Thursday, July 31, 2014

We Who Have Been Transformed

We who have been transformed are without excuse.

You opened the eyes of the blind.
Who are we to sing the songs of darkness?

You opened the door to the Kingdom.
Who are we to defend the way of the world?

You were beaten and tortured and killed.
Who are we to side with the aggressor?

You were born into poverty and had no place to lay your head.
Who are we to justify sending the poor away hungry?

You were forced to flee a violent dictator's sword.
Who are we to turn our backs on immigrant children?

Your mother carried the shame of an unexpected pregnancy.
Who are we to shame the unwed mothers?
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

Our hardened hearts were transformed by your irresistible love.
Who are we to condemn sinners?

Our darkness was changed into light.
Who are we to say there is no hope for others?

Our violent souls were calmed by your voice.
Who are we to stand with those who do violence?

Your Kingdom subverted the glorification of power and redefined the meaning of authority.
Who are we to return to the worldly system of hierarchy and domination of others?

Now, let the transformed rise up to heal the wounded.
Let those who have been made new follow the way of the cross.

Let every creature that has been made new stand with the oppressed and the homeless and the orphan and the voiceless.

Let every child of the King point out the path to your everlasting peace.

Let those who hear your voice kneel down to wash the feet of our enemies.

Let those who follow the Prince of Peace lay down their weapons and fall to their knees.

Let those who are called by your name humble themselves and seek your face and turn from their wicked ways.

Now, let those who have received so great a mercy, extend that same mercy to everyone else.

We who have been transformed are without excuse.

We who have been made new are held to a higher standard.

Now, let the redeemed of the Lord please say so.

Please. Say so.

And do so.



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Detoxing From Detox

Everyone who has made the transition from Institutional or Traditional Church into an Organic church understands what I mean by “detox”. It’s the period of time where you have to unlearn all the bad habits and screwy theology that you picked up in the man-made, pastor-centric church you grew up in.

That means unlearning everything you thought you knew about tithing, about spiritual covering, about pastoral authority, and about what it means to “be” the church rather simply attend a meeting once a week.

The process can take months, even years, to fully take effect. During that time you probably undergo a variety of emotions like anger (at yourself for not seeing how wrong you were), frustration (at your christian friends who continue to blindly accept the same assumptions you did for so long), and sadness (because so many of your brothers and sisters remain oblivious to their identity in Christ and the freedom Jesus intends for them in His ekklesia).

If you’ve been through that process already, you know that it can end up tainting your fellowship with other believers – even in (maybe especially in) – an Organic church setting.

This can make for some overly toxic church gatherings that linger on everything that’s bad about the Institutional Church rather than simply centering on the goodness of God and the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”

In fact, I think these sorts of Organic Church gatherings where the attention is still on “how they are wrong and we are right” can be MORE damaging and ineffective than simply sitting through a sermon and a song at the church building down the street.

There are some Organic Churches that need to detox from their detoxing and move on to enjoying the freedom of “being the Church” as Jesus intended. They need to stop pointing fingers at those who are doing it wrong and start simply doing it right. This means coming together with your brothers and sisters to seek the face of Jesus. Only listen for His voice. Only wait for His prompting. Only speak of His excellent greatness. Only rest in His faithfulness and mercy.

Certainly, there is a time for venting our frustrations. There is sometimes a need to remind one another why were are here and thank God for what He has taken us out of. But perhaps that time is not when the Body comes together to gather around Christ? Maybe we could get together for coffee to detox and keep the focus on Jesus when the Church meets as one?

In fact, I would like to insist on it.


NOTE: This article originally appeared on

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I realize that not everyone who reads my blog actually follows me on Twitter - or even uses Twitter.

So, if you're not following me on Twitter that means you're missing a lot of great stuff every single day.

We must remedy this.

First, go to and sign up for your free account.
Next, find me @keithgiles and follow me.

Or, just enjoy these Tweets below to see what you've been missing.


"Jesus lived the life we could never live so that we can live the same life He lived."

"If only our hearts would be still as the wind and the waves at the sound of His voice."

“Where are all the pastors in the New Testament? Why are they absent if the are so crucial to the life of the body?"

"It honestly feels like the world is going insane. Malaysian airliner shot down; Gaza invasion; Immigrants crisis; Militarized Police; etc."

