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.”





Doing Things Diffrently – how do we respond to typhoon victims differently?

22 11 2013

I love doing things differently. That’s how probably one of the reasons why I put myself into trouble? 🙂

When it comes to the command to “go and make disciples” to the world, we don’t do ‘discipleship’ to the found. We make disciples to the lost. We don’t lock up people in the room and taught them ‘about’ God, we ‘cast’ them out to the field and taught them ‘how to live.’ We don’t create our own ‘discipleship materials’ but uses what Father has already created for us to learn. “See, I have told you earthly things and you didn’t get? How much more if I told you heavenly things?” Jesus said to Nicodemus. (Paraphrase, Jn 3:12) “The Kingdom of God is like,….” “Faith is like,…” “If anyone hears my word and does them, I would liken him,…” We do ‘discipleship’ right there on the field, right there in the community where miracles happen. We don’t even call it ‘discipleship’ anymore for when you start explaining and defining things then it becomes complicated.

When it comes about “doing church” we don’t do meetings, we gather as a “family” thus meetings becomes the by-product of our relationships. We don’t do “bible study programs” but we read and discuss the Bible a lot. We don’t do “prayer meetings” but we talk to God with one-another a lot. We live Jesus-Life Together Daily. Thus, making our days full of one-anotherings.

When it comes to “be the church” we change our priorities. We live Acts 2:42-46. We live “from house to house” “shared everything in common” “no buying, no selling but only giving and receiving” “no one is poor among them because they own everything.”

When it comes to giving, we don’t take up an offering. We voluntarily lay down our lives for the sake of the brethren. We don’t pray for a need to be meet. We meet a need. The best way to meet a need is to meet a need.

When it comes to “orphans and widows” we took care of them. We have them among us everyday.

When it comes on “how to handle children” we raise and treat them as our own. Thus, erasing the ‘orphan’ mentality because we have become “hundreds of fathers and mothers” to them. Take notice that a child in the orphanage is an orphan, but an orphan in the family is a child. Thus, we don’t build orphanages as we are not called to do so. We are called to be family with each other. Adopting those who are fatherless and motherless. Thus, eradicating spiritual orphans that are roaming around spiritual orphanages (churches).

And lastly, when it comes to responding differently in this recent typhoon that devastated our country we want to do things differently. Red Cross and other organizations does their own thing by putting up their own names. They have their own place but honestly, even the anti-christ can do that. Watching an end of the world Christian movie “Megiddo” the cast played as anti-Christ told his wife to feed the hungry people and children of the world using all his money. Indeed, he can as he owned the whole world. But, how do we respond differently? Giving food and clothing is not enough, we know better than that. Even building them a decent house won’t do. Well, as my friend Wolfgang Simson wrote to me, “Molong, now you can start as many apostolic hubs as you can. What could be the purpose of wiping out many areas?” I know, we know that he is only joking to make me laugh right?

My heart is to start apostolic hubs around my country. Make “making disciples” a “movement” by unleashing the church to the barangays of the Philippines. Why not? (search ‘apostolic hub’ in google or my site)

When I started doing “house churches” in the year 1999 for 8 years, I was so bored at doing meetings and trainings and I gave up and start from the ‘early church’ way – making disciples. Now, after 4 years we’ve reach up to the 16th generation. We have our stories on our websites, (yes, that’s with “s”), names, photos of baptism, dates, videos are documented for the purpose of helping the next generation to make disciples. Chart is available too of who made who into a disciple of Jesus. I may not have a thousand house churches, but we’re connected to at most 600 individual families around the country.

When Felicity Dale wrote to me and ask me “how many ‘families’ should we plan to help?” I said a thousand. And suddenly that was translated into a “Molong has a ‘thousand’ house churches.” Well, I wish. But honestly, I was challenge by it. Who knows what this tragedy would bring? Like the persecutions of the early church followers have pushed them to make disciples more! Can WE really turned this “mess” into a “mass” production of disciples? The early did it first with 3,000 souls in one day. My uncle Victor Choudhrie did a million in over a period of one year in India! But the question remains “how?”

