Wednesday, December 24, 2008


While our family was in El Paso, Texas for vacation, our Mission House Church family was delivering Christmas gifts to the children (and our friends) at the California Studio Inn in Santa Ana, CA.

Our church family was joined by our brothers and sisters in Christ from Orange Coast Christian Church who provided 50 boxes of food for the families living here.

This is what Christmas is all about!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas at the Motel - 12/21/08

This year the Mission House Church will help to provide toys for the families living in the California Studio Inn in Santa Ana.

Last year we were very blessed to have Cartoon Network donate a ton of toys for the kids, along with items purchased by our own house church family.

This year we have the blessing of partnering with a few 4th grade elementary classes locally as well as Cartoon Network (thanks again), and our own house church family, of course.

We're also planning to pass out the toys alongside another church in Orange County that will provide 50 meals to 50 families in the motel.

On Sunday, December 21st, we'll pass out the gifts, pray for the families and help distribute the food alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ, and local school children.

Praise God for everyone who had helped, planned, donated, and wrapped to make this all possible!

To me, this is what Christmas is really all about.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Like Sheep Without A Shepherd

On Saturday several of us from The Mission passed out free groceries and hosted a bounce house for the families and residents of the California Studio Inn in Santa Ana.

It was a great day. We had a chance to pray with a lot of people, some of them even hung around and talked with some of us, others shared their pain and their struggles with us and we did our best to give them assistance, advice, phone numbers to call and organizations to seek out for help.

One person really impacted me. His name was Vic. He told me with tears in his eyes about how he had just gotten off of drugs after many years of struggling with addiction. He was about 17 months sober. He and his wife had an adorable little baby girl who was only about 6 months old with them. After losing his job about a month ago, and then losing their apartment soon after, Vic had been in a motorcycle accident a few weeks ago and was needing surgery on his knee. Then he told me about his father who had just passed away from a massive heart attack a week and a half ago.

Could it get any worse, I thought? This guy has been through more pain and more disappointment than almost anyone I've ever met. Still, he talked about his faith in God, and about how he knew that God would see them through this time. I had a chance to encourage him a little and, of course, we prayed for him and his family. I even gave them a phone number to see if they could get set up at the Village of Hope in Tustin, but still I felt that there was still so much to do.

As we stood around talking I caught a flash of something in my mind. Maybe it was a vision, or maybe just a stray thought, but I saw these residents sitting in folding chairs and worshiping Jesus. I saw myself teaching them from the Bible. I saw others from the Mission praying with them in small groups. I saw us laughing with them and eating with them and playing with their kids. I saw us being in community with them.

Then I heard a verse of scripture, just part of one actually, that said, "They are like sheep without a shepherd".

The next day at house church I opened my Bible and found this verse. Here's the entire passage in context:

"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. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" - Matthew 9:35-38

These dear people at the motel need more than free groceries once a month. They need more than a free breakfast and a sermon every other week, what they need is to be part of a loving community of mature believers who will help them and stand by them and pray for them and invite them into the fellowship of the Family of God.

What does this mean? I'm not exactly sure. But I do know that I believe that our house church needs to pray about investing more than we have so far in the lives of these people. I can see now that they are like sheep without a shepherd and since one of my primary giftings is to shepherd I can't help but feel compelled to pastor them. I would prefer not to do this alone. I pray that others from our house church would also decide to join us in "being the Church" to these dear people a bit more...whatever that might mean.

This is something for our house church to pray about together and to hear from God about. Does it mean a monthly church service at the motel? Does it mean something more often? Does it mean changing the way we minister there? Right now I don't know exactly.

Please God, show us what you would have us to do in this place as ambassadors of your Gospel and carriers of your Kingdom.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This Saturday - Motel Ministry

This Saturday (11/22/08) our house church will serve the people living in the California Studio Inn in Santa Ana by passing out free groceries, praying for them as they have need, hosting a bounce house and game time for the children, and spending time listening to them as friends.

My wife and our 2 boys have been serving at this same motel now for over 7 years. It's become a monthly habit for us to go and serve there. We've seen some of the same faces over the years. Some have died. Some have moved to better places. Others have moved to worse situations or simply relocated to other motels.

We've made new friends and we're in the process of learning to love everyone we come into contact with here.

Even though we've been doing this a long time, I pray it will never become a habit for us. I never want to just go through the motions. Instead, I pray that God would always keep this ministry about Jesus and about serving and loving the people who live here.

Our ministry isn't flashy. It's not "big". It's nothing to marvel at. It is simple and humble and very straight-forward. Hopefully the people we serve here know that we love them, and that Jesus loves them, more than anything else.

If nothing else, we have the opportunity to see Jesus in the eyes of these people in real need as we give them something to eat and pray for their families, their relationships, their finances, and their dreams and hopes.

