“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.



16 08 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Apostolic Hub

31 01 2012

Hi Guys, I have taken myself a video explaining what we are believing and doing here. We tried to keep some noise out but dog’s are barking around but hey, ‘they are part of the church here’ as my friend Criss commented.

Enjoy, click the link below:


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!”

Guest Post: Permission Granted

8 01 2012
Permission Newsletter – January 2012
Changing of the Wineskins: 2012 (Part One)

“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).


What does it really mean to “do” church differently?


What does “change” really mean?


What does “new” really mean?


Four Possibilities From New From Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus The Editors of the American Heritage® Dictionary.


Main Entry: new
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Not the same as what was previously known or done.
Synonyms: different, fresh, innovative, inventive, newfangled, novel, original, unfamiliar


Main Entry: additional
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Being an addition.
Synonyms: added, extra, fresh, further, more, other, new


Main Entry: fresh
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Not previously used.
Synonyms: brand-new, new


Main Entry: present
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: In existence now.
Synonyms: contemporary, current, existent, existing, now, present-day, new


Change remains vague until it is defined. With “change” being one of the driving themes of an entire shift in world politics, everyone is crying out for more clarity, more specificity, more steps, more exact actions.


What do we mean by change?


And when it comes to the church what are we actually changing, and how are we seeing wineskins renewed?


Unfortunately, “church change” sounds way to similar to the nebulous eco-political jargon of today. So we don’t want to offend anyone in the church so we couch our nomenclature in ambiguous terms, or even religious ones.  Like, we just need “renewal,” we just need “revival,” we just need “reformation.”


But without specificity most people read that as we just need a new “program,” we just need a new “vision,” we just need a new “pastor,” or at least newer “buildings,” and new, softer “pews.”


So, we find ourselves adjusting the lighting, laying down new carpet. Trading in the old pews for theater seats, buying the hottest new flesh tone wireless microphones, firing an old preacher, hiring a new preacher. We work at doing fresh demographic studies and change the order of service, or if all else fails add a new service on a new night.


But this time, in 2012, in the time cycle of the church, that will not be enough, it will not work, anymore. This is merely patching the wineskins.


Patching the Wineskins!

Patching the Wineskins!

Patching the Wineskins!


We paint the old wineskin, we put new carpet in the old wineskin, we rearrange the seating in the old wineskin. Or, we add a second wineskin to the old wineskin, maybe even a Saturday night wineskin for the younger set.


Of course none of these changes make a difference over the long haul. Sure, we may get a few kudos about some of these subtle shifts and slight changes we have engineered. But has anything really changed for real and for the long run?


We even brag about the little changes we have made at the Annual Wineskin Convention, maybe even write a new book about our new wineskin, and start an association around this new way of wineskinning.


“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).


With all the decorative aesthetic adjustments nothing really changes, all we do is end up diluted the wine, weakening the wine, create more distraction for people’s hunger and thirst for the “true new wine,” forgetting all along that the purpose of the church is to accommodate what God is doing, not asking God to cooperate with what we are doing.


Because these church growth adaptations too will fade; this time we need something more. Right now, like no other time in history, we need a completely “new” way of doing church, a “new” way of being the church: a new way, not an additional way, or even just a fresh way, and definitely not the present way.


In fact, everything we currently call “church” needs to change, not from the outside in, but the inside out, these issues are so systemic, these issues are so broken they need to be replaced. We must begin by actually accepting a complete ‘funeral’ mentality on how we have done everything, or do church, and need to let it die, and then let God shape in us an entirely new winekskin that will adequately handle His potent “new wine.”


A Whole New Paradigm 


For us who are used to the old, a new ‘paradigm’ requires first of all a definitive ‘paradigm funeral.’  A deep willingness to let things die and start all over.


So we start by looking around for a highly missional, highly participatory band of believers to regularly gather with, those who radically care for one another and make themselves readily accessible to the lost.


We return to “simple church” with a common meal and a common cup, not another lecture-driven “meeting” with more of the “sit, soak and sour,” as some professional ‘talking head’ does all of the ministry. But start some gatherings that are a highly prophetic with the released Holy Spirit called upon to lead through the people at His bidding, relying on His leadership, not the scripted program that we followed last week.


We refuse to sit in silence one more time and leaving the meeting with one one more “we simply don’t understand and definitely can’t apply to our lives.”


We begin to think 24/7 missional church rather than another weekend where we drive to a campus, struggle through a twenty minute search for a parking space, an athletic sprint to drop of the children at the Christian babysitters, another mad dash to the coffee kiosk, and then a press to find a decent seat before the performance begins. Only to look around for the first twenty minutes trying to find the family you want to go to lunch and spend the afternoon with after the meeting.


