A hummingbird, a horse, a horrible accident and a
house. They have more in common than the letter ‘h’.
Allow me to explain.
Hummingbirds are a marvel of divine engineering.
Even with all our technological wizardry we marvel
at their ability to fly backward, forward,
side-to-side and hovering in place. Some say they
shouldn’t be able to, but I guess the hummingbirds
don’t know that.
Several generations ago a horse named Seabiscuit
captured the hearts of the American public. As
portrayed in a recent movie, Seabiscuit’s owner
challenges a champion race horse to a match with the
words, “I don’t know what they’re afraid of. My
horse is too small, my jockey is too big, my trainer
is too old, and I guess I’m just too dumb to know
the difference.” The race was run – and won – by the
little horse that could.
Over a decade ago a son of a fellow pastor fell off
a grain elevator. The fall was over 80 feet. He
shouldn’t have survived, but only suffered
relatively minor injures. What should have been a
horrible accident turned out to be little more than
a minor incident.
Get what they have in common? They are all
impossibilities. They shouldn’t work. They shouldn’t
be true. They shouldn’t have happened. They
shouldn’t exist. But they do.
Then there was a house. More specifically there was
an upper room in a house. In that upper room was a
raggedy group of women and men. Jesus was all they
had in common. At the time of God’s choosing He
filled them so full of Himself that they spilled out
into the streets and shared what God was busy doing
in the world. The Church was born!
That was a long time ago. Almost 2000 trips around
the sun later the Church is still alive. But think
about everything they had stacked against them and
you might start to wonder why. Their leader died a
death befitting a notorious criminal. They claimed
He arose from the dead, but He was nowhere to be
found. By and large this group numbering around 120
were uneducated misfits – former tax collectors,
prostitutes, and fishermen, patriots, religious
experts, doubters, and, well, you get my drift. They
had no political war chests to start a public
relations campaign and no genius capable of creating
positive spin for their cause.
They, and those who believed their message and
joined their ranks, were oppressed by a powerful
religious establishment (Judaism) that considered
them a threat. Later they would be persecuted by an
even more powerful governmental regime (Rome) that
made sport of them in the arena and used them as
human torches so their parties could go late into
the night. This thing, the Church, has faced
constant opposition through the centuries from men
who have vowed to stomp it out. They are now dead.
The Church is still alive. Many times the Church has
suffered from a loss of focus and done shameful
things in the name of Her Lord, but the Church still
stands. We have fought amongst ourselves over
doctrine and dogma and divided ourselves over the
differences, but the Church still remains.
Even down to today, with the decline of civil discourse and
God-honoring morality, the Church survives the assaults of atheists
and anti-theists who say that her best years are behind her: “The
Church has had her day. Bury her and be done with it. We don’t need
her anyway.” Some have even decided that they can have Jesus without
the Church. Of course, that’s not exactly Biblical, especially since
every letter in the New Testament demonstrates how faith in Christ
happens in community with people who share that faith.
Humanly speaking, the Church is an impossibility. It shouldn’t
exist. It should have died out a long time ago. What in the world
could possibly have kept it alive in the face of these
Just a promise: Jesus said, “I will build my Church.”
For all our faults, and they are many, we know that there is still
hope for the Church because the One who loved the Church and gave up
His life for the Church hasn’t given up on her.
And according to His promise, He never will.
[Greg Wooten, Lincoln Church of the Nazarene]