Why do you suppose that Jesus spoke in riddles and metaphors that no one seemed to understand?
Certainly Nicodemus had trouble following this talk about being born again
When Old Nick heard Jesus talk about being born one picture came to mind
that messy sight of a baby emerging from his mother's womb
and entering the outside world
And Nick knew that couldn't be what Jesus was talking about
Jesus was supposed to be talking about spiritual things
Jesus was supposed to be talking about how one inherits eternal life
how one gets to the Kingdom of God
Why on earth would Jesus get that all mixed up with that messy process called birth?
I'm not sure of course, but I think Jesus spoke in riddles and used those metaphors precisely because they called to mind such vivid images
vivid and complex images
a picture of something we knew about
that was in some way a reflection of something beyond our knowledge
And a picture is worth a thousand words!
Jesus was asking us to think about that picture of birth, to look at that picture and see it as a parallel to another process that we can't see
Have you ever spent time looking at one of those Dutch paintings that are so realistic the artist included the crumbs on the table and the scrap of paper on the floor?
Or maybe you like to look at old photographs that show what Eureka Springs looked like at the turn of the century
If you've done either one of those things, you know that
the first time you look at a picture, you see one set of things,
but if you look again at another time, different details come to your attention.
That's why pictures are worth a thousand words
They say different things to us at different times
That's why we can read a good book or watch a good movie over and over,
We'll always catch something we didn't see the first time.
We'll focus on something different each time
So let's look again at the picture Jesus drew for us and see if we learn something new about spiritual birth
What is it that happens when a child is born?
Is it that a new life begins?
Scientists and churches can't agree on the exact moment when life begins
Some say life begins at conception, some say life begins at the moment of quickening when a child begins to move
Some say life begins when the child is capable of living outside his mother's womb
But I don’t know anyone who claims that life doesn't begin until the actual moment of birth
certainly not any mother who has felt her baby kick and squirm for months
most mothers will tell you that she knew her baby's personality long before birth
Not gender necessarily
But whether the kid would be strong willed and athletic
Or a gentle cuddler
And yet when we ask a person how long he or she has lived, they'll tell you the number of years since they were born
Is that just for convenience?
Or is birth such a significant event
that everything that came before is less than life, less than living
in comparison to what comes after
Birth is essentially just a baby's being moved from one place to another
being pushed from a warm, dark, safe place into a cold, bright and dangerous one
before birth the baby rests in a place with a roughly constant temperature and the best shock absorbing system God could design
where his every need is provided for him without effort on his part
his nutritional needs are met without his even having to suck, less well cry
he doesn't even have to breathe
after birth he finds himself in a place where his own body must work constantly just to keep him warm, just to get air and food and water
Being born is being forced to leave
not just one place for another,
but one kind of existence for another
Birth is also the moment of separation
Before birth, you are surrounded by and filled with another human being,
inside the womb of your mother
connected to her
sharing her food, her air, her blood
But when that umbilical cord is cut, you are cut off from every other human being
from that day forward no matter how close you get to someone, you'll never be inside his or her skin again
no matter how dependent we all are on one another, from that day forward we live or die inside our own shell
Separated
Isolated
Apart from
There's one other thing about birth.
In almost every culture, the anniversary of your birth will be celebrated or at least noted.
And that is strange
Almost every other anniversary you will mark will be a date on which you did something, a date on which you achieved something
a marriage
a graduation
an employment
But birth is something that you didn't do
Birth is done to you or for you
Mom does most of the work!
No one ever gave birth to themselves
We just receive the benefit of mother's hard labor
Now what does this picture have to do with entering the Kingdom of God?
What conclusions can we draw about this second birth Jesus was talking about? 
When we look in the mirror that Jesus was holding up what is the image we see?
First of all, I think we see movement
moving from one place or one kind of existence to another
a radical change in the way your life is lived
but remember, we are looking in a mirror and in a mirror things are often seen in reverse
It seems to me that the movement in our spiritual birth is the reverse of the movement in our physical birth
When we were physically born we went from a place of safety and comfort to a place of danger and discomfort. 
We went from a completely dependent existence
to an existence of growing independence
When we are spiritually reborn, we go from a place of danger and discomfort to a place of safety and comfort. 
From an existence of apparent independence
toward an existence of growing dependence on God.
Similarly, while our physical birth was the moment of separation, our spiritual birth is the moment of reconnection
Connection with Christ and our fellow Christians
being wrapped in the Holy Spirit
being filled with the Spirit
And from that moment on we will never be completely alone and isolated again
our separation from God is ended
someone else lives in our hearts and minds, lives in our skins with us.
But there are some things about spiritual birth and physical birth that are parallel, not reversed
First, while we were certainly alive before our spiritual birth, just as we were alive in the womb,
in both cases something so radical has happened that everything that came before
is less than life,
less than living,
in comparison to what comes after
and Most importantly, both kinds of birth are done for us
In our spiritual birth Christ did the work
we receive the benefit
No one ever gave birth to themselves
and just as a mother might try to explain to her child how much she loves him
by saying something like:
“I suffered through 12 hours of labor pains

to give you birth –

so that you might have life.”

God says:
“I so loved the world that I gave my only son . . . who suffered through the agony of the cross and three days in the grave to in order

to give us birth . . .

so that we who believe in him might have eternal life”

Metaphors are powerful
But you kind of have to sit with them for a while
To see all the details
Let’s take a moment of silence, if only to promise ourselves that we will look at this picture again and again.

 Born Again Christian

Why do you suppose that Jesus spoke in riddles and metaphors that no one seemed to understand?
Certainly Nicodemus had trouble following this talk about being born again
When Old Nick heard Jesus talk about being born one picture came to mind
that messy sight of a baby emerging from his mother's womb
and entering the outside world
And Nick knew that couldn't be what Jesus was talking about
Jesus was supposed to be talking about spiritual things
Jesus was supposed to be talking about how one inherits eternal life
how one gets to the Kingdom of God
Why on earth would Jesus get that all mixed up with that messy process called birth?
I'm not sure of course, but I think Jesus spoke in riddles and used those metaphors precisely because they called to mind such vivid images
vivid and complex images
a picture of something we knew about
that was in some way a reflection of something beyond our knowledge
And a picture is worth a thousand words!
Jesus was asking us to think about that picture of birth, to look at that picture and see it as a parallel to another process that we can't see
Have you ever spent time looking at one of those Dutch paintings that are so realistic the artist included the crumbs on the table and the scrap of paper on the floor?
Or maybe you like to look at old photographs that show what Eureka Springs looked like at the turn of the century
If you've done either one of those things, you know that
the first time you look at a picture, you see one set of things,
but if you look again at another time, different details come to your attention.
That's why pictures are worth a thousand words
They say different things to us at different times
That's why we can read a good book or watch a good movie over and over,
We'll always catch something we didn't see the first time.
We'll focus on something different each time
So let's look again at the picture Jesus drew for us and see if we learn something new about spiritual birth
What is it that happens when a child is born?
Is it that a new life begins?
Scientists and churches can't agree on the exact moment when life begins
Some say life begins at conception, some say life begins at the moment of quickening when a child begins to move
Some say life begins when the child is capable of living outside his mother's womb
But I don’t know anyone who claims that life doesn't begin until the actual moment of birth
certainly not any mother who has felt her baby kick and squirm for months
most mothers will tell you that she knew her baby's personality long before birth
Not gender necessarily
But whether the kid would be strong willed and athletic
Or a gentle cuddler
And yet when we ask a person how long he or she has lived, they'll tell you the number of years since they were born
Is that just for convenience?
Or is birth such a significant event
that everything that came before is less than life, less than living
in comparison to what comes after
Birth is essentially just a baby's being moved from one place to another
being pushed from a warm, dark, safe place into a cold, bright and dangerous one
before birth the baby rests in a place with a roughly constant temperature and the best shock absorbing system God could design
where his every need is provided for him without effort on his part
his nutritional needs are met without his even having to suck, less well cry
he doesn't even have to breathe
after birth he finds himself in a place where his own body must work constantly just to keep him warm, just to get air and food and water
Being born is being forced to leave
not just one place for another,
but one kind of existence for another
Birth is also the moment of separation
Before birth, you are surrounded by and filled with another human being,
inside the womb of your mother
connected to her
sharing her food, her air, her blood
But when that umbilical cord is cut, you are cut off from every other human being
from that day forward no matter how close you get to someone, you'll never be inside his or her skin again
no matter how dependent we all are on one another, from that day forward we live or die inside our own shell
Separated
Isolated
Apart from
There's one other thing about birth.
In almost every culture, the anniversary of your birth will be celebrated or at least noted.
And that is strange
Almost every other anniversary you will mark will be a date on which you did something, a date on which you achieved something
a marriage
a graduation
an employment
But birth is something that you didn't do
Birth is done to you or for you
Mom does most of the work!
No one ever gave birth to themselves
We just receive the benefit of mother's hard labor
Now what does this picture have to do with entering the Kingdom of God?
What conclusions can we draw about this second birth Jesus was talking about? 
When we look in the mirror that Jesus was holding up what is the image we see?
First of all, I think we see movement
moving from one place or one kind of existence to another
a radical change in the way your life is lived
but remember, we are looking in a mirror and in a mirror things are often seen in reverse
It seems to me that the movement in our spiritual birth is the reverse of the movement in our physical birth
When we were physically born we went from a place of safety and comfort to a place of danger and discomfort. 
We went from a completely dependent existence
to an existence of growing independence
When we are spiritually reborn, we go from a place of danger and discomfort to a place of safety and comfort. 
From an existence of apparent independence
toward an existence of growing dependence on God.
Similarly, while our physical birth was the moment of separation, our spiritual birth is the moment of reconnection
Connection with Christ and our fellow Christians
being wrapped in the Holy Spirit
being filled with the Spirit
And from that moment on we will never be completely alone and isolated again
our separation from God is ended
someone else lives in our hearts and minds, lives in our skins with us.
But there are some things about spiritual birth and physical birth that are parallel, not reversed
First, while we were certainly alive before our spiritual birth, just as we were alive in the womb,
in both cases something so radical has happened that everything that came before
is less than life,
less than living,
in comparison to what comes after
and Most importantly, both kinds of birth are done for us
In our spiritual birth Christ did the work
we receive the benefit
No one ever gave birth to themselves
and just as a mother might try to explain to her child how much she loves him
by saying something like:
“I suffered through 12 hours of labor pains

to give you birth –

so that you might have life.”

God says:
“I so loved the world that I gave my only son . . . who suffered through the agony of the cross and three days in the grave to in order

to give us birth . . .

so that we who believe in him might have eternal life”

Metaphors are powerful
But you kind of have to sit with them for a while
To see all the details
Let’s take a moment of silence, if only to promise ourselves that we will look at this picture again and again.

