Tag Archive: no compromise


If you haven’t yet read the story of Nigel and Trish and their five children who moved into Hillbrow in South Africa to do life, then you are one of the few. That story has been blowing up on my blog with over 2000 views [that’s ‘blowing up’ on my blog] and 350 Facebook shares.

People are resonating with the story. There is something about it that just reaches out and grabs you [and i imagine makes a lot of people uneasy or nervous in a kind of wait-a-minute-do-i-need-to-now-go-do-that kind of way].

I want to suggest that it is the idea of incarnation. 

One dictionary definition i looked up for incarnation described it as ‘the action of incarnating’ which was not so helpful. Another said it was ‘the bodily manifestation of a spiritual being’ which at least starts to give us something to work with.

It has been given as a description of what Jesus did which is well described in Philippians 2:

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Basically, God, in the form and person of Jesus, came close.

After years of sending messengers is the form of leaders and angels and prophets, God took a step further and came to deliver the message and demonstrate the way to live Himself. He came and lived it amongst us. And forever took away our ability to say, ‘God doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know what I’m going through.’ Well yes He does, because He was here. He gets it.

It’s about not so much looking to your interests as to the interests of others [which Jesus strongly called us to in His ‘Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Me’ speech of Luke 9.23]

Now as followers of Jesus we have the Holy Spirit living in us and so everywhere we go there should theoretically be ‘the bodily manifestation of a spiritual being’ – but the question that needs to be asked on that is how often do we end up looking like us and how often do we end up looking like Jesus?

Here is another story i read about a South African family who look to be at least trying to ‘get’ this to some extent. Although their experiment definitely led to mixed responses from those around them:

‘Some condemned it as a “stupid experiment” and exploitative, calling for them to be “burned in their shack” by locals. Others applauded their courage in bridging South Africa’s massive wealth divide.’

And the same kind of story resonates in this American family, the Albrechts, who have lived in the UK since 1992 and have taken in around 250 homeless people over the last 7 years.

I would say that is one of the strongest lessons we have learnt or observed from our time over here. That moving in to the area ad building relationships with the people around you is one of the most effective ways to really get the chance to share your message [because the loudest sharing of it comes from the day to day of how they see you live life]

It is what resonated with me in my favourite book of all time, ‘No Compromise: The Keith Green story’ where Keith and his wife started taking people into their home within a few months of being married and they ended up on a farm with a community of many people [a lot of whom started out from a place of being down and out]. It wasn’t comfortable or cool or hipster or anything like that. It just felt like the word of God and so they did it.

i love how the word ‘nation’ is present in the word ‘incarnation‘ as well as the word ‘in’

do i think everyone is called to move into a poor, broken-down neighborhood to help bridge the gap between rich and poor and incarnationally make a difference around them? absolutely not. but i do think a lot more people are called to than are presently doing it. i also know that it would be a lot easier if people did it in greater numbers – so groups of friends moving into the same neighborhood [and i would thoroughly encourage the need for some form of relationship to be present before just deciding to move into a rough neighborhood]

i also think this is powerfully linked to the concept of stability – committing to an area, a community, a workplace for a considerable length of time.

maybe the question each of us should be asking is, ‘Why should i not go?’ and then, if there is an answer, stay where you are. there are a growing number of us who believe that poverty will end when the rich meet and get to know the poor. when they move in as neighbors and become some measure of friends.

are you being called? and what scares you about this most? [because i imagine this scares some of you a lot]

in Jesus, the Word became flesh

for most of us the challenge is seeing our flesh become Word…

so as part of a pretty incredible weekend up in the kwazulu of natal i managed to get some coffee time with john ellis (formerly of tree63 and ‘john ellis has hung up his cross and become a giant piece of plasticine’ fame) to hear his version of where he is at and whether he still loves Jesus (he does, whoops i hope that wasn’t one of the ‘between you and me’ moments we shared, john?) and what the flippery flop is going on in these parts…

i left having had coffee with a new friend (well i think i did, or having spent time with a reeeeally good actor – aw man he’s probly going to post something on his blog saying i just used time with him to get better blog hits…oh wait, which in turn will give me better blog hits… hee hee win-win, go for it you thespian!) and someone who is a lot on a lot of the pages i find myself on in terms of God, good christian books and Monty Python/Blackadder humour (altho someone do him a favour and buy him a copy of Black Books so can at least update a little, sheesh – oh wait he Mighty Booshed… never mind, as you were) which let’s face it, are among the most important things in life… ‘she turned me into a newt… i got better!’ and all

in fact twice when i mentioned the two books that had changed my life asking him if he’d heard of them his response was ‘that book changed my life’

is john ellis still a christian? you know what? ask him yourself. i’m pretty sure i know the answer to that question and i look forward to many more conversations and hangings (of the caffeine type not the christian lynch mob) with him when we happen to be in the same place and maybe he’ll even one day include a song about No_bob on one of his albums (okay, maybe not THAT close!) but the point is i did not meet jon to interview him for a magazine or a blog and i don’t think it’s particularly fair on him for me to talk about all the stuff we talked about (and hope i haven’t already said too much, john?) and i don’t really want to – i was just glad for the opportunity to spend some time speaking to someone with a brain, who thinks, and loves it that the place where he is in right now is getting other people to think, and has a sly mischievous sense of humour which creeps in and out of his regular conversation

i do think that sometimes the judging of a person, for whatever reason and in whatever way, says more about the person judging than the person being judged and that Jesus had a bit to say on people with planks sticking out of their face muttering comments about the person in front of them cleaning the dust speck off of their contact lens…

tx john for a treemendous time (no no no PLEASE TELL ME I DIDN’T JUST WRITE THAT!)

that i am grappling with lately:

one of them is taking the incredible life-transforming simple-gospel stuff we are reading about in books like Shane Claiborne’s ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ and Erwin McManus ‘an unSTOPPABLE force’ and Rich Stearns ‘The Hole in the Gospel’ and even going back to the legen….dary Keith Green’s ‘No Compromise’ story and not just being excited and ‘challenged’ and ‘changed’ by it, and not just talking about it and maybe looking down on others who ‘don’t get it’ and all that and when do we actually start doing it and being transformed and changed – do we actually ‘get it’ or are we just excited by the idea? that is a tough one and i know my biggest problem is knowing the ‘how’ cos i am excited and i do think it’s great and i do want to live the simple passionate compassionate miraculous life to the full Jesus calls us to, but practically what do i need to do? question one i am grappling with.

part of question one is how do i justify the fact that i just spent R600 on an Eddie Izzard dvd boxset but don’t feel i can justify spending R700 to R900 for me and tbV to go watch him live (i guess that could be a problem with justifying both as opposed to either one of them perhaps) but then also not being able to justify someone else wanting to spend R300 on make-up for a wedding? why is mine okay and theirs not okay?

linked to that question will be that my lavish will be simple and ridiculous to Bishop’s Court residents and Saudi Arabia moguls but my simple will be wasteful and lavish and dreamed of for a typical Kayamandi shack resident – wealth and poverty can be relative to an extent.

question 2 regards being pastory type guy at enGAGE, a congregation that is part of the Vineyard church in Stellenbosch – are we really effecting change in the community or am i realistically simply just maintaining a small community of like-minded people? as in really, like what is really really happening there? cos if this year is all about just looking after 30 to 50 Christians and trying to make sure they are all still Christian at the end of the year and maybe a bit more Christian, then what the flippy flipperson? there MUST be more than this.

not needing answers (well, not from you) – just needing to ask the questions…

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