WE DON’T MAKE NEW THEORIES, WE MAKE NEW STORIES.
“If that’s the case then we are content of what we have.” Analyn answered back when ask by her older sister of a question ‘what if man (Adam) did not sin, what are we now?’
“We don’t need anything because in the ‘paradise’ of God He provides everything. We wouldn’t need a cellphone, (she speaks specifically) as communication to Him is open. We wouldn’t need of food as all fruit-trees around us is ours to eat. Not even a need to clothed ourselves as His glory covered us.”
Does any of us expects this kind of answer? Not from a 19yo Analyn, one of Albert’s sister. I have been heard of this question being ask many times from my 25years of being a Christian yet her answer blows my mind away. Yes it is true, when man sinned he started to find his satisfaction in other things apart from his Creator, God. He started to mistrust God’s providence.
It’s our story-telling week. Each get to choose their stories to tell from the pages of the Bible and create questions for their listeners and their listeners get to ask them questions too. Then each gave an experience of what ‘love’ is. Love is when…
– “when my teacher express her appreciation in me eventhough I didn’t see it myself. She is proud of me. She said that my classmates trusted me and so is she.”
– “the people around here cared for me.” One 16yo girl who’s living here to be supported by her studies. “Specially when I ask permission to get out and do my own thing they wouldn’t let me. They want to protect me. That’s when I felt I was love.”
– one says “I felt loved when people accepted me eventhough I have a loud voice!” (Everyone laugh) 13yo girl.
– “love is when you know who you are yet they still love you anyway!” One says, “and that’s my sister!
– “love is when my mom took me to the hospital to be check with my ear problem. Thank you mama.” She expresses her heart, “specially when you wake up in the middle of the night to take care of my pain and I cannot sleep.”
Here are the stories that they re-tell in their own way to everyone from 10yo above: Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Prodigal son, Elijah, Naomi and Ruth, Elisha.
One more thing:
When one of the story-teller, was ask “what if you are that prodigal ‘daughter’ would you do the same thing?”
“Yes.” Was her direct answer. And everyone’s wondering why. “I could get my share but use it differently like preparing my future and helping people, not squandering it in some non-sense ways.”
From the mind of a 15yo girl.
“After the worship service many would say ‘we have a good worship today'” Albert commented while I shared this post below, “but none ask what’s God’s feeling about it.”
Indeed, our ‘Sunday Worship Services’ were designed for our own satisfaction. If everything goes right we say “we had a good worship today” and if it goes wrong or the guitarist strummed the wrong chord we say “our worship is not that good today.”
But really, none ask God how He feels, let alone ask Him what He would say to us.
“For generations we seem to have misled God’s people through a major misprint in our Sunday bulletins. We announce our Worship Services at a certain time (i.e 9 or 10 or 11 am) as the beginning time of our flagship Sunday gathering. This is when our Worship Service begins. But honestly who are these services really for? They are obviously for the people we are trying to attract to the meeting. How we script them, edit them, orchestrate them, rehearse them, all in an attempt to service the humans that will attend them, their tastes in music, favorite style, songs, even volume. Oh, we can say they are for God, but how many times have you gone to one, and no one is waiting in anticipation for God to speak and tell us how He wants to be worshipped or served? Jesus reminded satan in Matthew 4:10, that only God is to be worshipped and served. If these gatherings are meant to worship and serve Him, shouldn’t He have some say in how they are conducted, rather than the pastoral staff or worship (music) team? Just saying? And just based on the amount of time allotted for singsong, shouldn’t they just be called sermon services or lecture meetings anyway? Just saying?”
God’s Word never fail.
One common reason that stood up why those who claim to be Christians wants to get re-baptized is that they aren’t sure that they’re dead because of their sins. Romans 6 explains well of this matter, you are dead and your baptism is your funeral service. And unless you are buried then you won’t get to share His resurrection. “You are buried with Him in baptism.” That word ‘with Him’ sounds pretty clear. Unless you go through it then you’re not ‘with Him.’