Many of you are so willing to hold the handle and push us like a knife. We’re the tip that’s sharpen enough to penetrate, that means, we make disciples and baptize the person already within 3-6 minutes (see our sites for more stories). Actually, last month there’s 14 people that was made into a disciple, 14 people is not much but you got to know that the one who made these people a disciple is a 2nd generation mother who is widowed that was passed into a 3rd generation and fourth. Last week there’s two baptisms by a 4th generation. Today, a baptism by a 1st and 4th generation. And that is only happening in here. And as normal as ‘making disciples’ happens here spontaneously and around the country, there are numerous of us that does it. Like my recent trip in Butuan that 100 plus was made into a disciple in 4 months by just one couple alone. Another couple is planning to have a “mass baptism” as she calls it that’s happening this month.

As we go and respond to this crises and as you continue pushing us like a knife, remember that our mission is not to feed a hungry tummy for awhile but our goal is to have a long-lasting impact to these affected families by showing Jesus love without strings attach by a group of disciples who doesn’t bear any name except “being” a disciple, and start a “making disciples” movement and establish apostolic hubs around my province, Cebu.





Apostolic Hub

19 11 2012

APOSTOLIC HUB

taking house/simple/organic church deeper


An apostolic hub is where Christians live together from “house to house.” and begin “sharing everything” that they have with one another. They don’t “buy and sell” from each other or “borrow” resources from each other, but they make everything available to be used up as a “gift” in service to one another. No one owns anything for himself or herself, (except their wives and husbands) everyone shares what they have and therefore own everything. Because they share everything, there is no needy person among them. They are not just “Christian neighbors” who happen to live next door; they are a family!  They don’t ‘support’ a brother; they ‘help’ a brother. 

An apostolic hub is basically, a “spirit” where three things happen: gather, kill and cast. Whenever people follow Jesus, He gathers them to Himself then He kills them, “deny yourself, take up your cross”, let’s go to the cross and crucify you. The life that you knew is over. From now on follow me. In our churches, we gather but we don’t kill. We let each one live as he pleases and fail to teach them to deny their very lives. Then Jesus after killing the person, that’s why we burry (baptize) them, casts them out (in Greek, the word ‘ekballein’ used in Lk 10:2 is the word used in the process of driving out demons) to the field saying, get out and be fruitful; get me some followers to serve me and my family! Today, leaders train other ‘to-be-leaders’ in order to have their own followers. This is not how it is in His Kingdom.

An apostolic hub has four kinds of people with them: 
1. Orphans and widows. In the society, no one takes care of them, God has given them to us (Jas1:27). God adopts us as sons and daughters and as good followers of God we adopt orphans as our own and look after the widows. If not us, then who would do this? Orphanages are not God’s idea, it is a human convenience that replaces adoption.  
2. Spiritual Dad and Mom. They are the “mature spiritual parents in the Lord,” the apostolic dad and the prophetic mom, nourishing, caring, coaching, equipping and releasing their “children in The Lord”. (Ep 4:11-13)
3. Skilled workers with business projects. There are talented and creative people, entrepreneurs who would initiate businesses to advance the Kingdom (Acts 18:1-5) to help the above mentioned to freely do what they are called to do. Especially the spiritual dad and mom to be financially cast out to initiate kingdom movements. Phil 4:15. 
4. Poor people. The last on the list is the unbelieving poor around them. (Mk. 14:7) That is, the poor that is ‘outside’ of them because there is ‘no poor among them.’ Christians take care first those that are in the ‘household of faith’ or else the outside screaming need of injustice and poverty will suck out the entire budget very quickly and we will deprive our own family and miss the purposes of God’s family. We are God-driven; not need-driven.

Remember the kind of church that Jesus said, “a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden”? It is exactly what David also said, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when brethren DWELL TOGETHER in unity.” The New Testament recognition of ekklesia in a given city is not by religious edifices or numbers. There is one ekklesia in Thessalonica, one in Ephesus and they live like the ‘church in Jerusalem’. It is the first church and it is our model today (Acts 2:42-46) to follow. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 for unity is not about doctrinal unity. Leaders of organizational churches are busy trying to create another doctrine that would somehow unites us, while their own churches are in chaos. Some build churches this way and others that way, showing the obvious that we don’t really know what we build. Simply said, it is not our job to build churches. We steal His job of building ekklesia. Imagine, 44,000 different brands (denominations) of Christianity is competing and hindering Church as God wants it. Looks like Jesus cannot marry a beautiful Bride but a harem. 

