Wednesday, July 31, 2013


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.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Galatians 3:16

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 this:

"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 History).

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.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Jesus says in Matthew that he “did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.”

But, how he did fulfill it?

Think 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.

In this same way, Christ fulfilled the promises of the Old Covenant - all of them - and now all of those are embodied by Christ.

But, 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:

"I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do." (John 17:4 ESV)

Jesus said that He came “not to abolish the Law and the Prophets”but to “fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

And 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:

“By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13)

The 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:

“For all the promises of God in Him are ‘Yes’, and in Him ‘Amen’, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Cor.1:20)

And also in Ephesians, Paul goes so far as to say that Jesus actually did “abolish the law”:

“For 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)

So, 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 covenant.

Rather 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)

This “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 Him.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

NEW PODCAST: What Is The Power of Weakness?

What is the Power of Weakness? Listen as Keith shares his insights into this principle described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 and how God loves to do extraordinary things through ordinary people.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


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 it!

*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?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


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.


Monday, July 15, 2013


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 problem, right?

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 cross.

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.

Listen. Surrender. Repeat.







Friday, July 12, 2013

Follow Who?

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 Christ’?”

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 saying:

“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 Jesus.”

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 Cor. 3:4-7)

Also, in the book of Acts, Paul warned the church with very strong words to avoid leaders who tried to gain their own followers, saying:

“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.”




Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Other Seven Beatitudes

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. 20:6).

“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 gates.”  (Rev. 22:14).

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)





Friday, July 05, 2013


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?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


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 me.

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.


Monday, July 01, 2013


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 blanks.

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 help.

My anchor verse for all of this is James 1:5-7:

“If 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.