Lasting Fruit

tu-od_mangoThe mangoes of the Philippines are amazingly delicious! It's their national fruit, and I've found no other mango like the queen of mangoes, the tu-od variety. I posted this photo on Instagram and Facebook, proclaiming their goodness, and saw a lot of response in agreement. But there are many are other wonderful fruits in the Philippines and SE Asia.

Yet, the fruit I'm most excited about in the Philippines doesn't grow on trees. (Tweet or Share this)

Fruit that doesn't grow on trees

bukid_riverThis past Sunday I drove into the mountains above Rainbow to preach at a church I've been to many times. It's pastored by a dear friend named EB. I will refer to him as EB, since he ministers in many places and to different groups. I've known him for 20+ years.

He was one of my students at a Bible school I started, and also one of my teachers. So, you could say he is fruit born out of my ministry in the Philippines, yet I see much more fruit coming from him. This is the way Jesus intended it, as mentioned in an earlier post.

EB has discipled many men and women, who in turn, disciple others. This brings me great joy and hope. It is what Jesus had in mind as He discipled His followers, and what He told them the night He was betrayed (John 15:8, 16).

A question to consider

The question is, are we discipling people to disciple others, or just indoctrinating them? (Tweet or Share this) Are we teaching them truth that's important to know, or equipping them to know the truth? (Tweet or Share this) **

What's the difference? When we indoctrinate people, we spoon feed them truth. In discipling and equipping people, they learn to feed themselves on Jesus and His word (see John 6:48-51 and 15:5-8). (Tweet or Share this)

Parents grind or chop up food for babies to eat, because they have no teeth to chew food. Or, they can just open a jar of baby food. But as children grow older they can learn to cut and chew their own food.

Are the believers in our churches still being fed like babies, or taught to feed themselves? I wonder. (Tweet or Share this)

Feeding or equipping?

EB_TK_tikalaI see a true discipler in my pastor friend. He oversees several churches by training the leaders to teach the people how to know the truth themselves. In one nearby church, he has equipped four leaders who each have three assistants. He trains them, and they are to teach and train the people in the same way.

EB also developed a Bible school, an oral Bible school. It's based on his inductive Bible training with me, and the biblical storying ministry of Simply the Story (STS). This training extends beyond his work in the mountains of Negros Oriental. It's been exported to other islands in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and even Thailand.

He also does radio ministry twice a week. He tells Bible stories and asks questions, then people text him answers and their own questions about the truth. This leads to more training in other places.

Another method of training takes place over a cell phone broadcast. He sets his cell phone up with a speaker, then interacts with people over the phone. Even on buses and boats EB will share Bible stories, selecting ones that match the circumstance of a listener.

True discipleship

My friend is mindful of being an example to others of what he teaches. True discipleship is more about example than doctrine (1 Tim 4:12). (Tweet or Share this) Doctrine ought to be based on what is understood from personal study of God's Word guided by God's Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27 and 2 Tim 1:13-14). (Tweet or Share this)

Trees produce fruit naturally. They're designed to do so by their Creator. Discipleship is similar. (Tweet or Share this) The fruit of discipleship comes naturally when done the way Jesus intended. (Tweet or Share this)

True disciplers are my favorite kind of fruit. They produce lasting fruit. (Tweet or Share this) True discipleship produces fruit that outlasts any one person's life. (Tweet or Share this)

This is how it should be. But is it? Is this what is seen in most churches today? I wonder.

Here's a simple challenge for the new year— If you haven't been discipled, get discipled by someone you trust. Then, disciple someone yourself. (Tweet or Share this)

Discipleship is not rocket science, as they say, it's simple and natural when done the way Jesus did it (John 13:15). (Tweet or Share this)


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