“In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. How can a man be born when he is old? Nicodemus asked. Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born! Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”(John 3:3-5) Nicodemus may not understand, but Jesus is speaking to him about baptism, the spiritual rebirth. Monday September 21, 2015 was a memorable landmark day for my family. That’s the day our youngest child was born again. I’ll never forget baptizing our son and oldest daughter a few years ago. I’m so thankful now to be able to add to those special memories the blessing of baptizing our youngest daughter into Christ. I will never forget the physical birth of each of our three children. There are some things you just don’t forget. I thought those children being born was no doubt our greatest accomplishment, until now. Being born again is the single most important event in an individual’s life. It’s at the new birth that one changes from being a slave of sin to a slave of righteousness. (Rom.6:17-18) It’s at the new birth that one becomes God’s son or daughter and part of God’s family. (Gal.3:26-27) It’s at the new birth that one’s sins are washed away, forgiven and forgotten so we can live for God and someday with Him eternally. The seemingly empty hope of heaven becomes an assured promise at the new birth. Just as a baby is born into a physical family with parents and siblings, so we all must be born again through the waters of baptism to become children of our heavenly Father. Have you been born again?
“There’s Still Good in the World” I’m writing this in case you have given up on the world. Maybe you believe this world is only corrupt and there’s no more good left. It could be that you’ve lost hope in mankind, thinking humans are only selfish and unconcerned for others. I can understand why one might believe these things about the world we live in but if you do, I want you to know that you are wrong. Last Sunday as devastation and tragedy struck close to home, I saw good. I chose not to be impressed by the consuming fire as it burned to the ground the house of one of our very own families. But I couldn’t help but be overwhelmingly impressed with the number of people who were there to support a family as they watched fire destroy their belongings. It was amazing to see fellow church members, neighbors and community folks gather around a family in shock. There were tears, hugs, pats on the back, countless well wishes and prayers. People have cooked meals and donated money as well as other necessities. But there are two stories that solidified for me that there is still good in the world. An employee of a local store and complete stranger to the devastated family, paid for, with her own money, clothes and shoes to donate to the family. Another man, again a complete stranger, approached two of our ladies in a different store while shopping for supplies and gave them $40 to help with the expense. I didn’t write this to embarrass anyone, I wouldn’t do that, but to simply assure you that there’s still good in the world. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”(Gal. 6:10) Chuck Ball