Friday, March 24, 2017

Even Moses Bows Down To Jesus





Jesus or Moses?

Moses, and other Old Testament prophets, heard from God and wrote it down to the best of their ability. A lot of what they were writing about was pointing to an eventual Messiah to come.

That Messiah was Jesus.

Jesus also heard from God, but not in the same way that these previous prophets did. Jesus and God were/are One. So, the testimony of Jesus is better than the testimony of Moses, or Elijah, or any other Old Testament prophet. The author of Hebrews confirms this:

”For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)” – Hebrews 3:3-4

And the Apostle John also tells us that:

“No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.” – John 1:18

So, Moses (and the other OT writers) heard from God, but not in the same way as Jesus did. In fact, we are told by the Apostle Paul that there is a veil that covers our understanding whenever we read those OT writers, and that this veil is only removed when we look at those scriptures through the lens of Christ:

“For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.” – 2 Cor. 3:14

Therefore, Moses and the other OT prophets have given us an incomplete picture of who God is and what God is like. The only complete and perfect picture we have of who God is and what God is like is found in Jesus.

"The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." [Hebrews 1:3]

"[Jesus] Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing..." [Phil. 2:6-7]

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." - Jesus [John 14:9]

So, what many Christians fail to realize is that those Old Testament prophets didn’t actually see God, and what they did see wasn’t always exactly 100% accurate.

One of the main reasons Jesus came to us – God in the flesh – was to correct these misunderstandings and clear up once and for all what God is really like.

That means if Moses or any other OT prophet says something about God that doesn’t line up with what we see revealed in Christ, we know that this is an example of where those men were wrong and where God in the flesh was correcting them.

Whenever the OT prophets are in agreement with Jesus, then we know that they were right about who God is.

But whenever we read an Old Testament scripture that says something about God that doesn’t square with what Jesus revealed to us, we know they were mistaken.

The bottom line is simply this: Jesus is right about who God is. He knows – better than anyone who has or will ever live – exactly what God is like.

Why?

Because Jesus is God.
Because Jesus is the only person who has ever seen God.
Because only Jesus reveals to us what the Father is really like.
Because Jesus is the “exact representation” of the Father.
Because God told us clearly: “This is my Son. Listen to Him!”
[And just before God said that, He removed Moses and Elijah and left us with Jesus]

"Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me" - John 14:11


Do you believe that? Do you accept that Jesus – and only Jesus – is the absolute authority on who God is and what God is like?

If so, keep your eyes on Jesus. He is what God is really like. He is what God has always been like. He is what God will forever be like.

I know for many this is an unusual teaching. I understand that many pastors teach from a “flat Bible” perspective that wants to downsize the revelation of Jesus and elevate the teachings of the Old Testament writers. But that is not consistent with what is revealed in Christ, or by the New Testament, or by the Apostles.

Jesus is Lord. Jesus is what God is like. Jesus - and Jesus alone – is our only standard. Everything else needs to line up with Him or conform to His authority.

Jesus is, after all, the Word made flesh. He is more than a book. He is greater than our Bibles. We have to come to Him and bow down. Even Moses and Elijah and every single OT prophet needs to bow down before Jesus.

He is the Way, and the Truth and the Life.


He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God…. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell….” [Colossians 1:15-20]

‘For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” [Colossians 2:9-10]

-kg

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Join me at the Un:Conference in Nashville on June 23-25