 Born Again Christian

Why do you suppose that Jesus spoke in riddles and metaphors that no one seemed to understand?
Certainly Nicodemus had trouble following this talk about being born again
When Old Nick heard Jesus talk about being born one picture came to mind
that messy sight of a baby emerging from his mother's womb
and entering the outside world
And Nick knew that couldn't be what Jesus was talking about
Jesus was supposed to be talking about spiritual things
Jesus was supposed to be talking about how one inherits eternal life
how one gets to the Kingdom of God
Why on earth would Jesus get that all mixed up with that messy process called birth?
I'm not sure of course, but I think Jesus spoke in riddles and used those metaphors precisely because they called to mind such vivid images
vivid and complex images
a picture of something we knew about
that was in some way a reflection of something beyond our knowledge
And a picture is worth a thousand words!
Jesus was asking us to think about that picture of birth, to look at that picture and see it as a parallel to another process that we can't see
Have you ever spent time looking at one of those Dutch paintings that are so realistic the artist included the crumbs on the table and the scrap of paper on the floor?
Or maybe you like to look at old photographs that show what Eureka Springs looked like at the turn of the century
If you've done either one of those things, you know that
the first time you look at a picture, you see one set of things,
but if you look again at another time, different details come to your attention.
That's why pictures are worth a thousand words
They say different things to us at different times
That's why we can read a good book or watch a good movie over and over,
We'll always catch something we didn't see the first time.
We'll focus on something different each time
So let's look again at the picture Jesus drew for us and see if we learn something new about spiritual birth
What is it that happens when a child is born?
Is it that a new life begins?
Scientists and churches can't agree on the exact moment when life begins
Some say life begins at conception, some say life begins at the moment of quickening when a child begins to move
Some say life begins when the child is capable of living outside his mother's womb
But I don’t know anyone who claims that life doesn't begin until the actual moment of birth
certainly not any mother who has felt her baby kick and squirm for months
most mothers will tell you that she knew her baby's personality long before birth
Not gender necessarily
But whether the kid would be strong willed and athletic
Or a gentle cuddler
And yet when we ask a person how long he or she has lived, they'll tell you the number of years since they were born
Is that just for convenience?
Or is birth such a significant event
that everything that came before is less than life, less than living
in comparison to what comes after
Birth is essentially just a baby's being moved from one place to another
being pushed from a warm, dark, safe place into a cold, bright and dangerous one
before birth the baby rests in a place with a roughly constant temperature and the best shock absorbing system God could design
where his every need is provided for him without effort on his part
his nutritional needs are met without his even having to suck, less well cry
he doesn't even have to breathe
after birth he finds himself in a place where his own body must work constantly just to keep him warm, just to get air and food and water
Being born is being forced to leave
not just one place for another,
but one kind of existence for another
Birth is also the moment of separation
Before birth, you are surrounded by and filled with another human being,
inside the womb of your mother
connected to her
sharing her food, her air, her blood
But when that umbilical cord is cut, you are cut off from every other human being
from that day forward no matter how close you get to someone, you'll never be inside his or her skin again
no matter how dependent we all are on one another, from that day forward we live or die inside our own shell
Separated
Isolated
Apart from
There's one other thing about birth.
In almost every culture, the anniversary of your birth will be celebrated or at least noted.
And that is strange
Almost every other anniversary you will mark will be a date on which you did something, a date on which you achieved something
a marriage
a graduation
an employment
But birth is something that you didn't do
Birth is done to you or for you
Mom does most of the work!
No one ever gave birth to themselves
We just receive the benefit of mother's hard labor
Now what does this picture have to do with entering the Kingdom of God?
What conclusions can we draw about this second birth Jesus was talking about? 
When we look in the mirror that Jesus was holding up what is the image we see?
First of all, I think we see movement
moving from one place or one kind of existence to another
a radical change in the way your life is lived
but remember, we are looking in a mirror and in a mirror things are often seen in reverse
It seems to me that the movement in our spiritual birth is the reverse of the movement in our physical birth
When we were physically born we went from a place of safety and comfort to a place of danger and discomfort. 
We went from a completely dependent existence
to an existence of growing independence
When we are spiritually reborn, we go from a place of danger and discomfort to a place of safety and comfort. 
From an existence of apparent independence
toward an existence of growing dependence on God.
Similarly, while our physical birth was the moment of separation, our spiritual birth is the moment of reconnection
Connection with Christ and our fellow Christians
being wrapped in the Holy Spirit
being filled with the Spirit
And from that moment on we will never be completely alone and isolated again
our separation from God is ended
someone else lives in our hearts and minds, lives in our skins with us.
But there are some things about spiritual birth and physical birth that are parallel, not reversed
First, while we were certainly alive before our spiritual birth, just as we were alive in the womb,
in both cases something so radical has happened that everything that came before
is less than life,
less than living,
in comparison to what comes after
and Most importantly, both kinds of birth are done for us
In our spiritual birth Christ did the work
we receive the benefit
No one ever gave birth to themselves
and just as a mother might try to explain to her child how much she loves him
by saying something like:
“I suffered through 12 hours of labor pains

to give you birth –

so that you might have life.”

God says:
“I so loved the world that I gave my only son . . . who suffered through the agony of the cross and three days in the grave to in order

to give us birth . . .

so that we who believe in him might have eternal life”

Metaphors are powerful
But you kind of have to sit with them for a while
To see all the details
Let’s take a moment of silence, if only to promise ourselves that we will look at this picture again and again.

