In my first series article entitled Intentional Discipleship, I sighted that ‘our job is to make disciples to all nations and our goal is to finish the Great Commission.’ Here are the highlights:
1. Who pushes you? When it says ‘go and make disciples’ it means two things: there are going to be people out there to whom we can disciple. And second is there are going to be people out there who discipled us. The question is, can you possibly point your finger to someone who makes you a disciple? And can that someone confirm your claims?
2. Find your circle. Mostly the ‘how’ question is frequently asked. To find the easiest person to disciple is to find those friends you have who believe in you, trust you, loyal to you and faithful to you. I believe that these are the people who God prepared for you to ‘make disciple’ of Jesus.
3. Take them to Christ. As my friend Mike Peters says, ‘we are taking men to Christ to be discipled by Him.’ That is they are not our disciple but Christ’s. We only ‘make disciple’ of Jesus Christ. We are not the discipler, the Holy Spirit is. We just push them up to follow Jesus, not us. It is time to fully trust the Holy Spirit’s work in a person’s lives.
4. Lead for awhile. “Going together in a journey of life on the side then moved behind, do not lead in the front” as Gary Goodell’s leadership paradigm. This will not make the person dependent on you but this is thrusting him to depend on Christ right from the start.
5. Be a parent in the Lord. Our relationship to the person is simply a ‘parent in the Lord’ [Eph.6:1]. It is not a lifetime of discipleship that we are maintaining here but we are engaging a lifetime of relationship. Like Timothy became a ‘son in the Lord’ to Paul and John the Beloved becoming a father to many children. Their hearts was never to ‘draw disciples for themselves’ but to draw the disciples to Christ’s by their warnings and admonitions.
6. Be friendly. Lastly, this is the most omitted part of Christianity today who a lot of Christians have quoted verses like, ‘do not be unequally yoke with non-believers’ and have read it in their own ‘denominational eyeglasses’ and so have use it contrary to what Jesus did here on earth – making friends with the needy and dissatisfied people in this world.
So sorry to burst your bubble here, but to find your circle of friends to continue the job of bringing people to follow Christ is to be a friend with ‘sinners and tax collectors” people. As people of The Truth [Jesus is the truth], anointed by God, ‘greater is He that is in me than the one who is in the world,’ what are we afraid of? And if we really think we are ‘the right’ people of God who has His truth where can these people go to be found by God if we as Christ’s Ambassadors will neglect them? Somehow we have lost the connection. Remember that the field was never the church, it is always the world!
“Light of the world, You step down into darkness. Open my eyes let me see…”
What a wonderful song but sad to say what the churches does instead of going out and takes that light outside of the four walls of their churches they just stand and stood very still and sing with their hands raised and with their eyes closed! Why? I do not know but I have an idea. Maybe their light was being puffed up by the way they lived after they get out of their churches? Or maybe they are still waiting for another ‘Revival Nights’ service? The Good news to the world was never the message from the pulpit – that only produces pew-sitters and bored-listeners, not disciples. The Good news was never the many years we sat down in Sunday School Classes – this only makes you a loyal student who can sit not only for an hour but every Sunday for about 20 years? The Good news is Jesus Christ and how your daily life was affected by Him!
TRADITIONAL DISCIPLESHIP v/s INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP
The ideal discipleship today can be in most churches scenery like this:
As Jesus and the disciples’ walks along the hills, Peter stood still and says, “Lord, let us build three shelters here. One for you, for me and for James. This would be perfect to have our training camps for our training sessions.”
“Ok then,” Jesus replied. And the wind blows and a tent was set up with the chairs in rows. “And by the way Peter, have you made some copies of our topic today? It’s about ‘how to walk on water’ on page 12.”
