Saturday, December 29, 2007

Please Forgive Me...

This post was originally an article written by Doug Phillips of Vision Forum. However, a believer was kind enough to post a comment that pointed me to a number of other blogs out there showing Doug Phillips to have strong racial prejudices that were inconsistent with biblical truth. My own heart was grieved deeply due to my ignorant “endorsement” of a ministry that openly recommends reading authors who are racists. I will not tolerate this—and I do ask my readers for their forgiveness in for my ignorance. I should be more responsible to search out those whom I recommend on my blog. Indeed it is a lesson well received!

For the Cause,

Brian Francis Hume

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Incarnation: A Christ-Centered Christmas

Colossians 2:9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

As Christmas speedily approaches, it is urgent to find the means to sustain a Christ-centered approach to the holidays—especially in the midst of chaos. As studies have shown previously and life experiences attest, the Christmas season can be one of the most stressful times of the year: shopping for family, friends and extended relatives; attending Christmas-related parties and social function; sending cards to everyone on your list; traveling to spend time with family; putting up Christmas decorations—one can be extremely busy, surrounded by people, yet feel depressed and alone. This list goes on, but the notion is well taken—it is too easy to neglect the worship of Christ during the holiday season that heralds his birth. How can we ensure that we do have a Christ-centered holiday season that truly honors Christ? What steps must we take to ensure that we don’t allow this time to bypass us as we run to and fro to accommodate cultural expectations of what Christmas should be?

I want to propose that ruminating upon the doctrine of the Incarnation might just be the necessary means to truly celebrate and honor the Incarnate Christ during a holy-day that is supposedly dedicated to the birth of Christ. Let us begin this study by examining the following verse:

Matthew 1:16and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Note that the writer of Matthew was writing his gospel specifically to a Jewish audience as evident by his meticulous detail in the genealogy of ensuring that the reader understood Jesus came from the lineage of David and Abraham. Verse 1 of Matthew 1 reads, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This messianic thread would be of keen interest to the Jewish reader. From Abraham to Jacob the father of Joseph, the Scriptures mention 39 fathers—yet it does not record Joseph as the father of Jesus. It explicitly records Joseph as “husband of Mary” (denoting a lawful union)—furthermore, it reads of Mary, “of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Jesus is recorded in Scripture as being born of a woman—affirmed by the wording, “of whom” which in the original Greek text is in the feminine gender. The implication in this seemingly insignificant detail is astounding—Jesus was born of a woman whose seed was not the progenitor of a human father.

Luke 1:35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

This was the response of the angel to Mary, a virgin. It would not be the seed of man that would conceive the God-child, but it would be by divine origins—the Holy Spirit. This New Testament passage is the direct fulfillment of several well known Old Testament prophecies, most notably the following:

Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

The word offspring is also the Hebrew word used for seed. In other words, the seed of woman would bring forth the means of crushing the serpent’s head. Now obviously biologically speaking, the woman has no seed; for this comes from the man (the sperm)—hence it again points to the Incarnation as the Holy Spirit is the source of the seed.

Another verse that predicated the virgin birth is Isaiah 7:14—Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.


The term incarnation is derived from a Latin word, incarnre, which means “to make flesh.” The implications of this doctrine states that Christ Jesus in whom “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him” (Colossians 1:19)—thus Christ Jesus in being fully God, was also fully human. Again this was delineated in the passages above as Scriptures clearly demonstrate that the seed of man was not the progenitor of the God-man, but it was the Holy Spirit. Being born of a woman by the Holy Spirit ensures that Christ Jesus would have a human nature (note I didn’t say sin nature) without relinquishing or forfeiting his deity. Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God. Indeed it is as Paul asserts, “the mystery of godliness” is in full display in the man Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 3:16)

The incarnation stands as a declaration of the fervent and holy love of a Triune God that is remarkable and worthy of our consideration. The Incarnation was intended to be a means of dispensing grace to fallen man through the Lord Jesus Christ; a conduit of divine love expressed through the Father’s heart; and the securing of eternal salvation through the Cross. The crux of the Incarnation is found in the Cross. A Son was born to die—this is the Christmas message. There is no atonement apart from the Incarnation—likewise, the Incarnation isn’t complete apart from the atonement. James Denney, author of The Death of Christ (1902) writes, “the New Testament knows nothing of an incarnation which can be defined apart from its relation to atonement…Not Bethlehem, but Calvary, is the focus of revelation, and any construction of Christianity which ignores or denies this distorts Christianity by putting it out of focus.”

