Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: The Year In Review

I'm not sure about you, but for me 2016 just flew by.

The more notable events this year for me were:
*Writing my book, "Jesus Untangled"
*Greg Boyd writing my Foreword to the book
*Publishing a chapter in the new Dallas Willard book, "Renewing the Christian Mind"
*Starting the 5 Minute Video Series on YouTube
*Podcasting the "Jesus Without Religion (Or Politics)" series
*Watching our House Church family blossom into an even more beautiful expression of Jesus
*Being interviewed by the guys over at Real Talk Radio about organic ekklesia
*Having  that same series translated into Portugeuse!
*Co-hosting the "Jesus At The Center" conference with my dear friend Herb Montgomery in November

My Top 10 Posts In 2016:

Honorable Mention:

My all-time highest viewed/most read post is still:

Obviously, this was a very productive year for me, but next year is shaping up to be even better.

My new book, "Jesus Untangled" will release on Amazon on Jan. 20th, 2017 (Inauguration Day), along with a short documentary about me and our house church from my friend Braden Swope on the same weekend which will debut at the Chapman University Student Film Festival.

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.

I do pray that next year will be one where we can all draw nearer to Jesus and experience His life in ours more than ever.

Thanks for reading my blog and supporting this ministry with your prayers.

Can't wait to see what the Lord does next year!


Sunday, December 25, 2016

What did you give for Christmas?

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

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Let's Talk about "Jesus Untangled"

Can you convert a culture if that culture has already converted you?

Keith talks about his new book, "Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb" and explains why he wrote the book and how the greatest threat to Christianity in America might actually be "American Christianity".

To learn more visit:

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:

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

Jesus Came To End War

Over the last few years, I've debated and argued and reasoned with many Christians on the subject of non-violence.

I've tackled all the usual arguments - what about Cornelius the centurion, or when Jesus overturned the tables in the Temple, or when Jesus said he came to bring a sword, or when Jesus told the disciples to go and buy a sword - and I've recorded podcasts, made videos, hosted events, and written blogs and books to answer all of those objections to the idea that Jesus really was anti-war and pro-peace.

But here's another angle on the whole subject:

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."

When Jesus arrives on the scene, he comes as a baby, not a warrior.

His birth is announced by angels who proclaim, "Peace on earth!" and goodwill to all men.

His message was that we should love one another, and turn the other cheek, and bless those who curse us, and do good to those who hate us.

After saying that he added, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?"

He rebuked James and John when they wanted to call down fire from heaven against another person saying, "you know not what spirit you are of".

He wept as he entered Jerusalem - the city of peace - on a donkey saying, "If only you had known the things that make for peace."

He disarmed Peter saying, "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword."

He told Pilate at his trial, "My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my disciples would fight."

He prayed for those centurions who nailed him to the cross saying, "Father forgive them, they know not what they are doing."

He rose from the dead, appeared to the disciples who abandoned him and denied him and said, "Peace!"

He disarmed a zealous Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus who was going around having Christians arrested, beaten and stoned to death saying, "It is hard for you to kick against the pricks" - meaning that violence against his children was physically painful to him as well.

This same Pharisee denounced violence and began to preach "the gospel of peace" wherever he went.

He reminded us that "our weapons are not carnal" and that our enemy is "not flesh and blood."

He urged us to "overcome evil with good" and reminded us to "feed our enemy if they are hungry and to give them water if they are thirsty."

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. 

His Kingdom is here now.

His purpose is to overcome evil with good; to disarm hatred with love; to transform this violent world with proactive agape.

This is not a fringe teaching. It is not an addition to the Gospel. 

It IS the Gospel of Jesus.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Not What We Thought

It's rare, but sometimes you come across something so beautiful, so profound, and so completely exquisite that all you can do is just enjoy it, and be thankful that it exists.

I share something like this with you here, now.

David Crowder's new song, "Praise the Lord" is breathtaking and so astoundingly subversive.

It made me cry the first time I heard it and read these lyrics.

I hope you find comfort in this truth as I have:

I used to shake You like an 8-ball
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

You're not who I thought You were...
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

If this blesses you, please share it with someone else. Let's spread the beauty of the truth in these words: 

God is not who we thought He was...Praise the Lord!

Monday, November 28, 2016


On Thursday, Wendy and I joined together with other brothers and sisters in Christ to help provide and serve a complete Thanksgiving meal to our friends who live at the Motel in Santa Ana.