I always feel that we could do more...that it's never enough, really. But our only job is to serve and to be obedient to God as He leads us, and mainly to practice loving others as Christ loved us.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Hey Missionaries,

If you weren't with us last Sunday then you missed an historic gathering and discussion about where we've been, where we are today, and where God is leading us as a Church.

It was really great for me to hear everyone share and confirm this new direction of shared ownership and increased transparency among us as a Family of God.

I can't possibly sum the entire thing up but essentially, starting next Sunday, I will no longer be the facilitator in our gatherings. Instead we'll allow each person to take a turn at leading us as we gather for worship, share time, communion and dialog. I will sit quietly in the back of the room and observe along with everyone else (and contribute whenever necessary), but we as a Body will now become less "Keith-centric", or as Liz so eloquently phrased it, "You'll be shutting up more?" ---(Can I get an "Amen"?)

Seriously, it's been painful for me to realize it, but our group isn't nearly as organic and peer-lead as I had hoped to inspire us to become. One big reason for this is related to the fact that I take the lead on everything and you guys are left waiting for me to direct traffic. So, in order to correct this and to put us on a path where everyone really does share ownership and take a more active role in this Church on a regular basis, we'll be rotating our facilitation each week to individuals and/or families who volunteer to lead. (No one will be forced to partcipate in this, but we do hope everyone will take a turn at least once). We're even planning an all-children day where the kids lead us in worship, communion, and share time. (Maybe that means the Adults can leave early and go into the living room to watch videos or play outside?)

I cannot wait to see how God stretches us and grows us as we move forward in this.



*"THIS IS HIS CHURCH" by Keith Giles (How we got here and where God is leading us):

*Awesome Video: "Don't Ignore the Poor" (Or "Why you should re-think the Orlando Outpouring")


*JESUS FIRST by Keith Giles (Are we followers of Jesus, or of Paul the Apostle?)

*"THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD" BY W.C. KETCHERSIDE (A great, free, online book)

Monday, August 11, 2008


This summer our house church has intentionally tried to break our regular Sunday morning liturgy by adopting a policy of "expecting the unexpected".

So far we've had great times together breaking out of our normal routine and embracing new and different ways to enter into God's presence and learning new ways to share together.

Last Sunday we met at 3pm in a local park to play kickball together, toss around some water balloons and eat dinner together under the shade of a large tree.

It was so great many of us are thinking of doing a Sunday evening gathering once a month just to hang out and play together more.

Pictures coming soon.


Friday, July 04, 2008


Our family hosted our 2nd annual community pancake breakfast this morning.

Great meeting new neighbors and re-connecting with others. Prayfully these relationships will grow into deeper friendships over the next few months.

This is our mission field.



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Our First Baptism! - Mollie Ellen Wright

On Sunday, June 22nd, everyone from The Mission was on-hand to celebrate the baptism of our dear sister, Mollie Wright, at the home of John and Connie Rehagen.

(That's Mollie in the blue next to me, the guy holding the Bible)

Her Dad, Jason (that's him on the left), and I were honored to stand beside her and do the honors.

We pray that this is the first of many more Baptisms to come!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Father's Day Recap from Brent K.

The past two Sunday mornings have been truly beautiful. Last Sunday was probably the greatest expression of Church that I have experienced, and I know that God has much more in store. Either of us could have prepared a lesson about the love of God and the fear of God. We would probably have put 1-3 hours of prayer and preparation into it. We would have struggled to retain the interest of the young people and keep them engaged, and it may or may not have had the emotional and personal impact we saw Sunday.

On Sunday the Holy Spirit wove a lesson that taught us a little more about his nature. He did this by giving key scripture verses to the children to share. He surfaced a question in a heart about how the fear of God relates to his love. He led several adults during the week to ponder and meditate on fear and his love. A passage from a children’s story was shared that drew a powerful picture of our need for God and the painfulness and fear associated with his stripping away our old nature – but that it was for our good. Another scripture that related but was not memorized was located and discussed. Tear filled eyes were present as well as a quiet peace and joy. Afterward children and wives gathered to bless their fathers and husbands and honor them on father’s day. It was very beautiful.

-Brent Kollmansberger

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Wow. Look at all these happy people. Isn't God good to us? When we first started, just about 3 years ago, we had no idea who would come along with us.

There were those who said that no one would want to be part of a house church like this. Some of our friends even dared us to step out in this way, assuring us that we were settling for less and that failure awaited us.

Instead, God blessed us. We've grown in numbers, and more importantly, we've grown in depth. There are so many mature believers and followers of Jesus at The Mission. I've been so blessed this last year to see many of our house church family take steps of faith and begin to disciple others, lead Bible Studies, share Christ with friends and co-workers, and step into their giftings and their callings.

This last Sunday we had a full house. I didn't count but I would estimate we had about 28 people in our little den, which was like 10 people too many.

