Wilson sits there stoically, unmoved no matter how desperately I call his name.

I yell, whisper, beg, shout, sing, gesticulate like a crazy man, but Wilson remains mute. Wilson is a rock with a red face painted on it, much like Wilson, Tom Hanks volleyball companion in Castaway. He sits atop a stand in front of 80 teens and their parents attending a summer retreat. I have the joy of teaching them this night.

Wilson, please, say something to me. Give me a sign – anything. Hey Wilson, maybe you’d like a donut? I take a chocolate covered donut and smash it into Wilson’s face. The donut sticks to his face, a messy blob.

So you want be the silent type? How about if I make you into a Dairy Queen sundae? I mound circles of shaving cream atop his head, ending in a point. Nothing.

I jam a pickle into Wilson’s mouth, through the hole of the donut still stuck on his face. Finally I smash a shaving cream pie into his face, splattering shaving cream everywhere, including on me, but Wilson doesn’t notice. At least the kids are howling.

The lesson that night is on the new birth. Why do we need this miracle? Because until God give us spiritual life, we’re Wilson – lifeless.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:1,2,4,5)

Before we’re born again, we’re dead. RC Sproul says it’s not like we’re drowning, going down once, twice, then just before the third time Jesus tosses us a life preserver which with our last ounce of strength, we manage to grab and are saved. No, we’re drowned, lying on the bottom of the ocean, lungs completely filled, no brain waves – thoroughly, hopelessly dead.

What a miracle is the new birth! We were dead in our trespasses, no desire for God or movement toward him when God made us alive together with Christ. Instantaneously. Powerfully. Like a lightning bolt.

Think back to when you were dead and God gave you new life. You may not know the exact day, but if you’re born again, you know it happened. Let this meditation lead you to thanks and praise for God’s miracle in your life.

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.