With a generous discount from the manager at Mimi's Cafe, and equally generous donations from a variety of people, we got to enjoy a large family meal together in the back parking lot.

We had about 40 pounds of turkey, and all the sides, plus sparkling cider and pumpkin pie for dessert. 

Overall, we served around 80 people. Some were young, some were old. Some were families with children who lived in the motel, some were loners who slept on the street. 

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]

Here's a little about the comic from an interview with writer Grant Morrison over at Vulture Magazine:

"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

3 VIEWS OF HELL: A Big Surprise?

UPDATE: 11/18/16 - Since posting this graphic I've realized that this list is incomplete and in some cases not accurate. I will post a new blog soon with an updated list which more clearly identifies the verses where these 3 views are found.  For what it's worth, the Universalism list is the most accurate and the Eternal Torment section is the least. Stay tuned for that update.


I recently looked at this graphic [above] again and started to notice something I've never seen before about these 3 different Christian views of Hell. 

Eternal Torment seems to draw most of its evidence from Matthew and Luke. 

Annihilationism seems mostly taken from the Gospel of John.

Universalism is mostly attributed to the epistles of Paul the Apostle.

Wow. I did NOT see that one coming.

In the next few days I might take some time to explore each of these three lists and point out a few more interesting things about them, but for now I wanted to make sure I shared this first realization with everyone here.

What are your thoughts?

Any theories as to why Matthew and Luke are more into Eternal Suffering?

Any ideas why John's Gospel would be more about Anninilationism?

Want to take a stab at why Paul's letters are so full of Universalism? [And why those who seem to love Paul the most totally miss this side of his teaching?]

I'd love to hear your thoughts before I weigh in...


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How do you know if your church is really the Body of Christ?

This weekend I was blessed to fly to the San Francisco area to co-lead a weekend gathering for those interested in learning more about Organic Church.

Our event was hosted at a local pizza shop. The sign on the door said “Round Table Pizza” but on the inside all the tables were square.

To me, that felt like an appropriate metaphor of the modern Christian church in America.

We advertise ourselves as being “The Body of Christ” but then once people get inside they quickly realize that we’re not acting like a body at all.

See, when Paul uses that metaphor in 1 Corinthians 12, he is describing how the Church functions in relationship to Jesus, and to one another.

Any church that doesn’t operate the way Paul describes isn’t really the Body of Christ. Sure, it might be a Church in the traditional sense, but it’s not a Body in the Biblical sense.

Simply put, Paul tells us that Jesus is the head of the Body. That means that He is in control. Not figuratively, but actually. He is in charge. He directs the members of the Body, just as your own head directs the rest of your body parts.

We also see from Paul’s description that the members of the Body all share the ministry equally.

God distributes spiritual gifts to each member of the Body for one reason: So they can build one another up into Christ.

In the round table model, everyone is equal; everyone’s voice is just as important and necessary as everyone else’s. Every member of the Body shares in the work so no one gets burned out and everyone gets to participate.

In the square table model, there is a human boss, typically referred to as the Senior Pastor, who makes all the decisions and quite often does most of the spiritual work alone rather than relying on the members of the Body to accomplish the work cooperatively. You know, like the various parts of a human body.

If you’re going to follow a square table model, that’s up to you. But please don’t refer to yourself as a round table when those four corners are so obvious to the rest of us.

For what it’s worth, both tables are useful, but one makes it easier for everyone to serve one another and use their gifts to build one another up.

If you want to keep your focus on the Lord, try putting 1 Corinthians 12 into practice.

If you want to put that chapter into practice, you’ll find that sitting in a circle makes it much eaiser.

Where you meet and when you meet matters much less than what happens when you meet.

Put Jesus in the center, gather around Him and use your gifts to build one another up in love.

That’s called the Body of Christ.


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 Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress."

[Psalm 46:4-11]

During one of our recent house church gatherings, my wife Wendy shared this passage of scripture. 

Together we talked about how it reminds us that God is with us, that He makes wars cease and how we are called to "be still and know that [He is] God."

But one thing jumped out at me during our conversation that I had not considered before: Why does this Psalm remind us twice that "the God of Jacob is our fortress"?

Why not "the God of Moses" or "Abraham" or the "God of Joseph"?

What's so special about Jacob that the Psalmist feels the need to remind us - twice - that it is the God of Jacob [specifically] who is our fortress?

