My name is Keith Giles. I love to write so that people can know Jesus and experience His life in their own.
So, I started this blog to help people understand who Jesus is, and how He reveals what the Father is really like.
This is a safe place to talk about all those questions you've had about the Bible, and Christianity. It's also a place to learn how to put the words of Jesus into practice.
Just wanted to give some more details about what our
family is doing this week in our community and how you can pray for us.
The KID'S CLUB starts tomorrow night for the kids on our
street. Our theme is J.O.Y. - Jesus, Others and You.
We'll cover each topic one night at a time, starting with
"Jesus" and ending with "You" on Saturday night. On Sunday
evening we'll have the parents join us outside in the front yard where we'll
have their kids recite their memory verses, play games with the parents, and
eat hot dogs together.
After we're all done on Sunday night I'll be passing out
flyers and inviting the adults to join us on Thursday evenings in our home.
These meetings will be about finding answers to their questions about the
Bible, and about who Jesus was, how we know the Bible is true, how we know
Jesus really rose from the dead, etc. After the first few meetings where we
cover those bigger questions about Christianity we'll open it up to answering
their own personal questions about God, Jesus, etc.After this, if anyone is still interested in
continuing to meet together, we'll move on to a study of the Gospel of John.
I sincerely ask you to pray for us as we put together the
KID'S CLUB this week, and also for the "Questions Answered" meetings
that might follow.
As many of you know, our family has always felt that God
had called us - not only to start a church in our home - but also to become
missionaries to our neighbors. We've been there for over 6 years now and over
that time we've slowly built relationships with our neighbors and we believe
that the time might be right to take this extra step towards inviting people
into our home to learn more about Jesus and hopefully begin to follow Him and
trust Him with their lives.
Your prayers are very, very necessary in this, I believe.
Thank you for standing with us as we take this step of obedience and faith.
In Galatians, Paul spends a lot of time explaining
specifically how that promise to Abraham was fulfilled in the Church, not in
the physical descendants of those of the ethnic nation.
Paul says, "The promises were spoken to Abraham and
to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather
to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ." (Gal. 3:16)
Here, Paul is specifically referring to the OT promise
made to Abraham in Genesis 12:7 - "And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and
said, Unto thy seed will I give this land."
Then Paul concludes chapter 3 of Galatians by saying
"And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's
offspring, heirs according to promise." (Gal. 3:28)
So, clearly, Paul makes the case that this promise made
to Abraham was made to Jesus, not to every single Jewish person alive.
Therefore, only those who are "in Christ" are the "offspring of
Abraham and heirs according to the promise."
Secondly, the specific promise is also from
Genesis 12, and in the same way, Paul's teaching clarifies to whom this promise
is valid. It is not valid for those Jews who claim Abraham as their Father but
do not do the works of Abraham (have faith in God and obey).
The nation of Israel was judged for rejecting Christ.
Just as Christ prophesied it would be in the Olivet Discourse (see Mark 13,
Matthew 24, Luke 21).
For thousands of years God continued to give the Jews
opportunities to keep the conditional Covenant he made with them. Their final
opportunity came when He sent His son and as Jesus warned them, their
punishment for killing the Son would be that God would take the Kingdom from
them and give it to others. (See Mt. 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-19)
When Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, that was the final
straw for every Jew who rejected God and His Messiah. This was also in
fulfillment of the 70 Weeks prophecy in Daniel. Jesus, the Prince, was cut off
in the middle of the week (His ministry was 3 and a half years long) and when
Christ was crucified "he put an end to the daily sacrifice".
When the city of Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, this
was the end of their Temple, their Priesthood and their Daily Sacrifice. All 3
of these are now realized in the Church of Jesus. (We are the living Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Priesthood of Believers and the daily living sacrifice to God).
The secular Jewish nation that we have now in the Middle
East is a godless one. They are not religious Jews. There is no difference
between a secular Jewish nation that persecutes Christians in Palestine and
rejects Jesus as Messiah and the Pharisees of Jesus' day who rejected Christ
and persecuted Christians in Palestine. No difference.
