Category Archives: born again

Book Review – Finally Alive

I called it perfect timing as I finished the last few sentences of “Finally Alive” by John Piper and at the same time pulled piper-aliveinto our driveway after another day of work and commuting to Omaha. In the forty-five minite trip each way, God has afforded me the opportunity to read  (listen to) some excellent books. I have read seven or eight books since I made the decision to stop listening to so much talk radio. None of those books filled me with as much such joy as “Finally Alive“. I have read several books by John Piper. Some I’ve had difficulty with because of the way they’ve been structured. I’ve had to stop and re-read a chapter in order to fully grasp the concept he presents before I continue through the book. This was not the case with this book. Only once did I stop the audio and re-listen to the few sentences. I did it because the text had brought such a smile to my face that I wanted to experience that emotion again.

The book is wrtten about regeneration, and what it means to be born again. The term born again has been used in such diverse ways it is hard for anyone who does not know scripture to nail it down. It is used by the world to label fundamentalists or evangelicals. I was once asked during a religious discussion if I was “one of those born again Christians”. I replied with a question of my own, “What do you mean by the term “born again”? The word is indeed thrown around and used outside of it’s biblical context. It is used so much it is hard to distinguish those who claim to be born again and live like the world from those who do not. Piper helps the reader to examine this term and it’s meaning as it relates to scripture. He also shows us how to be certain our faith is genuine and our conversion real. Are you truly “born again”?

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16 Blocks; Can people change?

Earlier this week I watched a movie I’ve wanted to see since I missed it at the theater. The movie is “16 Blocks” and stars Bruce Willis. I have enjoyed most of Willis’ movies so I wanted to see this one. The character Willis plays in this movie is not like any other leading role I have ever seen him in. His character is basically a drunk, shiftless, cop. His make up makes him look like he lives from bottle to bottle, and older than he has looked in any of his previous movies. The movie ended up being very good and caused me to think about the quote “good” in people and can they really change? The plot goes something like this:

Jack, a cop (played by Willis) is given a last minute task for the day to transport a black, nobody, criminal (Eddie) from jail to the courthouse. Eddie has to be at the courthouse, 16 blocks away (thus the title of the movie) in three hours to testify for the district attorney. When Jack stops the car along the way to purchase a bottle of booze, they encounter two thugs who were obviously paid to execute Eddie. Jack kills one of them and they escape from the other. They elude the thug by ducking into a bar known by Jack. He calls for backup and his ex-partner (Frank) and two other cops show up at the bar. Through conversation with his ex-partner, Jack learns that this kid he is transporting is going to testify against some cops that his ex-partner wants to protect. As one of the cops is about to kill Eddie, Jack makes a split second decision and pulls an old shotgun out from under the bar and shoots the cop. Jack and the kid Eddie back their way out of the bar and escape. This sets off a long series of events with Jack and Eddie trying to avoid all the other cops trying to kill them and stop Eddie from getting to the courthouse to testify.

Through these series of events Jack and Eddie get to know each other. This happens mostly because of the constant talking by Eddie. One of the subplots to the movie is Jack trying to rationalize the worth of this nobody, black kid, and risking his own life to get him to the courthouse. During a conversation as they are trying to avoid being seen by other cops Eddie tells Jack that he can change from his past criminal behavior, and that he wants to be a baker. The cynical Jack states “Times change, seasons change, but people don’t change.” Later in another scene, Eddie has eluded the bad cops and is on his way to the courthouse but changes his mind and goes back to help Jack. When he finds Jack he says “Chuck Berry has served time in jail and he changed, Barry White spent four months in jail and he changed, I can change.” I am going to pose a question in the text below but for now I will leave the rest for those who haven’t seen the movie.

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Posted by on August 31, 2007 in 16 Blocks, born again, The gospel


Born of water and Spirit?

This past week I was listening to an audio sermon on CD by Timothy Juhnke, seniorJesus and Nicodemus pastor of Faith Community Church in Kansas City, MO. I received the CD from Nick a new friend who has visited OBC on several occasions. Nick and I have the great state of Tennessee in our past in common. He gravitated to me when he spotted my bright orange Tennessee Vols jacket one worship day. Sorry I digress.

Pastor Timothy uses the expository preaching style that I love so much and he is taking his congregation through the book of John. The sermon Nick turned me on to is from last year and is on John 3:1-5. A religious leader from the Pharisaical sect whose name was Nicodemus comes to see Jesus in the middle of the night to ask him some soul searching questions. Nicodemus acknowledges that Jesus has to be from God. The Lord Jesus states that:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.

Exactly what does this “born again” mean. Nicodemus questions the Lord again displaying that he is unsure what Jesus is saying. The Lord then makes the statement:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.

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