Monday, June 30, 2008

Holy Spirit Weekend

This last Saturday and Sunday our family and our house church spent a lot of time focusing on the Holy Spirit.

First, we attended a Saturday conference with Mike Pilavachi and received some great instruction (as only Mike can) on the Holy Spirit, praying for others and waiting on God. Then we got to practice it on one another. It was really amazing.

I got to pray for a total stranger and God gave me a specific word of encouragement for him that was spot on. Thank you, Jesus! I always feel nervous praying like that for someone because I don't always get a word for them. This time God came through and it was great to encourage someone that way.

A lot of other friends of our were there also and they were blessed as well. It was an awesome day. No one wanted to leave!

On Sunday morning, mostly fueled by what we had experienced on Saturday, we broke our usual liturgy at The Mission and mixed things completely up and invited the Holy Spirit to come, spent time laying hands on those who needed physical healing, and praying over each other in the group spontaneously. We also had a wonderful dialog about the ministry of reconciliation as an extension of the healing ministry of Jesus.

Several people stayed for lunch and some of the kids stayed until 5pm. It was an all-day fellowship and Holy Spirit-fest!

Doesn't it seem like Sunday after Sunday we have more and more to praise God for and celebrate?!

God is so awesome!


Friday, June 27, 2008



By his own admission, James Dobson is not a theologian, Biblical scholar, or even a pastor. He's a psychologist.

This is why I fully endorse this website:

It should go without saying that Jim Wallis doesn't speak for me either. I tend to speak for myself whenever possible.


If you haven't seen this DVD yet, you need to. Rent it today. Watch it with your family and your Church. It's worth it.



I leave you with a great quote by Henri Nouwen about our calling as "little Christs" to go where Jesus went and love as Jesus loved.

"Our faithfulness will depend on our willingness to go where there is brokenness, loneliness, and human need. If the church has a future it is a future with the poor in whatever form." - Henri J.M. Nouwen; Sabbatical Journey

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, June 26, 2008


The podcast of my message last Sunday is now online at ITunes. To download this free podcast sermon just go to ITunes and search "Keith Giles" or "Subversive Underground" under podcasts.

This was a great day. The Mission House Church and Soul Survivor Church held a shared worship celebration where I was asked to share what God has been showing me about The Church and our identity as the Body, the Temple and the Bride of Christ.

This message contains the core of what my next book will be about. I'm working on finishing it up now and hopefully before the end of the year I'll be able to share it with all of you.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Modern Church Translation - Matthew 28:19

Announcing a brand new "Modern Church Translation" of the Bible!

Finally the words of Jesus have been re-translated for our modern Christian lives!

Here's an example of how this new translation modifies the old, stuffy text into a new, more comfortable version we can all enjoy.

New Living Translation Version:
"19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." - Matthew 28:19

Modern Church Translation:
"19 Therefore, stay put in your churches and pray that people will walk through your doors. In this way your pastor can preach to them so that they will become disciples. Baptize the rare convert that walks through your door in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Choose a method and ritual for your baptisms. Ensure that you criticize those whose method differs from yours. You may even choose to question the salvation of those that were not baptized by your preferred method." - Matthew 28:19

*from a post over at "Untried" my friend Mark's blog

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Son Dylan's First Game of Soccer

Yesterday I got off work a bit early to attend my oldest son Dylan's first soccer game.

I can't tell you how proud of him I was. This was the first sport of any kind he has ever played and he's doing really well at it, for a first timer.

He needs to learn a lot more, but I'm thrilled to see him trying something new that he's interested in and shows some natural ability at.

See, I was never an athelete. I never played sports of any kind, even at recess in school. I'm a thinker. I used to read books all the time, or draw, or make up comedy routines to entertain my friends, etc. So, for me to have an athelete in the family is something new for me.

I guess it means that my son isn't an extension of me anymore, he's his very own person. His unique personality and character is emerging as he approaches his teenage years, and like it or not, I will have to allow him room to stretch and spread his wings and learn to be exactly who he is.

This is me learning how to be a good Father to my son. Cheering him on from the sidelines and coaching him during the breaks, and loving him no matter what happens.

I'm very, very proud of him.