I see three reasons why baptism is close to Jesus’ heart. Remember, these are His last words before His death. Last words is quite important hey?
1. You’re dead. Eph. 2:1, Rom. 6 (better read the whole chapter.)
2. Receive the new life. Burying your old life is the pre-requisite to receive the new. Rom 6.
3. It’s how you enter into the kingdom of God. We do introduce the kingdom of God when making disciples. No, we don’t introduce the ‘church’ as we have none.
Unless your baptism have these understandings you might be qualified for re-baptisms.
Take note: although our baptisms depends on us but our re-baptisms doesn’t. It always depends on the person wanting to get re-baptize.
God’s word never fails. Many do who were baptized shows no change life and barren when it comes to making disciples. The failure is not in God’s word but in the way we do things of God. His work is done in His ways, not our ways. The solution that we humans offered is let the person go through ‘stages of growth’ and let him have ‘proof of repentance’ means ‘show good works’ first before we baptize you. God’s Ways is, get baptize quick so that He can give you a ‘new life’ quick. Why delay giving the person a new life for him to start living? Spiritually dead person cannot produce the good works that God desires. Dead folks do nothing. Let alone good works.
“I think I’m not dead yet. I’m not sure.” Only means, “how come I didn’t hear this when I was made into a disciple?”
No. You’ve probably wasn’t made into a disciple. You were evangelized. You were told “Jesus died for your sin so that you will not die. You should have been the one in that cross But He took your place and so you won’t need to.” Familiar? It’s a half truth you are hearing. You were told to say the ‘sinner’s prayer’ and the evangelist declared after “Now receive the new life!” Really? How come? Unless the old man is buried you cannot receive the new.
Jesus offered salvation as a ‘finished’ product. Unless a person goes through baptism then he’s not a ‘finished’ disciple. The initiation to enter into His kingdom is baptism. To remain there is to obey Him. Letting someone know Jesus loves them and die for them (say whatever you want) but you refuses yourself to invite them into the burial of their old self counts nothing. Oh well, that’s evangelism. Kept talking about God, Bible (whatever) but doesn’t know how to bring a person into a decision to become a disciple is not making disciples. In the NT, many heard Him but were not counted as disciples. When 3,000 were baptized in the day of Pentecost, it says ‘and the disciples were added to the church.’ Acts 2:41
What’s Jesus’ Way of letting His work be done in a person’s life? What is his response to what He has done for him? “What must we do to BE saved?”
God’s Word never fails. It is us who failed. We didn’t introduce the full truth to the person that ‘just as Jesus died, you also died with Him in baptism.’
“Do you really have to baptize the person?” Someone just ask me.
“I think I am the one who would need to ask you” I replied “I baptizes people. Why you are not?”
“What if the person’s faith is genuine” another person ask me “would he need to go through baptism?”
My friend, if one’s faith is genuine then you cannot stop from baptizing him. He won’t like to delay baptism. Just as the Eunuch wanting to get down on the water. Just as Ananias saying to Saul (Paul) “why are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized!” Acts 22:16
“What if he is dying in bed?”
That situation is rare. Do you know the reason why Jesus only has one of them? (The thief on the cross) because he wasted no time making disciples to people.
Baptism is giving the person an opportunity to live the ‘new’ life. That guy on the cross has none.
Don’t look for ‘physically almost’ dead people to make disciples, but look for ‘spiritually’ dead people. And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you where they are.
“So, it’s true when Victor Choudhrie ask me if I had made any disciples yet and I said yes but have not baptizes them he replied “why not? What’s your problem?” I said to Peter, “so it is indeed our problem as disciple-makers, not the unbelievers.”
Peter, after two days of his baptism has made his younger brother a disciple but when it’s time to introduce baptism he was reluctant thinking maybe his brother won’t respond to it. “I saw the barrel full of water at my back for his baptism but I didn’t finished making him into a disciple by baptizing him. I should have.” He shared these to other three brothers in a meal-conversation one night here.
