morning and minister to the slum people in the next barangays. Live out kingdom life “for awhile” praying for sick for two hours and then goes back home taking showers for four hours (That’s exaggeration, I know). You know what, the Divine has clothed with human dirt and lived in our neighborhood (Jn.1:14 paraphrase). If we really loved the people that we are ministering then we have to live among them. Sometimes I joked around visiting missionaries that the early church book says that “from house to house” they stayed, not “hotel to hotel.”

Our mission is to change lives by making disciples. I often challenge myself and others when we see crooked lives in the life of a person or disciple: “Do I/you really know how to change a person’s lives?” This is my opinion, if this question gives you a good sleep then you’re not fit even to live because you don’t know how to serve your next generation. What a waste of your life.

The moment when my children received their rewards, they then directly divided it into three piggy bottles: SHARE-SAVE-SPEND. Then weekly they gather their “share” and send it to the widows we help. Thirteen, yes 13, (and probably it’s growing now as we just made more disciples currently) widows we helped around us and other islands. Sometimes, they take the money with them and visit them, buy food, help clean house and sometimes make disciples to neighbors. It happened many times. Arlen keeps the record of every penny they share like my 3 and a half son Mico gives his first share of 100 peso and 15 cents. That 5 cents with a hole in the center is quite funny to look! A minimum of $30 to 50 a week we collected, sometimes more. Children are from 3 to 21 years old are mostly who give, some older disciples contributes. It’s quite an encouragement though when my wife and I just decided to keep the receipts and calculate it. In two months time we distributed 30, 510 ($726) of cash help to needy saints and poor people around.

We hardly give without letting them do something that he or she needed to learn first. We give them “assignments” (widows are exception). But then, if you live next door to us and we do-things-together like gardening, welding, sewing, cooking, typing and translating books, cleaning “whatever” how can you not learn to live life? I normally tell single men-disciples, “This is how you get married and have a good wife: Learn how to live.”

So, we taught them how to “share.” And then we taught them how to “save.” They invest in our hammock business, one of our kingdom projects. We use this hammocks to make disciples. We took them with us to the island and find “house of peace” to stay in. If we couldn’t find one then we sleep in a hammock under the tree. And if we need some money to make disciples, we sell the hammock! The kids uses their “save” money to invest in this kingdom projects we have. They gave 400 peso ($10) to Albert as he owns the business now, for the materials and he sews it for them and sells it and the profits will be given back to the child thus he can start dividing it again into his piggy bottles. We taught them how to “spend.” That doesn’t mean that they have the money to spend that they can just buy anything they want. Yes, we allow them of course to get the ice cream they want, or dance in the machine and drop 5 peso. Spending for that is fine, but spending for their own shoes and clothing is great. If they needed more we share to the lack!

As soon as they learn the habit we go on building another habit. Each reads their kiddie Bibles. We reward them 2 peso for each page they read. The older ones we don’t. And honestly, they don’t want to be rewarded anymore. But I will still give them reward and in turn uses that to reward their younger generations. As my friend Peter Stieckie would say in his last words to me before we departed each others ways the other day: We help father each other, mother each other, brother each other, sister each other.

“Guess what,” I replied, “these words were not and will never be some “theological” terms that we can use to a family but they come from the Father’s heart down to our own hearts and to our next generation and the next to come.”





Is it Discipleship or Making Disciples?

19 09 2013

We don’t do ‘discipleship’ because we don’t ‘disciple’ people. The idea behind ‘discipleship’ is ‘teaching the person for a lifetime.’ Let alone relationship handles that! And what’s more irony is that we’re sending the wrong message that instead of Jesus owns the person as His student, we say in turn “he is ‘my’ disciple” simply because ‘we disciple’ him.

In contrast, we do make disciples. ‘Teaching’ for a lifetime is not the focus but ‘relationship for a lifetime’ is. This in turn make teaching into a ‘lifestyle’ and that’s how Christianity is really, back in the days of the early church.

We do ‘make’ disciples. That’s the command: to go and make disciples. Disciples of who? Me? No, I am not Jesus. He is. I only ‘make’ people a disciple of Jesus, not mine. So that means it’s quick, simple and fast to reach the growing population.

