Heart-to-Heart

Andres Bonifacio by Carlos Botong Francisco retrieved from ronleyba.com

Disclaimer: I never intended to make this message seasonal. I mean the country is on a holiday because it is Bonifacio day, but we never had any traditions or celebrations as Christians. I think the only reason for that is because we don’t venerate people, only God. The same way that we shouldn’t venerate the evangelist who has been the topic for the past midweek programs. Yet I think we still have those dead men to thank for. The first man was because we’re on a holiday because of him, otherwise, we’re on holiday because it’s St. Andrew’s Feast. The second man was because of his methods in reaching out people. I’m not going to praise them, but we’ll just have to learn from them. We’re not going to talk about heroes, we’re going to talk about methods.

Trending topic. To the internet savvy world, the term simply refers to the most talked about news on the internet especially the website called twitter. Nowadays, you only need a cellphone to keep tabs with the latest news online. Today, the trending topic is the Bonifacio day.

Since time immemorial, the word of mouth has become the fastest way of sending news to other people. While it is true that most times the message gets distorted grotesquely along the way, we cannot deny the fact that the information travels really fast. The internet, the television, the telephone and all the other media are just means to help it travel faster. Human mouths still dominate that arena.

So much so that networking businesses are booming. I’m going to keep my opinion on these businesses to myself; my only intention is only to show you that the system is quite effective. Money and prizes and benefits aside, the system is a simple pyramid. This is where a single person will recruit two to three people from his or her sphere of influence by word of mouth in order to attain a specific amount promised by the company. Once those people were recruited, they also share the same fate of recruiting the same number of people under them. The same process continues until the group has expanded to thousands of members. It is really effective in increasing the number of people in an organization.

Take note though that this is not a new system.

We may all be familiar with the KKK. Whenever we hear it we are reminded by the Supremo, Andres Bonifacio. He and Emilio Jacinto devised a similar system in the Katipunan. The system is called triangulation. The same method as previously mentioned is employed with the only difference that the people recruited should not in any way know each other. No one should know who is and isn’t a member except those who recruited them. They identified themselves through a series of passwords which are really hard to determine: Jose Rizal, Gomburza and Supremo. Too bad though. The Katipunan was exposed immediately to the friars because of a personal conflict involving two lower ranked members.

If I am not mistaken, the method Bonifacio used was derived from the La Liga Filipina organized by Jose Rizal, himself. Bonifacio, as we know was an avid fan of the famed doctor. We also should know that the overly famous doctor, derived his recruitment tool from his Masonic Lodge. Yes, Rizal was a Free Mason according to historical accounts. And, we all know that Free Masonry had a long history.

Yet the real point here isn’t to look back at history or expose men who have long died. Neither is it my intention to make any businesses look bad. My real intention is to show to you that a system that has been used by our forefathers is so effective.

Some of you may comment that this method is evil because this has been used by the Free Masons, the Katipunan people and even businesses with a long chain of scams, and failures written all over it. Yet who are we to judge that an object is evil? Who are we to put a label on something as wrong? Sure it was used by Free Masons who’s long line of conspiracy theories would shock us, the Katipunan, whose example of insubordination to the government helped end the Spanish regime, and the Networking businesses labeled by some as scams, but what would you say if our beloved, Jesus Christ, Himself, used this method? Here are some examples:

John 1:40-42 tells us about Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He wasn’t mentioned that much in the Bible and he doesn’t have any letter or epistle compiled on our good books, but his actions was exemplary. I’ll leave it to you to read the verses, but it tells us that Andrew immediately called his brother when he found Jesus. He just had no choice but to drag his brother along to see the Master.

John 4:27-42 tells us also of the Woman at the Well. She was the one who had this few exchanges with Jesus, but she was the moving force in bringing a crowd around the Savior. She immediately ran and told everyone about Christ. People eventually told her, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” (verse 42)

We could therefore safely say that men make objects and methods evil because Jesus himself used this method to reach out to the hearts of men. I don’t think anyone in their right minds would call my beloved Jesus evil, do you?

In the same way, an evangelist by the name of Herry Mhando was able to preach to hundred thousands of people using the word of mouth. He never used handbills, or pamphlets or leaflets. Yet in his meetings, people come crowding by the hundred thousands. Numbers aside, he uses the influence of friendships and networks to spread the word to attend his gatherings. His reasons for not using hand bills were as follows:

  1. It has been used by Jesus as well as the other prophets of the Bible. “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.” 2 Corinthians 3:2
  2. It relies on the power of personal contact to a person. People spread the news of an upcoming meeting by word of mouth. This way, many people would get invited. This is simply because everyone has that burden of informing everyone since there are no pamphlets.
  3. It keeps people guessing. Having handbills, pamphlets or leaflets would mean printing the nightly topics. This would allow people to skip topics they don’t want to hear. The strategy is to invite people and keep them guessing what will happen next. This would make them feel that they would miss out on something big if they skipped one meeting.
  4. It helps nurturing more. After being hearing, believing and accepting Jesus, newly converts would then be nurtured and ministered onto by the same friends and co-workers who invited them. This would prevent feeling aloof or alienated from the church community.

Practical and simple right? So how does this work? How do we use the method of spreading news by word of mouth the Christian way? Consider these steps:

  1. Start by praying for people whom you think has a spiritual need. They may be your friends, co-workers, family members, classmates, or anyone within your sphere of influence. Praying for them before even inviting is a big and important step.
  2. Win and cultivate friendship with the persons being prayed for. More than hauling them or dragging them into the meetings, you have to make that steady connection first. Make them your closest friend that they couldn’t get to say no to you when you invited them. Of course, the Holy Spirit is also at work in this.
  3. Invite the person to the meetings. After praying for them, and cultivating a friendship with them, invite them personally to join the meetings. Whether it be a crusade, a prayer meeting or a simple small group.
  4. Be present to support the person as they attend the meeting everyday of the crusade, praying that they will surrender their lives to Christ and accept His will for their lives. Of course, leaving them at the meetings would give wrong impressions. Make them feel that you are a real friend by giving them the support they needed especially if they have questions. You may not be able to answer all of them, but you have all the connections like your local pastor, elder or layman to help you with the answers.

Of course this doesn’t happen in one week’s time, Herry Mhando recommended to do it months before the actual event. This would give you time for prayer and making close friends.

We are the most effective handbills, or pamphlets, or books, or instructional material. We, who already believe and has accepted Jesus Christ, are the only ones responsible to pass on the word. So spread the word people, whether it be midweek prayer meetings, vesper prayer meetings, Sabbaths, VOYs, Crusdades, Week of Prayers or any activity that you know would benefit your friends and neighbors, never hesitate to make friends and invite.  So spread the word, not rumors or gossip but the good news of Jesus Christ.

Finally, All of us could make a difference in showing Jesus’ love because Jesus’ love is best -shared heart-to-heart.

(Midweek message for November 30th.)

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