“You are using your ‘believers’ perspective when it comes to making disciples. This is one of the major hindrance. We don’t ‘think’ like an unbeliever when we are making an ‘unbeliever’ a disciple. We throw questions and thoughts of which a non-believer have no idea how to answer. Our questions doesn’t make sense. Of course, he’s spiritually dead.
“If you think what he thinks, do you think if you have ask him to get baptize he will do it?” I ask Peter.
“Yes. Because he agreed he is dead because of his sin.” He made sure of this.
“I charge you to finished the job. Don’t you ever see my face again until you’ve done what needs to be done for your brother.” I admonish him. “Leave your work for awhile, yes you can, you can even leave work doing other things how much more things of the Lord. Call us, invite us for his baptism. Do it quick. Don’t delay.”
The next morning he called us by phone and him and his brother is at the ocean already waiting for us. Five of us went and we dunk his brother. Good think he didn’t smell bad yet.
It’s Peter’s second person that he made into a disciple within 4 days after his baptism.
We’re not the devil’s janitors. We’re God’s kingdom workers.
“As you go…you cleaned up those mess.” Thought that was my learning from yesterday’s work I did at the store.
Was working on a working table alone as Albert and Jomie went to the mountain hub dropping food and water for some saints and widows there. And cutting up bamboos also to make it into a wireless speakers to sell it in our store-shop. And my brother-in-law was suppose to help me set the table up but he’s also working cleaning some air conditioning in the next town. So anyway, I was stuck working on the table co’z there’s no screws to use. I switch work to gardening instead. Rearranging and re-planting some. Just when I started mixing the soil I notice some kind of dark-worms, so many to count. Tried to pick them up one by one and put it on a plastic. But not for long, “this could be all day to clean this up before I could start my work” I said to myself. So I decided to just do the work that needs to be done and along the way pick these worms one by one if they happen to get into the plastic pots. Rather than focusing on cleaning up the mess, I focuses on my goals.
Making disciples is our our job, not cleaning up what the devil is messing. I advocate for change but not in many ways but in God’s ways. Many Christians join politics or political rally to help change their city or nation but ever since I’ve never seen this as a solution. There are only very few things that Jesus has commanded us to do to create change. ‘Marrying’ and ‘burying’ even is not our job, ‘building’ marriages and ‘raising’ the dead is. As well as ‘going’ to church is not what we are called to do, ‘being’ the church is, that is ‘going out’ in the fields. Nothing wrong with all these ‘other’ stuff we do but if we didn’t do ‘that’ other stuff then our focus is shifted. ‘Busy-ness’ to that which does not really matter to God is not what we are called to.
For us who knows our job, the devil’s work is meant to disturb us of our goals. Trying to change lives apart from God’s ways. In many faces these are called our own little ‘ministries.’ It makes us stuck with it for years. It forbids us to ‘continue’ hearing God of His new ways. And we become selfish, possessed of our own callings. As one of my couple friend who hears God’s voice to ‘strip off’ their very self of their ministries that was founded 20 years ago said to me “Molong, if your ministry is founded based on what God has told you 20 years ago then it’s not about Him anymore but about you.”
Sometimes our self is the very dirt that God wants us to get rid of. Keep denying. Keep dying. It’s about Him and His work, not our praise and good reports.
Happy Sunday and this is your sermon for today.
Be that ‘Person of Peace.’
Many went out and look for a ‘house or person of peace’ to make disciples and can’t find one. Do you wonder why?
A ‘person of peace’ not only opens his fridge to share what he has for us as strangers but also opens his house to let us stay, even for days. “Remain in the same house” says Jesus, “eating and drinking such things as they give.” That looks like an ‘eat all you can’ for me as this man of peace keeps giving and giving us food. “Eat such things” appears twice in verse 7,8. This man of peace is quite a very hospitable man to us who are laborers of the kingdom, “for the laborer is worthy of his wages.” We must be good workers then to receive this kind of treatment. (Take note that our reward is not these material things but the person itself to become a disciple, a sweet aroma to God as we offer him).