P.S. - His team did win their very first game. It was 6 to 4 (a pretty high-scoring game of soccer) and Dylan even got a few good kicks in, played some great defense, even shouldered one kid down on one play and blocked out the opposing player on the other end of the field so his teammate could grab the ball away and save the play.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Amazing Day (Yesterday)

I think yesterday may have been one of the very best days of my life so far.

We started out sharing breakfast with Mary Anne, our new-found friend who recently came into our lives, and our house church, about a year ago. She's recently had a brain tumor removed and is doing much better, but still not out of the woods yet.

About 10am we all drove down to Soul Survivor Church in Costa Mesa and had a wonderful shared worship celebration. It was so awesome to look around the room and see my family from the Mission House Church and my family from Soul Survivor all together in the same place.

I got to preach on a subject that has been burning in me for weeks now, all about the Church Jesus Built, who He made us to be, and our identity as the new Temple, the new Priesthood and the new, daily, (living), sacrifice. (The Podcast will be loaded soon).

Afterwards we went together, nearly the whole group, to eat lunch across the street at Rubio's Fish Tacos (yum!) and then after running home for a bit, and to drop off Mary-Anne back at the home where she's living now, we dashed over to continue the party at The Rehagen's house as our house church celebrated the Baptism of our own Mollie Wright. Our First Baptism!!! It was so beautiful. We sang a song of worship together ("Lord I Lift Your Name On High") and then Mollie and I, and her Dad Jason, walked down into the swimming pool. I asked her if she had made up her mind to love and to follow Jesus all the days of her life, and she said, emphatically, "Yes!" and then her Dad and I baptized her in the pool.

After she came up we laid hands on her and prayed a blessing over her. And then we had a swimming pool party! Yes!

It was SO UNBEARABLY HOT this whole weekend! The time in the pool was amazing. I think every single person from The Mission was there who could be there (we have one family out of town) and the party was really sweet and fun and refreshing.

Wendy made an awesome ice cream cake to share and we all chowed down on this luscious cookies and cream ice cream slice of chocolate cake and heaven. Wow. My wife really needs to do more of this...

My vote was to have next Sunday's house church in the pool, floating in the cool water and singing worship songs, sharing together, maybe re-baptizing one another spontaneously, etc. Especially if this heat continues.

After our little pool party and baptism celebration the party continued for our women as they gathered at 7pm for Women's Ministry Night and prayed for one another and ministered to one another.

What an awesome day!

It was so incredible to really "Be The Church" and be a Family together and share this amazing day with everyone.

Am I blessed or what?!

God, you are too good to me. Keep it coming!


Friday, June 20, 2008

The Failure of the American Church

The Failure of the American Church
By Keith Giles

"While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." - Matthew 26:6-13

When Jesus tells his disciples that they will always have the poor among them, many have concluded that this statement is meant to downplay the practice of giving to the poor in order to focus on more important things, like corporate worship and giving to the building fund.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the passage Jesus is quoting here is from the book of Deuteronomy and it contains a teaching that they would have known by heart as good Jewish young men.

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." - Deut. 15:11

In contrast to what we may erroneously assume about the meaning of Jesus' words, this passage is actually a command to give generously to the poor, because they will always be with us.

In fact, to read the entire passage in Deuteronomy is to catch a very surprising whiff of just how much God is concerned for the poor in our midst.

In verse 4 of chapter 15 there is a very interesting statement God makes that any good Christian should take note of: "However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you"

God's command to His people was to show such amazing generosity and compassion for the poor that there should be no poor among them, even though later on, in verse 11, He affirms that the poor will always be among them; suggesting that while their love may fail the test, the needs of those around them will not cease.

The great news is that, once Jesus arrived on the scene and began to model life in the Kingdom to his disciples, they began to understand what real love and compassion towards the poor looked like.

From the very beginning our Lord Jesus turned to his disciples and gave them a simple command: "Love one another" - John 13:34

From the very beginning, these faithful disciples obeyed this simple command.

"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need." - Acts 4:32-35

In fact, many New Testament scholars and Early Church Historians have concluded that the amazing love these first Christians had for one another was more instrumental in drawing people to Christ, and to receive the Gospel of the Kingdom, than any of the signs or wonders performed by the Apostles.

