Thursday, June 30, 2016

PERSPECTIVES CHANGED



I love our house church family. More and more, I'm learning to hear Jesus as He speaks to me through the members of His Body as we gather together around Him.

Most recently, I heard something that really gave me a fresh perspective about pain and suffering.

One of our sisters was sharing about how she had been angry at God. She was upset because it seemed to her that her sister was suffering horribly in areas where she herself was enjoying the blessings of God. This disparity made her angry and she let God know that she needed Him to be as good to her sister as He had been to her. It just didn't seem fair that she should be so blessed and her sister should suffer so horribly without any end in sight.

Eventually, my friend said to God, "If you don't fix this and bless my sister, I'm not sure I can continue to trust in you."

That was quite the ultimatum. I'm sure some of you can relate.

From her perspective, there was an injustice that needed correcting. God loved both of them the same, and yet one of them was being blessed and the other was in pain. Why was that? How could God allow this to continue?

But then my friend gained a new perspective on the entire situation. She slowly started to hear from God the phrase, "I am" in various ways; as she read scripture, as she prayed, and as she spent time with Him, the realization of God as "I am" began to soften her heart and it gave her a fresh angle on everything.

To her, that realization meant that God was so much bigger than the momentary "goodness" or "badness" of a particular person's experience in a given space of time.

But, to me, as she was sharing this with all of us on a Sunday morning, what I heard the Lord say to me was this: "Get to know better. All of these experiences you have: Blessing, Pain, Joy, Suffering, all of these are opportunities for you to know me in a deeper way."

Immediately, my mind went to the verse which says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." [Ps. 37:4]

Right away I realized that the verse wasn't saying, "Make God happy and He will give you the stuff you want", which is honestly how I think most of us read that verse at first.

Instead, I started to see how this verse was simply saying: "If you make God your delight, then you will receive more of God as a reward."

In other words, "Is it your delight to know God more? Is the desire of your heart simply to know Him in a deeper way?" If so, then you're in luck! Because God's promise is to fulfill that desire and to show you more and more of Himself as you seek Him daily.

Suffering, then, becomes another opportunity to know God's heart. Blessings are also an opportunity to know something about God. Our joys reveal more of God's character, and our sadness points us to Him as well.

Too often, we become fixated on avoiding pain and maximizing our pleasure. But that's a very carnal way of living, and it reduces our experience of God to a simplistic paradigm which says: "If I'm blessed then God loves me and if I'm suffering then God is upset at me."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus is with us always, no matter what our experience is. He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death, and he dances with us in our seasons of joy.

Jesus told us plainly: "In this world you will have trouble", and then He added, "But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

The troubles still come our way, but our gift is that we get to go through those hardships with Jesus alongside us.

"It rains on the unjust and the righteous as well," Jesus said. The difference for us is that we get to know Jesus better along the journey of life, whether in joy or in sorrow.

I hope that encourages you today.

If it does, please share this with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. There might be others who need to hear this blessing too!

Peace,
Keith



Monday, June 13, 2016

INTERVIEW: REAL TALK RADIO "THIS IS MY BODY: EKKLESIA AS GOD INTENDED"



Why do we do so many things in church that we can't find in the scriptures? What is a house/organic church? Is there a difference? How is the true church supposed to operate?

We will discuss these questions and many more.

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So enjoyed this interview with the guys at Real Talk Radio.

Part 2 is coming soon!

CLICK TO LISTEN:

Monday, June 06, 2016

[PODCAST SERIES] HOUSE CHURCH 101




HOUSE CHURCH 101 - WHAT IS IT? Is it a bible study? A church that meets in a house Or...something else?

 

 ** HOUSE CHURCH 101 - What's It Look Like? If you were to walk into a house church one Sunday morning, what might you experience? Keith shares his own experiences and talks about who should - and who should not -start a house church group in their home.


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* HOUSE CHURCH 101 - WHY IS IT SO HARD? Participating in an Open Meeting is anything but easy. Why is that? Keith talks about the challenges of an open participatory meeting and how followers of Jesus can work together to help the Body to function as Jesus intended.


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* HOUSE CHURCH 101 - LEADERSHIP What does leadership look like in an open meeting? Keith Giles shares his experience in the organic church and outlines what to do, and what not to do, to facilitate a New Testament style church gathering.