This is the kind of person that God wants us to look for. But many of us couldn’t easily find him. Why? Well, here are some questions for you.
Do you offer hospitality to strangers? Do you serve the needs of the saints? Jesus says that offering our lives as living sacrifice includes ‘distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.’ And by the way, that’s worship! (Rom.12:13, 1Pet.4:9). How we treat our brethren talks more about our worship to God. If opening our houses to each other is not possible, consider this, let alone our lives. How about opening our fridge to the needs of the saints? I’m not talking about our leftovers. I’m talking about the kinds of leftovers that surpasses your needs. As my brother-in-law would say in cebuano: “Sobra na sa panginahanglanon.”
How about our banks? They’re just open when we want to when we have our own needs but what about opening it when other saints have needs?
If our answer to these simple questions is no or just a humming (Hhmmnnn…) then you probably found out why we cannot found a ‘house of peace’ in our surrounding neighbors or city.
Are you yourself a ‘man’ or a ‘house of peace’? Imagine that, we want other houses be our ‘house of peace’ yet ours are not? We want other people to host us yet we don’t like to host them? We want these ‘unbelievers’ to accept us and feed us and even wants us to sleep at their houses yet even to our own brethren we cannot allow them to sleep in our houses? What is this? I got no words to describe such ‘Christian temperament.’
If you are ‘not’ a person of peace and you happen to meet a real one it’s either you will not recognize him or you will have a hard time recognizing him because you will see him totally different than you because you are simply is not. We normally like to be around people who is like us. So if you’re not a ‘person of peace’ you will not like him and of course he wouldn’t like you too. He may but not for long. Hah! No wonder they showed up quickly and quickly gone forever.
A ‘person of peace’ is either just right in your neighborhood or he’s nowhere to be found.
Love may be unconditional, it is. But don’t give it irresponsibly.
When we help needy saints around, say like giving packs of rices, we give it to them unconditionally. Every family receives their share of benefits. Everyone is happy as the ekklesia meets their needs. We work hard here and trying to sell from our store. Everyone works from their specific skills and talent not just to reach their full potential but also to seek God’s kingdom by serving others. As God’s people help meet our needs, we also help meet other God’s people’s needs. It’s how it is in the kingdom-life, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4). It’s a life of sharing, serving, sacrificing, and yes, denying. All of this is good for all God’s people.
Here comes the hard part and what was most churches have left out.
We went in to one of the communities that we develop into an apostolic hub (Acts 2&4 Life-Together) and begin helping them, this time is not about giving rices but providing them toilets, deep wells and other projects such as barrel planters to provide food for their families. We brought our power tools and materials needed to do the job and encourage the people in the community to give us a hand but not all of them offered their time. One family refuses me to use electricity power. “I will pay of course, just let me know how much.” I said. But still the wife wouldn’t let me. “I think I saw your face a couple of times accepting my rice with your open hands, right?” Still she wouldn’t let me.
“Jomie,” I shared directly this learning experience for him to see some differences in giving out our love irresponsibly, “many who wants mutual benefits but not mutual responsibility. If we have done it the traditional ways we would never know these stuff because what they mostly do is give, give, give unconditionally to make these people will be happy and all they required to do is show up in church on Sunday’s. But if we give them responsibilities it is when we know who they really are. We are not here to impress these people with what we can do. If we do it like Jesus we cannot do anything for her because she lacks faith. She has faith to receive of which anyone can but not faith to share what she has. We are here to test them in little things to see if they can be trusted in the things of God later on. Their actions today determines their functions in the hub tomorrow. This is reality.” Several saints help us do the work although everyone wants a toilet to be place in their own houses.