Some have suggested that this radical compassion for the poor eventually failed and was proven unsustainable because later on in the New Testament Paul the Apostle writes a letter appealing to other Churches in the region to send money to support the now-bankrupt Churches in Jerusalem and the area of Macedonia.

"At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little." - 2 Cor 8:14-15

While some may see Paul's appeal to other churches for financial assistance as proof that the radical compassion and charity of the early Church was unsustainable, I would argue that it proves the concept was spreading and part of God's plan to spread the Gospel throughout the Earth.

The model of radical compassion that Jesus left us, and that the Apostles promoted, was designed to grow and expand as the Gospel spread. At first the sharing of all things within the community was between neighbors on the same street, and then between those within the same city. As the Gospel spread the sharing expanded to include those within the same region, and then eventually to those within the nation. The circle was meant to grow ever outward. As the message of the Gospel spread so too would the demonstration of radical community and giving would expand to include those brothers and sisters who had never even met in person.

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." - Acts 2:44-47

When Paul quotes Exodus 16:18 in 2 Cor 8:15 (see above)"...they that gather little did not have too little; those that gathered much did not have too much" he was subtly reminding them of the manna principle that God gave the Israelites in the desert. It was a principle of trusting God for daily bread and not taking more for yourself than you need for today.

The beautiful thing is that those early Christians and followers of Jesus got it. They gave hilariously. They gave sacrificially. They gave because they knew that God would supply their need tomorrow in view of their generosity and open hand today.

Where have we in America gone wrong? How have we made being a faithful Christian about getting more stuff? How could we twist faith in Christ into a tool for amassing more wealth and blessing for ourselves?

"It is sad to see that, in our highly competitive and greedy world, we have lost touch with the joy of giving. We often live as if our happiness depended on having. But I don't know anyone who is really happy because of what he or she has. True joy, happiness and inner peace come from the giving of ourselves to others. A happy life is a life for others." - Henri J.M. Nouwen; Life of the Beloved

I pray that somehow God would touch and soften our selfish, greedy hearts and begin to break us, giving us eyes to see the poor in our midst.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Repairing the Veil?

Scholars say the veil in the Jewish Temple was over 300 pounds and took over 400 men to move.

As soon as Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures from the cross, God ripped it in half, from top to bottom.

"And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." - Matt 27:50-51

God didn't waste a moment removing the barriers between Himself and us.

Let's be careful not to rebuild that veil by establishing a system of Church that keeps Him from us.

He has made you and I the Temple of His Holy Spirit.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What the Church is Not

Repeat after me:

The Church is not an organization, it is an organism.

The Church is not a business, it is a Family.

A Pastor is not a CEO, he is a loving shepherd.

The people in your Church are not employees, commodities or assets, they are your brothers and sisters and part of your Family.



1. The act of organizing a business or business-related activity; "he was brought in to supervise the organization of a new department".

2. The activity or result of distributing or disposing persons or things properly or methodically.

3. An ordered manner; orderliness by virtue of being methodical and well organized.


1. Any biological entity capable of replication or of transferring genetic material.

2. Any living entity that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently.

3. A system considered analogous in structure or function to a living body.


1. A commercial or industrial enterprise and the people who constitute it.

2. The activity of providing goods and services involving financial and commercial and industrial aspects.

3. The principal activity in your life that you do to earn money;


1. A social unit living together.

2. Primary social group; parents and children.

3. People descended from a common ancestor.

4. An association of people who share common beliefs or activities.

5. A person having kinship with another or others.


1. A worker who is hired to perform a job.

2. The employee contributes labour to an enterprise. Employees preform the discrete activity of economic production. An employee may contribute to the evolution of the enterprise, but usually has little control over the productive infrastructure, such as intellectual property and business contacts. Employees usually are the labour in the three factors of production, the others being land and capital.


1. A male with the same parents as someone else.

2. A male person who is a fellow member of a fraternity or religion of other group).

3. Used as a term of address for those male persons engaged in the same movement.


1. A female person who has the same parents as another person.

2. A title given to a nun.

3. A female person who is a fellow member of a sorority or religion or other group.

ASSET - Noun

1. Anything owned by an individual or company that has commercial usefulness or value if sold.

2. An asset may be physical property or items, or enforceable claims against others. Loans made by a thrift institution are assets of that institution. Assets also include real estate, equipment, cash, investments in stocks and bonds, and any other resource that can be converted into cash.


