Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Monday, August 29, 2016
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Take 5 minutes and listen to Keith's response based on what Jesus has to say about forgiving others and how it relates to our own forgiveness.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
In the early church, for example, there were three different views of the doctrine of hell. For nearly 300 years none of those people considered the others to be "heretics" or worthy of excommunication or disqualified from the faith.
It was only after Constantine shifted the paradigm of Christianity from a focus on Christlikeness [orthopraxy] to one of Correctness [orthodoxy] that Christians started persecuting one another over differences of opinion in matters of faith.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Most Christians are convinced that Jesus is the Son of God. But not as many are convinced that they are also the son (or daughter) of God, even though the New Testament goes out of its way to stress this fact.
"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)
"It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?" (Hebrews 12:7)
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1)
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8:14-17)
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:18; 2 Sam. 7:14)
"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir." (Galatians 4:4-7)
See what I mean? The idea that you and I are the sons and daughters of God is quite transformative, and I believe that is the entire point.
Just try going through your day with the awareness that you are the son (or daughter) of God and see how it changes what you say, how you act and what you do.
Now, try doing this for a week, or a month, or maybe even the rest of your life.
I'd love to hear how it goes!
Monday, August 22, 2016
I recently had a chance to interview Richard Jacobson about his first book and here it is:
Keith: Before we dive into your book, Unchurching, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Richard: Gladly! My name is Richard Jacobson. I’m an artist, author, and animator. I’m also a former full-time pastor. I gave up pastoring (at least professionally) once I realized today’s organized church model contradicts the descriptions of the early churches we read about in the Bible.
Keith: You say you gave up pastoring once you realized there was a contradiction between the churches described in the Bible and the churches we attend today. Can you go into a little more detail about that?
Richard: Well, the churches described in the Bible were simple Christian communities that functioned like extended spiritual families. Today’s churches, on the other hand, are corporations. I mean that quite literally. And from everything I’ve examined, the way a corporation functions is entirely at odds with the way a genuine spiritual community is supposed to function.
Keith: Could you give an example?
Richard: Corporations are based on organizational hierarchy. Specifically, in a church corporation, a few people at the top perform all the real ministry, and the people at the bottom are the recipients of that ministry. The clearest example is the Sunday morning sermon. A pastor or priest puts together a message that’s intended to inform and edify the rest of the church. On Sunday, the congregation gathers to silently listen to that message. Supposedly, listening to such messages spiritually builds up the church.
However, nothing could be further from the biblical example. 1 Corinthians 14:26 tells us plainly that every member of the church is supposed to bring something to share during our church gatherings: a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, and so on.
Keith: Amen! But what would you say to someone who challenges that idea by suggesting that we can exercise our spiritual gifts outside the service? I mean, what about when we volunteer in various ministries or when we are in the workplace, etc., Don’t we have opportunities to exercise our spiritual gifts then?
Richard: Absolutely. However, one of Paul’s favorite description of the church is the Body of Christ. And he goes into great detail to describe a body where all the parts function together. How can we truly learn to function together if we only exercise our unique spiritual gifts whenever we’re apart? What are we doing to our churches, not to mention individual believers, if we don't allow everyone to share what the Lord has given them whenever we gather? According to Paul, we’re actually weakening the church.
Keith: So, if your true goal is to strengthen the church, can I ask you why your book is called "Unchurching"? That title seems to advocate walking away from the church. Or does it?
Richard: Depending on a person’s understanding of “church,” they might think that’s what I’m proposing. However, the reason for the confusion is today’s concept of church. As I mentioned before, the biblical concept of church is a simple Christian community that functions like an extended spiritual family. A genuine church is not something separate from its members. It’s not something you “attend” or “don’t attend”; it’s simply what you are. So, when I advocate people leave the “organized church,” I’m not suggesting they separate themselves from genuine church community.
The organized church model has absolutely nothing to do with genuine church community. The first believers wouldn’t even understand questions like, “What church do you go to?” They simply thought of church as a spiritual family, plain and simple. And you would never ask someone, “What family do you go to?” That would be a nonsensical question! As provocative as this might sound, for many believers, leaving the organized church might actually be their first real step toward finding genuine church community. Maybe for the first time in their lives.
Keith: How has your book been received so far?
