Tuesday, February 3, 2009


By the time of this reading, you have probably already heard the story of Daniel Pharr, who is serving at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, GA. As you may know, his girlfriend gave him a parachute jump for a Christmas present. He went on that jump this week, but he got more adventure than expected.

He jumped in tandem with his instructor, and as they floated to the ground the instructor, George "Chip" Steele, was unresponsive. Daniel had to steer the parachute to the ground by himself. When they were safe, Daniel tried to revive Mr. Steele, but was unsuccessful. The instructor had suffered a heart attack on the way down. Daniel said, "They told me afterward that it was amazing that I knew to do that. This is my survival instinct at that point. I just kind of did what I had to do."

You can read the article here http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/skydiver_death

I have always been fascinated with skydiving. I have a crazy idea that I would like to do it, but I get nervous being on the roof of my house. Perhaps I’ll just continue to enjoy it from the ground. The story did bring to mind a show that I saw the other night on the US Special Forces HALO paratroopers.

HALO stands for High Altitude-Low Opening. These soldiers are flown to an altitude of 25,000 to 35,000 feet, where most radar will not detect the plane, and the sound of the engine cannot be heard. The paratroopers will then free-fall to earth at speeds of 120-200 MPH. They will open the chute at the last possible minute with only enough time to save their lives. As Erwin McManus says in his book The Barbarian Way, “If you live, you get to fight the enemy.”

Consider the Gospel of John chapter 3:1-3. There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

This is a rather familiar passage to us. We know that Jesus goes on to tell Nicodemus that God loved the world so much that He sent His only son. However, let’s look at that phrase, “born again”. We hear it regularly by preachers, but did you realize that the Greek phrase can be translated “born from above”?

In fact, I think that being born from above is even more accurate of what happens to us when we enter into the family of God. We are here on this earth, and of this world. When we accept Christ, we are lifted to the heights of heaven in a euphoric state of emotion. Then, as if part of God’s HALO team, we come crashing back down to earth, smack dab into enemy territory. If we live, we get to fight our enemy, the Evil One.

We are not born into Christ from above, so that we can live a life of luxury down here. It really is more like we are initiated into God’s Kingdom as special agents to infiltrate the enemy; search out, rescue, and recruit others who will be a part of the operation; and show God’s compassion and love for His creation.

We can rest assured that our guide and instructor on this adventure will not die or give up on us. The fact is, He already did, a long time ago. He gave His life, so that we wouldn’t have to. Not only did He die in our place, but He also rose again to defeat death. Through His death, we no longer have to fear death, because for us it means eternal life. Without fear, God can accomplish great things through us.

Take a risk. Step out on faith with God. He promises the greatest adventure of your life!

Saddle up your horses we've got a trail to blazeThrough the wild blue yonder of God's amazing graceLet's follow our leader into the glorious unknownThis is a life like no other - this is The Great Adventure
Steven Curtis Chapman

"Don't be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be 'born from above'—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God." (John 3:7-8
The Message)

Our prayers are with the family of George “Chip” Steele during this difficult time.

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