1. Something of value that can be bought or sold, usually a product or raw material.

I hope this is helpful.

The Church is the family of God, not a business venture.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Poverty In The OC - The New Website

Yesterday I put together a brand new web resource page called

You can see it

This will be a website where people in Orange County can go to learn more about what causes poverty here, what challenges the poor face, and why, and more importantly find out what they can do to help those who live in poverty in the richest economy in California.

I'm also offering to visit local churches and lead a free, interactive presentation on Poverty In The OC for anyone who is interested. So far I've done these at Rock Harbor in Costa Mesa, at Soul Survivor's "Engage" Conference, at the Heart of Jesus Conference in Tustin, and at two other house churches in Orange and they've all been amazing times to reflect on God's Word concerning the poor and the statistics of poverty here in our community.

Help me spread the word!


Monday, June 16, 2008


Over the weekend I watched the documentary, "What Would Jesus Buy?" and I have to ask every single one of you to go out and rent or buy this DVD and watch it. It isn't a perfect film, but it's an important one and as someone who takes the words of Jesus seriously it is a prophetic look at our Nation and how our obsession with consumption helps to fund the oppression of the poor in other nations.

You have to make sure to watch the "Extra's" section and hear the testimony of a sister in Christ who was arrested and tortured for her faith while in China and how she was forced (in prison) to manufacture Christmas Lights for Americans. She, and you and I, will never look at Christmas lights the same way again.


Friday, June 13, 2008

The Parable of the Fourth Talent

The Parable of the Fourth Talent by Keith Giles

Then the Master turned to the man with the fourth talent and he said, "Show me what you have done, my servant."

The man with the fourth talent replied, "Master, I knew you were a savvy business man and that you require a substantial return on your investments, and so come and see the building I have purchased for many millions of dollars. See, I have placed photograhps of you throughout the facility and there are 46 inch flat panel plasma screens from which hundreds of people may watch me as I tell them to send me their money so that you can bless them. On Super Bowl Sunday we can even use this as an outreach to the community," he said. "Master, look here, we have recently installed a thirty thousand dollar sound system with a state-of-the-art mixing board and flipping sweet Bose speakers powered by a killer amplifier."

The Master looked at the man with the fourth talent and said, "You foolish man. Did you not realize that no one can build a house for me? In all the years you have served me did I ever, even once, ask that any of you build a temple for me to live in? All the Universe belongs to me, and Earth itself is my footstool."

The man with the fourth talent scratched his head, "Did I mention that the building seats 3,000 people and has a heated baptistry?"

The Master rebuked him and said, "This building was built with money that could have fed the poor, comforted the sick and provided shelter for the homeless. Take this building and rent it out to the local rescue mission so that my people can have a warm place to sleep and safe place for their children to live, for whatever you have done for the least of these you have done it unto me."

The man with the fourth talent replied, "Can we still have the Super Bowl Party in January?"


Thursday, June 12, 2008


Instead of referring to our Christian activities as "Ministries" I was wondering why we don't just call it "Loving People"?

So, instead of saying, "Join our Homeless Ministry" why don't we start saying, "Come and love homeless people with us". Instead trying to get people to volunteer for "Senior Home Ministry" we could just ask them if they'd like to be part of the team that goes and loves our friends at the Senior home for an hour each week?

I know, I know, it's a lot more wordy than the saying "Ministry" or "Outreach" but if we can think of everything we do as followers of Jesus as just "Loving People" it might come across less like a job we "have to do" and more like something we can't help but do because it's who we are.

Is that alright with you?


Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I am aware lately of a few things that God is doing to me.

First, he is connecting me with more and more people who are interested in starting a house church. Just the other day another person emailed to ask me about house church and asked me to pray for him as he transitions out of traditional church (he's a pastor) and into the house church.

This is in addition to my friends in Seattle who are prayerfully seeking God and searching for others in their area to start a house church with, and also my friends in New Mexico who are attempting to salvage the remnants of a traditional church and (prayerfully/hopefully) transform it into a house church.

What's up with that? Does that mean I have some new Apostolic annointing or something? Or does it just mean that God is continuing to call more and more people to "be the Church" and I just happen to be someone these people connect with?

