Mike Bowden
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est (Latin from early church hymn)
(Where charity and love are, God is there.)

Every culture and political system in some way damages within us the truth of who we are and who God is.

We bring healing to ourselves, to our neighbors, to the church and to the nations as we live as God’s dearly beloved – His love flowing into our lives and out to our relationships.

The results of Communism on Eastern European Christians: (Click video titles below to watch short FOCL video interviews with Emoke Tapolyai)

1. It became a faith based in knowing but not experiencing- How did Communism alter Eastern Europeans image of God?

2. It created a loss of trust, vulnerability, and emotional connection – We can not have intimacy without these. What effect has Communism had on relationships?

3. It destroyed the ability for safe relationships where the lies- of who we are and who God is- can be replaced with the truth. What does a safe relationship look like? Why do the psychological consequences of communism still linger after 25 years?

While we may never understand the damage of living under Communism, we often share the above struggles.

John 17:23 “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent me and loved them even as You loved me”.

Missional Questions:
What is hard about you resting in God’s love and kindness?
How are you growing into living as the beloved of God?
What is this relationship with God like in your life?
Is it based in the truth of who God is?
How has your own brokenness or cultural “ism” entangled you?
What keeps you from relationally living life with God?

Honestly addressing these questions in our lives is what most qualifies our message and is where our God desires His people to be.

Ways the Church brings healing: (Click video titles below to watch short FOCL video interviews with Emoke Tapolyai)
1. Model a loving God by being transformed ourselves. How can the church address the lies of communism?

2. Live out real relationships- showing (not just teaching about) the reality of who God is. How can the church heal the damage Communism did to people’s identity?

3. Forgiving those who have hurt us- thus trusting God and releasing control. How can forgiveness and hope defeat anger and despair in Eastern Europe?

At Home: Read John 17:23 several times. What do you notice?

In a quiet place, spend time going over the above questions with the Lord. What would He say to you? How would He have you respond? What do you need to grow in these things? Journal your thoughts and perhaps share with a friend.