 Born Again Christian

Why do you suppose that Jesus spoke in riddles and metaphors that no one seemed to understand?
Certainly Nicodemus had trouble following this talk about being born again
When Old Nick heard Jesus talk about being born one picture came to mind
that messy sight of a baby emerging from his mother's womb
and entering the outside world
And Nick knew that couldn't be what Jesus was talking about
Jesus was supposed to be talking about spiritual things
Jesus was supposed to be talking about how one inherits eternal life
how one gets to the Kingdom of God
Why on earth would Jesus get that all mixed up with that messy process called birth?
I'm not sure of course, but I think Jesus spoke in riddles and used those metaphors precisely because they called to mind such vivid images
vivid and complex images
a picture of something we knew about
that was in some way a reflection of something beyond our knowledge
And a picture is worth a thousand words!
Jesus was asking us to think about that picture of birth, to look at that picture and see it as a parallel to another process that we can't see
Have you ever spent time looking at one of those Dutch paintings that are so realistic the artist included the crumbs on the table and the scrap of paper on the floor?
Or maybe you like to look at old photographs that show what Eureka Springs looked like at the turn of the century
If you've done either one of those things, you know that
the first time you look at a picture, you see one set of things,
but if you look again at another time, different details come to your attention.
That's why pictures are worth a thousand words
They say different things to us at different times
That's why we can read a good book or watch a good movie over and over,
We'll always catch something we didn't see the first time.
We'll focus on something different each time
So let's look again at the picture Jesus drew for us and see if we learn something new about spiritual birth
What is it that happens when a child is born?
Is it that a new life begins?
Scientists and churches can't agree on the exact moment when life begins
Some say life begins at conception, some say life begins at the moment of quickening when a child begins to move
Some say life begins when the child is capable of living outside his mother's womb
But I don’t know anyone who claims that life doesn't begin until the actual moment of birth
certainly not any mother who has felt her baby kick and squirm for months
most mothers will tell you that she knew her baby's personality long before birth
Not gender necessarily
But whether the kid would be strong willed and athletic
Or a gentle cuddler
And yet when we ask a person how long he or she has lived, they'll tell you the number of years since they were born
Is that just for convenience?
Or is birth such a significant event
that everything that came before is less than life, less than living
in comparison to what comes after
Birth is essentially just a baby's being moved from one place to another
being pushed from a warm, dark, safe place into a cold, bright and dangerous one
before birth the baby rests in a place with a roughly constant temperature and the best shock absorbing system God could design
where his every need is provided for him without effort on his part
his nutritional needs are met without his even having to suck, less well cry
he doesn't even have to breathe
after birth he finds himself in a place where his own body must work constantly just to keep him warm, just to get air and food and water
Being born is being forced to leave
not just one place for another,
but one kind of existence for another
Birth is also the moment of separation
Before birth, you are surrounded by and filled with another human being,
inside the womb of your mother
connected to her
sharing her food, her air, her blood
But when that umbilical cord is cut, you are cut off from every other human being
from that day forward no matter how close you get to someone, you'll never be inside his or her skin again
no matter how dependent we all are on one another, from that day forward we live or die inside our own shell
Separated
Isolated
Apart from
There's one other thing about birth.
In almost every culture, the anniversary of your birth will be celebrated or at least noted.
And that is strange
Almost every other anniversary you will mark will be a date on which you did something, a date on which you achieved something
a marriage
a graduation
an employment
But birth is something that you didn't do
Birth is done to you or for you
Mom does most of the work!
No one ever gave birth to themselves
We just receive the benefit of mother's hard labor
Now what does this picture have to do with entering the Kingdom of God?
What conclusions can we draw about this second birth Jesus was talking about? 
When we look in the mirror that Jesus was holding up what is the image we see?
First of all, I think we see movement
moving from one place or one kind of existence to another
a radical change in the way your life is lived
but remember, we are looking in a mirror and in a mirror things are often seen in reverse
It seems to me that the movement in our spiritual birth is the reverse of the movement in our physical birth
When we were physically born we went from a place of safety and comfort to a place of danger and discomfort. 
We went from a completely dependent existence
to an existence of growing independence
When we are spiritually reborn, we go from a place of danger and discomfort to a place of safety and comfort. 
From an existence of apparent independence
toward an existence of growing dependence on God.
Similarly, while our physical birth was the moment of separation, our spiritual birth is the moment of reconnection
Connection with Christ and our fellow Christians
being wrapped in the Holy Spirit
being filled with the Spirit
And from that moment on we will never be completely alone and isolated again
our separation from God is ended
someone else lives in our hearts and minds, lives in our skins with us.
But there are some things about spiritual birth and physical birth that are parallel, not reversed
First, while we were certainly alive before our spiritual birth, just as we were alive in the womb,
in both cases something so radical has happened that everything that came before
is less than life,
less than living,
in comparison to what comes after
and Most importantly, both kinds of birth are done for us
In our spiritual birth Christ did the work
we receive the benefit
No one ever gave birth to themselves
and just as a mother might try to explain to her child how much she loves him
by saying something like:
“I suffered through 12 hours of labor pains

to give you birth –

so that you might have life.”

God says:
“I so loved the world that I gave my only son . . . who suffered through the agony of the cross and three days in the grave to in order

to give us birth . . .

so that we who believe in him might have eternal life”

Metaphors are powerful
But you kind of have to sit with them for a while
To see all the details
Let’s take a moment of silence, if only to promise ourselves that we will look at this picture again and again.