In the words of Aristides, when sent by the Emperor Hadrian to spy those strange creatures known as ‘Christians’, having seen them in action, he returned with a mixed report. But his immortal words to the Emperor have echoed down through history: “Behold! How they love one another.” This is one of the profound comments made regarding the early church life (Church Swindol). Wolfgang Simson has a suspicion that the early church “although hate one another, yet still love one another.” Mike Peters along with other 300 saints who live ‘from house to house’ had this experience with one another saying, “we love each other because we hate each other.” 

Ron Mc Kenzie, in his book “Being Church Where We Live”, believes that the early church way of living ‘from house to house’ is not a principle to follow but only a ‘default system’ that when someone wants to be part of the Kingdom people, “a city that is set on a hill” then he knows what to do. The reason behind is because they want to ‘obey everything that Jesus commanded’ including the 58 one-anothering. They change their priorities and literally decide to be of ‘one mind, one heart and one accord ‘ and live next door to each other obeying the King – their Head, together as His one body. 

That’s why Wolfgang Simson says that a hub is a ‘spirit,’ not much of a location. If it were a location then any human initiation with money, land and resources, without the Spirit of the living God will be able to do it as well. 

The word ‘fellowship’ in Greek is ‘koinonia’ that is connected to the word ‘dwell together’ meaning ‘they are of one mind and one heart, one common life, one common joy and pain, one common purse.’ In his book, Revolution Without Dancing, Mike Peters describes it as, ‘if one buys a ship then everybody owns it.’ That’s what exactly the early church did. “No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had – so there was no needy person among them.” Acts 2:45.

Christians in a city or town, living far from each other and meet once a week for ‘listen-things-together’ and not ‘do-things-together’ like in a house/organic church life-style, cannot simply comply the one-anothering alone how much more the ‘koinonia?’ 

The apostle Paul, in his apostolic journey ‘didn’t stop here and there to preach from house to house’ (Acts 20:20). He stayed in those locations as one of them, as a spiritual parent giving birth to spiritual children, nourishing, imparting, bringing gifts and encouragement to the saints. 1Thes. 2:8, Rom 1:11-12. Whenever Paul traveled, he stayed ‘from house to house’ not ‘from hotel to hotel.’ He stayed where he can do things together with other saints, not do a seminar or conference to them and at the end sell his letters for a $24.99 each. 

Imagine a life of ekklesia in our own city like this! 

I don’t know about you, but in the end, not only God longs to look at the fruit you bear, but also me. I want to see it with my own eyes and enjoy His favor. 





Permission Granted: Lead the lost, Serve the found.

9 11 2012
Permission Newsletter – Special Guest December 2010!
     

NOTE: It has been my privilege for many years to serve alongside Molong Nacua, a church planter and networker, working with Third Day Churches in Cebu, Philippines. I have witnessed first hand a move of discipleship among my Filipino brothers that hang around Molong, that models for me as a westerner, a fresh and vital example of fulfilling the Great Commission.

 

So, I thought I would both send you one of Molong’s recent Blogs, and as well say a very special,  “Christmas Blessing,” over you and your families, and the generations to come. (I have done a little grammatical work on this blog, (with his permission) without trying to change the meat of the meaning. I feel, as a friend that I know Molong’s Spirit and Heart in the matter).

 

Merry Christmas,

Gary (Jane) Goodell

December 2010

 

Servanthood Verses Leadership

 

Thursday, December 9th, 2010 at 4:58 pm by Molong Nacua  

 

I am thinking the Apostle Paul was a leader because people follow leaders, right?

 

People follow leaders, indeed. They normally look for leaders or ask who is the leader. So, let unbelievers follow you, for ‘awhile’ like John the Baptist. He has disciples on his own ‘for awhile’ until Jesus came and then his disciples followed Him, so we don’t know until how long  that people ‘followed’ Paul.

 

I believe it’s ‘for awhile’ since he himself warned the Ephesian elders that, “there are some among you here who will draw disciples for themselves.” So the question really is ‘Are you drawing them to Christ or to yourselves?’ This is entirely up to us. People normally look and follow leaders, let them follow you, but make sure it is because of your light, lead them, but not for long. When they start following you, push them to follow Christ by hearing His voice, being Spirit-Led. In this way, we are only taking men to Christ for them to be discipled by Him. Or as Floyd McFlung would say, “we disciple the lost to convert, we don’t disciple the convert.” Or as in leadership terminology we say, ‘we serve those whom we lead, not lead those whom we serve.’  This is the difference between a servant and a leader.