Jesus didn’t say “go and disciple” but he said, “go and make disciples.” That’s where we make making disciples complicated. Because we thought as if discipling the people belongs to us. It is not. That job belongs to the Holy Spirit that’s living ‘inside’ the person after baptism. What could be His job dwelling in you if not to ‘teach you into all truth’? I often ask. “What kind of truth can I teach the person when the Truth resides in him? Am I better than the Holy Spirit?” This puts me to shame. So for me to taste the fullness of Him I have to trust Him fully.

So, my job and your job is only to ‘make’ the person a disciple of Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s job is to disciple the person. And Jesus job is to build His Church. Got the ‘job’ description?

Jesus has a hard time building His church because we try to do His job. It is obvious then that we didn’t do our job. And the Holy Spirit also has having a hard time ‘discipling’ the person because we also tried to do that job for Him. Thus, instead the person will look like Jesus, he looks more of like you and me. Simply put, that because God cannot multiply His Self by the way we do things ‘our way’ we just multiply ourselves then without even asking His permission. So many of ‘our’ disciples look like us.

Paul warned, “there are those that are among you who will draw disciples for themselves.” My friend, we are only taking men to Christ for him to be discipled.

It all goes down to its implications. “Discipleship” today is not what it’s suppose to be. Try to see the difference between statements below and it’s implications:

“I disciple you.”
“I will make you a disciple.”

See how the later is simple, quick and fast and the other one is complicated?

So, if your way of making disciples is complicated then you will be the very reason why Jesus didn’t comeback yet.





“My Trip” Journeys

8 09 2013

I travel a lot for years around my country, ‘no one escapes me’ I said to myself. There was a month that I flew 16 times and taught about house church. Either I go alone or with some ‘white’ western people with me (as they’re normally the ones who like to write books and taught them in seminars). I read a lot of books on house churches, simple churches or organic churches, whatever. Have made notes on it and create power points. Others ask for it and used it. Gave out a lot of books also, ask the so-called group ‘Philippine House Church Movement’ (although the name has been change) for a book and they’ll tell you who to go. Attended and coordinated their Conferences and Summits of which half of the participants came from my ‘networks.’ This is the sad thing of what I have been doing: Those participants ignited and fired up, although some got angry and left, but to borrow a sentence from my friend Wolfgang Simson he said, “they agree that what I was sharing is right and that ‘something must happen yet they themselves refuses to change” and so they start ‘talking new things,’ as one of my father in the Lord Gary Goodell would say, ‘yet still acting old.’

 

I realizes that Conferences and Seminars are formed hoping for participants to act on what they have learned and not to do the same of what they have just attended, yet that’s what exactly most of them did, do a seminar; teach ‘about’ house church. And shamelessly, we call ourselves ‘practitioners.’ Because instead of ‘doing’ it, we love ‘talking’ about it. “You cannot teach what you didn’t do” says my friend Wency dela Vina, a member of Asia Pacific leadership team of Navigators, “or else we would need to change the name to ‘House Church Theology Movement’ instead of ‘House Church Movement.’” Sadly, my own country’s movement has acted like that: practitioners of house church theology.

I sat down evaluating what I did regarding doing seminars and coordinating summits. It was a shock that it literally encourages me to stop doing what I have been doing. And that affected a lot of my relationships, that instead to ‘build’ something together with my network, the relationships now becomes mutual. “I already did this,” I said to myself, “I have been through this and instead of the fear that it might not work, well, it actually works.” That’s when I decided to ‘stop doing what I have been doing’ regarding ‘doing’ house church and start making disciples, I have to leave people also. People who I keep motivating yet unmotivated! People who I had decided to commit myself to yet stays uncommitted! That instead you expect them not to be selfish and deny themselves and serve others, yet they serve themselves. Such kind of people has no place in the kingdom of God because not only they’re concerned of their own self and their own group but because also they do not have the heart to serve their next generation.

So, two things I’ve found out about myself. One is to kill myself of my own selfish agenda of trying to be above everybody, letting them think that I am better than them when it comes to the knowledge about house churching. I have to deny my 9 years of experience doing and teaching about my favorite subject (house church) that has become a theology. And second, is learning to bear ‘spiritual children’ on my own (not re-fathering disgruntled Christians in my groups), that is making disciples.

I always say to pastors and leaders who wants to become a part of God’s agenda, “If you want to obey Jesus as King, then you have to literally stop what you are currently doing and start listening to what He would going to say to you.” And I believe that the first thing that He will say to the person to do is “stop what you are doing.” Deny yourself, kill yourself. If there is a need to bury yourself again in baptism, then don’t delay it! We equate ‘serving God more’ as ‘doing more for Him’ that if we’re going to ask ourselves “have we really heard from God on this? Has God really told us to do this?” we would be left dumbfounded! Serving God more simply means, stop what you are doing so that you can hear God and obey His direct command.

