Sent Two Disciples Today

1 02 2014

“Hey uncle,” Arlen approach me today, “can I go home to the mountains this afternoon while there are still some waters at the river?”

“What? What about having ‘waters in the river’ mean?” I’m quite confused.

“I should go home with Analyn today,” she explained,” because it rained a lot last night and we had some five baptisms pending because of lack of water.”

I get it.

Arlen, 19yo, along with her younger sister Analyn were the 2nd generation disciples. Their brother Albert, 1st generation 21yo, has made them both one morning during breakfast here. They all, along with their other two younger sister, have been living with us for almost 5 years now. Their father died two years ago, their mom named Auling who became a widow, (2nd generation also, Albert made her into a disciple), is a disciple-maker also. The families were all involve in disciple-making, about 30 people have been baptized last month reaching up to the 5th generation.

The family has a house up in the mountains where their father has built for them. They went to school there walking for an hour in the bushes and of course another hour going back. When we transferred in the same town closer to them (after our family house was burned with fire 7 years ago) we decided to help them have an easy access to school, this requires them to live with us. From time to time, they go up to their own house and make disciples there. Their own family clans and old friends have become disciples too. “Who are they anyway?” I ask what’s the relationship between these five people who were ready to be baptized and Arlen. “They’re my barkada before.” she replied. “Barkada” is a Cebuano group name for your circle of friends. There comes a time in your life in school where you met nice people and they became your friends and your relationships with them deepens until they will become a sort of your “second” family. You go to them not only just for fun but also for advices when you need a hand. No leadership of one person required, only what all can agree with and all directly do it together. When they meet together they don’t depend on schedules or programs, they just come and wants to see each other because they liked each other. Most of these people who has become your “barkada” would also become your best friend “in life.” A “barkada” is so common to us as Filipinos. Almost everybody has one either they’re religious groups or not, in school or in companies, each has one or can create one without knowing it. One can start it even without realizing. And then later he would know.

One thing we have in common here why a disciple can easily find people to make disciples: friends. We make disciples to those whom that we have relationships already. We don’t evangelism in this definition: preach at to someone in the park to the person whom you do not even know or knows you. We make disciples through our circle of friends.

Well, Jesus did.

Calling peoples names like Nathaniel, Zaccheus, Nicodemus, surely He has built some relationships with among them. If not, then He knows how to, like the Samaritan woman. I once was in the taxi in Manila with an “evangelist” friend of mine and right away he shared the gospel to the driver. “I don’t make disciples to the person unless he’s a friend.” I interrupted him.

“Wait a minute,” he’s confused I know. I intentionally do that to him. “Did I hear that right? What do you mean?” He insisted.

“I don’t just do what you did. We don’t do that in making disciples.” I replied, “but surely I understand if one is doing some evangelism. Are you?”

“Well Molong, what if God told you to make disciples to the person you just meet?” A very good question right?

“That’s easy. I will make him my friend.” How long does it take for you to become a friend to the person? How long does it take for Jesus to become a friend of the Samaritan woman? To the tax sinner and collectors? I don’t know about you but one thing I know for sure: Jesus makes friends with sinners. He was even called a “friend of sinners.”

Here the problem lies, we don’t have an “unbelieving” friends anymore! We’ve lost them all. We’ve been deceived by these Bible verses itself: “Do not be unequally yoke with unbelievers.” “He who is a friend of the world is an enmity with God.” “Do not love the world.” We simply miss the point if we’re not looking unto Jesus way of making disciples – He makes friends first!

Jesus is 30 years old when He started His mission. What did He do then before that? I believe He makes friends. The disciples He has been long His friends. He “calls them by name” when He choose them to become His disciples. He knows Nathaniel’s name and calls him as He sits under the fig tree. How did He know his name?