After a year passes by of extensive weekly Bible Studies they’re all burned-out. Then as they were all asleep, Jesus sneak out up to the mountain and suppose to pray but he was being followed by a crowd of five thousand people, pressing Him in every side asking for more free meals as they all have taste the food that Jesus provided with them through a miracle last week. And so Jesus woke the disciples up and asks Matthew for Him to first be lifted up a little bit higher using his tax table to separate Himself from the crowd. And Jesus at the top of His voice grabs the opportunity to preach the Sermon of the Mount and after 45 minutes of pounding His feet on the table to make a point He calls up for an altar calling. Many were healed of their diseases and blessed and so Judas suggested that they take up an offering. The suggestion happens after the people have eaten their free meals again. So an offering was taken, exhorted by John and instead of using the 12 baskets in the corner for the food left-over’s they uses it instead to collect money, silver earrings and gold necklaces.
“Let us build a church.” Jesus said to the disciples after the people left. “I have you as my Board of Trustees and we have the resources,” Judas kept the money box for a while and carefully took 20% of the tithe for his own salary was not enough to feed his entire family.
“I will call up my father Joseph.” Jesus says. “He can help us build a church for he is a carpenter and so was I. Come let us build the largest church in the world, together!”
How absurd right? But it rings something in your ears.
In Traditional churches, the pastor mainly uses the Wed-Sun activities as the main culprit of discipling their members. Other than that, they don’t intentionally make discipleship as their main program or activity. One aspect of truth is that, as long as their members show up on Sunday’s, never mind the Wednesday Night and the Bible Studies, it is certainly acceptable as their normal Christian life activities. Hence, the goal of modern Christianity is simply not the Great Commission but merely church-Sunday goers.
However, in mentioning that most churches do not prioritize discipleship as their main job, there are however other leaders who made them as a top priority. They have built expensive programs, curriculum and even different kinds of ‘fitting rooms’ to fit people the way they are gifted by God or the way their leaders see them fit in the church ministry program. And in the long run somehow they ‘mistakenly’ find rebellious and hardheaded members that are against their system or just against their leadership. I believe we have left something important in the ‘first place’ of making disciples which is the task was never intended for one person discipling every member of his church but everybody is doing the discipling with everybody. And I believe the reason for having rebellious or people that is against the way we do things is simply we fail to choose those ‘faithful men,’[2Tim.2:2] people who believe in us and trust us. Jesus ‘called’ the disciples to follow Him like Matthew, Peter and John, yet at the same time they are ‘chosen’ to be with Him after hours of prayer in the mountain. “Many are called but few are chosen.” I believe that those people who are ‘called’ and ‘chosen’ are only the ones who you can ‘make disciple’ of Jesus. The reality that the disciples heed the call to follow Jesus is that they believe Him and trust Him and where He would lead them. And in the process, they can become loyal and faithful as they go together in the journey. Rad Zdero has helped me find this authentic quote to help each and every one of us learn from this world-famous Evangelists Billy Graham. Take note, this was a 1958 quote!
“I think one of the first things I would do would be to get a small group of eight or ten or twelve men around me that would meet a few hours a week and pay the price. It would cost them something in time and effort. I would share with them everything I have, over a period of years. Then I would actually have twelve ministers among the laymen who in turn could take eight or ten or twelve more and teach them. I know one or two churches that are doing that, and it is revolutionizing the church. Christ, I think, set the pattern. He spent most of his time with twelve men. He didn’t spend it with a great crowd. In fact, every time he had a great crowd it seems to me that there weren’t too many results. The great results, it seems to me, came in his personal interview and in the time he spent with the twelve.” (Quoted in “Billy Graham Speaks: The Evangelical World Prospect”, Christianity Today, vol.3, no.1, p.5, Oct.13, 1958).
Did Billy actually do this? We can only tell by his fruit.
Men Have Look for Leaders
I was asked several times, “You said that we’re not bringing men to ourselves but to Christ to be discipled. But there are going to be people out there who are looking for leaders. How are you going to deal with that?” Yes, people normally look for leaders and thank God they have found you. My point is: There is nothing you can do to a person who choose you to be their leader. So be it. It is quite nice to be followed. But there are basically two things you can do for the person who respects you as his/her leader. Either you draw them to yourself or you draw them to Christ. Can these two possibilities are possible for you to thrust? Yes, of course! Then it’s up for you to choose which.