One of the difficult things about becoming the Family of God and learning to love each other and share life together is the inevitable splitting into a second house church as we grow larger.

Yet to maintain intimacy and develop community we have to face the fact that the larger we get the harder it is, the more impossible it is, to be intimate and to share deeply.

We know that, soon, we'll have to get serious about starting a second house church group in order to continue to grow and develop intimacy together.

I know that this will come with tears, but we can't let those tears stop us from taking the natural steps in front of us.

Do we cancel a wedding because someone will cry? Do we forgo a graduation ceremony because there will be tears? Of course not. We understand that certain inevitabilities in life bring joy and sorrow, sometimes mixed together.

I know that God has lead us this far, and that He has promised to continue to grow the Church (that's you and me) as we move forward. Everything we've experienced so far has been by His hand, so I know He will lead us through the next phase of our life together too.

For now we will count our blessings and enjoy this time of sweet fellowship and Koinonia.

Thursday, May 15, 2008



For some reason I've been doing a lot of thinking and counseling and talking the last few weeks about house church. Most of it has been answering questions for people interested in starting their own house church, a bit of it has been responding to people online in various conversations about how to overcome some of the challenges commonly associated with the transition to house church.

Here are some of the common questions and concerns raised about house church and a look at what we've done in our community at The Mission to address them.

Usually this question is the very first one we hear. Most people can't imagine juggling little Billy while they pray for someone or engage in meaningful dialog about the gifts of the Spirit. Others are asking because they fear being the one elected to spend the two hours at house church alone in a guest room with six toddlers and a fussy baby while everyone else enjoys the fellowship and community in the living room.

At our house church we have invited the children to be with us throughout the entire gathering. They are the Church too so we allow them to share and speak and pray and participate along with everyone else. In fact, the children are usually the very first to speak up and share a scripture verse with the group. What's more, their insights often lead our discussions into challenging territory.

"At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure." - Matt 11:25-26

We do have little toddlers who either play quietly on the floor under the supervision of their parents, or play in the other room with a parent nearby if they are fussy or disruptive. However, for the most part we tolerate children being children. We do not view the gathering and share time as a performance that needs to be "just so" and this means we're not offended when a kid laughs or talks out loud or whatever. Many of us are parents too and we have grace for one another.

After about an hour to and hour and a half the kids tend to get restless so we usually dismiss them to go watch videos in the other room or to play outside in the back yard while the adults move into more serious talk and/or prayer and ministry time.

The next most important question (if not the first) is always money. Many are used to receiving a Giving Statement from their Church so they can write it off their taxes. I'm sure there are a few people who don't attend our house church because of the simple fact that we do not provide this service to them, however we felt a strong conviction against filing for Non-Profit Status and here two reasons why:

1) We give out of simple compassion and obedience. The gift is about helping others. It is not about us.

An example I always use is something like this: If you were walking down the street and ran into a homeless woman who was cold and sick and hungry on the sidewalk, would you say, "Wait here while I go find an appropriate Non-Profit organization where I can give my money (so that I can get a tax write-off) and then I'll be right back with clothes and food to help you." I hope not.

2) We do not not want the Government to have any control or say over what we do or say. We do not need the State of California's approval to meet or to worship or to follow Jesus. We are the Church.

Of course, others feel differently and if they depend on the tax write-off for their family financials I simply encourage them to give to another non-profit of their choice.

We do not pass the basket in our church. We do not mention the offering as part of our ongoing conversation, except once in a while I might announce that we are helping someone who is need and/or send out a regular statement of how our offering has been invested in the lives of the poor in our community.

We take our attitude towards the offering from the Early Church and give 100% of our offering basket money to the poor. I do not take a salary and we do not use any of that money for food, rent, utilities, dessert, etc. All of it goes to help people in need, both inside and outside our house church family.

We are also 100% transparent with all of the money we receive each week and where and how it is spent each week. The ongoing log or book is kept in the same basket where the money is received so anyone, at any time, can see what's going on with the money.

Last year we were amazed to discover that our little house church had given over $3,000 to the poor in our community. We're on track this year to go over that amount.

Why? Because when people can see that the $100 they gave went to help someone pay their bills or feed their children or make it through another week they start to get excited about giving. They truly become "Hilarious givers" who take joy in providing help to others. Imagine that...

I wrote a pretty comprehensive article on this very subject about a year ago and rather than re-type it or paste it I'll provide the link.


Essentially, our house church is not under any official "Spiritual Covering" of any sort, which is Biblical. We do, however, have loads and loads of Spiritual Accountability, which is Biblical. As the pastor of The Mission I have mentors who I can call on (and I often do) for advice, guidance, and insight. These are people like David Ruis, Todd Hunter, Paul Martin and a few other pastors who are smarter and wiser than I am. At the same time, I am personally accountable to every person in our group. They are accountable to one another and to me also.

