Friday, February 17, 2017

GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT [OR AMERICAN]



One of the hardest things for Christians in America to understand is that God does not love them more than He loves people in other nations.

God's love for Iranians and for Koreans and everyone else on the planet is equally the same. [Which is to say "Ginormously gargantuan beyond imagination"].

There's an excellent example in the Bible of when others made a similar mistake in assuming that God was on the side of their nation.

Joshua, as he was preparing to go to battle against the pagans of Jericho, encountered a soldier he did not recognize. Little did he realize at the moment that he was standing in front of the Captain of the Angelic Host. [See Joshua 5:13-15]

Quickly he confronted the soldier and asked, "Are you with us, [the people of God] or with them [those ungodly pagans over there]?"

Now, to most of us, the answer should be simple: God is, of course, on the side of those who worship Him. Right?

Wrong.

The answer the Captain of the Lord's Army gives should give us pause. He says, "Neither."

Neither?

Wait a minute. Why isn't God on the side of those who worship Him? 

Answer: Because God does not follow us. We follow Him.

The real question we should ask is not, "Is God on our side?" but "Are we on God's side?"

There's a big difference.

If we identify ourselves as "Americans" and then assume that God is on our side, we forget that God also loves China, and South Africa, and Norway, etc. That means that God doesn't take sides. 

But we do.

So, are we on God's side, or are we on the side of our nation?

The truth is, we cannot chose both sides at once. Why? Because America fights for American values and American interests and American prosperity. 

God's priority is to bring everyone and everything under the authority of Christ. [See Ps.110:1; Luke 20:43; Acts 2:35; Heb. 1:13]

Our allegiance is to Christ and His eternal kingdom.

So, let me ask you: "Are you with Christ, or with your nation?"

Choose wisely.

-kg

My book "Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb" is available now on Amazon.




Thursday, February 16, 2017

NOTHING GOOD IN ME? [THINK AGAIN]





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:

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." [John 14:23]

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?

-kg



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

JOHN FISCHER'S PODCAST INTERVIEW: KEITH GILES



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.

Blessings,
Keith


Monday, February 13, 2017

DO I SUPPORT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION?



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:

"Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God?....And that is what some of you were." [1 Cor. 6:9-11]

We forget that we are no better than anyone else. We are all sinners saved by the same grace. We are all people who are dearly loved of God and in need of His endless mercy.

Refugees and illegal immigrants are people, just like you and me. They love their families. They want to live in peace. They are running from war and oppression and poverty and looking to find a new life here - just the way we would if it was our family - our children - who were starving and dying and in need of safety.


Regardless of what the laws might say, we are answerable to a higher authority. Jesus, our glorious eternal King, commands us to treat everyone - especially the weakest among us - as if they were Him. 

It's not our job to work out who is most deserving of His mercy. That's way above our pay grade. Our job is to love everyone we see and to recognize that our King commands us to be extravagant with our love. 

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.

Peace,
-kg

**
My new book, "Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb" is available now on Amazon. 

ORDER HERE
 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

PODCAST: Outside The Walls "It's Time For A Revolution"


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.

Peace
kg




Thursday, February 09, 2017

PODCAST: Living Room Theology conversation with Steve Kline



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?
*And more!

Click the player above or go to the link below to listen to this great conversation:
LISTEN HERE

The book, "Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb" is available now on Amazon.

ORDER TODAY




Wednesday, February 08, 2017

BOOK UPDATE: Jesus Untangled



My book has been #1 in Christian Theology/Ethics on Amazon for the last 2 weeks! Plus, we've nearly sold out of our first print run, according to Amazon we only have 7 copies left in paperback.

DON'T WORRY! My publisher says we'll restock immediately to fulfill orders. So, we're all good. 

But the sales have been great. We're also a "Hot New Release" on Amazon in our category. 

PODCAST INTERVIEW ROUNDUP
So far I've recorded a bunch of radio and podcast interviews about my book.

*RealTalk Radio was a 2 hour live call-in show. That was awesome.

*Unchurching Podcast was a 2 part interview that really came out great.



*A ViewFrom The Bunker with Derek Gilbert was an hour long interview.

*NotYour Pastor's Podcast was with 2 guys in Flint, Michigan. That was a lot of fun.

*Brandon Andress' Outside The Walls podcast was awesome. I love his podcast and secondly the talk really went in new territory that my other interviews haven't gone yet. [link coming soon]

*Eric Nevin's Halfway There podcast was also a great one. He focused more on my testimony but we did get around to the book too.

Coming up: I've got one interview with Kurt Jaros called "Veracity Hill" [link coming soon]

The endorsements keep coming in too. So far I've got really great quotes and recommendation quotes from:

*David Ruis
*Brant Hansen
*Jon Zens
*Neil Cole
*Brandon Andress
*Richard Jacobson
*Benjamin L. Corey
*Kenny Burchard
*Brad Jersak
*Jeremy Myers
*Ross Rohde

And more are on the way!

COMING SOON

*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!

Peace
-kg