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.

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SHARE-SAVE-SPEND

11 12 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was dumbfounded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Is it Discipleship or Making Disciples?

19 09 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





“My Trip” Journeys

8 09 2013

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

 

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

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

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

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

And I stop.

I stop attending summits, (leaving some relationships behind)

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

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

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

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

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

Housechurch or Not?

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

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

It’s a Family

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

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

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

Start Bearing Kids!

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

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

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





Part Two: BUTUAN TRIP

16 08 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Early Church Security System

17 05 2012
The early church was so set up that it gets its security system in their Lord and the saints, the church. “No one is poor among them for they owned everything.” Such ‘koinonina’ is so attractive to the world that though they were forbidden to speak the Name of Jesus but their benevolence, their love towards each other have reach to the ears to those that are outside of them. One of the most profound comments made regarding the early church came from the lips of a man named Aristides, sent by the Emperor Hadrian to spy out those strange creatures known as “Christians.” Having seen them in action, Aristides returned with a mixed report. But his immortal words to the emperor have echoed down through history: “Behold! how they love one another.” (Chuck Swindol)The early church is obviously a part of a secret kingdom: The Kingdom of God. In Whose King gathered those who are His own, redeemed them, make them a people, the ‘ecclesia’ who has His domain and by and through them starts building His own Kingdom. Such loyalty have formed them into ‘one heart and one mind’ that because of their King and one another and that they are able to look and watch another’s back, literally they transferred their residence next door to each other. It is the pattern that is called “from house to house.”

Such desire came from above Who is Divine but chose to be clothed with human dirt and live in our neighborhood (Jn 1:14). If we really love those people whom we serve then we must be willing to live among them where we can ‘encourage and exhort DAILY so that no one will be entangled by sin.’ We have to be awaken to the truth that when a sinner becomes a saint then he becomes our brother and so a part of our family. So what could be the point of ‘going’ without living ‘with’ them? Jesus says, “Go, eat with them, stay with them and model My Kingdom that is in you there. Tell them that the Kingdom of God has come upon you, through you.” He didn’t say, “Visit for two hours, heal the sick, cast out demons, invite them to your church, ophs, don’t forget to put on some lotion against mosquitos and alcohol for germ-free, and after you’re done with your two hour visit, go back to your hotel and bath for four hours.”

Where could be the visible ‘scene in action’ of loving one another for the world to see the Kingdom of God abode amongst His people? The modern church building with its weekly meetings, grafted with some cell stuff movement and borrowed methods, foreign to the early church is the only one we’ve got. If one questions me if we really have to follow the early church way, my answer is why not? What patterns do you follow except what is early enough that you and i were not even born yet? The modern church which has not only has fragmented meetings but also fragmented lives in the community they live in. This is impossible for almost sixty ‘one-anothering’ commands to fulfill. The early church model of ‘house to house’ is so designed not for individualities isolation and interest but to corporately follow it’s Lord’s Head as we are His body. It is important for us to align ourselves for growth purposes: its “whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph.4:16)

Growth doesn’t come by just simply having endless meetings.  Yes, the early church ‘meet daily’ and that is possible because they live ‘from house to house.’ They don’t do ‘daily-meetings,’ they do ‘daily-livings.’ When we meet weekly, that means we talk what we ‘daily do’s’ because we know nothing of each others lives on a daily basis.
See, the psalmist David, the king of Israel understand the blessing of living together. He said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to DWELL TOGETHER in unity! …For there the Lord commanded the blessing – Life Forevermore.” (Psalm 33:1-3) I don’t know about how you read this. But it didn’t say, “meet together” in a weekly basis. The “meetings” we have is only a by-product of our daily-life-together.
Where and who do you live your daily life with?

May you have a rich relationship with Christ,

Molong




A Homeless Child [Orphanages Mentality]

15 01 2012

“I will not leave you as orphans.” Jesus said.

We built ‘orphanages mentality’ organizations such as ‘churches’ ‘feeding centers’ ‘bible schools’ ‘seminaries’ ‘adoption homes’ and all ‘para-churches’ ministries. Whereas Jesus built His Ekklesia, the Church, His Body, His extended family on earth. The members of His Kingdom.

As [with my wife] we had meal together with Bob Fitts, the Hosanna worship leader guy with Don Moen, having to know his father we had a chance to meet up with him in Cebu during his Christmas tour concert last year. We exchange ministry thoughts and when he knew I was ‘adopting’ several children, one would directly comment, “Are you having an orphanage?” He did ask the same inquiry.

