Saturday, November 18, 2017

MY NEW BLOG IS UP NOW!



Hey everyone, the day is finally here!

My new blog at Patheos - where I will be blogging from now on - is now live!

PLEASE: Go to the blog now and subscribe!

This is the only way to keep up with my latest blog articles, news and info.

Go to the blog here and subscribe: www.KeithGiles.com

I already have a few new posts up now with more on the way.

I'll see you there!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

GOD’S BRILLIANT TRAP



“As for you, you were dead in our transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air…All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature children of ire, but because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions…” [Eph. 2:1-5]

As I was reading this passage the other day, I observed something I had not noticed in quite the same way before. Here, Paul describes how cleverly God designed a trap that perfectly captured us and catapulted us from death into life.

Here’s how it works: First, God knew that we were dead in our sins. He saw clearly how we thought and how our actions were motivated by our lusts and desires. Like tossing red meat into a school of sharks, God sent His Anointed One into this cesspool of humanity. What else could happen next? As with the prophets that came before Jesus, we turned on Him and put Him to death. Just exactly as He knew we would.

But, notice what happened next: “Because of His great love for us, God…made us alive with Christ…”

Paul skips over the crucifixion part, but it’s clearly in play. We are dead people who are ruled by our lusts. Jesus the Holy One walks among us and we, driven by our sinful natures and evil thoughts, take Him and crucify Him.

Suddenly, God’s brilliant trap is sprung. When we kill the Author of Life, He descends into the bowels of death and ignites the resurrection power within to “make us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions.”

Boom.

Don’t you love that? I can’t help but read it all again and smile.

God set a trap for us who were dead and Jesus became the catalyst that we killed so that resurrection could be released and everyone could be made alive with Christ.

That’s genius.

Paul concludes this by saying: 

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might demonstrate to everyone the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” [v.6-7]

Do you see how much He loves you? Can you believe how far He is willing to go to make you His own?

Isn’t it incredible how God pulled it off?

He has taken our wrath and transformed it into love.
He has taken our death and remade it into life.

We are healed. We are alive. We are loved.

Halleluiah!
-kg


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The God Who Worships Us



The Greek word for “worship” is proskyneŇć and it is translated as “to kiss, to lower oneself in humility or reverence, to adore, to surrender completely to another”.

So, when Jesus let go of His equality with God [see Phil. 2] and humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant, and became nothing, He was doing exactly what anyone does when they worship something.

  • Jesus “lowered himself in humility”
  • Jesus became a servant to mankind.
  • Jesus adored us and gave himself up for us.
  • Jesus looked upon us and loved us.
  • Jesus completely surrendered his life to us.
  • Jesus placed his life, and safety in the hands of his earthly parents.
  • Jesus gave us power over himself, even to the point of abusing him and putting him to death.

Jesus, in essence, went from being the One who was worshiped night and day by the cherubim of heaven to become a servant who washed the feet of his own disciples.

In his own words, Jesus declares that He did not come to be served – as a God should expect to be – but that He came to serve us. [See Mark 10:45]

This was an act of worship.

Now, it is quite normal for us to think of God as someone that we should worship. We understand that God is God and that we are not. So, we naturally apply the term “worship” whenever we think of how we interact with God.

Today, worship is a multi-million-dollar industry. Record labels, artists, songwriters, conferences and even workshops are all devoted to worship. Usually, this worship is in the form of music, but scripturally-speaking, worship is really more about the way we live our lives in relationship to God.

In Romans 12, for example, Paul tells us that we should offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice and that this is holy and pleasing to God; calling it “our true and proper act of worship.”

Nothing about singing songs there; Simply laying our lives down at His feet in adoration and complete surrender.

In other words, when we give up our lives for Christ, this is what worship looks like.

Just the same way that Jesus gave Himself up for us, as Paul reminds us in Ephesians 5:25, we should also give up our lives for Him, and for one another.

See, Jesus showed us what worship really looks like. When He stepped down from the throne and humbled Himself and became a servant to us, He was demonstrating to the entire Universe what worship really is.

