2014-02-27

Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth

By Hugh Halter

http://amzn.to/1lnLw9m [Kindle version is free right now] 
http://bit.ly/FreeKindleReaders [You’ll need this] 

If we’re honest, no one really cares about theology unless it reveals a gut-level view of God’s presence. According to pastor and ministry leader Hugh Halter, only the incarnational power of Jesus satisfies what we truly crave, and once we taste it, we’re never the same. 

God understands how hard it is to be human, and the incarnation—God with us—enables us to be fully alive. With refreshing, raw candor, Flesh reveals the faith we all long to experience—one based on the power of Christ in the daily grind of work, home, school, and life. For anyone burned out, disenchanted, or seeking a fresh honest-to-God encounter, Flesh will invigorate your faith.

From a 5-star review:

I have read all of Hugh's books and I think this is his best so far. It's encouraging and personal, yet challenging as well. There were many times I put the book down for a moment and went "duh" why didn't I think of that? -other than those moments I could not put it down. You will not be disappointed. Great read. Excellent for those trying to wrap their minds around the whole Jesus as fully man and fully God.

This book is broken up into six sections. The first section, "Incarnation," explores what we mean when we talk about Christ's incarnation and what it means for us to be incarnational as a faith community. The second section, "Reputation," is probably the most helpful section of the book. Here Halter explores the ins and outs of how one goes about being incarnational. 

A major part of being incarnational is earning a reputation in a community that gives you authority to speak into the deeper issues of people's lives. You do this by avoiding shallow religiosity, planting yourself down in a community long term, working well, and practicing hospitality. Doing these things goes a very long way and actually set us up for having the type of conversations he describes in the third section, "Conversation."


As we incarnate God's presence in the world our conversations must be filled with truth, but they must also be filled with grace. We must also learn not to point people to our church or to our religion. We must learn to point people to Jesus first. This means that the name of King Jesus must constantly been on our lips, and we must ooze out the gospel in our conversations. 

Eventually these conversations lead to a confrontation; the next section is aptly name "Confrontation." It only consists of one chapter, but it's a very important one. It's the chapter that most people are probably waiting for ("when are we going to talk about evangelism!"). Halter makes the important point that this final step - evangelism - is supposed to be a spirit led and inspired moment. He concludes this book with a section titled, "Transformation," where he addresses the issue of conversion without discipleship.