Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Awesome article over at Mark Main's blog "The Untried".

You must go and read it now.

Here's a taste:

"If you have read much of this blog you know that I am not a fan of today's institutional church system for a variety of reasons. I know many don't understand my cynicism.

Churches have spent more money just on buildings in less than twenty years than it would take to eradicate hunger and many diseases from children in Africa. Add in salaries, utilities, and all the other things churches spend money on and I can only guess how much money has been spent simplyon 'the faithful'.

That is why I am so frustrated by what I see marketed as Christianity in this country today. Is spending 28 billion dollars on nice buildings for our Sunday morning meetings more important than showing grace, mercy, compassion, and love by helping those in Africa who are dying at a rate of over 25,000 a day from starvation and preventable disease? Obviously, for American Christianity the answer to that question is a resounding YES. You can claim that isn't the case, but the facts are undeniable. American Christianity has basically said that the sickness and starvation of others isn't nearly as important as it's need for bigger, nicer buildings. Do you realize how perverse that is?"


Monday, December 29, 2008


My good friend John Thomas, pastor of Soul Survivor Church in Costa Mesa, CA was interviewed in a great article for the Orange County Register about churches who have decided to focus their attention on the poor rather than on themselves.

Read it

Sunday, December 28, 2008


As I spend time in my old stomping grounds here in El Paso I cannot help but imagine all the ways I could jack things up here in this sleepy border town.

From guerilla marketing messages inserted in local bookstore shelves, to under the radar flyers on car windshields and subversive messages in unexpected places, I am seriously wondering how long it would take for me to be run out of this town on a rail if I ever returned to live here.

Perhaps I might preach a sermon in a local church...at least once before my name was added to the "do not call" list, or perhaps I might buy a billboard along I-10 to challenge the complacency of local churches who ignore the thousands of poor who are just across the border, and along her own streets, daily.

I have no illusions of becoming an infamous dark hero in this place. I'm certain my infamy would be more like actual threats against my life and complete black-listing by the Christian churches here. Would I be willing to speak out and make waves if I knew it would mean an actual backlash against my family, against my parents, or my wife and children?

I want to ask people here, "Does your Church preach the Gospel"? I want to challenge them to see the poor around them, and the heart of God for the poor in their Bibles, and the calling of God for His people to love them in action and in truth, not with words or empty promises.

I can't imagine living here and sitting still while week after week pastors from the pulpit preach about bringing your lost friend's to church as if that is the fulfillment of the Gospel of Jesus. What happened to "Go into all the world"? What happened to "making disciples"? What happened to "teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you"?

Seriously. What happened? I really don't know.

There are those here in El Paso who do serve the poor and who do live out a radical example of the Gospel of the Kingdom in their everyday life. One is my friend Tim Gamwell who has given his life to help as many children living in poverty in Juarez, Mexico and here in El Paso as he can...to the point of becoming one of the poor himself as he supports them out of his own pocket and lives without many of the conveniences others take for granted in order to care for just one more child.

If I ever did return to this place I would be honored to serve alongside Tim and his family as they serve these children and implore the Churches in this area to open their hearts, and their wallets, to touch the poor all around them.

I cannot reconcile a church of thousands - mostly white, upper-to-middle class christians - who invest over $40k to put on an over-the-top show to count hands raised (those who said the sinner's prayer) and fails to give as much attention or thought towards what to do with those 1,500 people after the fact. Making disciples, or making converts? I don't understand the misdirection of priority.

To be honest, I pray with all my heart that God does not call me to return here. If so, I would certainly obey Him, but I would come knowing that the battle would be long and that hearts would need to be softened over time.

Maybe I could set up an El Paso chapter of Subversive operatives who could carry out this mission in my absence? Are there any out there who are willing to wear that target on their back for the Gospel of the Kingdom? Are there any here in El Paso willing to stand up and speak out this message of compassion for the poor?

I pray that God would raise up an army like this. Who knows? Maybe they are already out there and I just haven't heard of them or met them yet? Maybe they are dropping flyers into Church bathrooms as I write this? Maybe...


Saturday, December 27, 2008


I can't describe the great joy Wendy and I had yesterday spending a few hours with some dear friends from college (UT El Paso), some of whom we had not seen since graduation over 15 years ago.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Our family is in El Paso visiting my parents for Christmas. Already we've run into several old friends in unexpected places and catching up with other friends we've not seen in years.

I find myself scanning the crowd in every restaurant and grocery story looking for familiar faces. It's weird.

Looking forward to Christmas day tomorrow, although I've already had my best Christmas (see post over at www.MissionHouseChurch.com)

On Friday we're having a reunion with some of our dear college friends and today and tonight I'll be hanging with other friends for coffee, etc.

Hope all of you have a great Christmas celebration and that the New Year is full of blessing.

