Jesus: Face to Face…

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There is something about a face to face encounter. For generations and even to this day, the way professional boxing advertises a fight is to have a poster (or perhaps a still on Television) of the fighters face to face –nose to nose even – with faces contorted, ready for battle. The WWF (World Wrestling Federation) takes it even a step further as they have their wrestlers go face to face screaming at each other on live television. It’s good for ratings!!...and for ticket sales! People want to see even more who is going to win! In the next few weeks we are going to be in the audience as Jesus goes “face to face” live with some interesting characters. He WILL win (and yes, it’s worth the “price” of admission!)…but He will also show us what in each case this win looks like and  how we can go face to face with these same characters in our lives and win also…in Jesus! And here’s a hint; when Jesus wins, it is always for the good of those He came to save!

Sunday, March 5th               …With Satan (The Enemy)

There is a Bible passage in the Old Testament which goes something like this; “This enemy is too great for us. We don’t know what to do. But our eyes are on You!” Have you ever been faced with an enemy that was just too great for you?....one that would overpower you no matter what you did? ...an enemy whose strength was so beyond yours that no matter what you did, you knew you would be overwhelmed? Today, Jesus squares off with the enemy of all enemies –Satan Himself – face to face. Who do you think will win? What do think the win will look like? And what does this mean for us who daily square up with the same enemy face to face? Come and see!

 

Sunday, March 12th            …With Nicodemus (The Seeker)

Every teacher, instructor, and professor, at least in my experience, said,you can ask any question” and also, “there are no dumb questions.” But sometimes, at least in my case, this wasn’t true. How about with you? I even remember one professor who was kind of a bully and who would yell at you to “speak up!” but then would be quick to make you look silly! Today, Jesus comes face to face with “the seeker” who had many questions and who just didn’t seem to get it. What do you think Jesus did? What did His victory look like? And what does this say to us when we are ‘the seeker” or when we come face to face with “the seeker?”

 

Sunday, March 19th          …With a Samaritan Woman (The Skeptic)

Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that spells out the word, “coexist” in a way which represents all the major religions of the world? It seems to me the message here is, “one is just as good as another and there is no ‘right’ one, so just get along and we ‘enlightened skeptics’ will put up with you.” Today, we see what happens when Jesus comes face to face with an “enlightened skeptic.” And in seeing, we are shown how, as His followers, we can do the same.  Interested?

 

Sunday, March 26th          …With A Blind Man (The Broken)

Have you ever noticed how we tend to want to blame “the broken” for their brokenness? When a person dies, especially one who was seemingly healthy and “younger than me,” we want to find a reason, something wrong that they did, perhaps to calm ourselves that it won’t happen to us. When people fall into unfortunate times, we want to blame it on “something they did!” (and conversely what we did not-and will not- do). Today, we will see what Jesus did when going face to face with the broken. Yes, he wins!...but His win is far different than we might think. And yes, in His win, He shows us His face when we are “the broken” and also how to win when going face to face with “the broken.”

 

Sunday, April 2nd               …With Lazarus (The Dead…and Grieving)

Do you remember the story of how Robin Hood and Little John met? They each started across a log bridge from opposite directions at the same time. When neither would back down, they had to fight it out until one “hit the water.”       

Today, we see Jesus coming face to face with death…and grieving. Guess who “hits the water?” Come and see what this means for us in the lives we live when we come face to face with death…and grieving, not only for us but in the lives of others. Sooner or later, death…and grieving, touches each of us. But in Jesus, we too can win!

Sunday, April 9th                        This One You Can Follow  Palm Sunday

Have you ever been disappointed in a leader? Perhaps it was a politician or sports figure or religious leader who did something horribly unlawful or immoral. Perhaps it was a teacher or professor who belittled you or held you up to ridicule. Perhaps it was somebody close that you looked up to, followed, and trusted…who then betrayed that trust. In the first movie in the Hobbit trilogy, one dwarf is explaining to Bilbo why they follow Thorin Oakenshield, the dwarf who leads them, and towards the end of his story, he says, “Here was one they could follow.” Today, we come face to face with a King we can follow. He is a King “like no other.”

Maundy Thursday Worship                         One….in JESUS!

April 13th , 7pm   

It seems that we are put together to want and to need to be a part of others, to be part of a group, something beyond ourselves. We have families and couples and communities and circles of friends and clubs and well, it goes on and on. Even those of us who are extremely independent would find ourselves living in emptiness if we had to live a totally isolated life. Tonight, we are renewed in what brings you and me together and makes us one. It is not me. It is not you. It is another. And it is all about Him! And He is always with us!

 

Good Friday Worship, April 14th, 7pm                   “Grace” 

More and more, when I have the honor of walking with a family during a difficult time, I find myself praying with them out loud asking God, the Holy Spirit, to give them hearts and insight to give each other a little grace as they go through this difficult time together.

How about you? When is the last time you needed a little grace? And where do you have an opportunity to give it? Life is hard. Sometimes we foul up. Sometimes tragedies strike us. Sometimes the enemies just seem too great and we fall. Sometimes –maybe all the time? – we need a little grace. And sometimes –maybe all the time? – we need to be able to give a little grace as well. Tonight, we see the source and heart of grace; Grace given to us…and grace that we can give another.

Easter Sunday, April 16th         “No More Going to the Mailbox” 

On this day -Easter Sunday- millions of Christians as well as millions of others who are not sure or who are searching and are welcomed in hundreds of thousands of Christian Churches throughout the world will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Why? Because we don't have to go to the mailbox anymore.