A Son was born of a virgin woman in relative obscurity—would die on a Cross so that you may find life eternal by faith in Him. The Incarnation made possible the atonement whilst the atonement allowed the Incarnation to find its overarching purpose. In closing, I want to leave you with the words of Charles Wesley that speaks of the grandeur of the Incarnation: “Our God contracted to a span; Incomprehensibly made man.” May the Lord himself bring fresh revelation this Christmas as you behold the glory of the Incarnate Son, "Incomprehensibly made man!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Language of Love

What is your language of love? In other words, what do you enjoy receiving that blesses you tremendously!? What makes you feel loved? We all have something that really affirms us and blesses us more so than other things. For some it may be quality time spent together with people or receiving a letter written that expresses the heart.
For couples, it is paramount that they know their spouse's language of love! And for husbands out there who love football, don't assume that just because you like to watch football that your wife is going to want tickets for Christmas to watch the season finale between the Redskins and the Cowboys!
Learn the language of love of those within your immediate circle. Be intentional about opportunities to speak their love language!

If you have been reading my blog for an extended duration, you should by now know my language of love.
. you!?!

For me it is the gift of receiving books! Those that know me well are well aware of my fondness of books! One of my favorite quotes is by Yoshida Kenko (1283-1350): "To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate conversation with men of unseen generations-such is pleasure beyond compare..." I understand fully the sentiments expressed by the author of this quote.
Every Christmas for the past ten years, my mom's gift to me has been to purchase books that are on my most wanted list. She knows my love language! This year I had a little difficulty selecting books because I had some topics of interest, but I didn’t necessarily have specific books within that given category—an example would be the topic of Christology. I’m hesitant to simply pick out any book on Christology without having conversed with someone who is well
rehearsed in good books within this vein. Nothing is worse than paying big bucks for a book that isn't worthy of such an investment!
Here is a list of books that I ordered today that I am eagerly awaiting to get my hands on. Some of them were recommended by others. A few I simply choose as I perused through several websites reading book reviews.
Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge—this book has been recommended to me by several different people over the years. I have several other books by the author and I have been thoroughly impressed with his work thus far.
The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias—I have not read anything by this well known apologetist of the Christian faith. Nonetheless, I have listened to his teachings and have been blessed by them.
Wesley Gold by Ray Comfort
John Wesley: A Biography by Stephen Tomkins—I have been stirred to read more of the historical accounts of past revivalists such as John Wesley. Currently I am reading a two volume set on the life of George Whitefield by Arnold Dallimore, which has been superb! I want to also read more extensively on the lives of other great men and women of the Christian faith.

Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem—This book was also recommended to me by numerous believers who had read it themselves.
The Radical Cross by AW Tozer—Over the years I have enjoyed a number of Tozer's books. One of the earliest books that I read was The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer, which ignited a hunger in my heart to pursue God as a young believer. I love reading books that are written by theologians who "theologize" on their knees—a theology of the head and the heart. This book will supplement another book that I am currently reading by John Stott called The Cross of Christ.
Out of Depths of Sexual Sin by Steve Gallagher—I had read another book by the same author several years ago called At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry, which is a blueprint for helping men come out of sexual addictions. This new book that I've ordered is the biographical account of Steve's journey coming out of a life of sexual sins, perversion and hard-core pornography. Check out Steve's ministry, Pure Life Ministries.
I also selected two business books that examine the 100 year history of the UPS—along with its business acumen. Several months ago I had a significant dream involving an UPS truck. These books will allow me to better understand what I believe the Lord is saying to me through the dream.
Driving Change: The UPS Approach to Business by Mike Brewster and Frederick DalzellBig Brown
Big Brown: The Untold Story of UPS by Greg Niemann
There are a few more books that I am expecting, but I think this list is sufficient to give you an overview of what I am going to be reading the next few months! Please feel free to share any book recommendations that you want to pass along. I'm all ears!
Make sure this year you know the love language of those whom you are purchasing gifts for!
Also I will be starting at the beginning of the year a series on leadership that I am currently writing. So far I sense that the Lord has given me some fresh thoughts and ideas concerning this topic. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Simone Beth'el Hume

I want to announce the recent birth of our firstborn—Simone Beth’el Hume. After an intense labor (the Epidural started waning towards the end), our little Simone was born on Monday, November 26 at 8:07pm. As my dad and close friends can attest, Simone made her entrance well heard to those anxiously waiting nearby in the lobby.

