Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Monday, February 27, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
“For in him [Jesus] dwells all the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form.” [Col. 2:9]
So, I don’t think it’s really heretical to suggest that the Godhead has no hierarchical structure but has a more circular/mutual submission to one another model where each one exalts the other in loving humility.
Here's a little 5 Minute Video I made about this subject:
So, in conclusion: I'd say that we should all keep in mind that The Shack is a work of fiction. Just like "The Chronicles of Narnia" or "The Lord of the Rings" or "Bruce Almighty".
Many Christians are pretty upset that "The Shack" portrays God as a black woman [which wasn't even on this list]. But if you're someone who is upset about that portrayal, I'd have to ask you: "Are you upset when God is portrayed as a Lion, or as a Sheep?" If not, then why are you upset when God is portrayed as a human being who is - according to Scripture - actually created in the image of God?
After all of this, I almost want to watch this stupid film now, or perhaps even read the book.
What do you think? If you've read the book or seen the film, I'd love to hear your thoughts, or just hear what you think about my reactions to that list above.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
I couldn't be more proud of our house church family. A few weeks ago, all on their own, they took the initiative to reach out to the people living in the Tent City that has built up along the Santa Ana River next to Angel's Stadium.
One brother, David, bought a case of emergency thermal blankets from Amazon to pass out to the people there. Another sister helped coordinate the time to meet - about an hour before our Sunday gathering - and suddenly we had a little team of people ready and willing to go and serve.
That morning there were six of us standing on the sidewalk and praying for God to lead us to the people He wanted us to minister to.
Right off the bat we got to pray for a couple who eagerly accepted the blankets and a handful of batteries. We even got to pray for them as they faced the uncertainty about where they might go next, as the County of Orange had recently brought in large rocks to store for flood control purposes [and coincidentally to displace everyone living there along the river bed].
Our next tent was "Louis" who was cheerful and smiling, even though he had been hit by a car trying to cross the street a few days earlier. We got to lay hands on him and to pray for him, which he gladly received. He let us know he had just been reading the Gospel of John before we arrived. It was still sitting there beside his lawn chair on a box.
Soon, we were praying for "Christopher" who received prayer for employment. When we finished he said, "I know prayer works. I used to walk with the Holy Spirit for about 3 years, but then I messed up so I know He's not very happy with me right now."
Wendy spoke up first and said, "I think we need to pray again."
So, once more, we all laid our hands on Chris and reminded him that God will never leave or forsake his children. We reminded Chris that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We reminded him that nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ - not death, or life, or height or depth, or the present or the future, not angels or demons...nothing.
As we prayed for Chris I could sense his body relax. When we said "amen" I saw a look of relief and peace in his face. "Thank you," he said quietly. I knew those words of truth had penetrated his heart and exposed the lies of the enemy.
"God hasn't forgotten you, Chris," Wendy said. "He still loves you so much," another sister said to him.
"Thank you," Chris said again.
We all need reminding sometimes, I think. We need to remember that God is for us, not against us. We need to accept that He has accepted us, and that His love endures forever, and that His mercies are new every morning.
If you know someone who needs reminding of that, please share this post with them. They might need it more than you think.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Our allegiance is to Christ and His eternal kingdom.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Many of you are aware that our family and our house church have been serving at a motel locally for the last 17 years or so.
Our ministry is largely to those people who live in the motel because they cannot afford to live in an apartment or purchase a home in Orange County, California where affordable housing is hard to come by.
We also minister to a lot of people who are actually homeless and either sleep outside, or in their vehicle, or in a local shelter whenever they can find a vacancy.
Last month I happened to see a witnessing tract that one of the people at the motel church had picked up during the week at one of the Christian shelters or ministries to the homeless.
I picked it up and flipped through it and what I saw really angered me. In fact, I decided to confiscate the tract and later tossed into the trash can.
Why? Because this "Good News" was anything but. As an example, near the end it said this:
"You are filthy, disgusting, hateful and offensive to God. If you are not a Christian, this is how He sees you."
Really? Is that what Jesus tells us? Is that how the Apostles share the Good News of the Kingdom with people?
What about the parable of the prodigal son that Jesus shares to let us know that the Father is longing for us to return and eager to welcome us with open arms?
What about the declaration from the mouth of Jesus that "God so loved the world..."?
Even for those who are far away from God, He does not see them as filthy or disgusting or hateful people. He sees people made in His own image whom He longs to draw nearer to Himself.