EARLY BIRD TICKETS JUST $25 - OFFER EXPIRES ON MARCH 24

HURRY AND REGISTER TODAY>




Unconference Nashville - June 23-25, 2017
Are you a Christian who's done with organized church, but still wants Christian community? Are you a pastor or other church leader who's still called to the organized church, but wants to get out of the way and let God take control? Do you long to see a revival where Christians will once again be known for how they love their neighbor, rather than who they vote for?
If any of these questions stirs something in you, then come explore the answers with us! Let’s spend the weekend in Christian fellowship and conversation, as we seek the Lord about how to embrace Christianity without churchianity, to rediscover what it means to be his ekklesia on this earth, and how to untangle our faith from our politics, in order to become effective ambassadors of his kingdom once again.
However, please know: this isn't your typical Christian conference! In fact, that’s why we’re calling it an unconference. We’re not looking for passive audience members who want to sit quietly and listen to experts. Yes, there will be a few brief talks to spark some great conversation. But that’s the key. We want real conversation where we can learn from one another. We also want to carve out time to let God speak to us.
We can't wait to worship and fellowship and wait on the Lord together. We hope this will be a life-changing event for everyone. However, SEATS ARE LIMITED, so SIGN UP NOW!
#unconferencenashville



Details
Unconference Nashville is being hosted by The Salvation Army Berry Street Worship Center in Nashville, TN. The conference will take place on Friday evening, all day Saturday, and the second half of the day Sunday, though participants will also have the option to attend the Sunday morning worship service at Berry Street.
Tickets are for conference admission only. Meals are not included, though light snacks and cofeee will be served. Out-of-town particpants will also need to make arrangements for hotels and travel. Depeding on the number of attendees, we may bring in food trucks for lunch. Otherwise, both lunches and dinners will happen offsite.
Either way, attendees will need transportaion to-and-from the conference venue. So, if you don't plan to drive your own car or rent one, you might need to carpool with other attendees or rent an Uber, as needed.



Connecting Online
Attendees are encouraged to use the hashtag #unconferencenashville to connect prior, during, and after the event. Also, later in the year, we would love to host some group videochat "renuions" for attendees who wish to enage in discussions about how their lives have changed since Unconfernece Nashville.


Organizers
Unconference Nashville is proud to have The Salvation Army Berry Street host this event. Our guest speakers / facilitators include:
  • Richard Jacobson, author of Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity. Richard started as a hippie kid in the Jesus Movement, and eventually became an organized church pastor, then quit, in order to search for non-institutional Christian community again. You can find Richard's work here.


    DON'T MISS IT!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Guest Post: What It Means To Die Well





Castine Friberg, one of the sister's in our wonderful house church family, recently mourned the loss of her grandfather. Last Sunday she read this page out of her journal which came out of her time sitting with Jesus and listening to His voice about what this all meant.

With her permission, I share this deep wisdom and beautiful insight with you here:


"The knowledge of redemption does not remove the pain of loss- it only gives it meaning. 

Jesus NEVER downplays a person's experience of loss because he is better acquainted with the deep pain of death more than anyone else. He is no stranger to sorrow and He takes it personally when we go through the valley of the shadow of death because He knows the agony that lingers there.

IT TAKES MORE FAITH TO DIE WELL THAN IT DOES TO BE HEALED. 


To die well means to continually trust in God's goodness even when your experience of Him is not good. 

To die well means to trust that He is up to just as much in His not-healing as He is in His healing. 

To die well is to cling to the truest form of faith; relationship and not results. 

To die well is to take up the cross that is set before us and follow in the footsteps of a spotless lamb who's love is so relentless that His innocent blood was shed for our sake. 

To die well is to trust that there can be just as much joy in the tears as there is in the laughter. 

To die well is to firmly state that your circumstances are not your God but instead that you trust in the eternal and ever-present goodness of a close counselor, a loving savior and a good, good Father."

Did this bless you? If it did, please share it with your friends and followers online.

Peace,
Keith

READ MORE:
*This same sister shared a previous journal with us here:

ALL THE WAYS YOU GIVE YOURSELF AWAY

Monday, March 13, 2017

God Is Like Jesus




Christians often want to protect the deity of Christ. They insist that being a Christian entails being Trinitarian and that of course always means affirming that "Jesus is God".

But what does not come across as often as that is the idea that God is like Jesus.

In other words, many Christians still hold fast to the idea that the Father of Jesus, who we see in the Old Testament scriptures, is a wrathful, impatient, angry and quite often bloodthirsty God, in contrast to  Jesus, the Son, who is a decidedly softer and more gentle personality.