I'm not sure, but it does underscore the need for more dialog and examination of what God is doing to a lot of other people in His Body these days.

I think my next book will be "Jesus Called-He Wants His Church Back" because more and more I see God knocking down the man-made structures we have built to keep Him out and keep Him from His people. Whether it be traditional church structures, or the Christian Subculture, I believe God is tearing down the barriers that separate Him from His Beloved...and I love it.

Another thing God is doing to me lately is ramping up my pastoral interactions with people living in the motel where we have been serving for like 5 years now. Suddenly I am getting phone calls from families in need who are asking for help, prayer, practical job assistance, and yes, even financial assistance to escape their poverty. What's up with that? Why now? I'm not sure.

Today I got a call from a woman who lives in the motel with her husband and two children. Her birthday is this week, and her daughter's birthday is too...but they have no money to cover their rent for the first time in 4 years. She asked if I could help them with rent, but also wanted to make sure that I could drop by in person and pray with her and her husband.

This is in addition to another family I helped on Friday (see "My Friday Lunch" blog entry from last week) and the family I met at the dumpster on the same day who were interested in house church.

I'm not sure how any of this connects, or what God is doing to me...but I love it.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I think one of the reasons that we're called to pray without ceasing is that, once we start praying for others we soon discover that nearly everyone we know needs prayer and our prayer list becomes so long that it's impossible to pray through it in one sitting.

At the moment I'm praying for two new house churches to be birthed; one in Seattle and one in Farmington, New Mexico. I'm also praying for a dear woman of God who has been so severely abused by the Body of Christ that she was driven from fellowship, and even her town. Now she wants to return to fellowship again even though she knows the risk of being hurt again is very real.

I'm praying for one of my dearest and oldest friends who is going through a divorce and trying to take care of his two little daughters as his heart, and his marriage are ripped in half.

I'm praying for co-workers who are at various places in their spiritual development, and for wisdom and grace to be a true friend to each of them as God leads me.

I'm praying for members of our house church who are far from God, who are struggling in their marriage, who are distracted by the World and who have retreated from fellowship with us in spite of knowing that it's wrong for them to be alone.

I'm praying for a friend who won't return my calls or respond to my email even though I've pledged my undying friendship and love for him, and even though he tells me to my face that I've done nothing to hurt him - I know he's lying to me and I know he's running away from those who love him most...I think he knows it too since it's been a pattern in his life for years and years now. I just want him to wake up and return to God, and to fellowship, and to our friendship, but no matter what I do he will not move.

I'm praying for a young family living in the motel in Santa Ana where we serve each month. They are trapped in poverty, chained by their own addictions, burdened with raising two lovely children in that dark and filthy place, and nearly out of hope.

I'm praying for the manager of that same motel who has learned to soften his heart towards others but isn't quite ready (just yet) to fully surrender to Christ.

I'm praying for another family who has suffered and struggled more than any other family I have ever known over the last five or six years. I'm praying that this week his new job really fits him, and that he can continue moving forward towards a better tomorrow for himself and his family.

I'm praying for the families on our own street and for their children who are emotionally abandoned in many ways. I pray for their safety. I pray that we could connect with these families and that God would show us how to love them and demonstrate the love of Jesus to them.

I'm praying for our house church as we inch closer towards reproducing ourselves and creating a second house church as this one grows physically larger and spritually deeper. I'm praying that God would lead us towards a natural muliplication of new life in the Spirit as some of us respond to the Spirit's calling to step out and plant a new church in their homes.

I'm praying for my own family; that my son Dylan would navigate the journey from boyhood into teenage adolescence; that my youngest son would overcome his speech impediment; that my wife would be strengthened as she home schools our sons each day; that I would be the Father, the Husband, and the Spiritual Head of our household that God has called me to be; and that all of us would hear God's voice as we walk with Jesus and try to be Missionaries to our world.

When you have so much to pray about, and so many to pray for, the only way it can possibly work is to pray constantly, with every breath, in every free moment, for those who are part of your spiritual family and whom God loves intensely.

What are you praying for? Who is on your heart right now? God is listening. Go ahead and pray.


