Sunday, October 04, 2015

Christian Commando Units

God is calling together small groups of people
who can support each other through the storm
who can stand together in Jesus
while everything around them is shaken.

The will be sold out for Jesus.
doing Jesus will,
by obeying voice of the Holy Spirit.
They will lay aside the things of the world,
that would encumber them
and will live simply on what God provides.
They will share everything with each other,
and with those around them.

These groups of people will be drawn together by love for Jesus,
and bound together by commitment to love each other.
They will be mighty warriors in prayer,
able to go out together in the power of the Spirit.
They will be experienced with gifts of the Holy Spirit
and ready to deal with any situation.

These commando units will be prepared for distress,
and equipped for victory.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Locked in Criticism

A big group of Christians (some still in and many who have left) feed off criticism the institutional church, but are not willing to do anything different for the Lord. I was not interested in feeding that group.

I agree that the instituitional church has massive problems, but I am not so quick to pass judgment on the people still in it. Many love Jesus, so I do not know what the Lord will do with them. I would not advocate that they all leave now. The institutional church is not a safe place to be, but being alone in the world is not safe either. Some are probably safer where they are, while there is nothing viable outside for them join, and no successful model for them to adopt. Standing alone in the world is hard, and not every follower of Jesus is called to do that.

When it is all shaken down, we will be surprised at who is left standing on the rock. Many who are currently in the institutional church will survive. Many who have left the institutional church, but got so locked in criticism that they failed to build something new will not survive. I do not try to decide in advance who will be where.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Causes of Economic Crises

I recently read a book about economic crises written by a Christian. He seemed to argue that economic crises are caused by excessive debt and hyperinflation.

That is not quite right. In the past, hyperinflation was the cause of many crises. Now that the causes are understood, governments are more careful abut printing to much money. Of course there will always be situation where they have not alternative, like Zimbabwe.

The more important point is that hyperinflation is not the cause of the crises. It is usually the consequence of unwise government actions taken to deal with a crisis or shock. Weimar Germany got hyperinflation, because it lost a war and had impossible reparations imposed on it. Zimbabwe destroyed its agriculture by forcing out white farmers and giving the land to political loyalists who did not know how to farm it.

A whole range of things can cause economic crises and they can affect the economy through a variety for channels.






Money System







Bank Failure

Excessive expenditure



Fuel Shortage



Electronic sabotage

Building monuments


Price Collapse

Electricity burnout

Fuel Shortage

Electronic burnout

Excess Debt

Forest Fires

Collapse of trading nations



Boom and Bust

Excess controls, eg interest rates





Shipping shortage


Printing Money







Violence and corruption



Monday, September 28, 2015

Similar Views of God

I recently listened to a talk about the differences between Christianity and Islam. The speaker described how Jesus is treated in the Koran.

  • The Koran says that Jesus was human, so his live and character do not tell us anything about god. In the New Testament, the cross is central. Jesus death on the cross was a revelation of God’s character. The cross reveals Jesus sacrificial love.

  • In Islam you are saved by your own merits. Jesus does not save us.

  • In the Koran, God is merciful, but he is never described as love. It is an austere portrayal of God. He threatens those who fail with hell. And whether you fail or not, it is his decision, because everything is fated.

  • Moslems cannot know an intimate relationship with God. They are not motivated by the love of God. Their main motivation is fear of hell, if they fail.

The thing that struck me as I listened was the similarities of the faith of many Christians to that of Moslems.
  • Many Christians see Jesus as just a man. They do not realise that he revealed the character of God.

  • Many Christians believe that they are saved by their own merits. Christianity is a big set of rules that those who follow Jesus must keep.

  • Many Christians serve an austere God. They believe in Jesus love, but the see him as appeasing an angry, austere God. They have no concept of the sacrificial love of God.

  • Many Christians are motivated more by fear of hell than love of Jesus.

This is quite sad. No wonder so many Christians are afraid of Islam.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Christians and Culture (4) Hostile

Christians are now living in a Hostile Culture. A Christian response will have the following sequence.

1. Safe Environment
A culture is more like an environment than a worldview. The only way to counteract the impact of a hostile culture is to create an alternative environment to sustain the life of Jesus.

Attendance at a Sunday worship service and listening to a sermon will not be sufficient to counteract the influence of the prevailing culture. When worshippers are sent out into the world, they will be swamped by the culture in which they live. Their lives will be shaped by the culture that is propagated by the institutions of the world.

Our beliefs attitudes and behaviours are formed by the cultural environment in which we live. A person who has chosen to follow Jesus needs a Christian cultural environment to grow to maturity. The leaders of a Kingdom Community will attempt to create an alternative cultural environment in which strong Christian lives are natural and normal.