I told him that, “A child in the ‘orphanage’ is an orphan. But an orphan in the ‘family’ is a child. No one would call an orphan in your family ‘an orphan’ but you will call him ‘your child.’ ”

Church is a family. It is having a ‘mom and dad’ in the Lord. Paul would call them the “parents in the Lord” in Ephesians 6:1 in which he admonish the ‘children in the Lord’ to obey them. [Verse 2 clearly speaks to honor your physical parents the ‘father and mother.’] Jesus design for His Church simply having those who will ‘nurture you and nourishes you as his own children’ like Paul. He ‘labors’ the Thessalonian saints ‘until Christ will be formed’ in them. He himself is ‘becoming a father’ to the Corinthian saints though they have ‘thousands of teachers.’ He ‘fathers’ Timothy, calling him ‘my son in the faith.’

“Hit and Run” Ministries

One of my ‘wondering questions’ around ‘specialize ministries’ such as ‘Youth Ministry’ ‘Men’s and Women’s Ministry’ ‘Bible Study Programs’ ‘Prayer Meetings’ ‘Outreaches’ ‘Evangelism’ or ‘Having 12 people around you – [G12], name it. What are these ‘ministries’ all about if it were not for the purpose of ‘extending’ your family? And if were, are you just gonna see them once a week? Like my friend who has a Bible Study in a school once a week? And then what? I might like to call them ‘hit and miss’ ministries.

Church is about relationships. Like a ‘mother to her daughter’ kind of relationship. Yes, it is as close as that! A million dollar question to be considered is: “Am I willing to father/mother those that I am going to reach out?” Or else you will just be bearing more spiritual orphans hopping around churches hoping to find real people who can father and mother them.

Consider this question: Do you have people around you who is fathering and mothering you? If so, are you both are ‘intentional’ about it? I mean, does he/she knows that he/she is your ‘parents in the Lord?’ Jesus says that His Church has ‘hundreds of mothers, brothers and sisters’ means hundreds of relationships, means ‘hundreds of them all.’

This is the cry of the prophet Malachi, that ‘fathers would turn their hearts to their children and the children to their fathers.’ And the prophet John the Baptist echoed the ‘purpose’ of this saying that this is ‘to prepare the way of the Lord.’ Imagine that!

“Orphanages Mentality” might be good and they’re doing it ‘very good’ but it is an old saying that goes, ‘the good is the enemy of the best’ no matter how we spread that kind of ‘good.’ Actually, the Bible speaks of ‘good works that doesn’t bear fruit!”

Here are several reasons why:

1. They may have ‘thousands of pastors,’ because they have been to many churches, but they could hardly pen-point who are the people that ‘parent’ them.

2. They are full of staff, teachers, directors, and even founders yet lack or no ‘father and mother figure’ that they could look up to. “Orphanages Mentality” eliminates ‘fathering and mothering.’

3. They are building their own little kingdoms celebrating their own human founder in which have become competent of the Kingdom of God. They are really encouraging a ‘sectarian’ spirit, a ‘hierarchy’ system form of government in which God hates. [Nicolaitan deeds]

4. They have become ‘babies’ and continue to be that way for the rest of their lives. It’s how religion works, they want you to become babies for you to be controlled. Grown up people doesn’t want to be controlled. Irresponsible Christians does not want to have other people involve in their daily lives, they just like to ‘feed, give and leave’ to a social Christian Club membership once a week and sleep well at night knowing that their ‘guilt’ is being paid in a Sunday offering collection.

5. They are treated more like a ‘project’ to be financed than ‘people’ to be cared and loved for like any healthy family parent would do to their children. A child is loved unconditionally, any parent would know that if their child did something good, mostly it means that they did something wrong!

6. Either we admit it or not, they are still orphans!

I could go on and on but again, Jesus said, “I shall not leave you as orphans.” And how we are trying to fulfill that is build ‘Ministries of Orphanages Mentality.” Whereas Jesus says, “I will build My Church.” His ekklesia, His Body, His extended ‘family’ in which the 6-fold Gifts [Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, and Elders] acts as ‘parents in the Lord’ to the Saints thus ‘fathering the next generation.’

[Paul could have said, “You have thousands of teachers but lack ‘apostles,’ and I have become an apostle unto you.” He clearly states, “I am an apostle of Jesus,” yet “I have become your father!”