“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23
The Apostolic Fellowship for Jesus Christ was birth out of a stand for truth. An unwavering stand that cause them to choose truth over heresy, God over man, when the standard of holiness was omitted from the organisation’s new convert’s manual because the head minister of the then organization no longer believed in upholding outward standards of holiness.
It was a difficult decision. But these men and women stood firm on the Word; most of them elders, leaders and members of the teaching ministry. Under the leading of Brother Leopoldo (Brother Pol for short) and Sister Jeanny Servidad, they purposed in their heart to journey on and start afresh. Though discouraged, their resolve was stronger.
Doing their best to survive, they looked online for direction, spiritual food and instruction. Of all the preaching available online, Rev. Stoneking’s preaching to an Asian congregation always seemed to come up. Out of curiosity, Sister Jeanny did more research on the logo and the name of the church that Rev. Stoneking addressed. When she found out that Tabernacle of Joy (TJ) is located in Singapore, she sent an email to the event organisers to make an enquiry. When they received a welcoming reply, they bought their tickets and saved up for a trip.
Family. That’s what it felt like when they shook hands with the first TJ saint who welcomed them warmly. There were seven of them who attended Deep Calleth Deep Conference 2012 in Kuala Lumpur and from then on, they always made it a point to be there every year as the Lord would provide.
The questions that were burning inside of them were answered one by one. By the end of the camp, they knew they had a calling from God to continue the work back in the Philippines, continuing in the work to teach and train the brethren to be Christ-like. Their horizon had broadened and they realised that God’s family is indeed big!
THE BIG SHIFT
Brother Pol and Sister Jeanny had 20 years of experience as Apostolics but time is not always a guarantee that one has a deep relationship with their God. Especially if the organisation that they were a part of was not geared toward educating and equipping the saints to walk daily with Him. How do you do that? How do you change mindsets? How can we be more like Christ? These were the questions that they have been longing to find answers for. Apart from getting frustrated from a minimal transformation in the lives of the people they were privileged to lead, they didn’t know how to grow not just the number of members in their congregation but also the brethren’s relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many times Brother Pol felt like giving up, feeling ill-equipped to carry the torch. TJ helped them by equipping them through Next Steps classes and The Apostolic Academy. They started to see a glimmer of hope. Slowly but surely, they were discovering that discipleship is the key.
No program can produce the harvest that the Lord intends. The harvest is appointed. And so is the method that God wants implemented.
Man-made programs cannot and will not bring about the yield He has commanded His people to get.
With this in mind, they went back to the Bible principles that the elders have been preaching for the longest time. They now see that they are only conduits and greatly in need of an intimate relationship with Jesus to know His perfect will. They do not have to ask God to bless the work of their hands if they will only seek His will at all times. Prayers play a huge part and teaching helps to make new converts, even the old ones, weather the trials of their faith.
In their words, “Love people genuinely regardless of who and what they are. Once they know that you are true and sincere, they will also see that you only have their best interest at heart. Then discipleship will not just be another program but a lifestyle that they will be willing to live each and everyday.”
Written by Leopoldo & Jeanny Servidad, Pastors of the Apostolic Fellowship for Jesus Christ Philippines.