Tuesday, May 30, 2006

[subversive underground] MISSIONAL

Today I had a breakfast meeting with a guy who is a house church network leader for Orange County named Ken Eastburn.

I was late, but praise God he was still there when I pulled up at the Krispy Kreme (yes, that's where we met).

We shared together about how God had called each of us into this crazy thing called House Church and were thrilled to see where our testimonies converged, and intrigued where our stories contrasted. But, all in all, it was evident to see that God is indeed doing something significant throughout the world, and even in Orange County, as He calls people to step out of the traditional church and into this new (and yet not so new) thing called "House Church".

I'm not sure what will come from our meeting. I wasn't really sure how to respond when he asked me how he could help me. I don't think I have any really need for "help" at this point in the life of our house church, but perhaps there will be a benefit from knowing others in my area who are also in this same Kingdom work alongside me, and perhaps there can be something to learn or to gain from sharing with other house church planters and pastors about what God has been doing or saying to us as we follow the Holy Spirit in this way.

For the most part we are alone in this venture. I am aware of a few others who are planting house churches, but most of them are in other States, and of those who are in California I've not met many of them face to face.

So, maybe there's a real value for us to have community with others outside of our own autonomous house church?

I've been a bit concerned about the fact that, although we've called ourselves "The Mission" in order to emphasize our calling individually as missionaries and to remind us that we are on a mission, for the most part we've been pretty self-focused.

Granted, some of us still serve at the motel in Santa Ana each month, and individually many of us in our house church are living out the missional calling in our private lives.

But as a Body, we the members of "The Mission" have not yet stepped outside our comfort zones and become missional.

Except of course for the recent incident with "Tommy" the homeless man that Jason responded to. And we've yet to make contact with Tommy again since that time. He's vanished. I drive by that same intersection a couple of times each week and I've even made extra trips just to see if I could find him, but so far no luck.

So, maybe God is gently urging us and nudging us outside of our little comfy spot in my den and asking us to venture outward? Maybe we do need to become aware of others in our own area who are doing something similar and share ideas, even fellowship with them and pray for them, encourage them, worship with them.


One thing Ken and I discussed was the possibility of publishing a magazine that would resource the Orange County/SoCal House Church movement with articles, testimonies, and even just provide visibility of other house churches being planted every month. I'd love to be in on something like this.

It makes me realize I need to be spending more time on my knees praying for God's direction about not only our house church ("The Mission") specifically, but also about what God has in the future for us. It makes me realize that I might have some other role to play in the southern California area regarding house churches and helping to encourage others in the same boat as I am.

Ken and I discussed the possibility of creating a website with a forum where other house church leaders would be able to share ideas, stories, and concerns. I know I could probably help with that a little bit too.

It also makes me realize that this little newsletter has something to do with what God is doing in the house church movement as well. I'm not exactly sure what yet...but something, I think.

I preached a message at Soul Survivor last Sunday night about The Gospel of the Kingdom, specifically about "Conversatio Morem" and what it means to us as followers of Jesus. It was refreshing to me (if no one else) to remember what all of this is about. It's refreshing to contrast the ethics and the doctrine of the early church fathers and the great thinkers and theologians of recent history (Fenelon, Tertulian, Jonathan Edwards, A. W. Tozer, etc.) and see how insanely radical these guys appear when you hear them alongside the likes of modern "pop-Christian" preachers of the day (reference anyone on Christian television, radio, bookstores, etc.).

We've been looking at the words of Jesus over the last few months at Soul Survivor and I have to say it's like getting a cold splash of water on your soul when you hear Jesus say such powerful things like "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matt 5:17-20), or "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33).

Jesus did not pull any punches. His words are powerful and life-changing. They shake us up. They make us doubt. They cause us to examine our own lives seriously.

Maybe that's why we avoid looking directly into the red letters for extended periods of time?

I am more determined than ever to surrender all of my life to Jesus. This is why we need Grace.

