Sent Two Disciples Today

1 02 2014

“Hey uncle,” Arlen approach me today, “can I go home to the mountains this afternoon while there are still some waters at the river?”

“What? What about having ‘waters in the river’ mean?” I’m quite confused.

“I should go home with Analyn today,” she explained,” because it rained a lot last night and we had some five baptisms pending because of lack of water.”

I get it.

Arlen, 19yo, along with her younger sister Analyn were the 2nd generation disciples. Their brother Albert, 1st generation 21yo, has made them both one morning during breakfast here. They all, along with their other two younger sister, have been living with us for almost 5 years now. Their father died two years ago, their mom named Auling who became a widow, (2nd generation also, Albert made her into a disciple), is a disciple-maker also. The families were all involve in disciple-making, about 30 people have been baptized last month reaching up to the 5th generation.

The family has a house up in the mountains where their father has built for them. They went to school there walking for an hour in the bushes and of course another hour going back. When we transferred in the same town closer to them (after our family house was burned with fire 7 years ago) we decided to help them have an easy access to school, this requires them to live with us. From time to time, they go up to their own house and make disciples there. Their own family clans and old friends have become disciples too. “Who are they anyway?” I ask what’s the relationship between these five people who were ready to be baptized and Arlen. “They’re my barkada before.” she replied. “Barkada” is a Cebuano group name for your circle of friends. There comes a time in your life in school where you met nice people and they became your friends and your relationships with them deepens until they will become a sort of your “second” family. You go to them not only just for fun but also for advices when you need a hand. No leadership of one person required, only what all can agree with and all directly do it together. When they meet together they don’t depend on schedules or programs, they just come and wants to see each other because they liked each other. Most of these people who has become your “barkada” would also become your best friend “in life.” A “barkada” is so common to us as Filipinos. Almost everybody has one either they’re religious groups or not, in school or in companies, each has one or can create one without knowing it. One can start it even without realizing. And then later he would know.

One thing we have in common here why a disciple can easily find people to make disciples: friends. We make disciples to those whom that we have relationships already. We don’t evangelism in this definition: preach at to someone in the park to the person whom you do not even know or knows you. We make disciples through our circle of friends.

Well, Jesus did.

Calling peoples names like Nathaniel, Zaccheus, Nicodemus, surely He has built some relationships with among them. If not, then He knows how to, like the Samaritan woman. I once was in the taxi in Manila with an “evangelist” friend of mine and right away he shared the gospel to the driver. “I don’t make disciples to the person unless he’s a friend.” I interrupted him.

“Wait a minute,” he’s confused I know. I intentionally do that to him. “Did I hear that right? What do you mean?” He insisted.

“I don’t just do what you did. We don’t do that in making disciples.” I replied, “but surely I understand if one is doing some evangelism. Are you?”

“Well Molong, what if God told you to make disciples to the person you just meet?” A very good question right?

“That’s easy. I will make him my friend.” How long does it take for you to become a friend to the person? How long does it take for Jesus to become a friend of the Samaritan woman? To the tax sinner and collectors? I don’t know about you but one thing I know for sure: Jesus makes friends with sinners. He was even called a “friend of sinners.”

Here the problem lies, we don’t have an “unbelieving” friends anymore! We’ve lost them all. We’ve been deceived by these Bible verses itself: “Do not be unequally yoke with unbelievers.” “He who is a friend of the world is an enmity with God.” “Do not love the world.” We simply miss the point if we’re not looking unto Jesus way of making disciples – He makes friends first!

Jesus is 30 years old when He started His mission. What did He do then before that? I believe He makes friends. The disciples He has been long His friends. He “calls them by name” when He choose them to become His disciples. He knows Nathaniel’s name and calls him as He sits under the fig tree. How did He know his name?

Back to the story above. People up in the mountain depends on rain water so much for their daily use. Their wells dried up on hot season. They can’t even plant vegetables on their soil because there’s lack of water. As much as they can, they gather rain on big buckets. We baptized many people in the rain there. And yes, it’s very cold water for their bodies. It has been raining here since the biggest typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan, its international name). Recently, about 13 days of non-stop rain and flooding a lot of cities and landslides and many died too. In three months straight, we were bombarded with a 7.2 quake, a biggest typhoon ever, and floods. And honestly, the very reason why Arlen went home with her sister to do some baptisms with their friends at the river while there is still water because we just had a category two typhoon last night! It rained more water with some air blowing everywhere.

