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.
I met Keith last year through a mutual friend, and I have
found him to be a true brother in the Kingdom. Moreover, I absolutely love his
Although for a much shorter period of time than Keith, I
have been involved with New Testament-style open, mutually participatory church
gatherings. At RHM (Renewed Heart Ministries) we call them HeartGroups. One of the biggest challenges I
have encountered is the false idea held by many that they are not qualified
enough, educated enough, or “something” enough to be able to share what Jesus
is doing in their lives with others and significantly contribute to the
Kingdom. Sadly, they feel they either have nothing to contribute, or that what
they have to contribute somehow isn’t good enough. So many people have let
these feelings of inadequacy stop them.
Keith quashes these fears, which is why I am recommending
this small volume to each HeartGroup in our RHM network. It’s the fact that we
ARE so inadequate that guarantees our usefulness to Jesus and His Kingdom. Our
weakness is God’s greatest asset.
Jesus’ Kingdom, with this just as much as with all else,
turns our normal thinking on its head. Keith passionately and effectively
captures this concept. We don’t need better programs, more talented leaders,
and intensely gifted specialists. What we need is more weakness. God’s love is
revealed through normal Joe’s and Nancy’s just like you and me. That’s right,
you read that correctly, what we need is more weakness. It’s the very stuff
God’s strength is perfected in. This is the stuff God confounds the wise and
overcomes the enemy’s strongholds with. And isn’t it just what you’d expect,
this kind of upside down reality from a God who overcame His enemy by allowing
that enemy to put Him to death? It’s the paradox of all paradoxes. And the
Power of Weakness is an excellent volume that pulls back the veil, revealing
that just like Moses, Gideon, David, Peter, Paul, the woman at the well, and
others, what we think will give success to God’s Kingdom is many times
incorrect. And that which we think disqualifies us from being able to
contribute something beautiful to God’s radical Kingdom of other-centered love
is, in many cases, exactly what makes us God’s choice for the job.
If you have ever felt like you weren’t qualified enough,
not good enough, not talented enough to be used by God in a significant way in
the Kingdom, think again. This book is for you.
For those who are also familiar with my work in the book
Finding the Father (on the challenge of believing in a good God in the midst of
so much human suffering), I will say from the beginning you will wrestle with
Keith’s chapter on Paul. Not because Keith is wrong, but simply because he uses
slightly different language than I do. But once you get to Chapter 12 (The
Power of Suffering), it will all “click” as Keith brings it full circle. And if
you’re like me, you too will want to shout it from the rooftops. It must be
remembered that the idea of paying a penalty so that some may go to Heaven is
strangely absent from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. On the other hand, death
and SUFFERING at the hands of one’s enemy as a way of subversively defeating
enemies through self-sacrificial love (John 12.31), delivering those held down
and oppressed, and restoring those very same people to a world where love
reigns here and now, are ideals that are all over the place. This chapter is
the climax of The Power of Weakness with its all-important, paradigm-shifting
element of Christ’s teachings.
Lastly, one of the most cherished elements of Keith’s
books which I find most valuable is that Keith really does forward Jesus’
definition of the Gospel. This is a game changer for any who have seen the
contrast between how Jesus defined the Gospel and how contemporary, westernized
Christianity defines the Gospel.
I’ll share with you one statement from the book in the
hope it moves you to get a copy and read the whole volume for yourself:
“When we look at passages where Jesus sends the disciples
out into the surrounding area to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, it doesn’t
make sense to conclude that they were sharing with the community a message of
substitutionary death for their sins. It also doesn’t fit with the text to
assume that they offered salvation to those who repeated a carefully worded
prayer of faith so that they could go to heaven when they died. Obviously,
whatever it was that the disciples went out preaching, it wasn’t anything like
this. The Gospel preached by the disciples didn’t have anything to do with the
finer points of the doctrine of the atonement, a subject which they exhibited
zero understanding about. So, what was it that the disciples went out
preaching? We see the answer in Matthew 9:5, Luke 9:6 and Luke 10:9. It was
simply the Gospel of the Kingdom. The disciples were sent out to proclaim ‘The
Kingdom of God is near you’, and then to demonstrate this by casting out demons
and healing the sick. This was the very same message that we see Jesus publicly
proclaiming over and over again in the Gospels” (pp. 9–10).
If you feel that somehow you don’t have what it takes to
help others discover and experience Christ’s kingdom, then The Power of
Weakness is a must read for you as you could not be more wrong. God has chosen
the weak to confound the mighty, the foolish to challenge the wise. Again, what
we need is MORE weakness.
