The Humility of the Incarnation


Lying at your feet is your dog. Imagine, for the moment, that your dog and every dog is in deep distress. Some of us love dogs very much. If it would help all the dogs in the world to become like men, would you be willing to become a dog? Would you put down your human nature, leave your loved ones, your job, hobbies, your art and literature and music, and choose instead of the intimate communion with your beloved, the poor substitute of looking into the beloved’s face and wagging your tail, unable to smile or speak? Christ by becoming man limited the thing which to Him was the most precious thing in the world; his unhampered, unhindered communion with the Father.

~ C.S. Lewis

Posted in Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Risky Endeavor

Theologian James R. Edwards retells the following true story to illustrate our need and Christ’s response to our need.

 In August 1957 four climbers—two Italians and two Germans—were climbing the 6,000 foot near-vertical North Face in the Swiss Alps. The two German climbers disappeared and were never heard from again. The two Italian climbers, exhausted and dying, were stuck on two narrow ledges a thousand feet below the summit. The Swiss Alpine Club forbade rescue attempts in this area (it was just too dangerous), but a small group of Swiss climbers decided to launch a private rescue effort to save the Italians. So they carefully lowered a climber named Alfred Hellepart down the 6,000 foot North Face. They suspended Hellepart on a cable a fraction of an inch thick as they lowered him into the abyss.

Here’s how Hellepart described the rescue in his own words:

As I was lowered down the summit … my comrades on top grew further and further distant, until they disappeared from sight. At this moment I felt an indescribable aloneness. Then for the first time I peered down the abyss of the North Face of the Eiger. The terror of the sight robbed me of breath. …The brooding blackness of the Face, falling away in almost endless expanse beneath me, made me look with awful longing to the thin cable disappearing about me in the mist. I was a tiny human being dangling in space between heaven and hell. The sole relief from terror was …my mission to save the climber below.

That is the heart of the Gospel story. We were trapped, but in the person and presence of Jesus, God lowered himself into the abyss of our sin and suffering. In Jesus God became “a tiny human being dangling between heaven and hell.” He did it to save the people rapped below—you and me. Thus, the gospel is much more radical than just another religion telling us how to be good in our own power. It tells us the story of God’s risky, costly, sacrificial rescue effort on our behavior.

                                               ~ James R. Edwards, Is Jesus the Only Savior

Posted in Quotes, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Search of Sinners

When it is a question of a sinner He does not merely stand still, open his arms and say, “Come hither”; no, He stands there and waits, as the father of the lost son waited, rather He does not stand and wait, He goes forth to seek, as the shepherd sought the lost sheep, as the woman sought the lost coin. He goes – yet no, He has gone, but infinitely farther than any shepherd or any woman, He went…the infinitely long way from being God to becoming man, and that way He went in search of sinners.

                                                            ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Posted in Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prone to Wander

For some reason, human beings can’t walk in a straight line. There’s just something about our inner orientation that causes us to walk in a crooked or warped way. That’s the conclusion of Robert Krulwich, science correspondent for NPR. In an interview on Morning Edition, Krulwich cites a study from Jan Souman, a scientist from Germany, who blindfolded his subjects and then asked them to walk for an hour in a straight line. Without exception, people couldn’t do it. Of course everybody thinks they’re walking in a straight line, until they remove the blindfolds and sees their crooked path.

Krulwich observed,

This tendency has been studied now for at least a century. We animated field tests from the 1920s, so you can literally see what happens to men who are blindfolded and told to walk across a field in a straight line, or swim across a lake in a straight line …, and they couldn’t. In the animation, you see them going in these strange loop-de-loops in either direction. Apparently, there’s a profound inability in humans to [walk] straight.According to this research, there’s only one way we can walk in a straight line: by focusing on something ahead of us—like a building, a landmark, or a mountain. If we can fix our eyes on something ahead of us, we can make ourselves avoid our normal crooked course. Kurlwich concludes, “Without external cues, there’s apparently something in us that makes us turn [from a straight path].”

Steve Inskeep, “Mystery: Why We Can’t Walk Straight?” NPR: Morning Edition (11-22-10)

Hebrews 3:16-19 gives 5  characteristics of rebellion

1. There must be something to rebell against

2. Provoking God – v 17

3. Sinful – v 17

4. Disobendience – v 18

5. Unbelieving – v 19

All of these are mentioned almost like synonyms except the first one. Unbelief and disobedience are intrinsically  linked in Old Testament thought, and the entire category they fall under is “sin”, which provokes God by falling short of the standard that He has revealed to be Himself and the fabric of the world He has created.

Though not exhaustive, there is a sense in which spiritual rebellion cannot truly exist (in this way) without someone having “heard” or having been made aware of God’s power, love, mercy, and glory.

“Good church folk” are in far more danger of “provoking” God than lifelong, hellbent pagans. He goes on, in Hebrews 6, to say that if you have “tasted” God’s goodness and turned away (same idea as “heard and rebelled”) then there is little hope for you.

Posted in Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Courage is a Mixture of Emotions

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live, taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an alpine guide or a drill book. The paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then there will be a suicide, and he will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.”

                                                            ~ GK Chesterton

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adventure and Jesus

Gary Haugen, president and CEO of International Justice Mission, a Christian organization dedicated to fighting sex trafficking, writes,

After we have poured into our children all the good food and shelter and clothing, after we have provided them with great education, discipline, structure and love, after we have worked so hard to provide every good thing, they turn to us and ask, “Why have you given all of this to me.”

And the honest answer from me is, “So you’ll be safe.”

And my kid looks up at me and says, “Really? That’s it? You want me to be safe? Your grand ambition for my life is that nothing bad happens?”

And I think something inside them dies. They either go away to perish in safety, or they go away looking for adventure in the wrong places. Jesus, on the other hand, affirms their sense of adventure and their yearning for larger glory.”

Gary Haugen, Just Courage (InterVarsity Press, 2008), pp. 124-125

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Risk vs. Reward

The moment where we have the most to gain will always be the same moment that we have the most to lose – Erwin McManus

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Church that Leads

“We don’t want…a church that will move with the world. We want a church that will move the world.”  ~ GK Chesterton

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Character Breeds Influence

“Character breeds influence.  Influence shapes character.  The relationship between character and influence is like breathing – the deeper you inhale, the stronger you can exhale.  Take your character deep and your influence will be profound”

                                                ~ Erwin McManus (Seizing Your Divine Moment)

Posted in Quotes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Story of Charlie Peace

Story of Charlie Peace

OnJuly 4, 1854, Charlie Peace, a well-known criminal inLondon, was hung. The Anglican Church, which had a ceremony for everything, even had a ceremony for hanging people. So when Charlie Peace was marched to the gallows, a priest read these words from the Prayer Book: “Those who die without Christ experience hell, which is the pain of forever dying without the release which death itself can bring.”

Peace was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell. Could a man be so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could this preacher believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase without a tremor? Is a man human at all who can say with no tears, “You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings”? All of this was too much for Peace.

So when these chilling words were read, Charlie Peace stopped in his tracks, turned to the priest, and shouted in his face, “Do you believe that? Do you believe that?”

The priest, taken aback by this verbal assault, stammered for a moment then said, “Well…I…suppose I do.”

“Well, I don’t,” said Charlie. “But if I did, I’d get down on my hands and knees and crawl all overGreat Britain, even if it were paved with pieces of broken glass, if I could rescue one person from what you just told me.”

–          Mixture of  Ravenhill and Compolo’s accounts

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment