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 His Kingdom.
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.