I think it's because Jacob was a clueless loser who spent most of his life totally oblivious to who God was or what God's plan was for his life.

For example, God promises that Jacob will be blessed by God, even before he is born. Yet Jacob spends most of his life trying to trick his father into giving him the blessing. 

Later, God speaks to Jacob in a dream and says, "I will be with you wherever you go" and "I will not leave you". Yet when Jacob wakes up his response is to say: "Surely the Lord was in this place and I didn't know it!'

Even later, Jacob wrestles with God all night in his tent and refused to let go until God blessed him.

All the while, Jacob failed to recognize that he was holding on to God and that there could be no blessing greater than this.

So, Jacob spent his life fighting to win something that God already promised was his anyway. 

He heard God say, "I'm with you wherever you go" and yet he built an altar because he thought "God was in this place."

Then he had a chance to hold God in his arms all night long and then agreed to let go of Him on the condition that he could receive that blessing that was already promised to him before he was born.

Jacob was clueless.

That's why the Psalmist reminds us that it is the "God of Jacob" who is our refuge. Because we're often clueless too.

If he had said, "The God of Joseph" then we might despair that God was only for those who endure suffering and unjust imprisonment without once complaining about our condition.

If he had said, "The God of Moses" then we might conclude that God was only for those who faithfully and courageously defy oppressive empires and lead captives into the Promised Land.

If he had said, "The God of Abraham" then we might think that God was only for those who step out in blind faith to wander the wilderness as we await further instructions.

But he didn't say any of those things.

He reminds us to be still and know that God is near us, and that He is the God of those who are oblivious to all the blessings that are already raining down over us night and day because of His amazing love for us.

"The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of the Clueless is our fortress"



Wednesday, November 09, 2016

5 Things I Want To Say After The Election

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.

" 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]


Paul even adds in the detail that feeding and caring for the body, as Christ does for the church, is what he's talking about in context when he says that "the husband is the head of the wife".

What do you think about this?

I'm reminded that in older translations of the scriptures the spleen, or the bowels, were used as the metaphor for the seat of human emotions, not the heart. 

Is this a similar insight to that? Are we thinking of the head in the wrong way, or at least in a different way, than the first century Christians thought of it?

If nothing else, it certainly gives us something new to think about when we examine passages where the idea of a head is discussed in relation to the Body.

In a quick search of the internet I found this:

"In earlier times (Biblical and Archaic) the bowels was the source of pity or compassion and the loins the source of strength and power.
"Interestingly enough, some of the early philosophers and scientists including Aristotle considered the heart as the seat of thought as well as emotion and passion, often rejecting the value of the brain. But the Roman physician Galen was one of the first to consider the seat of passions to be the liver, the seat of reason to be the brain, and the heart to be the seat of the emotions.
"Thought we don’t often talk about the liver in reference to passion it is often said that the liver governs anger, the kidneys fear (the adrenals sit atop the kidneys) the lungs sorrow/ depression and the stomach or spleen as the source of anxiety and worry. Though these physiological responses to emotion are often obvious, modern society considers the seat of emotion and passion to be the heart and the seat of thought to be the brain.."
Fascinating stuff.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Answering Your Organic Church Questions

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

No Stranger To Love

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

“eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and no heart has yet imagined 
the things that God has prepared for those who love Him…
God has revealed all of this to us through His Spirit. [1 Cor.2:9-10]

“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]


Saturday, November 05, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: PART 5 - How To Start A Ministry To The Poor

"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

All The Ways You Give Yourself Away

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.

In her journal she wrote: 

“Lord, I really do feel like I am having to constantly fight against the negative thoughts of my mind that are telling me I am alone or unwanted, or unworthy or not worth anyone’s time.”

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:

“I am your inheritance”Ezekiel 44:28

“I am doing something new! Even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make ways in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”Isaiah 43:18

“For you alone know the human heart, so that they may fear you and walk in your ways.”2 Chronicles 6:31

“Keep asking and it will be given to you. Keep searching and you will find. Keep knocking and the door will be opened for you.”Luke 11:9

“The Lord paid attention to Hannah’s need.”Samuel 2:21

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)

This passage also introduces another element into the equation: What we hold on to and what we let go of.

In other words, God may not want to take anything away from us, but if we have eyes to see clearly the exquisite beauty of His Kingdom, we just might decide - all on our own - to divest ourselves of all the worthless nonsense we've held on to in favor of grabbing large handfuls of His excellent goodness and begin to feast on His marvelous presence. 