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* HOUSE CHURCH 1O1 - FROM PULPIT TO TENT-MAKING How do you transition from a career in the pulpit to a job in the workforce? Keith shares his personal story and provides key insights into what it takes to trust God for everything.


 

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Preemptive Love



Some people define the teachings of Jesus as being pacifist or "non-violent", and while I don't disagree with that assessment, I prefer the terms "Preemptive Love" and "Proactive Agape."

Here's why.

Rather than frame the example and ethic of Jesus as something we don't do, or something we avoid doing, I prefer to frame it in terms of what Jesus DID do and what He DOES tell us to do: Love Preemptively.

Our first and constant posture is always love. This means we are already loving before our enemy attacks us. Our love for them is not reactive, it is proactive. Just as His love for us isn't reacting to anything we have done or will do. He just loves us - and everyone - all the time. Our love is what initiates action because love is a verb.

So, as we follow Jesus we are always loving because He is always loving us. As His love for us is poured into us and over us and through us, we also reflect that love and funnel that love and redirect that perfect, unmerited, unconditional love right back out to everyone around us.

Love begins with God and continues in, and through, us. We are His ambassadors of love. We are the incarnation of love in this world today.

Non-violence suggests that we are holding violence back, or that we are denying the violence within us. But Preemptive Love declares that we are beings who are so perfectly and constantly loved by God that we are being transformed into carriers of love who cannot help but love Him in return and others at all times.

Let's love preemptively and practice agape proactively.

"If anyone claims to be in Him, he must walk as Jesus did." - 1 John 2:6

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Revival or Resurrection?



Gather thousands of Christians together. Pack them into a stadium. Crank the amps up to eleven. Jump around. Raise your hands. Empty your pockets.
Bow your heads. Listen to the message.
Drive home.

The world is still the same.

You are still the same.

Is that Revival?

Revival, to me, isn’t about hype.
It’s about a handful of people whose hearts are sincerely burdened for the lost, who are desperate for more of Jesus and who cannot face another second of life-as-usual.

Those people aren’t waiting for a national conference.
They’re not interested in the mega church pastor’s new book.
They couldn’t care less about the worship band whose new album is on sale near the snack table.

They just want Jesus.
They are only interested in Jesus.
They want to know Jesus more.
They want to be like Jesus.

They want a heart like His.
They want to love the people Jesus loves.
They want to serve the people Jesus served.
They want to forgive the way Jesus forgave them.
They are moved by the things that move the heart of Jesus.

People like this open their arms to gay and transgender people.
Those profoundly touched by Jesus step outside and share their food with the poor.
They pray for the sick without stopping to pull out their iPhone so they can post it to YouTube later.

Revival? For me, that’s a word for a person whose heart is broken.
A person whose soul is ripped down the middle at the sight of all the suffering that surrounds them.

Revival is a word that calls attention to the reality that something that is dead needs to come alive again.

Maybe we don’t need another revival meeting. Maybe what we need is more like a resurrection.

Let me ask:

Doesn’t the world deserve a Church that does more than pack stadiums on the weekend?

Isn’t it more powerful and effective to wake up every morning and quietly, yet consistently, live out the commands of Jesus where we live and breathe?

To me, that is what revival really looks like.

It’s not hyped up.
It’s not up on the Jumbo-Tron.
It doesn’t have a soundtrack or an official t-shirt.

Revival is simply a group of people who are hungry for Jesus and moved by Jesus who are willing to go out and act like Jesus in a world that is desperate for Jesus, [even if they don’t know it yet].

I’m not saying it’s a sin to hold a big conference. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to support Christian ministries.

What I am saying is that Christianity in America seems to be hopelessly enamored with spectacle and addicted to events.

Instead of a conference that goes to eleven, I'd rather see a move of the Spirit that sends people out to hang with the zeroes.

I guess I’m just waiting for the big “Let’s Go and Do the Stuff Jesus Did” Conference,
where thousands of Christians spread out over the city
and break into groups of five or ten to visit children’s hospitals
and pray for cancer patients
and give hugs to the homeless
and reconcile with their gay brothers and sisters
and pray a sincere blessing for their President
and repent publicly from seeking to change the culture through political power
and maybe donate ten million dollars to feed the poor and house the mentally ill who sleep on our streets every night.

When I see that, I’ll call it revival.

Until then, I’m really not sure what to call it.

-kg