 

If people followed Paul, and they did, they were following Paul as he was following Christ. If so, he himself did not call this ‘leadership’ but servanthood. He calls himself a ‘servant.’ Neither a ‘leader’ nor even a ‘servant-leader.’ Even that word ‘servant-leader’ confuses me, is he a ‘servant’ or a ‘leader?’ Or, 50-percent, or both?

 

People follow Jesus, because He is the Leader. I think Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Jesus. So if Paul was not a leader why did he say? Follow me?”

 

Yes, Jesus is the Leader, and the ‘only’ leader in His Kingdom. Everyone gets a privilege to serve. But it doesn’t mean we are leaders just because people follow us. Just the same as just because you go to church you become a Christian, or by going to the garage you become a car. I believe in HIS Kingdom, He is the Leader, and everybody follows Him. I couldn’t find verses that say, “lead one another,” only “serve one another.” Maybe, all they mean about ‘leading’ is someone is ‘serving’ someone. Serving those whom they lead to Christ. We do lead souls, unbelievers to Christ to come to repentance; we do lead the lost by our light. But when they themselves find The Light, there is no need for human guidance because they will be Spirit-Led. We all have the same Holy Spirit. Each one can be Spirit-Led. I cannot tell you what to do or else you will be led by me. You cannot tell me what to do or else I will be led by you. We cannot be Spirit-Led then. That doesn’t mean that being led by the Spirit necessarily makes you a leader. Are you led to lead? Don’t try to use what is God’s Word to use somebody else. God hasn’t given anyone the Headship of His Body yet, and will never ever allow anyone to replace Him!

 

So again, maybe all this sort of ‘leadership stuff’ means ‘serving?’ Jesus discouraged human leadership, either Roman style or Jewish style, He said, “NOT SO AMONG YOU FOR YOU ARE ALL BROTHERS,” (Matthew 23:8). There is leadership, it is called being SPIRIT-LED. I respect the Holy Spirit as a PERSON, because He is.  So it’s just like if Kevin is your leader, then he can lead you, not me right? If I try ‘leading’ you then that would be a great insult to Kevin. It’s the same using the word ‘my disciple,’ then you cannot be a disciple to others, or others cannot teach you. They will be but may in trouble if they try. We only ‘MAKE’ disciples, we are not ‘to disciple.’ I may teach, but I cannot teach the WHOLE, ALL truth, but the Spirit can teach ALL truth.” “He will guide you into ALL TRUTH.”

 

Have you ever tried hearing God teaching you? Did you try to argue? Nope, why? Because it’s the Truth! Each of us is only ‘filtering’ the words that we discuss and hear from each other. But we must let them hear God for their own situation. I cannot hear God for ‘your’ situation, sorry. I can only hear God for ‘my’ situation. Let’s teach, but let’s not try to tell them exactly HOW to do it. Tell them WHAT to do. Teach them to obey, but don’t teach them HOW to obey, rather let them hear God for their own situation and follow His leading. I cannot hear God for other people’s lives, I may try but the person has to CONFIRM it, or else, it’s not true.

 

Honestly, you must display a ‘Spirit-Led Life’ here. We do surely learn from you. So, when you guys left, Albert and Jomie stayed close to me, we do a lot of conversations of the Word while Doing-Jesus-Life-Together, but when it comes to the finality of it all, they know how to hear God for themselves. Example, they went to Bohol Island.  First time they did a local missions trip. They didn’t ask my permission at all despite their lack of funds. Instead they just let me know that they were going. I thought deeply about it and was wondering what has happened. I didn’t say anything, I just let it go. Then one night as I opened the door of my room, God reminded me of Acts saying, “The Holy Spirit sends them, “remember in Acts that they went somewhere? And it says that, it’s “The Holy Spirit that sends them,” (Acts 13:2-4).