So, on that basis, and by following His astounding example, we should also worship Him by giving up our lives as living sacrifices.

This is what honors God. This is what gives Him joy. When we understand that His love for us compelled Him to kneel down and serve us, and yes, to worship us with an absolute adoration that drove Him to the cross and exploded from the grave in victory, how else can we respond?

How can you not love a God who gave Himself up for you?

How can you not serve a God who first served you?

How can you not worship a God who would lay everything down and worship you until it killed Him?

There is no one like our God.

Let us worship.

-kg

 Note: Special Thanks to Jordan Hathcock for inspiring this blog post.



Monday, November 06, 2017

Help: America Is Caught In A Feedback Loop




Another day, another mass shooting in America.

Once more, a white man with an assault rifle opens fire on innocent people.

Most people say there’s nothing we can do. Others insist that only our thoughts and prayers matter now.

Many Christians believe that the Second Amendment overrules the Sermon on the Mount. So, the next time a killer with a semi-automatic rifle enters a church he’ll be blown to smithereens by all the Jesus-loving Christians who keep a sidearm cocked and loaded in the shoulder holster under their Sunday best.

Halleluiah!

Just think, if the earliest Christians in the first century had only adopted this brilliant preemptive strategy, killers like Saul of Tarsus would have been slaughtered where they stood.

Not only would that have prevented the death our dear brother Stephen, it would also have prevented us from having to carry around such a thick New Testament text, since half of it would never have been written.

But, maybe there’s another way?

I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out for a minute.

There are about 175 million Christians here in the United States. So, if even half of us decided to love our neighbors and bless those who curse us and do good to those who hate us, maybe we could use this preemptive strategy to love people?

I know, it sounds kinda crazy to follow that Jesus guy. He was SO “first century”, ya know?

But, I once heard someone say that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.

Since almost no one has tried putting these Jesus ideas into practice lately, what do we have to lose?

-kg

Monday, October 30, 2017

BIG BLOG NEWS: WE'RE MOVING


After more than 10 years blogging here on subversive1 and the Blogger platform, I've decided to move my blog over to Patheos.

Here's what that means:
First, this blog will continue to remain online. If you're subscribed here then this is still the place to come for my personal posts about my life, family, and house church-related news.

Second, I will keep all of my old blog articles and posts here on this blog. So, don't worry that any of this will one day disappear. It won't.

Third, all of my newer blog articles will appear on Patheos in a few weeks. I will post a link to that new blog as soon as it's live.

NOTE: You must subscribe to the Patheos feed if you want to receive my new blog posts once everything moves over there. Don't worry: I will post a link to help you do that as soon as it's all ready to go. But if you don't subscribe [and it's free] then you will not receive my new blog articles and posts.

Here's the scoop: I was invited to join the Patheos blog platform about 2 weeks ago by Benjamin Corey, and Chuck McKnight.

Typically, the people at Patheos prefer to move the entire blog over to their platform. However, since I have 10 years worth of posts and since Blogger and Patheos don't sync so well together from a technological standpoint, we arrived at a compromise solution.

Which is?

I will move about 50 hand-picked articles from this blog and agree to post all new content on the Patheos blog moving forward.

So, in short, this is a "soft" transition.

What the heck is Patheos?

Glad you asked! It's a very large blogging platform for a variety of writers to share their ideas and thoughts. There are various channels on the platform. Some are Christian, some are not. Some are religious, some are not.

Why move to Patheos?

Another great question! The move to Patheos allows me to reach more people [because they have a much larger subscription base and they drive much more traffic than I ever could all by my lonesome].

Do they pay you to blog?

Yes, they do. But that's not why I'm moving over. Honestly. I would make this move even if they didn't pay anything at all.

Should I follow you here and at Patheos?

Yes! Here's why: The quality and frequency of my posts at Patheos will increase significantly. I'm contractually-bound to post a minimum number of articles to Patheos every single week. Plus, this shift to a new potential audience has helped me to reevaluate my approach. But, that is a very good thing, trust me.