 Born Again Christian

Why do you suppose that Jesus spoke in riddles and metaphors that no one seemed to understand?
Certainly Nicodemus had trouble following this talk about being born again
When Old Nick heard Jesus talk about being born one picture came to mind
that messy sight of a baby emerging from his mother's womb
and entering the outside world
And Nick knew that couldn't be what Jesus was talking about
Jesus was supposed to be talking about spiritual things
Jesus was supposed to be talking about how one inherits eternal life
how one gets to the Kingdom of God
Why on earth would Jesus get that all mixed up with that messy process called birth?
I'm not sure of course, but I think Jesus spoke in riddles and used those metaphors precisely because they called to mind such vivid images
vivid and complex images
a picture of something we knew about
that was in some way a reflection of something beyond our knowledge
And a picture is worth a thousand words!
Jesus was asking us to think about that picture of birth, to look at that picture and see it as a parallel to another process that we can't see
Have you ever spent time looking at one of those Dutch paintings that are so realistic the artist included the crumbs on the table and the scrap of paper on the floor?
Or maybe you like to look at old photographs that show what Eureka Springs looked like at the turn of the century
If you've done either one of those things, you know that
the first time you look at a picture, you see one set of things,
but if you look again at another time, different details come to your attention.
That's why pictures are worth a thousand words
They say different things to us at different times
That's why we can read a good book or watch a good movie over and over,
We'll always catch something we didn't see the first time.
We'll focus on something different each time
So let's look again at the picture Jesus drew for us and see if we learn something new about spiritual birth
What is it that happens when a child is born?
Is it that a new life begins?
Scientists and churches can't agree on the exact moment when life begins
Some say life begins at conception, some say life begins at the moment of quickening when a child begins to move
Some say life begins when the child is capable of living outside his mother's womb
But I don’t know anyone who claims that life doesn't begin until the actual moment of birth
certainly not any mother who has felt her baby kick and squirm for months
most mothers will tell you that she knew her baby's personality long before birth
Not gender necessarily
But whether the kid would be strong willed and athletic
Or a gentle cuddler
And yet when we ask a person how long he or she has lived, they'll tell you the number of years since they were born
Is that just for convenience?
Or is birth such a significant event
that everything that came before is less than life, less than living
in comparison to what comes after
Birth is essentially just a baby's being moved from one place to another
being pushed from a warm, dark, safe place into a cold, bright and dangerous one
before birth the baby rests in a place with a roughly constant temperature and the best shock absorbing system God could design
where his every need is provided for him without effort on his part
his nutritional needs are met without his even having to suck, less well cry
he doesn't even have to breathe
after birth he finds himself in a place where his own body must work constantly just to keep him warm, just to get air and food and water
Being born is being forced to leave
not just one place for another,
but one kind of existence for another
Birth is also the moment of separation
Before birth, you are surrounded by and filled with another human being,
inside the womb of your mother
connected to her
sharing her food, her air, her blood
But when that umbilical cord is cut, you are cut off from every other human being
from that day forward no matter how close you get to someone, you'll never be inside his or her skin again
no matter how dependent we all are on one another, from that day forward we live or die inside our own shell
Separated
Isolated
Apart from
There's one other thing about birth.
In almost every culture, the anniversary of your birth will be celebrated or at least noted.
And that is strange
Almost every other anniversary you will mark will be a date on which you did something, a date on which you achieved something
a marriage
a graduation
an employment
But birth is something that you didn't do
Birth is done to you or for you
Mom does most of the work!
No one ever gave birth to themselves
We just receive the benefit of mother's hard labor
Now what does this picture have to do with entering the Kingdom of God?
What conclusions can we draw about this second birth Jesus was talking about? 
When we look in the mirror that Jesus was holding up what is the image we see?
First of all, I think we see movement
moving from one place or one kind of existence to another
a radical change in the way your life is lived
but remember, we are looking in a mirror and in a mirror things are often seen in reverse
It seems to me that the movement in our spiritual birth is the reverse of the movement in our physical birth
When we were physically born we went from a place of safety and comfort to a place of danger and discomfort. 
We went from a completely dependent existence
to an existence of growing independence
When we are spiritually reborn, we go from a place of danger and discomfort to a place of safety and comfort. 
From an existence of apparent independence
toward an existence of growing dependence on God.
Similarly, while our physical birth was the moment of separation, our spiritual birth is the moment of reconnection
Connection with Christ and our fellow Christians
being wrapped in the Holy Spirit
being filled with the Spirit
And from that moment on we will never be completely alone and isolated again
our separation from God is ended
someone else lives in our hearts and minds, lives in our skins with us.
But there are some things about spiritual birth and physical birth that are parallel, not reversed
First, while we were certainly alive before our spiritual birth, just as we were alive in the womb,
in both cases something so radical has happened that everything that came before
is less than life,
less than living,
in comparison to what comes after
and Most importantly, both kinds of birth are done for us
In our spiritual birth Christ did the work
we receive the benefit
No one ever gave birth to themselves
and just as a mother might try to explain to her child how much she loves him
by saying something like:
“I suffered through 12 hours of labor pains

to give you birth –

so that you might have life.”

God says:
“I so loved the world that I gave my only son . . . who suffered through the agony of the cross and three days in the grave to in order

to give us birth . . .

so that we who believe in him might have eternal life”

Metaphors are powerful
But you kind of have to sit with them for a while
To see all the details
Let’s take a moment of silence, if only to promise ourselves that we will look at this picture again and again.