Thanks for the typhoon, God must have sent it to use it to cleanse people’s sin? huh!  





House2House Questionaire

19 12 2013
I just received a monthly news-letter from house2house.com written by my friend Paul Byrley. He talks about church “movements” including those who are in the simple, organic, house church movement if either we become like the others who are only good for a start but has a “bad or not so satisfying” ending. He quoted an analogy by an author named Mike Breen saying that “so many movements in the Western church have failed in the past century. They are a car without an engine, it won’t go anywhere.” The same is true with simple churches: if we simply do what we have been doing, even multiply it by hundreds of times; the programs, the meetings, the leadership, the systems in our simple churches, it won’t go anywhere.

I had my share of “honey, I shrunk the church” for 8 years. I have seen the complications of multiplying the system into smaller churches rather than multiply disciples. I had to face myself of questions of which I do not have the answer. I felt so ashamed of myself in the sight of God and friends. I know how to evangelize and do crusades, start churches and to preach, start a band and do concerts at mall, do discipleship ‘classes’ and sunday schools BUT I do not know HOW to make disciples that makes disciples. I decided, with my wife, to kill ourselves: literally stop doing what we are currently doing and wait on God to give us the work and teach us how to do it. A person who wants to obey the King’s command to make disciples has to stop doing what He is currently doing or else he can’t do what the King have ask him to do. So we die so that He might live.

“What are you doing to be the Church?”

“How do you make disciples?”

“How are you caring for the least of these?”

After reading the article and the above questions was challenge by its readers I want to share a bit of our stories. Although many stories of how we live Jesus-Life-Together as a family in our sites and Felicity has written a new one, allow me to write something.

It is important to “treat” each other’s members as part of your extended family. If someone is at fault or there’s a need of correction and rebuking I always ask myself, “What if he is my own brother/sister how should I talk to him/her?” I normally ended up not talking to the person unless I know exactly what to say, when to say, where to say and how to say it. At times, I wish I had a duct tape on my mouth. “He who manage well of his own children can manage the household of God.” This is what Paul says to his “son in the faith” Timothy. Being the church is being family to each other. Now, that’s a lot of relationships in there. We are a body and so the hand could not say to  the foot, “I have no need of you until next Sunday.” Because the way we look at church as a family, we do not have Christian “neighbors” then. We don’t “support” a brother, we “help” him of his need. We serve one another in the community through our gifting and talent that Father has given to each one of us. We start living next door to each other. We started sharing each others possessions. We do not buy from each other and we do not sell to each other. We give and receive, we “accept” one another. Following the apostolic pattern in Acts 2:42-46 and the life of the Thessalonian Saints, yes, we have had our struggles and challenges. Only different than how most Institutional Churches and house churches look like.

We have orphans and widows among us and around us. We helped the widows on their need and fathered and mothered the orphans. We don’t start “orphanages mentality ministries” such as Children’s Feeding Centers or Orphanages or Elderly Homes. We invite them to our families and become families. We encourage families to adopt a parentless child like one of my sisters adopted one orphan who has two children (orphans too right?) and start helping her of her needs. Thus, widows have families to be with and orphans have father-mother figure. I normally say that a child in the orphanage is an orphan but an orphan in the family is a child.

Because it’s a family-based relationships and not just meeting-based relationships, we don’t do meetings we just meet a lot as any normal healthy families do. We don’t “attend” a family, we are family. We live the Life of Jesus Together in the community in a daily basis (Hebrews 3:13) thus meetings is only a by-product of our lives being knit-together. As one of my fathers in the Lord Mike Peters would say, “A family that you “attend” is not a family, it is an orphanage. People in the orphanage may do-things-together, eat together or play together yet it is still an orphanage, not a family.”

This is what we are doing to be the church with each other. How about to be the church to our neighbor? A story might be a good idea at this point:

“Albert, why not read your Bible in the morning with a widow that we just handed a wheelchair?” I encourages him to not waste his time reading his Bible alone every morning and instead do “one more mile” by reading it “aloud” to a widow who cannot read anymore. I don’t know if I was led or not but one night I kept on thinking what can we do to serve the community around us. I woke up in the morning and start roaming around, get in to small foot paths and right inside to small houses. Found several old lonely people, one is even look like she’s inside a cage for years. Then I went to one of the Japanese surplus shop and get a rusty, flat tire broken wheelchair for $50. Tied it with my bike and went home and fix it and took it to one of the old-widow woman in the community. That’s when Albert starts seeing her every morning, brining her food from our common garden, help cook food, fetch water, clean her house and eat together and read the Word of God. And in four days of loving and caring he baptizes her on her toilet room. Some verses I am not good to remember, but somewhere in the Bible it says that “you young man should take good care of your widows”?