See, Patheos is closer to Slate or Huffington Post. So, every article I write will have to measure up to a higher journalistic standard than anything I held myself to here on my own blog.

Does that make sense?

Plus, if you continue to follow this blog [I mean the one you're reading right now], you'll get more personal, introspective and intimate posts that wouldn't be appropriate for Patheos.

In other words, you'll be getting the best of both worlds if you subscribe to this blog here and also to the Patheos blog which should launch in a few days.

Any other questions? I'll be happy to answer them if I can. Please just post them below.

Also: I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been faithfully reading, following and sharing my posts here on subversive1 all this time. You're still the reason I do this. I still need your support, your feedback and your encouragement.

This is just the next logical step for me as a writer and I hope you'll come with me.

Blessings,
Keith

**
NOTE: My next book "Jesus Unbound" is nearly finished! Stay tuned for more info on that.


Monday, October 23, 2017

God Does Not Have A Penis





Several years ago I was writing a column for Relevant Magazine called "Subversive" which featured interviews from various voices in the Emerging Church Movement.

One of those voices was Spencer Burke. He not only helped to launch an emerging church here in Orange County, but he also started an online magazine called theOoze.com and also wrote a great book called "Making Sense of Church".

That's why one afternoon about twelve years ago I was sitting across the table from him in Newport Beach, California interviewing him for Relevant.

But that's when he said something that made me second guess the entire interview. He said, "Just imagine, if the Jewish culture had been Matriarchal instead of Patriarchal, God would have been 'Mother' and Jesus could have been a woman."

Honestly, I didn't know what to say to any of that. I was just so far outside my comfort zone at the time. Spencer is seriously one of the few people I have ever met that I would sincerely call a genius. He has an astounding gift to predict where the culture is headed and he has an insight about human nature that is uncanny.

Still, I wasn't sure what to do with that statement. On the one hand, I didn't want to edit out that quote because I knew Spencer would notice that I had left it off the article. But I also didn't want to publish it and have it hurt Spencer's reputation.

So, I never published the interview at all.

That was over a decade ago. Since then my theology has radically shifted. I owe Spencer an apology for not having the courage to publish his statement which, today, seems so obvious and true.

Here's the deal: God is not male.God is not female. God does not have a gender.

We use the pronoun "He" for several reasons. One, because we don't want to call God an "It". God is a person and therefore has a personality. Two, because a patriarchal society tends to fashion their Deity in the male image. In other words, God made us in His image and then we returned the favor by making God into an image that reflects ourselves.

Unfortunately, the common use of the term "He" to refer to God creates the illusion that God is male. But that is not the case.

God is Spirit. God is not male. God is not female. When the Genesis account tells us that mankind was made in the image of God that means that men and women were both made in His image. The man was created first, yes, but hidden within that man was the female. Therefore, both man and woman were the "image of God" that was created. One was hidden inside the other, but both were created to reflect the image of God.

Yes, the male aspect of God gets more screen time than the female one, but there are several images of God as female that - unsurprisingly - have been overlooked throughout Church history.

But they are there.

For example, when Jesus stands up on the last day of the Feast and invites everyone to "come to me and drink" the picture is of a mother nursing her young. [See John 7:37] This image is repeated when Jesus weeps over Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and says that he longs "to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing." [See Luke 13:34]

There are many other verses in the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures that speak of God as "giving birth" to Israel and uses metaphors where God nurses them and cares for them like a Mother cares for her children. The New Testament scriptures often speak of us as being "born of God" and "children of God" who are nurtured on milk as newborn babes in Christ.

So, while we may be accustomed to calling God "He" it is not blasphemous or inappropriate to call God "She" or to alternate between the two because, as I've said before: God does not have a penis, or a vagina.

God is a Spirit and those who worship God do so in Spirit and in Truth.

-kg


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

INTERVIEW: John Fugelsang Talks To Keith Giles



LISTEN: Sirius XM Radio Host John Fugelsang interviews Keith Giles about his new book "Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb".

Recorded live on Tuesday, Oct. 10th, 2017 on "Tell Me Everything".

Used by permission.