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.

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Finances and Making Disciples

6 08 2014

Making disciples is costly. Yes that means money. But to say that making disciples is dependent on money then that’s different. (And that’s not how we function here.) One is dependent on your attitude towards the Great Commission and the other is a total obedience to Christ’s command.

My first trips (not doing seminars or conferences, done with that) for the purpose of making disciples and immediately baptized people were done because I heard God wants me to go not because someone wants to pay my airfares. Most of the time when someone offered free airfares I often take it as ‘not from God.’ Because you can’t equal opportunity and God’s call. Grabbing opportunity for the sake of it often ends up in a mess simply because the devil can manipulate to appear like it’s God’s will. My trips does not only end up making some people a disciple up to the 3rd generation but also the Lord has been faithful providing what I need while in the field.

True mission is going to a place where no making disciples happen yet. Not going from church to church doing seminars and conferences where talented speakers were not staying ‘from house to house’ but ‘from hotel to hotel.’ I have enough of it. Bringing this kind of attitude and lifestyle to my next generation I simply cannot allow myself to pave a way that leads to comfortable Christianity. So my trips have change. One of my first trips was when I flew for two hours and ride a bus for 6hrs and arriving at my destination at 3 o’clock in the morning with only $1.10 left in my wallet and I have to stay in the area for four days. The next day I baptized one. The next day someone sent $200 in my account. After a year, the area have reach up to the 4th generation in making disciples.

I have learned a lesson in that trip regarding money. That resources is sent in the field not in your home. If I am a soldier and have been ordered by my commander to go to Iraq then resources like food and guns shall not be sent to my home here in Cebu but to Iraq. Simple as that. Means, I have to obey God first. I have to go to the field and God will provide.

Now, how did I get my air ticket. Did I raise funds? After I knew God wants me to go to a specific location I normally look for cheap/promo fares. Then later would ask friends to fund it. Even so, either they give or not it doesn’t matter anyhow coz I’ve already booked my ticket. That’s when I ended up having $1.10 when I arrived at my destination. This does not only happens once though. Stories after stories are in my site. Even this very story is documented for the purpose of helping others do mission just as we were told to do, not having our own opinions of the Great Commission. That is to obey and trust God when it comes to doing ‘His’ work.

Now about sending disciples to make disciples. Do we need money before obeying?

We ‘all’ wait for the ‘go’ signal. ‘All’ because not just me who decides when and who decides to go out. And a ‘go’ signal because we just don’t go for the sake of going. We are a body of believers that sends disciples, not individuals who does our own thing. And more than that we are told to be spirit-led.

So, one time while we were doing relational discipleship, means doing something while talking, discussing, persuading, teaching about Life, God, Bible etc. We don’t just sit and do bible study, we don’t do program to raise spiritual kids. We work something together like in this case we are making cabinets. In the middle of our discussion Albert and Jomie said harmoniously “Kuya, we are going to Olango island.” I agreed but something in me disagreed. Why? “They could have ask first if I’ve got money to send them.” That’s my concern. For two days I kept asking and start worrying where to get the funds as the days to go nearer and nearer. Then suddenly as I open the door of my room I heard God speak to me saying “The Holy Spirit sends them.” Then I remember two scripture in Acts that says the same exact words. (It’s right there in your bible).

I am glad I got some confirmation but at the same time have felt shame because I worry much of the finances issue than what Jesus has told Albert and Jomie to do. I lack trust of the Holy Spirit to speak to them. That’s mostly our problem. We trust God to talk to us but not to others. This is the very reason that we like this ‘leadership’ role because it stops us to do something and start telling people what to do!

Now, this island that God wants them to go, how did we reach them out without planning much of where to get finances? We bought used tire and made it into a flower pot. The used tire cost 5 peso ($1-40peso). We create something out of it, a flower pot, and we sell it for P100 ($2+). We’ve made 20 of them so that’s $50. They will sell it in the island and use the money for whatever needs they would have. They will find ‘house of peace’ and make disciples there. Now, there many families there who are Jesus followers. They’ve reach up to the 6th generation. This is a very good sign to start an apostolic hub!