The citizens of the kingdom will not ignore the surrounding culture. They will listen to the music and watch the popular movies, but because these will not be the only voice they listen to, they will have less influence on their lives. Through their involvement in the community, they will be involved in many conversations that underlay what they have seen and heard with a Christian context. Discussions about the culture of the world will push them deeper into their Christian culture

2. Prophetic challenge
Prophetic Christians will have a role in challenging and exposing the lies that underlay modern culture. Not everyone will do this, but those who do it must do it well. They must understand the culture and be able to challenge its flaws incisively.

3. Create alternative culture
Some kingdom communities will start developing an alternative Christian culture making institutions. Modern technology reduced the cost and democratises the distribution.

The biggest cultural influence is the school. Christians schools operating within the Kingdom Community, will propagate a different culture.
Christians will write books that promote Christian world view on social media and publish them.

They will write music and songs to give to give away on social media.

4. Send apostles
Some Jesus Teams will send their best people to work (as apostles) in the more powerful culture shaping institutions. They will provide them with strong spiritual and emotional support, in the same way as other teams support more regular apostles. As more and more of the people in these organisations becomes Christian, they will shift their stance, and begin pushing society back toward God.

As the gospel spreads like yeast through the dough, the culture makers will be slowly transformed along with the rest of society.

5. Secular culture collapses
When people understand what it has done to them, they will turn against the culture makers and hate modern culture (in the same way that the church is currently hated because it was seen as controlling the culture). The modern culture shapers will collapse along with government power (Rev 18:21-24).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Christians and Culture (3) Response

The church in the western world has responded to the shifts that make culture an enemy of the gospel in four different ways, but each has been unsuccessful.

  • Some Christian groups have attempted to use political power to control the culture and bring it back into line, eg The Moral Majority. These movements failed and are no longer taken seriously.
  • Some churches have tried to recover their influence by creating alternative culture-making institutions, but these tend to get overwhelmed the surrounding culture. Christian schools and colleges risk getting is a reputation for inferior education if they refuse to adopt the curriculum and teaching methods of their secular counterparts to obtain accreditation and funding. The Christian music and movie industries have adopted the techniques and style, and corporate business model of their secular counterparts in order to succeed, but they have been absorbed by wider culture and got lost as a separate market sector within their industry.
  • More liberal Christians have loved the world so much that they totally embraced modern culture. They have become so absorbed into worldly culture that they have lost an independent voice.
  • Some Christians have rejected culture and attempted to escape from it, but this has isolated themselves from the world, which makes them irrelevant to modern life.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Christians and Culture (2) Culture Shapers

The culture reflects the heart of the people, and goes where they are going. If the culture leaders move too far away from that heart, they will be ignored.

  • The Levites were the culture shapers in the Mosaic system. They led their society to God.
  • The church was the main culture shapers for many centuries. The most important culture influence was the Sunday sermon. It pushed society towards God.
  • Modern culture shapers move people further way from God, partly because that is the way that the people are moving.
The church has yet to adjust to a situation where they on the opposite side to the culture shapers and the heart of the people.

The culture shapers and the government provide strong support for each other.

  • Politicians use the media to build support for their policies and capture the hearts of their followers.
  • Television news programs create interest by showing what political leaders are doing.
  • Even when criticising political leaders, the media perpetuates the view that the problems of society can be solved by politics.
  • Entertainment programmes portray good government agents using skill and power to defeat evil.
  • Reality television shows record police and customers beating up petty evil.
Nothing in this life is neutral. Music, art, television, movies are not neutral. They can be used for good or evil.

The news media are a powerful tool for the spiritual powers of evil. They use the emotions stirred up be these media to gain control of people’s lives.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Christians and Culture (1)

A culture is much more than a set of ideas and values, although it includes them. It includes a system of entertainment, artistic and educational institutions that support the prevailing worldview. Efforts to change ideas and beliefs has a very limited effect, if these institutions remain in place. The culture can be a friend or foe of the church depending on the institutions that shape it.

Through the Middle Ages and up into the 19th century, the culture was a friend of the gospel, because the church was the dominant institution shaping culture. The most influential message in society was the Sunday sermon. People sang the songs and listened to the music that they heard in church. The best artists were employed by the church to decorate its buildings. The institutional church had an immense impact on the culture.

That has all changed. The institutional church has lost its influence over the culture, so it has now becomes an enemy of the gospel. At the same time, new communication technologies have immensely increased the power of culture to influence society. The main influencers in western culture are television, popular music and social media. The music and songs we listen to come over the internet. The main messages that influence our thinking come through television and social media. These powerful technologies and institutions have combined to create a worldly culture that is hostile to Jesus and the gospel.

