Saturday, August 27, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: "What About Forgiveness?" with Keith Giles


Does Jesus expect us to forgive people, even if they don't ask for our forgiveness? What about when they don't repent or stop their offensive behaviors?

Take 5 minutes and listen to Keith's response based on what Jesus has to say about forgiving others and how it relates to our own forgiveness.

Follow Keith online at: www.KeithGiles.com

Friday, August 26, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Discipleship [Part 2] Keith Giles


In this 5 minute video clip, Keith talks about the second most important thing to remember about discipleship, and explores the reasons why the idea of discipleship is so difficult for some to grasp in the American Church today.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Discipleship [Part 1] with Keith Giles



Take 5 minutes and listen to Keith talk about Discipleship in this new "5 Minute Video" series of talks about what it means to follow Jesus.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO BE RIGHT?



 
Is Christianity ultimately about being right? Or is it about following Jesus?

See, if Christianity is about being right then it's easier to justify cutting off those people you don't agree with. Because, if you see Christianity as a quest for “rightness” then being wrong is the greatest sin of all.

However, if you see Christianity as following Jesus, then being right is less important than the quality of your relationship with Him.

Relationships are messy. They’re not about correctness, or accuracy. No one measures their relationships in such terms. Instead, we gauge the health of our relationships based on how open our communication is, and how honest we can be with one another, and how much time we spend together.

Jesus also connects our obedience to His commands with our love for Him. It’s all through the Gospel of John, especially in John 14.

He also equates our love for Him with how we love one another. If we love one another as He has loved us – which is one of His commands – then we are loving Him by our obedience, and by being obedient we are loving others, too.

Elsewhere, Jesus connects our horizontal relationships with our vertical one towards God. He tells us that we should go and reconcile with our brother before we return to complete our acts of worship. And the Apostle John pushes it further by saying that if we claim to love God but don’t love our brothers and sisters, we’re just liars.

So, what should we learn from this? Perhaps that our interpersonal relationships don’t need to hinge on agreement with one another.

I can love someone who has the wrong ideas about doctrine. I can fellowship with a brother who sees things differently than I do. I can extend grace to a sister who calls me a heretic.

Are they wrong? Maybe. But perhaps I’m the one who is off base? Until we know for sure, our main goal should be to love one another as Christ has loved us.

In the early church, for example, there were three different views of the doctrine of hell. For nearly 300 years none of those people considered the others to be "heretics" or worthy of excommunication or disqualified from the faith.

It was only after Constantine shifted the paradigm of Christianity from a focus on Christlikeness [orthopraxy] to one of Correctness [orthodoxy] that Christians started persecuting one another over differences of opinion in matters of faith.

So, nowhere do we get the idea that the Gospel is about having the correct information. Instead, it’s about having a transformational relationship with Jesus.

This relationship involves abiding in Christ as He abides in us. Through this process, our sinful self is daily crucified and our spiritual self – the “new creature” – is brought to life within us.

It’s a constant exchange of death for life where the resurrection power of Christ is increasingly revealed in us and transforming us into people who are like Him.

So, in summary, if the Gospel is about having the right information, then being right is everything.

But, if the Gospel is about transformation, then being Christlike is everything.

Let go of the need to “be right” and begin to embrace the reality of Christ’s transformational life in you!

We’re all in process. None of us is right about everything. Thankfully, we don’t need to be.

We just have to keep abiding in Him.

Peace,

kg
WATCH THE VIDEO

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jesus Is The Son of God (And So Am I)



Most Christians are convinced that Jesus is the Son of God. But not as many are convinced that they are also the son (or daughter) of God, even though the New Testament goes out of its way to stress this fact.

For example:

"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)

"It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?" (Hebrews 12:7)

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1)

"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8:14-17)

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:18; 2 Sam. 7:14)

"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir." (Galatians 4:4-7)


So, as I've been meditating on this lately it's started to make me wonder: How would the son of God treat his co-workers? How should the son of God interact with his neighbors? How might we expect the son of God to drive his car? Or wait in line at the grocery store? Or respond to a homeless person?

See what I mean? The idea that you and I are the sons and daughters of God is quite transformative, and I believe that is the entire point.

Just try going through your day with the awareness that you are the son (or daughter) of God and see how it changes what you say, how you act and what you do.

Now, try doing this for a week, or a month, or maybe even the rest of your life.

I'd love to hear how it goes!

-kg


WATCH VIDEO

Monday, August 22, 2016

INTERVIEW: Richard Jacobson



Unless you live in a cave, you probably already know Richard Jacobson. He's the guy who makes those very cool animated videos about what church should look like over at ChurchAnarchist.com, [now known as "Unchurching"]

He and I famously collaborated on one of those videos where I narrated one of my blog posts - "Its' Time For The Church To Go Out Of Business" - and Richard animated the entire manifesto, which you can watch here.

I really got to know Richard better after one of those Subversive Round Table video conversations awhile back which included Neil Cole, Jon Zens, Dan Herford, and Richard. 

After everyone else had signed off, Richard and I stayed on the line and talked for another hour. I deeply regret turning off the "record" button because that conversation was one of the most amazing and insightful discussions I've ever had with anyone about God's plan for His Bride.

