Thursday, January 31, 2008

Trust: The Key To Everything (Part 3)


Trust: The Key To Everything (Part 3)
By Keith Giles

Here are some possible barriers we might face when it comes to fully trusting God:

*We don't really know God.
*We have a fear of letting go.
*We think we know what's really best.
*We don't want Gods intervention in our lives.

Let's briefly examine these four barriers to trusting God.

*We don't really know God.
If we really knew God, we would have no problem trusting Him. I believe this is why God sends trouble and difficulty into our lives. When things are going well we tend to ignore God, but when we are in financial difficulty or walking through uncertainty, we are suddenly desperate for God to rescue us. Whereas our goal during these trials may be to coerce God into making the pain go away, I believe God's goal during this time is simply to teach us that He can be trusted.

Time and again my family has been through crisis after crisis. Each time God has come through miraculously, and yet this fact is lost on me when that "next crisis" occurs. I still find myself wondering, "Will God rescue us this time? What if this time is different?" I believe that God wants us to come to a place where we immediately trust Him whenever we face trials. For now I still find myself freaking out first and then remembering to trust Him later.

*We have a fear of letting go.
I spent most of last year as an unemployed "temporary" worker. This made our financial future quite uncertain and called for us to daily trust God with everything. I can remember clearly the epiphany I had a few months into this ordeal- "If God is in control, that means that I am not." I needed to learn to be ok with being out of control so that God could be in control. This takes courage. It's not easy.

One of my favorite books of all time is "Let Go" by Fenelon. It's only a 99 page book, but the wisdom and spiritual insight found inside is solid gold. The overall theme, as you might guess from the title, is to remind us to let go of our lives and surrender fully to Christ. God knows that we need to develop a deeper sense of trust with Him and He is patient with us as we slowly learn that loving Him means trusting Him.

*We think we know what's really best.
Sometimes I believe we find it hard to trust God simply because we're pretty sure we already know what we want with our lives. God's ideas might not line up with our plans and letting go, trusting Him completely, will probably mean laying that dream (or that plan or hope, etc.) on the altar.

*We don't want Gods intervention in our lives.
Some of us aren't entirely comfortable with the idea of God running our lives as He sees fit, however this is what the Gospel of Jesus is all about. We're called to surrender our lives to Christ. We are expected to die to ourselves daily and put the words and teachings of Jesus into practice. The idea of living life "our way" and ignoring the clear instruction of Jesus is anti-Christian. God does not want to be your Co-Pilot. He is either "Lord" or you are living your life your own way. For many of us, our biggest problem is that we've not understood the "death to self" portion of the Gospel.

I know you probably believe in God and the Bible. You've probably received Jesus into your heart. But the Gospel is about giving up your life and allowing God to have His perfect will, even if it goes against your beautiful plans.

Do you feel like God is really calling the shots in your life right now? Is Jesus really your Lord or is He just your Savior? If you want to call yourself a follower of Jesus, you have to let go of your life, your way of living, and surrender everything to Him.

"Then (Jesus) said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." - Luke 9:23-24

As long as you are in the drivers seat of your life, you will always be miserable.

God isn't interested in having you believe in Him. He wants you to trust Him to make the decisions in your life. He wants to have your permission to allow Him to change your behavior.

God wants to be God, which should come as little surprise. He designed your life (and my life) to work best that way. I know in my life I've learned that it doesn't work when "Keith is Lord". That's when things get really screwed up.

But, if we can let go and trust God with our entire life, if we can make a total surrender to God and let Him lead us, that's what The Gospel is all about. That's when He can really transform us into something amazing.

This is why Jesus urges us to pray by saying, "Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done. On Earth (right now) as it is in Heaven..."

Its all about depending completely on God.

To fully trust God we must first fully surrender to Him. It's crucial for us to raise the white flag and let go of our way of doing life.

God is trustworthy. Isn't it time to really trust Him?


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Greg said...
"Our inability to trust can be traced, I believe, to our failure to believe that God is good.....really good...we simply do not believe that in our core. At a fundamental level we struggle with grace....we need to take heed to the Scriptural admonition to be reconciled in our minds.....God is reconciled to us but we sometimes don't allow ourselves to be reconciled to Him....He has accomplished an amazing thing by removing our sin and no longer counting our sin against us....we just need to learn to walk in the freedom He purchased.....He IS good, He has removed the law which condemned us, having nailed it to the cross! We absolutely can trust Him....but we never will as long as judgement hangs over our no longer does!!"