The alarming signals can be found in both camps:
“I am Apollos,” “ I am Cephas,” “I am Paul’s” “ I am Christ’s…”
“I am a disciple of Molong. I belong to the church of Molong which he founded. And so I follow Molong!”
–[What a miserable poor Molong!]
If ‘drawing disciples for ourselves’ is the main task of Christianity then it is a competition! And no wonder denominational churches are on the race! Imagine as of 2005 in James Rutz, Megashift book, there are 33,099 denominations in the world and they despised one another!
If ‘drawing disciples for ourselves’ is the main task, then Paul should be first on the lists and in his letters you will not suppose to find him admonishing Believers to follow Christ’s but to him.
Camp Two: Followers of Jesus
I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I was discipled by Molong [or Gary or Ben] to follow Christ. The Holy Spirit is my discipler, He teaches me ALL things, He is the one who will remind me of what Jesus has said. I am not a part of a church-goers denomination, but I am a part of a church-going community. I don’t attend church, I am the church and I am an Ambassador of God’s Kingdom to the world. My King and Savior is Jesus Christ. I am bound by a contract of which I am a servant of Him. And so I cannot do what I want to do. I only do what I should do. I am accountable to God and I submit myself to every member of Christ’s body which is the church [people].”
Can anyone disagree on this statement? I suspect nobody would dare to question such confessions!
Jesus Must Be King!
In this whole idea of Intentional-Relational Discipleship, no one will be glorified because not a single person is doing the job but everyone doing it among their friends and family-members. And we don’t have to build a church, that’s Jesus job. If we do His job then He will not do His job. If we do not do our jobs then He will not do His job either. We must do ‘making disciples’ and only then Jesus can build His Church according to His plan. Look into the diagram below, who’s leading the church? No one except Jesus the Head of the Body and He never lose track of them [J.4:25]. “Parents in the Lord” acts us equippers of the Kingdom [Eph.6:1, 4:11,12].
SYSTEMATIC DISCIPLESHIP v/s RELATIONAL DISCIPLESHIP
The Jesus Style of Discipleship that is found in the New Testament will be much in scenery like this:
As Jesus and the disciples walk along the hills, Jesus said, “Hey look up! See the birds of the air…” And that becomes the lesson of trusting God to meet our needs as we seek first His Kingdom. He continued, “And looks down Peter, see the grass grows in here? Oh, you can be dressed up better than these…”
Jesus has uses thousands of things in this world to teach us. If we cannot use them then He cannot uses us to teach ourselves of life that is meant by God in this world and in eternity. A tragedy would have to wait to strike our world in order for us to heed His voice. And mostly Jesus uses a lot of very intentional and relational situations such as the Wedding at Cana that prompt Mary to ask Jesus what to do. What a lesson about listening and hearing from God in our daily life situations. Do you know that every glad, sad, and even mad situations in our lives are there prompting us to hear God’s voice? I keep a diary myself; and how I wished I started earlier. I share them in my blog – “Notes from the Father” – I call it. All I can say is that, I am maybe 1-2-3-4-5 days ahead? Or even a month or a year? Simply because I hear God speaking to me in life situations. I don’t claim that I am good at it, I am still practicing and I do not intend to stop practicing. I believe practicing does not make you perfect because God speaks very differently at different times, He even can speak to you in strange ways. So practicing does not make me perfect, it just makes me use to it to hear God whenever I face something that prompts me to. It helps me to confirm things and places. Like my friend Peter says, “It’s hard to do something without confirmation from the Lord.” I say that we better do nothing unless the King says so!