Conversatio Morem!


ARTICLE UPDATE: My new article "Green Card" is now published online at www.ginkworld.net

PODCAST UPDATE: Just added two new podcast/sermon mp3's from DALLAS WILLARD at my website. They're free! Go and download now. Very good stuff!

T-SHIRT UPDATE: Yes, I've been moving forward with the t-shirt idea. Hopefully I'll have some cool designs available to show everyone in the next few weeks or so. Keep watching this space.

MOMENTUM '06- Seriously, if you're wanting to hear some of the most incredible teaching and worship ever, you'd be crazy to miss this! The registration fees go up on June 1st so don't miss your chance to get in on the Early Rates of $49.99.
The conference features MIKE PILAVACHI, TODD HUNTER, BRENTON BROWN, DAVID RUIS, JOHN THOMAS and many more. (I'll be teaching a couple of workshops as well. One on "Compassion Ministry" and one on "Missional Gospel").
Register online and get more info here:


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

[subversive underground] SEASONS

[subversive underground] SEASONS by Keith Giles

Recently God has been speaking to me more and more about a "Change of Seasons" coming soon in my life.

Part of me is excited by this, as my wife and I have gone through a lot of hardships and challenges over the last eleven months. We've endured financial hardships, having to move against our will to a new home, losing an unborn child through miscarriage, change in employment status, and a change in our Church affiliation.

Even one or two of those changes is enough to send most any of us into the fetal position. Yet, our family has endured each of these things in quick succession and only the Grace of God has seen us through.

Now, what makes me nervous is, I'm not sure if this "change of seasons" means we're in for more challenges or if it means a time of favor and blessing. The reason I'm not sure is that, even though we've gone through such difficulty lately, the truth is that God has been very, very good to us all along the way. So, does that mean we'll have to endure more pain without His blessing? Or does it mean we'll have a season of plenty and a rest from the trials of life?

As I ponder this, I'm constantly drawn back to the opening chapter of the book of James. The message there is one I've lived out on an almost daily basis for several years now. I've learned to "count it all joy" when we face "trials of many kinds", knowing that "the testing of our faith produces perserverance" and that is the sort of faith that will not let go....no matter what.

I've learned, first-hand, that James isn't kidding when he tells us to "count it all joy". He's also not suggesting that we simply "turn our frown upside down" and pretend that our hardships are fun. Not by any means.

What James does mean is that, when we truly understand that the testing of our faith produces in us a type of faith that is strong and then, in turn, creates in us a maturity that brings us closer to the image of Jesus, we'll actually be able to seriously rejoice when trials come. How? Why? Because we seriously understand that God uses the trials and hardships of life to sharpen us, and mold us, into the very image of His Son.

As hard has the last eleven months have been, and they have been very hard at times, the truth is that my needs are met. Every single fear I've had has been without warrant. God has always taken care of us, even when I had no idea how...or if...He would. God has proven Himself to be faithful to me, all along the way.

As I look ahead to a change of seasons, I wonder what it could really mean?

I'm also reminded of a prophetic word given to me by a dear friend several months ago, about several "windows of opportunity" that God had in store for us. Will God begin to open one of those windows for us now?

I pray so. And I also pray that, whatever this change of seasons holds for us, that I will have the faith to "count it all joy" no matter what may come.

PLEASE PRAY: This Friday night and Saturday morning I will be leading a small team of college students on to the streets of Santa Ana here in the OC to minister to young prostitutes. This is only our second attempt at an outreach to these girls and we're taking a more relational approach. Please pray that God would grant us favor with these girls, that we'd be able to strike up meaningful conversations and relationships with the girls that God wants us to focus on over the next few months. Please pray also for our protection as we attempt to serve and minister to these girls.

I'll post an update next week about how things go with this ministry. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!