Chuck said:

"What can we do that will make us more capable of trusting God with everything?
The only thing we can do is submit. It's like jumping into the pool. It could be cold, it could not. You never know until you jump in.

"If we make the effort to come closer to God then He will come to us. I have relied upon this next passage when I have been in particularly hard times.

"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You." - Psalm 9:10

"I am by no means saying that there is some magic bullet that makes everything swell in times of trouble, but I am saying that there is comfort in knowing that God is near. Trials and tribulations are just that, and they suck to go through, but we must trust in God's wisdom in placing us in those times, or allowing them to happen, or predestining our lives around such things(how's that for all inclusive?)

"I think the very fact that we are fallen innately places us in a position of mistrust.


Ken Randolph said:
"Good article about trust,
Trust is one of those facets of life that when I think about it is like unraveling a tapestry. When I start pulling the threads apart I discover the Lord's hand in my life.It seems like growing in trust depends on my willingness to engage in this fatih walk that God is continually pointing to. Too many times I find myself steering towards a comfort zone yet I know that comfort is like poison. Think about ole' Moses spending forty years in the wilderness with his little family and the goats. His life was set. His routine predictable and then suddenly there is this bush that's on fire but it doesn't burn up. Moses could have walked away but he engaged.

"A few years ago the Lord put on my heart to pray for other countries. I attended a conference on short missions. This red neck southern boy was crying and so I went to the Philippines in 2000(no, my plane didn't fall out of the sky). I have some what of the same problem as Moses as I wasn't into public speaking. I found myself in front of about 500 pastors and used a canned message from home. I felt terrble. I cryed out to God and He sweetly said "Ken, I sent you for the message I built into you." That meant I needed to spend some serious carpet time and discover what that message was. God answered that prayer and I spoke to those pastors about the difference between dominion and domination.

"In 2001 we returned to the Philippines and I grew some more. Then 9/11 happened. The ministry group I was working under stopped their plans yet Susan and I knew God had called us to serve in that country. We chickened out and stayed home in 2002. Big misstake. I felt like I had abandoned a baby on the front door step.

"In 2003, I said, 'God I've lost my contacts and I dont have a clue what I am doing'. I had developed some fears and was wondering how to proceed. We sent out e-mails. Made calls. Nothing. I felt like I was dangling over an abyss. I had this huge desire and these huge fears fighting inside of me. Then I told Susan, "Buy the tickets. I don't care if don't do anything but walk around and pray. If God wants us in the Philippines then, by God, we are going to go". Suddenly the heavens opened and felt this huge grin coming straight from my heavenly Lord. The next day we began receiving e-mails with invitations to come and plans for ministry.

"Susan and I are still in this learning process and finding that trust like salvation is an event and a process that we walk out on a daily basis. But you have to choose to engage.
Blessing to you Keith,
Ken Randolph"

"Keith- A thought on trust. We work with a lot of very broken people, and it seems that your thots on why we cant trust are very inner directed. They do not allow much for very wounded people who do not trust because their trust has been so broken, Their lack of trust is not really a choice. Much healing must happen before they can decide to trust.
Well, have to go, we are moving this weekend.
Jude Tiersma Watson
(Fuller Seminary too)"


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

TRUST- The Key To Everything (Part 2)


Trust: The Key To Everything (Part 2)
by Keith Giles

"I believe in God, but it's so hard to trust Him sometimes."

This is a phrase I've heard more than once from my friends as we've shared together. Heck, I'm sure at one time or the other I've said the same thing myself, but as I analyze this statement I realize that we don't really understand the meaning of the phrase "I believe in God."

In fact, if I could outlaw one word in the Christianese language it would be "Believe" because so many of us really have no idea what the word really means in the context of faith in God.

Biblically, the concepts of belief, trust, and faith are one and the same. So, for us to say, "I believe in God but I don't trust Him" is like saying, "I trust in God, but I really don't trust Him."