 Born Again Christian

Why do you suppose that Jesus spoke in riddles and metaphors that no one seemed to understand?
Certainly Nicodemus had trouble following this talk about being born again
When Old Nick heard Jesus talk about being born one picture came to mind
that messy sight of a baby emerging from his mother's womb
and entering the outside world
And Nick knew that couldn't be what Jesus was talking about
Jesus was supposed to be talking about spiritual things
Jesus was supposed to be talking about how one inherits eternal life
how one gets to the Kingdom of God
Why on earth would Jesus get that all mixed up with that messy process called birth?
I'm not sure of course, but I think Jesus spoke in riddles and used those metaphors precisely because they called to mind such vivid images
vivid and complex images
a picture of something we knew about
that was in some way a reflection of something beyond our knowledge
And a picture is worth a thousand words!
Jesus was asking us to think about that picture of birth, to look at that picture and see it as a parallel to another process that we can't see
Have you ever spent time looking at one of those Dutch paintings that are so realistic the artist included the crumbs on the table and the scrap of paper on the floor?
Or maybe you like to look at old photographs that show what Eureka Springs looked like at the turn of the century
If you've done either one of those things, you know that
the first time you look at a picture, you see one set of things,
but if you look again at another time, different details come to your attention.
That's why pictures are worth a thousand words
They say different things to us at different times
That's why we can read a good book or watch a good movie over and over,
We'll always catch something we didn't see the first time.
We'll focus on something different each time
So let's look again at the picture Jesus drew for us and see if we learn something new about spiritual birth
What is it that happens when a child is born?
Is it that a new life begins?
Scientists and churches can't agree on the exact moment when life begins
Some say life begins at conception, some say life begins at the moment of quickening when a child begins to move
Some say life begins when the child is capable of living outside his mother's womb
But I don’t know anyone who claims that life doesn't begin until the actual moment of birth
certainly not any mother who has felt her baby kick and squirm for months
most mothers will tell you that she knew her baby's personality long before birth
Not gender necessarily
But whether the kid would be strong willed and athletic
Or a gentle cuddler
And yet when we ask a person how long he or she has lived, they'll tell you the number of years since they were born
Is that just for convenience?
Or is birth such a significant event
that everything that came before is less than life, less than living
in comparison to what comes after
Birth is essentially just a baby's being moved from one place to another
being pushed from a warm, dark, safe place into a cold, bright and dangerous one
before birth the baby rests in a place with a roughly constant temperature and the best shock absorbing system God could design
where his every need is provided for him without effort on his part
his nutritional needs are met without his even having to suck, less well cry
he doesn't even have to breathe
after birth he finds himself in a place where his own body must work constantly just to keep him warm, just to get air and food and water
Being born is being forced to leave
not just one place for another,
but one kind of existence for another
Birth is also the moment of separation
Before birth, you are surrounded by and filled with another human being,
inside the womb of your mother
connected to her
sharing her food, her air, her blood
But when that umbilical cord is cut, you are cut off from every other human being
from that day forward no matter how close you get to someone, you'll never be inside his or her skin again
no matter how dependent we all are on one another, from that day forward we live or die inside our own shell
Separated
Isolated
Apart from
There's one other thing about birth.
In almost every culture, the anniversary of your birth will be celebrated or at least noted.
And that is strange
Almost every other anniversary you will mark will be a date on which you did something, a date on which you achieved something
a marriage
a graduation
an employment
But birth is something that you didn't do
Birth is done to you or for you
Mom does most of the work!
No one ever gave birth to themselves
We just receive the benefit of mother's hard labor
Now what does this picture have to do with entering the Kingdom of God?
What conclusions can we draw about this second birth Jesus was talking about? 
When we look in the mirror that Jesus was holding up what is the image we see?
First of all, I think we see movement
moving from one place or one kind of existence to another
a radical change in the way your life is lived
but remember, we are looking in a mirror and in a mirror things are often seen in reverse
It seems to me that the movement in our spiritual birth is the reverse of the movement in our physical birth
When we were physically born we went from a place of safety and comfort to a place of danger and discomfort. 
We went from a completely dependent existence
to an existence of growing independence
When we are spiritually reborn, we go from a place of danger and discomfort to a place of safety and comfort. 
From an existence of apparent independence
toward an existence of growing dependence on God.
Similarly, while our physical birth was the moment of separation, our spiritual birth is the moment of reconnection
Connection with Christ and our fellow Christians
being wrapped in the Holy Spirit
being filled with the Spirit
And from that moment on we will never be completely alone and isolated again
our separation from God is ended
someone else lives in our hearts and minds, lives in our skins with us.
But there are some things about spiritual birth and physical birth that are parallel, not reversed
First, while we were certainly alive before our spiritual birth, just as we were alive in the womb,
in both cases something so radical has happened that everything that came before
is less than life,
less than living,
in comparison to what comes after
and Most importantly, both kinds of birth are done for us
In our spiritual birth Christ did the work
we receive the benefit
No one ever gave birth to themselves
and just as a mother might try to explain to her child how much she loves him
by saying something like:
“I suffered through 12 hours of labor pains

to give you birth –

so that you might have life.”

God says:
“I so loved the world that I gave my only son . . . who suffered through the agony of the cross and three days in the grave to in order

to give us birth . . .

so that we who believe in him might have eternal life”

Metaphors are powerful
But you kind of have to sit with them for a while
To see all the details
Let’s take a moment of silence, if only to promise ourselves that we will look at this picture again and again.