This had been going on for longer than we realise. Through most of the 20th century, people were coming to faith, so the situation looked fine, but the culture was going the other way. In the 1960s, the new culture burst out in full power.

Modern technology makes culture the most powerful influence on our lives. Despite this change, the church continued to operate as if could change the world by sharing the gospel, but this ignores the influence of the surrounding culture. Changing hearts and minds of people is not enough, because the behaviour of people is shaped by the surrounding culture, as much as by what they believe.

Modern culture is supported by a network of entertainment and educational institutions that support the prevailing worldview. These networks of institutions are often controlled by powerful elites and influential businesses. Changing ideas and beliefs has a very limited effect, if these institutions remain in place.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015


Spring is here.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Social Architecture (25) Advancing Tens

The Kingdom of God grows organically, like yeast spreading through a loaf of bread. The reason is that society must be changed from the bottom up.

  • The Kingdom of God cannot be imposed from the top, but must rise up from the bottom.

  • Replacing one set of rulers with another changes nothing, because the same principalities and powers remain in control. The only way to break free is for political power to be defused.

  • Defeating and evil government by military force will not advance the Kingdom. The use of military power releases a spirit of violence, which undermines the Kingdom of God.

  • Using democratic power to topple political leaders and replace them with others does not advance the kingdom. Democracy raises up human power and authority, which opposes the power of the Spirit.

The Kingdom of God advances slowly, street by street and village by village.
  • Jesus gave his disciples clear instructions to start in a particular place and start with a person of peace (Luke 10:5,6). Some places are easier to work than others.

  • Those who are serious about advancing the Kingdom of God will identify those easy places and build a beachhead, from which the kingdom can gradually spread, Ten by Ten, and Hundred by Hundred

  • As new Tens are established, the spiritual forces of evil will be gradually pushed back and the beachhead of peace will expand.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Social Architecture (24) Distress

Ordinary life now faces many new challenges. The world is getting increasingly violent and unstable and individuals and families struggle without the support that used to come from Tens Fifties and Hundreds. We may be going into a time of trouble, distress and judgement. Christians should be prepared for troubled times. To cope with the disorderly world that is merging, Christians and their families must get together in Tens to provide support and protection for their communities.

Leaders of Tens will establish relationships with other tens to share in protection and support.

  • Tens in the country will produce food to give to tens in the cities.

  • Tens in the city will distribute surplus food received from the country to people in needs.

  • Tens in the city with surplus wealth will supply Tens in the country with the resources that they need.

  • The Ten at either end of street may agree to watch the entrance to the street to ensure that undesirable people do not enter the street. This may be the best form of protection against theft or looting during a time of disruption.

When social order disintegrates, state power will fall apart. Social welfare systems will collapse and justice will fail. Christian Tens and Hundreds will be needed to fill the gap. This will be a massive opportunity for the gospel. Tens, Fifties and Hundreds can keep society functioning effectively, even if all national and city authority have collapsed.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Social Architecture (23) Spiritual Protection

Tens and Fifties will provide spiritual protection for their communities by standing together in unity. They will watch over each other and stand together to resist the power of the enemy. While they walk in obedience to Jesus, the enemy will have no grounds for attack.

Other people in the neighbourhood will continue to sin and some may allow evil into their lives. However, none of these people will have authority over anyone else in their community. This limits the ability of the spiritual powers to interfere in the lives of others.

The only people in the neighbourhood with authority over others are the elders. They are submitted to each other, so their authority is constrained. The elders will be watching over each other, so if one come under attack or falls into sin, the others will deal with the issue to get victory over evil.

Tens and Hundreds provide spiritual protection for each other and the people in their neighbourhood.

  • The only authority in the street will be exercised by the elders of Tens. They are protected by submitting to each other.

  • The members of Tens and Fifties get spiritual protection by submission to their leaders.

  • The members of the Ten are not submitted to regional and national political powers and the spiritual principalities that cling to them.

The neighbourhood has becomes a relatively a demon-free zone.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Social Architecture (22) Principalities and Powers

Jesus destroys principalities and powers by removing the centralised political and religious power structures that support their power. Wherever emperors, kings and presidents gain authority, evil spiritual forces can attach themselves to that authority. When political power evaporates, principalities and powers are reduced to being common evil spirits beaten by the cross. They gain spiritual power by taking advantage of political power, so the collapse of power and authority leaves them with no place to stand.