TATTOO ME: My friend, Keith Seckel recently got a tattoo of 'CONVERSATIO MOREM!' based on an article I wrote of the same name. (I can't believe he did that...but in a way I think it's darn cool!). Anyway, be sure to check out the image of the tattoo posted on my website at http://www.keithgiles.com

NEW ARTICLE- "GREEN CARD" by Keith Giles- (Just posted this one today on the website in response to all the recent Immigration Reform issues going on nationally, and locally...check it out):

ARTICLE ALERT: My new article "Harder Than You Think" is now online at


Friday, May 19, 2006

[subversive underground] TESTING

[subversive underground] TESTING

I've switched the e-newsletter to an onlne list service called FEEDBLITZ. This is my first test of the service, so hopefully everything works out.

The way it works now, I will simply make a new blog entry on what used to be the SUB-UNDERGROUND ARCHIVES site (where all the previous [subversive underground] newsletters are posted, and the good people at FEEDBLITZ automatically email everyone on the current subscription list for me.

The old way involved my personal hotmail account and two distribution lists (because Hotmail will only allow 50 people per list), which meant that every time I wanted to send out a new article to the list I had to do it twice.

Now, at least I hope, all I need to do is to post something on the archive blog and everyone will receive the email of my entry.

If anyone has trouble reading, receiving, etc. PLEASE reply to me at and let me know about it. I'll try to correct any problems or issues if at all possible.

In the future, if someone wants to sign up for the [subversive underground] newsletter, all they have to do is to come to the archive blog site:

and there is a "SUBSCRIBE ME" box on the upper left where they simply type their email address and hit the button.

Voila! They're added to the list.

Isn't technology wonderful?

Again, thank you all for being part of the team and for reading this stuff. Many of you have responded to let me know you're praying for me, for our house church ("The Mission"), and for my writing. I appreciate that more than I can ever express.



My new article, "Tommy" is now online at Seed Stories. Go check it out and leave a comment.

My good friend John Wahrmund is a Captain in the Air Force and recently was stationed in Turkey and visited a few Holy Sites while he was there.

Here's a brief report he sent me:

"I'm still in Turkey right now on my deployment.  It's been pretty good
but 70 days away from home is too much fun.  I did get to go to some
cool historic biblical sites like Cappadocia, Tarsus, and Antioch.  For
Good Friday I went to Antioch and attended a service in the church that
Peter and Paul worshipped in (the one in Acts).  It is still there!

The crazy thing is that it is in the side of a mountain.  They worshipped
In a cave!  It was carved out some and around 1000 AD the Pope at that
Time put a front on it but it is still a cave.  The part that was even
crazier was the escape tunnel in the back of the cave that went up into
the mountain.  It was there so that when people came to try to kill
them, they could flee out the tunnel.  We ended the service saying the
Lord's prayer and it hit me.  Here I was in one of the first churches
In the place where the disciples were first called Christians saying the
same prayer Jesus taught them and still teaches us today!  Very moving."
John and his wife Lisa will be performing at MOMENTUM '06 as "West Of Verona". They have a great EP of six songs called "To Jupiter and back", and you can preview a few of those songs online at their MySpace site:

MOMENTUM '06- June 23/24, 2006- newport beach, ca
I'll be leading two workshops at MOMENTUM; one on Compassion Ministry (with Crissy Brooks who rocks, btw), and one on Missional Life and the Gospel.
Join us if you can!
More info here:

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

[subversive underground] FAILURE

[the following was sent to the faithful subscribers on the subversive underground on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006]

[subversive underground] FAILURE
by Keith Giles

Have you ever had God show you what you're really like on the inside?

In recent memory, God has done this to me twice. Once was when I was reading
Dallas Willard's "Renovation Of The Heart" and the Holy Spirit showed me how
my attitude was dangerously similar to that of the Pharisees. I was crushed.
It just took my breath away to so suddenly see my own sinful, black heart
and to realize that I had been blind to my hypocrisy for so long.