Luckily for you, Richard recently published a book that takes that conversation and magnifies it exponentially.

His book, Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity, has only been out for about a month now, but already it has made some serious waves. 


I recently had a chance to interview Richard Jacobson about his first book and here it is:

Keith: Before we dive into your book, Unchurching, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Richard: Gladly! My name is Richard Jacobson. I’m an artist, author, and animator. I’m also a former full-time pastor. I gave up pastoring (at least professionally) once I realized today’s organized church model contradicts the descriptions of the early churches we read about in the Bible. 

For the past few years, I’ve created animated videos and cartoons about this. Most recently, I’ve published my first book, Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity, and I’ve launched The Unchurching Podcast.

Keith: You say you gave up pastoring once you realized there was a contradiction between the churches described in the Bible and the churches we attend today. Can you go into a little more detail about that?

Richard: Well, the churches described in the Bible were simple Christian communities that functioned like extended spiritual families. Today’s churches, on the other hand, are corporations. I mean that quite literally. And from everything I’ve examined, the way a corporation functions is entirely at odds with the way a genuine spiritual community is supposed to function.

Keith: Could you give an example?

Richard: Corporations are based on organizational hierarchy. Specifically, in a church corporation, a few people at the top perform all the real ministry, and the people at the bottom are the recipients of that ministry. The clearest example is the Sunday morning sermon. A pastor or priest puts together a message that’s intended to inform and edify the rest of the church. On Sunday, the congregation gathers to silently listen to that message. Supposedly, listening to such messages spiritually builds up the church.

However, nothing could be further from the biblical example. 1 Corinthians 14:26 tells us plainly that every member of the church is supposed to bring something to share during our church gatherings: a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, and so on. 

In fact, Paul says everyone must share something in order to build up the church. Passively watching someone else exercise his spiritual gift is not the way to build up the church. That’s like saying watching someone else exercise will help you lose weight! To truly build up the church, we all have to exercise our spiritual gifts, whenever we gather.

Keith: Amen! But what would you say to someone who challenges that idea by suggesting that we can exercise our spiritual gifts outside the service? I mean, what about when we volunteer in various ministries or when we are in the workplace, etc., Don’t we have opportunities to exercise our spiritual gifts then?

Richard: Absolutely. However, one of Paul’s favorite description of the church is the Body of Christ. And he goes into great detail to describe a body where all the parts function together. How can we truly learn to function together if we only exercise our unique spiritual gifts whenever we’re apart? What are we doing to our churches, not to mention individual believers, if we don't allow everyone to share what the Lord has given them whenever we gather? According to Paul, we’re actually weakening the church.

Keith: So, if your true goal is to strengthen the church, can I ask you why your book is called "Unchurching"? That title seems to advocate walking away from the church. Or does it?

Richard: Depending on a person’s understanding of “church,” they might think that’s what I’m proposing. However, the reason for the confusion is today’s concept of church. As I mentioned before, the biblical concept of church is a simple Christian community that functions like an extended spiritual family. A genuine church is not something separate from its members. It’s not something you “attend” or “don’t attend”; it’s simply what you are. So, when I advocate people leave the “organized church,” I’m not suggesting they separate themselves from genuine church community.

The organized church model has absolutely nothing to do with genuine church community. The first believers wouldn’t even understand questions like, “What church do you go to?” They simply thought of church as a spiritual family, plain and simple. And you would never ask someone, “What family do you go to?” That would be a nonsensical question! As provocative as this might sound, for many believers, leaving the organized church might actually be their first real step toward finding genuine church community. Maybe for the first time in their lives.

Keith: How has your book been received so far?

Richard: The initial response has been mind-blowing. Currently, Unchurching has great reviews on Amazon, and great reviews on readers’ blogs. People have been posting lots of quotes, and photos of sections they’ve highlighted. Many have said they’ve already read the book two or three times. It’ll be interesting to see if the book continues to be this well received, once it starts to reach a wider audience.

But as of right now, I’m getting lots of emails and messages on Facebook from readers, thanking me for writing the book. Many of them have struggled with guilt because of their secret frustrations with the organized church, or struggled to find the words to explain their frustrations to family and friends. I guess this book has helped some of them.

Keith: Yeah, it sounds like your book really resonates with what some people are feeling right now.

Richard: Yes, I think that’s it. One of the recurring themes I’ve heard is that readers are grateful that someone has finally articulated what they’ve always felt.

Keith: Wow. I'm sure that must make you feel pretty validated as well?

Richard: It does. For one thing, I worked on this book off-and-on for fifteen years. That’s a long time to work on something, not knowing whether anyone will ever discover it, or even like it. So, it’s a bit of a relief to know that all that time wasn’t wasted!

Keith: What's your long-term hope for the book? What kind of impact would you like Unchurching to have?

Richard: One of my main motivations for writing this book is the mass exodus that’s happening in the organized church right now. Millions of believers are opting out, many of them due to the contradictions I talk about in the book. My concern is that far too many of them only associate church community with the organized church model; they might not realize those things are separate, that you can have one without the other. I don’t want to see them totally give up on church, when the real issue is simply the way we’ve been doing church; I hope to help them understand separate the two.

