Monday, June 13, 2016

INTERVIEW: REAL TALK RADIO "THIS IS MY BODY: EKKLESIA AS GOD INTENDED"



Why do we do so many things in church that we can't find in the scriptures? What is a house/organic church? Is there a difference? How is the true church supposed to operate?

We will discuss these questions and many more.

**
So enjoyed this interview with the guys at Real Talk Radio.

Part 2 is coming soon!

CLICK TO LISTEN:

Monday, June 06, 2016

[PODCAST SERIES] HOUSE CHURCH 101

HOUSE CHURCH 101 - WHAT IS IT? Is it a bible study? A church that meets in a house? Or...something else? ** HOUSE CHURCH 101 - What's It Look Like? If you were to walk into a house church one Sunday morning, what might you experience? Keith shares his own experiences and talks about who should - and who should not -start a house church group in their home. ** HOUSE CHURCH 101 - WHY IS IT SO HARD? Participating in an Open Meeting is anything but easy. Why is that? Keith talks about the challenges of an open participatory meeting and how followers of Jesus can work together to help the Body to function as Jesus intended. ** HOUSE CHURCH 101 - LEADERSHIP What does leadership look like in an open meeting? Keith Giles shares his experience in the organic church and outlines what to do, and what not to do, to facilitate a New Testament style church gathering. ** HOUSE CHURCH 1O1 - FROM PULPIT TO TENT-MAKING How do you transition from a career in the pulpit to a job in the workforce? Keith shares his personal story and provides key insights into what it takes to trust God for everything.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Preemptive Love



Some people define the teachings of Jesus as being pacifist or "non-violent", and while I don't disagree with that assessment, I prefer the terms "Preemptive Love" and "Proactive Agape."

Here's why.

Rather than frame the example and ethic of Jesus as something we don't do, or something we avoid doing, I prefer to frame it in terms of what Jesus DID do and what He DOES tell us to do: Love Preemptively.

Our first and constant posture is always love. This means we are already loving before our enemy attacks us. Our love for them is not reactive, it is proactive. Just as His love for us isn't reacting to anything we have done or will do. He just loves us - and everyone - all the time. Our love is what initiates action because love is a verb.

So, as we follow Jesus we are always loving because He is always loving us. As His love for us is poured into us and over us and through us, we also reflect that love and funnel that love and redirect that perfect, unmerited, unconditional love right back out to everyone around us.

Love begins with God and continues in, and through, us. We are His ambassadors of love. We are the incarnation of love in this world today.

Non-violence suggests that we are holding violence back, or that we are denying the violence within us. But Preemptive Love declares that we are beings who are so perfectly and constantly loved by God that we are being transformed into carriers of love who cannot help but love Him in return and others at all times.

Let's love preemptively and practice agape proactively.

"If anyone claims to be in Him, he must walk as Jesus did." - 1 John 2:6

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Revival or Resurrection?



Gather thousands of Christians together. Pack them into a stadium. Crank the amps up to eleven. Jump around. Raise your hands. Empty your pockets.
Bow your heads. Listen to the message.
Drive home.

The world is still the same.

You are still the same.

Is that Revival?

Revival, to me, isn’t about hype.
It’s about a handful of people whose hearts are sincerely burdened for the lost, who are desperate for more of Jesus and who cannot face another second of life-as-usual.

Those people aren’t waiting for a national conference.
They’re not interested in the mega church pastor’s new book.
They couldn’t care less about the worship band whose new album is on sale near the snack table.

They just want Jesus.
They are only interested in Jesus.
They want to know Jesus more.
They want to be like Jesus.

They want a heart like His.
They want to love the people Jesus loves.
They want to serve the people Jesus served.
They want to forgive the way Jesus forgave them.
They are moved by the things that move the heart of Jesus.

People like this open their arms to gay and transgender people.
Those profoundly touched by Jesus step outside and share their food with the poor.
They pray for the sick without stopping to pull out their iPhone so they can post it to YouTube later.

Revival? For me, that’s a word for a person whose heart is broken.
A person whose soul is ripped down the middle at the sight of all the suffering that surrounds them.

Revival is a word that calls attention to the reality that something that is dead needs to come alive again.

Maybe we don’t need another revival meeting. Maybe what we need is more like a resurrection.

Let me ask:

Doesn’t the world deserve a Church that does more than pack stadiums on the weekend?

Isn’t it more powerful and effective to wake up every morning and quietly, yet consistently, live out the commands of Jesus where we live and breathe?

To me, that is what revival really looks like.