Monday, June 09, 2008


Yesterday at The Mission we enjoyed one of the sweetest times of fellowship and Koinonia ever. Our share time was so very awesome as the Holy Spirit lead us and taught us about the importance of the inner person, the command to love others, and the importance of simply coming to Jesus daily in total surrender to Him.

I know God has blessed us so much already, but I sense that He has even more in store for us down the road.

God is showing me so much lately about what it means to "Be the Church" and how far and wide and deep that truth really goes. I feel like I've just been born again today and God's Word is brand new to me, more vibrant and relevant than ever before.

I'm looking forward very much to our upcoming shared worship service with Soul Survivor Church on the 22nd so I can preach this message that is burning in me. It's so exciting I can barely contain it within myself.

Later that same afternoon, after our joint service, we'll have our very first baptism as a church. I hope it is the first of many more to come!

I am living the dream!


Friday, June 06, 2008

My Friday Lunch

by Keith Giles

Today on my lunch break I ran to the motel in Santa Ana where we have been serving for just over 5 years now. One of the young families there needed some financial assistance and I wanted to encourage them and give them some phone numbers to get connected with the Orange County Rescue Mission's "Strong Beginnings" program.

First I talked with Pete, the motel manager, and I let him know that we were only going to continue to help this family if they took positive steps to get help and escape their situation. Pete had been pretty up front about his opinion of this family, but he agreed with me that they needed some help for a long-term solution. It was a great opportunity to talk to Pete, who is so far not a professing believer in Jesus, about the changes we all need to make when we surrender control of our lives to Christ.

After paying for three days rent on the room to cover this family through Monday, I walked over to let them know what our expectations were for them and to give them the info on the "Strong Beginnings" program.

The young father met me at the door. I could tell he was humbled to receive this assistance. He asked if he could pay it back, and even after I explained that this was a gift, he still wanted to know if I would let him pay it back. I shared with him that I knew it sometimes took more courage to ask for help, and to receive help from others, than it does to go out there and provide your own way. He started to weep as I talked with him and I got to share a bit more about how we wanted to be able to help them in the long run, not just the short run.

We talked a bit more and I ended by praying for him and his family before I left.

On my way to my car I ran into another couple, both about my age, who were walking towards the dumpster and starting to look through it. I called out to them and asked if they would like some free groceries (which I had in the trunk of my car). They responded appreciatively and asked if I was from a Church or something. When I told them that I was a pastor they both got excited and told me that they'd just recently come to live in this motel after the husband had lost his job. They were shocked to discover that some families living in this motel had been there for years. We talked about the problems of homelessness and poverty in Orange County, about God's heart for the poor, and also about our house church and our vision to spend 100% of the offering on the needs of other in our community. They were both very excited about this and we shared a bit more about what it's like to be out of work for months at a time, how hard it is to provide for your family in Orange County, and I got to share a bit of our personal experience being out of work for over a year (twice) and what God taught me about depending on "Daily Bread". They both listened with tears in their eyes and asked if they could come to our church.

I am usually very careful about handing out my home address and phone number to total strangers in the parking lot, but something told me that these people were safe, and that they were my brother and sister in Christ Jesus. So, this Sunday we might have some new visitors to our house church.

Now, it's back to work writing copy for the world's largest technology distributor on the planet.

Isn't God amazing?


Thursday, June 05, 2008


My friend's Ken and Ali Eastburn pastor "The Well", a series of six house churches in Orange County. Ali started this amazing non-profit group called "With This Ring"




More thoughts on The Church in America
by Keith Giles

God has been speaking to me a lot lately about what Church is, how we're designed by Him to function and thrive, and what "being the Church" is really all about.

A good friend of mine told me the other day, "I hate church." I can totally understand what he means by that; that he hates the way people operate in church, and that he's frustrated by the mentality of some people who are confused about what church is, etc.

I've said these words myself a few times in my life. Whenever I see pastors manipulating their flocks, or when I hear christians argue about what to do with the money they gave as an offering to God, or when I see people twist the ideas of "Service", "Worship" and "Faith", I also feel angry and have been tempted to say, "I hate church."

But, I've been very encouraged to consider the words of A. W. Tozer on this subject when he reminds us that we are not speaking of some anonymous organization "out there" whenever we speak of "the Church". Instead, we are speaking about a living organism we are inextricably connected to for Eternity. We ARE the Church. So, while we may hate certain aspects of how our brothers and sisters operate, or how people act within the Body, we are still speaking of something that we are part of.