Spiritual Covering is a concept built on fear and superstition, not on Biblical principles or values. We believe in the Priesthood of the Believer. We believe that the Holy Spirit leads us into all Truth. We believe that the Word of God is active and powerful and effective to establish our Church and keep us on the path where Jesus walks.

If you have any questions about these three areas, or if you have other questions that I haven't addressed here feel free to comment below and let me know.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Our First Mission Passover Seder

Our first Mission Family Passover Seder

Special thanks to Betsy and Candy from Marti Clark's house church fellowship in Orange. They brought the tables, the china, and printed up all the books for everyone and even waited on us like servants so everyone in our group could enjoy the Seder dinner together.

It was a marvelous time and everyone said it was a great blessing to them, each in different ways.

Next year we'll have to do it again!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Partnering With Others

Yesterday Wendy and I took our boys to another house church fellowship in Orange (after our group had concluded at 12:30pm that same day) to help lead a dialog about Poverty in Orange County.

There were actually two different house churches represented in this meeting, other than our own, (so I guess that makes it more like 3, right?), and as we took turns reading our scriptures and statistics on poverty in Orange County we each felt the presence of God and the depth of His love for people in need.

We also had a chance to pray over a few in their group who needed work (one lady had been out of work for one year...I could relate to her having been through the same thing...twice), and we got to share about the possibility of getting our three groups together to do more things together in the future.

Marti Clark leads the group that hosted this afternoon gathering. She's a good friend who has worked with ALPHA USA in this region and I've had the good fortune of working with her to do conferences locally (she lead one of our workshops at the Non-Con).

Joyce and Van Pewthers were also in attendance yesterday. They were also at the Non-Con and they lead a house church in Placentia/Brea area. It was great to see them again and to continue this dialog about God's heart for the poor in Orange County.

Each group expressed a desire to join our house church ("The Mission") the next time we serve our friends over at the motel in Santa Ana, and we also talked about getting together for other events and sharing opportunities down the road.

Each of our three groups has different strengths and area of expertise. It will be exciting to see how the intertwining of our groups adds depth and resource across the board.

Two from Marti's group (Betsy and Candy) will be helping lead our Passover Seder dinner this Thursday night, and next Thursday night we're planning to get together for a special evening with Todd Hunter (which we will share with the Pewther's house church and with Soul Survivor also).

It's exciting to me to consider how this could work as a catalyst for each of our groups moving forward.

More as this develops...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


A.W. Tozer put it best when he said, "We must not think of the Church as an anonymous body, a mystical religious abstraction. We Christians are the Church and whatever we do is what the Church is doing. The matter, therefore, is a personal one. Any step forward in the Church must begin with the individual." (From "The Knowledge Of The Holy"; pg.114.)

When we speak of "The Church" we're talking about our own family. So, whenever we at The Mission feel compelled to point out something "wrong" the Church is doing, we have to stop and realize that we're talking about something we are eternally still part of.

One thing I think would help would be to use the word, "We" whenever we feel compelled to point out something another church or leader is doing that troubles us instead of the word "they". Why? Because these are things all of us have also participated in. Plus, if we say, "Sometimes we act this way or do these things" then the focus stays on us. It forces us to look at ourselves, the log in our own eye, rather than that speck in our brother's eye.

We are the church, and so, it's more helpful to just admit, "We do this" or "We used to do that" and keep the focus on ourselves. That way we can quickly move on to what we've learned from those mistakes and talk about whether or not we're actually putting any of what we've learned into practice.

Let's try hard to keep the focus of our share times on encouragement and whenever we do share criticism let's get quickly back onto the road of exploring what we can learn and what we can do, right now, to take those lessons we've learned from our own mistakes and apply them in our lives.

One of our stated values at The Mission is that we will not spend any time tearing down the rest of the Body of Christ. I'm not picking on any one person here. In fact, I know I'm probably more guilty than anyone else here. So, please help to keep me accountable to this important value.

You and I are the people of God. We are the Church that He has assembled for these times. We are the Church called to make a difference in this day and to this culture.

We are the Church God has chosen to love others in a way that no one has ever seen before. We are the Church that God has entrusted to be His ambassadors to the world.

In the four walls on Sunday, and outside the four walls the rest of the week, we are the Church. At home, in line at the Grocery store, at work, at school, in fact, everywhere you are, there you will find that Church.

We are the Church. The only Church the world will ever know.

So, now, let’s go and be the church we dream of.


Sunday, March 23, 2008


Our second annual Easter In The Park service was great.

We gathered on the grassy hillside, under the trees, and worshipped together and prayed and read the Resurrection story together as a Family.

Let's remember that we are the Body of Christ and our lives of love and our continuation of Jesus' ministry declares that He is truly alive.

