Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Last night my wife Wendy was making lunches for our two boys, Dylan and David.

As I walked through the kitchen and saw her putting mustard on one of the sandwiches I noticed that the top section of bread had a mustard trail in the shape of a heart. The bottom piece of bread was a smiley face.

In my pessimism I asked her why she would go to the trouble of doing this when it was obvious they would never even look at the inside of the sandwich or notice this.

She looked at me sheepishly and smiled. "I don' t know," she said.

"Do you ever put those hearts on my sandwiches?" I asked her.

She reached over, unwrapped my sandwich and showed me the inside of my baloney sandwich. The mustard-shaped heart was a silent testimony of her love for me.

We both stood there with tears in our eyes and smiled at each other.

I am so very loved.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just Added: New Dallas Willard Podcast

Just Added: New Dallas Willard Podcast on The Kingdom As Reality (see link below at lower left).

Great stuff!



Wednesday, May 24, 2006


In preparing slides and researching texts for the recent ENGAGE '06 conference last month, I came cross this verse and this image, which together speaks volumes about how far the Church has come in America in regards to caring for the poor, the immigrant and the oppressed.


Hey, be sure to check out both morning and evening sessions of ENGAGE '06 podcasts featuring DAVID RUIS at the links below (lower left), and while you're at it, be sure to listen to the amazing DALLAS WILLARD message from the recent ALLELON Conference, also linked below...also free.



Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I can hardly believe this...but my friend KEITH SECKEL (see link to his blog under LINKS below) recently sent me this email about how he had been inspired by my article "Conversatio Morem!" and decided to get a tattoo of this message on the back of his neck (see the picture of said tattoo above).


I don't know what to say....has anyone else here tattooed themselves with any other phrases or ideas from my articles and columns?! I hesitate to ask...but, if you have, please let me know and I'll post the weirdness here.

This seriously does make me want to go ahead and create [subversive underground] t-shirts. It costs less than a tattoo, and it's painless!

more later..


GREEN CARD by Keith Giles
(this article is now online at

Recently, I read an article where someone suggested that Churches should issue green cards to converts who are baptized in order to remind them that they are resident aliens in this World.

Jesus agreed with this idea of Christians as immigrants when he said, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it."
(John 17: 15-16)

We are not of the world, any more than Jesus was of it. So, why do we continue to live our lives as if this were our home?

Beyond the implications of what this verse suggests about our materialism, or our pursuit of fame, money or position, I am wondering about what this verse might mean in terms of our identity.

I am especially curious about how we fail to see ourselves in the plight of the current immigration reform debate that is currently raging in our own Nation. We are more like these resident aliens living here among us in the United States than we realize. So, why are we not out there marching alongside them, asking for them to be treated fairly and seen as worthy human beings who deserve the same chances we've been given?

Even if we weren't especially called to skip work and carry a sign in the park alongside the activists, what about simply praying for them? What about defending their position to those we call our friends? What about taking the time to identify with these fellow outcasts and unwanted immigrants?

Jesus told us, "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you" (John 15:19).

This verse is especially troubling to me. It makes me ask myself, "Does the World hate me?" or even worse, "Do I hate the World?" Now, I don't mean "hate" in the sense that I should hate other people, but do I hate the system, the consumerism, the focus on the flesh rather than the spiritual?

"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (James 4:4)

Do I love what God hates? Do I hate what He loves?

We, as followers of Jesus, should be comfortable among the the ranks of the misunderstood, the hated, the outcasts and the despised. We should go out of our way to embrace those who are, like us, always in the world but never of the world. That means the poor, the prostitutes, the unpopular, the prisoners, and yes, even the undocumented immigrant.

Welcome to the church. Do you have your Green Card?


Wednesday, May 10, 2006


"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another"- JESUS (John 13:34-35)

I am learning that these words of Jesus are more difficult than we can imagine them to be.

At first, these look like simple commands. "Love each other? That's it? Ok, then..."

But walking out the reality of these words is so much more difficult, challenging and painful than it seems.

Honestly, I wish that Jesus had said, "They will know you are my disciples if you love the lost, the least, the broken and hurting in the world." For me, that would be much easier.