As Paul reminded the pagan Athenians: "[God] is actually not far from each one of us. For, 'In Him we live and move and have our being.'" [Acts 17:27-28]
That means those who are near and those who are far away both remain in His presence and are surrounded by His enduring love.
Then, later in the week, I listened to a worship song that said, "There is nothing good in me" and I had to stop and ask, "Is that true?"
Maybe before I came to Christ it could be said that there was nothing good in me, but now that I am in Christ, there IS something - or SOMEONE - very good in me: Jesus!
Jesus tells us that "I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." [John 14:20]
He also says:
And later Jesus says:
"Remain in me and I will remain in you." [John 15:4]
So, we should never say: "There is nothing good in me" ever again as long as we are in Christ.
There is someone good in me - and in you - and His name is Jesus.
Rest in His goodness. Trust in His transformational presence. Rely on Him to make you like Jesus.
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them." [1 John 4:16]
God's view of you is better than you think it is. He sees you as someone worth dying for. That means everyone around you is loved by God as well.
Don't buy the lie that God hates you, or is disgusted by you. Stop talking as if Jesus does not live inside you by His Holy Spirit.
There is SO MUCH good in you if you are in Christ and He is in you!
Do you believe it?
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
John Fischer has been one of my inspirations for years now. His column at the back of CCM Magazine kept my subscription going for years after I had stopped reading the rest of the magazine.
Then his books challenged me to rethink what it means to follow Jesus, and later I was overjoyed to meet him in person and discover more about his life, ministry and sincere dedication to Christ and His Kingdom.
So, it is my high honor and great privilege to share this conversation between John and myself about my new book "Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb".
I hope you're blessed by what we talk about. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you haven't picked up a copy of the book yet, you can do that at Amazon.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Over the weekend a friend on Facebook questioned me about this issue of illegal immigration and the refugee crisis.
My original post was a link to an article that highlighted the inevitable clash between churches that offer amnesty or sanctuary to those fearing deportation, and the Immigration Enforcement Agencies that are tasked with finding, arresting and deporting these people.
His question was this:
"I am curious to hear your defense of someone illegally entering a foreign nation, and following that up with repeatedly violating multiple other laws of that nation while simultaneously illegally receiving a variety of monetary benefits...Surely you aren't going to argue that the mere "existence" of immigration laws represents an "unjust law" that - as a believer - can be morally ignored? I'm just trying to establish a 'baseline' for your argument, here. Where does 'just enforcement' begin, in your view? Or is there no such thing?"
It's a fair question and one that that I myself have wrestled with over the years as someone who has tried to reconcile my faith with everything else in my life.
In the past, I might have tried to do exactly what he asked me to do: Justify the legality of immigration laws in our country, or seek to directly balance the words of Jesus with American immigration policy.
But that's not what I do anymore. I have a different perspective now.
Here's how I answered my friend:
"Do I need to justify prostitution to care for a prostitute? Is it 'anti-criminal justice' to serve in prison ministry? Am I pro-drug use if I serve someone who is addicted to drugs?
"No. We show mercy and grace and the love of Jesus to everyone."
See, we don't need to limit our ministry to those who are "righteous" and "law-abiding". In fact, to do so would be completely pointless.
If someone is already "good" then who needs Jesus?
And Jesus was quick to point out that it was only those who were sick who need a physician, and it's only those who admit they are blind that receive healing for their blindness.
The greatest blindness, of course, is not recognizing our own blind spots. If we fail to see ourselves in the outcast, and the poor, and the broken, then we also fail to see Jesus in them as well.
"Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done it unto me," Jesus reminds us.
So, we really only love Jesus as much as we love the people around us who are poor, and weak, and hungry, and thirsty, and naked and in prison.
What's more, we are reminded in the New Testament that we ourselves are equally in need of Jesus and His mercy and grace and healing as anyone - and everyone - else we see:
So, do I support illegal immigration? No, I don't. But I do support loving everyone around me. If those people happen to be illegal immigrants, or refugees, or Muslims, or anything else, my job is to love them as much as I love Jesus.
If you're following Jesus, it's your job too.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
So excited to share this amazing conversation with everyone.
Brandon Andress is the host of my favorite podcast "Outside The Walls" and it was such a blessing and an honor to be invited to talk with him about my new book "Jesus Untangled".
