Socialists & Communists = the “real” Christians?

C360_2011-09-23 07-22-30.jpg

As a continuation of my previous post… I wanted to touch on a key aspect of Christian community… “being of one heart and mind”. There’s a lot more to the context of the following passage, especially considering the persecution just prior and the serious act of sketchy-ness just after… which provides the backdrop for the kind of motivation the early Church had to be united.

Acts 4:32-35
 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

The key to all this sharing, is that Jesus is King (not a dictator commanding the economy and everything and person in it, such as our human examples of socialism and communism), the issues just prior to this (healing a man in Jesus’ name and speaking in His authority) brought great power and unity to the early Church. Is it possible to regain that, today? I believe so, it may look the same, or it may look different – but I believe it’s possible. I believe it because I know our God desires it, and what he desires is possible. We don’t need a “redo”, we simply need a “need to” or just a “do”.

So what will it take for us to be of “one heart and mind” again? I don’t know, I just know that it starts with ONE, it starts with me, and it starts with you, just the ONE. We can’t get hung up on “everyone else” and attempting to think for them, and get them to “see the vision” – we just need to walk the vision ourselves. What’s the vision? It’s love first, and making him our first love.  It’s John 17. It’s Ephesians 4. It’s Revelation 2:4.

Community + Communism = Kingdom?

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

So, how do we live this out?  How do citizens of the Kingdom of Jesus live here on earth, like that mentioned above? How do we do this knowing perfectly well, as humans, we’re going to make mistakes, hurt each other, and most likely really piss our neighbors off at times?  Is it a mandate for Christ followers to live like this? Have we fallen far from the “ideal”, and are so concerned with “myself” that something like this is “not possible” today?

I don’t think it’s a mandate, but I do believe a healthy group of Christ’s kids will be compelled to live out the values we see in this passage. Community with humility, essentially sharing to meet other’s needs… dare I say communism or socialism?

Communism is the idea of a free society with no division or alienation, where mankind is free from oppression and scarcity. A communist society would have no governments, countries, or class divisions.

Socialism is based on co-operative social relations and self-management; relatively equal power-relations and the reduction or elimination of hierarchy in the management of economic and political affairs.

So, there’s elements of communism and socialism out of this Acts 2 passage… but it’s not quite the same. There is a key difference, between the Kingdom and these types of systems… There is a government, and a strong hierarchy – with one person at the head – Jesus.  This key difference is what makes the Church community function… So why do we (American/Western Jesus followers) have such a hard time living this out?

In my opinion, the ideas of sharing, selling our things, buying for others, and coming together on a nearly daily basis seems asinine to us because we do not trust.  We don’t trust others, we don’t trust the “church”, we don’t trust God.  First of all, we don’t need to trust others, nor the “church”, we only have to trust God.  Trust and taste, and you will see that He is good.

If we can truly trust Jesus, and live by the Spirit, then we can serve others, and live without being offended. Our hearts should burn with fellowship and love for one another, but I don’t believe this burning comes without us first burning ourselves.

I have a lot more to say around this topic, and the sub topics… humility, servant-hood, living “offendlessly”, and other key ingredients to living in the Kingdom community.  It’s not all about “giving up” our way of life, it’s about gaining a whole new way of life with huge benefits that our individualized way of life in American/Western culture has completely lost.  Update 9/25/11: see part two of this stream of thought.


July 4 - 2010

The history of the United States is amazing, with some very dark spots, and some huge mistakes, yet we have moved forward past those dark times and created a place where people can be free – at least free to choose a life they want. I am not a crazy America loving Christian, most of the time I am embarrassed when the Church starts worshiping the nation… and I can’t stand singing “American hymns” (i.e. God Bless America) in Church – it makes me sick to my stomach.  Church is about us gathering to encourage one another in life with God’s guidance, Church is not a place for us to celebrate our culture, our national identity, nor a specific idea – except the idea of God’s kingdom.  I love my country, I am moved many times by our history, and many times I have shed a few tears when I hear veterans speak, and watch documentaries about America, however, I just can’t see the obsession some American Christians have about mixing Church and America in one idea.  I tolerate it because I love the Church more than I love America, and Jesus’ heart is for us to have tolerance for one another, and be in unity (John 17, and Romans 1).