Widows on their 60’s are the exemption, we should help them without giving them work. The ekklesia here took the responsibility to pay their electricity bills. We send food and medicines around or they come and pick it up. But to those who are able to work, not disabled person but can work with their own hands, we should give them work so as not to be a burden to others. I normally say to disciples coming here, “Did you bring any chickens or rice or bread? You should you know, co’z whenever you come to see us as your extended family you ate my food and drunk my coffee of which another person is paying it, another disciple is going to the market, another one is cooking it, the little girls is preparing the tables and washed your plates after. Others planted vegetables at the back and others watered it. Everyone is serving one another and you should also. And since you come empty-handed why not help me with what I plan to do right now?”
One time a disciple came and no matter how Albert is trying to entice him to do something, all he wants to do is borrow Albert’s iPod and using computer. And not for long, that disciple went home saying goodbye to me. “What happen Albert?” I inquire with curiosity.
“Oh, i pulled the plug!” he said.
“Good on yah Albert.” I admire his wisdom.
Yes we made many disciples around and we ‘equip them in every good work’ as much as we can. I don’t want a hundred disciples who are all lazy and wants mutual benefits but not mutual responsibilities. “He who does not work, does not eat.”
Another disciple came and saw me harvesting my tomatoes. “Wow kuya, i love tomatoes,” he said, “that’s my favourite. Can i have some?”
“Really? Where were you when I planted these?” I ask him bluntly. “I do remember you when I planted these with my own hands. I did asked you to help me and now you want some?” I ended up giving him just five pieces for his family.
Love unconditionally, but don’t give irresponsibly.
Our discipleship classes style.
Yesterday, as Albert and I drop some widows to the next city I leave job instructions to three disciples about making a shoe rack. What came out is there’s a big left-over of plywood but could not use it as a door. They’ve cut the small pieces first instead of the big pieces. Imagine you still have a big left over of plywood but yet you can’t use it.
Learnings: there are things we do here that don’t need consultation or instructions. We just do our best. But sometimes we do small details and must follow through. If not, we will do it again for every work we do today shall reflect the way we do things tomorrow. We normally have reasons why we do things this way and that way. We ‘think prophetically’ like my friend Wolf says but ‘act apostolically.’ Means, the way each of us handles things and people here determines our functions tomorrow when we finally can be trusted to father and mother apostolic hubs around my country.
So we do a lot of things from gardening to carpentry, cooking and sewing and work til night normally in our normal days. As my friend Paul Thomas would say, “you guys are jack of all trades” and I say “Yes, and master of one.” That one is making disciples. We’re not really professional in doing things but we don’t say ‘no’ to doing something just because we don’t know how to do it. “God will give us the work and the work will teach us how to do it” is our motto. “Don’t you ever say ‘No’ for nothing will happen to a person who always says no” is one of them also when it comes to preparing ourselves to be used by God.
“Nicodemus,” Jesus said to him “I have told you earthly things and you didn’t get it? How much more heavenly things?” Nicodemus, as a leader knows how to preach and teach, do Sunday school and discipleship classes, speaking to seminars and conferences is his expertise, doing bible studies and prayer meetings is his passion. Yet doesn’t know how to cook an egg! He does pray for the sick but if symptoms persist he doesn’t know how to buy milk for a hungry baby. The baby is not sick really, but all symptoms even hunger will be read with a religious glasses. Like a homeless mom begging for food for her and her daughter on the opposite street of a mega-church and a member just took her to a coffee shop and share Jesus to her. Really? What a sloppy kind of action that doesn’t involve denying ourself.
We do discipleship by-life, not by-meetings. We have apostolic meetings but our daily-work, one-anothering, knit-together, exemplifies the kind of kingdom life we should ought to live. We teach people how to live for the kingdom is about life. You live it or you don’t.
Remember this boy?
It was when Carl N Rach Legros and us visited one of the islands that was hit by typhoon Yolanda, we bought food and house supplies and we saw this boy that was burnt with fire all over his legs going up to his hips while his mom was cooking using woods. He has fever and is infected already. Carl took a photo of a child’s leg and let her wife Rachel see it and it has become an emergency! The next day early morning the mission to rescue the boy started. Some disciples pick up the family, some drops them at the pier, some drive them to the hospital and Carl and I went straight to the emergency room waiting for them. The boy keeps crying, well since the day before we decided to help. Doctors tend on him, cleaned the wounds, bandage them.