 Born Again Christian

Why do you suppose that Jesus spoke in riddles and metaphors that no one seemed to understand?
Certainly Nicodemus had trouble following this talk about being born again
When Old Nick heard Jesus talk about being born one picture came to mind
that messy sight of a baby emerging from his mother's womb
and entering the outside world
And Nick knew that couldn't be what Jesus was talking about
Jesus was supposed to be talking about spiritual things
Jesus was supposed to be talking about how one inherits eternal life
how one gets to the Kingdom of God
Why on earth would Jesus get that all mixed up with that messy process called birth?
I'm not sure of course, but I think Jesus spoke in riddles and used those metaphors precisely because they called to mind such vivid images
vivid and complex images
a picture of something we knew about
that was in some way a reflection of something beyond our knowledge
And a picture is worth a thousand words!
Jesus was asking us to think about that picture of birth, to look at that picture and see it as a parallel to another process that we can't see
Have you ever spent time looking at one of those Dutch paintings that are so realistic the artist included the crumbs on the table and the scrap of paper on the floor?
Or maybe you like to look at old photographs that show what Eureka Springs looked like at the turn of the century
If you've done either one of those things, you know that
the first time you look at a picture, you see one set of things,
but if you look again at another time, different details come to your attention.
That's why pictures are worth a thousand words
They say different things to us at different times
That's why we can read a good book or watch a good movie over and over,
We'll always catch something we didn't see the first time.
We'll focus on something different each time
So let's look again at the picture Jesus drew for us and see if we learn something new about spiritual birth
What is it that happens when a child is born?
Is it that a new life begins?
Scientists and churches can't agree on the exact moment when life begins
Some say life begins at conception, some say life begins at the moment of quickening when a child begins to move
Some say life begins when the child is capable of living outside his mother's womb
But I don’t know anyone who claims that life doesn't begin until the actual moment of birth
certainly not any mother who has felt her baby kick and squirm for months
most mothers will tell you that she knew her baby's personality long before birth
Not gender necessarily
But whether the kid would be strong willed and athletic
Or a gentle cuddler
And yet when we ask a person how long he or she has lived, they'll tell you the number of years since they were born
Is that just for convenience?
Or is birth such a significant event
that everything that came before is less than life, less than living
in comparison to what comes after
Birth is essentially just a baby's being moved from one place to another
being pushed from a warm, dark, safe place into a cold, bright and dangerous one
before birth the baby rests in a place with a roughly constant temperature and the best shock absorbing system God could design
where his every need is provided for him without effort on his part
his nutritional needs are met without his even having to suck, less well cry
he doesn't even have to breathe
after birth he finds himself in a place where his own body must work constantly just to keep him warm, just to get air and food and water
Being born is being forced to leave
not just one place for another,
but one kind of existence for another
Birth is also the moment of separation
Before birth, you are surrounded by and filled with another human being,
inside the womb of your mother
connected to her
sharing her food, her air, her blood
But when that umbilical cord is cut, you are cut off from every other human being
from that day forward no matter how close you get to someone, you'll never be inside his or her skin again
no matter how dependent we all are on one another, from that day forward we live or die inside our own shell
Separated
Isolated
Apart from
There's one other thing about birth.
In almost every culture, the anniversary of your birth will be celebrated or at least noted.
And that is strange
Almost every other anniversary you will mark will be a date on which you did something, a date on which you achieved something
a marriage
a graduation
an employment
But birth is something that you didn't do
Birth is done to you or for you
Mom does most of the work!
No one ever gave birth to themselves
We just receive the benefit of mother's hard labor
Now what does this picture have to do with entering the Kingdom of God?
What conclusions can we draw about this second birth Jesus was talking about? 
When we look in the mirror that Jesus was holding up what is the image we see?
First of all, I think we see movement
moving from one place or one kind of existence to another
a radical change in the way your life is lived
but remember, we are looking in a mirror and in a mirror things are often seen in reverse
It seems to me that the movement in our spiritual birth is the reverse of the movement in our physical birth
When we were physically born we went from a place of safety and comfort to a place of danger and discomfort. 
We went from a completely dependent existence
to an existence of growing independence
When we are spiritually reborn, we go from a place of danger and discomfort to a place of safety and comfort. 
From an existence of apparent independence
toward an existence of growing dependence on God.
Similarly, while our physical birth was the moment of separation, our spiritual birth is the moment of reconnection
Connection with Christ and our fellow Christians
being wrapped in the Holy Spirit
being filled with the Spirit
And from that moment on we will never be completely alone and isolated again
our separation from God is ended
someone else lives in our hearts and minds, lives in our skins with us.
But there are some things about spiritual birth and physical birth that are parallel, not reversed
First, while we were certainly alive before our spiritual birth, just as we were alive in the womb,
in both cases something so radical has happened that everything that came before
is less than life,
less than living,
in comparison to what comes after
and Most importantly, both kinds of birth are done for us
In our spiritual birth Christ did the work
we receive the benefit
No one ever gave birth to themselves
and just as a mother might try to explain to her child how much she loves him
by saying something like:
“I suffered through 12 hours of labor pains

to give you birth –

so that you might have life.”

God says:
“I so loved the world that I gave my only son . . . who suffered through the agony of the cross and three days in the grave to in order

to give us birth . . .

so that we who believe in him might have eternal life”

Metaphors are powerful
But you kind of have to sit with them for a while
To see all the details
Let’s take a moment of silence, if only to promise ourselves that we will look at this picture again and again.