And I stop.

I stop attending summits, (leaving some relationships behind)

I stop what I currently doing, (doing house church and teaching in seminars about house church. Gave out my more than a dozen house church to my leaders of which two has become an Institutional church, and some were just dissolving. Get rid of many books and deleted many power points and notes). And

I stop going to trips for a year. I just stayed home and back to square one making disciples.

Making disciples, that’s what really matters. It is King Jesus’ commands to His loyal servants. I suffered some sort of ‘spiritual headache’ for a year. Imagine the passion to teach, to travel, to see leaders’ responses and violent reactions, add to that the joy of flying in the air as I hate taking a boat because of my shipwreck experience. And now what, lying down in my hammock and cannot even read a book? Jesus wants to kill me. He wants to disciple me.

Month’s passes and I started my journey in making disciples with a 17 year old guy named Albert who is now making a lot of his friends’ disciples of Jesus also reaching up to the 14th generation. And I start traveling back again, but this time not to gather leaders to do a seminar but to really helped anyone who wants to get the job of making disciples done. My first trip has made three disciples and sometimes a dozen up to the 4th generation and this goes on and on every time I go and obey Jesus where to go. Most of the time, I already bought my ticket to go to an area yet doesn’t really know who to contact to and where I go specifically to a place. I trust God He would led me. I am not afraid to get lost as I am only roaming around in my own country anyway. Why should I? And as many disciples being made, we started sending them to other islands also by group for a purpose of making disciples to the world.

We don’t do ‘discipleship.’ It would be ludicrous to say, “We’re sending disciples to other islands for a purpose of doing discipleship to the world.” Making disciples is to the ‘lost,’ not the found. It is to the ‘unsaved,’ not the saved. It is to those who are blind, not those who can ‘see’ already. At times I ask, what is ‘discipleship’ to the ‘saved, found and see’ when the command to make disciples is to the ‘lost and blind and unsaved’ people?

Housechurch or Not?

In the early church, house churches started because of making disciples. They don’t proselyte people. The people who are interested in their way of life they gather and then they ask Jesus to disciple them, that is deny themselves and take up their own cross daily and so it is really a killing of their selfish desires and then bury them in baptism. That’s how they do it. In most house churches today, we simply extract them from their religious background and put a new identification card on them called ‘house church.’ Thus, we have a house church that’s full of mostly disgruntled Christians, have hatred with their pastors and leaders because they have been used and were hurt by the system. We have now a room full of people who are not dead and so loved to talk and talk and talk, and what’s their favorite subject to talk about? Two things: house church and traditional church. Actually, it’s house church ‘verses’ traditional church. They share their bad Christian experiences and so encourages everyone to share theirs as well. And here we go, the leader of the house church is not dead yet also, and so doesn’t really know how to handle such pity people.

When are you going to stop doing house church and start being one? Or if you have no plan to die again, for how long are you going to do house church week after week, month after month and year after year?

It’s a Family

My good friend and brother Mike Peters would say, “A church that you attend is not a family, it is an orphanage. People in the orphanage may eat together, play together and do things together like a family yet still it is not a family.” And he continues saying what church is really all about. “Church is not a building, it is the people. Yet it is not only the people but their relationships. Many churches today, including simple, organic, house churches have people but lack relationships.

“Church is a family; it is having hundreds of mothers, brothers, sisters, houses, persecutions and eternal life with their heavenly Father as their father. It is not about having hundreds of Christian neighbors. It is a family. It is not about ‘sponsoring’ a brother but ‘helping’ a brother.” This guy can be trusted with his words as they lived this way already for 35 years now!

“So, how to become a family?” my friend Gary Goodell ask an exhausted house church leaders, “simple, stop the meeting. You cannot be family if you do meetings, why? Because family don’t do meetings. They just meet a lot. If you wanna be family then don’t have meetings.”

Start Bearing Kids!