Not for long, the friends we make have become disciples. We know how to make people curious about the Kingdom of God. We just live kingdom life amongst them and then they start asking good questions. Our way of life demands a question: What are you guys? Why are you doing this? Why did you do that? Why you do things differently? Why you see things differently? What is this all about? What is your religion? Any kinds of questions we led them into the kingdom of God by answering back, “Do you really want to know? Are you really seeking the truth? Do you want to know the truth?” And mostly their answer is yes and then we continue, “If so, then I cannot tell you yet what and why. I am gonna have to make you a disciple first.”

As normal in our making disciples conversations one would ask more, “Why?”

“Because spiritually dead people could not understand spiritual things. So, I’m going to make you a disciple first and then later I will explain to you what kind of stuff I am made of and what country I belong.” This is how we bring people into a decision to become Jesus disciples. We don’t give our pearls to pigs and let them trample it. People who ask questions about the way you live are normally ready to enter into the Kingdom of God. Because the kingdom will not be given to people who do not even know how to ask the right question. You have become the “witness” of it, an “ambassador” of your country, the “Kingdom of God.” This is how we start making disciples and within 3-6 minutes “making,” the person is already willing to be baptized immediately without delay.

We don’t negotiate with dead people. We bury them as quick as we can. When Jesus said “go and make disciples AND baptize them” means that it is your prerogative to make baptism happen, not the other guy. But if he himself offered to be baptized during the “making” like the Eunuch with Stephen who shares the Messiah then you’re an expert if making disciples!

“How are you caring with the least of these brethren?”

Here is the architecture of the New Testament Church: 1) They have orphans and widows 2) They have spiritual parents who look after their “children in the Lord” as a family, the one’s that they’ve made into disciples 3) They have kingdom projects that in turn support the 1 & 2 and number four, their “last priority” is they support the poor that is “outside” of them, why? because there is no poor “inside” of them. “No on is poor among them because they own everything.” (Wolfgang Simson)

When it comes to loving one another as disciples of Jesus, we ask a question: How much can we lay down our lives to one another? We’re not that expert yet about it but we have had some wonderful times together obeying Jesus commands to take care the members of our family.





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.”





Lunch Time Conversation:

16 10 2013

Lunch Time Conversation:

Lunch time conversation:

“Francisca wants to be baptize,” Albert’s mom shared. She came from the mountain where she lived. “Can we baptize her today?”

“Just what did you do, why it’s easier for you to just ask people to be baptize?” Her daughter inquired.

“Well, they believe in me and whatever I say to them they will believe it also.” She replied.

“Why, what did you just said anyway?” I ask while cooking eggplant for lunch.

“I told her that you must go through baptism so that your sins since while you were youth will be forgiven and you will be cleansed. Imagine how old you are now?”

Francisca is a widow already and over sixty years old.

“And how did Francisca replied?” I ask.

“‘That must be right because when I was a baby and baptized in a Catholic Church I have no idea what’s going on.’ Was Francisca’s reply.”

Catholics in my country has backgrounds of Jesus death on the cross. This makes more easier to let them believe in Jesus when you make them His disciples.

(On the right is Auling, Albert’s mother, whom he makes into a disciple one midnight. On the left is Analyn, Albert’s sister who has made some disciples as well. One who took this photo is Arlen, older sister of Analyn who made a lot of disciples that reach up to the 14th generation. Three of them were sent for two days to make disciples and they made five. Actually, we don’t intentionally sent disciples to make disciples, that happens only when planned out. But normally, as we ‘go along’ our daily routine here and there it just happens. As i always said, if one really knows his real job [make disciples] then other things are just temporary. You just happen to be a carpenter or a doctor or just a person cutting grasses on people’s lawns. You are a disciple-maker and you are aware of that every moment of your day. This is our life-style: makers of finest disciples who makes disciples!)





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.





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

Read the rest of this entry »