Tens and Hundreds are the solution to spiritual protection. In the Biblical model, authority is concentrated at the lowest level in the Ten, and that authority remains miniscule, because membership in a Ten is voluntary. A little bit of authority is passed up to the Hundred, but it can be easily withdrawn. During a crisis, some authority may be extended to a Thousand, but this authority can always be taken back, if the leader loses the plot, or when the crisis ends. This diffusion of authority foils the plans of the enemy. Evil spirits can no longer concentrate their attacks on a few powerful people, but have to spread themselves thin. As they disperse to deal with authority that is diffused throughout society, they become fragmented and powerless.

Many Christians have an overinflated view of the enemy’s power. They believe that our struggle is against spiritual forces that are almost as powerful as the Holy Spirit. The truth is an illusion. The spiritual forces of evil have leveraged their power by gaining control over political and religious leaders. When political and religious control collapses, demonic power will be greatly diminished. When confined to one-on-one battle, they will be easily defeated. When Big Government collapses and Tens Fifties take and Hundreds take their place, a great spiritual victory will occur.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Social Architecture (21) Kingdom

If the Tens and Fifties serves effectively, the local people will participate in some of their activities, especially those that advance justice, protection from crime, welfare and defence. When the non-Christians in the neighbourhood participate in the activities of the Ten or Fifty, they will have to compromise with their standards of behaviour.

The lifestyle of Tens and Fifties will be shaped by love for one another.

  • People will be treated with respect.
  • No one will be forced to do things that they do not want to do.
  • The truth will be spoken in love.
  • Hurts and misunderstanding will be resolved by forgiveness.
To participate in activities organised by Tens and Fifties, other people will have to fit with this lifestyle. They will compromise their behaviour gladly, because they will see the benefits that Tens and Fifties provide to their neighbourhood. However, they will not feel forced to change, because they remain free to opt out at any time.

Christian leaders will not control Christians in their care, but will serve them. They will also seek to serve the other people in their street. The people living in their neighbourhood will respect their leadership because they will have observed their kindness and love. When this has happens, something special has happened in in the neighbourhood.

  • If they serve effectively, Tens and Fifties will be the most influential groups in their neighbourhood.
  • The members of the Tens will have submitted voluntarily to the authority of their elders.
  • The elders will have submitted to Jesus, and to each other. This makes the Kingdom of God a reality in their midst.
  • People living in the neighbourhood but not following Jesus will submit to God's authority some of the time to benefit from the activities of the Tens and Fifties.
Taken together, this means that most people in the neighbourhood will be submitted to God most of the time, so the Kingdom of God has come to their neighbourhood.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Social Architecture (20) Church

Following Jesus example, the church should be restoring Tens, Fifties and Hundreds in the places where we live. Every church should be attached to a particular locality. Ideally, there should be one Church at each location and each location should have one Church.

In my book, Being Church Where We Live, I described how a church should function as a local community. Each church should be led by four or five elders, each with a different gifting, submitting to each other to produce unity. Each elder would provide oversight for about five or six families. If all the families overseen by one elder lived close to each other in a local community, they would become a Ten. This group of connected families would be able to fulfil all the functions of Tens, as described above.

If the church had five elders, each providing oversight of a Ten, the entire church would be a Fifty. If specific needs arose, a couple of local churches could link through their leaders to become a Hundred. The leaders of the Hundred would ensure that the justice, protection and welfare are provided to everyone living in their community.

If Christians moved back to a more biblical model of church, Tens and Hundreds would be restored back to our communities. However, we would have to get out of their cars and auditoriums and move closer together.

A neighbourhood church could be a unifying factor in modern urban society, if Christians formed Tens and Fifties in the places where they lived. They would restore cohesiveness to the neighbourhood.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Social Architecture (19) Jesus Restored

Jesus first step when he began his ministry was to form a Ten.

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him. These are the twelve he appointed (Mark 3:13-16).
By the time of Pentecost, the new church had become a Hundred.
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) (Acts 1:14-15).
When the church expanded quickly, they continued to share in Tens, Fifties and Hundreds.
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 (Acts 2:46).
The early church undertook many of the roles that that had been undertaken by Tens, Fifties and Hundred in Moses’ time.

1. Welfare – the church provided support to people who fell into poverty.

  • The Christians who met together in homes also shared their financial resources.

    Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need (Acts 2:45).

  • Deacons developed new methods for caring for the poor (Acts 6:1-7).

State-run social welfare imposed from the top tend to be ineffective. Care is best provided at the local level.

2. Defence – the church provided protection for their community.

  • The religious and political leaders in Jerusalem were extremely hostile to the new church that was emerging. The Christians protected themselves by sticking together.

    All the believers were together (Acts 2:44)
    While they were together, the authorities could not touch them.

