I'll be recording about a dozen or more podcasts and radio interviews to talk about the book in 2017, plus a few events and speaking opportunities where the topic of the book will be discussed. Watch for info on all of that coming soon.
Friday, December 30, 2016
I'll be recording about a dozen or more podcasts and radio interviews to talk about the book in 2017, plus a few events and speaking opportunities where the topic of the book will be discussed. Watch for info on all of that coming soon.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
From the time I was a little boy, Christmas morning was always the time to run out to the tree and find out what you got for Christmas.
After unwrapping everything, the next thing I did was to call my friend's on the phone and find out, "What did you get for Christmas"?
A few years ago, all of that changed for our family. We slowly transitioned from "What did you get?" to "What did you give?"
It started for us about 10 years ago. We had a friend who was a single Mom and she had just had brain surgery to remove a tumor. Her young son had never had a Christmas before, as they were always too poor. So, this year he asked his mom if they could have Christmas for Christmas. Our house church, along with another church group, pooled our resources and bought a tree, lights, ornaments, and decorations. We also bought gifts for both of them, including grocery store cards for $200 worth of food so they could rest easy during the Holiday season.
When we go there we started setting up the tree and decorating. We worked together to decorate their tiny apartment. Then we turned on the lights, sang a few Christmas carols together and shared some hot cocoa.
Before leaving, we all gathering around our friends and we prayed for her to heal from her surgery and for her and her son to know how much God loved them.
Then something unexpected happened. She asked if she could pray for all of us. As she started to pray for us, I began to really understand what giving was all about. Her humble prayers for us were so profound, and beautiful. I found myself wiping away more than a few tears by the time she was finished.
On the way out to our car, I remember turning to Wendy and saying, "That was my Christmas gift. I don't want anything else."
Ever since that night, we have tried to spend our time and our money giving away as many blessings as we can to help others. We already have so much more than we need, and a whole lot more on top of that we don't really need. So, instead of turning Christmas into an excuse to get even more stuff we don't need, we decided to see what we can give away.
This Christmas, along with help from people in our house church and a few others, we were able to give away Christmas gifts to 51 children at the Motel, and to pass out batteries and socks and share hot apple cider with people living along the Santa Ana river bed near Angel stadium in Tent City.
I would encourage everyone to try this at least once. The truth is, we are more blessed by giving away blessings than we ever were when our focus was to receive a blessing.
Honestly, I can barely remember what I got for Christmas all those years ago. But I can promise you that I will never, ever forget all that we have given away for Christmas over the last 10 years; and all the smiling faces and joyful hearts we've been able to touch by simply switching gears from getting to giving.
Merry Christmas to all of you from all of us!
Peace on Earth,
Monday, December 19, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
UPDATE: As of 12/19/16 we have all the toys we need this year!
Thanks to everyone who made a donation.
Every year our house church family buys Christmas gifts for the kids who live in the Motel where we serve in Santa Ana.
As you might imagine, there are a lot of kids who need toys and our little house church is...well, kinda "little".
So, we're planning to go hog wild this year, but if you'd like to help us out, that would be SO AWESOME!
Please let me know in the comments if you'd like to contribute something to help us out.
If you just want to make a donation online you can do that via PayPal using my email address. If you don't already know it, please PM me and we'll work it out.
I'll be sure to post pictures of the gifts, and the kids in a few weeks.
We also plan to host our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service in the back parking lot this year with hot cider and cookies shared as we sing carols and read the story of Jesus' incarnation from the Gospel of Luke.
If you're in the SoCal area be sure to join us!
Monday, December 12, 2016
This is the book Trump and Hillary don't want you to read.
My new book, Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb is coming to Amazon on Inauguration Day - January 20, 2017 in both print and ebook formats.
I'm very honored to have Greg Boyd [author of The Myth of a Christian Nation] contribute the Foreword to my book.
This is also my first book that I'm publishing through an actual publisher rather than going the self-publishing route. Already I'm kicking myself for not doing so much sooner. It's been a wonderful experience so far.
If you'd like to know more about the book, we have a little landing page set up here: www.JesusUntangled.com
I'm currently setting up radio and podcast interviews for the book, and I'm sending out advance pre-release copies on PDF to several authors and bloggers to solicit advance reviews leading up to January 20th, 2017.
If you live in the SoCal area, you might want to join us for the Jesus Untangled Book Signing Party at Fuller Seminary, Irvine on Saturday evening, Jan. 21st. at 6pm. This will be a great opportunity to grab a signed copy of the book and meet me in person. I'll read a chapter from the book and take a few questions.