I cannot recommend Keith’s new book, The Power of
Weakness, strongly enough.
Director, author, and speaker of Renewed Heart Ministries (RHM)
The Power of Weakness by Keith Giles begins by making a
very important point. Giles states,
"Even as these new ways of thinking and living confound our minds and
often defy our human logic and reason, we must constantly strive to remind
ourselves that it is not God's system that is unrealistic, but it is our
pattern of thinking that needs to be reformed and renewed."
Giles looks at various people in the Bible and shows how
clearly God chose to use the weak of the world rather than the powerful. Moses was not a speaker, but God used him to
speak to Pharaoh in order to free the Israelites. He used Samson, whose strength only came from
God and his obedience to Him. Paul had
his "thorn in the flesh" that inspired the beautiful verse, "And
He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected
in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9a (NASB).
The climactic chapter came when Giles explained how even Jesus lived His
life by weakness. Philippians 2 says
that Jesus emptied Himself, becoming a man.
Through that weakness, He became completely dependent on God.
After that climactic chapter, Giles explains how all of
that is important to us in the church today.
He explains to us why and how we should be living our lives through the
power of weakness, and dependence on God.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I urge you to read
it. Giles' words made me really think
about how God wants to use me. He may
want to use my strengths, but He will use my weaknesses as well, and maybe even
more so. When you read this book, make
sure you take some time to consider how weakness played an important part in
the lives of those that God has used and how He can use you as you allow God to
use your weakness, too.
I downloaded The
Power Of Weakness by Keith Giles after listening to an interview with him
on podcast at Revelations Radio Network.
Keith is a breath of fresh air in the church today,
applying the teachings of the Jesus and his apostles from the beginnings of the
church. He runs a house-based church, not taking a wage or trying to build a
super ministry with all the hype and money gathering that is choking the life
out of ordinary Christians today.
I would recommend the
Power of Weakness to every Christian and non-believer. It would be a huge
wake up call to the 'televangelists' and other snake oil salesman out there
today, possibly bringing them to their knees if they were to truly read this
book and apply its principles.
Keith's main point in this wonderful little book is that
we need to get away from our strengths and abilities and surrender to Christ so
He can bring His strengths and abilities to our life.
Thank you, Keith for your humble and heart opening tome.”
By Worf (A Read on Amazon.com)
review refers to the ebook version, not the expanded print version available
only at Lulu.com.
Drawing on examples from scripture, Keith argues that our natural Key Performance Indicators — to borrow some jargon from the business world — may actually lead us away from the path God wants us to walk,
and that His glory is most evident when He works through those least likely to succeed.
The Power of Weakness is the latest offering from Keith
Giles and it was both a pleasure and encouragement to read. In a church culture
that sees sickness and poverty and weakness as something to be avoided and
prayed about, Keith takes us back to the Bible to demonstrate that God has
always used people when they were at their worst or those who were least
The bulk of The Power of Weakness is an examination of
the lives of a number of well-known figures from the Bible, men like Moses and
Solomon and even Jesus Christ Himself, to show the glory of God in achieving
great things through the weakness of man. After looking at the compelling
evidence from the Bible, Keith turns to a more practical application, each and
every individual Christian. If God can and has done great things through the
weakness of men like Gideon and Paul, certainly He can and does through weak
vessels like you and I. In a church culture that glorifies and exalts the most
educated, smoothest speaking and best credentialed men, Keith reminds us that
it is rarely the obvious (in our eyes) vessels that God works through.
As Keith points out, there is a reason that God glories
in using the weakness of man to accomplish His great works, namely that it
leaves no doubt in the mind of those who witness or read about these events as
to where the honor and glory belong. It is not because of human talent or skill
or intelligence but God alone who accomplishes His tasks. Along with the
biographical examples, Keith points us again and again to Scripture to
demonstrate his central thesis of God glorying in weakness. This message is not
an unusual one in the church but it is one of the many cases where our rhetoric
doesn't match our practice. You might hear an awful lot about "not many
wise" in the church but look at the guys called to lead and more often
than not it is the man who is the best sermonizer or the most educated or the
most successful in the community rather than the weak.
I would certainly recommend The Power of Weakness to
anyone who is struggling with feeling adequate to serve God or those who are
looking at taking the next step in ministry. It is a critical reminder that God
doesn't pick the best and brightest to do His work, He often picks just the