  • When Peter was arrested, the believers went into bat for him.

    So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him (Acts 12:5).
    They used spiritual weapons and an angel released Peter. He returned to house of Mary the mother of Mark.
3. Justice – the new church implemented biblical justice.
  • The Book of Acts records the effects.

  • There were no needy persons among them (Acts 4:34).
    The Greek word translated as “needy” is “endees”. It is not the usual word for “poverty” and is only used once in the New Testament. It is a compound of the word “bind”. Luke seems to be saying that no one “bound by injustice” was among them.

  • These early Christians were not in a position to not deal with individual injustices that had left some people destitute and others wealthy. They resolved these problems with overwhelming generosity.

  • Many of the new Christian sold property and gave it away.

    All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold (Acts 4:34).
    The word “possessor” is interesting. Luke used a noun formed from the Greek word “ktamomai”, which means acquire, or procure. He also used the word “ktema” which comes from the same root (Acts 2:45; 6:3). This is the word used to describe the property of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:22).

    Luke did not use the normal word for “inheritance”. This suggests that the early Christians were not giving away their inheritances, they were giving away property that they had received by other means. Some may have been gained fairly, while some would have been acquired by injustice. Some of those giving their property away would have take this action because they believed that it was acquired unjustly.

State justice is usually bad justice. True justice operates best among neighbours and friends. Elders from Tens, Fifties and Hundreds would act as judges and settle disputes between their people. If some demonstrated real wisdom, they might be called on to be judges in their wider neighbourhood.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Social Architecture (18) Modern Church

The church should be strengthening the foundations of society, but this is not happening in the modern world. Western society has been shaped by the automobile and the church has gone along for the ride. The car has brought great freedom, but we have paid a huge price in loss of fellowship. Church has become something that we drive to, not something that shapes the community where we live. This severely weakens the relationships between Christians, so most modern churches are almost as socially fragmented as the rest of society.

Unfortunately, most people do not see the modern church as an answer to their heart’s cry. It is seen as another institution that meets personal needs with programmes run by professionals. The megachurch model does not develop community, because it just replicates the national state model of concentrating power and delivering services from the top to the bottom.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Social Architecture (17) Modern Society

Tens and Hundreds formed naturally in tribal societies through family connections. Industrialisation, globalisation and urbanisation have eliminated these links from modern society, so that individuals and families live in isolation from each other.

The collapse of community is greatest in modern cities, where migration and urbanisation have broken down traditional community relationships. Social mobility prevents stable relationships from developing and family life is breaking down. People feel like cogs in a machine and life is characterised by loneliness and personal insecurity.

Modern suburban culture creates barriers to communication and encourages individualism. People drive in and out of the suburb for work, shopping and recreation, but rarely meet with each other. As communities break down and fear rises, high fences are going up between houses isolating people from each other. This isolation means that most people do not belong to the community where they live.

This isolation and dislocation of urban society has been accompanied by the aggregation and accumulation of political power to the modern state. We now face the bizarre situation where needs are concentrated in individuals, but power and money is concentrated in the national state. This leaves families and individuals powerless before a faceless government. Justice, defence and welfare come from the top, whereas they are best provided at the bottom.

To restore the cohesion of our societies, Tens, Fifties and Hundreds must be restored to our communities, but it is not clear how this will happen. Politicians have an inbuilt tendency to push power and money to the top, so they will always weaken society at its lowest level.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Social Architecture (16) Justice Collapsed

The rise of kings destroyed the system of local judges that emerged in Moses time. By the time of David, the people of Judah were unable to get justice within their Tens and Hundreds. They had to go to Jerusalem and seek an audience with the king, who had usurped the local judges’ role. David was a military leader, God had not make him a judge.

His son Absalom gained popularity by courting people who had been unable to obtained justice from the King.

Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, "What town are you from?"…. Then Absalom would say to him, "Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you." And Absalom would add, "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice" (2 Sam 15:2-4).
Absalom gained respect by offering justice to people who could not obtain it. When the administration of justice is centralised, justice disappears. David was a good man, but he could not provide justice for everyone. He simply did not have time to investigate and judge every case. David was trying to do what Moses did when he applied the Pharaohs method, before Jethro challenged him.

People had to travel to Jerusalem to get their case heard. This was costly because while they were waiting for their case to come up, they would have to pay for accommodation in an expensive city. They would also be neglecting their family and farm left at home. Only those with power, privilege and money could gain access to a king’s justice.

Permanent kingship requires heavy taxation, and taxation soon became a cause of injustice. A king would always side with his tax collectors, so a king cannot administer justice fairly. The justice provided by Tens and Hundreds had disappeared, by the time Israel had its second king.