So, as far as I can see, there is no reason to
"Bless Israel" unless you're understanding that "Israel" is
actually everyone who is found in Christ, because the Christian community is
now the "true circumcision" (Phil. 3:3)
As Paul clearly teaches:
"For they are not all Israel who are descended from
Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but:
“through Isaac your descendants will be named.” That is, it is not the children
of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are
regarded as descendants." (Romans 9:6-7)
"Know then that it is those of faith who are the
sons of Abraham." (Gal. 3:7)
"...the mystery of Christ, which in other
generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed
to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the
Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers
of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel." (Eph. 3:4-6)
So, there's one Body - the Church - which is made up of
"all the nations of the earth" who are blessed by the Seed of Abraham
(that is Christ) by faith in Him alone.
If you're curious, the teaching that we should bless
Israel, etc. is relatively new and came through a guy named John Nelson Darby
in 1830. When he introduced his teachings (which became Dispensationalism) he
admitted that this was "new revelation" and that the Church did not
ever believe or teach these things (which is confirmed by reading Church
So, you are free, of course, to continue to believe that God
still has a special plan for the ethnic Jews of the Earth that currently reject
Christ, but I believe the NT is clear that the only hope for the Jews (and the
rest of the planet) is to receive Jesus as Messiah and follow Him. God does not
have any other special plan for the Jewish people apart from His Son.
says in Matthew that he “did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.”
how he did fulfill it?
of it this way: A child is the promise of an adult. Once the child grows up and
becomes an adult he has fulfilled that promise. Can you find the child inside
that man anymore? No, but the promise of adulthood has been fulfilled.
this same way, Christ fulfilled the promises of the Old Covenant - all of them
- and now all of those are embodied by Christ.
wait, did Jesus really accomplish everything that the Father called Him to do?
Yes. At the end of his ministry, in John 17:4, Jesus assures us that that he
has accomplished all that the Father had sent Him to do:
glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to
do." (John 17:4 ESV)
said that He came “not to abolish the Law and the Prophets”but to “fulfill
them.” (Matthew 5:17)
He did fulfill them. But most Christians are taught that this statement implies
that the Old Testament Scriptures are still intact; that we should hold both in
equal regard and relevance for daily Christian life. However, that’s not at all
what Jesus meant. As the writer of Hebrews explains:
calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is
obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13)
Old Covenant was only a shadow that pointed to Christ, but He is the reality.
Now that He's here and He has fulfilled all of those promises, we no longer
live according to the Law. As Paul emphasized:
all the promises of God in Him are ‘Yes’, and in Him ‘Amen’, to the glory of
God through us.” (2 Cor.1:20)
also in Ephesians, Paul goes so far as to say that Jesus actually did “abolish
He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle
wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that
is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in
Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might
reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to
death the enmity.” (Eph.2:14-16)
when Christ fulfilled all of the Law and the Prophets, He brought them to an
end. He accomplished what they were pointing to and prophesying about. He
completely fulfilled the Old Covenant - both the Law and the Prophets - and now
we who follow Christ (both Jew and Gentile) are under one new and everlasting
than become enslaved again to the Laws of the Old Covenant, we are now free to
follow Jesus and are therefore are called to obey the “Law of Christ” which is
to love God and love others as Jesus commanded. (Galatians 6:2)
“Law of Christ” is forever established in His marvelous cross, creating
another, final exodus of all peoples from sin and into newness of life through
I was going through my inbox the other day and I found a
hidden treasure. Back in January of 2011 I sent myself an email. It was a
reminder to myself to keep things in perspective and to establish my priorities
for the year ahead. As I opened it and read it over again, I was humbled and
inspired by what it said.
Here’s some of
what was on that list:
*Make this year
about your sons. Focus on building them up spiritually, emotionally, and
personally. Pray for them and help them to grow in Godly character.
*Meet regularly with a few godly men in your life to
share your heart and stay grounded.
*Take time to relax, break your routine on purpose and
take control of your life. You’re a free man.
*Publish [Subversive Interviews] by February, 2011. (Did that)
*Finish and publish THIS IS MY BODY before the end of
March 2011. (Check)
*Dream bigger in 2011. What do you want to accomplish? Do
*Pray that God would give you more opportunities to teach
and preach on the Kingdom, God’s Heart for the Poor and Following Christ.
*Try to see every day as another opportunity to be the
person you intended to be last year.
*Share more of yourself with your church family. Share
the things with them that matter most to you. Trust them to listen.
*Pray for the filling and the continual anointing of the
Holy Spirit on your life, and on your wife and your sons. Don’t stop.
*You love to teach and to preach and to help people. Do
more of those things than ever before.