Keith: What about people who have already left the organized church and found the type of church community you describe in the book? Is there anything in Unchurching for them?

Richard: Absolutely. People who have been pursuing genuine church community, outside the walls of churchianity seem equally passionate about the book. Apparently, there are a lot of ideas in Unchurching they haven’t encountered anywhere else. They also love the fact that the book unapologetically asserts the organized church model is unbiblical, yet doesn’t come off judgmental, and doesn’t attack people who feel genuinely called to the organized church.

Keith: Your book is currently available on Amazon, in both printed and ebook versions, right?

Richard: Yes. It’s also currently available through Amazon Unlimited, which is basically like Netflix for books. So, if you’re an Amazon Unlimited member, you can read it for free right now.

Keith: What are some other ways people can connect with you?

Richard: On my site, unchurching.com, you’ll find links to all my various social media accounts. You’ll also find some of my animated videos and cartoons there, as well as a contact form and email address. I also hope people will check out The Unchurching Podcast.

Keith: Do people need to read the book before listening to the podcast?

Richard: Not at all. The book is basically a scriptural case for why the organized church model isn’t biblical, as well as a more biblical vision for what genuine church community looks like. You can either read it casually, or use the extensive footnotes to approach it like a Bible study, if you want to go deeper.

However, there were equally valuable things I wanted to share with readers that were simply beyond the scope of the book: personal stories, interviews, and practical insights from people who are already living in the type of church communities described in the book. The podcast if the perfect way to share those things. But no, you don’t have to wait until you read the book. You can jump right in.

Keith: I’ll make sure to share the link for the book, the site, and the podcast, at the end of this interview. Thanks for taking the time to talk!

Richard: Glad to. And thank you for spreading the word about the book!

**
Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity, can be found on Amazon, in both print and Kindle versions. NOTE: 
From now until mid-November, all Kindle Unlimited members can read Unchurching for free. 

Visit the Unchurching site to see more of Richard’s animated videos and cartoons, and to connect with him on social media. 

The Unchurching Podcast can be found both online and on iTunes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

10 REASONS YOU SHOULD NOT TITHE



Here are 10 very good reasons to stop tithing your 10% every week.


  1. The command to tithe was given only to the Jewish people. It was intended to provide for the upkeep of the Temple in Jerusalem and to support the Priesthood who owned no land and did not work to support themselves.
  2. The Temple in Jerusalem is gone now and has been for over 2,000 years, since its destruction by the Romans in AD 70.
  3. There is no longer any need to support a priesthood made up of people who do not own land or work for a living.
  4. The Old Covenant is now obsolete according to Hebrews 8:13. Therefore no one needs to keep those laws anymore.
  5. If you are in Christ then you are now the Temple of God where He has made His home. [See 1 Cor. 6:19-20]
  6. Those who abide in Christ are automatically ordained into the Priesthood of All Believers. [See 1 Peter 2:4-5 and 2:9-10]
  7. The daily sacrifice that was once offered in the Jewish Temple is now replaced by the living, daily sacrifice of every member of Christ's Body. [See Romans 12:1]
  8. The New Testament scriptures do not command anyone to tithe and the Church didn't formally institute the tithe until 777 AD under Charlemagne. For over 700 years no one who followed Christ tithed anything to the church.
  9. The New Covenant standard is not 10%, but 100%. God owns everything, and we are commanded to surrender everything to Christ. [See Luke 9:23 and Mark 12:17 ]
  10. The early Christians only practiced a freewill offering, not a mandatory ten percent obligation. Just look at what Tertullian, a second century Christian, tells us about what the early Church did with their offerings:  
           “Even if there is a treasury of a sort, it is not made up of money paid in initiation fees, as if                   religion were a matter of contract. Every man once a month brings some modest                                   contribution- or whatever he wishes, and only if he does wish, and if he can; for 
            nobody is compelled; it is a voluntary offering…to feed the poor and to bury them, for boys                 and girls who lack property and parents, and then for slaves grown old…So we, who are                     united in mind and soul, have no hesitation about sharing property. All is common 
            among us- except our wives. At that point we dissolve our partnership.."

IN SUMMARY: 
No Christian today should continue to follow the Old Covenant mandate given to pre-Christian Jews to surrender ten percent of their income to their religious leaders. 

Now that everyone who is in Christ has been named the Temple of God, and has become the daily, living sacrifice, and has been ordained into the Priesthood of God, there is no longer any need to pay tithes to upkeep a building or to support a separate group or class of religious leaders.

Under the New Covenant, God owns 100%. We are called to surrender all that we have to Christ and to follow Him with our whole life. Under this New Covenant we do not relegate worship to one day a week, but we now seek and serve and worship Him every single day of our lives. 

So, stop holding back from God. Give 100 percent of your time, your money, your talent, and your life to Him.

Stop following rules and begin to follow the voice of the Spirit of God that lives within you.

Give freely, because you have been freely given. [Matt. 10:8]

"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." [2 Cor. 9:7]

-kg

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