Afterwards we ran back to the Giles' home for breakfast, Resurrection Rolls (Yum!), and great coffee and fellowship. Some even stayed over for lunch too and we had a great time spending the day together.

He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!!



For over a year now I've been planning this special Good Friday meditation and reflection service.

Everyone who came had a wonderful time going from station to station and meditating on the passion and sacrifice of our Lord.

These are photos of the basic stations we had set up, but the actual evening service was very dark, lit only by candlelight.

Here are the stations we observed:

Casting Lots for Christ's clothing

Tasting the vinegar and bitterness He tasted for us on the cross.

Touching the crown of thorns He wore in our place.

Driving nails into the wood to remember the price He paid to set us free.

We dipped our hands into red paint and made a collage to thank Jesus for His amazing love.

We also tore cloth to symbolize the veil of the temple being torn in two for us.

Afterwards we sat and took the Lord's Supper together. Each person shared a song spontaneously, and acapella, we all joined in worship together. Then each person shared something in thanksgiving or prayed to thank Jesus for His gift of salvation and blew out their candle. We dismissed in darkness and silence.

It was a very powerful evening. We can't wait to do this again next year.


Monday, March 17, 2008



This Friday night, (3/21/08), we'll observe a meditative worship time to reflect on the crucifixion of our Lord.

Our time will be spent quietly moving between stations set up throughout the house to help us connect with the passion of Christ and his suffering on our behalf upon the cross.

Our stations will include:
-Tearing cloth to symbolize the veil of the temple which was torn in two.
-Holding thorns to remember the crown he wore for us.
-Driving nails into wood to remember the price he paid to set us free.
-Tasting vinegar to exprience the bitterness he tasted because of His amazing love for us.
-Throwing dice against cloth to consider the triviality of the distractions in our life as we remember the disregard the soldiers had for Jesus as he died for them.
-Dipping our hands and fingers into red paint to create a collage of grief, pain, joy and freedom through his shed blood.

After each of us has taken our time visiting each of the stations we will gather together to light candles to symbolize our witness to the life and death of Jesus. Together we will sing songs of his love for us as the Holy Spirit leads us. We will end by sharing communion together, offering thanks to Jesus for his sacrifice, blowing out our candles one by one to experience the darkness that fell upon the Earth at his death and the separation He felt as the Father turned away from him on the cross.

We will dismiss silently and allow time to re-visit the stations if necessary or simply wait in His presence in silence before Him.

Come join us as share what God has given us with our friends who live in this local motel. We'll pass out Groceries, play games with the kids and serve these wonderful people together.

This Sunday I'm excited to invite everyone to join us for our second annual "Easter In The Park" service at El Camino Real Park in Orange, just off of Main street, North of Chapman avenue. We'll meet at 9:30am under the large tree which is right on the corner and next to the sign for the park itself.

Come and bring a blanket, a chair, a Bible and something to share with everyone about the resurrection of Jesus and what it means to you.

After reading together about His resurrection from the dead we will sing songs of celebration together and end in prayers of thanksgiving.

Afterwards everyone is invited to join us back at the Giles' home for more fellowship, shared breakfast and yummy, yet instructional, "Resurrection Rolls"...and coffee.

Hope you can all join us for this very special day.

For more info please email me directly at
- elysiansky (at) "hotmail" (dot) "com"


Monday, March 03, 2008

Subersive Seminary - "The Kingdom of God"

On Sunday, March 2nd, our house church spent the day (from 9am to 2pm) looking at the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Kingdom of God together.

Here's a bit of what we discussed.

First, Jason Wright looks at what the Kingdom looks like and how we're called to enter as little children.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." - Jesus, Matthew 6:33

Matthew 18:1-4
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

What exactly did Jesus mean when he said to “become like children”?

Did he mean we should be:
- whiny
- messy
- clumsy
- impatient
- impulsive
- boisterous
- booger eaters

???? Probably not what he was referring to…

Perhaps he meant …
(Not complicated, simple) Dictionary Definition
- Humble
- Trusting
- Dependant
- Vulnerable
o Not guarded or protected by walls
- Living in the moment
- Not anxious for tomorrow
- Open and Teachable
- Creative/ Artistic
o All kids in Kindergarten are artists! Year by year it becomes less cool, until there are only a few “artists” in grade 8.
- Joyful
- Resilient / Not holding onto grudges
- Not infatuated with money
o Kids losing / mishandling money… need to be “taught” how to cling tightly to their cash.

And what and where is this Kingdom of God that He spoke of??

The Kingdom of God is a giant sandbox for us “children” to play in… and it’s here right now.

Matthew 6: verses 5 and verses 26-37
5"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”

26"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

It’s when we begin to complicate our lives with “stuff” and “things” and the maintenance, protection, and monthly payments on the “stuff” and “things” that we begin to lose our ability to be like children and trust God. We start to worry and fret SO MUCH about tomorrow, that we are no good for today.

