Posts Tagged 'challenges'

The Living Word: Being Born Again

Being Born Again

John 3:1-13

One of the neatest things about going to Star Trek: The Cruise is seeing all the costumes. One of the challenges of Star Trek: The Cruise is figuring out what all those costumes are meant to convey. Some are just “hey, I’m into Trek”, but some are much more obscure, and it begs the question: “who ARE you supposed to be?” – as we read in chapter 3 of the Gospel of John, we see this same question raised, and Jesus’ answer is a lot more challenging than a simple answer.

The Process of Being Born Again Raises

* Kingdom Questions ~ John 3:1-8

  • 1/2 implied question: Who ARE You? From God, yes, but WHO?
  • 3/4 Jesus’ response is about SEEING THE KINGDOM; Jesus points back to God’s work, not His own; Nicodemus misses
    {HOW DO WE SEE THE KINGDOM? IT IS SHOWN **TO** US} it
  • 5/6 now about ENTERING THE KINGDOM; action of the Spirit, not the person
    {HOW DO WE ENTER THE KINGDOM? WE ARE BROUGHT **TO** IT}
  • 7/8 Notice the PUN: Wind/Spirit are the same word; the Spirit/Wind moves, but YOU aren’t in control; not even when you belong to the Spirit. We move IN RESPONSE to the Spirit (like a hang-glider or a sailor)

* Costly Answers ~ John 3:9-13

  • 9 Nicodemus is all about following the Law of his own will; it must be disheartening to discover that our effort isn’t effective
  • 10/11 Jesus isn’t teaching a new concept:
    Ps.51~create new heart & spirit;
    Ez.11&36~give a new heart & spirit; remove heart of stone, give heart of flesh;
    Jesus KNOWS how the Father & Spirit have chosen to work because He’s PERSONALLY PARTICIPATED IN THE PROCESS
  • 12/13 Jesus tells Nicodemus (and us) that He KNOWS what He’s talking about because He’s BEEN THERE.

Therefore, to SEE and ENTER the KINGDOM is a matter of TRUSTING: is Jesus who HE says He is: the one who came from God to tell us about God?

We either hold to that belief and surrender our lives to Him – or we reject it.

Pearls from Philippians: Contending Companionship

Pearls from Philippians: Contending Companionship Sermon Audio Here

Philippians 4:1-9

In Boxing, “The importance of a good stance cannot be stressed enough. A good stance provides balance, and is a key to both attacking and defensive techniques. Boxers should be able to throw a punch without losing their balance.”

What’s Our Stance in Circumstance?

Stand Firm With Your Faith Family ~ Philippians 4:1-3

  • 1 STAY IN THE LORD because of love, joy, and want; deep desire to have us all be together in Christ
  • 2 agree=Phil 2:2 (be one in spirit and purpose) we do NOT all need to think the same thoughts; but we DO need to remember we’re part of the same family, and our different points of view do not need to estrange us from one another
  • 3 notice HELP: sometimes it takes the intervention of others to help us see that being one in spirit and purpose is an INTENTIONAL CHOICE. Some days, I feel just plain disagreeable. Other days, I’m worse! Those who love me are kind enough to remind me that I need a little help to be more like Jesus. That’s our job as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Choose To Rise To Challenges ~ Philippians 4:4-7

  • 4 CHOOSE: joy, repeatedly
  • 5 CHOOSE: reasonableness
  • 6 CHOOSE: thankfulness in prayer
  • 7 RESULT: God’s peace will mount a guard over your heart (the answer to the strife at beginning of chapter)

Philippians 4:8-9 “think on these things” means ”to take an inventory” of these attributes. STOCK UP and USE THEM in your life.


Pastor Ed Backell

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