A "Believer" is by default also a "Truster" of God. The concept of trusting in God is imbedded in the definition of "Believer". Why then is trusting God, in our minds, a separate concept from believing in Him?

I think it is partly due to our misunderstanding, and therefore our misuse, of the term "Believe." I think most of us use the term belief to refer to an idea we think is true. So, when we say, "I believe in God" we're saying, "I think God is real" but we don't necessarily mean, "I trust in God."

It's also fascinating to me that people who identify themselves as follower of God, or as Believers, find trusting God difficult. Imagine the headline: "Study shows that 90% of Christians don't trust God" or "People of Faith Find Trusting God Difficult." I mean, shouldn't it be the other way around? It would make sense to me to read that the majority of unbelievers find trusting God difficult, that would explain why they remain in their unbelief. But, for Christians to find trusting God to be a problem seems more than strange- it seems wrong.

In the amazing New Testament book of James this concept is explored in full, which means that our modern misunderstanding of the term "Believe" is nothing new. In his book, James demonstrates the uselessness of leaning on belief in God, as opposed to really trusting, or having faith, in God, when he says, "You believe in God? Good! Even the demons believe and they shudder." (see James 2:19)

James, in this passage, wants to illustrate to us the impotency of belief alone. If we think that believing God is real means anything at all, let us consider the demons who don't just believe God is real- they know it! Not only do the demons know it, they quake in fear. But does this knowledge of God's realness save the demons? Of course not. What the demons lack is trust in God. They know God is real, they even shake in fear of Him, but they refuse to trust in God. They refuse to have faith in God.

My question is, are we more like the demons than we are like disciples? Do we believe that God exists but refuse to trust in Him? Do we resist putting the words of Jesus into practice? Do we refuse to surrender our will, our plans, our ideas, our dreams to God and crown Him as the King of our lives? If so, we are more like demons who believe in God but have not yet trusted Him with our lives.


Here are some possible barriers we might face when it comes to fully trusting God:

*We don't really know God
*We have a fear of letting go.
*We think we know what's really best
*We don't want God's intervention in our lives

We'll explore more of this in next week's [SU] –
Trust: The Key To Everything - Part 3



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Monday, January 14, 2008

Trust: The Key To Everything (Part 1)

[Subversive Underground]

Trust: The Key To Everything (Part 1)
by Keith Giles

The other day a friend of mine made the comment that trusting God seems to be the hardest thing for us to do, even as followers of Jesus who should find it easy...or at least fundamental to our daily practice.

Several thoughts splinter outward from the impact of this statement. First, I wonder why it is that we find it so hard to trust God. Second, I wonder if this isn't the central key to everything.


There are several possible reasons for this. One being that we may have a problem with trust in general. Meaning, all of us have been manipulated by the media, society, politicians, teachers, lovers, parents, etc. all of our lives. After a while we simply lose the ability to completely trust anyone or anything 100%.

There is no logical reason not to trust God. After all, if you could name only one being in the entire known Universe whom you should be able to trust with absolute certainty, it is God.

Author Jan David Hettinga suggests that the issue of trust is a big part of what God was doing on the cross in the first place. Even though God had all power and all authority at His disposal, including the ability to force us to do whatever He wanted us to do, God instead chose to lay it all down (see Philipians 2) and embrace a posture of servanthood and humility.

When Jesus laid down his life on the cross he was demonstrating that his intentions for us were good, that he only considered what was best for us, and that therefore we can trust him completely.

Not only did God not abuse his power over us, he allowed us to have the power of abuse over him! He took the punishment and refused to lash out. He forgave us for the nails and excused our ignorance.

When we look at Jesus, God in the flesh, hanging upon the cross, enduring the shame meant for us, we look into the eyes of a God who says, "Look at me. I will not trick you. I will not manipulate you. I will not lie to you. I love you."

If we cannot trust Jesus, we have no hope of ever trusting anyone, or anything, ever.


The author of Hebrews reminds us that "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (see Hebrews 11:6) and the more I meditate on this concept of trusting God the more I realize that "Faith", "Belief", "Trust" and "Obedience" are practically synonyms.

If we believe God, we will obey His commands. Jesus says that if we love him we will obey his teachings. To trust someone is to believe them. To have faith in someone is to believe, and to trust them.

