This Week at John McMillan Presbyterian Church

Back in the late 60s and early 70s there was something called “The Jesus Movement”. It started on the west coast of the United States and eventually spread internationally. The people who were part of the movement called themselves “Jesus People” and later “Jesus Freaks”. The general theology of the movement was one of evangelism and the understanding that there was only “one way” to live (words usually uttered with the index finger pointed upward). This movement also spawned what we call today “contemporary Christian music” (which we still call “contemporary” even though many of the songs are now decades old). I was a witness to the movement in Edinboro, PA where I spent my high school summers. When I showed up one summer, a bunch of my summer friends were hanging out at a “prayer meeting house”, wearing big wooden crosses and carrying Bibles. This was a shock to me because they had never admitted to being religious in years past. It was from them that I began hearing the words “born again” in a way I had never heard before. There was something that I had to do, apparently, to be born again and only if I was born again would I be saved and go to heaven. Since that time, I have learned that the theology of this evangelism is not far off the mark (though I do take issue with its exclusionary nature). But yet my “born once” Presbyterian mother was wary of those “born agains”, a term she did not intend to be all that affirming. Where do we get the term “born again”? It comes from a private conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus the Pharisee in John 3. Jesus tells Nicodemus that to see the Kingdom of God one must be “born again” (at least that is how it is stated in some, but not all, translations). Nicodemus is confused, and Jesus explains. This episode in the Gospel of John is one of those where Jesus has a private conversation with an individual, rather than preaching to a large crowd. What might that be like? This Sunday we start a four-part Lenten Sermon Series that will look at four such private encounters, so we can see how Jesus can touch individual lives … well … individually. This week Pastor Jeff will preach “Nicodemus” based on John 3: 1-17. Come and hear about it at John McMillan Presbyterian Church at 8:30 and 11.

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