See, sometimes we begin to understand that there are things that get in the way of our having more of Him and we wisely choose to count those worthless things as dung and throw it all out with the garbage to make more room for Him. 

God doesn't want to take anything away from you. He only wants to give you more of Himself. 

Do you want more of Him? If so, you might want to rearrange the furniture to get as much of Him as you possibly can.

He's worth it.


5 MINUTE VIDEO: Part 4 - How To Start A Ministry To The Poor

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

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Part 3 - How To Start A Ministry To The Poor

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

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Part 2 - How To Start A Ministry To The Poor

In Part 2, Keith talks about a few practical things he's learned - mostly by making mistakes - and shares some important considerations to keep in mind.

Monday, October 31, 2016

5 MINUTE VIDEO: How To Start A Ministry To The Poor In Your Community [Part 1]

Are you feeling called to serve those who are living in poverty? This series of videos will help provide some ideas and practical guidelines to doing that.

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

Christians in America have a problem. They've created for themselves a version of Jesus that doesn't really exist. 

This Star-Spangled version of Jesus is pretty much the exact opposite of the one we find in the Gospel record. 

This Americanized Jesus is anti-immigrant whereas Jesus was an immigrant. 

Their Jesus is pro-war even though the actual Jesus was called the Prince of Peace and told us to love our enemies rather than kill them. 

Their Jesus is patriotic even though the real Jesus never pledged allegiance to any nation, and came to bring all nations together as one loving family under His own banner of agape.

Their Jesus is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed capitalist, even though the real Jesus was a brown-skinned, brown-eyed Jewish man who would most likely be racially profiled by airport security.

The Americanized Jesus wants to be your co-pilot on the road to the pursuit of happiness, but the actual Jesus told us to surrender all that we own and take up our cross to die to ourselves on a daily basis. He also said not to trust in money but to freely give to whomever asks of us.

The red, white and blue Jesus is totally ok with torturing our enemies and bombing other nations, whereas the real Jesus told us to treat others as we hope to be treated, and that those who live by the sword will die by it themselves. He also said we should bless those who persecute us and pray for those who want to harm us.

Yankee Doodle Jesus is often compared to the American soldier because both were willing to lay down and die for your freedom. However, only the real Jesus actually died without attempting to kill as many other people as he could before he did so. He just surrendered his life out of sincere love for both those who loved him and for those who were nailing him to the cross. 

The imaginary Americanized Jesus loves America more than every other nation. He blesses this nation more than He blesses the rest. Clearly, He has a plan for them that is more wonderful, and more special than any other nation. But the real Jesus loves all the nations equally. In fact, his love isn't for the national entities, but for the human beings who find themselves living in those places. They are all made in the image of His Father. He died for each of them. He blessed all of them equally. And if those who live in America are more financially secure than other nations, this should be taken as a sign of responsibility to care for those who are not as financially stable, not as a sign of our favored nation status with the Almighty.

The real Jesus is concerned about the poor and even suggests that the way we love them indicates how much we actually love Him, or not. 

In short, many Christians in America actually worship a version of Jesus that doesn't really bear any actual resemblance to the real Jesus we see in the New Testament.

I once believed in that Star-Spangled Jesus, but not anymore. 

My faith is now firmly centered in the Jesus we read about in the Gospel record. He is no respecter of persons. He recognizes no political system. He regards no nation any different from another. He loves everyone. He died for all of us. He invites everyone into His family and calls all of us to join in the great invitation to sit at His table. 

There is only one Jesus. He wears no colors but His own. 

Let's follow Him.


NOTE: My new book, "Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics to Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb" is available now on Amazon!



Learn more at:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Last Sunday something amazing happened.

Our house church family, and a few of our friends, drove over to a local homeless encampment that has been building up along the Santa Ana riverbed, in the shadow of the Los Angeles Angels baseball stadium, which is a few blocks from my house.

Our plan was simple: We had purchased a few hundred dollar’s worth of batteries [AA and AAA size], and several packages of socks [both black and white], and a handful of umbrellas [because it had started to rain], to pass out to those who lived in what we had come to refer to as “Tent City”.

There were 12 of us, so we split up into three teams of four. One group went south while the other two went north, moving in a leapfrog pattern. As we came up to a tent we called out, “Free batteries, socks and umbrellas” and those who were interested, or at home, would come out and eagerly receive our gifts.