 Born Again Christian

Why do you suppose that Jesus spoke in riddles and metaphors that no one seemed to understand?
Certainly Nicodemus had trouble following this talk about being born again
When Old Nick heard Jesus talk about being born one picture came to mind
that messy sight of a baby emerging from his mother's womb
and entering the outside world
And Nick knew that couldn't be what Jesus was talking about
Jesus was supposed to be talking about spiritual things
Jesus was supposed to be talking about how one inherits eternal life
how one gets to the Kingdom of God
Why on earth would Jesus get that all mixed up with that messy process called birth?
I'm not sure of course, but I think Jesus spoke in riddles and used those metaphors precisely because they called to mind such vivid images
vivid and complex images
a picture of something we knew about
that was in some way a reflection of something beyond our knowledge
And a picture is worth a thousand words!
Jesus was asking us to think about that picture of birth, to look at that picture and see it as a parallel to another process that we can't see
Have you ever spent time looking at one of those Dutch paintings that are so realistic the artist included the crumbs on the table and the scrap of paper on the floor?
Or maybe you like to look at old photographs that show what Eureka Springs looked like at the turn of the century
If you've done either one of those things, you know that
the first time you look at a picture, you see one set of things,
but if you look again at another time, different details come to your attention.
That's why pictures are worth a thousand words
They say different things to us at different times
That's why we can read a good book or watch a good movie over and over,
We'll always catch something we didn't see the first time.
We'll focus on something different each time
So let's look again at the picture Jesus drew for us and see if we learn something new about spiritual birth
What is it that happens when a child is born?
Is it that a new life begins?
Scientists and churches can't agree on the exact moment when life begins
Some say life begins at conception, some say life begins at the moment of quickening when a child begins to move
Some say life begins when the child is capable of living outside his mother's womb
But I don’t know anyone who claims that life doesn't begin until the actual moment of birth
certainly not any mother who has felt her baby kick and squirm for months
most mothers will tell you that she knew her baby's personality long before birth
Not gender necessarily
But whether the kid would be strong willed and athletic
Or a gentle cuddler
And yet when we ask a person how long he or she has lived, they'll tell you the number of years since they were born
Is that just for convenience?
Or is birth such a significant event
that everything that came before is less than life, less than living
in comparison to what comes after
Birth is essentially just a baby's being moved from one place to another
being pushed from a warm, dark, safe place into a cold, bright and dangerous one
before birth the baby rests in a place with a roughly constant temperature and the best shock absorbing system God could design
where his every need is provided for him without effort on his part
his nutritional needs are met without his even having to suck, less well cry
he doesn't even have to breathe
after birth he finds himself in a place where his own body must work constantly just to keep him warm, just to get air and food and water
Being born is being forced to leave
not just one place for another,
but one kind of existence for another
Birth is also the moment of separation
Before birth, you are surrounded by and filled with another human being,
inside the womb of your mother
connected to her
sharing her food, her air, her blood
But when that umbilical cord is cut, you are cut off from every other human being
from that day forward no matter how close you get to someone, you'll never be inside his or her skin again
no matter how dependent we all are on one another, from that day forward we live or die inside our own shell
Separated
Isolated
Apart from
There's one other thing about birth.
In almost every culture, the anniversary of your birth will be celebrated or at least noted.
And that is strange
Almost every other anniversary you will mark will be a date on which you did something, a date on which you achieved something
a marriage
a graduation
an employment
But birth is something that you didn't do
Birth is done to you or for you
Mom does most of the work!
No one ever gave birth to themselves
We just receive the benefit of mother's hard labor
Now what does this picture have to do with entering the Kingdom of God?
What conclusions can we draw about this second birth Jesus was talking about? 
When we look in the mirror that Jesus was holding up what is the image we see?
First of all, I think we see movement
moving from one place or one kind of existence to another
a radical change in the way your life is lived
but remember, we are looking in a mirror and in a mirror things are often seen in reverse
It seems to me that the movement in our spiritual birth is the reverse of the movement in our physical birth
When we were physically born we went from a place of safety and comfort to a place of danger and discomfort. 
We went from a completely dependent existence
to an existence of growing independence
When we are spiritually reborn, we go from a place of danger and discomfort to a place of safety and comfort. 
From an existence of apparent independence
toward an existence of growing dependence on God.
Similarly, while our physical birth was the moment of separation, our spiritual birth is the moment of reconnection
Connection with Christ and our fellow Christians
being wrapped in the Holy Spirit
being filled with the Spirit
And from that moment on we will never be completely alone and isolated again
our separation from God is ended
someone else lives in our hearts and minds, lives in our skins with us.
But there are some things about spiritual birth and physical birth that are parallel, not reversed
First, while we were certainly alive before our spiritual birth, just as we were alive in the womb,
in both cases something so radical has happened that everything that came before
is less than life,
less than living,
in comparison to what comes after
and Most importantly, both kinds of birth are done for us
In our spiritual birth Christ did the work
we receive the benefit
No one ever gave birth to themselves
and just as a mother might try to explain to her child how much she loves him
by saying something like:
“I suffered through 12 hours of labor pains

to give you birth –

so that you might have life.”

God says:
“I so loved the world that I gave my only son . . . who suffered through the agony of the cross and three days in the grave to in order

to give us birth . . .

so that we who believe in him might have eternal life”

Metaphors are powerful
But you kind of have to sit with them for a while
To see all the details
Let’s take a moment of silence, if only to promise ourselves that we will look at this picture again and again.

 

"BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN!"




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