The Wind and the Spirit

The Wind and the Spirit

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:5-8

Paul rightly said that the gospel we believe in would be seen as foolishness to the perishing. We live in a world today where anything spiritual is seen as wishful thinking, weakness of a small mind or fairy tales. With our scientific and technological advancements, humans have reached a level of arrogance that has never been seen before- not even at the Tower of Babel. The idea of an invisible, all powerful and all-knowing God is just too much for many people today.

Of course we all, religious and atheist, live daily with faith and blind belief. No one on earth holds their breath before the sun rises- not sure if this day perhaps it won’t. No one crosses their fingers when they flip the light switch, unsure is the lights will actually turn on or not (well perhaps in some places that is something people fret about). Most have no problem trusting the gears and cords that pull elevators up and down even though they are hidden away behind the walls and elevator ceiling. The truth is that there are a hundred things we simply trust will work throughout our day. Many of those things are invisible just like the wind.

I love the analogy that Jesus uses between the Spirit and the wind. Both can be so powerful and we can see the results of the wind all around us even though the wind itself is always invisible. The Spirit is the same way. We see miracles and answered prays and yet the power behind those things remains unseen.

We must reach a place where we trust just as much in the Spirit as we do that light switch in our home. We know the switch will turn on the lights. We must also know that the Spirit will do everything that we need in our lives. That faith must grow day by day.

It is that faith in the unseen and the living with the power of the unseen that is being ‘in the spirit’. When we can walk forward without seeing the next step- that is being in the spirit. It is faith without having to see. That should be the goal for all of us.

I pray that this week we can all work on this. Let us trust the unseen Spirit in our lives. Let us grow in that faith and we too can be spirit.

 

Blessings

Pr. Steven Couto

Born Again

Born Again

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

John 3:3-4

We must be born again. This was a brand new idea from Jesus. Some try and twist together some Old Testament ideas that speak of this but they don’t really speak about what Jesus is bringing here. Being born again is a key precept of the Christian life. Let’s take a moment to truly understand the meaning.

The first thing you must realize is that everyone must and is going to die. Now you might say- wait, those who will still be alive will not die but be transformed. Your right of course but you are giving an answer similar to Nicodemus. That thought is too literal and physical in nature.

To be born again, spiritually speaking and how Jesus meant it, means letting your original life and person die. The character, goals and person who exists before encountering Christ must die. Eternal life is not offered to that person (again spiritually speaking).

Salvation is giving up the old person with their sinful beginnings and limited life and accepting a new person that is spiritually filled and can live forever. Paul speaks about this in 1 Corinthians 15:46-49:

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

Being born again is about a new you being chosen. That new you is born connected with God and is filled with the Spirit. It is the new person who is given the gift of salvation and eternal life. Even physically speaking, these sinful bodies are given up and replaced with new perfect bodies at the resurrection. In a sense our old bodies die so that we can have new ones- even if it is within a moment and twinkling of an eye.

To be saved we must be born again. That is a choice that we must all make within our lives. Are you willing to give up who you are for who God wants you to be?

 

Blessings

Pr. Steven Couto

I Know Your Heart

I Know Your Heart

23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

John 2:22-25

It must have been very difficult for Jesus socially while he lived in this world. As a child, while other kids were getting into trouble and making mistakes, Jesus was living a perfect life. I can only imagine the rejection he must have felt from other kids. As an adult, he always seemed to do the exact opposite of what people were expecting. He would speak hard things to hear, like destroy this Temple, when people were anxious to hear him. That only caused anger in most. In these verses, the Bible says that there were many who wanted to believe in him and make him their leader but instead he stayed away. He could never really win with people.

But there was always a reason for his backwards behavior. He always did the unexpected because that is truly what people needed instead of wanted. He knew their hearts. They wanted to make him king so that Rome would fall. It had nothing to do with God or real salvation. They just wanted to have their land back and be blessed. Jesus knew that that would never give long lasting help. If Jesus had toppled Rome and given the Jews their land back, they’d just go back to their Old Testament ways. They would veer even further from God and only return back to where they started.

The same is true for us. There are times when we ask things of God but it’s not what’s best for us. Like the Jews in Jesus’ day, we often think more about the now instead of the future. God wants to give us eternal life with Him in heaven. To get there, there are things that God has to keep away from us or we too would veer away from him.

Are you willing to accept that God knows better than yourself when it comes to your life? Are you willing to accept that there’s things God will not give us because it’s what’s best for our spiritual lives? At times this can be hard to accept but it is true.

May we all find a way to live in peace with God’s plan for our lives. He knows our hearts as well.

 

God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto

The Temple

The Mighty Dollar

Family Problems

Family Problems

Keep The Party Going

Keep The Party Going

When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

John 2:9-10

Jesus seems to have been the life of the party. People liked to be around him and he wasn’t one to refuse a party request. That sounds strange to say when I think of Jesus because growing up I was always shown a picture of a quiet, gentle and reserved person. But when I think about how the kids loved to be around him, I really do begin to wonder what kind of a life Jesus led. He must have been happy and friendly. He must have had a spirit that made you excited to be close.

At this wedding feast, I can only imagine what people must have said once the news began to spread that Jesus had made or brought such good wine. The party would have been over if not for Jesus. When you think about it, it is a strange way to begin your ministry but even Jesus himself said it was not yet his time. Mary seemed to push this outcome.

Jesus- the one who kept the party going. I don’t think many evangelists today would want that moniker as their beginning but maybe I’m wrong. No one was healed on that day. The lame did not walk. The blind did not see. Fish and bread were not multiplied. No one walked on water. No. People had wine (for grape juice for those annoyed that I keep saying wine) so that they could continue to celebrate a wedding.

God can use many different situations for his glory. Even a party can be the scene for spreading the love and truth of salvation to the world. Jesus’ other miracles were probably much more impactful to many people but I’m sure someone carried something in their hearts from that first miracle.

God is waiting to use us as well in whatever situation we find ourselves in. We too can be used by God for his glory. When we least expect it or in the strangest of situations, God is ready. The question of course is- are we ready?

 

Blessings

Pr. Steven Couto

Everything Has A Start

Everything Has A Start

11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. 12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

John 2:3-8

Jesus waited about thirty years before beginning his ministry. We see this in the gospel of Luke 3:23:

23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,

Why did he wait that long and what exactly did Jesus do during those thirty years? We will probably never have difinitive answers to these two questions until we can ask him ourselves in heaven. But it made me think about our own lives. What was my goal in life when I was thrity? For those who haven’t reached thirty yet, what will be your goals when you reach it?

Cana of course is when Jesus began to show his glory as expressed in the text. His ministry began a little before when he was baptised, fasted in the desert and then began to ask people to follow him.

According to John, after these few events, we are introduced to the first Passover during his ministry in Jerusalem. It is here that things go into full motion.

13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

John 2:13

As we’ll see next week, things turn quickly into chaos at the Temple but we’ll not spoil that story here just yet.

Instead I would like for us to ponder or compare our life’s journey and Jesus’. At thirty years old, his path was set and he went in 100%. He didn’t deviate or try different roads. He knew his mission and went all in.

That should bring up two big questions for us. Do we know our own individual missions and are we putting our entire effort into it. Think about that this week and see what God tells you.

Pr. Steven Couto

Whatever He Says

Can I Have Fun?