Let’s check with the Samaritan woman, what an intentional and relational Jesus is in this situation. I love how Jesus deals with her by asking intent-ional question that prompts her to express the content of her heart. Imagine if Jesus is a traditional pastor who happens to be found by His disciples talking to a prostitute? Being a friend? Talking?! Oh my, I am sure by next day He is fired! But He came as a ‘Light of the world who steps down into darkness so that people can see.’ The beautiful Samaritan woman who has five husbands was lead neither to the Jerusalem Temple nor the Mountains of where they worship, but to Jesus Himself meeting her deepest needs.
Another instance is the way Jesus feeds Himself with the sinners and corrupt government officials are even more a stumbling block of the religious elite of His day. But he came to offer friendships. The rich young ruler was offered relationship with God in spite of his richness and greediness. The parables speaks too much of love, forgiveness, healing, accepting, sharing and other wonderful attributes that God has for His people. Jesus was very intentional with His dealing and very relational to His approach. I believe that this is what makes Him very effective in His ministry along with being led by the Spirit of His Father.
Church Is About Relationship
People are longing for real authentic relationships within their own family circles and in their own social networks of friends. Suppose to be the church is the only Institution by God to give, share and teach the world about it yet sad to say what they offer is namely an artificial one – once-twice a week church services program with a liturgy that is being followed Sunday after Sunday, fifty-two times a year until Jesus comes? Is this life? Check these astounding Scriptures about relationships.
• Church as Family can be built only through relationships.
• God is our Father and we are His children. What a deepest kind of relationships we have.
• Loving God is through our relationships with Him!
• Loving your neighbor cannot be done in a discipleship class. This can only be done by building relationships with them!
• Loving your enemy is even harder to do them in a class room! If he’s angry at you give him food to eat and a drink to cool his head. But sorry, you have to approach him and start talking!
• Love one another and all the 58 one another in the New Testament are about building healthy relationships with each other.
These are all relational and very intentional commandments of our King! The church should be specializing in building healthy relationships not specializing in ministries. We not only divide Christ’s Body into fractions of denominational names but also through our individual specific ministry labels we marred His Body! Visiting brethren in a prison is not called ‘prison ministry.’ It is called relationships – he who does this to the least of these BRETHREN you do it unto Me. Feeding hungry people is not called ‘feeding ministry,’ – it is because you have the relationships to keep – a brethren. I could not imagine a brother or sister of mine right now as I wrote this, its 4:20 in the morning, who slept in the street without food and shelter. I could ride on my motorbike and take him/her into my home! And If I was Peter, who is very enthusiasm to do things for Jesus I could have followed Jesus spitting on a man’s blind eyes method of healing. I would be specializing in ‘Spitting Ministry.’ Do you want me to spit on you? I could but it is not a good way to win friends and influence people!
TRADITIONAL DISCIPLESHIP v/s INTENTIONAL –RELATIONAL DISCIPLESHIP
The Main Event —Uses Activities [Sun-Wed] Sermons as a means of discipling —Everyday life inter-actions with God
The Main Job —One man discipling everyone —Everyone discipling their friends
Position —Lead for a lifetime in the front —Lead for a while on the side, then move behind
The leader —The pastor —Jesus is the Only Leader – everybody follows
Activity —Collecting and finishing materials —Bible Reading and Hearing from God – lifetime
Meetings —Making schedule for meetings and classes —Spontaneous Gathering-everywhere, anytime.
Relationship —The pastor and the member — The 5-fold Equipper acts as‘Parents in the Lord’ and fathering ‘Children in the Lord’
The motive —Draw disciples for themselves —Draw men to Christ for Him to be discipled
The goal —Church-goers —Finishing the Great Commission
The Bottom-line —Institutional Church —The Kingdom of God
God Will Give You the Work and the Work Will Teach You How to Do It
“Get out of the library,” says Indiana Jones. “To become an archeologist go to the field.” He shouted to the man who ask him what verse could he found who said about something while Jones was on his breath-taking action situation inside the library. We might not become an archeologist yet the principle is true: God will give you the people; the situation and these will prompt you to listen to God and in turn will teach you how to deal them. The same advice I can give to those who attend Sunday school classes for 20 years without ever graduating – get out of that building and do something now!
