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Posts tagged "Gil Kracke"


Hopelessly Devoted: Zechariah Chapter Twelve Verse Ten

This morning’s devotion comes to us from Gil Kracke. 

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn (Zechariah 12:10, NIV)

On the heels of a previous declaration that the Lord alone will be the source of a fearsome and awesome salvation, the prophet continues with this thunderbolt about the “one whom they have pierced.”

tumblr_inline_n9or5km2IH1qkqzlv“And I will pour out a spirit of grace; And I will pour out pleas of mercy.” The Lord is speaking here: the spirit of grace and supplication is given to us—it is never natural to who we are. This givenness always prevails: the work of the Lord within me continues hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment, as I relate to Him in a fundamental position of reception. Without this grace given, my heart is hardened; my judgment remains clouded; my sense of perspective stays skewed. In short, I remain self-interested and self-absorbed.

“When they look on me, on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” This is the remarkable fruit of being given a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy. As I look on the one whom I have pierced, I am also given the right portions of gut-churning remorse and despair.

Why is this important? Because if the spirit of grace is not first given, if the Lord is not this “first mover,” if I am not given the eyes to see—then I look on this “one who was pierced” in an entirely different light. Naturally, I move to blame-shifting and disassociation: It wasn’t me, I had nothing to do with it. Naturally, self-justification reigns: Well, he deserved it; she got what was coming to her; they didn’t leave me any other optionsI had to take care of myself and my family.

The Lord has none of this—He squares each of these directly, and directly God transfers the justice upon Himself. Pouring out grace and mercy, the Lord draws us to see our hands driving the nails of our transgressions, gives us the sobriety to deal with our part in the death. In a flood of guilt, we are yet loved, even by the one we have crucified, resulting in “true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit.” We can then join in declaring with fearful wonder, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Hopelessly Devoted: Nahum Chapter One Verse Thirteen

Hopelessly Devoted: Nahum Chapter One Verse Thirteen

Good morning! Our June 1 devotion comes to us from Gil Kracke. 

Now I will break their yoke from your neck and tear your shackles away. (Nahum 1:13, NIV)

At first glance, a linguistic barrier seems to cloud this passage. More than just the cultural inexperience we have with yokes and shackles, it seems our modern sensibility affirms our personal and bodily freedom. The seeds of autonomy are sown deeply into our nature, and those seeds are nurtured carefully by our surroundings. We are oriented to narratives that make us the “master and commander” of our soul, of our decisions, and of…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Second Timothy Chapter One Verses Eight through Ten

Hopelessly Devoted: Second Timothy Chapter One Verses Eight through Ten

This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional comes from Gil Kracke.

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Six Verse Five

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Six Verse Five

This morning’s entry from The Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day) comes from none other than Gil Kracke:

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. (Romans 6:5, NIV)

I try to imagine how to approach a verse like this, one that stands with such vast profundity in such simple brevity. What words could be placed beneath these, which seem to carry such a weight as to move whole epochs? And yet it is wonderfully and maddeningly simple: the verse very simply dispels the…

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Birmingham Conference Recordings: Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

Birmingham Conference Recordings: Grace, Rest and the End of Scorekeeping

A major thank you to everyone who helped us put on our conference in Birmingham, AL, especially all the good people at Cathedral Church of the Advent. What a delightful and inspiring time it was! Lots of laughter, a few tears, some great food and tons of new connections, we could not be more grateful. The audio files for the presentations are below, listed in chronological order, and are embedded to be playable on this site. You may download them by clicking on the title. We have also provided links to where you may purchase the media that was used…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Philemon Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

Hopelessly Devoted: Philemon Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

This week’s Monday devotion comes from Gil Kracke, who will be our conference chaplain in Birmingham in less than two weeks:

“If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand.”

Put it on my account.  Charge it to me.  Let me get the check.  We speak these words casually when out to lunch with friends or colleagues.  But what about when the ante is upped, and one offers to place something more substantial on their account?

There’s a short story by Walter Wangerin called “Ragman.”  The Ragman goes…

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Why I Am Coming to NYC

Why I Am Coming to NYC

Each year it seems like such an undertaking: spending money on travel for myself that could have been used for a family vacation; enduring crowded flights and dreary layovers; trudging to and fro on subway lines and unfamiliar avenues, a stranger in a strange land – all to spend a few fleeting days at a religious conference. Is it worth it, you may ask? Well, I wrote what follows after last year’s conference, and it sums up the reason why I intend to make this annual pilgrimage to New York City as long as there is a Mockingbird…

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Displaced Persons in an Alien World

Displaced Persons in an Alien World

On Saturday afternoon as I walked out the Chantry doors of Saint George’s, the sky was grey, the air was a damp chill, and the cherry trees with their paper-parchment blossoms had somehow lost their luster. Indeed, the world seemed a very different place from the world I had left on the Thursday prior, as I walked in through those same doors to enter the world of the Mockingbird Conference.

Now, though, as I headed up 16th Street to catch the subway and begin my long trip home, I was engulfed with a profound sense of loss, one that could…

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Part Of Eve’s Discussion – Marie Howe

Another gem from Gil Kracke’s Law Of Inertia and Human Psychology breakout session from Pensacola:

It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand,and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to stilland stop because a storm is coming, but there is nostorm, as whena hundred starlings lift and bank together before theywheel and drop,very much like the moment, driving on bad ice, when itoccurs to youyour car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin,likethe moment just before you forgot what it was you wereabout to say,it was like that,…

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Kanye West Meets the Left Hand of God

Kanye West Meets the Left Hand of God

I’m still reeling from Gil Kracke’s excellent breakout session at the recent Pensacola Mini-Conference, “Like A Rolling Stone: The Law of Inertia and Human Psychology.” If you haven’t listened to it, do yourself a favor. I can assure you that it will not disappoint!

One of Gil’s primary illustrations of incurvatus in se – St. Augustine’s conception of “man curved in on himself” – had to do with the Kanye West incident at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, in which Kanye showed himself to be the very height of self absorption, a kind of incurvatus in se run amok. In…

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Hello, Belly Button...

Hello, Belly Button…

It’s been two weeks since the Pensacola Mini-Conference, and Gil Kracke’s excellent break-out session is still very much on my mind. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, do yourself the favor. You won’t be disappointed!

Gil started his thesis from a very old concept, called incurvatus in se, a term that some say originated with Augustine, and which can be defined as a life lived looking “inward” at ourselves rather than looking “outward” to God.

The idea of incurvatus in se is sort of like a form of spina bifida, whereby our backs are curved inward on themselves so…

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Pensacola Mini-Conference Round-Up (Audio and Text Files) - UPDATED

Pensacola Mini-Conference Round-Up (Audio and Text Files) – UPDATED

A major thank you to everyone who was involved with our first ever mini-conference at the end of January. About 60 of us gathered for 36 hours at the beautiful Christ Episcopal Church in Pensacola, FL, to hear about “God’s Grace In A World Of Glory”. It was a blast!

The conference opened with dinner Friday night (Mbird cake!), followed by the opening talk from Dr. Mark Mattes: “The Theology Of The Cross Today” – the audio of which you can download by clicking on the title.

On Saturday, Dr. Mattes (pictured below) kicked things off with his characteristically profound “Luther As…

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