*Live more than you blog. Let the blog become a
postscript to your life, not the other way around.
*Turn off the TV. Listen more. Inquire about your wife’s
day. Ask your sons more about what makes them happy.
*Remember the faces of your sons when they were smaller.
Love them more than you correct them. Correct them in love.
*Make the most of these last 5 years you have with your
sons. Train them in the way they should go. Redeem the time.
*You’re not as old as you think. When you’re sixty you’ll
still be writing articles, blogs, and books. Go easy on yourself.
So, I think this was great advice. I could easily change the dates
and continue forward with this for 2014 and beyond.
Does any of this resonate with you? Anything you’d add to
this if it was your list?
I had an unusual dream last night. In my dream someone on
television had just discovered a lost Jewish temple in Israel. “This is for
Kelly” the archaeologist said on the screen. I felt like this was meant as a
message for my friend Kelly and I ran over to tell two of my friends about
this. “What else could this mean,” I said. “The End Times are here.”
Next I’m walking outside wearing a towel around my bare
shoulders. I was thinking that the Apocalypse had already come but everyone
missed it because it didn’t interfere with our everyday lives. Then I heard a
crowd walking towards me. I was standing at the top of a low hill and I stood
up on the highest part of it as these children came walking near me. They were
all chanting something occultic and evil about “The mark of the beast” and
“666”. When I realized this I started to sing out loud the words to this song,
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name…”.
As soon as I started to sing this all the children stopped
chanting but they continued to walk around me towards their destination. But
several adults who were with these children stopped near me and began to eat
and talk to one another. Although they pretended not to hear me or notice me, I
continued to stand and sing out loud.
When I woke up it was 4 a.m. and I went into the den to
pray. As usual, I grabbed a blanket we keep on one of the sofa’s and wrapped it
around my bare shoulders. The text from 1 Corinthians 13 (the Love Chapter) is
written on this blanket. As I knelt down to pray I realized that this was
exactly like my dream. I was wearing the blanket around my bare shoulders and I
began to pray. This thought came to me as I prayed: “This is the End Time for
all of us. We’re all living in our own Last Day. It’s time to stand and to sing
our song loud enough to silence the Enemy.
Over the weekend I came face to face with a very
uncomfortable truth: I’m hardly willing to be inconvenienced for Jesus, much
less to die for Him.
The scenario by which I came to realize this about myself is
hardly relevant. Although, God’s process of revelation to me was quite
elaborate and poetically executed. But the point was made and I cannot deny
that this is true.
I want to die to myself. I believe that it’s essential to my
walk with Christ. I understand that without my death to self, Jesus cannot live
within me. Yet the sad thing is, I have not been practicing this in my daily
life. I have placed my own personal comfort above the needs of others.
So, what now? I know that I am not the Christian I thought I
was. I have seen my face in the mirror and I recognize my own hypocrisy, but
what can I do about this?
It’s tempting to think that what I need to do is to become
more spiritual. I should read my Bible more, or pray more often, or go and
serve the poor more often, or maybe fast for a few meals. That should fix the
Wrong. I know this because I’ve done all of that before.
Yes, this has happened to me more than once. I’ve fallen short, missed an
opportunity to be salt and light and flat-out blown it over and over again. In
those cases I responded by doing more stuff for God, or trying to become more
spiritual than I was before. All that it ever accomplished was to make me feel
better about failing my Lord and helping me to re-apply the illusion to
convince myself that everything was alright. But it wasn’t, and it isn’t.
Here is the truth: I am commanded to lay down my life and
surrender everything to Jesus. I want to do that, but the process is difficult
for me. I need to constantly surrender my life to Jesus every single day. Some
days I accomplish this, other days I fail miserably.
This realization is God’s gift to me. He’s showing me the
truth so that, together, He and I can nail yet another part of my flesh to the
Jesus is trying to invade this space. I need to get out of
his way and let him live and breathe in me. The process is ongoing. It involves
a constant, daily surrender to Him.
Leadership is a hot button topic these days. Not only for
thousands of Christian gurus and wannabe “leaders” out there, but also for
pastors and teachers who hope to become the next mega church founder or
bestselling author. It’s nearly epidemic.
The other day I read a Tweet that said something like,
“Real Christian leaders can honestly say, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ’". That
set me off. I replied: “The mark of a true Christ follower is that they follow
Christ, not human leaders”. In response to that someone Tweeted back: “So Paul
is encouraging people NOT to follow Jesus when he says, ‘Follow me as I follow
And that’s what led to this blog post.