Going forward, you might see a few new 5 Minute Video clips here and on YouTube focused on the book, plus a few other surprises that I can't wait to share.
Thanks to everyone who has read my blog over the last 10 years, and who have supported me and my writing ministry. I'm so blessed to share this book with all of you!
Thanks for the support, it is greatly appreciated.
NOTE: If you plan to buy the book on Amazon, please DO NOT PRE-ORDER the book. We're asking everyone to be patient and purchase the book on Friday, January 20th so our sales numbers are maximized and all sorts of beautiful things start to happen for us at Amazon.
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Over the last few years, I've debated and argued and reasoned with many Christians on the subject of non-violence.
Jesus is the Messiah.
The Messiah is called the "Prince of Peace".
It is prophesied in Isaiah that he would "do no violence".
His mission is to "teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths."
His "path" leads the nations to "beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks" so that "nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
I used to shoot You like a gun
I used to hold You like a hammer
Try to nail down everyone
I used to keep You in a steeple
Used to bind You in a Book
I used to take You like prescription
Without knowing what I took
But now I just don't buy it anymore
No, I've tried and I've tried to know everything for sure
But I find I know less as I come to know You more
Praise the Lord!
Your love's an ocean, not a river
A symphony, not just a song
I don't think everybody's right
I just think most of us were wrong
I think that when we get to Heaven
We're gonna laugh when we can see
How hard we try to make it
And how easy it should be
Monday, November 28, 2016
We've had the opportunity to do this for the last three years or so. Every time we do this, I am amazed at how the scandal of the Kingdom is expressed in stark detail.
On this day, drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, and panhandlers sit down at the same table with mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and pastors and teachers, and together we all share a meal of thanksgiving and bow their heads to the same God who loves them all the same.
Where else can you experience such a marvelous picture of Christ's Kingdom?
Maybe on the night of Christmas Eve when we gather in the same place, with those same people, and share hot apple cider and sing carols together under the stars?
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Sometimes you have to switch tactics to make your point.
For the last few years I've been trying to help American Christians understand who Jesus is and that He isn't a Pro-War, American Capitalist. I'm not making much progress, it seems.
But then I ran across this article about a new comic book being created called "The Savage Sword of Jesus" and it sounded like what some American Christians believe. [This is not a joke]
"In an interview with Vulture, Morrison revealed his idea for this controversial take on Jesus Christ came...when he uncovered a Nazi project called Positive Christianity, which “recast Christ as a proactive Aryan rather than a meek Jew.” The title and physical look of the Messiah are inspired by a “Conan the Barbarian” series."
"Obviously, I had done a lot of research for that one, and I just came across this interesting idea that during the Second World War, the Nazis had attempted to rebrand Christianity, and rebrand Christ, specifically. Take him away from the gentle and peace-loving character of the Gospels, and to transform him into a Nordic and brutish and violent Messiah.”
"The idea of stories being changed to fit a narrative rings true with Morrison, especially in this current political climate: “We’re living in a time when it’s quite clear how even the most pacifist stories or narratives that one time were a lot more positive, can be perverted to stand in as catalysts for violence and mayhem. Especially now that we live in a world where we’ve seen that lies can easily be overlooked, and where celebrity culture is more powerful than the truth, and where people can quite happily twist any narrative to suit any new narrative, and almost twist narratives into their complete opposites, which is what the Nazis tried to do with the Gospels.”
Sound familiar? To me, it sounds frighteningly familiar...
Because so many American Christians have pretty much already done this theologically. They've created a version of Jesus that is pro-war, who approves of violence, who condones torture, who turns a blind eye when we turn away refugees, and who can't stand "sinners".
Anyone who reads the actual New Testament scriptures will find that Jesus isn't any of those things.
This is why the "Savage Sword of Jesus"comic should offend anyone who truly embraces Jesus for who He is.
It should also offend Christians when someone equates following Jesus with embracing violence, oppression, war, and nationalism.
But for some reason it doesn't.
This is why I've said the greatest threat to Christianity in America is American Christianity. Because it looks so little like Jesus.
“Savage Sword of Jesus Christ” goes on sale December 28th.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Thursday, November 10, 2016
"The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
the God of Jacob is our fortress."
During one of our recent house church gatherings, my wife Wendy shared this passage of scripture.
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
After the surprising results of this most recent election I felt the need to say a few things in response:
*First, I did not put any hope in Presidents before the election, and I certainly place no hope in them now that this election is over. Jesus is still my Lord and my guide.