Richard: The initial response has been mind-blowing. Currently, Unchurching has great reviews on Amazon, and great reviews on readers’ blogs. People have been posting lots of quotes, and photos of sections they’ve highlighted. Many have said they’ve already read the book two or three times. It’ll be interesting to see if the book continues to be this well received, once it starts to reach a wider audience.
But as of right now, I’m getting lots of emails and messages on Facebook from readers, thanking me for writing the book. Many of them have struggled with guilt because of their secret frustrations with the organized church, or struggled to find the words to explain their frustrations to family and friends. I guess this book has helped some of them.
Keith: Yeah, it sounds like your book really resonates with what some people are feeling right now.
Richard: Yes, I think that’s it. One of the recurring themes I’ve heard is that readers are grateful that someone has finally articulated what they’ve always felt.
Keith: Wow. I'm sure that must make you feel pretty validated as well?
Richard: It does. For one thing, I worked on this book off-and-on for fifteen years. That’s a long time to work on something, not knowing whether anyone will ever discover it, or even like it. So, it’s a bit of a relief to know that all that time wasn’t wasted!
Keith: What's your long-term hope for the book? What kind of impact would you like Unchurching to have?
Richard: One of my main motivations for writing this book is the mass exodus that’s happening in the organized church right now. Millions of believers are opting out, many of them due to the contradictions I talk about in the book. My concern is that far too many of them only associate church community with the organized church model; they might not realize those things are separate, that you can have one without the other. I don’t want to see them totally give up on church, when the real issue is simply the way we’ve been doing church; I hope to help them understand separate the two.
Keith: What about people who have already left the organized church and found the type of church community you describe in the book? Is there anything in Unchurching for them?
Richard: Absolutely. People who have been pursuing genuine church community, outside the walls of churchianity seem equally passionate about the book. Apparently, there are a lot of ideas in Unchurching they haven’t encountered anywhere else. They also love the fact that the book unapologetically asserts the organized church model is unbiblical, yet doesn’t come off judgmental, and doesn’t attack people who feel genuinely called to the organized church.
Keith: Your book is currently available on Amazon, in both printed and ebook versions, right?
Richard: Yes. It’s also currently available through Amazon Unlimited, which is basically like Netflix for books. So, if you’re an Amazon Unlimited member, you can read it for free right now.
Keith: What are some other ways people can connect with you?
Richard: On my site, unchurching.com, you’ll find links to all my various social media accounts. You’ll also find some of my animated videos and cartoons there, as well as a contact form and email address. I also hope people will check out The Unchurching Podcast.
Keith: Do people need to read the book before listening to the podcast?
Richard: Not at all. The book is basically a scriptural case for why the organized church model isn’t biblical, as well as a more biblical vision for what genuine church community looks like. You can either read it casually, or use the extensive footnotes to approach it like a Bible study, if you want to go deeper.
However, there were equally valuable things I wanted to share with readers that were simply beyond the scope of the book: personal stories, interviews, and practical insights from people who are already living in the type of church communities described in the book. The podcast if the perfect way to share those things. But no, you don’t have to wait until you read the book. You can jump right in.
Keith: I’ll make sure to share the link for the book, the site, and the podcast, at the end of this interview. Thanks for taking the time to talk!
Richard: Glad to. And thank you for spreading the word about the book!
Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity, can be found on Amazon, in both print and Kindle versions. NOTE: From now until mid-November, all Kindle Unlimited members can read Unchurching for free.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Here are 10 very good reasons to stop tithing your 10% every week.
- The command to tithe was given only to the Jewish people. It was intended to provide for the upkeep of the Temple in Jerusalem and to support the Priesthood who owned no land and did not work to support themselves.
- The Temple in Jerusalem is gone now and has been for over 2,000 years, since its destruction by the Romans in AD 70.
- There is no longer any need to support a priesthood made up of people who do not own land or work for a living.
- The Old Covenant is now obsolete according to Hebrews 8:13. Therefore no one needs to keep those laws anymore.
- If you are in Christ then you are now the Temple of God where He has made His home. [See 1 Cor. 6:19-20]
- Those who abide in Christ are automatically ordained into the Priesthood of All Believers. [See 1 Peter 2:4-5 and 2:9-10]
- The daily sacrifice that was once offered in the Jewish Temple is now replaced by the living, daily sacrifice of every member of Christ's Body. [See Romans 12:1]
- The New Testament scriptures do not command anyone to tithe and the Church didn't formally institute the tithe until 777 AD under Charlemagne. For over 700 years no one who followed Christ tithed anything to the church.
