Today we’re looking at the story of Nicodemus found in John 3:1-15. It’s the story that finds Jesus telling Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” What did he mean by, born again? Did he mean that we needed to be go back into our mother’s womb and be reborn? No, he didn’t. Instead, Jesus was referring to the rebirth of our spirit. That our spirit needed to be reborn. When God first created people, He created us to be a three-dimensional being. He created us to be body, mind and spirit. It is in the spiritual dimension that people can know God and fellowship with Him. The problem is, that the spirit part has been destroyed by sin. So Jesus was basically saying to Nicodemus, that his body was alive, but his spirit was dead. And that If he wants to see the kingdom of heaven, then he must have a spiritual birth. Jesus says the same to all of us today.
So how can one have a spiritual birth? We need to believe. Jesus then said in John 3:14-15, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert (which was symbolic for the crucifixion for sins), so the Son of man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.” Jesus had to be lifted up on the cross for us. He needed to die for our sins, so that we can have a spiritual birth, or be born again. The sin that brought death to the spirit before, will now be forgiven. Which gives all who believe in Jesus a new spiritual birth. A new life and fellowship with God. It’s truly that simple. John 3:16 then says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Praise be to God.
Maybe you’re feeling like God has forgotten about you or life has given you too much to handle. No matter the situation or circumstances, God’s Word and His love stands strong – don’t forget what He said!
A couple of weeks ago, a team member at the Brookings location really brought our Pizza Ranch Way ideal of “Do the Right Thing” to life. A guest and his brother had eaten at the restaurant and were starting to pull out of the parking space to leave. A Brookings team member ran out to catch them before they drove away. The reason? The guest had accidentally dropped a $50 bill and the team member saw a perfect opportunity to show the guest that Pizza Ranch really does take seriously the goal of Doing the Right Thing. The guest was so impressed and specifically reported that this one team member “gives me hope for our younger generation.” Way to go Brookings!
Who likes Monday? I mean, seriously, who really feels that Monday is the best day of the week? Probably a very small minority of people believe that. Even those people who seem like they have it all together – I guarantee that there’s something going on in their lives that I won’t want to deal with.
So why not do something today that makes someone else’s Monday the best day of their week? It’s amazing what a good latte/cup of tea, encouraging note or 2-minute pep talk can do for the soul… both theirs and yours!
Have you ever been somewhere with your family, or with friends, and something unexpected happened? Maybe something unbelievable? Today we look at an example of this found in Scripture. John 2:12-25 tells the story of Jesus doing something unexpected when He went with his mother, brothers and disciples to the temple. When he found folks buying and selling animals and such in the temple, he flipped out. He made a whip and started driving them out. Verse 16 says that Jesus told the people, “Get out of here! How dare you turn my father’s house into a market.” I’m positive the whole scene must have made his family super uncomfortable. Most likely shocked. They were probably wondering what in the world he was doing. Verse 17 says the disciples thought of something else. They remembered the Old Testament teachings that said, “the zeal of the Fathers house has eaten Him up.” Jesus was fired up about what He was seeing.
The Jews who were there were asking for a sign. A miraculous sign that would explain his reasoning for throwing people out and saying what He said. Jesus answers them in verse 19, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” Of course the Jews didn’t understand what He was saying. They thought He was talking about the actual temple that had already been in the works for 40 some years. But Jesus was telling them that the only sign they’d get was His resurrection three days after His death.
The resurrection is the most powerful “sign” that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Christianity hinges on this truth. If there was no resurrection, then all the claims of being God’s son would be nothing more than the talk of a crazy man, and His crazy followers. Is there proof? I believe there is. The Bible has shown itself to be one of the most reliable sources of history found. The evidence is overwhelming. Jesus showed Himself and talked to people for 40 days. He was among them. They saw his hands and feet. There was eyewitness testimony from people known for great character. People who lived out the highest of moral values. People who were tortured and Killed for expressing it. But never once did they confess to some sort of hoax. If the Jews were trying to squash this story, they would have had a massive search to find the truth. To find the body. They never could. Instead, Christianity grew at an enormous rate.
The resurrection brings proof and hope for eternal life. I pray God opens the eyes of our hearts, that we might see Him clearly.
Last week when a fire in the southern Colorado mountain town of Beulah caused several tenants to evacuate, the nearby Pueblo Pizza Ranch stepped into action in a couple different ways! Pizza Ranch, located about 20 miles northeast of Beulah, became a safe haven for residents to go to. Residents of the town were invited to come to Pizza Ranch for a time of fellowship and prayer, under the guidance of a local pastor. Those affected were able to stay at the Pizza Ranch and enjoy supper at a discounted rate.
One man who lives just outside evacuation zone, put a $100 donation towards feeding firefighters a meal. The team at Pueblo decided to match that donation provided 16 pizzas to those firefighters.
As I was hearing these stories, it reminded me of a Bible passage:
Matthew 25:35-40 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
To the team in Pueblo, well done responding, and making a difference in the lives of those neighbors in need.
Have you seen them? As we look outside our windows or drive through the towns and neighborhoods, we can sense that Autumn is here. The leaves are turning colors (and falling too!) Your opportunity to be a friend in need today and this week and this season is to pitch in an help somebody who needs yard clean up. Whether this is due to age, or traveling, or maybe a disability – see this as a great time to be a neighbor to someone in need, while getting to enjoy God’s awesome creation!