Freedom for me is the incredible and amazing gift of grace that I have received from Jesus himself – the ability to pour grace on others, to love the fringe communities, to see beyond sexual orientation, to see people for who they are – this is freedom. To see God’s heart all around, and to know that I am in the Kingdom and that it is me that will extend this Kingdom – this is freedom. Being OK with the fact that the majority of Christians I interact with have a hard time understanding the GBLT community. Also, the fact that most of the suburban, white, “republican” and “conservative” people I know, haven’t tried to understand the “left’s” heart, is frustrating and heart-breaking, but doesn’t distract me from loving them too.  You see, I have a freedom that goes beyond the “lines” and it transcends the communities.

The place where I fight for this freedom is expressing it, and being bold in it (as I described in yesterday’s post). I can be both a republican and a democrat, and at the same time a Christian and a relevant person to those around me – but most of all I can be the love for both sides of the fence… (besides, is there really just two sides?). I will be in the camp above all camps… I am a citizen of the King and live in His kingdom. I want to walk in THAT freedom!

What’s the point?

seedlings growing

Why do I do the things I do? Why do I hold onto the “high road” and look for “peace”?

Why do I discipline myself, correct myself, and look out for others? Why do I care when so little seemingly do not?

Why do I give so much, invest so much time, repeat myself, and give grace all around to receive “nothing” in return?

Why am I loyal, when most are not? Why do I commit when others will not? Why do I stay quiet when others won’t?

Why do things about life on earth and humanity bother me, but are the jokes of others? When will I learn, or when will they learn?

What effect do my “convictions” really have? How do I affect others when I screw up? Why is it hard for me to be satisfied?

Does it make any difference when I love instead of hate? Does it make any difference when I give grace when “grace isn’t deserved”?

Why are my values constantly conflicting? How do I prioritize the world, humanity, friends, family, and God?

Why do I so often shrink back to that middle-school kid who doesn’t have a voice? Why do people have to “confront” the little things and not the big things?

Why do people have to argue? Why can’t people just get along? When will we ever learn to have tolerance for each other?

When will we Christians ever learn to make allowances for each other’s faults? When will we Christians realize our God gave us this planet? Oh wait, when will we Christians be mature to first love, have grace, and tolerance in areas that are unimportant to salvation?

What’s the point, what’s the big idea? Who cares? Who knows? Does anyone care enough? Does anyone do enough? Does anyone live enough? Where’s our direction? Where’s our conviction? Where’s our love? Who will take action, just one small step at a time?

Who will lead? Shouldn’t we all? It’s true, none of us are disqualified, none of us are failures, we’re all just in this together – yet we do it alone. Alone we accomplish very little. Together, we make a difference. Weather we’re organized or not, simply doing, is better than sitting the game out. Love one another, talk to one another, set aside the differences and find the common items and play together.

Talk, learn, grow, be stretched, and most of all, humble yourself to your fellow humans, we all have something to share! Of course this has to be mutual, and that’s where my idealism usually falls apart, so few of us willing approach each other as equals. I find myself trapped there too, sometimes wanting to “win” a point – which isn’t the point at all… the point is to stretch, challenge, and maybe learn something from another’s viewpoint. Yes, there are certain truths in this world that can’t be “argued”, but they can be lived, and that is more powerful than anything.

I live this “idealistic” life not because I seek some amazing return on my investment, but because I know that in the end it matters more than anything to care for people, the planet, and the kingdom to come. Everything else is so trivial. Of course I like to have as much fun in the process as possible, as long as the goals remain, always… yeah I’m serious even when having fun.

And most of all, where does our help come from? It comes from the same source as those plants in the picture.

Relational value

The above picture is from a small group Alexis and I “lead” for three years. Normally when you think of “leading” it’s a lot of ideas about preparing, mentoring, and “bible study stuff”. In our case, it was a lot of those things, but a whole lot more. However, in spite of a lot of heartache, trauma, and down right warfare, we came to love each other as family. It’s been about six months since our last time together and well, just about everything and anything you could imagine has changed. Plans have been “altered” and our paths have been dramatically shifted in such ways that we almost never intersect anymore.

Yet, I would like to believe that if anything horrendous occurred we would remember the three years we were together and not let regular “life” get in the way of genuine relationship. I hold onto this hope, because, I know that within the church (of people) it can seem nearly impossible to be the Church (of the bible) we see. One of the scriptures that motivates me to be the leader that I know God has called me to be is Colossians 3:12-17:

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

So much can happen, disasters, deaths, disease, misunderstanding, miscommunication, warfare, mistakes, unforgivingness, and the list goes on and on – the bottom line is that we are dealing with humanity, and not just humanity, broken humanity. If we look at the relationships God has placed in our lives, can we say “he made a mistake”? No, we can’t – because he doesn’t make mistakes. Rather, we need to look at where maybe we made mistakes, and where we need to take the next steps to enter into community in the way he calls us to do – in peace and thankfulness.