And No More Crying Over Spilled Wine


“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).


OK? No more crying over spilled wine. Enough is enough, don’t look back, no more excuses, it is now time for a “new” way of doing and being church, not a “renewed,” or “refreshed,” or “repainted,” or “redecorated,” or a “refurbished,” or “re-patched” one. Remember the greatest enemy of the ‘new’ is the part of the ‘old’ that still works.


Too often this is called, “talking new and acting old.” In other words we start by looking forward at everything, and have to fight the temptation to look back for the nostalgic and familiar old way of “doing” church. This is ‘forward’ looking, not ‘backward’ looking.

And no more “patching” of the old wineskins, we have already polluted and diluted way too much of the good wine, we already know that the old wineskin won’t handle the radical lifestyle of the next generation, or the passionate missional movement that is in front of us.

The ‘old’ will not embrace the press for the new level of intimacy with the Father that is coming, and it will literally explode or implode with the new spontaneous worship of the new wine that is coming. It is time for a totally ‘new wineskin.’ 

To start? We must confront the current church system head on.


1. The current church system is designed to produce dependency on the system.


2. The two major obstacles to removing people from dependency of the current church system are the church building and paid professionals. We need to find a way to create a new organizational system that doesn’t rely on either. Jesus didn’t.


3. We need to find a way to redeem people’s generosity by removing the obstacles (such as buildings and paid staff) and thus releasing people’s resources directly into missional opportunities.


4. Dependency is ultimately dysfunctional because we’re not designed to be dependent forever. We’re designed for self-government and personal responsibility to become interdependent mature sons and daughters of God who can risk loving and risk living.


5. The problem is, that in today’s system we know how to do 500 people really well, just leading them like cattle into another building for another meeting. But we don’t know how to do 12 people really well. Jesus modeled the latter.


6. And we face the primary concern and fear by the current church system that if we actually release people to become the priesthood of believers they will sure fall into heresy. Funny, heresy exists regardless, always has, always will. Example: We have 30,000 denominations. Some of them are wrong. But Jesus risked leaving His followers, and released His Holy Spirit to lead ordinary people. Even if they go through a season of heresy, they will eventually be led into truth. Can we do the same?


7. Exponential growth happens when people participate in what God was already doing. Not through prayer events that call down God to bless our latest agreed upon program we picked up at the latest conference or ministry fair.


Yes, all of these are specific challenges for today’s church to face? You will have to decide if you will face them, or conform and run from them. You also will have to decide what approach to any remedies you are going to risk. If you are really serious about change and not just a “repatch of the wineskin,” you will have to ask God what He wants you to do and then address what is holding you back.


It could mean completely rethinking your views on the church as it relates to everything, the land (properties, facilities) learning (training systems, learning dynamics) and leadership (styles: both old and new) and then addressing those models you insist on perpetuating that continue to weaken today’s legacy church. Letting those die and fade and moving toward the “change of the new.”


So, the question remaining is this. Are we desperate enough for the new wine?


In His Grip,

Gary Goodell 


Gary Goodell is a former evangelist, pastor, college dean and instructor involved in ministry stuff for almost 50 years. He and his wife Jane live in San Diego, California USA. He is a father of two adult children and the grandfather of seven. As an author and consultant he functions as an itinerant mentor working with the organic church planting movement known asThird Day, that he and some friends founded in 2001. Third Day International now involves leadership and ministries in 20 nations.


Two books, “Permission Granted To Do Church Differently in the 21st Century,” and “Where Would Jesus Lead?” are both available online. More articles available on the website at www.thirddaychurches.com



A talk over coffee this morning…

4 12 2011

She said to the three of them: “Be baptize so that you will be saved.”

“We wanna see him so that we will be baptized too.” They said.

A conversation between the four of them: Albert’s mom Auling, and her three grand nieces who visited at her house.

They were talking about Albert as he is their ‘favorite boy’ when he was young. “Even his grand mother ‘liked’ him, it’s the reason also that she willing to be a disciple of Jesus” Auling said, when Albert shares the Good News. “How did it started, why are you’re talking about baptism?” I ask Auling. “Why are they interested about baptism?” It was 8:42 in the morning as I penned this down, December 4. Just a couple minutes before we had coffee under the tree sitting at my children’s table.

“Their interest started when I said that I don’t go to church anymore.” She said. “We had also talk with my mom about it [Albert’s grand mother who was just baptized by Albert]. She don’t go to church [Catholic Church] anymore because Albert told him that we can worship God at home.” Her mom suffered with arthritis, constant coughing, and some pains she’s 81 years old.