Peas (on Earth),

Monday, December 15, 2008


Rather than buying something unnecessary for someone in your life who already has a house full of stuff, try to spend your money buying food and necessities for people who are really in need this Holiday season

Our family has made a point of reducing our Christmas gift purchases to only one gift for each person in our immediate family. All other spending will be to buy food and clothes for people who are in serious need of assistance and toys for the children who live in the motel in Santa Ana where we minister.

Christmas is about giving, and we should start with those who are truly in need.

Peace (on Earth),

Friday, December 12, 2008


Last Saturday morning I drove my oldest son out to Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim Hills. It was the day after his 13th birthday.

We walked together across the parking lot and I let him walk alone down the main trail into the woods. After a few feet his Aunt Felicia met him and walked alongside him, encouraging him and reminding him what a special young man he is. Then she stopped at the bridge and let him walk on further alone.

A few feet down the trail another friend, Scott Laumann, stepped out and walked with Dylan along the trail. They stopped and watched the colors in the morning sky for a while and Scott gave him advice on being responsible, seeking God and hearing His voice.

When they were done Dylan walked alone down the path a bit more until Jacob Wright met him along the trail. Jacob is just 15. Dylan looks up to him quite a bit. It was only a few years ago that Dylan had been part of Jacob's 13th birthday celebration. Now Jacob was sharing with Dylan what he had learned about becoming a young man after God's heart.

After their talk Dylan walked on and met Jacob's father, Jason, who talked to him about about how most of what we learn is from walking with God through difficult circumstances.

Dylan went on down the trail and was met by his Aunt Tina and his Grandmother, and finally, at the end of the trail, by his Grandfather Gerald. They turned and walked all the way back out of the woods together as Dylan listened intently.

When they reached the beginning of the trail Dylan's family was there waiting for him and together we drove home.

That afternoon we presented Dylan with a sword - a leather-bound, NIV Study Bible with his name engraved in gold leaf on the cover.

Our house church family, and a few friends were there to encourage him further, lay hands on him and bless him as he took his first tentative steps into manhood.

God bless you, my son.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Jesus came to destroy the Temple. His resurrection was the formal ground-breaking on the New Temple - Your Body.

The reason the New Testament church didn't have buildings? They WERE the building.

The reason the New Testament church didn't pay their elders, shepherds and overseers? Because you don't pay your family members to love you or care for you.

The reason the New Testament church didn't have any blood sacrifice (as every other religion around them did)? Because not only was Jesus the first and ultimate sacrifice, but this new temple, the new priesthood (that's us) also became the living sacrifices as well.

So, fast forward 300 years and a Roman Emperor establishes a new way of doing church. He gives them buildings. He pays their leaders. This was a new addition. It had not been practiced until Constantine instituted it.

Fast forward another 400 years: The Church starts to require a tithe from their members. Before this only free will offerings were given.

Fast forward to our day and time: We're still paying our leaders and building temples to worship in.

I would submit that Jesus had a plan in mind for His Church. He communicated that plan eloquently. He modelled the leadership structure He expected. He knelt down and washed their feet. He told them to do the same to one another. He warned them not to "lord it over" their brothers or to call one another "Father" because they were all brothers and equals in the eyes of God.

The Family of God has one Father. His name is God. The Body of Christ has one head. His name is Jesus.

For over 700 years the church of Jesus took no tithes. All of the money freely given was collected and spent on the poor and the orphan and the widow.

That is New Testament Christianity. If you want to practice something else, something "new and improved" feel right at home. I do not condemn anyone for that.

But, as for me and my house, we will follow the New Testament and seek to "Be the Church" that Jesus commanded his disciples to plant, by the Grace of God.

If you want to study the subject you will quickly see that the New Testament knows nothing of hierarchy. Plenty of Biblical scholars from all backgrounds and denominations agree on this point...even Catholic scholars! The NT church was not a hierarchy, it was a family.

Blessings, Keith


On Saturday evening our family attended the opening of an art show. Several friends of mine had pieces in the show and we were there to support them and enjoy the art together.

As part of the evening they had tables set up in the cafe area where children could create their own art and hang it up. The theme was "Courage".

My youngest son, David drew a great picture of a homeless man begging for food and someone placing money into his hands. It was a picture of courage because the poor man had to have courage to humble himself and beg, and the person giving the money needed courage to step out and do the right thing, and to trust God to provide even though he was giving away some of his money.

My oldest son, Dylan (who turns 13 on Friday) took a long time to finish his drawing. He wouldn't allow anyone to look until he was done so we gave him his space and allowed him to take his time and finish.

When he was done I watched him hand it to the woman behind the table who looked at it, asked him about the drawing and then gave him tape to hang it on the wall. When I walked over and looked at the drawing he had done it was a man with a beard and glasses wearing a red t-shirt and a green jacket. At first I wasn't sure how this exemplified "courage" but then I realized that this person in the drawing was me.

Dylan came over and explained that he drew me because of the times when our family was financially struggling because I was out of work and I did temporary jobs to support the family. That was what he thought of when they asked him to draw a picture of "courage".

I can't tell you how proud I am of my sons.