*Second, this election serves mainly as a mirror held up to the face of the Evangelical Christian church in America. Now we know what evils may be excused in the pursuit of political favor - lust, greed, pride, racism, sexism, and everything in between can apparently be overlooked as long as you promise Christians the power they crave most. We have a lot of work to do to make the Christian church more like Jesus.
*Third, many are confused by the fact so many Evangelical Christians vocally and enthusiastically supported a man who admitted he had never asked God for forgiveness, bragged about sexually assaulting women, attacked the parents of an American soldier who died in combat, insulted an American war hero because he was captured, called for banning Muslims from entering the country, mocked a disabled man, bragged about not paying any taxes for years, scammed people with a fake university, owns gambling casinos, and created a non-profit foundation that was shut down and is now under investigation for fraud.
*Fourth, our goal now should be to show those confused people that while we love everyone as Jesus does, we do not applaud these sorts of behaviors. We should work to make it clear that we are following a leader who honors women, embraces people of every religious background, and who is not proud but humble, self-sacrificing and kind. Apologize if necessary. Let the contrasts be evident and clear. There is no one like Jesus. We hope in Him alone.
*Finally, let us continue to demonstrate the beautiful Gospel of Jesus without becoming entangled by the slime of politics. Our focus is on Jesus. Our mission to love others as He loved us. There is no room in our hearts for tribal thinking. We are not primarily Americans, or even Baptists or Methodists, or Republicans or Democrats or Libertarians. Our identity is fully and completely found in Christ and in Him alone. In Christ there is now therefore no nationalism, no sexism, no man-made division, but we are all one in Christ Jesus.
Above all, Jesus is Lord. We have to move beyond that bumper sticker slogan and begin to actually live out of that profound reality in our daily lives.
We are not looking for a nation of our own. We are citizens of another country that is from above and not built by human hands; a country whose founder and builder is God Himself.
Let's continue to be ambassadors of our King to a people who have, mostly, never seen Him or heard His message, yet oh so desperately need it now more than ever before.
My youngest son is a student at Biola University. Over the weekend he attended a conference and he came home very excited about something new he had learned in one of their sessions together.
"What does a head do?" he asked me.
"Uh...it makes decisions," I answered.
"That's how we see it, but back when the Bible was written they saw the head as the source of nourishment because that's where people ate their food."
That's when he opened up his bible and showed me the verse in Ephesians where Paul says that the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is head over the church, but then he pointed out a verse I had not noticed before:
"After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body." [Eph. 5:29-30]
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
What are your burning questions about Organic Church? What would make your house church group better? What's the one thing you wish was different? How can I help?
Ask your questions below and I'll record a 5 minute video in response to help you find an answer.
Monday, November 07, 2016
All of us were once strangers to righteousness. Holiness was an alien concept to us.
Then we met the One who loved us into life again.
His touch rearranged our DNA.
We began to die in that moment. Our old self was crucified, but our new self came alive.
This intimate knowledge of the Infinite conceived a new life within us.
The resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead was now unleashed within us.
Soon, disobedience to our Abba became strange to us. We became aliens to this world around us.
Who we are now is all that matters. What we once were is not worth mentioning again.
We stand now, as new creations, calling out to the Creator as beloved children made in His image.
We are remade for righteousness.
Our new nature is hard-wired to glorify Him with a clean heart
and lips that speak of grace
and voices that magnify His Holy name
and hands that comfort the broken
and arms that support the weak
with eyes that seek for truth
and ears that listen for the still small voice of One so very big.
You, oh God, are remaking us into a people who are like you,
even though there is no one like you,
and even though
“We have the mind of Christ” [1 Cor. 2:16]
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” [2 Cor. 5:17]
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” [Phil. 1:6]
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control....and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” [Gal. 5:22-26]
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” [2 Peter 1:3]
Sunday, November 06, 2016
Saturday, November 05, 2016
"You can only help people who want help, and you can only give them the help they are willing to receive."
Listen as Keith unpacks this valuable lesson.
Friday, November 04, 2016
Our house church family continues to amaze me.
Every single time we get together, the Lord reveals something more exquisitely beautiful about Himself to all of us and takes our breath away.
A few months ago one of our dear sisters shared something from her journal with us. She was in a place where the voices of self-doubt and defeat were beginning to drown out the voice of the One who loves her completely.
Rather than give in to those lies, she instead stopped and prayed. She confessed her feelings and doubts and asked Jesus to remind her of who she was.
In a few moments time, literally only a few seconds, the Lord spoke out these five verses to her one at a time. She wrote them down in her journal under the bold heading:
"Things that are TRUE"
Here's what the Lord spoke to her:
Through these five verses the Lord whispered something beautiful to our sister. He revealed to her all the ways that He sustains her, and that He is at work even if she doesn't perceive it, to make her a new creation in Christ. He showed her that He knows her heart, and that if she keeps searching, she will find Him. Then He reminded her that he is well aware of her need and He intends to fill it with all of Himself.