Whenever we visited the family in the mountain I always found Albert and Jomie praying for people there [without asking my permission] either in the kitchen or in the balcony. Albert’s grand mother is always one of them to get prayed for until she was made into a disciple of Jesus one day, after Albert’s mom was made that midnight! “My mom said,” she continued, “the pain was no more, my toes are great, I am healed.” Auling is just talking with me without hesitation. Just that.”

“‘It was after I was baptized.’ My mom said.” Auling continued. Stories are amazing you know, especially when it’s about life that was change by the Holy Spirit. As we don’t do meetings, but we do meet a lot because we’re a family. Without any “Bible Study Meetings” nor “Prayer Meetings” but Bible discussions and prayers happen as we do things together – it’s playing life together.

One of the hardest thing for me to do nothing is when I said to God, “Lord, I am tired of follow-up and visitations and having schedules. I have been doing that almost every day before, it is what I love doing. But I know I cannot schedule you, you are life itself. So what should I do?” I know one thing to do is to stop doing what I have been doing, I am just so tired of it. I even hated it at times. I said to myself, “What is a ‘follow up’ and a ‘visitation for’ if a person is my brother or sister? How can I ‘maintain through meetings[?]’ with my brother when he is already my brother?”

A ‘follow’ up of what?

A ‘visitation’ of what? What for?

You are already my brother. You are already my sister. Should I maintain of ‘something that would stick as together’ you as my brother/sister? Churches are good at this, they are using their ‘endless weekly meetings’ either in buildings or houses, it does really where is the location. Church is not where we meet but where He lives. Instead of using their ‘relationships’ in which God designs….

[Ophs, for awhile…my 22 months son just came up crying calling my name, “Papa, papa,….brom brom, brom brom.” Taking him for a ride on my bike with my other two daughters.]

Alright, I’m back and back is important.

So, instead of using their relationship in which God designs to build up His Family, they are using other life-less means machines to create programs to maintain people. Jesus defines His ekklesia as ‘hundreds of mothers, brothers and sisters and houses,’ not ‘hundreds of cousins and relatives and hundreds of ‘Christian neighbors.’

As my Dad in the Lord, Mike Peters would say, “Church is not a building, but it’s people. It is not only the people but their relationships.” See, many house churches today have people with their endless meetings, but no relationships. They have not become a family to each other. They cannot even name four people to watch their kids on a weekend when they the needed to get out. They have become a ‘meeting-based’ church rather than a ‘family-based.’ Another Dad of mine Gary Goodell says, “If you want to be family then you’ve got to stop doing meetings. If you keep on doing meetings, you cannot be family. Families don’t do meetings, but they do meet a lot.”

Saying this means, shallow Christianity replaces ‘family relationships’ with having ‘meetings.’ I am not ‘against’ meetings by saying so, I am ‘for’ something by doing it. ‘Meetings’ and ‘gatherings’ have their place but until we are ‘assemble’ together [Heb.10:24-25] no one would the real picture of a church on earth. A puzzle may be gathered but not assembled. To expand the Kingdom of God is to extend your family. That’s the picture.

Trusting God means obedience to what He has called us to do. “Molong, if you want to taste the fullness of the Holy Spirit then you’ve got to trust Me fully.” For my sake, I didn’t have most of the cell numbers of the disciples to ‘follow up’ of their lives. All I am anticipating is God’s surprises simply because you cannot plan God. That means stories like these.

Well, let’s see where’s this stories going on…but I am excited. There might be some ‘burials’ today or tomorrow. Who knows?

Death, Faith and The Kingdom

7 10 2011

“It is when our struggles stops that we lost the battle.”

“It is when we lost trust to ourselves that God can start trusting us.”

Here are the quotes that I got this morning while a pastor friend of mine shares his journey from a multi-million peso, 4 big companies, built the biggest power plant in china, lighted the whole Vietnam after war, building a couple of power plants in Hong Kong,consultant and engineer by profession, imagine a 70,000 peso [$1,500] he spent a day, a father of two, their weekly groceries alone cost 30,000 peso [$800], and guess how old is he that time? 32. He is 53 now and in the service of the community around his church.

‘Dying’ is certainly costly, death to the identity that the world gives you. Death to the destiny that your profession dictate to. For all this man has in the world started on his 20’s, at age 32 as he was sitting on his office staring that heaps of paper works – God speaks to him. He was just a plain member of a church in Manila then.

