So often when one reads about the Church nowadays we end up with a work that doesn’t really question the status quo. The assumption is that this is what we do, and therefore it is pretty much how it ought to be. Then we get a slightly new twist on some cool iteration of the status quo, perhaps a change in the standard order of service or a new trendy way of doing worship and we are done.
For anyone who is aware of how Jesus actually designed His Church, as described in the New Testament, what the Church was like in the first few centuries, how the church has changed through 2,000 years of history compared to how it is today, the typical analysis leaves a whole herd of elephants standing in the room. Keith Giles in This Is My Body: Ekklesia as God Intended graciously and passionately takes us on an elephant hunt.
Jesus designed His Church for a purpose, and the purpose was not looking in the mirror at itself and admiring its own beauty. Nor was it to be insecure about itself finding every flaw. It was to be His people on mission with Him to extend His Kingdom. All the while it was to be His loving bride, the receptor of his loving affection and the bride who loved him back. There was a design and there was a purpose.
The Church has strayed away from her God given design and she has become distracted from her purpose. When God’s people Israel strayed away from their design and their purpose God sent prophets to call them back to what they were really supposed to be and how they were really supposed to live. Keith is doing the same for the Church today. Keith told me recently that he almost titled this book something like Jesus Called and He Wants His Church Back. He decided that title might drive away the very people who needed to read it so he refrained. But I do think it’s about time someone told us Jesus wants His Church back.
Keith is not angry. He is not trying to merely poke holes and express pet peeves. Nor is he the prophet of doom shouting on a street corner in a tin foil hat. Instead his is that wise yet passionate voice; the voice of Jimmy Stewart speaking to the Senate in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. We may not necessarily want to hear it but know when we do we are listening to solid wisdom and truth.
If you were an athlete in training for the Olympics what kind of coach would you want to have? Would you want a coach that constantly praises you and tells you whatever you do is just fine? Or, would you want a coach that while being encouraging, takes you back to the fundamentals, teaching you step by step how to excel? Honestly, some of us just want to be praised and don’t what their status quo questioned. If you are that person, this is not the book for you. Others of us, though, long to learn how to be the bride that Jesus deserves. They long to be with Him as he goes about His world setting things right. And they long to be the bride He lovingly describes, to be on mission with Him as He designed it. If that expresses your heart, you have found your book.
One last thing; Keith is an excellent writer. His book is a pleasure to read. I found myself wanting to post quote after quote on Twitter and Facebook. I quickly realized I was republishing Keith’s book a Twitter snippet at a time, so I tried to restrain myself, not completely successfully. You are going to find a lot of gems in this book; enjoy the search and recommend it to your friends.
This Is My Body: Ekklesia As God Intended is Keith’s work of love. He is so passionate about his message that he has made the book free to anyone who wants it. If you want a free e-book version you can download it here.
If you want a paper version you can hold in your hands you can order it here> along with Keith’s other books.
*Do you think it is right to question the status quo of the Church we’ve always known?
*Do you want to hear what Jimmy Stewart has to say at the town hall meeting or are you content with the status quo?
*Do you sense that Jesus wants His Church back?
Ross Rohde is the author of Viral Jesus. He and his wife are actively cultivating Jesus Communities in the Bay Area. He blogs at http://www.thejesusvirus.org/.
Meet Ross Rohde, Keith Giles, Neil Cole, Scott Underwood, Ken Eastburn, Bob Sears, Bill Faris and many other Organic Church Practitioners at Momentum 2012 on March 30 & 31, 2012.
Find out more and register today>