I now also realize that our joy in Christ, our ability to enjoy peace, or contentment in this life, is tied directly to our ability to trust God.

If we can trust God, completely, with everything in our life, we can experience peace because we know He is in control. If we really believe that God loves us then we can trust that He knows what is best for us.

The question then becomes, if we can't fully trust God with our everyday life, why not? What is it that prevents us from trusting God? Why is it so hard? What can we do that will make us more capable of trusting God with everything?

This concept has gripped me and so I want to spend some time exploring this idea of trust and specifically how important it is for us to trust God with everything.

More on this later next week here at the [Subversive Underground].

TO REPLY TO ME: Send an email to "elysiansky" at "hotmail" (dot) com. I'd especially love to hear a testimony about a time when you trusted God and He came through...or even if you failed to trust God and regretted it later. Maybe we can share our struggles with trust and help one another understand this better?

Here's a brief word from Neil Cole regarding his thoughts about my book, "The Gospel: For Here Or To Go?":

"Using easily understood examples and insightful commentary, Giles brings out a multi-faceted understanding of the implications of the gospel in our context. This book is challenging, compelling and a quick read. I recommend it to all who would wish to live a life of significance and break free from the status quo of an irrelevant and unengaged life."

-Neil Cole, (Author of "Organic Church"), Long Beach, CA, January 2008

Purchase the book online or download a free PDF copy here:

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Return Of The King

The Return Of The King
by Keith Giles

Most people who call themselves "Christians" would explain the Gospel like this: "Jesus died on the cross for your sins and if you believe in Him and confess your sins and invite him into your heart you can go to heaven when you die."

Unfortunately, this is not the Gospel. Although it is a fairly accurate (although oversimplified) description of the Doctrine of the Atonement, it is not the Gospel message.

I've wondered how it is that followers of Jesus who spend hours in Sunday School and at Church services and at Bible Studies could possibly misunderstand the Gospel message. Obviously the problem is that we have teachers who don't understand the Gospel either. We also have years and years of Evangelism where the Atonement is all we've communicated and thousands, perhaps millions upon millions, of "Christians" came through the door with this misunderstanding.

Up until a few years ago I was not only one of those "Christians" who misunderstood the Gospel, I was also a licensed and ordained pastor who miscommunicated the Gospel message to others.

This Atonement Gospel makes the message all about salvation in the afterlife and largely about what happens once I am dead. Consequently Pastors around the globe struggle to inspire their flock to do good works in the here and now, and find it near impossible to lead their people to practice the spiritual disciplines or even to live Godly lives. "Why shouldn't I do what I want? God will forgive me of all of my sins won't he?" And the one who has largely communicated an Atonement Gospel has no real answer to this.

I believe that this fundamental misunderstanding of the Gospel has also lead us to a misunderstanding of faith and a blurring in the focus of our lives as followers of Jesus.

Because we have churches full of people with a Gospel that only addresses our afterlife, and an idea of the Gospel as a "Get Out Of Hell Free" card, we inherited a behavior pattern of sin, arrogance, and materialism within the Body of Christ.


If there's one thing that Jesus spent his time communicating during his earthly ministry it was the Gospel of the Kingdom.

"I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." (Luke 4:43)

"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15)

"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." (Matt 9:35)

"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom.." (Matt 4:23)

In the Old Testament we read (see 1 Sam) where the people of Israel asked God for a King to rule them "such as all the other nations have". Samuel the prophet was grieved and felt that the people were rejecting him personally but God's response was, "they are not rejecting you, they are rejecting me".

In short, God's plan was to be the King over his people and they decided to rebel.

When Jesus announced his ministry and began to preach the "Good News" of the Kingdom he was announcing that God was re-establishing His Rule and Reign on Earth. This Kingdom of God would be established in the hearts and minds of those who wanted to have God as their King.

There are many today who read the words of Jesus and take his message of the Kingdom of God as being about the afterlife. This affectively makes 90% of what Jesus preached irrelevant for our lives here and now. For those who read the Gospels this way the only way to enter the Kingdom Jesus describes is to die. However, Jesus clearly meant that the Kingdom was for the here and now. That was why it was "Good News" and it's also why it threatened the religious establishment of his day. They clearly understood that his message was about right now and they met this threat head on by putting Jesus to death.

