The Christmas Paradox, A Holiday Devotional (Hebrews 1)…

Yea, I know, I know, I know… It’s been a while. Remember me? Maybe? Okay, look… I’m sorry. It’s my fault, really. It’s not you, it’s me.

No, seriously. I didn’t forget about you guys. I promise. I still love you, and hopefully you feel the same. For the record, forgiveness is a Christian virtue, sooooooo… (awkward) you really don’t have a choice but…

Life just got crazy. The wife’s pregnant, the job’s picked up, so I missed a few months. Give me time though. I’ll be back.

Anyways… for the few of you still following, attached below is a writing project I did this December for a tremendous publishing called The Lookout Magazine. I was asked by a new friend to write their December devotionals, and I’ll share them in part with you here as they are released each week. Follow the link for the whole thing.

Lookout

THE LESSON AND LIFE – DECEMBER 7, 2014 – HEBREWS 1

Incarnation, the Christmas paradox: majesty dressed in humility, God’s Son growing in Mary’s belly, the Prince born peasant, Creator created, higher than angels laid lower than cattle, Jesus’ extraordinarily ordinary arrival. Can you feel the tension? If not, try reading Hebrews 1 over a modern-day manger, preferably while in use.

“[God] has spoken to us by his Son,” Hebrews 1:2 says. The Son’s subsequent résumé shows he is a really big deal (v. 2b-9). Yet incarnation was the way he spoke? Couldn’t he have motioned for, I don’t know, a pillar of fire? a raging storm? at least a burning bush? Why the country twang of a Galilean carpenter?

Defining the Divine
Why would God speak like this? Why a manger then a life then a cross? I assume he had options—he’s God. So why not less dirty and bloody? Couldn’t he have just snapped or nodded or thought his will into existence? Why incarnation?

The answer is simple—that’s God…

READ THE REST HERE.

We know you have friends that need to read this, so by all means, share it with them. One way we measure success is reader ENGAGEMENT, so read socially. Or get all Cross-Shaped blogs via-email by using the “FOLLOW” box at the bottom of your screen. Or if you WordPress, just follow. And be sure to ridicule us in the comments below.

An Old Game Plan for the American Church in 2014

Christmas Eve6
PHOTO CREDIT

As some of our more astute readers have noticed, I post new content every two weeks at Cross Shaped Stuff. Lazy, I know, but life is busy. Take this December for example. The Sing Off was crammed into two weeks and you can’t miss that. Plus, it’s the holidays so (in the spirit of cross-shaped husbandship) I’ve watched enough Hallmark movies my man-card will be suspended until June: “Moonlight and Mistletoe,” “Matchmaker Santa,” “Snow Bride,” “A Holiday Engagement,” “Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus.” Yes, these are real movies, but my husband-card is better than my man-card so… All that to say that today is a follow up on a Christmas blog I posted two weeks ago on Jesus’ incarnation.

In as practical terms as possible, incarnation means: I step completely into your mess no matter how messy it is; I offer myself, at the expense of myself; I choose to be fully present in situations I want nothing to do with. All because that’s what love looks like.

God showed love can be no less than personal through Jesus. You can’t love someone from a distance or at arm’s length. You must be close enough to feel their pain before they’re close enough to feel your love. So God did.

And I’m no church historian, but it seems to me that every time a generation of Jesus followers gets this right, the church experiences outrageous success, qualitative and quantitative. Look at the church in Acts. After Jesus left, the early church had only 120 people, but they quickly exploded. And why?

Continue reading

“God in a Bod” – Three Steps to Do Christmas Right

incarnation2
PHOTO CREDIT

On the first Christmas, God showed up and loved out. And it was that simple, ever since the world hasn’t been the same.

*** JESUS’ INCARNATION ***

In smart-Christian circles, they call this incarnation (in my circles we call it “God in a bod“). It’s a word that gets floated around during Christmas as we reflect on the Word becoming flesh. And during this season of my life, it’s a reality that’s having a most profound impact on me.

In as practical terms as possible, incarnation means this…

I step completely into your mess, no matter how messy it is.
I offer myself, at the expense of myself, for the sake of you.
I choose to be fully present in situations I want nothing to do with.

All because I love you.

Continue reading