"Jesus wasn't concerned with the storm but with the Disciples lack of faith."

"Who are we to look at ourselves instead of at the face of Jesus? What can we do apart from Him?"

"One way God transforms your mind is by having people tell you things that you don't want to hear." - Stacy Harp

"It breaks my heart to see Christians cheering on those who oppress their own brothers & sisters in Palestine. Praying for peace and sanity."

"FYI: If a woman teaches you something from God's Word, she's not in authority over you. God's Word is."

"The deep magic and mystery of prayer is this: Earth moves Heaven, and Heaven moves Earth."

"Jesus and his parents were refugees who fled their nation to escape an oppressive regime. Lucky for us they didn't try to come to USA."

"What we've learned from History is that no one learns anything from History."

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." - Steven Wright

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” ― C.S. Lewis

"The reason so many people focus on Kingdom to come is because they don't live in the Kingdom that has come." 
- Unknown

Monday, July 28, 2014

Question Of The Week: What Bugs You Most About Church?

In the interest of increasing the dialog here on the blog, I'll be asking a "Question of the Week" every Monday for the next few months.

People are encouraged to share their thoughts and provide feedback on the comments section all week long.

So, what are you waiting for? Let us know: What Bugs You Most About Church?

Is it long prayers? Boring announcements? The 3 point sermon structure? Or maybe it's something more fundamental than that?

The point is, we won't know until you tell us.

So...let us know!

Friday, July 25, 2014

[Subversive Radio Podcast] God's Chosen People?

What were the Jewish people "chosen" to do?
Who is the "Chosen One"?
Who are the "chosen people" of God today, according to the New Testament and what are they chosen for?

Listen as Keith explains in this special podcast.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Questions about the Old and New Covenant.

Why do you say the Old Covenant is “obsolete”?

Because in Hebrews 8:13 we read:

“By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”

But, how can the OT be obsolete if Jesus said he did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it?

Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” ( Matthew 5:17-18)

There are two qualifiers here: One is that the Law will not disappear “until Heaven and Earth disappear”, and the second qualifier is that the Law will not disappear until “everything is accomplished.”

So, first Jesus assures us that His mission is to fulfill or to accomplish the Law, and then He tells us that the Law will not disappear “until everything is accomplished.”

The question is: “Was everything accomplished?”

And the answer is: Yes!

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30)

The Greek word Jesus used here is literally “accomplished”.

So here, on the cross, Jesus declares that He has accomplished His mission to “fulfill the Law”, just as He set out to do.

What does that mean, then, according to the two qualifiers Jesus placed on the Law? It means that since everything has been accomplished, the Law has now disappeared.

Maybe this is why Paul the Apostle told us that, on the cross, Jesus actually DID “abolish the Law” by fulfilling (or “accomplishing”) it?

"For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace." (Eph. 2:15)

Elsewhere Paul also affirms for us that “Christ is the end of the law.”  (Rom. 10:4).

Furthermore, Paul explains for us the differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant – not once but twice.

The first time, in 2 Corinthians, Paul contrasts the Old and the New Covenant saying:

“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, [that’s the Old Covenant] came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, [the Old was “fading”] will not the ministry of the Spirit [that’s the New Covenant] be even more glorious?”

“If the ministry that condemns men [the Old] is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! [that’s the New] For what was glorious [the Old] has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away [the Old] came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! [the New] - (2 Corinthians 3:7-11)

So, Paul tells us the following about the Old Covenant:
  • ·         It brought death
  • ·         Its glory was fading
  • ·         It condemns men
  • ·         It was glorious (past tense)
  • ·         It now has no glory
  • ·         It is fading away

The New Covenant, in contrast :
  • ·         Is More glorious than the Old Covenant
  • ·         Brings righteousness
  • ·         Has a glory that is surpassing
  • ·         Is everlasting

The second contrast and comparison that Paul does between the Old and the New Covenant is here in Galatians:

"The women (Hagar and Sarah) represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother." (Galatians 4:24-26)

"But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman." (Gal.4: 30-31)

Now what does Paul say about the Old Covenant?

The Old Covenant:
  • Is from Mount Sinai (where the 10 Commandments were given)
  • ·      Bears children who are slaves
  • ·      Corresponds to the earthly Jerusalem
  • ·       Is in slavery with her children
  • ·       Should be cast out of our presence
  • ·       Will not share in the inheritance of Christ
  • ·       Is not our Mother

Paul says the New Covenant:
  • ·         Bears children who are free
  • ·         Is of the heavenly  New Jerusalem, not the physical city
  • ·         Is our true Mother
  • ·         Shares in the inheritance of Christ

To drive the point home even further, Paul tells us many times:

"We are not under the law" (Rom. 6:14; Gal. 5:18).
“We are dead to the law” (Rom. 7:4).
“We are delivered from the law” (Rom. 7:6).

Therefore, those who are in Christ are not under the Ten Commandments but under the “Law of Christ” as Paul says:

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

But what about the Jewish people, then? Aren’t they God’s Chosen people?

That depends on what you mean by “Israel” and “Chosen”. Paul pointed out to us that not everyone who claims to be “Israel” is actually, truly “Israel” in God’s eyes.

 "For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children." (Romans 9:6)

John the Baptist said the same thing to the Pharisees who wanted to claim that they were “Children of Abraham” (or “Israel”) and therefore blessed and favored of God. He said to them:

“And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matt. 3:9-10)

So, the true “Israel of God” is actually found in Galatians where Paul assures us that:

"If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:29)

Where does that leave the unbelieving Jewish people? The answer is troubling, and it should give us sincere pause and cause us to fall on our knees and cry out to God for their salvation.

Consider this:

"Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son." (1 John 2:22)

The Jewish people today who deny Jesus is the Messiah have neither the Father, nor the Son. They are anti-christ and they are lost without Him.

But I thought they were God’s “Chosen” people?

Consider what the Apostle Peter says about the Christians he writes to in his epistle:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Who, then, is the true Israel of God according to the New Testament?

Anyone who is in Christ.

Who are the “Chosen people” of God?

Those who put their hope in Jesus as their Lord and King.

So, the Jews are no longer the “Chosen people of God”?

Let’s go back and look at what the Jewish people were “Chosen” for in the first place. Were they chosen to be saved? No, because salvation depends upon trust in Christ as Lord and Savior.

What we find is that God chose the Jews to be the people group from whom the Messiah would be born.  That’s it.

So, since Jesus was born a Jew, they have fulfilled their calling. There’s nothing more for them to be “chosen” for.

Christians, according to Peter, are now the “Chosen of God” to carry the message of the Gospel to every nation. This is our calling as God’s “chosen people”.

How can you say the 10 Commandments are no longer relevant for Christians today?

Because the 10 commandments were the terms of the Old Covenant (which is obsolete and vanishing).

“Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.” (Exodus 34:28)

“He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets.” (Deut. 4:13)

The Ten Commandments are only mentioned (by name) three times in the entire Bible. Here in these two scriptures referenced above, and also in Deut.10:4. But in each case it is clear that God gave the Ten Commandments to the Jews as a Covenant. (Note: There are many other terms used such as “Tablets of Stone”, “Stone Tables”, etc.)

Also because the 10 Commandments were a covenant between Himself and with the Nation of Israel, not with the entire world:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” (Exodus 34:27)

Without this Covenant, the Jewish people had no basis for being called a nation. If this Covenant was in force, then they would have a claim to the promises included in the Covenant, but if they broke this Covenant then they would lose all their status as God’s chosen people and their status as a nation.

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:5-6)

In much the same way that the Constitution is a document that outlines the laws of our nation and establishes our system of government, the Ten Commandments (or the Law) outlines God’s terms for establishing the nation state of Israel.

The terms of Israel’s nationhood are dependent upon a few things. First, it says, “If you obey me and keep my covenant, THEN you will be my treasured possession.”

That’s a conditional covenant. We know that the History of Israel records their continual disobedience to God and to His covenant. Because they broke their covenant with God, they were scattered over and over again, until finally they nation of Israel was judged in AD 70 during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, as Jesus predicted it would be (Luke 21) and in the Parable of the Vineyard (Matt. 21:33-46).

Did you know that the promises connected to the Old Covenant have now been offered unconditionally to those who are under the New Covenant?

It’s true! The very same conditional covenant terms spoken to the Jews are repeated in the New Testament as being unconditionally applied to the Church:

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans 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.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Here, Peter declares that Christians “ARE a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…”. The very same conditional promises originally offered to the Jewish nation in Exodus 19:5-6 are now spoken to the Church as being now in effect. So that anyone who is currently found in Christ is the recipient of these promises to be chosen, of the priesthood, a holy nation and God's special possession. We are also promised to be called the people of God and to receive mercy.

The Good News is that Jesus first came and fulfilled the terms of the Old Covenant, and then He made a New Covenant with anyone who would receive Him as Lord and Savior.


 “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people…and they will all know me from the least to the greatest for I will remember their sins no more.” (Jer. 31:33-34 and Hebrews 8:7-9)

We are now under one Covenant, not two. The first has been fulfilled and is now obsolete:

“In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrew 8:13)


[Subversive Radio Podcast] Peace In The Middle East by Keith Giles

What will it take to bring real, true, lasting peace in the Middle East? Listen as Keith shares some ideas that just might reveal a spark of hope for actual peace between Jews Muslims and Palestinian Christians.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

[Subversive Radio Podcast] Let's Talk About Israel.

Why is it so hard for Christians to talk about Israel? And what is at stake if we get it wrong?

In this podcast, Keith explains why it matters and how misunderstanding this key New Testament teaching can distort our views of the Church, our purpose and our identity in Christ.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

[Subversive Radio Podcast] The Obsolete Old Testament?

The Old Covenant had a great run for a few thousand years, but now it is old, and fading, and obsolete and vanishing - at least according to the New Testament it is.

Listen for yourself as Keith explains why the Ten Commandments and the Old Covenant are no longer binding for anyone, especially those who are in Christ.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hard Lessons

Love is painful.

It is also beautiful, sublime, fantastic and awesome.

But love is also painful.

The sooner we learn this, the sooner we can move on to maturity in our faith, and in our life.

We all stood together in a semi-circle under the late afternoon sun, our heads hanging low.

Our eyes red with tears.

"Do you want to say anything?" my wife asked my sons. There was a silent pause as we stood around the hole my wife had dug in the ground near the back fence.

"No," my youngest said.

"It's not fair," my oldest said.

And it wasn't.

A few hours ago my youngest son had found her body, what was left of her, in our back yard.

"I found Little Momma," David said over the phone. "She's dead."

Those words hit me hard. I knew they would hit my wife and my oldest son even harder.

But now here we were, standing around this hole in the ground and doing our best to hold our emotions in check.

There were many lessons to be learned in that moment. Most of them went unspoken. But I did my best anyway.

"She was a gift to us," I said. "She knew that we loved her, very much."

It didn't take the pain away. It might even have made it worse. I'm not sure.

One quote that came to my mind in that moment, as I leaned against the shovel, went unspoken. It was a quote by C.S. Lewis that says:

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

Later, when we had said all we could say, when we had each placed our own handful of dirt over her, when I had buried what was left of her and our boys had slowly walked back into the house, my wife and I stood alone on the grass.

We reflected on what our boys would learn from this; how it would affect them at this stage of their life. My wife suggested that it would help them to develop more compassion for the pain of others; that it would soften their hearts more.

We both remembered the pain that others we know are suffering now. The passing of a brother, or the end of a marriage, or the sudden death of a spouse.

We were the lucky ones. In comparison, our pain was minimal, yet still deep enough to take our breath away. Real enough to make us thankful for what we still have left to hold on to.

There is a saying - a myth really - that Christians often quote to one another in times of suffering. They say, "God never gives us more than we can handle." As if our suffering is proportional to our level of faith. As if our friends die because we're too spiritual, or our children get sick because we're so close to God?


The scripture we mangle to arrive at this platitude is actually about being tempted and God always giving us a way to escape that temptation.

The truth is that God almost always gives us more than we can handle.

Because He loves us. Because He wants us to know that we can lean on Him - hard - for everything that life can possibly throw at us.

God portions out our suffering in relation to our need to know that He is able to carry us through it.

Because of love. Which is beautiful, and marvelous, and wonderful, and yes, sometimes, very painful.

Our promise is not that we will never endure suffering. Our promise is that, when we do, we will not endure it alone.

He is with us. He will never forsake us.

We will never have to say goodbye to Him, or His love.

For that we are very grateful.