THE BARKADAS OF JESUS

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The third apostle we met on our trip to the Philippines was Molong Nacua (pronounced naquah). I met Molong on the internet whilst surfing for house churches in the Philippines. His writings connected with my spirit and we finished up spending 5 wonderful days with him and his wife Lisa and their extended family on the Central Philippines island of Cebu.

The story of Molong (or as he says, ‘Long’ for short) is one of a gradual journey through traditional style church (youth pastor, worship leader) to traditional style homechurch (doing the same but in a house) to a less structured homechurch (but still based on attending a weekly meeting), to his current passion, simply building a company of disciples for Jesus.  While we were with him he coined the phrase ‘The Barkadas of Jesus’ to describe them – a barkada being a wonderful Filipino word referring to a company of friends joined in a common bond of friendship and loyalty. No set meeting times or programs but what he refers to as a life of ‘intention – relational discipleship’, mainly based on reading the Bible, learning to listen to the Spirit and learning how to disciple a friend for Jesus. We did a lot of listening and talking while we were with him but the highlight of our visit was an unintentional demonstration of the ‘barkada’.

It happened when a young recently graduated high school student, Jommie, turned up with his friend Julian, who he had recently invited to become a disciple of Jesus. Jommie had been discipled two months earlier, beginning with the same invitation, by Albert, who had been discipled by Molong. Albert had baptised Jommie the Saturday before we arrived  and now Jommie was ready to baptise Julian.

So we headed down to the sea to baptise him. Two days later however, the three boys turn up at Molong’s house with a new friend, Louey Dan, a not-yet-believer who they were working on. Over lunch the Gospel was explained to Louey Dan and an invitation given to become a disciple of Jesus. He was ready, having observed his young friends for some time. An hour later Julian, baptised only two days earlier, was praying over his friend as he baptised him into Christ.

Later, as we celebrated over Dunkin Donuts, I took the opportunity to quiz the members of this growing Barkada of Jesus about what they had done and how deep was their grasp of the Gospel. Each man impressed me with his grasp of repentance and faith, one of the most articulate being Louey Dan.  We finished our donuts and the boys hung around for a meal with Molong and Lisa and then headed home.

And three days later we headed back home ourselves, back to our own nation of Australia with a whole new understanding of what Jesus meant when He simply said (my paraphrase),

“Go and preach the Gospel, making disciples, baptising them and teaching them to obey me. And lo I am with you to the end … every day, not mainly on Sundays, not mainly in your meetings, not mainly via the Pastor, but moment by moment, day by day, until I come again.”

You can catch up with Molong’s writings at the new blogsite we are building together, The Barkadas of Jesus.  It’s still in in the building stage but you might like to bookmark it.  But be warned. It could change your thinking about the nature of church.

Here’s a Youtube of the new barkada.

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ON BAPTISM – POUR OR AGAINST

I’ve just been reading a discussion on the House2House forum re modes of baptism. Some well formed arguments on both sides – but I’ve come to wonder lately whether the ‘right’ mode is really the ‘right’ issue. And here’s why.

As you know, I’m a chaplain in our local prison and for logistical reasons we are not allowed to have full immersion (my preference) baptisms. So, rather than ask guys to wait untilthey get out, we’ve made a compromise acceptable to all the other chaplains and, I believe, to the Holy Spirit.We use a kiddies pool with about six inches of water in it and a couple of buckets. While we pray over the guy being baptised a couple of fellow inmates slowly pour water over him until he is well and truly drenched. And well and truly blessed as well. God’s presence is there every time and the testimonies that follow are exciting.

One prisoner later testified that he feared that he would not have the sense of death and burial normally associated with immersion. However as the water poured over him he felt that he was being washed of all his sins. Then when he stood up he found himself under the air-conditioning and he was so cold he felt he was in the grave. When he then stepped back into the chapel office and got changed he had the experience of taking off the old and being clothed in the new. He came out of the office with perhaps a fuller experience of death and resurrection than he might have had in a more ‘proper’ baptism.

Trouble is that I am enjoying this mode of baptising so much I may find immersion a bit tame in comparison. We shall see. I have a river baptism this Sunday. Maybe I can merge both styles in together. Certainly I’m starting to think that the Holy Spirit does not quibble about these things half as much as we do.