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Monday, January 23, 2012

Encountering Jesus

* Note from Lori:  This is a very good article by Alan Smith who writes "Thought For the Day".  It is used by permission from Mr. Smith.  Be sure and read more about the video at the end of Alan Smith's name and information.

***     A number of years ago, there was a woman in Kansas City who walked into a Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop. While she was waiting in line, she turned around to find actor Paul Newman standing behind her.  He was in town filming the movie Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, and he didn’t realize it, but he was standing behind one of his biggest fans.

     Paul Newman smiled at her and said "hello."  She took one look at those blue eyes and her knees almost buckled.  She tried to speak, but nothing came out.  Mortified, she turned back around, paid for her ice cream, then quickly walked out of the store.

     When she was outside, she sat down on a bench and took a moment to catch her breath.  As she calmed down, she realized she didn't have her ice cream cone.  She was getting ready to walk back in to get it when Paul Newman walked out. He asked her, "Are you looking for your ice cream cone?" She was still speechless but she nodded.  He said, "You put it in your purse with your change."

     There are some people who hold such great significance in our lives, that meeting them affects us in a powerful way.  But if a celebrity or an athlete can have that kind of effect on people, just imagine how much difference it would make in a person’s life to come face-to-face with Jesus Christ!

     Think of the difference made in the lives of the Samaritan woman, the man possessed by a multitude of demons, Zaccheus, James and John, the lame man by the pool of Bethesda, the paralytic lowered by his four friends, Saul (later known as Paul), the woman caught in adultery, the blind man, the leper, the thief on the cross, and countless others.

     There's a popular video making the rounds on Youtube this week (with over 14 million hits!) entitled, "Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus".  There is much I like about the video and some that I don't like.  Religion is not the problem; false religion (hypocrisy) is.  Many people fail to realize that Jesus was a religious person himself!  But, it is true that religion (in and of itself) cannot save us; Jesus can.  Religion cannot change our hearts; Jesus can.  Religion cannot empower us to live holy lives; Jesus can.

     Our goal as Christians should not be to get people to follow a religion.  Our goal should be to bring people to Jesus, to let them see him for themselves, and to allow that encounter to change their lives.  Perhaps the most powerful thing we can say to people is what Philip said to Nathaniel (John 1:46) and what the Samaritan woman said to the villagers (John 4:29):  "Come and meet Jesus for yourself." 

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ 
Fayetteville, North Carolina 
*Note from Lori:  Sadly, the video made by Mr. Betke is being used as a way for some to bash the church, so he has this quote on his Facebook wall:

"If you are using my video to bash "the church" be careful. I was in no way intending to do that. My heart came from trying to highlight and expose legalism and hypocrisy. The Church is Jesus' bride so be careful how you speak of His wife. If a normal dude has right to get pissed when you bash His wife, it makes me tremble to think how great the weight is when we do it to Jesus' wife. The church is His vehicle to reach a lost word. A hospital for sinners. Saying you love Jesus but hate the Church, is like a fiancé saying he loves his future bride, but hates her kids. We are all under grace. Look to Him." -Jefferson Bethke


Wa Wa Waughs said...

Yes, my son also posted something about this on his facebook. At the very least, it is causing people to think about where they stand in their relationship to Jesus and the church. Thank you for all you do to help us think more about our lives and relationships to HIM!

Lori said...

Thank you! I'll have to look on his page. Some of the new updates (new walls) I don't see for some reason!

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