Encounters with Christ

Since November I have been preaching a series of sermons on encounters Christ had with different people throughout his ministry. This is part of a larger series I've been preaching I guess since last Easter on the Life of Jesus. Each week I have focused on a certain encounter in the Gospels. I felt led to do this because I believe that every person on the planet has at some point an encounter with Jesus. (My hope is that every person has this encounter before death, but that is not promised in the Bible.) When one has this encounter he or she has to make a choice about Jesus. As a result every encounter with Christ leaves us with an opportunity to have a changed life forever. If we give in to him we are changed. If we resist him we continue down the path of destruction. That's the whole point of the first verse of Amazing Grace, isn't it? I once was lost, but I encountered Jesus, and now I'm found. I once was blind, but Jesus healed me, and now I see.

I looked back at the stories I had preached and wrote out what the testimonies of those affected might have been. I suggest you read them slowly and try to figure out which story they came from.

I once was a diseased outcast, now I am loved and healed.

I once was a part of the depressed masses, now I believe God can provide no matter how big the need.

I once was paralyzed and in sin, now I am running the race, forgiven.

I once did not understand the truth, now I have seen God’s glory.

I once feared the unknown, now I am protected by a power unrivaled.

I once was oppressed, alone, abandoned, now I am delivered, my demons are gone, and I sing the praise of my savior.

I once had excuses for living a boring unfulfilled life, now I have found something worth giving everything up for.

I once felt useless, powerless, and directionless; now, I am a sheep among wolves, and I am not afraid.

I had given up on miracles; now I’ve seen a man walk on water. I know he’s the son of God.

After sharing this with the church and having our time of worship in song, we opened up the service for a time of testimony from the people in the church about how they have encountered God. Many people spoke of physical healing or strength to face major illness. Many spoke about how God had helped them through the death of a loved one. Some shared that God had been teaching them new things or challenging them with new opportunities. One man shared that God had led them through difficult times of financial uncertainty and separation from family only to be connected with a new Church FAMILY at NorthStar. It was wonderful hearing how God is working in our little church in our little part of the world.

Think about your encounter with Christ. What difference is it making in your life? Do you encounter him daily? Maybe you need to get reacquainted. He's used to welcoming people back. Just try it.


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