- The New Covenant standard is not 10%, but 100%. God owns everything, and we are commanded to surrender everything to Christ. [See Luke 9:23 and Mark 12:17 ]
- The early Christians only practiced a freewill offering, not a mandatory ten percent obligation. Just look at what Tertullian, a second century Christian, tells us about what the early Church did with their offerings:
nobody is compelled; it is a voluntary offering…to feed the poor and to bury them, for boys and girls who lack property and parents, and then for slaves grown old…So we, who are united in mind and soul, have no hesitation about sharing property. All is common
among us- except our wives. At that point we dissolve our partnership.."
So, stop holding back from God. Give 100 percent of your time, your money, your talent, and your life to Him.
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." [2 Cor. 9:7]
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
'The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.” – [Lev. 23:23]
And: Leviticus 20:22 says:
"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."
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
Saturday, August 06, 2016
Paul’s conversion experience was miraculous, but it also tells us a lot if we’ll pay close attention to the details.
First, Paul thought he was doing God a service by travelling around to arrest Christians. Sometimes this “ministry” involved standing by while these Christians were brutally beaten or stoned to death. But for Paul, these were necessary steps to ensure that those who held differing religious opinions were silenced.
Then, something incredible happened. Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and knocked him off of his horse.
The words Jesus spoke to Paul in that moment are especially profound. He said:
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’” [Acts 26:14]
So, here Jesus explains to Paul [Saul] that whenever he does harm to someone who is in Christ, he is actually causing harm to Jesus, too.
Keep this in mind.
If anyone does harm to another Christian, then they are doing harm to Jesus.
It doesn’t matter if we try to justify our violence by saying, “But Jesus, those Christians were disagreeing with my theology”, or “Those Christians were soldiers fighting for the other side.”
It doesn’t matter if we attempt to validate our aggression by claiming that those Christians are citizens of another nation.
It doesn’t make any difference to Jesus if our reasons for hurting, or shooting, or bombing, or killing our brothers and sisters in Christ are based on religion, or nationalism, or anything else.
No. The simple truth is this: We are not allowed to bring harm of any kind to another brother or sister in Christ for any reason.
There is no excuse.
That means that we, as followers of Christ, are not allowed to justify violence against other Christians by claiming that we’re simply following orders.
And this is why I believe that Christians shouldn’t participate in military combat. Because there’s no way of knowing if the people we are about to shoot, or bomb, or kill are members of our Christian family.
Bombing those Christians is the same as bombing Christ.
But, if we remain neutral in matters of war then this is never an issue for us.
Let us resolve to repent of our violence and to forever lay aside all weapons of war.
Our King is the Prince of Peace.
Our Gospel is the Gospel of Peace.
Our Nation is a Holy Nation.
Our weapons are not of this world.
Our enemy is not flesh and blood.
Friday, August 05, 2016
Thursday, August 04, 2016
Our lives are constantly shifting. We wake up every day and face a new list of challenges and doubts. We navigate our own path of uncertainty with as much faith as we can muster, and the next day we wake up and do it all over again.
Maybe today your challenge involves how to pay a bill, or concerns over your health, or the health of someone you love. Maybe your uncertainty includes doubts about your faith, or doubts about whether you'll get that job, or questions that remain unanswered about relationships, or finances or your future.
Usually, these concerns involve situations that we have little to now control over. So, ultimately, all we can really do is to take our needs to Jesus and lay them down at His feet.
These are reasons to trust Him and the reality is, once those issues are resolved, there will always be another one right behind that one to take its place.
In other words, we will always need to come to Jesus with something. We will always have a problem, a concern, a worry, a prayer, a need, etc., that we cannot carry. We will always have another reason to trust Jesus and to rest in His presence.
This is God's grace for us. He wants us to know that we can trust Him. He is constantly providing us with yet another opportunity to exercise our trust. He wants us to get used to trusting Him. He wants us to know that He can be trusted - with everything and anything that may come our way.
We can trust Him because He is good.
We can trust Him because He loves us.
We can trust Him because He has proven Himself to be trustworthy, over and over again.
The good news is: There will always be another reason to trust Him.
So, you might as well start now.
[Subversive Radio Podcast] Trust: The Key To Everything by Keith Giles