Relational discipleship is having no schedule of meetings, “the only tradition is no tradition” as my friend Matthias Krammel says. Wise advice for those who are weak in faith who still observe ‘times and seasons’ of holy days and holy places. The moment there is a day scheduled and time to meet then ‘guilt’ mostly came in if one could not attend. There are no curriculum for making a disciple of Jesus. My question for those who have is after you’re done Class 201: Maturity, are the disciples matured then? Or what’s next? Class 301? Until when? This is the times were we are tempted to collect materials or even made up our own. I admire my friend Wilfred Tejano who made discipleship materials but when he was challenge by another friend to just use the Bible, he takes the advice wisely. I believe that most motives that can be found in using materials is that we love ‘short-cuts’ in making a disciple. We don’t like to build relationships. Wilfred was right in his approach when he said, “Disciples are not produced from the pulpit. Preaching is not designed that way. Not until the person behind the pulpit levels with the person in the pew can there be real empowerment. Discipleship requires life involvement.”
We love to collect not only materials but also people around and puts them into the roll and they’re you go, “Start the classes and I made some!” In other words, we don’t like to father someone. Fathering is just too costly especially in terms of time and money. But this is the only way as there are no short-cuts in raising a child. A traditional Hebrew father is he sat down with his children around the table and from there he teaches the way of the Lord, ‘talk about them [God’s commandments] whenever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street, talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night” [Deut. 6:4-9]. Our hearts may be right by using materials but Jesus didn’t use one and so His disciples. Not even a Bible at that time, so how did they share the apostle’s doctrine? Instead Jesus uses, again, the things in this world to teach us. Our life alone can be a great lesson.
So in our time where there is a Bible, a written word. I never said that we will not use them. It is the main book that we must use but in a relational way. Let me give you an example. Gary came to my house and we have coffee together. As we discuss how he does intentional discipleship with his friends he came to a point where he asks about faith. There are still some subjects and topics to talk about but the difference is that we sit together in a table and talk face to face, exchanging our thoughts and learning. Those subjects and topics are not planned. Unlike systematic discipleship there are certain rules to follow. Mostly what I feel in most discipleship trainings is no atmosphere of openness where relationship is cultivated except you know the teacher and some people by name. There might be but hardly.
THE SCRIPTURE, ‘GENERAL READING’ AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
I have been doing systematic discipleship for years. I collected materials and have made some. Knowing the desired result was not satisfying I gave them all away to someone. Forgive me, but I didn’t mean we shouldn’t read books and uses helpful materials. What I am suggesting here is we may use them to disciple someone then use it in a relational atmosphere. And I didn’t mean to totally get away with materials, but please do not tell me that having them is the quickest and fastest way because it is not. One who undergoes such training, especially in modern churches, is its lifetime of discipleship schedules and programs like Sunday Schools; it just takes forever and forever is such a long time!
How Long to Follow Jesus?
Do you how many years would it take for us to become Jesus disciples using our modern way of discipling a person? Thirty-six years! Following Jesus, either you like it or not, is a lifetime commitment not one-year training, or 4 years in a seminary, or worst 20 years in attending Sunday Schools. Jesus chooses the twelve to be with Him and that is lifetime. When Jesus left them He didn’t leave them with notes, He gave to them the Holy Spirit to be with them, forever. [Matt. 20:19, 20].
I found several factors to disciple someone quickly to be dependent on God and not to you.