It’s not hyped up.
It’s not up on the Jumbo-Tron.
It doesn’t have a soundtrack or an official t-shirt.

Revival is simply a group of people who are hungry for Jesus and moved by Jesus who are willing to go out and act like Jesus in a world that is desperate for Jesus, [even if they don’t know it yet].

I’m not saying it’s a sin to hold a big conference. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to support Christian ministries.

What I am saying is that Christianity in America seems to be hopelessly enamored with spectacle and addicted to events.

Instead of a conference that goes to eleven, I'd rather see a move of the Spirit that sends people out to hang with the zeroes.

I guess I’m just waiting for the big “Let’s Go and Do the Stuff Jesus Did” Conference,
where thousands of Christians spread out over the city
and break into groups of five or ten to visit children’s hospitals
and pray for cancer patients
and give hugs to the homeless
and reconcile with their gay brothers and sisters
and pray a sincere blessing for their President
and repent publicly from seeking to change the culture through political power
and maybe donate ten million dollars to feed the poor and house the mentally ill who sleep on our streets every night.

When I see that, I’ll call it revival.

Until then, I’m really not sure what to call it.

-kg








Wednesday, May 25, 2016

CHANGE OF SEASONS



My youngest son, David, is graduating from High School next month. 

He’s enrolled at Biola University and has been accepted into their Torrie Honors Program. He hopes to study music production. 

We couldn’t be more proud of him.

Since Kindergarten, Wendy has been home-schooling him and now - once he graduates in a few short weeks - all of that ends.

It's been especially hard on Wendy to watch both her boys grow up so fast. Now our little boys have beards and drive cars and talk with deep voices.

Wendy has been David's teacher his whole life, and now that phase of her life is done. At least academically.

Along with this huge life change comes the departure of our dear sister in Christ, Marlys, who has been with our house church family from day one. We've known her longer than that, of course, so saying goodbye to her is going to be very difficult for us when she moves to Florida.

Another sister in our house church is also moving away - along with her whole family - to Georgia.

Wendy doesn't handle good-byes very well. Not that any of us enjoys them, but these are especially difficult for her.

Saying goodbye to this season of her life with David, and saying goodbye to her dear friend Marlys, and saying goodbye to this sister and her family...it's all coming down on us at once.

My struggle isn't so much with the good-bye portion - although it does hurt to let go of these wonderful people who have been so much apart of our personal family and our church family. No, my struggle is mostly with the unknown factors like, "How will we pay for David's tuition which is more than triple what Dylan pays for school?" and "Should we buy a new car and go deeper in debt so that David can have a way to get to class?" and now that Wendy has to find a job to help cover these additional expenses, "Where will Wendy work and how will she get there every morning?"

And a half-dozen other questions like this that I have no answers for right now.

You can probably relate, I'm guessing. I'm sure many of you are going through - or have already gone through - similar situations in your life.

Here's all I know: God loves me. He loves my family. He knows what we need before we ask. He has a plan. He is in control. I am not.

So, I do what I can, which is simply to let go of my fears and trust Him.

If I can count on Him to walk with me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I can certainly trust Him to be with me through the Valley of the Shadow of Uncertainty and Change.

Not only will He walk beside us, He has already gone ahead of us to prepare the way.

If you think of it, please hold us up in your prayers as we keep our eyes on Him.

Change is never easy, but it's how we learn to trust in our Abba.

Blessings,
Keith





Tuesday, May 17, 2016

JESUS UNTANGLED: The book in progress




Over the last few weeks I've been taking some time to start writing my next book.

The title of the book is "Jesus Untangled" and it's inspired by the 14 part series of articles I wrote a few months ago.

Just to summarize it: The book will look at how the Christian Church has become entangled with nationalism, politics and denominationalism. We'll also examine why it's so important to become untangled, and how we can set ourselves free.

So far I've finished writing the first 3 chapters of the book and if I can keep on pace to write a chapter each week I should have the first draft completed by sometime in early July.

After that I'll go back and do re-writes, edits, and add in any missing quotes, references and foot notes before going to the final edit stage.

That should take me until the end of July to wrap up.

Hopefully by then I'll be ready to publish this project and then we'll start thinking about the cover, sending out pre-pub copies for review and lining up interviews with various Blog Radio shows and podcasters to get the word out about it.

If you're really curious about the book and my progress going forward, I've created a closed group over on Facebook called "Jesus Untangled" [pretty creative huh?] where people who want the "inside scoop" can follow along with me as I go.