After we introduced ourselves to them and shook their hands, we asked them if they needed prayer or anything. About half of them said “yes”, like Thomas and Diane who asked for help with education [since Thomas was going back to school] and for health [which is what Diane asked for]. So we held hands, lifted them up in prayer, and then moved on to the next tent as the rain started to increase in intensity.

We met a Christian brother among the homeless community there, J.R., who took our hands and prayed for us, and then we returned the favor.

Eventually we were all out of batteries and socks and umbrellas so we turned around to head home. Our work complete.

Or so we thought.

Our team was being filmed as we moved along from tent to tent that afternoon. A friend was shooting a documentary and wanted to feature our little house church community in action. So, we had allowed them to tag along with a few caveats about not filming people who didn’t want to be filmed and respecting everyone’s privacy. It had all worked out much better than I had hoped, until we turned around to head home.

My friend who was filming the documentary asked me to say a few last words into the camera about what we had experienced that day. The rain was really coming down pretty hard at this point. Just before we started to film the sound guy announced that the battery was nearly dead on the audio recorder. So, we decided to see how much we could get before everything died.

I started to summarize our day, the rain kept pouring down, I wrapped up my sentence and at just that moment the battery died. The sound guy and my friend with the camera both erupted into shouts of joy and disbelief. For them it was the perfect capstone to our amazing morning and afternoon together. But that wasn’t the end of it.

After a few high-fives between us, we started to hear someone faintly yelling at us. We turned around to see a woman in a black and white jacket, with black hair and black jeans walking towards us, waving both hands in the air over her head. My first thought was that maybe we had missed her in our battery and sock rotation and she was complaining about not getting her share.

As she got closer I started to hear what she was saying, and it wasn’t good. Every other word was an F-bomb, and it was aimed squarely at me, and my friends with the camera equipment. “What do you think you’re doing? You can’t come out here and take pictures of yourselves like that! I’m out here trying to find my father who’s living out here and you guys are taking pictures like this is some kind of a game!”

This is exactly the sort of thing I was afraid might happen, and now it was exploding in our faces.

“I’m sorry,” I told her. “We were out here passing out batteries and socks to people and praying for them. We didn’t film anyone who didn’t want to be filmed.”

She continued waving her arms over her head and shouting at us, dropping more F-bombs every other word. “My grandmother is in the truck over there,” she pointed behind her, “and she’s got Alzheimer’s and my Dad is living out here in these tents and he’s an addict but she doesn’t care. She just wants her son to come home. I don’t want to be out here but she won’t let me go home until I find him and bring him home.”

“Do you want us to help you find your Dad?” I asked.

“I know where he is, but he won’t come home with me. I know he won’t. He just wants to stay out here.” And then the floodgates burst open. She started to sob uncontrollably.

She buried her face in her hands and wept loudly. “I was an addict too,” she said.

I put my arm around her and told her we would go with her to find her Dad. My friend, Vincent started to pray over her as she continued to cry.

We stood there, in the pouring rain, the three of us holding on to one another as she cried. Vincent prayed, and I hugged her shoulders and prayed silently.

Eventually she looked up and said, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok,” I said. “We’ll go with you to talk to your Dad.”

As we walked together, she started to tell us more about her situation with her Dad. She told us about how she had been taking care of her Grandmother –her Dad’s mom – as she struggled with dementia. She told us about her Grandmother’s twin sister who was also in their home and needed help. She told us about her own son who she was also looking after. Then she mentioned her Dad being a diabetic and needing to take his medications.

Her emotions were still pretty raw. I was concerned that her Father wouldn’t respond very well if she were to confront him with all of this emotion that had been building up in her for who knows how long.

“When we get there, do you want me to go and talk to your Dad alone? Maybe he’ll listen to me,” I said.

“No, he won’t,” she said. “He won’t listen to anyone.”

“Ok,” I said. “But while you’re talking, we will all be standing right next to you and praying for you,” I said.

That seemed to calm her down a little.

Eventually we got to her Dad’s tent which was directly underneath the bridge at Chapman. One of our other teams was already standing around his tent talking with some of the residents. As our new friend walked up to her Dad’s tent and called out his name, I stepped over to our team and caught them up on the situation, asking them to pray.

After a few moments, her Father came out of his tent. A few of our church family were standing behind her in a show of quiet solidarity as she waited for him to come over.

I walked next to her father as he approached the group. He wasn’t much older than me.