1. Encourage Them to Become Self-feeders
I normally gave a person a reason to read books and what can it do to his life. And then I introduces him the Bible as its life’s guidance on how to live peacefully and in right relationship with God and man. Mostly, a person who believe and trust you will do what you encourage them to do. One young guy named Albert, 16 years old. After 3 weeks of sharing the importance of reading I didn’t have a hard time sharing stories after stories from the Bible. He himself would continue retelling the story to the end. And all I did share a point afterwards. Isn’t it easy and quick? Yes. Why? Simple, I intentionally disciple him. I can easily lead him to follow Christ. He will never be rebellious to me unlike traditional ‘one-man discipleship,’ mostly the pastor, which you never know who believes in you and trust you. When I shared this to a friend named Archie in Cagayan de Oro, he admits that out of his sixty-plus people in his house church [too big], only about 30 whom he can intentionally and relationally ‘make disciple’ of Jesus.
The Bible is the main book, but it will not end there. Several books that is available today are quite helpful, though mostly points you to serve God in and through the Institutional Church and ‘drawing disciples for yourselves’ like John Maxwell’s Leadership principles – ‘if you say you’re a leader and nobody’s following you then you’re only taking a walk’ – means you develop yourself to gain more influence to have a follower and become a great leader. It is at times helpful to ‘find your followers’ because the fact is people will look for leaders but do not stop there. Instead take them to Christ for Him to be discipled!
2. Encourage Them to Be Responsible Believers
For Christians already. Though the focus of this is for new believers we cannot ignore brothers and sisters from other churches who might need our help. Just make sure they give you the permission to do so, so that they will be the one to answer to their pastor to protect you in case you will be labeled as sheep stealer. This is my advice only.
[For relational reason we do not want to create fractions with the pastor and in their local churches just because their members were not satisfied with their system. And for intentional reasons, Christians are the hardest ones to make disciple because of the traditional baggage’s that they carry themselves for many years. Numerous networks express this concern through chatting as I type this article, that it is easier to disciple a new believer who has no churchy baggages in them.]
What to do:
• Encourage them to be accountable to God, to be responsible for their actions. To ask forgiveness to God when they sin without waiting for an altar calling next Sunday [Their pastor anyway does not know if they sin or not].Teach them not to be dependent on their pastor, church leaders and church programs – they can just transfer to any church they want then [without changing their lives] if they do not like their pastor’s way of preaching or leadership. God’s ideal of a child of God is he will become a son that is able to hear directly from Him, ‘he who is led by the Spirit are called sons of God.’ Pastors should not be controlling, they should have the vision of being equippers – mothering and fathering the sons and daughters of God, but that is a different issue.
• Encourage them to be self-feeders. Sheep was not meant for the barn, it was meant for the field. You do not see any sheep being feed by the shepherd; you only see them feeds himself out there in the field. Most Christians in the churches are sheep but they are just being treated as lambs! Of course, lambs you feed but sheep you tend. And mostly Christians knows a lot already so all they need is to encourage them to hear God for themselves and respond in their calling and look for ministry.
• Encourage them to start ‘making disciple’ with their friends and loved ones. Sheep in the field is not isolated with other sheep’s. They eat, walk and ran together. They do things together. Let him find his fold. Most Christians can do it but somehow they need encouragement. If going with him in a journey is worth the risk then do it. You help them out if they express willingness to do it because most of them have been pew sitters for many years and in that situation, which is worst, they have been used to it. ‘Being use to it’ is the most dangerous place you could ever be in your Christian walk and most Christians already are on this stage, yes they fulfill an attendance on church services yet lack real friends to belong with. I remember a story of a young man who went to a lady fortuneteller to find his future. After a minute the lady starts reiterating his life how it is going to be tough, “You will be sick, miserable, and full of pain and worst, very poor until you’re age 30.” The young energetic man was suddenly in a depressed mode and politely ask the fortuneteller, “And what will happen when I’m 31?” The young man eagerly waits for an exciting ride of his life but to his dismay the lady answered back, “Oh don’t worry, you will get used to it.” By maintaining our status quo in serving the Lord we are already in the critical condition of our walk with God. At times I received Christian friends in my house or over a cup of coffee somewhere and sat down together with paper and pen, draw a diagram, and put names of his friends let him see where he fit himself in Jesus vision of ‘making disciples to all nations.’
