pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Born Again

Reading: John 3: 1-15

Nicodemus understands our human birth.  All of us enter the world the same way.  Being born, we become part of the human race.  Jesus then speaks of another birth that must take place for one to “see the kingdom of God”.  Just as Jesus speaks of new birth at two levels, so too can we “see” at two levels.  The first is to see this world through God’s eyes, as the kingdom here on earth.  The second level is to see or experience eternal life.

Jesus begins His explanation of second birth with the water.  This is a concept that Nicodemus would be familiar with.  Maybe Nicodemus even ventured out into the wilderness to be baptized by John.  The baptism of repentance that John offered out in the desert was adapted by the early church to be more a baptism of belief.  New converts were baptized after a long period of preparation.  Over the centuries most churches have retained the belief that baptism marks one as a member of the family of God.  In baptizing our young, we as a church are marking them as a child of God and declaring our communal intent to raise them within the family of faith.  Thereafter the infant or young person is forever marked as a child of God, baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The second birth Jesus speaks of is being born of the Spirit.  At some point in a Christian’s journey, one chooses to declare Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  This decision results in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, marking the point at which one is born of the Spirit.  Once the Spirit dwells in us, our lives are made new.  We are born again as a new creation.  Instead of seeing through our old eyes, seeing the things of this world, we now see through God’s eyes.  Instead of living for earthly things, we come to live for spiritual things and according to the will of God.  We see community instead of just our self.  We see others and their needs instead of just our own desires.  As the Holy Spirit works in us to help us see the kingdom of God here on earth, we begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit, becoming more loving, caring, giving, and forgiving.  We come to bear witness to Jesus Christ in the world.  We are transformed day by day through the power of the Holy Spirit in us.  Soon we begin to see the kingdom of God at work here on the earth as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our lives.  Being born of the water and the spirit, we seek to bring God glory and honor in all we do and say.  May this be our walk of faith this day and every day.


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Drawn to Jesus

Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him to me.”  When we come to accept Christ as Lord and Savior, it is not any person or their words that accomplishes the conversion within; it is the sole work of God.  Through our words and actions we can share Jesus, but it is God alone who can enter the heart and soul of a person to change that person forever.

Jesus goes on to say, “He who believes has everlasting life.”  Once God changes our heart and we are “born again” then the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us and we then live with an eternal framework.  Our eyes are ever bent on heaven and the promise of eternal life with Christ.  Gradually our focus shifts away from the things of the world and our focus becomes more on the things of God.

We will still have moments when our vision becomes a little cloudy and we lose sight of God’s promises.  Sometimes these are even seasons.  Yet because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we will always be drawn back to our relationship with Jesus through God.  The love we find in Christ will always be what draws us back to Him.

When we allow the Father to draw us back to Jesus we experience redemption and we are made new again in Christ.  The grace and mercy and compassion that flows down upon us through His love and forgiveness is amazing.  Our grateful response to this is a burning desire to share the good news with others.  Such a wonderful gift is intended for all the world.  Through our story, through our lives, through our witness, the life and message of Jesus Christ must go out to all the world.  It is the plan.

Scripture reference: John 6: 41-51


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Understand God?

Nicodemus is drawn to Jesus.  He comes in the dark of night though because, although he is drawn, he still has a lot to keep in mind.   He is a Pharisee, a Jewish religious leader, and his group often clashes with Jesus.  And yet he comes – because Jesus has answers.

Isn’t that why we usually come to Jesus too?  To seek answers, to understand life, to  get guidance or comfort or peace?  Our prayers are often not questions, but sometimes we really do question, it is just below the surface.  We pray for strength or resolution in a certain situation.  But just below the surface we are questioning why God would allow us to even be in the situation.

Nicodemus comes, of course, because he wants answers.  He is willing to risk a little to get an answer or two from Jesus.  But Jesus’ answers do not make sense to Nicodemus.  Be born again?  That makes as much sense as dying twice!  Jesus tries to explain what being born of the Spirit means, but that does not fit in with Nicodemus’ thinking either.  Then and there he cannot assimilate this information.  Nicodemus goes away confused, with a lot to ponder, and without any answers he understands yet.  But he will.

Can you relate to Nicodemus?  Have you ever had a prayer ‘answered’ in a way you do not understand?  Ever feel like you did not get an answer at all?  Like Nicodemus, at times we too struggle to understand God and His ways.  He is a big and complex God.  It is okay we do not fully know everything.  Even though we do not fully know God, we do know some things.  He loves us more than we can ever imagine and He wants the very best for us.  Hold onto these truths of God.  Keep on seeking and praying.

Scripture reference: John 3: 1-15