“All of these things will be given to you”
-Hummers, 60” plasmas, Season Tickets, and Hawaiian time-shares.

I see the Kingdom of Heaven in the backseat of our Ford LTD station wagon in 1979…

“Are we there yet?” My brother, sister and I would continually whine from our oversize vinyl backseat; Our feet swimming in Twinkie and fruit roll-up wrappers on the floorboard. We impatiently nagged Dad because we were tired of waiting to finally get we were going. We felt the need to stretch our legs, use them to run around, and be released from the long sentence of “keeping still”.

Although the barrage of “are we there yets” pelted the front seat like machine gun fire, that didn’t mean we spent the whole trip questioning and wringing our hands over every lane change, stop light, or u-turn. We simply trusted that our Dad had it all under control and that he would deliver us to our destination safely.

-Jason Wright

My portion was a bit longer and dealt with the Gospel Jesus preached and how we deal with the "Upside-Down" nature of the Kingdom of God...among other things.


The Kingdom of God is the present reality which breaks into this illusion of ours intermittently, like very bad cell phone reception. It’s God’s way of saying, “Can you hear me now?”

In fact, experiencing and living in this Kingdom Reality is, in itself, an exercise in the Kingdom principles of “Letting Go” and “The Power of Weakness”. When we give up on our strength and wait for God’s power to come and to move it’s a testimony of our trust in His promise to us that “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like Eagles”, resting and gliding under the power of the wind of the Holy Spirit.

Waiting and trusting in His power, not our own, taking confidence in His strength, not ours, is a demonstration of The Power of Weakness in action.

For us, this coming, advancing, intermittent reality is counter-intuitive. We’ve been born into this illusion – falsely labeled “Reality”- and have been immersed in this do-it-yourself mentality all of our lives. We need to learn to “Re-Think” everything – or as Jesus said, to “Repent,” (Metanoia = Rethink), “for the Kingdom of God (Heaven) is near” (Or, “It is within our grasp, our reach, and close enough to touch.”)

It is very much like taking the red pill and finding ourselves wide awake in a reality which is upside down and backwards from the world we have been born into. At first we reel with the vertigo of a world where up is down and the first are last. Those who humble themselves are exalted, the greatest is the servant of all, and those who lose their lives find everlasting, eternal life, even though they die daily. This is the Kingdom of God.

Welcome to reality. Because this upside down world, we quickly discover, is NOT upside down, it is right side up. We have lived so long, head over heels, immersed in an illusion of selfish fulfillment and a pursuit of more, more, more, that we need to detoxify our minds and hearts and flesh in order to remain in God’s Kingdom Reality.

Jesus announced this Kingdom, told us how to see it, how to walk in it and remain in it, and gave us the best news possible: We could enter and begin living in Reality anytime we wanted to.

In the Kingdom of God there is just one King; God Himself. He is a good, loving, kind, and wildly, unpredictably, sometimes uncomfortably intimate, inclusive and wonderful King, and Father, and Friend.

His Kingdom is a place where His perfect will is always done and those who rest in His will are refreshed and delighted and fulfilled and at peace and overjoyed. They are children born into the poverty of excess wealth and selfishness who have been adopted into a new Family of the unending wealth of generosity and the joy of always having enough to share and give away.

This is reality. Before God made this vast oasis called “Space and Time” there was no space or time. Everything was perfectly “Now” and Eternally present with Him. This is the only reality there has ever been. God’s Kingdom was, and is, and is to come.

Our temporary stay in this unusual experiment called “Time and Space” will eventually expire and the temporary Kingdoms of this Earth will soon fade away. The Kingdom of Pleasure will fall to the ground. The Kingdom of Greed will perish. The Kingdom of Exploitation and Oppression and Excess and Fashion and Wealth and Flesh, will all crumble and burn and disappear into oblivion. Only one Kingdom will remain and that is the Kingdom which was here “In The Beginning” – which has even now come, and which we can enter today. And, one day, soon, this Kingdom will break forever into this illusion we drift through for the moment, and overtake all we see and know.

Are you ready to enter this Kingdom? Are you ready to begin living under the awesome rule and reign of The King? There’s just one thing, before you take that leap, before you swallow the red pill, that you should know, so that you can count the cost. Those who enter the Kingdom can only step across the threshold if they pay the price. It’s really nothing when you think about it, when you compare the amazing riches of God’s Eternal Kingdom with the tokens and trinkets of our counterfeit reality. The price of admission, the way to step across, is to let go of this world.

Just as you were born naked and weak and vulnerable and empty-handed into this world, so you can take nothing with you into God’s Kingdom. It’s called being “Born Again”.

The things of this world are not truly treasures. When you die they will stay here anyway, and just as you can take nothing with you beyond the grave, you can take nothing with you when you step into God’s Kingdom.

