The Incarnation – Since completing college, I have returned on a few occasions to learn more. The second of which was to learn how to use New Testament Greek to help me study the Bible. At the end of the first class, our professor assigned the task of learning the Greek alphabet. At this point, my textbook had not arrived. So, I borrowed a book from Bob who had taken a similar Greek course many years before. I had one week to learn the alphabet. At home, I immediately made flash cards of the Greek alphabet. I began to study. One week passed, and I was ready for class. Sitting in my chosen seat, the front row, I was the first to volunteer to recite the alphabet. Sixteen letters into the recital, I stopped. Eager to hear, “well done,” I looked at the professor. “Continue,” he said. I hesitated, because I had recited what I thought was the alphabet. I quickly opened my borrowed text book. Asking for my book, the professor looked at the page I had marked, and handed the book back to me. He said, “Turn the page.” Oh wow. I was embarrassed. There were eight more letters on the next page! Because I had used a different text book, I had the wrong point of reference. I had come to believe the Greek alphabet had only 16 letters. In my assumption, I had ended up with the wrong understanding. With my wrong understanding, I ended up somewhere I did not want to be, wrong and in the front row looking foolish before my professor and classmates. It is a curious thing how the wrong point of reference can lead us to assumptions and places we don’t want to be.
The Right point of Reference
Seldom does any one of us start a relationship from the right point of reference. As a teenager, I had been told God would be my friend. I gladly accepted that to be true, and it is. I soon came to reason that friends want me to be happy, to enjoy life. That is also true of God. But, for my relationship with God to be based upon what I like is not big enough to explain Him, or His purpose for my life. Likely you’ve made wrong assumptions about God, too, such as – He isn’t fun, or He is only useful to children and old people near death. People throughout human history have believed things like that, because they had the wrong point of reference. Therein is the reason for the Incarnation, the reason Father God clothed Himself with flesh (Phil. 2:7-8). Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23), He, Jesus, came that He would be the starting point for all people to find and continue on the Way to God (John 14:6). The Incarnation is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). Adam, the first man, was made in the image of (a resemblance, but not derived from) God (Gen. 1:27). The Incarnation perfectly reflected visibly the invisible God (1Tim. 1:17). Not so with man. Man is made in the likeness of God; likeness (Greek, homoiosis) being a resemblance of God’s morality in man which was not completely destroyed by the fall, yet a word that is not used to describe Jesus (James 3:9). The Incarnation is the exact counterpart of the invisible God. The visible representation of God to the created beings. This representation is not confined to the physical senses, but includes the spiritual eye (John 12:45; 14:9, 2 Cor. 4:4, Heb. 1:1-3).
The Reason you are Here
The Incarnation is for you to get this right… the reason you’re here in the first place; to have a deep relationship with God as you experience His life. God’s highest concern is not all the things you may do in your life.
Who and what you are in this life falls into place as Father God leads you to love God, care for yourself and love others. It is not that God is first, and the rest of life is to get in line behind Him. God’s too big to be put in a priority box. His desire is for you to take initiative, by responding to His initiative in all things (John 5:30, 8:28, 8:42, 10:18, 12:49, 14:10). That means whether you are trying to sort out life, or to take care of yourself or help others, God remains at the center.
The Spiritual Eye
The two things that most impact our lives are the people we spend our time with, and the things we read. I challenge you to read to spend time with the Person of God, rather than reading to know the information about God. Start with a Bible and find the Gospel of John. Believe in, and invite, God’s involvement in your life. He is near to you, whether you perceive Him or not. As you read, ask Father to get your attention about things you need to be curious about from the story. Write these things down. Read John’s gospel again, and repeat the process. Do this as many times as it takes to begin to recognize patterns about God, yourself and others from the text. Then move on to Luke, Mark and Matthew’s biography of the Incarnation. Repeat the process. Think to hear what Father is saying to you as you read (Hab. 2:1). You will begin to lose your wrong assumptions about God. Your spiritual eye will grow. You will have entered into the Way of Jesus. The Incarnation did many things, the meaning of which even His closest friends did not understand at the moment. For example, in a clear response to Peter’s objection to Jesus washing his feet, Jesus told Peter You don’t understand now, but you will (John 13:5-7). It wasn’t until after the Incarnation left the earth, that the belief of the Apostles turned into understanding (John 20:8-9). In humble reflection upon the life of Jesus, the Spirit of God did that for them (John 14:15-21; 16:7-15, Acts 2:14-36, Job 42:1-6; Prov. 11:2, 15:33, 18:12, 29:23).
The Incarnation is a baby born in poverty, and a man who continued in poverty while believing his life to be well worth-while. The Incarnation is both a king, and a servant. The Incarnation accomplished a specific task with His life (John 17:4). The Incarnation was often quick to act, and deeply moved with feeling towards others. The Incarnation is the leader and highest example of human faith in the Lord God (Heb. 12:2). The Incarnation leads us to the heart of the matter, intimacy for you with the living God (John 10:14-15). I have become proud of the Incarnation. The Incarnation has become my hero, my friend, my life. The Incarnation is our opportunity to find the Way to God; to live now while thinking, believing and making decisions as He did. "Come one, come all! See the amazing Incarnation!" -Rick Underhill
Editor’s note: Rick and Donna Underhill ministered for five and half years as administrators at The Hill before moving back to Indiana to oversee the discipleship and biblical counseling ministry they founded, Seed 4 Life. Rick recently published a commentary on James, Seeing Through Everyday Life to God, available here. You can connect with Rick at seed4life.net.