As she went through her day these thoughts continued to swirl around in her heart and she began to meditate on all the ways that He gives Himself away to us.
God is giving Himself away to us. He is our inheritance. All that we have is His. All that He has is ours. He intends to make us One with Him, and to make us all One with each other.
Doesn't that give you such great hope today?
God sees you. He knows you. He pays attention to you. He is working behind the scenes to make you like Himself, and to draw you into a place where all you know is more of Him.
Today I am praising God for all the ways He gives Himself away.
Thursday, November 03, 2016
It was a perfect day. Wendy and I were celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary together, walking along Newport Beach on a Saturday morning. The sun was perfect. The sky was perfect. Her hand in mine was perfect. We found a sand dollar topped with a purple anemone. It was perfect.
As we walked along together, the sound of the waves washing over us, the sea air in our lungs, basking in the goodness of God, this thought came to me:
""God doesn't want to take anything away from us. He only wants to give us more of Himself."
That word seemed to come from somewhere outside of my own heart. I tucked it away and held it inside the rest of the day.
Later, Wendy and I talked about this over coffee. She reminded me that the Lord does "give and take away" and that sometimes we do lose those we love; tragedy strikes; accidents happen; pain is part of every life.
So, I continued to think on that word I received earlier, when all was right with the world. I went to sleep that night thinking about all of it. It echoed in my dreams all night long.
In the morning I woke up and went into the living room to have some quiet time, and a cup of coffee, while everyone in the house was still asleep.
In the silence, just me and God, I felt like I understood the statement: "God doesn't want to take anything away from us. He just wants to give us more of Himself."
The truth is that God may remove something from our lives, or allow someone or something to be lost, temporarily. In those cases, God is committed to using that as an opportunity to fill the gap with more of Himself. He fills the emptiness with His love. He rushes into the wound and heals us with His own hands.
We may lose loved ones in an unforseen tragedy, or have to watch someone we care about succumb to death. But in those moments He is with us. He doesn't want to take anyone, or anything from us, but He will use even these momentary losses to give us even more of Himself.
In the end, we receive back all that we may have had to let go of in this life. He has promised us:
"Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times more in this age — and in the age to come, eternal life.” - (Luke 18:30)
In part 4 Keith warns against the temptation to "go big" because that might lead you to avoid actually interacting with the people you're called to love and serve.
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
In Part 3, Keith digs a bit deeper into what God is calling us to when He leads us into service to others.
NOTE: The video cuts off abruptly but our next video will pick up where this leaves off.
Tuesday, November 01, 2016
Monday, October 31, 2016
Take 5 minutes [or more] to listen as Keith shares from his experience serving people in Orange County, California and learn from his mistakes.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
"God made man in his own image and man returned the compliment." - Blaise Pascal
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
We stood there with here while her father broke down his tent. We helped him carry his load up the hill and around the corner to the trail leading back up to the street above.
Friday, October 21, 2016
“In us, all zeal in the pursuit of glory and honor is dead. So we have no pressing inducement to take part in your public meetings, nor is there anything more entirely foreign to us than the affairs of State.”
Origen also wrote to Celsus in an attempt to explain the peculiar Christian practice of noninvolvement with Roman politics, saying:
"It is not for the purpose of escaping public duties that Christians decline public offices, but that they may reserve themselves for a diviner and more necessary service in the Church of God – for the salvation of men. And this service is at once necessary and right."
"We recognize in each state the existence of another national organization [the Church], founded by the Word of God, and we exhort those who are mighty in word and of blameless life to rule over Churches. Those who are ambitious of ruling we reject; but we constrain those who, through excess of modesty, are not easily induced to take a public charge in the Church of God. And those who rule over us well are under the constraining influence of the great King, whom we believe to be the Son of God, God the Word. And if those who govern in the Church, and are called rulers of the divine nation -- that is, the Church -- rule well, they rule in accordance with the divine commands, and never suffer themselves to be led astray by worldly policy."
To Origen, and Tertullian, and every other Christian in those first 300 years of the Untangled Church, the issue was clear and the differences were distinct: Those who were citizens of the Kingdom of God were uninterested in the politics of men.
Why? Because they already had a King. His name was Jesus. They had already pledged their loyalty to another nation. It was called the Kingdom of God.
Or is Jesus only King in a metaphorical sense?
*A BETTER WAY TO END ABORTION IN AMERICA