Jesus only asks for one thing- It’s called Everything.

But what you gain, what you receive in exchange, is beyond anything you can dream of or hope for or imagine. The Kingdom of God, when you see it, when you really understand it, you will gladly rush out to sell all that you have, as quickly as possible, to step across the threshold into Heaven.

This is the moment where many people stop and turn back. Their grip on this world, or its grip on them, is so strong that they can never let go of their tiny, petty lives in this place in order to receive real life and treasure in God’s Kingdom.

If we have really seen the Kingdom, if we really understood and believed that this Kingdom was real (in a way that nothing else can ever be “real”), then we would rush quickly to surrender all that we have and all that we are in order to receive the treasure that does not rust or face or disappoint.

"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." - Luke 9:24

“The Kingdom of God is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44)

All God wants is all of you. All He asks is that you Trust Him and Believe Him and surrender your meager treasures and petty personal kingdoms in exchange for His Kingdom. God wants to be your God. He wants you to be one of His People.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” – Jesus (Luke 9:23). There is no other way but the Cross.

Jesus says it is very hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom.” Who then can be saved? His disciples asked. “With man this is impossible,” Jesus replied, “But not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10: 23-27)

Will you let go? Will you surrender it all? Will you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? This is the only question we need to answer in order to step across the threshold into the amazing reality of God’s Kingdom.

You can stay here, on this side of reality, where you are safe and miserable, in your tiny kingdom where your will is what matters. Or you can sell it all, exchange the handful of crumbling mud for real treasure which lasts forever.

Is your kingdom so wonderful? Aren’t you tired of wearing the crown? Haven’t you suffered long enough under your own rule and reign?

When you are ready to set fire to your kingdom, and surrender your lordship, and dance as the flames consume your empty way of living, He is ready to invite you to experience Reality, today.

There is only One King, and He is good. He really wants what is best for you, and He can, above all, beyond any other, be Trusted. His Name is Faithful and True.

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by me” – Jesus (John 14)

-Keith Giles

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

[MISSION MAIL] - 2/19/08

We had a load of great stuff take place last week with The Mission and this week will be great too.

Our Valentine's night last Thursday was such a blessing. It was wonderful to spend time with all of you who came to remember what love really means and how, without it, we are hopeless.

Love is tough. It's not for the faint of heart, and if we do it as Jesus commands us to it will involve laying down our lives for one another.

This is our calling, as followers of Jesus - To practice daily the art of loving others as Jesus loves us.

Here's more opportunities to practice loving others that are coming up:

Bring something to share with everyone- a word, a hymn, a tongue, an ecouraging verse of scripture, and something to eat! Together we'll partake of God's goodness and share His presence as we embody communion with God and with one another in love.

Join us as we share free groceries and pray with our friends at the California Studio Inn in Santa Ana this Saturday. We'll have a bounce house, play games, visit our friends and make new ones- Don't miss it!

Directions to the California Studio Inn (Motel):
55fwy to Dyer Street (West) exit and Go West.
After a few blocks you'll cross a set of railroad tracks and see a
school on your left. Just past the school, on your right, BEFORE you get to
Bristol, you'll see a blue and white sign at the back of the motel that says 'STUDIO INN'. Turn right into that parking lot. We'll be in the back.

We're really having a wonderful time together each week...and we're growing too! Last week's discussion about the differences between the Gospel and Western Culture, along with a great insight or three into what it really means to 'lay down your life for a friend' was stimulating and thought-provoking. Can't wait to see what we talk about this week! Come with something to share (food, encouragment, questions).

We'll visit our friends at this local senior home this Sunday afternoon. Come join us as we engage in the ministry of listening.

Our second ever monthly Women's Ministry Night will be this Sunday evening at the Wright's house. Come and enjoy some great fellowship, ministry and encouragement.
Leave the kids at home and bring your Bibles.

*NEXT SUNDAY - [Subversive Seminary] - 9AM TO 3PM - MARCH 2ND
This will be a special Sunday focused on shared teaching and interactive dialog. We'll start with breakfast at 9:30am and after singing and sharing communion we'll move into more interactive teaching sessions. These will involve ten to fifteen minutes of teaching on a single topic followed by responses from everyone in the group. We'll have two of these interactive teaching sessions before breaking for a shared lunch together. After lunch we'll move into another session of interactive teaching on the same topic. Our goal will be to finish the day by 3pm on this special Sunday.

Our first topic will be 'The Kingdom of God' and our sessions will be lead by Jason, Josh, Brent and myself.

I had a very interesting online dialog with Dale Williams (a good friend and seminary graduate) on the subject of the Kingdom of God and, specifically how our obedience influences the breaking in of God's Kingdom into our personal lives. If you've got the time to look it over it contains a lot of very useful info from two different perspectives.