Back to the story above. People up in the mountain depends on rain water so much for their daily use. Their wells dried up on hot season. They can’t even plant vegetables on their soil because there’s lack of water. As much as they can, they gather rain on big buckets. We baptized many people in the rain there. And yes, it’s very cold water for their bodies. It has been raining here since the biggest typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan, its international name). Recently, about 13 days of non-stop rain and flooding a lot of cities and landslides and many died too. In three months straight, we were bombarded with a 7.2 quake, a biggest typhoon ever, and floods. And honestly, the very reason why Arlen went home with her sister to do some baptisms with their friends at the river while there is still water because we just had a category two typhoon last night! It rained more water with some air blowing everywhere.

Thanks for the typhoon, God must have sent it to use it to cleanse people’s sin? huh!  

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“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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Part One: Butuan Trip

4 08 2012

(Jomie Here)

Just came back home from Butuan and CDO, in between province is a long 6-hour drive by bus but we really enjoyed it. This is my second trip the first one was when we attended the Philippine House Church Summit in Tagatay having seminar, talking everyday for 5(five)days, its good but only 10% interesting the other 90% is boring, unlike the trip that we had in butuan its really great.. As we landed in butuan and met kuya Molong’s friend Ronnie whom he had met in his last trip in Davao a month ago, he shared to him on how to make disciples of Jesus quick, simple and fast and after a couple of days of that conversation Ronnie had made three disciples and another five after two days! WOW!!


This is the reason why we visited him at his place.
The first night we stayed at his house we slept til three in the morning. There he shared his stories after stories of his journey.  Kuya Molong discussed about how hearing God’s voice played an important role in making disciples. An example would be the Eunuch and Phillip, the evangelist in the book of Acts. The next day, we suppose to go somewhere. Ronnie first drop his child to school and we waited til late afternoon. When he came back this is his story of what happened:

“I heard a voice saying, “Go to Budot.””

“I ask the Lord why,” the voice just say, “Just go.”

 He obeyed the voice.

Budot is a long time friend but is not a follower of Jesus yet. Ronnie has learned that to make disciples, you’ve gotta make friends like Jesus. Then look for people who believe in you and trust you, like Jesus. Then you make him a disciple.

Many people have many friends but they do not know what to do with them. They are Christians, they talk about Jesus and His church but they don’t know how to make a person a disciple. In other words, they do not know how to make a person ‘ to decide’ to follow Christ. “In that stage alone,” as Kuya Molong says, “we lost the connection and ultimately lose the person, the remain in our circle of friends but have not become a ‘family.’”

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Gather, Kill, CAST

15 02 2012

Jesus said, “Pray to the Lord of the Harvest that He will send laborers into His field.”

In an Apostolic Hub, there are three things that is happening: gather, kill and cast. Basically it’s the spirit of God initiating it. Whenever people wants to follow Jesus He basically do these three things to them. He would ‘gather’ them to Himself, then He will ‘kill’ them. “In our churches we gather them,” says Wolfgang Simson, “but who kills them?” Means, making them a disciple. Denying one self to follow Christ. Then after killing them He ‘cast’ them out to the world to make more disciples.

Jesus didn’t use the word ‘send,’ He will be too kind to His disciples then. Instead in Greek He uses the word ‘cast’ as in literally like casting out a demon out of person.

Having thought of it, I found it interestingly challenging. “Sending” would basically means, they are prepared, that is you train them enough to send them out in the field. But “Casting” it isn’t. You are just prepared yourself to be surprise by what God can do through His own ability in you and other disciples. Obedience is crucial when it comes to literally obeying His commands. Many Christians wanted to safely that they need to figure out things before they actually do it. That’s not only make ‘God’s surprises’ absence in the situation but also it’s an unhealthy way of trusting God. The Bible says ‘not to lean on our own understanding’ when it comes to ‘trusting God.’ Again, we don’t trust Christ ‘alone’ but a ‘lot.’

So, not wanting to delay your excitement, here is a story of Albert and other 7 other ‘new’ disciples being ‘cast’ out to the other island of Cebu. Click the link below to get into Albert’s site.

http://albertpacquiao.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/weather-is-not/

Enjoy,

molong