If you’re following anyone other than Christ, you are not
a Christ follower. That should be plain enough. But to elaborate, let’s take a
closer look at Paul’s oft-quoted statement: “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
As usual, the real problem comes when we take a single
verse like this one out of its actual context and begin to apply it to
situations and practices that were not intended by the author.
In this case, we
have to go back to 1 Corinthians chapter 10, starting around verse 23. Even
though the verse in question actually starts chapter 11, it’s necessary to go
back to the end of chapter 10 because the verse is finishing up the end of a
thought that begins there.
Here’s what Paul is saying at the end of Chapter 10. He’s
wrapping up a discussion about how the Corinthians should behave when it comes
to exercising their right to eat meat sacrificed to idols. This was an issue in
their community. Some of them thought it was a sin, others thought it was no
big deal. Paul assures them that it really isn’t an issue, but stresses that
they should not practice the eating of meat sacrificed to idols if it causes
one of their brothers or sisters to stumble in their faith.So, Paul wraps up this thought in verse 31 by
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all
to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of
God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own
advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I
am of Christ.” (1 Cor.10:31-11:1)
Did you catch that?
He’s using himself as an example in regards to eating
this meat. He says, “I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking
my own advantage…” and then he ends by saying, essentially, “Do what I’m doing
when it comes to eating this meat because this is what Jesus would do too.”
What Paul is not saying is, “I’m such a perfect example
of Jesus that you should just start following me instead of trying to follow
Paul would never suggest that anyone should follow after
him (as if they were Paul’s disciples). How do I know this? Because at the
beginning of this very same letter, Paul rebuked them for exactly that:
“What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,”
or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ
divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
(1 Cor. 1:12-13)
Later on he says:
For when one says, “I follow Paul,”
and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is
Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned
to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who
plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (1
Also, in the book of Acts, Paul warned the church with
very strong words to avoid leaders who tried to gain their own followers,
“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in
among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will
arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be
on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of
you night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:25-31)
What troubled Paul most of all was the knowledge that,
after he was gone, men would rise up “to draw away disciples after themselves”.
Paul was broken-hearted to think of the Body submitting to the authority of men
rather than to the authority of Christ.
Why would this concern Paul so much? Why would it cause
him such anxiety and emotional turmoil? Perhaps because Jesus made the issue of
leadership within His Body very clear: It was designed to be a family, an
organism and a community, not a hierarchy.
In the Church, our only Head and Leader is Jesus.
"Christ is the head of the body, the church; Christ
is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,that in everything Christ might
be preeminent." (Colossians 1:18)
"And God placed all things under his feet and
appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the
fullness of him who fills everything in every way." (Ephesians 1:22-23)
So, once again, let me say, “Christ followers need to
follow Jesus, not human leaders who misquote the Apostle Paul.”
Most Christians are aware of the Beatitudes of Jesus found in the Gospels, but
most are not aware that there is another list of beatitudes found in scripture.
In the book of Revelation we find seven more Beatitudes
spoken mostly by Jesus to those who follow Him. Here they are in order of appearance:
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy,
and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the
time is near.”(Rev. 1:3).
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for
their deeds follow them!” (Rev. 14:13).
“Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments
on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed.” (Rev. 16:15). .
“Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of
the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Rev. 19:9).
“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first
resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests
of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Rev.
“Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of
this book.” (Rev. 22:7).
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may
have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the
So blessings are spoken over those who read the book of
Revelation out loud, and those who keep [obey the teaching and hold dear] the
words of Jesus found in the book.
Blessings are also pronounced for those who are martyrs for
Christ, and for those who do not grow cold in their faith.
The other blessings pronounced are self-fulfilling. For
example, those who attend the final marriage supper of the Lamb after the final
judgment, and those who are resurrected from the dead are said to be blessed
(obviously), because the condition of the blessing itself is already a
blessing. In other words, you can only receive the blessing if you are already blessed.
“He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches.” (Rev. 2:29)
On Wednesday, June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States made two landmark decisions regarding the definition of marriage in California, and potentially the entire nation.
What should Christians do about this? How should we respond?