While the doctor is busy doing their thing, Carl was on the side of the wall of the emergency room sitting down on the floor with his hands all over his face. Surely he’s in pain as well as he has two boys and probably the same age as him.
“Are you the father?” The doctor ask me as he is finishing the bandage.
“No doctor.” I said. “We just saw him in pain and have fever while we’re building a house for those who were hit by typhoon.”
“Thank you for bringing him in.” He replied.
“This boy must be in serious condition.” I thought to myself.
Now, every time we visited the saints there it reminds me of my friend Carl and Rach, they were the only family who came to help typhoon victims taking with them not only supplies of medicines and foods and money but also their own three small kids!
This photo was taken last two Sunday’s we went there to distribute two sacks of rice and taught them about being born ‘twice from above’ from John 3. Tomorrow again we will visit to drop another two sacks of rice and start the toilet project for the community.
“…whom I made a disciple…” does it sounds so different than saying “whom I disciple” of which is basically means ‘discipleship classes.’
Have you ever wondered why ‘discipleship’ is too hard? I don’t think it is because we are not trained to do so. Most of us have been ‘enrolled’ in a discipleship ‘classes’ only we stop in the middle of it because it started to become complicated. The real reason is that we are doing the wrong job. The command is ‘only’ to ‘make’ the person a disciple, not ‘trying to disciple’ him. It is only to introduce the person to Jesus or vise versa and the rest is about parenting (Eph.6:1, as in Jesus saying “I shall not leave you as orphans.”).
Our job is to make disciples. The Holy Spirit’s job is to disciple the person. (What could be His job living inside the person forever?) and Jesus job is to build His church. If we do the spirit’s job then it is obvious that we don’t know our job, let alone ‘do’ it! If we do Jesus’ job then Jesus wont’ do His job. Let us know our job ‘description.’
This is Norma, Ako Si Nor, who learned about discipleSHIFT when I visited her family up north Manila. ‘Visited’ doesn’t mean ‘doing seminar’ about making disciples but doing it together there, ‘building relationships with’ her family. Now she and her husband are making disciples up to the 3rd generation. She’s working as an OFW in Hong Kong but ‘aware’ of her ‘real job’ which is making disciples. When a disciple knows her job no matter where the Lord puts her in she cannot simply just stop spreading her virus. She just have to keep making disciples.
A 5-minute morning conversations with Albert.
“Fear is the biggest hindrance of evangelism.” I stated aloud as he makes coffee for me while I’m working on my translation work. “You agree Albert?”
“What should I be afraid of if I know the person?” He quickly replied. “I could directly tell him, ‘I will bury you!’ He reminds me of a 4th generation disciple named Jonathan who started his making disciples conversations by calling his friends first names and say “I will baptize you.”
“That’s because what you learn to do is making disciples, not the way of evangelism.”
“I know. We don’t make disciples to those who are not our friends.” He understood well.
“So, we make friends.” I added. “It’s not mainly fear of ‘not knowing how to share the gospel’ but fear of ‘not knowing the person.’ I did a lot of evangelism activity when I started serving the Lord. It’s a ‘hit and run’ type of ministry simply because I don’t know who they are.
“Now, mainly those we make disciples are people I know and you know. It’s a friend to a friend conversations. Family to families. It’s by ‘households’ and ‘clans.'”
Just-now dinner conversations with Jomie when we arrived from serving the saints in one of our developing hubs. It’s when my wife ask me if there will be some money that will be cleared in my account to pay some bills. “We’re left with $12 after 9 of us went and help needy saints in the island” I started conversing with him. “Do you or others understand this kind of life we are living Jomie?
