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.





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.





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.





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!)





Discipleship, what is it really?

12 10 2013
“Discipleship” is not defined or identified as a group of folks meeting on a 2-hour study of a particular subject on a particular day. I have no idea where’s this thing came from since Jesus and the disciples never did it.
Jesus could have asked Peter to pass around copies of Discipleship Lesson 2 On Faith when they enter into the upper room in Jerusalem or synagogue. But instead, as they passes… by hills and valleys and they hear birds singing Jesus said, “look at the birds” and it’s about faith. “See these grasses?” Jesus added and it becomes a lesson on trust.
The way our master discipler, Jesus, raised them as sons and daughters of the kingdom, (not as faithful members of a social religious fan (god) club) is very effective and powerful that He can just leave after three years with them. And a revolution starts with just a bunch of smelly fishermen. We must go back to the basics of discipleship which is apprenticeship: one who is bound to serve one another for a long period of time. Full of endurance to learn the art of changing lives. As we are called to serve Him and one another, Jesus then develops His followers and all who wants to follow Him to be servants. “Denying” “dying to yourself” “laying down ones life to your brother” “no desire of yourself  whatsoever” is not a “leadership course” at all to attend in a classroom during a conference. As we see most leadership stuff develops in the “barn” whereas servanthood is develop in the “field.”
Imagine if Jesus had only spent 12-hours a day with His disciples for 3 years time, and we do it for a 2-hour academic knowledge once a week discipleship training. Do you know how many years would it take for us to become Jesus disciples?
36 years!
No wonder it is in the “togetherness,” it’s in the “daily from house to house” “breaking bread” and “in the apostles doctrine” (Acts 2:42-46) that the earliest church functioned as a body of Christ, (not fragmented species) to corporately obey their King. A “change life” depends on “one another” and not on a weekly 2-hour knowledge puff-up style.
There are 168 hours in one week. If we spent only 2 or 4 hour in a quick meeting-based church having a “talk-shows” instead of “do-it-together LIFE” you know what? It doesn’t transfer kingdom values!




Discipleship By Life

19 09 2013

“Discipleship” in today’s implications is based solely on ‘teachings.’ Teaching for a purpose of having the ‘right doctrine’ that leads to more mere knowledge about God. Example, on Discipleship Lesson 3: Prayer. But teaching a group about prayer doesn’t lead them to pray. To learn how to pray is to pray. God will give you the work, and the work will teach you how to do it.

“How do you do teaching Molong?” someone ask me. Although, the tune is obvious: if no one is teaching, then the disciples doesn’t grow. But Jesus is the Vine, we are not. How do we do teaching now in a family-community context without ‘going to church’ but being one?

Well, I don’t do ‘discipleship’ but I do make disciples. We go out and walk and make friends and make disciples. We don’t stay and sit and soak and sour in a religious box. I don’t do “Bible Study” but we do discuss and study the Bible, we don’t do “prayer meetings” but we do pray a lot. We don’t do “meetings” but we meet a lot because it’s a family. And because it’s a family, there are ‘fathers and mothers in the Lord’ as well as ‘children in the Lord’ and because you don’t raise a son or a daughter by the book but you teach him/her how to cook, how to clean, how to plant, how to read and write, how to weld, how to sew, how to fix the light, how to paint, how to make a table, how to create something, how to invent something, ….. that’s how we do ‘teaching’ here.

All happened in the house, in a family atmosphere where there are “hundreds of mothers, brothers, sisters, houses, possessions, persecutions and even eternal life!”

When a native tribal leader was asked, “What did the missionaries did to you?”

“Well, they taught us about God” was his quick reply. And with a sad face he added, “but they never taught us how to live.”

I would rather teach the person how to cook an egg than teaching him how to do Sunday school on Sunday’s. Christianity is a way of life, not a series of religious meetings.