Sales Tax Comes to The Hill
The Kentucky Department of Revenue has revised their sales tax laws to include camp fees and event facility rentals. This takes effect on January 1, 2023. Many of the groups that use our facilities have been approved by the state as tax exempt. By providing The Hill with a copy of your purchase exemption certificate, you can avoid the additional 6% that we will be required to add to our fees. If you have youth planning to attend events in 2023, registering them before December 31, 2022 avoids the upcoming additional sales tax. Register here. : )
Event Focus: Olivia Robinson
I have lived at the Hill since May of 2020. What drew me to the Hill was how the community here sought to be involved in every part of this ministry. A community focused on discipleship and intentionally living life alongside other believers is something I was introduced to in college and desired to continue in once I graduated. But I don’t think I was quite ready for what was in store for me here at the Hill!
I assigned myself the role of “the mom friend” or caretaker years ago. Letting people in on my life has always been a struggle. However, with true community comes bearing of one another’s burdens and vulnerability: two things that are made safe to disclose because of the cross.
Since becoming a resident at the Hill, I have been able to view God more clearly as a friend and companion…a friend who welcomes the hard times just as much as He celebrates the praises. Understanding more of God’s heart for this type of intimate relationship with Him has also impacted how I interact with those around me. I think one of the most beautiful things I have experienced in the community here is that loving people– just because, without any expectation of reciprocation– is not only possible, but the way relationships were intended. I’ve seen this clearly through the numerous sacrifices made by residents weekly to serve and encourage one another: whether that be planning 12 birthday parties per month, or buying snacks for someone who has had a tough day, it is a natural response. Jesus loved me that way, and with the power of His Spirit within me (and fellow believers) I can love that way as well. This allows so much freedom and enjoyment in the life lived with the people around you.
Resident Focus: Jordan Taylor
I’ve spent the last year in Wisconsin attending a gap year program: 6 months of classes on the Bible and leadership, and 2.5 months of mission work in Germany. This summer I interned at a church to lead a youth group. Last year was an integral time in my life to grow closer to the Lord and deepen my understanding of my relationship with Him.
Before the end of each season in my life, God has shown me the next. Halfway through my summer internship, Jenelle Shimpf invited me to apply to the resident program. After seeking council from older believers, I saw this was what God had next for me. Now, I’m working with a landscaping company in Murray and living here at the Hill where I attended camp for so many years. There is much here that I’m learning that I didn’t think that I would. What I really want to learn is to walk in rest and peace, letting Christ live and love through me, listening and living according to the Spirit and forgetting the flesh to which I have died.
Brooks Robert Warren
Benjamin and Oakley Warren are proud to announce the birth of Brooks Robert Warren on October 22, 2022. Kim Warren is equally proud in her new role as a grandmother (AKA “Gogo”). All are doing well and nestling right into parent/grandparenthood. Brooks will be a candidate for our 2036 Summer Youth Leadership Camp!
What Happens When You Are Born Again
When you repent of your sin (Acts 17:30, 2Pet. 3:9), confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9-10), the Holy Spirit takes the old sin nature you inherited from Adam (Rom. 5:12), which is dead to God (1Cor. 15:22, Eph. 2:1), and crucifies it on the cross (Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6:6) by baptizing you into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4, 1Cor. 12:13), sealing you in Him forever (Eph. 1:13, 4:30). Having been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the Kingdom of the Son (Col. 1:13-14) and now placed into Christ, the Chosen One (Isa. 42:1), you receive His kind of life—eternal (John 3:16, 5:24). You are predestined in that moment to adoption as a son to receive a redeemed body upon the Lord’s return (Eph. 1:5, Rom. 8:23, 29), being given the Holy Spirit as a pledge on His promise (Eph. 1:14); you are called (2Tim. 1:9), given a special gift (1Pet. 4:10), and allotted a measure of faith to operate in that gift (Rom. 12:3). He simultaneously makes you a new creature (2Cor. 5:17) and raises you up alive to God and dead to sin (Rom. 6:5 & 11) and the Law (Rom. 7:4)—born again (John 3:3); makes you righteous (2Cor. 5:21), holy and blameless (Eph. 1:4), eternally forgiven (Eph. 1:7, Heb. 10:12 & 17), justified (Rom. 5:1), complete (Col. 2:10), perfect (Heb. 10:14), and seats you in heavenly places with Him (Eph. 2:6). In that same instant you are reconciled to Him (2Cor. 5:18), He comes to dwell inside of you (Col. 1:27), and it is His life that now sustains you (Rom. 5:10, Col. 3:4).
Rooted & Grounded, Jan. 6-8, 2023—This retreat is designed for post highschool young adults, 18-25. Michael and Stephanie Wilkerson are joining us to lead this retreat.
Winter Youth Retreat, Jan. 13-15, 2023—30 hours of Bible teaching, food, fun, fellowship, and a little sleep for 13-18 year old high school students. Leigh Ann Northcutt and Eric Swann will be teaching this weekend.
Men’s Retreat, April 28-30, 2023—Our annual gathering of men passionate about faith in Jesus. This diverse group comes together to worship Him with whom they share a common bond. They come to teach and learn, to serve and be served, to study, to relax and drink deeply of fellowship with one another. If that sounds appealing to you, we invite you to join us for the weekend.
Summer Youth Leadership Camps, June 4-10 & June 25-July 1, 2023. Our annual summer camps for 13- 18 year olds. Register here. Senior Leadership Week, July 16-22, 2023—An equipping week for graduated seniors from the class of 2023. We have an amazing lineup of instructors for this elite group limited to 10 young men and 10 young women. Watch the website for specific details.
Romans Retreat, August 25-27, 2023—Rick Underhill is going to lead us through this weekend exposition of Romans 1-8. You can never exhaust the truth and revelation from this wonderful section of Scripture.
Thank you for the way you love and support us. Whether you invest your time, money, or prayers to further God’s work here, you are appreciated. God sustains the ministry, and you have been a faithful part of His plan.
-Your Friends at The Hill