Eventually we got close enough for her to talk to him. She was standing defiant, arms crossed, chin out, ready for a fight.

“You need to come home!” she said to him, the tears streaming down her face.

“Why?” he asked.

“Your Mom wants you to come home. She said she doesn’t care if you’re using or not. She just wants her son to come home, Dad. She just wants you to come home.”

I watched her Father’s face as she talked. He didn’t show any emotion, unlike his daughter, but he kept his eyes on her the whole time.

“Ok, I’ll come home,” he said.

Just like that. No argument. No excuses. No fight.

“Let me get my stuff,” he said and then he turned around to walk back to his tent. She fell to the ground in a heap, sobbing uncontrollably. We all sat down on the ground next to her and put our hands on her shoulders.

We told her it was going to be ok. We reminded her that she was brave, and strong.

“You’ve been carrying a lot of this weight all by yourself,” I said to her. “You can let go of that now.”

Vincent knelt down next to her. “I want you to know something,” he told her. “A few minutes ago, before you came up to us, I prayed for your Dad. I didn’t know what the situation was, but when I asked him if he wanted prayer, he did not refuse it. Most people are too proud to ask for prayer, but your Dad didn’t. He allowed us to pray for him, and when I prayed for him the Lord gave me a word to speak over him. I felt the Lord wanted me to say, “This is a faithful man” and as I prayed that over him he received it.”

“I’m so sorry for those things I said to you,” she said. “I thought you were just out here playing around, but you weren’t. You were really out here to help people.”

“It’s ok,” we said. “God had something bigger planned for all of us today.”

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.

As I walked next to her dad he said, over his shoulder, "Goodbye Home!" which really disturbed me. Even though he was leaving with his daughter, he still felt an emotional attachment to that space among the addicts and homeless under that bridge. [Please pray for him and his daughter to fully reconcile their issues and to lean on God for wisdom].

Once we got up top, we waited in the rain for his daughter to pull her truck around, and we helped them load everything up. 

It was an amazing day, even more great things happened than this, but I can't write it all in one post or this will become a small book.

We look forward to returning next month and we pray in the meantime that the Lord would bless those people who live in Tent City.

Please pray with us.


Friday, October 21, 2016


The Gospel was once considered a threat to those who held political power.

When Paul and the other apostles started preaching about Jesus there were often riots because they were “….all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” [Acts 17:7]

There was no doubt about it. This Gospel was dangerous. 

Jesus was a serious threat to status quo.

City officials and the crowds were thrown into turmoil over this subversive man. [See Acts. 17:8]

Those who accepted his message were arrested and tortured because of it.

Many went to their death because they refused to hail Caesar as Lord. They were burned alive shouting, “We have no King but Jesus!”

The line between following Christ and following the political systems of this world used to be unmistakable.

But not anymore.

Today, those who claim to follow Jesus may loudly proclaim that “Jesus Is Lord!” but they don’t mean that Jesus stands opposed to political powers.

They may have a “King Jesus” bumper sticker on their Lexus, but they don’t act as if Jesus is their choice for ruling their world.

A Christian in the first century knew vividly that their loyalty to Caesar was forfeited now that they had surrendered everything to their new King, Jesus.

Early Christian teachers spoke often about this shift in loyalty. 

As Tertullian wrote to the Romans around the year 195:

“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."

He also explains to Celsus that those who follow Christ recognize another, higher authority than the State and that because of this they urge their brightest and best to apply their wisdom and talents and qualities of leadership to further the more urgent and necessary work of the Kingdom of God:

"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.

Try to imagine if Jesus were the King of your life in the same way that He was King over the lives of those early Christians who defied Caesar to the point of death and who pledged allegiance to "another King, one called Jesus."

What would that look like? How would it change the way you live today?

I wonder, if those early Christians could see the Church in America today, what would they conclude?

Would they assume that, to us, Jesus is really only "King" in a metaphorical sense? 

Or would they see a Church that was under the absolute authority of Christ? 

Would they see Christians who loved their enemies, welcomed the stranger, cared for the hungry, showed compassion to the prisoner, and forgave those who spoke against them?

Or is Jesus only King in a metaphorical sense?

If Jesus is your King, are you putting His words into practice?

Or are you still searching for another political ruler who can provide security, and comfort, and prosperity?

Jesus was pretty clear about the fact that we cannot serve two masters.

Cast your ballot.

NOTE: My new book, "Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb" is coming soon. Stay tuned for more info.