On one side, this isn't surprising. There are noticeable differences in God's character between those Old and New Covenant scriptures. So, we have to reconcile those apparent contradictions somehow, and what better way than by appealing to the language of the Trinity where there are 3 distinct "persons" who make up the one substance we call the One True God.

Now, I'm not against the doctrine of the Trinity. I personally affirm the doctrine. But I think my fellow Trinitarians are off-base when they attribute two different personalities to the Father and the Son. Especially when the New Testament scriptures give us no wiggle room in that capacity.

Simply put: The New Testament scriptures only affirm - over and over again - that Jesus IS what the Father looks like, and that means: The Father looks like Jesus.

Here's are a few examples from Jesus Himself:

"I and the Father are one" - John 10:30

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." - Jesus [John 14:9]

"Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me" - John 14:11

And here are a few scriptures from the Apostles about how Jesus and the Father are alike in heart and character:

"The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." [Hebrews 1:3]

"[Jesus] Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing..." [Phil. 2:6-7]

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [John 1:1]

He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” [Colossians 1:15-20]

‘For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” [Colossians 2:9-10]

So...what's happening here? How is it that we've gotten the [wrong] idea about the Father? Why do we wrestle with the idea that the Father is who Jesus reveals Him to be?

Maybe because we're still reading those Old Testament scriptures through our old filters.

Paul refers to this in 2 Cor. 3:14:

"But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.”

In other words: we have a veil that covers our eyes and clouds our understanding whenever we take those Old Testament reports of the Father at face value. Those are inaccurate pictures of what our Abba is really like.

This is EXACTLY what John intends for us to understand when he writes in the very first chapter of the Gospel of John:

"No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known." [v.18]


Take that in for a moment. 

Notice: "No one has ever seen God."

That means no one - not even those Old Testament Prophets - ever really saw God clearly. 

This, according to the Gospel of John, is one of the main reasons why Jesus "the one and only Son" came to us: To show us who the Father really is.

Consider this: If everyone already had a clear picture of what the Father was like, then why would Jesus need to come and reveal Him to us? 

And wouldn't it make sense that the picture Jesus showed us was/is radically different from the foggy, murky picture we had of God before He showed us the truth?

So, if you want to know what God the Father is like, what He is REALLY like: Just look at Jesus.

If you want to know what the Father's attitude about you is, listen to Jesus tell the parable of the prodigal and the Father who welcomed and forgave with open arms.

If you want to know what the Father's character is really like, watch Jesus forgive those who beat him and tortured and killed him. 

If you want to know what the Father does when we miss His best for us, watch as Jesus weeps over Jerusalem because they refused to know the things that are meant for peace.

In Jesus we see a Father who would rather die than live without us. We see a Father who loves us with an everlasting love. We see a Father who washes our feet, even when we betray Him.

In Jesus, we see a Father who has compassion on the outcast and the broken, and the blind, and the poor, and the prostitute, and even on those who don't worship the right way or those who have bad theology or who enrich themselves at the expense of others. In Jesus we see a Father who loves everyone who bears His image - which is every single one of us. 

The Father says: "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."

The Father says: "I will never leave you or forsake you."

Jesus says we should call the Father our "Abba" or our "Daddy" when we talk to Him.

In fact, we're told to pray directly to the Father - not to or through Jesus - but directly to our "Abba" Father. That means the Father is approachable. He sits and waits to hear our voice. He has called us His children. 

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" [1 John 3:1]

So, more and more I'm personally trying to remember that the Father is who Jesus says He is. The Father is not the wrathful, angry, violent, bloodthirsty God we read about in the Old Testament. How do I know? Because those people did not ever see God clearly. Only Jesus reveals the Father to us, and Jesus did not reveal to us an angry, wrathful, petty, violent God. He revealed an "Abba" to us who looks just like Jesus in heart and character.

Yes, Jesus is like God, but God the Father is like Jesus. And that, my friends, is very good news.