Would you like to be in that group? If so, please follow me on Facebook and then message me about being added to the group. I'll add you and then you'll get to hear how things are going.

Some of what I've shared so far with the group is:
*Chapter updates on the book so far
*My outline for the book
*My process for writing the book
*Articles, posts, quotes and videos related to the topic that have inspired the book

Going forward here's what I plan to share:
*Chapter-by-chapter updates on my progress
*Insight into my research process before I write a book
*Other books that have fueled my research on this topic
*Additional notes or thoughts that may - or may not - make it into the final book
*Updates on getting the book published
*Cover ideas and designs  [Vote for your favorite!]
*Ideas for Guerilla Marketing the book online and in the real world
*And more!

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what else I'll share in the group, but I'm also asking everyone to share their own videos, quotes, links, etc. on the topic to help keep us focused on the subject matter and - who knows - maybe even influence what I write in the final draft of the book.

My hope is that this group will also help me to stay focused on the goal of writing at least one chapter per week and staying on track to finish everything up before August, if at all possible.

In short, I need your help!

Thanks for your prayers and your support as I write the book.

I appreciate it more than you know.

Peace,
Keith


Thursday, May 12, 2016

If Jesus Is Lord Then Why Don't We Do What He Says?



"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?" - Jesus [Luke 6:46]

It's a very good question. Our answers are usually of the "Nobody can do what Jesus commands" variety, but that answer isn't supported by the New Testament.

Instead, we're left with these annoying verses that say that we already have "everything we need for a godly life" if we are in Christ, and that the same grace of God that saves us also "teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives IN THIS PRESENT AGE" and that "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us", and on and on.

So is this all just bad theology mixed with a dash of "I don't feel like it"?

Yes, partially.

We mix our opinions about "keeping the Law" and our failure to "be perfect" with a side of complacency and wallow in our illusions of powerlessness. Partly because we prefer this reality, and partly because we sort of believe it is the Gospel.

But it's not the Gospel. It's a theology of partial truth marked by a cross, but missing the resurrection power of Christ.

Yes, Paul does stress that we are powerless to keep the Law of Moses. Because of our failure to do so, Jesus came and fulfilled the Law for us and took our sins to the cross. 

But is that it? Is that the end of the story?

Not at all!

The end of the Old Covenant - marked by a strict adherence to a Law that brought death - has been overshadowed by a New Covenant that writes God's law on our hearts and empowers us by His indwelling Holy Spirit to fulfill the Law of Christ by loving God and loving others as He has loved us.

That is the complete Gospel message. 

We are not powerless anymore. Jesus and the Father have made their home within us if we love Him and if we keep His commands. 

That abiding presence is what empowers us to put His words into practice. It's a symbiotic process where His Holy Spirit within us provides the power to love as He loved, and because of this we show our love for Him by obeying His commands which "are not burdensome".

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith." - 1 John 5:2-4

These "commandments" are not the Ten Commandments. Those are now obsolete and vanishing. No, the "commandments" that "are not burdensome" are the commands of Jesus to "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength" and to "love your neighbor as you love yourself."

How can we do this? Because we are now filled with the transformational agape love of Jesus which is something brand new and miraculous.

Now that the love of Jesus is alive and active within us, we can actually "love one another" as Jesus loved us!

That's good news!

When Jesus said that his "yoke was easy and [his] burden was light", he was contrasting that with the yoke of the Pharisees [which was the Law of Moses and the Old Covenant] which was heavy and impossible to carry.

Why is Jesus' yoke "easy"? In what way is His yoke "light"?

It's because Jesus, unlike the Pharisees who would not lift a finger to help those under the yoke of the Law, actually DOES help us to stand up under His yoke. It's easy and it's light because Jesus is abiding within us and He gives us "all we need" to "surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees".

[See "Effortless and Free" for more on this]

Does this mean we never blow it? Does it mean we are now perfectly capable of always loving everyone at all times? No, and yes: We ARE capable, but we are not always willing to.

This is why Paul admits that he "has not yet attained it" but that he does "this one thing; forgetting the past and pressing on the high calling of Jesus Christ". [See Phil. 3:13-14]

If Jesus is Lord, then we not only must do what He says, we are capable of doing it because He is alive within us.

Abide in Him and He will abide in you.

That's a promise.

-kg

FOR FURTHER READING:
*Effortless and Free [The Easy Yoke of Jesus]
*A Difficult Path and An Easy Yoke
*If Jesus Tells Me To Do Something, Do I Have To Do It?
*If I Love Jesus, Can I Ignore What He Says?