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Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth
 
 

Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth [Kindle Edition]

Hugh Halter
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Christ’s Body, Human Flesh
 
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.
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Hugh Halter is the lead pastor of Adullam, the founder of Missio, and the author of Sacrilege and The Tangible Kingdom. He speaks extensively, encouraging and equipping pastors in incarnational ministry and missional leadership. He and his wife Cheryl live in Denver, Colorado, and have three adult children.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3215 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook (1 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GNOCISO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #223,637 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars gritty 3 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book that invites followers of Jesus to quit the playing church nonsense and start living as if we really were of a different Kingdom with different values and a mind-blowing message. This, and not our holier-than-thou piety, is what we're born for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Immensely thought provoking and inspiring 2 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I sincerely enjoyed this book. It was light and yet deep, familiar yet surprising. Easily readable but left you highlighting all over the place and wondering how in stoical British culture we could bring the incarnational Jesus home. For people wondering about the point of faith and how to engage with Jesus and with the community I suggest taking the time to read this book. It brings hope to those bored with Sunday morning versions of faith, to those looking for a way to include adventure and reminds us that being human is a gift from God! As a paid professional I felt a little uncomfortable but I am where God has put me, and I am actively encouraging others to be incarnational where they work and live. An encouraging read.

My only negative comment is that I wasn't able to find the videos that Hugh recommends to watch near the end of the book. It wasn't clear from the website which ones he was referring too. I will just watch them all later.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  113 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to Move in to Your Neighborhood 9 Feb 2014
By Chris Woznicki - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
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.

Pros
1. The book is filled with great stories that help put "flesh" to the ideas he is writing about.
2. He clearly communicates the notion that incarnational ministry is not easy and that it takes a lot of time and work.
3. He does not "church bash" - at times these sorts of books tend towards a "the church has it all wrong" attitude; that attitude is absent in this book.

Cons
1. Halter briefly addresses this, but many have written about how "incarnational ministry" is actually a category mistake. They argue that "incarnation" is unique to Christ's role, thus we cannot be "incarnational." This might not be the book to address those types of issues, but I think Halter could have spoken a bit more to it.
2. The chapter on confrontation tends to overlook some important parts of scripture - Halter says that "Jesus never tried to confront someone. They always tended to confront themselves." Halter holds this up as a model for Christians when they interact with friends and family who are making poor choices. I am pretty sure that Jesus did confront people, however he knew how to confront them well. We cannot simply let people "confront themselves" because there are certainly times, especially within the church, that we need to confront one another.

Conclusion
Hugh Halter has written an excellent book describing what it looks like to live incarnationally. There is much wisdom here, especially for those who want to jump quickly into "sealing the deal." We need to learn to slow down, do life with people, and earn a position to speak the gospel into people's lives. That slowing down and doing life is the "incarnational part." I think Hugh is right, we need to learn to be more like Jesus who spent 30 years "moving into the neighborhood" before he began preaching about the Kingdom.

May we learn to "move into the neighborhood," learn the community's rhythms, learn what is "good news" for our friends and neighbors, before we begin preaching a gospel that makes no sense to them...

(Note: I received a advanced copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and David C. Cook in exchange for an impartial review)
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book…As Always 4 Feb 2014
By Derrick Engoy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I served, a few years back, on a jury panel and it was an extremely exciting experience. The process was efficient, the lawyers were dynamic, and the judge was pretty funny. And, to top it all off, former controversial Dodger Milton Bradley was among the potential jurors. He wasn’t selected, but he and the other mentioned factors made my one and a half week service an enjoyable one. I might be in the minority, but I wouldn’t mind being one of the twelve again.

The case: an attempted murder trial.

I was one of two pastors selected to serve, so naturally (or supernaturally) we connected well. We talked ministry during our breaks and we shared some of the things our respective churches were doing for the community. For some reason, however, our ministry conversations became competitive in nature, as if we were trying to one up each other on who was doing more for the Kingdom.

And then our already short connection became even shorter.

I simply remarked that it seems Christians are more known for what we’re against than what we’re for. My spiritual brother from another mother retorted, “Well, the closer we get to the end of the world and the more this world acts in opposition to God, the more we ARE going to be known for the things we’re against.”

I smiled. I shrugged. And we never talked again.