“Are you happy with all these things that I am allowing you to handle?” God said.

“Lord, you have given me so much but deep inside my heart you know that you know that I am not happy at all.” He replied, “what do you want me to do.”

“Leave…everything.” God said in his mind.

He obeyed the voice, close down his 4 companies, paid all 4 presidents, staffs, lock up the office, and leave the next decision what to do about his office facilities to the building owner. “I could have sell it of up to 700,000” he said. [$18,000]. Paid all bank debts, even leaving his own house, and live in the slum area in Manila, serving the people in 5 communities for 5 years – trusting God ‘alone,’ not a lot for his family and two kids to provide every need.

“God is cleansing us” he said. Their daily food in every meals has to come from God – “we depend on God to knock on our door and hand us some food like sardines, corn, etc through His people in the community” he said. God did.

What interest me as I and another two woman heard his story was that how one of the woman exclaimed in awe, “You have such great faith!”  in which I was totally not in tune with what she gets. I was focusing on his ‘dying’ side of his story rather than his ‘faith.’ Yes, he has indeed have great faith in which most Christians around can just have it but live totally ‘living on their own turfs.’

Yes, one’s faith in God pleases God, [without faith it is impossible to please God] but if we look at Hebrews 11, you will see these ‘hero’s of faith’ died without receiving anything to what they had faith for. Moses did not get into the promise land, the prophets were persecuted and killed, Jesus Himself in spite of being a son suffered, even what He want to happen in the Garden of Gethsemane – let this cup pass from me – He didn’t get it! So, what kind of ‘faith’ are we talking about in most Christian circles today?

Most Christians want something to happen but refuses to change. Church leaders want revival to happen in their neighborhoods but refuses to align themselves with the King. And so trying to make that revival happen in their own ways in their own terms.

I believe ‘death to self’ is a prerequisite to ‘ true faith.’ Change is costly. Change requires leaving something old behind and press to something new. The Bible says that we have to ‘put off the old man’ and ‘put on the new man.’  As Wolfgang says, “Cleaving requires leaving.”

To get into a church membership might need just someone who believes in God, makes God one’s savior. But to enter into His Kingdom, His domain takes death to one’s self. Death to one’s ambition, death to his own secured identity, as The King in His Kingdom puts it plainly – “a disciple must deny himself and take up his cross daily.” Paul, an apostle died ‘daily.’  It is interesting when Jesus and the apostles when talking about ‘death to self’ it didn’t say, “It can be repaired!” The old man has to die to give way to the new man to live. The cost of ‘being’ a disciple is not about ‘doing’ what a disciple does. What can a dead man do? Christianity today thought about serving God more by doing more as if God needed anything. It remains a fact that our Maker made us human ‘beings’ not human ‘doings.’ When we are dead to ourselves, not only God can use us. But only then God will give us our divine, [life destined by God] to us.

Gabriel, this friend’s name is, says, “Only then I realized that I cannot trust myself anymore.” We seek God’s work to fulfill His work instead seeking His ways and watch Him work. His intent for man to enter into His Kingdom is to die once so that He will be born twice [John 3]. A man who is alive to his own ways, uses his logic and intellect – no wonder God uses the fool to shame the wise – to do God’s work, such a mindset cannot be discipled – it must be killed!

Faith is not useful for those who are alive. What is faith for, is it not to raise the dead? Look at the prophet Ezekiel, chapter 37, he raised the whole army of bones and enlist them for battle. Simply a believer of Jesus does not make you a disciple. Being a disciple requires death. A believer ask for ‘discounts’ – get the lowest fee to get God’s blessings – but being a disciple is no choice. Either you lose your life to get it, or live life selfishly and lose that life ultimately.

“You have a choice.” A friend’s advice in the Wolverine movie, as he is planning to take revenge. His reply is a stunning statement: “Mine is taken.”

What is the option of a dead person? Dependent to the One who has the power to give life. Except the Author of life, King Jesus must raise him first, put on God’s faith in him and cast him off to go make more disciples for His Kingdom, he remains dead meat, stinky. That’s why Paul says, “I no longer live but Christ’s lives in me.” One who live lives for his own, simply exist. But one who is dead cannot live on his own, does not live on his own, lives for nothing – he was raised from the dead, has given new life not for his own but for the one who gives it.

A disciple who knows that he’s not living for himself but for His King, when encountered by persecutions, trials and struggles does not care anymore [- as my friend Gary Goodell says, “if it still hurts then you’re not dead yet” -]  it doesn’t matter. Why? It is not about me, I, myself, nor you, you know, it’s about The Kingdom!