As someone who has left the traditional model of church in
favor of a more organic, new testament style of ekklesia it’s not often that I
find myself sitting in a pew somewhere. Unless I’m on vacation and am expected
to attend church with my in-laws. That’s when I try to prepare myself for the
worst. I pray that the Lord would help me not to be too critical. I work hard
to hold my tongue, and to endure the pastor-centric model without embarrassing myself,
or my wife and kids.
So, imagine my surprise when the Sunday School class turned
out to be a conversational discussion of the book of Job. Everyone was allowed
to speak and to share their insights with one another. Plenty of time was given
to allow people to share testimonies and prayer concerns, and then they all
began to pray.
During the morning service, different people stood up to
sing, or to share concerns, or to pray out loud for each other. Plenty of time
was spent in fellowship as people got out of their pews and walked around to
talk to brothers and sisters they hadn’t seen for a while. Then the sermon
began. After reading from 2 Corinthians, the pastor began to talk about the
power of weakness and then took us to the book of Judges where he used Gideon
as an example of how God loves to do extraordinary things through ordinary
people. I was flabbergasted. Had this guy already read my book, “The Power of
Weakness”? Apparently not, but the similarity of our views was astounding to
Immediately I felt a strong connection to Joe, their pastor.
He wasn’t at all what I expected, nor was this little Baptist church. They
seemed to have a genuine sense of community and love for one another.
Intrigued, I found myself attending the evening service and a discipleship
class that preceded it. Once again I was humbled by what I experienced there. So
much so that I attended a Wednesday morning prayer meeting at their
Associational office and then again the next Sunday morning and evening.
Certainly, Joe and I are not on the same page on many
theological issues, but the one area where we are in complete agreement is that
Jesus is Lord and that He is building His church. Before I left we traded email
and cell phone numbers. He agreed with me that the Holy Spirit had brought us
together during this week and we both felt the need to keep in touch and to
encourage one another as brothers in Christ.
My expectations about this church were fantastically wrong,
and I remain humbled by the heart of this brother and the quality of faith I
observed in this little church.
During my vacation I began to pray for Joe and what God
might want to do in this place. The message from the Power of Weakness – about
how God loves to do extraordinary things through ordinary people – kept coming
back to my heart. I began to sense that this little church, in this tiny little
town, might be the catalyst for something incredible in the Kingdom of God. What
better place for a revival to begin and sweep through the region than a little
church like this one? God would receive all the glory and people would be
transformed by the consuming fire of His presence. As long as they keep their
eyes on Him and trust in His leadership, there’s no force on this earth that
can stop them.
At least, that’s what I’m praying God will do as they
continue to seek His face.
It was one of those moments where the Holy Spirit gives you
the words to say at just the right moment.
I was on vacation with my family when the text came up on my
cell phone. A friend of mine had a house church that needed some advice about
something they were struggling with. As I listened to the person speak to me
about the challenges the group was facing I whispered a prayer under my breath
for help. What hope could I offer her? What wisdom could I share? I was drawing
She shared with me how she had asked everyone in her group
to describe what they wanted out of the gathering. What she got back was a
variety of responses. Some wanted an Acts 2 church, others wanted deeper
community, still another wanted to understand the Bible more. There seemed to
be little common ground among them, although every need expressed was valid in
its own way. That’s when the Holy Spirit gave me what she needed.
“I understand why you asked everyone to share their
expectations,” I said. “I would have wanted to know that if I were in your
shoes. But maybe next week you should ask everyone a different question. Ask
them to pray about what Jesus wants from this church, and not to assume that it’s
the same as what they’ve already expressed.”
That was it. One simple question that cut to the heart of
what this group was struggling with. But it wasn’t my question, it was the Lord’s
question for them.
I love moments like that. I love when the Holy Spirit shows
up and rescues me in those situations where I’m being asked to do something
that is beyond my reach. Sometimes the answers come to me in mid conversation
like this, but sometimes I have to stop and pray out loud for wisdom. Either
way, I’ve yet to have a situation where the Lord didn’t answer me when I needed
My anchor verse for all of this is James
any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all
without finding fault, and it will be given to you.But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the
one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive
anything from the Lord.”
Why does this work? I believe it’s because God wants to keep
us constantly aware of our need for Him. Especially when it comes to building
His church. The real danger comes when we start running off on our own without
consulting Him along the path. If we can do church without God then what’s the
point? Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing.
So, maybe it would be great to ask this question in your
church gathering: “What does Jesus want with your group?” And then spend some
time listening to what He says. The answers might surprise you.