You will be hearing me right as I said this, if you want to start house church the ‘wrong way’ then collect Christians from different churches and let them all talk in a meeting. Better lock them up in the room or else the neighbor will call the police and report you as disturbance. Or you can start a house church the ‘right way’ by bearing spiritual children, making disciples to new souls. You may not be calling it ‘house church’ or whatever kinds because it’s a family. You know when relationships are being built up like real brothers and sisters you won’t be comfortable calling ‘names’ for identity sakes anymore. (I actually sipping my coffee at this time that my wife made without realizing that its hot! Oh how my tongue burns! But actually, I want to throw up thinking someone that I just made into a disciple as a ‘member of my house church?’ huh!)

Yours is just a family. 1 Timothy 5:1-2.

I’ll leave you with a quote that I just posted on my facebook wall: While Institutional churches are busy pushing their programs, house churches are stuck with meetings. Only handfuls are becoming families.





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.

 




Part Two: BUTUAN TRIP

16 08 2012

Another late at night table conversations again with just Ronie, Jomie and I. This time his struggles of catching up people that needed to be baptized immediately has been delayed. And there are already some of them who are backing out.

“Why, you cannot baptize them directly?” I ask Ronnie.

“They are still on their working time,” he spoke in a soft voice, “these people are bakeshop workers.”

“Well, since the owner allowed you to hold Bible studies to her workers why not ask for a couple of minutes to take them to a nearby sea or pool or let her buy a big water drum to use it for baptism just at the back of her shop?”

“I already ask her permission but it was too late. Probably next time we could do it.” Ronnie is very excited about making disciples, he is sure now that he knows how to make people disciples of Jesus. It is however a normal struggles for beginners. Especially when you are used to preaching to the crowds or just sharing the Good News to someone hoping to let them do a “sinner’s prayer” and gave them ‘new’ life without burying the ‘old.’

We had the same experience here in Cebu when I made Albert a disciple, not until Albert made Jomie a disciple that both of them were baptized together. But I only baptizes Albert, and let Jomie help me out. And after I baptized Albert I let him baptized Jomie and I help him out. Passing the baton of not just making disciples to the next generation but also doing baptisms is important for multiplication. I suspect, in Acts 2, after Peter’s preaching to the crowd, there are those who was ‘cut to the heart’ and ask, “What shall we do to be saved then?” Three thousand souls were added to the church that day. How did they do baptisms then? In Jerusalem there are pools around to use for taking baths. More than 30 of them scattered in the city. So, they divided the crowds among the 120 disciples with Peter and baptizes them all in one day. Probably baptizing each other too.

From Albert, whom I made and baptized, he is the first person that I make a disciple of Jesus two and half years ago. And on his wing alone, he made 42 disciples up to the 12th generation. Actually, its Jomie and him partnering together. Several times, both of them made two, each take on each one and within just 5-6 minutes they baptizes the person already. Many stories after stories from their sites www.albertpacquiao.wordpress.com and www.pation.wordpress.com

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Part One: Butuan Trip

4 08 2012

(Jomie Here)

Just came back home from Butuan and CDO, in between province is a long 6-hour drive by bus but we really enjoyed it. This is my second trip the first one was when we attended the Philippine House Church Summit in Tagatay having seminar, talking everyday for 5(five)days, its good but only 10% interesting the other 90% is boring, unlike the trip that we had in butuan its really great.. As we landed in butuan and met kuya Molong’s friend Ronnie whom he had met in his last trip in Davao a month ago, he shared to him on how to make disciples of Jesus quick, simple and fast and after a couple of days of that conversation Ronnie had made three disciples and another five after two days! WOW!!


This is the reason why we visited him at his place.
The first night we stayed at his house we slept til three in the morning. There he shared his stories after stories of his journey.  Kuya Molong discussed about how hearing God’s voice played an important role in making disciples. An example would be the Eunuch and Phillip, the evangelist in the book of Acts. The next day, we suppose to go somewhere. Ronnie first drop his child to school and we waited til late afternoon. When he came back this is his story of what happened:

“I heard a voice saying, “Go to Budot.””

“I ask the Lord why,” the voice just say, “Just go.”

 He obeyed the voice.

Budot is a long time friend but is not a follower of Jesus yet. Ronnie has learned that to make disciples, you’ve gotta make friends like Jesus. Then look for people who believe in you and trust you, like Jesus. Then you make him a disciple.

Many people have many friends but they do not know what to do with them. They are Christians, they talk about Jesus and His church but they don’t know how to make a person a disciple. In other words, they do not know how to make a person ‘ to decide’ to follow Christ. “In that stage alone,” as Kuya Molong says, “we lost the connection and ultimately lose the person, the remain in our circle of friends but have not become a ‘family.’”

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