Tozer's quote says:
"We must not think of the Church as an anonymous body, a mystical religious abstraction. We Christians are the Church and whatever we do is what the Church is doing. The matter, therefore, is a personal one. Any step forward in the Church must begin with the individual." (From The Knowledge Of The Holy, pg.114.)

We are the Church. The only Church the world will ever know. The only Church there will ever be.

So, now, let’s go and be the church we dream of. If we want the Church to be more loving we must become more loving. If we want the Church to be more understanding and patient, we must become more understanding and patient.

I was reading 1 Peter chapter 2 the other day and I saw some things I never saw before in verses 4 and 5:

"As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

If you remove the little coda in verse 4, which is meant as an aside to further explore in what way Jesus is the living stone, and read it without that little insertion it reads like this:

"As you come to him, the living Stone, also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood...."

So, as we come to Jesus we are built up to become the people, and the Church, He is building.

Notice, God is the one doing the building. He's accomplishing that as He builds us up into the people He wants us to be. (Note: He wants us to be a people who are a holy priesthood).

I know it can seem very simplistic to consider this, but all we have to do is to come to Jesus and allow Him (by the power of His Holy Spirit) to build us up into the people He has called and designed and intended for us to be.

Church = God + the People of God

That's it.

We've gotten into the bad habit of thinking that Church equals a paid professional clergyman, and a building that must be paid for and maintained, and a strategy to attract people to fill the seats, etc. But none of that is in the New Testament. It's not how Jesus modelled Church for us. It's not how the Disciples and the Apostles went about planting and growing Churches for nearly 400 years.

We have to stop trying to build the Church and start being the Church.

Let Him build His Church. Be the Church and the people He has called you to be.

Much more on this subject later..


Wednesday, June 04, 2008


As I'm preparing to speak on June 22nd, as part of a joint service between The Mission and Soul Survivor, I've been doing a little study lately on the Church.

Just the other day I discovered something about the Church, and our identity in Christ, that I'd never seen before. This week's [Subversive Underground] article will explore this yet-to-be-revealed insight more completely, but until then I wanted to share something else about the Church that inspires me.

It is not God's plan for us to be alone. He has designed His Church to operate as a Family, and as a Body, where each part depends upon the others. (see 1 Cor 12)

Whenever Satan wants to attack one of us, he always starts by isolating us from the rest of the Body of Christ. Because Satan knows that if he can separate us from the Body, he can cut off our source of strength, encouragment, love, and the rest of those God designed us to be in fellowship with.

It's very true: United we stand. Divided we fall.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." - Hebrews 10:25

God has purposely designed His Church to be interdependent and connected at the molecular level. We've each been given different gifts for the purpose of helping one another to grow to maturity in Christ. Each of us has a spiritual gift (yes, even you) and it only works when we use it for the benefit of others within the Body.

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." - Romans 12: 4-5

Look at that. It says we belong to one another. We need each other. We cannot survive alone.

I've counseled several people over the years who get wounded by someone in the Body, or fall into a pattern of sin, or give in to depression, and feel that they must retreat from the Body in order to heal or to think or to "take a break" from Church.

Whenever we do this we are allowing ourselves to play into Satan's hand. Our Enemy knows that if he can isolate us from the rest of the Body (which was designed by God to strengthen us and build us up in our faith), he has already won the battle.

We need one another. We were desgined by God to love and to help and to serve and strengthen one another. If we remove ourselves from fellowship I have to ask, "Whose will is being done?" Certainly not God's will.

If you find yourself in a place where you're drawing away from the rest of the Body of Christ, you need to remember that you belong to Jesus and it's time to return to fellowship in obedience to His Love for you.

Sometimes people in the Body of Christ will hop around from place to place and church to church, visiting here one week and there the next week. By doing this they avoid accountability and embrace anonymity which is just as dangerous as staying home completely.

Again, God designed the Body to be relational. If we refuse to allow others to know us, if we avoid intimacy in the Body of Christ, we are denying our own spiritual DNA as members of God's Family. When we embrace anonymity we are opening the door for the Enemy to draw us away from God and His people.