• Encourage them to serve their community. To find the work that God has prepared for them. His ‘circle of friends’ that he ‘makes disciples’ is his ‘extended family,’ his house church. He can work with them to do something together. Let them be as crazy enough to do what God calls them to do. Growing together in the field can only be the place where he want to be to grow in God. Either helping a Christian widow clean her house and prepare her dinner or support a child for a year to go to school might be a satisfying experience of his life.
• Give him a kingdom mindset. And lastly, having a kingdom mindset is totally different than someone without it. An overview of what is it as you continue reading.
For New Believers
This is where the excitement comes. I enjoy spending 50% of my time building relationships with new people [who I can work and build with someday] – this is the field. And 40% of my time with the people who I make disciple [who I can work with and build with now] –those who believe in me, trust me, loyal to me and faithful to me. Mostly, these people have believed, trusted, loyal and faithful to God now that is why 40%, or lower than that, is enough time to be with them, sharing our ‘making disciples’ experiences. And only 10% of my time that I allocate for maintaining my relationship with believers already in different churches [those who I can be with only]. In this perspective, your heartaches and struggles will not be that much because mostly misunderstandings and conflicts came from those people who don’t believe in you. That is why I ask you to stay away, or put it on ‘mutual relationships,’ not ‘working relationships’ saying ‘hi and hello’s and a bit of ‘how are you’ types of conversation. There are really people out there who don’t like you, and can even say anything they want against you and there is only one thing you can do about them – nothing. Unless God will lead you to do something then you better obey Him.
So What Would We Basically Do to Those New Believers?
• Teach them responsibility right there and then. I don’t normally lead someone now to a ‘sinner’s prayer’ for him to believe in Christ’s death on the cross. I cannot find even one verse that supported it. The name alone ‘sinners’ is scary already. I realize that Jesus didn’t call anyone a ‘sinner,’ those who uses them are the religious people of His day. He calls ‘sin’ a sin, and yet very tenderhearted to those who are ready to repent. I do tell a person to repent of his/her sin, saying that itself calls ‘sin’ a sin. If you want to teach a person to become responsible for his Christian life right from the beginning then give him responsibility to lead himself in prayer to Christ. The same also in baptisms. To use a bit of human wisdom and strength for someone to repent or baptize might probably be man’s preposition but doing so will never produce a genuine fruit in the person’s life later on. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict the world of sin, not ours. It was heard that out of millions of people being lead into a ‘sinner’s prayer’ in Billy Graham, Morris Cerullo and Reinhard Bonkie’s crusades, only 5% are in churches up to this day. It’s probably true because Morris and Bonkie have been here in our country. And have made millions of decision cards to sign in yet holy pews on Sunday’s are still old, no new ones being added.
• Read their Bibles. We encourage them to read their Bibles, daily. Familiarizing with what Jesus said. No guidelines of where to start reading or end. A general one would be to start from the Gospels. No read ‘your Bible once in a year’ guides. A book may be introduce, a partner for your daily reading habits. Be a ‘wide’ reader we say – read different kinds of books. Read ‘wisely,’ means take note some important stuff for future use. Then read ‘wildly’ that is to read two books in a month if you can.
3. Encourage Them to Hear from God in Their Situations
A habit of listening God’s voice every day and keeping a diary would be one of the legacy that you can leave to your next generation. Call it ‘Notes From The Father’ if you like. Imagine, 365 days in a year – you can write a book on that! “How do I know that it is God’s voice?” You may ask. Knowing Jesus in the Bible and His words is one of the key. Why? Jesus said that ‘the Holy Spirit will remind you of the things that I said.’ What can the Holy Spirit remind you of what Jesus has said if you don’t read your Bible? Yes, It takes ‘practice’ my friend. You might miss hearing His voice a hundred days out of 365, yet 265 days alone is quite a good record to show others that you really know how to hear His voice. This is the key of Jesus ministry on earth. He might not keep a record Himself, [His disciples did] but He Himself will only speak what he hears from His Father, means that He listen. And He only do what He sees His Father doing, means that He is watching.