Here ya go

Remember - YOU ARE LOVED!

Keith and Wendy Giles

Monday, January 14, 2008


Our church partnered with King's Harbor in Torrance to deliver over 60 wrapped gifts to the children at the California Studio Inn in Santa Ana, California.

Thanks to Cartoon Network for donating a lot of the gifts, and also to those who purchased gifts and helped wrap and distribute them.

*Sorry this image is late, but it's good to remember...


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Mission - Vision and Mission for 2008

Hey Missionaries,

What a great year this has been! Wendy and I are so blessed to see this Church grow as God continues to speak to us and lead us onward. I keep saying that I'm living the dream and I really believe it's true. Yesterday it was so awesome to see God moving in our midst and speaking to and through us to minister to one another. We're so excited about what God is doing!

As we look forward to 2008, I've been praying about what God would have us to focus on for the next 12 months. Here's what I’ve been hearing from God about so far:

First, I believe God wants us to continue on our previous path of learning what it means to love others as Jesus does. Developing a heart like Jesus is a key spiritual discipline for all of us and we're all still taking baby steps in this area as we learn how hard it can really be. The uncommon love that Jesus modeled, and commanded us to have for others, is something that we cannot hope to emulate without a supernatural touch from God. (See 1 Cor 12 & 13). This next year I believe that God would have us continue in this direction towards discovering how to love those closest to us, and as we go, to add to that a love for those on the outer edge of our concentric circles.

Second, I've been reminded again of the motto of the early church -"Conversatio Morem!" which can mean either "Death to the Status Quo!" or "Constant Conversion!" I think our calling as followers of Jesus is to daily walk the aisle, bend our knee and surrender our lives to Jesus. This is what a true "Death to the Status Quo" involves and without this almost everything else we attempt to do will fail.

Thirdly, Jesus instructed his disciples (in Matthew 6) not to worry about the daily cares of the day but to instead seek first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness (or "being made right with God"). We need to take our eyes off the problems around us, and the worries of our daily lives, and start seeking the Kingdom of God first. Let's encourage one another as we seek first the Kingdom of God this year.

Fourthly, one of the most important things for each of us to understand in the Body of Christ is where we "fit" into the framework. According to 1 Corinthians 12, God has put the Body together using various people like us of varying spiritual gifts and talents for the purpose of building up the Body into a healthy representation of Christ on Earth (among other things). This year I'd love for us to identify everyone's specific spiritual gift and encourage each other in learning how to exercise our gifts so that the entire Body can be healthy and grow as it should.

Some of us already know our basic spiritual gift, but others still don't know yet. Discovering what these are and how to operate in your gifting is very important for all of us. I look forward to helping everyone understand their gifting and begin to put it into practice this year.

As a pastor, I also have a desire to encourage each of you in your own personal mission and calling. It may be closely-related to your spiritual gift, but it may not. Again, some of us already know our personal calling and mission but some of us still don't, and that's ok. We're all learning and growing together. This is what makes the adventure worth it!

So, to condense all of that, here's what I feel God is urging us to pursue in the new year:

*Concentric Circles of Love- Same as last year, only better.

*Conversatio Morem! - We all need a "Constant Conversion" where, daily, we go forward and bend our knee to surrender our lives to Christ.

*Seeking First The Kingdom- What is the Kingdom? How do we enter the Kingdom? How do we see the Kingdom of God in our actual lives? How do we develop a Kingdom-perspective?

*Helping One Another Discover Our Spiritual Gifting and Calling.

And also…
*Deeper Spiritual Intimacy-

I've also felt a strong need for us all to develop a greater spiritual intimacy together. This involves several areas where I would encourage us to spend more time together outside of the Thursday or Sunday gathering. We need one another. This means being accessible and spending time together just having fun, being family and eating together. Invite someone over. Hang out. Know and be known.

In the same way, I've also become convinced that we need to cultivate a greater spiritual intimacy within our ministry times. This will involve a slight change to our regular meetings where we'll have time to break up into smaller groups of men and women in order to minister to one another and facilitate a deeper level of sharing and of encouraging one another in the faith.

Our church is now two years old! I can hardly believe it. This has been the best thing I’ve ever done with the word "Church" on it!

Just this last year our little church was able to give away thousands dollars to help many, many people in practical ways. Even our motel Christmas ministry a few weeks ago was an amazing testimony to how God has multiplied our humble efforts to serve people and give 100% of our offerings and tithes to benefit the poor.

*Note: I'll have a year-end update for everyone soon on the total amount of money given to the Mission basket and the total amount spent, with specifics whenever appropriate.

I know that as we continue to seek His face, and to daily surrender to Him, and to walk in the direction He has laid out before us, we will see even more amazing things in the coming year and beyond.

It's an honor to "be the Church" with each of you.

Blessings to you all and Happy New Year!


Keith Giles