Of course, let us not place ourselves in relationships where the enemy can cause harm amongst us, and let us not make relationships which do not honor our Lord – for that is not representing Him.  Even in the Church the enemy has headways, and many times those are the areas where the Church fractures, where people get upset, bitter, and confused – because many times, in our broken humanity, we put the blame on our fellow brothers and sisters rather than the author of lies (the enemy). Of course, please do not hear me say none of us have responsibility for our actions, we do, it’s just that we need to recognize the author of the lies that drive our poor actions and choices.

Our responsibility to one another should be driven by honor, wisdom, and love. Many times this means allowing those who have gone before us to speak into our lives and provide guidance, even when we don’t really fully understand (or necessarily agree 100%) the guidance, that’s the season I’m in right now. Out of obedience to the principles that Christ laid out for His Church we shall prosper and live the abundant life.

There’s a lot more I could write, but I simply want to state this – if we filter our actions, our decisions, and our relationships based on the above, then maybe, just maybe, we might begin to see a love that surpasses all understanding, and they will know us for our love.  It’s possible, I know it is, I have been there, multiple times – it’s a challenge, and it’s humbling, and not always easy, but it always rewarding. Do you value your relationships as Christ has called us?

Reboot every day


1 I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! 3 He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. – Psalm 121 1-3 NLT

I’m on a team at our church that puts together the weekend message study guide that gets used for our small groups (or at least that’s the idea). Last week was my turn, so I got the privilege of knowing the topic, scripture, and normally even the sermon outline… however this time all I got were three fill in the blanks (for the slides) and the scripture – Psalm 121. I thought it was odd I didn’t receive the full sermon outline, but went ahead anyway with putting together the study guide. It was a fun journey, I hadn’t really gone deep into Psalm 121 in the past.

If you get a moment to read Psalm 121 in it’s entirety do it, it is only eight verses long, yet full of some of the most basic truths of our Christian walk. Sometimes it can be extreamly difficult to to realize that we are simply not in control, and that really, life is far more simple than we imagine, or make it out to be. However, in the midst of crazy times, and believe me I’m not short of crazy in my life, it is not easy to find the “simple truth”.  The most significant theme in this Psalm is the fact that it declares God’s position in our lives, he is our King, and he is our God, and most of all he is our protector. Sometimes it may seem like a mind game to “lean on that truth” – nothing in scripture says it’s easy, or even anything like magic. It takes faith, and faith many times is not natural, it is, in fact, super-natural. Super – as in above, superior, and elevates the normal “situation”.

As long as I am in the right mindset to lean on these truths I find myself at peace, able to rest, and most importantly, able to process life. When I’m leaning on my own tools (worry, anger, fear, control) I lose hope, and many times cause damage to the relationships around me. Everyday I need to reboot, give up my control, and let God be in control.

May you know this in your heart with each moment of your day: Psalm 121:8 – The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.

Wisdom with humanity.

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. – James 3:13 NLT


Last night I mused about “humility in humanity” based on the same verse above. Now, the question of the last year has been “what is wisdom?” Wisdom seems to have so many definitions, so many interpretations, and it seems, a lot of different consequences for not following the “right” wisdom. In the verses following the one above James writes:

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. – James 3:17-18 NLT

For myself, this sums it all right up, I really have nothing more to add… but for the sake of “processing” I’ll entertain these two verses for a little bit. The strongest point that stands out to me is “willing to yield to others” – I believe that today our society holds onto “entitlement” more than anything else… “I have a right to…” and “but I’m entitled to…” The second item to jump out… “It is full of mercy and good deeds” – hmm… that whole good deeds thing again… what is this, do we serve a God of works? – nope, because we don’t do that good works simply because “it’s the right thing to do”, we do the good works because we are urged, empowered, and motivated by our hearts to do them.  Maybe the secret to wisdom is yielding and humbling ourselves to our fellow humanity in the name of our all loving God so that we might empower the many through Christ’s redemption?

Humility in humanity.

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom – James 3:13


This is another post that I’m not sure is fully baked, but I’m hoping to just get the brain primed for breaking into a blogging mind-set again. I’ve got things stirring in my heart, I just gotta start letting them out somewhere, even if they are not up to my self-imposed “standards”.

