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HALO and scripture
Pastor Stacy Williams
posted February 4, 2009
COLUMN – 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."
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 blaze
Through the wild blue
yonder of God's amazing grace
Let's follow our leader
into the glorious unknown
This 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
All are welcome join us for worship at Edgefield First Baptist Sunday
mornings at 11 AM and every second Sunday of the month at 6 PM, for our
casual contemporary service that we call CAPTIVATE. For more
information call us at 803-637-6139 or visit our website where you will
find weekly activities, church information, or even listen to sermons
online. Our web address is www.edgefieldfirstbaptist.org
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