When was the last time you put the words “work” and “fun” in the same sentence? In your view, does “fun” only happen after your work is done? Is “fun” considered superficial or optional when you’re doing housework, or working on a school project or an important presentation? Are you more inclined to join the words “work” and “pain” together?
If work is supposed to be a good thing – a God-given need within each of us – why is it that so many people feel frustrated, disillusioned or swallowed up by work? That’s something to think about as we tackle Part 2 in our series on Faith and the Workplace.
Do you remember meeting someone important to you and what you said or experienced in those few moments? It might be a great story that you enjoy telling to friends and new acquaintances when the opportunity presents itself. In the weeks leading up to Easter, we have been telling the stories of some of the people who had an encounter with Jesus during his time on earth, and their stories continue to be told throughout the centuries. A few moments with Jesus changed their whole outlook on life. One morning, people had an encounter with Jesus unlike anything they could have ever dreamed of or imagined. He had just been put to death on a cross and buried. The thoughts that were running through their minds must have crushed all their hopes for the future. This is one encounter with Jesus that makes all the difference to our lives and our faith.
“He gets me.” Have you ever said something like that? It’s that sense of satisfaction that someone knows you and understands you. Maybe you’ve said the opposite. “I don’t know why she would say that about me! She just doesn’t get me at all.” There was a woman who met Jesus and he understood her completely. To be more accurate. She did not come to him willingly. She was dragged there. By people who sought to embarrass her and see her suffer for what she was caught doing. To see how Jesus treated her, and dealt with her accusers, is a story worth telling and remembering. Find out what this woman learned from her encounter with Jesus, and why we need him in our lives, too.
We do not know her name. We can only guess her age. But she probably had the longest one-on-one conversation with Jesus recorded in the Bible. It happened at high noon on a hot day. Jesus met her at a rest-stop where he waited while his disciples went into town to get some food. So far so good. Until the exchange began. Have you ever had an occasion to meet someone in a position of power, maybe the president of a corporation, or an official in government? Chances are you might exchange a few pleasantries. Likely you would not challenge that person in a first encounter. Not this woman. She challenged Jesus. In turn, Jesus challenged her. What was the big deal? That’s what we’ll talk about as we continue our series in Encounters with Jesus.
When you look at the lives of famous people you might wonder what it’s like to have everything – money, elaborate homes, cars, clothes. It must be nice to be part of a privileged group who seem to lack nothing in this life. There was a man in Jesus’ day who was part of a privileged group of people – he was a religious insider – a member of the Jewish ruling council. Yet after one conversation with Jesus, he was confronted with the idea that his religion is not enough. What a shock it must have been to hear that something he depended on was part of a bigger problem that needed a different solution. Those who met Jesus were often profoundly affected by their conversations with him. This week we’ll look at how a late night private encounter with Jesus changed this man’s life.
Jesus loved a good conversation. He spoke to everybody, no matter who they were or what they did. He didn’t mince words or shy away from the hard questions, either. Chances are, if you had an opportunity to speak with Jesus – at a wedding, on the road, at a conference, in a church –…