John 3:1-8 The Message
There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.” Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”
“How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”
Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.
“So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”
Born from Above
I go hiking nearly every weekend. It’s a way for me to reconnect with nature – God’s creation – and find peace, away from the demands of life. Sometimes I listen to music, but more often I just pray silently, and ask God to speak to me. I thank God for my family and friends, my home, my church, my health, and more. I have no concrete evidence that God is there, listening, but I believe He is, just like the wind.
Last May, I had the opportunity to go ziplining at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde. It was a little scary, but exciting too. The wind was blowing strong that day, and it shook the high, wooden platforms that we stood on, as we waited to take our turns zipping across the line. The speed was exhilarating, and I trusted our guides to catch us at the end of each line. I believed the lines and platforms had been built to withstand the force we exerted. I also appreciated having my girls there, to share in the experience and help me to be brave.
Faith is a little like that. If it’s strong, and built on a solid foundation, we can withstand the pressures of life. We don’t have to be afraid to take risks, or to reach further than we thought we ever could. When we believe, we learn that we can do more and that we can go beyond our limits, with God’s help. We need to trust that God will be there to catch us when we fall.
Our church is the support system underlying that faith. When we are in community together, we prop each other up, and are more likely to be transformed and to ignite faith in others. It truly is a domino effect. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be “born again” to become a new creation, and inspire others to do the same.Pam Selthun
Prayer: Lord God, help me to be born again in your love and grace. In the words of NEEDTOBREATHE’s song, “Something Beautiful” –
Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me a like a fire,
‘cause I just want something beautiful to touch me…
‘cause I am down on my knees, waiting for something beautiful.”