That's what I tell myself whenever a friend of mine
recommends a book. and my friend was right. This is the second book I have read
that was authored by Keith Giles. Rather, the second one I've read and loved.
He gets to the heart of the matter, defines it clearly and does it without
raising my defenses. It's kind of like when Jesus was talking to the woman at
the well. He told her the truth about herself but instead of feeling wounded
she felt freed. I recommend this to my Christian friends who are looking for a
I received this 100 page ebook as part of a giveaway as a
result of buying Frank Viola's new book. Gee, I hope the other gifts I
downloaded are as good as this one.
Pastor Giles takes us through the stories of key Biblical
figures: Jesus, Solomon, Moses, Samson, David, Gideon to name a few. He
demonstrates using Scripture how they only "succeeded" by emptying
themselves to fully surrender their lives to God. Samson, for example, was only
powerful because the Holy Spirit equipped him with incredible strength.
This book comes at an important time for the church where
I believe we may have forgotten this critical aspect of faith. God can only use
us when we let Him by depending on Him. All of these Biblical people were weak
so they depended on the Father to provide the power.
Well written with strong Biblical references. My only
suggestion for improvement would be if we saw some modern day examples of this
phenomenon. I get the concept and want to do it, but I'm still not quite sure
how to. What do I need to do when I wake up each day to be "weak" and
therefore depend on Jesus?
By Ian Acheson [from Amazon.com]
*Note: This is a review of the ebook version. The expanded print edition answers the reviews question in the last two, newer chapters not found in the ebook edition.
the contrast between how others treated the women at the well as opposed to how
she was treated by Jesus?
Keith: In the
book I share a few quotes to reveal how Rabbi’s in Jesus day used to teach that women were
went above and beyond to teach women, to minister to them, to heal them, to
treat them as equal human beings. It was really more scandalous than I think we
can usually appreciate.
women at the well, Jesus purposefully went to minister to a Samaritan (which is
bad enough) who was a woman (strike two) and also a bit of an outcast – even
among other Samaritans. She was the least, of the least, of the least, and yet
Jesus is able to touch her in such a way that she becomes an amazing evangelist
and her entire village comes to trust in Jesus as the Messiah. Again, the
weakness of that woman was the catalyst for God’s power to work a miracle.
Bruce: What did
Jesus teach us about humility?
greatest distance in the Bible isn’t measured by how far the East is from the
West, but by how far Jesus humbled himself to step down off that throne in
Heaven (being worshiped night and day by the seraphim) to make himself nothing
and take on the form of a servant – even an embryo in the womb of a no-name
Jewish teenager in Palestine, in order to save the world.
Christians fail to realize is that when Jesus was on this Earth, he was fully
human. His identity was God, the Son, but he was a man. He told us that he only
did what he saw the Father doing. He said he couldn’t do the works he did apart
from the Father. He showed us how we can live a similar life in the Kingdom. He
was our blueprint for living in the Kingdom. So, we can’t use the excuse “Well,
Jesus was perfect! He was God so that’s why He could turn the other cheek and
forgive people and things like that. I’m not Jesus so I can’t do those things.”
But that’s not what Jesus tells us. He says that if we believe in Him – if we
put our complete trust in Him – then we will do the works that He did, and not
only will we do those things – we’ll do even greater things. I don’t think
that’s about doing bigger and better miracles, but it’s about the principle of
multiplication. As the Body of Christ expands to cover the Earth we will
accomplish things that Jesus didn’t during his earthly ministry.
it like this: What do you think Jesus would be doing if he were here today?
Where would he spend his time?
realize the truth: Jesus IS here today. We are His Body. We are “little
Christs” (which is what the word “Christian” means). We are His ambassadors
here and now.
about us. Remember? The Gospel isn’t about us. It’s about Jesus. It’s about His
Glory, His Kingdom, His rule and reign, etc.
us dying to ourselves daily. Letting go of ourselves and our rights so that His
life and His plan can be accomplished: 2 Corinthians 4:10 “Always carrying
about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may
be manifested in our body.”
We have to
get away from this idea that “God is my co-pilot”. He is not your co-pilot.
He’s either the pilot or you’re on the wrong plane.
Here's a partial transcript of the interview between myself and radio host Bruce Collins:
Bruce: What does
Paul's life teach us about suffering?
Keith: Paul is
the first one to identify this Kingdom-principle of weakness by name, although
the idea is really evident throughout the lives of nearly every one we
encounter in the Bible.
refused to remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” after 3 requests and finally said
to Paul, “My grace is sufficient (it’s enough) for you.” And then Paul
understood: This weakness was “the power of Christ in me”.
how God works in our weakness.