The second time God revealed my hypocrisy to me was last week during House

I had been praying that day about what God would have me to share with the
group, as we all do before our Thursday evenings together. I had scribbled
down several scriptures about serving the poor, loving our brothers, and
Jesus own words about how those who truly love him will obey his teachings.
I was set to go.

But then my God-orchestrated undoing began. The phone call came that one of
our house church members was bringing a friend along. I knew this person and
he wasn't one of my favorite people. I rolled my eyes as soon as I heard he
was coming to our group. My mind began planning how I would contain this
person so that he wouldn't dominate the conversation with talk of politics
or internet conspiracy theories as he is often prone to do. By the time he
arrived my strategy to corral him was firmly in place.

As we moved out of our worship time and into our share time, I was on my
guard for his interjections. When he began to share with us about his
anxiety over his business issues, I countered with my own words of wisdom. I
shared my scriptures about washing the feet of others as Jesus washed our
feet. Every time he began to speak up, I was there to interrupt and to shift
the message back on track.

However, one of the ladies in our group wasn‚t hip to my strategy. She
repeatedly asked him to finish his sentence or to share more about his
anxiety. She returned again and again to him to ask if he was really ok and
if he needed us to pray for him, or if he had really shared all that was on
his heart. I began to squirm.

By the end of the evening, this man was sitting on the "hot seat" in the
center of the room and we were all praying over him, including me. Suddenly
my heart began to break for this man. My attitude softened, my compassion
began to pour out for him. I had several words of encouragement for him, and
as we prayed for him, he wept freely.

After our prayer, this same woman got down on her knees and looked into his
face. I could see her eyes as she looked into his and she began to encourage
him with words of affirmation and sincere Christian love about how he was
one with us, how he was precious to Jesus, and how we loved him as a brother
in Christ.

I was now fully convicted of my own sin.

Here Jesus had entered my home in the form of this man I had pre-judged and
I had missed Him. Jesus had come in need of compassion and mercy and I had
planned to keep him on the outside looking in. If not for the genuine
compassion of this woman in our house church, I would have missed Jesus
entirely, and this man would have no one to wash his feet.

If my friend had not washed this man's feet, I would not have done it. If it
were up to me, Jesus would have left my house with dirty feet.

Ironically, two weeks before, there had been another visitor in my house
church, and both men even shared the same name. I saw Jesus in this first
visitor instantly. He had MS. His outward physical handicap
allowed me to see Jesus clearly. In this case, I was able to love and bless
someone without prejudice. But in the case of the second visitor, I had
missed Him completely. Why? Because this was a man I had already determined
was unworthy of such extravagant compassion.

The full effect of what I had done didn't hit me fully until about 3am the
next morning. For about two months now, Jesus has been waking me up at about
3am to draw me into prayer. I can honestly say that it's Jesus because,
quite frankly, I would prefer to sleep most of the time. But like clockwork
I snap awake at 3am on the dot and can't get back to sleep unless I get up
and go into the den to talk with Jesus for at least an hour.

As I made my way into the den that early morning and sat down on the same
couch where our guest had been sitting. God spoke to my heart and convicted
me of my shameful behavior. Slowly, methodically, Jesus revealed not only
the inner darkness of my heart to me, but how I had missed all the cues and
signals along the way.

I was crushed.

How could I have missed Him? Even as I had my Bible open to the very
scriptures that should have made this clear to me, I had missed Him. Even as
I opened my mouth to teach the rest of our group about what it means to love
Jesus, I was oblivious to Him in my own home.

And so, I don't know any easy way to wrap this up, except to say that I hope
that a few of you can learn from my humiliation. I have to believe that God
can teach me something profound in the midst of my failure, and perhaps he
can teach you something too.

In times like this I realize even more how much of a miracle it will be if
the Holy Spirit is able to transform someone like me into the image of
Christ before I die.

Christ in me, the hope of Glory.

I can only hope.