One thing that remains true is that we DO have to die in order to enter the Kingdom of God. This is why Jesus tells us that unless we take up our cross (the instrument of our death) daily and follow Him we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. It's also why Paul says in Romans 12 that, in view of God's mercy we are called to offer our bodies as living sacrifices (dead to sin but alive to God).

Ultimately what Jesus is asking us is if we are willing to stop living our lives under the banner of "Keith is Lord" and start living, right now, under the banner of "Jesus is Lord".

The King has announced his Kingdom and the door is wide open.

Are you ready to step inside?

To reply to me you must send an email to "elysiansky" at "hotmail" dot com.

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"The Gospel: For Here Or To Go?" - The Gospel is not for sale. Learn how to relate to human beings as a human being without all the memorized speeches and pretentious nonsense commonly associated with evangelism. Instead, learn how to be who you are in the place you already live, work and play. The Gospel is not just for "those sinners" anymore, it's for you and me too. (Note: We are just as sinful as anyone else).

"Nobody Follows Jesus (So Why Should You?)"- A devotional book for the MySpace Generation. This collection of 40 articles (over 200 pages) is a perfect guide for learning how to follow Jesus in your every day life without pretending to be the holiest person in the room.

Just stumbled upon this online. Kind of cool.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008


[Subversive Underground]

by Keith Giles

We know from God's Word that there was a time when reality as we know it did not exist. In Eternity, a reality which is reality itself, God existed eternally prior to the Creation of all things.

At the point of Creation, which is something slightly easier for our minds to conceive, something came into being which never existed before; Time and Space.

If the angelic beings existed prior to the creation of Time and Space, they would have looked upon it as something wildly unique and utterly strange. To a being for whom Eternity is commonplace, the concept of a miniature reality with a beginning, middle and end, populated by organisms bound by this space and limited by time, it would have been a wondrous and completely awe inspiring work of genius.

For us, mortals bound by the limitations of space and time, and largely unable to conceive of a reality beyond this one that has eternally existed, it is the idea of Eternity that seems strange and foreign and utterly confusing in many ways.

"How could God have always existed?" one of our children asked out loud recently in house church. None of us had an answer for that, but we all could share the wonder expressed by the question.

As a young boy, about nine years old, I can remember lying on my bed and pondering just this question. I surmised that it was impossible for God to have always existed and therefore someone had to have created God. But who? I decided to call that person "King" and in my imagination I placed him as the creator of "God". This satisfied my imagination for about thirty seconds because I quickly asked myself, "Then who created King?" The conundrum was endless, I realized and so I quickly reverted back to the idea that, yes, God was eternally existant all along because there must be some being who created everything and yet who, himself, did not need to be created.

Just a few weeks ago I was thinking about how God can never have a new idea. It hit me because I had read a statement in a book I was reading about how God had supposedly "discovered" something new. I immediately dismissed this statement as false since it is impossible for God to have a new thought that He hasn't already had from Eternity. God doesn't learn because He already knows all things. This is why we say that God is Omniscient. He knows the end from the beginning.

As I thought about this inability for God to have a new thought I realized that this meant that the idea of me, and of you, and of everyone who had or will ever live on this Earth, was also Eternal. This concept riveted me for several minutes.

Could it really be possible that, in the numberless eons previous to the creation of the entire known Universe of space and time that I was a completely, fully realized idea in God's amazing mind?

This means that, not only will I spend Eternity with God in the flesh after my life here is over, but that in some ways I have always been in the heart and mind and imagination of God...even before I was born on this Earth some forty odd years ago.

You were also in God's imagination for Eternity. He knew you, even before he formed you in the womb. You are his beloved and he gladly created everything that we know and experience, even knowing that it would cost him great suffering and unimaginable pain on the cross in order to make a way to be with you forever.

You are so loved!

To reply to me you must send an email to "elysiansky" at "hotmail" dot com.

Your Life Challenge: Help Children Trapped In Poverty
My good friend, Tim Gamwell, has given his time, energy, heart and talent to serve the hundreds of children trapped in poverty in Juarez, Mexico. If I had a million dollars I'd give it to him. If you can help their ministry to touch children in serious jeopardy I know it would make a difference.
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