The call almost didn't happen, with technical glitches and unexplained difficulties threatening to derail this interview at every turn. But we persisted and I am so glad we did.
Take 20 minutes and listen to this podcast. Unlike all the previous interviews I've done so far, Brandon takes inspiration from my book and presents his own perspective on entanglement and I know you'll be challenged and blessed by this one.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Thursday, February 09, 2017
On Saturday, February 4, 2017, Steve Kline joined Keith Giles in his living room to talk about his new book "Jesus Untangled".
Join us for an intimate and revealing conversation about:
*Why Keith wrote this book?
*What is the most common reaction to the book?
*Is America a Christian Nation?
*What is the difference between a Flat Bible and a Jesus-Centric Bible perspective?
Click the player above or go to the link below to listen to this great conversation:
The book, "Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb" is available now on Amazon.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
DON'T WORRY! My publisher says we'll restock immediately to fulfill orders. So, we're all good.
And more are on the way!
*Relevant Magazine is interviewing me for feature in an upcoming issue. Details on that coming soon.
*UnConference - Nashville, TN, Summer 2017 - This is in the planning and discussion stages. Hope to share more on this one very soon.
*Texas "Untangled" Conference - Sometime in the Fall of 2017, possibly alongside Greg Boyd who wrote the Foreword to my book. Details soon.
*With the possible repeal of the Johnson Amendment, some local news [and one in Nashville] may contact me for quotes and/or interview/responses from the perspective of a Christian who is not in favor of the repeal. This could be super awesome. If it really happens you'll hear about it here!
*Other conferences and speaking opportunities: I'm currently working to see about possibly speaking at local Christian Universities on the topic of Entanglement and the dangers of mixing faith and politics. Pray that the Lord might open those doors for me.
Thanks for all your prayers and support! I really do believe that the Lord inspired me to write this book early last year because He knew how important and necessary the book would be this year.
I'll share more testimonies in future posts that I've received from people who have read the book and been set free from entanglements to politics.
We'll talk more soon!
Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Monday, February 06, 2017
So excited to share part 2 of my conversation with Richard Jacobson and Gunnar Falk about my new book.
Dare I say it, part 2 of this interview is way better than part 1.
Did you miss Part 1?
The book, "Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb" is available now at Amazon.
Friday, February 03, 2017
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer." [v.16]
What does he mean, "we regard no one from a worldly point of view"?
I think the clue might be in the second sentence: "...we once regarded Christ in this way..."
Think about how the Jews used to regard Christ:
*They thought he would be a mighty warrior
*They expected a violent liberator who would lead an insurrection against their oppressors
*The anticipated a Messiah who would rule from an earthly throne of political power
But they were wrong about Christ.
He didn't come as a warrior. He came as a baby.
He didn't do any violence but responded to violence with love, forgiveness and mercy.
He did not rule from a place of political strength - and He actively resisted it when Satan tempted him in the desert and also when the people sought to make him King by force [see John 6:15] - instead Jesus ruled out of the power of love with an obedience that is intertwined with love [see John 14:15-24]
Now, Paul says, they have come to understand who Christ is because they no longer regard Him from this worldly point of view.
They now have a brand new perspective that is informed by the heart and character of Jesus. He subverted their expectations and now they can see another way.
Because of this, they can now see everyone around them from this fresh new perspective made possible by Jesus.
So, what is this new perspective? Simply this: We now regard everyone around us as people who are dearly loved of God. Whether they are Christians or not. We see everyone as people that God loves profoundly. Regardless of their race, their creed, their color, their orientation, their theology, their nationality, or even if they want to kill us - we only see people who are loved by God as much as we are loved by God.
This means we no longer identify as Americans, or as Mexicans, or as Koreans, or as Baptists, or Methodists, or as Lutherans or Calvinists, or as Democrats or Republicans, or as Conservative or as Liberals. We no longer recognize those worldly points of view in ourselves or in anyone else.
We do not see Muslims or Buddhists. We only see people loved by God.
We no longer see Gays or Lesbians. We only see the people God loves enough to die for.
We no longer see Refugees or Terrorists. We only see people made in the image of our Abba.
We no longer see Male or Female; Jew or Gentile; Slave or Free; Young or Old. We only see people who are loved with an everlasting love that will never die, never end, never change and never, ever fade away.
Do you still regard anyone from a worldly point of view? If so, take another long look at Jesus. Once you see who He is more clearly, you will start to see everyone around more clearly as well.