 

Another example was the craziest. They make me crazy here, because they keep on praying for the sick without asking my permission. You know in a traditional church, when leaders want to pray or do something, they would ask the Pastor’s permission? Everything would pass to him. But these guys Albert and Jomie, they just went and the person was instantly healed! So, the Holy Spirit keeps reminding me about being Spirit-Led. I posted it on myFacebook wall, “We cannot appreciate the Holy Spirit until we have tasted His fullness!”

 

Leadership was never in the mind of Paul when he left the church in Ephesus, because he “entrusted them with the Holy Spirit,” While at the same time he worried  – “there are some among you here who will draw disciples for themselves.” That is taking over the leadership of the Holy Spirit. He warned against that.

 

So again, maybe these so-called ‘leadership characteristics’ are actually ‘servanthood characteristics.’ Why? Because the Apostles never used the word ‘leadership’ instead they uses the word ‘servant.’  Paul calls himself “a servant, he doesn’t call himself a ‘leader.’ Even in the often quoted Hebrews 13:7, the word ‘lead,’ or ‘leader,’ or ‘leadership,’ is not in the original text, so we cannot make this a doctrine of leadership.

 

Paul says, “follow me” because he is ‘following Christ.’ In other words, he “serves those whom he leads [to Christ], not the other way around, “he leads those whom he serves.” One is servanthood, the other is leadership.

 

Also as a Father myself I lead my wife and children by example. So is this leading? Yes, a Father is a leader. It is because I am in full agreement with servant leadership. That is the model.

 

But call it ‘servanthood,’ don’t mix it. You want to SERVE YOUR NEXT GENERATION, like David? Begin by serving your next generation, namely your children and your grandchildren. We know that there is always more a fight for “Who is the leader?” than “Who is the servant?”  Sure, our children may fight ‘who is the ‘next’ leader?” when we die. Well, isn’t the ‘older brother?’ Remember the ‘older brother’ in the Prodigal Son story? I don’t want to even start teaching this to my kids. My motto is to, ‘lead souls to Christ, and serve my brothers!”

 

“Servant Leadership” as a phrase is not found in the Scriptures, ‘Servanthood” is. Jesus is the only Leader, and everyone follows. How’s that?

 

The five-fold ministry, I think has to be people. “It was given someto be Apostles, some to be Prophets.” Paul, we say, is the “Apostle Paul” so I think the five-fold in Ephesians 4 is people not just gifts.

 

It is gifts to His people, whoever the Spirit wills. Some may be more visible than the others. No, I don’t say the “Apostle Paul.” I say, “Paul, an Apostle.” Big difference. One is using his gifts as a title; the later is simply mentioning his gifting. Just like if I play a violin, would you call me “Violin Molong?” or “Molong, the violinist?” So, “Paul, an Apostle.” Rather than the “Apostle Paul.”

 

Sorry, I may be a bit strict here on wording because I care what are we communicating to the next generation. Definitions define relationships. If we are not careful we may communicate the wrong message. Just like saying, “I go to Church,” means that the building is the Church. Very misleading as,” A.W. Tozer bluntly said.

 

So, the five-fold is gifts to His people. Fathering and mothering their next generation, serving their next generation. Jesus is always pushing servanthood, not leadership. He is the Head, and we are not. It is His Body; we are only a part of it.

 

So where are these people, these gifts? Hiding? O maybe the church has thrown them out, hee, hee, hee, hee, hee. Probably, the Church has thrown them out. They are found in the world and do simple church! Sorry for ‘disagreeing,’ but know that this is not the main issue; we all want to practice what is right? Being Spirit-Led.

 

Finally, I bump into quotes like what Albert Einstein once said, “If the practice doesn’t fit the theory, change the practice.” What do you think? I think, its even ‘change the theory’ right? (and the practice) What’s the use of a theory if it doesn’t work?

 

Molong Nacua (molong.nacua@gmail.com)


Third Day Churches is a fellowship of permission givers encouraging each other to experiment with doing church differently, and hopefully more effectively in this postmodern twenty-first century. 

As a partnership of leaders, and a network of churches, ministries and businesses, we are endeavoring to cultivate relationally-based encounters that release the priesthood potential of all believers in a given geographic locale or region, within a language and/or people group.  Our desire is to help each individual believer discover their unique identity in Christ and to embrace fully their destiny.

This is now happening in twenty nations around the globe.

 




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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kaXUcPSFog





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!”