I can extend Grace and forgiveness to someone who is weak. I can overlook the faults of those who have never known Jesus or experienced His love. It's not so hard for me to love and embrace the ones who are in pain, or in need, or have experienced sorrow.

It's those Christians I can't stand.

Seriously, no one can wound you like a brother. No one can disappoint you like a pastor. No one can hurt you like someone you've trusted like a sister in Christ.

It's when your brother in Christ stabs you in the back that the words of Jesus take on new meaning.

It's when the Church you've been attending for years, and serving faithfully all the while, turns on you and begins to slander your name, or to mock you...that's when the full weight of the words of Jesus kick you in the teeth.

"A new command I give you."

Notice that it's not a suggestion. It's a command. Want to know why? Because he knew that it would be something so hard, so painful, that if he didn't command us to do it, we'd never take him seriously.

Until we learn to love our brothers, we'll never really know what it means to love our enemies. We'll never fully know what it is to offer compassion to the least and the lost and the poor and the broken.

First, we learn to love those brothers and sisters who have injured us. We forgive them while they smile and wear their masks and go on as if nothing has happened.

Lately, God has revealed to me the depth of my own hypocrisy. It's been painful, so very painful, and yet at the same time, it's a sweet thing to know that He loves me even though I look like this on the inside.

He's known I had this twisted side to my inner being now from the beginning and only now has He let me see it too.

I've been so judgemental of all those other Christians who don't value the poor the way I do. I've had contempt for those so-called followers of Jesus who leave their crosses at home, who embrace the easy grace version of the Gospel, who leave out the poor and the marginalized (especially here in Orange County). I've hated those bastards for not seeing what I see or believing what I believe...and then God shows me that I'm one of those bastards too.

A few weeks ago, in my own home, during our house church meeting, I was actively ignoring the needs of someone in our group who I had determined was unworthy of equal treatment or compassion. It wasn't until another person in our group had gone far, far out of her way to love and bless this man that I was able to see my own sin.

God spoke to my heart in this moment and said, "See? I was here in your house and you did not wash my feet, but this woman has not stopped washing my feet since I sat down on your sofa. Do you really value the poor? The broken? Do you really see me? Do you really love me?"


I was crushed. My heart was revealed to own black, sinful, selfish, evil heart.

I wanted to look away, but God had so brilliantly revealed it to me that I couldn't pretend I didn't see it. I couldn't ignore it. In fact, I think I suddenly felt the same pain in my heart that I must have been causing in His for a long time now.

What could I do but to repent? Fall on my knees again and beg for Him to wash me, cleanse me, heal me, change me.

I realize, again, that I need a constant conversion. I need to daily lay down my life for Jesus. I need to really learn what it means to lay down my life for a brother..for a friend...(and it doesn't involve bloodshed as much as it involves submission, humility, service and genuine compassion).

Am I really ready for what it means to follow Jesus? To lay down my life for Him? To daily take up my cross and die to myself?

This is harder than we know. Following Jesus, contrary to what the televangelists would have you believe, is not easy. It will not make your life easy. In fact, it will jack you up in ways that nothing else can ever hope to.

Maybe I'm not ready to follow Jesus yet. Maybe I need to find something else to do with my time?

But I know that there's really no other option for me. I've tasted and I've seen. I've been in His prescence and changed by His touch. Where else can I go?

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." - John 6:68

by Keith Giles

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Great comments, pictures over at the ARTS INTERACTIVE

Check the new comments posted online at the ENGAGE Arts Interactive blog here:

You'll be glad you did...


Tuesday, May 02, 2006


My buddy Arnie Adkison had a great quote over on his blog. I had to post it here for your consideration.

"I have an idea. I think that the city of San Antonio, where I live, should make it a law tomorrow that you have to live in the city to work in the city. Then Wednesday, when all those people who live in the suburbs "immigrate" into SA to work, they should arrested as illegals and deported back to their home community. If they don't have respect for our laws, regardless of how arbitrary they are in the overall scheme of things, they should not be allowed in to work." - ARNIE ADKISON


*It's great to have friends like this...