The picture above is at Ground Zero in New York from when Alexis and I visited last month. Whenever I visit a city, of any significant size, I am always reminded of the fact that I’m just one small piece of a very large world. A world with as many different people, views, heartaches, joys, and terrible things as far as the human mind can comprehend… and then some. I believe one reason I enjoy cities so much is because God wired me to see the humanity he created. I can’t walk a few feet in any city and not be hit with the reality that we all share this world, and therefore, we all share the possibilities to have a relationship with God, and therefore, as a follow of Christ, and someone with a proclaimed “love” for Christ, I too must love His people.

So why did I quote James at the top of this post? Because I believe it to be the core of what the Christian life is about, living honorably (with truth and grace), and above all – doing good works with humility that comes from wisdom. You see, we can do everything “good” under the sun, for this cause, and that cause, and even for our own families, our own children, etc… but what does it matter if we do it for our own good, our own “story” or our own “facebook status” update….  It’s extreamly hard to do good works with humility – because many times in order to do something “good” it is usually “bigger than our selves” and thus requires the assistance of others to make it work.  So many times I see these great “ideas” turn into “look at me” dramas.

I’ll let you all know, I’m not writing this post as a response to anything, nothing at all has prompted me to write this, except by my reading alone. My heart aches when I see our Church (not the church I go to, I mean the Church of Jesus’ followers world-wide) essentially waving a flag “look what we’re doing” – but inside there are broken, confused, and sometimes very dangerous people right under our noses. So many times I wonder if we just did what the heart of God commands us to do, love one another and love Him… then what would we see… it’s a question asked OVER and OVER…

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are amazing things happening, ALL OVER – and I wonder… how many great things are going on that we never hear of… because it’s done in humility? We may never know until the day we meet Jesus face to face. Until then, let’s check our hearts.


Next… the key point in that verse… humility that comes from wisdom… I guess we’ll need to see what wisdom is!

Love, live, life?


I’m not quite sure what direction I want to go with this post but I’ll try to explain something that has been going on in my heart for a while now. It’s about how christian (maybe just Americans?) people handle decisions, how we make choices, and the things we weigh and use to justify our decisions.

If God is sovereign, if he’s our protector, and if he’s all loving…. then why do we let so many other items influence our decisions? I’m not talking about deciding what to eat for breakfast, I’m talking about decisions that have an impact on our relationships. Things that require commitment… many times instead of hearing “I think God is calling me to…. a new church, job, ministry”, whatever the case may be I hear things like… it’s safer for our family, it’s just more relaxing, the people seem more real, and my “favorite” God shows up more….. (myself included!).

That’s certainly not an exhaustive list, and at the same time God can certainly call us to do something or go somewhere and these other “good” things be true. But if our decisions and the way we communicate them are not about a work of God in your life… then are we living the Gospel? Jesus has some pretty straight ideas on what it takes to follow him… and a safe, clean, no risk life isn’t what I read. Leave your family, leave your possessions, sell everything for the common good of our brothers and sisters… share all. Those are just some of the things I read.

Now of course we don’t want to go off the deep end, because our decisions should never violate our Kingdom commitments, God, family, the Church community… of course living all of that out is a lot of work and discernment. Love first, love second, then make a decision. Let God’s voice lead our decisions, not the external issues. This doesn’t mean ignoring those issues, just don’t let them lead.

Basically, are our decisions putting trust into our LORD? Or into something else? Trust me when I say this… the enemy will devour and hijack you unless you take full responsibility to trust God AND be in active warfare with your LORD.



I like to have a review of my values from time to time. Many times values and priorities can be a little hard to separate yet I’ll just go with the flow and figure out the priorities later.

This is not an exhaustive list, rather this is more of a evaluation if certain spoken or desired values that I would like to make priority and be more intentional about.

Life with God: Currently I’m enjoying a good continuous conversation with God but I’m not including him in every aspect.

Marriage: The past 6 months have introduced a lot of fantastic things, feeling like we have a stronger friendship is one of the best pieces. I would like to see myself feeling more natural about it, but I guess having to think about it and be intentional has its benefits.

Church: This is probably the most lacking for me right now. While we are “there” on a very regular basis the community aspect of it seems harder and harder to live out due to people being so insanly busy that organic family-like community is hard to work out. We’ll be joining a small group soon and I have a lot of ideas and ideology that may be hard to not expect.

Humanity: Still very much stuck on living a life of compassion giving… our society culture do not cultivate the humananity focused and compassion I feel. God is people focused, why aren’t we?

More laters ….