JESUS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING?
In the busy street of Mandaue City, Cebu, a sign reads: We need to talk – God. I took a picture of myself knowing that this is very rare. A Christian businessman might put this up or the owner of the property but it is still uncommon. Why? He gains nothing even a single cent for this kind of advertisement. Unlike other advertisements it has probably a [church] name and a contact number or even a pastor’s name like those streamers that we see on the street when there are big events. I even realize the color of the background and the text. Its plain black and white, means that even in the dark it glows so clear with just a light. Do you know how much it cost you to have as big as this billboard like this one in the main city? Php 50,000 or $1,000 monthly, and it has been there for months! The whole Island of Cebu has almost 4 million people now. So let’s say that in this city alone it has 800 thousand people, and over a million including those came from other cities passing by every day. Take note that this road is the main national highway. Seeing this signs every day as people passes by I wonder how many who asked themselves, “Why Lord? Is there something that is wrong with me? Is there something that You want to tell me? So, just last week while riding on my motorbike I saw the sign again, but this time I am very curious and ask God to tell me what He is trying to communicate with the people. Here are the thoughts that I caught.
“My Church is the only agent that brings Good News to the world yet they’re all busy with their own agendas. Their little kingdoms have kept them apart to the world. I have made my own way this time. If anyone has ears, let him hear.”
What a stern word for the churches in the city. Last year’s count of churches in this city is 77. They did not include the hundred plus house churches in their lists. I know it because they visited me and have a copy of the lists.
By the way, by this sign alone with its message, did Jesus have left the building?
THE CHURCH HAS LEFT THE BUILDING?
As we continue on this disciple’s movement, we will not take new believers to our churches because we don’t have one. We are the church and as we go we pick up men along the way, take them to Christ for Him to be discipled. We gather spontaneously anytime, any day at any place ‘from house-to-house,’ to the marketplaces. From parks to offices, from coffee shops and restaurants to hospitals and prisons bars. They bear no denominational names except what He has already called us to be: Disciples of Jesus Christ. We are a church-going community of Believers, not church-goers.
The question is, since we are not church-goers, where does this lead us into? Where should we go from here?
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
I was recently fishing with my family in a nearby pond. The excitement to caught some and enjoy the day together was exhilarating. But to my dismay for about an hour we caught not even one! So I ask God if there is something that He wants to tell me. I wonder how they just consume my bait without ever biting my hook.
“Isn’t it like a church?” God says to me. “How they consume the word that is being served and uses them for their own benefit?” My friend Wolfgang shares the three things that modern Christianity consumes, a sign that the person lives for himself without a King.
• Salvation. Most Christians receives Christ as their savior but do not revere Him as their King.
• Grace. Though grace was given to us freely but we should forget that The King has commands. The King demands a service from us as His servants.
• Freedom. We cannot do what we want to do. We can only do what we should do.
I cannot stretch so much on this subject here but I think my point is clear: Most of what we see in Christianity today are like the Amalekites – they are a people of no king. There is a time when the Israelites have no king and they “do what is right in their own eyes.” Isn’t it a picture of what most churches are today?
As Jesus new breed of disciples, we are not going in or to register ourselves to any church denominations or enter in to religious edifices. Let others suffer finding the best spots in their church and sat comfortably on their favorite chairs listening to a ‘Socrates’ approach of preaching God’s Word on Sunday Morning Service. Can Jesus be our King though we don’t own any brands of Churchtianity? Can we be a people of God who can be loyal to King Jesus though we do not have a ‘Saul’ leading us? Can we be His servants who when the King says something to do we will gladly do it? And even if He does not say anything we will still gladly do nothing?
It’s up to you to cooperate with what God is doing around the world today. Do not give in to yourself to ask God to cooperate with what you are currently doing today.
As for and my family, we are in!
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