Without question it was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. Simone’s size was somewhat of a surprise considering that our doctor was concerned two weeks prior that she might be too small—however, 9lbs, 1oz (20 inches) is anything but small! That is a big baby especially for someone Aneta’s size!

Simone is absolutely gorgeous and has already stolen her daddy’s heart! Now Aneta and I are adjusting to life with our precious Simone. We have been blessed having Aneta's mom with us from Poland. She is a tremendous help to us—I’m not sure what we would do without her. There are times when we’ve been exhausted and she has stepped in to allow us some much needed rest!

Overall the past ten days have been nothing short of life changing. When Aneta gave birth to Simone Beth’el Hume, it started a chain reaction of understanding concerning the Father’s heart for me. Within one week I had a greater revelation of the Father’s heart for me than in the previous fifteen years walking with the Lord. Let me share a few of the highlights.

While Aneta was pregnant, I would often pray over Simone while also speaking tenderly to her, “Simone, this is your daddy speaking. Daddy loves his little Simone.” Almost every night I would speak these words to her prior to our bedtime—which coincided with her active movement in the womb. We knew she was awake during these times when I would bless her, pray over her and speak tenderly to her as her loving father.

Once she came out of the womb in the delivery room, the nurses plopped her naked body on a nearby table with a strong lamp shining on her to provide warmth. My heart was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude as I wept—meanwhile Simone continued to cry out fervently, a sound that was so pleasing to my ears. As the nurse worked on her I inched up closer and closer until my head was within two feet of my newborn daughter. Quietly, but assertively I spoke, “Simone, this is your daddy speaking. Daddy loves his little Simone.” Immediately the flailing arms were stilled whilst silence subdued this holy moment—Simone looked up over her head in the direction of my voice as if she recognized that voice. It was a poignant moment that I will never forget. It brought so much pleasure (and tears) to my heart to see my daughter respond to the sound of my voice.

Then I was permitted to hold Simone in my arms for the first time. As I held her, I kept whispering over her: “You are my daughter, whom I love; with you I am well pleased!” You may recognize this statement as the words spoken by the Father over Jesus as he was commissioned for his public ministry.

Mark 1:11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

That night as I held Simone for the first time, I thought I saw much of myself in her—yet I wasn’t sure if tt was just my own fabrication. However my wife came to the same conclusion. She even told her mother over the phone that Simone looked much like her daddy. Her mother assured her that probably wasn’t the case. Yet one of the first things she told Aneta after seeing Simone for the first time, “She looks like Brian!” In the days since that initial affirmation, I’ve had numerous people tell me the same thing. One friend that I’ve known since middle school wrote, “[M]aybe it's just because I know you, but I see a lot of her daddy in her!”

So what is my point in this?

When others tell me that they her daddy in Simone, it pleases my heart. This has given me a glimpse of how the Father feels when his image is clearly demonstrated in our lives. Christ reveals the Father—when others see Christ in us, they also see the Father. It brings such deep pleasure to the Father’s heart when His image is clearly visible in our lives. In the beginning, God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,” (Genesis 1:26) Can others see Christ in you? Are you consistently demonstrating a greater measure of Christlikeness in your life?

Also I have had another tendency during the past week that has enabled me to capture a glimpse of the Father’s heart for me. There are moments when I am working, preparing dinner or writing—and I’ll have a strong desire to stop what I am doing so that I can simply gaze at my little Simone as she is sleeping. My heart is warmed as I look down into her crib while she is peacefully sleeping. Likewise, the Father simply enjoys looking down upon his sons and daughters who bear his image. This has increased my confidence in the Father’s desire for me.

These life changing moments elucidate the reality of the Father’s love for me. In the midst of working from home between changing diapers and learning the fine art of butt pasting, I’ve gleaned powerful insights into the Father’s heart for His sons and daughters! I hope you’ve been encouraged from my own experiences here. I’ve had to write this on the run as I juggle a number of different responsibilities.

Also keep me in your prayers as I prepare to preach this Sunday at Novum Baptist Church outside of Culpeper, Virginia. The Lord has given me a strong message on the Incarnation of Christ. Blessings!

For the Cause,

Brian Francis Hume