God designed His Church, that's you and me, to operate best when we are sharing openly and loving one another intimately. We can't do that if no one knows us - our pain, our doubts, our hopes, our fears, our dreams, our joys, our sadness, our tears.

I understand that some have tried this and they've been severely abused by some within the Body who were not trustworthy or loving. Sadly, we are a broken people and some of us are still manipulative, angry, bitter, frustrated and selfish. Don't allow those people to make you like them. If you have to find another group to fellowship with, feel free to seek out people who will really love you as Christ intended. Don't give up. There really are people, just like you, who long to be known and to know and love others within the Body of Christ. Seek them out. Find them. Love them. Committ to them. Learn to "Be the Church" with them, and discover what it means to be part of the Family of God.

Lots more on this subject to come...


Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Reading "Pagan Christianity" right now (by Frank Viola) and last night I couldn't help but wonder why none of the Christians during the time of Constantine fought against this unnatural transformation?

I know that there were some who did refuse to bow to Constantine and they exiled themselves to the desert in order to continue to worship and fellowship as they had been doing (these were called the "Desert Fathers"), but it seems the majority of Christians went along with the plan to paganize their faith.

Why did they do that? The incorporation of pagan ritual and the introduction of pagan structures would have been even more scandalous and blatantly obvious to those who were living at this time. Yet they didn't rise up when the Emperor hijacked their faith and introduced pagan elements. Why not? Did they think they could maintain their faith without being affected by these additions? Did they not care? Were they just so relieved that the sword was being removed from their throats that they would do anything the Emperor asked?

This has me curious. I have to dig a bit deeper to answer this question.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Intentional Components

Sometimes living out my faith can be overwhelming.

How do I fulfill my personal calling as a husband, a father, a pastor, a follower of Jesus, a teacher, a writer, and a human being without getting pulled in every direction at once?

I know that I have a calling to be a missionary to the world around me. This means my neighbors on my street, my co-workers during the week, and people I come in contact with each and every day.

I also know that I have a calling to love the least and the lost, and to have an open hand towards the poor and the outcast.

At the same time, I am called to disciple my two sons and teach them what I know about following Jesus and living a life of integrity.

My calling also extends to my marriage where I am called to love my wife as Jesus loved the Church; laying down His life to set her free.

Sometimes I struggle with how to do all of these things at once. I have to weigh the difference between things I could be doing, and things I should be doing.

I know that I have a personal calling to communicate the Gospel of the Kingdom in words, in writing, and in my daily life. I know I have a calling to serve the poor and to help others understand this Biblical principle of justice. I know I have a responsibility to pastor the people in our house church. I know I have a calling to make disciples, to teach others to follow Jesus so that they can also teach others to follow Jesus too.

So far I've accomplished these "missions" in my life by living my life according to my convictions and communicating what I've learned through my articles, books, and my weekly e-newsletter.

I have new opportunities in front of me now that I could take advantage of. But sometimes saying "Yes" to one thing is also saying "No" to a hundred other things. What if one of those hundred other things is what I'm really supposed to be doing?

I could be helping to publish a magazine that communicates the conditions of those living in poverty here in Orange County. There's nothing wrong with that. It's one of my core passions. So, do I do that? Or not?

I could be leading teams of people to minister to prostitutes on the streets of Santa Ana each week. This is a serious need. These girls are in real danger. But is that my calling? Is that what I should be saying "Yes" to? What about preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom? What about communicating the importance of following Jesus with your everyday life? What about the amazing joys of house church I'm experiencing each week? What about evangelizing my neighbors? What about being more missional with my co-workers? What about...?

In the end, all you can do is the best you can do. No one can do more than that, can they?

I remember that Jesus said that His burden was easy and His yoke was light. If my list of things to do is heavy, maybe it's time to lay them all down and figure out what I'm really called to do?

For now, it's a daily surrender to Jesus. If that means writing an article about Social Justice, then I write that article. If that means sharing my faith with my co-workers, then I do that. If obedience to Jesus means laying all other committments aside to spend time with my wife or my sons, then I will do that too.

Instead of being overwhelmed with the vast myriad of possible things I "could" do, it's better to simply surrender my entire life to Jesus and allow Him to direct me, each and every moment, to do those things I "should" do because He has called me to.