NEW NATURE REQUIRED (3)

Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus tells us three important truths which we must not allow our opinions, traditions or religiosity to obscure. First, we must all receive a completely new nature, a new kind of life generated by the Spirit of God from above. Without this, we are mere "flesh" that cannot see or enter God's realm of eternal reality. This is a solemn and inescapable truth, twice … [Read more...]

NEW NATURE REQUIRED (2)

By nature, fallen humans cannot participate in God's eternal kingdom, Jesus says, unless they are born again from above (John 3:3). We must move from religion to relationship, from head to heart, from church to Christ. We must be regenerated with a new nature to become a new life-form. Nicodemus had come to Jesus at night (v.2) and spiritually also he was in the dark. "How can this be?" he asked, … [Read more...]

NEW NATURE REQUIRED (1)

Picture a seacoast rising in green forested cliffs to mountains and valleys beyond. Imagine mischievous boys discovering turtle eggs in the sand and removing one to an eagle's nest high on the hillside. In time all the eggs hatch, eaglets and turtle alike. Eventually the parent eagles teach the young to fly. They lecture, explain and demonstrate. They teach, motivate and inspire. One by one … [Read more...]

SUPERNATURAL MANIFESTATIONS (2)

An e-mail from an acquaintance in the USA describes a series of prayer meetings at which the author says that God's presence was visibly manifested by "weeping, violent shaking, loud groanings and travail in the Spirit, ardent prayers and cries for the lost, trembling, tongues, prophecies, visions and the glory of God swooping around the room like a iridescent blueish light." Do I have any … [Read more...]

SUPERNATURAL MANIFESTATIONS (1)

An e-mail from an acquaintance in the Church of Christ describes a series of prayer meetings at which the author says that God's presence was visibly manifested by "weeping, violent shaking, loud groanings and travail in the Spirit, ardent prayers and cries for the lost, trembling, tongues, prophecies, visions and the glory of God swooping around the room like a iridescent blueish light." Do I … [Read more...]

FEEDBACK ON ‘HOLY LAUGHTER’

My comments here recently concerning the so-called "holy laughter" or "Toronto Blessing" generated feedback -- which I always appreciate receiving. Following are five responses and an additional comment. #1 -- "I am a firm believer in the power of the Holy Spirit, in his real presence among us, even to the point of making us laugh out loud. However, I am also a firm believer in the presence of … [Read more...]

‘HOLY LAUGHTER’

"I recently attended a religious meeting," a correspondent says, "at which people were moved to what they called `holy laughter' or a 'manifestation of God's joy.' One man sounded like a fire engine siren and another like a rooster crowing. Is there biblical basis for believing this is from the Holy Spirit?" * * * There is a time to weep and a time to laugh (Eccl. 3:4). The Bible associates … [Read more...]

MISSING GOD’S POWER

A thoughtful minister writes, "I am really beginning to believe that a pendulum swing in reaction against pentecostalism and emotionalism has cost us some of our faith in God's abilities. I think we are missing out on powerful avenues of help." * * * I am afraid we have missed much by such over-reaction. The good news is that God is at work among his people in all Christian groups and the … [Read more...]

THE SOURCE OF SAVING FAITH

A Christian college Bible professor writes: "Why do people believe the gospel? Reasoning from historical witness that one believes to be real history, attesting to events that happened in time -- that has been and remains the Christian way. If that is not the only source of belief, it remains an important one." * * * "Important," we can agree, but scarcely the ultimate answer, mustn't we say in … [Read more...]

ANOINTED PREACHING

A sister in Virginia writes, "You recently asked readers to pray that God would 'anoint' your messages during a weekend preaching mission. This is not a word commonly used by people in my church. Please elaborate on what you mean." * * * This figure of speech goes back to the Old Testament practice of pouring oil over the head of someone being formally set apart for service to God, whether the … [Read more...]