“How come when others spent for themselves they don’t care much but cared much when giving to the Lord’s work asking for photos, receipts and reports?
“Christians are busy acquiring things they do not need to impress people they do not like. They don’t care. But when it comes to giving to kingdom works they care less and if they indeed care you’ll be scrutinize in every detail. Why? Do you know why Jomie?” I ask him straight.
“Because Christians are not family to each other. They don’t trust each other. They function as an organization instead of being family. Would you like to scrutinize your brother because he is helping another brother?”
“If there is so much flies it means that the area is dirty.” I told Jomie. “So, let’s clean this area under the manzanitas fruits. It’s juice is sweet and it attracts flies to grow in number.
“Demons are like flies.” I continued as we started doing what needs to be done. “They come into our lives when there is something that attracts them: dirt. And so, to get rid of demons in our lives, let’s get rid of some dirt. Can’t get rid of flies til you cleaned the area where they enjoy staying.”
As we go on working for an hour, we talk about Beelzebub, the god of flies where Jesus was accused of driving out demons by the power of it. And so on…
When we make disciples, teach them to obey baptism.
I’m not against the unbiblical ‘repeat-after-me’ sinner’s prayer but if baptism is left out then we disobey the command. Refusing ourselves as a disciple-maker to baptize is ignoring the person who is dead in his spirit because of sin. If a person who is being made into a disciple does not know that baptism is needed then he was not introduce of the new-life that’s being offered in baptism.
If there is a sort of ‘successful’ and ‘unsuccessful’ in making a person into disciple of Jesus then it is not the absence of baptism but the absence of ‘understanding’ baptism.
To go through or not to go through in baptism depends on the person, although we don’t negotiate with dead people. It is our job to make baptism simple (you’re dead because of sin, so I need to bury you), and understandable and quick (for the person to make his friends disciples – multiply). If you know how to do this then you’re good at bringing the person into a decision to become a disciple or not.
“I want to change.”
This was Jay-r’s answer when I ask him why he decided to be baptized three days ago. He is a 7th generation disciple. The one who made him into a disciple was just baptized a week ago then.
It’s past midnight now. Just came conversing with him, Jomie and Kristian who is a 5th generation disciple. Four of us sat down with a coffee at about 10:30pm.
“Not to be a change man,” Kristian directly corrected, “but to be a new-man.”
I wasn’t prepared to hear it from him honestly so I ask what does he mean.
“To be change is to keep your old-self. But to become a new man is to start walking in a different road.” Kristian explained.
“Exactly.” I said. “Do you have a Bible here Jomie?” Jomie Pation grabs a Cebuano NT and get his own Bible too with a notebook and pen and start following me.
Quoting 2Corinthians 5:17, “‘Therefore, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.’ God doesn’t repair your old-self which is full of sin. He wants it to be buried in baptism in order to receive a new-life. The old-life doesn’t know how to follow Jesus. The new knows how.”
This we talk about as I quote the Scriptures of Colossians, Romans and The Gospels over and over, “Our spirit is dead because of our sins and God is a Spirit. If our spirit is dead it won’t have communication with God. But now it is alive. Raised with Him in new life in the waters of baptism. You became His child by His will.
“Now that you are a disciple of Jesus, what’s next?”
“Build your relationship with God.” Kristian Rey Detuya answered well. I am actually in awe wondering where did he learned it.
“Now that your spirit is made alive, you can now have relationship with God who is also a spirit.” Sighting John 3:8 of what the spirit is like. “Start talking to God as your Father. Like you’re talking to Jomie. That’s how you know Him.” Have given them examples of how I talk to Jesus and shared about how to have a good start by sighting Daniel who makes a commitment to pray three times a day.
“How do we know that it is God whom we are hearing?” I ask. “You’re His child now remember? And He is your Father. You can actually call Him ‘Papa.’ Like my daughter Zoe, we kept playing and talking to each other even though she wouldn’t understand me for awhile but it makes her familiar with my voice. And so she will know for sure, by practice, that it is me whom she is hearing even if I uses a phone she would know.