Keith: The short
answer is: We must decrease so He can increase.
slightly longer answer is: We need to stop disqualifying ourselves from service
because we believe that we’re not smart enough, or talented enough, or that
we’re not a good teacher or speaker, etc.
The reality is: Neither were any of the great men and women of faith we
see in the entire Bible. They were liars, adulterers, murderers, cowards,
tricksters, and everything else. In short, they were just as screwed up as you
and I are. So…what’s the difference between them and us? It’s that they made
themselves available to God, and they were very much aware of their weaknesses,
and most importantly – they actually did whatever it was that God called them
to do. They trusted in God’s strength and they recognized their own weakness.
Bruce: What does
Gideon show us in the way God uses weakness?
Keith: He’s a
perfect example of this principle. The Bible tells us that Gideon was from the
lowest of the 12 tribes, and that his clan was the least of the clans within
that tribe. His family was the least family and he was the least among his own
family. The perfect choice for God who was looking for a might warrior, right?
He’s threshing wheat in a wine press. Why? Because he’s terrified of the
Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appears to him he says, “Greetings, oh
mighty man of God!” which is the biggest joke in the Bible. He’s not. But God
knows something about Gideon: He knows that Gideon will do whatever He asks of
him. Like…sending home thousands of soldiers because God tells him, “You have
too many men for me to give you the victory.” That’s someone who is not
trusting in their own strength or ability to win a battle. Gideon knew – and
everyone else knew – that it was only the power of God who would win the battle
and set the people free.
Bruce: When we
were children, we were taught that Samson probably looked a lot like a muscular
physical specimen- does that take away from the true story of Samson?
Keith: Well, just
imagine if we had been told the truth? What if our picture books showed tiny,
skinny little Samson being filled with the Spirit of God and then lifting the
gates of the city off the hinges? Or defeating an entire army with a jawbone?
Wouldn’t that have sent a message to every little boy and girl? Wouldn’t we
have understood that with God all things are possible?
In preparation for my radio interview with Bruce Collins, here are the answers I wrote in response to his questions:
BRUCE: Keith, your new book, The Power of Weakness, could we
say this is the opposite of a self-help book?
KEITH: Yes..and no. Most self-help books deal with “Top 10 ways
to be be a better person” or “How to Succeed In Business”, etc. This book is
for people who are following Christ and need to realize that they are exactly
who God made them to be, and that they are perfectly designed to succeed as
they submit to God and His perfect plan – which is probably not about helping
them to achieve material success or fame, or whatever.
The Gospel isn’t about us. We’ve made it about us (i.e. –
“I don’t want to burn in hell forever so I’m saying this prayer” or “If I
become a Christian God will bless me and make me successful”, etc.) – But the
real, actual Gospel isn’t about getting stuff, it’s about giving up stuff.
Actually, it’s about giving up everything we have in order to receive Jesus and
BRUCE: You describe the Gospel as counter-intuitive and
counter-cultural. Can you explain?
KEITH: Well, as I’ve already mentioned, the culture (especially
in America) is very self-centered. It’s about my rights and what I deserve,
etc. But Jesus is pretty clear that those who follow Him have only one right –
the right to give up our rights – so we can follow Him and experience life in
the Kingdom of God. That’s counter-intuitive to us.
BRUCE: Talk about your interview with Todd Hunter and the
epiphany you had as a result.
KEITH: Yeah, the first time I encountered this “upside down”
Kingdom of God and the Gospel of Jesus was when I was interviewing a guy named
Todd Hunter who, at the time, was the former Director of Churches for Vineyard,
for a magazine called RELEVANT.
When I asked him “What do you think is the single biggest
problem with the American church today?”, his answer was that we have a
fundamental misunderstanding of the Gospel. When I asked him to expound on
that, he said that the Gospel was not about saying a prayer so we can go to
heaven when we die. That shocked me. So, then he explained to me that the
Gospel that Jesus actually preached in the Gospels (Matt, Mark, Luke, and John)
was not about saying a prayer so we could go to heaven when we die. That never
appears in the New Testament anywhere, by the way. But the Gospel was about
repenting (thinking differently) so that we can enter the Kingdom of God.
Simply put: Jesus came to announce that the Kingdom of
God was here and that we could enter it – right now – by simply surrendering
our will to the King (that’s Jesus) and living every day of our lives under His
rule and reign. That’s what “Follow Me” is all about. There’s no other Gospel.
*Listen to the actual radio interview coming soon.