Are we needing funds to go and make disciples? Oh yes. Making disciples is not free. It is costly. But we’ve paid the price ourselves. Why? Obedience first. It’s not the issue of money, it’s more than that. It’s our hearts that wants to obey.

People, friends who gave to us because they are seeing us functioning ‘already’ as a sending ecclesia. They ‘laid down at the apostles feet’ like in the early church. They give without question. Simply because they see us how we live but most of all is that we have relationships with them.

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Living A Life that Demands Questions

23 07 2014

“I think I’m going to be dipped in the water as well!” Edgar came into conclusion after being convinced by his friend Romy who stops smoking after his baptism.

“So Edgar,” I’ve started my conversation with him after his baptism today, “what is this story that I’ve heard about your friend Romy?”

“Yeah, it’s unbelievable!” Edgar exclaimed. “Who would believe he could do that? I knew him as a smoker for 30 years and it’s quite a shock to see him stops!”

“And when did he stops smoking anyway?”

“After his baptism.” Edgar replied.

This photo was taken today. He was baptized by his friend Litoy who is also a disciple. Edgar’s wife was baptized by Albert.

Like Romy, we should live a life that demands questions.

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“Jesus died for our sin, and so are we. You are dead in God’s sight and what should we do with dead people?” These are the words that I spoke to Edgar during his baptism.

“We should bury them.” Answered Edgar.

“People who wants to follow Jesus must be baptized in the water as a symbol of his death. Your old life that’s the result of sin we buried in baptism. Why? Because you will be given a new life. A new life for you to live in following Him. Are you ready to to follow Jesus and become His disciple?” I ask Edgar.

“Oh yes!” Was his big answer.

“Are you ready to become a part of His kingdom?”

A resounding yes we heard while taking a video.





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.”





DO, dont think.

18 11 2013

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Yesterday as we’re on our way to north Cebu, we stop by to a terminal for my teams breakfast, seeing a bakery I wonder if I could add some more breads ready to eat. I ask how much each and negotiate to lower the price and offer to buy it all. I did. A pack of slice bread is about P32 – 37 (about $1) and it can put food on a stomach of 5 members of the family. What a brilliant idea, not heavy to carry, it’s in the plastic already ready to give. So, a part of distribution would be to buy all slice bread packs and hand them over to families.

As you pass along the highway where the eye meets the land at Cebu, people are all over the street having signs or shout at “Help me” and going back to main city they shout “Just some leftovers” or “just some water please.” Broke my heart, what a need for food.

Seeing the big sign going to north written in a mess up plywood and paint saying, “Thank you for helping the typhoon victim” I cried. And going back saying, “Keep it up.” It’s not normally traffic going north, but this time it took us long to go there and back, probably its Sunday and most families and small companies are giving relief goods. Many people, normal people went to help in every way. My heart leaps for them.

I encourage every Filipino to do something, your P2,000 ($50) can get a snack of juice and cookies to 300 starving children. Buy them at La Nueva, and get a friend with a motorbike or a small cab and start giving smiles to kids. Don’t just do a painless alms giving, remember that a slice bread pack feed a family, you know better than that. Get involve, not just give, but also go. It’s only a 2-3 hour drive from the city. Give up your coffee at Bo’s or Starbucks for awhile and take a ride to North Cebu, be on the ground. For goodness sake, at least for once in your life stop watching news and talk, but do something about it. Wanna have compassion to our people? Then get out and be with them.

Jesus did, “when He saw the multitude He feel compassion on them.” He took a chance to make a history, now not just the Bible has been written about Him but also people wrote books. Although it’s sad that while others are on the ground helping, some people wrote books!

We took chance to do things differently, we come as disciple makers while we demonstrate the life of the Kingdom. Just here while disciples were doing-things-together packing food they made disciples. Their unbelieving friends were invited to help the victims and then they ask questions as we live a life that demands it, kingdom living, then they make them disciples. That’s how you make people ready for the Lord: live the life of the Kingdom together daily, that makes them curious and ask questions then when they ask. “Why are you guys doing this? Why are you like this? You are so different.” Then you respond, “Are you interested? Do you really want to know? Then I’m gonna have to make you a disciple first.” And you can start making him into a disciple. So, we have two baptisms the other day then.

Molong with the saints in Cebu.