“Second is, He lives in us by His Spirit. When you decided to follow Jesus and get baptized, not only that your spirit was raised from the dead, you also receive the Holy Spirit.” Jomie has to say “WOW” on that! “So means, that you became His temple (sighting 2 Cor. 3:16), the Holy Spirit in you will affirm that you are actually hearing God’s voice. This is the mystery that you can talk to Him and Him talking back to you! Other religions can’t talk to God like that.
“Third, you can do this daily. When you talk to God and get to know Him, stop and listen. Relationships is built by two-way communication. And to really find out if you hear God’s voice, obey what you thought it’s God’s voice. Example, you ask God tonight what He might want you to do tomorrow. Say, visit your new brother Kristian and bring a kilo of rice for his family. And when you do, Kristian might say to you, ‘Ah there you are Jay-r, nice to see you visit my family and I am glad you brought some rice as just up to this day our rice bucket is empty!’ As simple as that kind of obedience you will surely know that it is God’s voice whom you’ve heard.
“I was once with my wife on our way to the city and I drop by a brother named Peter, he works in a shop and I handed him some money for his family. He said, “You know Molong, that afternoon you stop by at the shop, that morning we had no more food and I prayed to Father and there you are.” I was right when prompted by the spirit to obey what I thought. He doesn’t even have to thank me for it as he was praying to Father. He thank God.
“So, start tonight and so on co’z I will be asking you the next day what you’ve heard from God.” We’ve shared stories after stories from Scripture and our experiences. Having a closer relationship with your Father is the first thing you want to do as a new believer.
An early morning conversations today on how Jomie and Kristian made Diego into a disciple:
Albert: “So you finally baptized him.” He said to Kristian Rey Detuya who is standing next to me. Albert just woke up.
Kristian: “Yes. Because he said he is so curious of what’s going on around us here.”
Me: “Who made him into a disciple then? Who talks to him?” I ask Kristian.
Kristian: “Me, Jomie made me do the making.”
Me: “And what did you tell him?”
Kristian: “I told him that you won’t understand what we are doing unless you’re baptized. It is the same as I’m talking to a dead person. You’re dead in your spirit and so you won’t understand spiritual things of God unless you’re buried in baptism.”
And so he was baptized.
Albert: “Finally, he made a decision. We kept on talking about God sometimes until 2am as he keeps on visiting us at the store. That’s good.”
Several points here:
1. We make disciples to our friends. We build relationships first generally to people. Purpose: to let them see our light. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds.” Hence, don’t do something good without someone looking at you. Bring others with you.
2. We usually make a person into a disciple two by two or three by three. Friends makes disciples to their friends.
3. We usually let those newer disciples do the making of a disciple with our help. That’s what exactly Jomie did.
4. Curiousity is always a sign in the NT to prepare the person to become a disciple. Nicodemus is, Zaccheus, the Samaritans woman and others are curious. Do you know how to make people curious? By demonstrating the life of the kingdom among them. It’s how exactly Jesus did. He’s living a life that demands questions.
5. Know how to bring a person into a decision to become a disciple. Many Christians keeps talking and talking and at the end there’s no baptism happening. Baptism is the sign in the NT that the person is a disciple, not sinners prayer. We count disciples by baptism, not by talking. Unless they’re baptized then they’re half-baked Christian.
6. Baptized immediately. Delayed baptism is disobedience. As we know in Christianity today that not only they have a ‘holy day’ called ‘Sunday.’ They also have ‘another’ holy day called ‘baptism day’ of which everyone’s baptism is delayed. Unlike the New Testament way, those that are being saved were baptized ‘immediately’ that ‘same day.’ Yes, we do the same. Normally the fastest we could make a person into a disciple is from 2-6min. Thirty minutes is the slowest mainly because the person has traditional background already and get want to be baptized again. We also do re-baptism if needed.
Here’s Kristian, a 5th disciple, baptizing a 6th disciple friend.