-kg







Wednesday, March 08, 2017

5 MINUTE VIDEO: What's This Jesus-Centric View of Scripture?



Take 5 Minutes and listen as Keith explains why the Jesus-Centric view of Scripture isn't linked to the Marcionite Heresy. 

Also: What the heck is the Marcionite Heresy?

If you haven't picked up your copy of Keith's new book, "Jesus Untangled:Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb", be sure to grab your paperback or ebook copy



Tuesday, March 07, 2017

5 MINUTE VIDEO: Why Christians Can't Find Political Unity


Why is it so hard for Christians to find political common ground with other Christians when it comes to politics?

Take 5 Minutes (or less) and listen as Keith explains what it will really take for Christians to achieve unity.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Responding To My Critics: Why Jesus Is Not A Liberal [And Neither Am I]



One of the most consistent complaints I’ve heard from people regarding my book is that I’m not tough enough on the Liberal Democrats or that I am too critical of the Conservative Republican brand of Christianity.

In light of that I’d like to make a few clarifications:

*The reason my book speaks more about Conservative Republican Christianity is because this is my own background and experience. I frankly can’t say as much about the Liberal Democrat Christianity because that wasn’t something I was immersed in for over 25 years of my life.

*If anyone reads my book and understands my message, they will abandon all politics, not just conservative politics.

*As long as we are continually distracted by which side – the Left or the Right – is worse than the other side, we will remain entangled in politics. It doesn’t matter which one you think is better or worse. The point is they are both corrupt and a distraction from our calling as Ambassadors of Christ’s Kingdom.

*Just because I spend less time criticizing the Left does not mean that I am in favor of Democratic policies, politicians or ideologies. Nor does it mean that Democrats are somehow “better” or “less entangled” than Republicans.

*HOWEVER: My book does warn readers NOT to take my criticisms of Conservative Republican Christianity and Politics as a signal that they should swing to the Left, or even towards another party like the Libertarians the Green party, etc.

In fact on page 117 of my book I say this:

“Let’s be clear. The answer to all of this is not to join the Democratic Party, the Libertarian Party, or even to create our own political party. No, the answer is to abandon politics completely, to re-focus our eyes on Jesus, and to place our faith in His plan to change the world. The American Church must return to Her Bridegroom. She must remember Her first love.”

*On page 122 of my book I say this:

“One study conducted in 2011 found that nearly 5,400 former congressional staffers and 400 former U.S. lawmakers left Capitol Hill to become federal lobbyists over a 10 year period.  So, it really doesn’t matter whether or not there is a Republican or a Democrat in the White House
or if one party has a majority in Congress. Other than a few minor details, there are no significant differences between one or the other. Mainly because both parties are largely controlled by the same powerful corporations.

*On page 130 of my book I say:

“Many lobbyists even go so far as to write the bills they want Congress to pass, and to hand those bills to their representatives. The Congressmen often don’t even read the entire bill before they introduce it, vote on it, and pass it into law. It doesn’t matter if those Congressmen are Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Libertarian. This is how our government works, and it has been this way for a very long time.

*On page 146 I say:

“So, again, for the record, I am not a liberal or a Democrat. I am also not a Republican or a Libertarian. I do not even vote. I do not endorse any political party or agenda or candidate for office. I place no faith whatsoever in politics or politicians. My hope is in Christ and in His Gospel alone. The frustrating thing is that, whenever someone advocates for the idea that Christians should listen to the words of Jesus and put them into practice by caring for the poor, loving their enemy, or refraining from violence they risk being labeled as a liberal or accused of being motivated by politics. Even if what they’re really doing is following the Lord Jesus Christ.”

So, in conclusion, let me reiterate that my book advocates a complete and total abandonment of all political entanglements. Everything in the book points to Jesus and calls Christians to seek first His Kingdom and completely forsake any and all connections with politics.

If you read the book and you are offended that I didn't take more time to attack the other side, I suspect you might still be entangled in partisan politics and have totally missed the point.

Remember: You can't convert a culture if that culture has already converted you.

"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." [Hebrews 12:1-2]

-kg
**
READ MORE

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