Although, in many ways, I see where pastor number two was coming from, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of arrogance flying off of his tongue. You know what I’m talking about…the “I’m-saved-and-they’re-not-attitude”…with nose high in the air. He seemed certain that the sole way of Christ was to oppose everything not Christian, rather than express the same love toward others that God showed the entirety of humanity when He sent Jesus. In fact, some of the most arrogant people I know wear the garb of Christianity. We forget, many times, that Jesus didn’t just come to save us from sin and direct us into heaven. Jesus also came to show us how to be human among other human relationships. He showed us how to love. He taught us how to forgive. Jesus showed us how to embrace those who don’t necessarily believe what we believe. Yes, Jesus revealed truth, unfortunately, in our quest to be theologically sound,
we’d rather die over doctrines than build authentic inclusive community that looks to explore the realities of Jesus.

Hugh Halter, in his new book “Flesh,” said, “Those doctrines are important … but not central. They can help us know Jesus, but they can also hinder us from knowing Him. Jesus is what is to be central, and He is the person people are really looking for.”

This is ultimately why Jesus came. He didn’t come to convert people. He came to rescue His family. Jesus came to restore what was broken when the original sin was committed. He came to break down the barrier between us and God that sin created. Unfortunately, we build this wall back up every time we choose to view people as prizes we win, rather than people to love.

In other words, Jesus came to show who He was for.

Hugh Halter does a great job at painting this picture in the book; a picture of godly love, rather than religious condemnation. Hugh uses stories from his own life where he engages with the “non-believing” world and shows them a love that transcends religion. The stories Hugh uses, much like those in his previous books, are far from candy coated. The stories Hugh shares are a definite reflection of him meeting the incarnate God and him wanting to show others what the incarnation looks like in their own lives. They’re raw. They’re real. They’re really good.

And, also familiar to avid Hugh Halter readers, are the reflection question at the end of each chapter. “Flesh” isn’t simply a book you read through to eventually place on the shelf under its dust collecting grave. It’s a book meant to stir up thoughts and action steps that’ll get you closer to Jesus. You can’t help but pause after every chapter asking yourself “how can I experience God today and help others do the same?”

Hugh goes on to say, “Christians often make it sound like Jesus came only to die for sin and then make converts, grow a religion called Christianity, and make more converts. But God never wanted converts, church attenders, prisoners, or parishioners. He wanted His family back.”

“Flesh” is a great read for both believers and non-believers. It challenges the religious quo with the possibility of offending many Christians and it’s encouraging even for the person with the hardest of hearts toward religion.

Go get it!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book. 18 Feb 2014
By Melissa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
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. MD--Illinois
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Puts Flesh and Blood on Who We are Supposed to Be in Christ 21 Feb 2014
By Cornelius Cole - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have read most of Hugh's books. He is a prophetic voice and a great story teller. This book is no exception. While I was reading this book I felt self-conscious because of my tears. At other times I would embarrass myself while sitting in a cafe as I bust out laughing at some of his stories. Like a good bottle of Scotch, Hugh seems to get better with age.

I understand that Mike Frost (Incarnate) and Hugh were originally writing a single book together, but the Lord made it clear that these were two separate works on the same subject but from different angles. I am glad they listened because the result is two very different books that are both needed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but not comprehensive 17 Mar 2014
By Clint Shamblin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like Hugh. I like the book. I enjoyed the a stories and the analogies. I respect the fruit of the labors. My reservation is on how to complete the circle that I agree with Hugh on. I find great encouragement, great advice, and great practice in these pages...yet without consistency in understanding the bible as a whole I am concerned it won't last. As one small example, if the cross is not most important, but the life of Christ, then we have no hope for he finality of what the cross accomplishes which later the author agrees with when he says that we don't invite Jesus, he is the inviter who gives us the grace. Both are needed but life could not have been without the death and resseruction, it's like aging Christmas was more important than Easter. Actually both are wildly important, and Christmas would have been another birthday without the stone being rolled back. And Easter could never have happened without Him coming. So there are some points of the book where I say "yes and amen while nodding constantly" but other points where I said "wait...what, doesn't that negate what I just agreed with" I suppose no book is comprehensive and as far as "Flesh" and practice of grace it hits a great resounding chorus. As far as a manual for a complete way to minister to people, it may not have all the t's crossed. I liked it and so should you.
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