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A Lesson from Speed Bumps on the Road to Intimacy with God

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A lesson from Speed Bumps on the Road to Intimacy with God:
Have you ever had a direct encounter with God?  
 
Have you experienced seeing a sign along the street that speaks to you?  Or perhaps an unbelievable sense of peace during your quiet time with the Lord.  Perhaps God comes to you when you are reading the Word, or you hear his words in the quiet whispers of the wind.  If we let him, God comes to each of us in ways that suit our particular needs, for God has a deeper understanding of our needs and desires than we ourselves do.  And he loves us in ways we cannot even comprehend.
 
From our study we are reminded that Encounters with God happen on Holy Ground.  Sadly, In today's world, we are often so struck from our experience of God's power in our lives that we fail to fully recognize the awesomeness, majesty, power and absolute holiness of his presence.

But encounters with God need not be matters of absolute chance.  Indeed, the men in our small group have learned that coming back to a particular place in reverence, where we can ask God to help us with our most difficult burdens, can open up a place where God can reveal himself to us.  For some of us, this place is a particular place in our home, for others of us it is a particular place in our yard or on our deck.  Some of us prefer seeking God in the beauty of Nature -- and some of us seek him in absolute darkness where nothing else can possibly distract us from his glory and power.   
 
At some point we realize that we have nothing to offer God but our broken spirits and our contrite hearts.  When our lives are on the rocks, all we can hope for to save us from disaster is God's mercy and grace.  Many in our group have begun the practice of highlighting those times where God has shown up in our lives. Among our practices, members of our group have: written of their experience in journals; shared their experiences verbally sharing the specifics of where and how God has shown up in their lives; and some have collected small mementos to serve as physical reminders of these important encounters.   
 
Given our experience, we recommend that you consider developing a practice of memorializing where God has shown up in your life. Regardless of what you choose to do, by revisiting those times and places where God has shown up in your life, you can deepen your Intimacy with the one who loves and saves us.
 
The Men's Group meets on Tuesday nights in Ashburn, led by Jan Zachariasse.

Fantastic! - Jesus' Transfiguration

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This week, John Maulella continued Pastor Ed's sermon series, "Fantastic: Incredible Stories from Jesus' life and their Significance for Us."

This week's Scripture passage was Matthew 17:1-13, about Jesus' Transfiguration.

When we're in a dark situation, we need someone with authority and light.

The context for this story was dark.  Peter had his confession, then he got it wrong.  Jesus had been speaking of his upcoming rejection and death.

Mountains in the Bible are places of encounter with God.

Moses and Elijah appeared.  Both knew what it was to lead and love an ungrateful people.  But here the light wasn't reflecting from Jesus, it was radiating from Jesus.  He is "the radiance of God's glory."

There's a common theme from other encounters with God:  They're terrified.

Maybe God seems hidden because we can't handle him.

God is dangerous.  He's powerful; he's holy; and he's different.

When God reveals himself, we're exposed.

Jesus is the tabernacle -- where God's holiness is contained.

Theme of the Bible:  God wants to live with his people.

The cloud of God's glory rested on all of them.

We see here a picture of God sharing his glory with us.

In the Old Covenant, God moved into the neighborhood.  Now he's *in us.*

God doesn't show us anything he doesn't want to share with us.  He calls us to participate in miracles.

The voice of God said, "Listen to him."  Recognize the unique authority and light of Jesus.  Jesus isn't the same level as Moses and Elijah.

A danger in the church may be wanting to mix Moses and Elijah with Jesus. 

Moses:  We like a checklist, performance-oriented Christianity.

Elijah:  We look for an external word.

We need to make Jesus the center of our lives and our identity.

Look to Jesus.

***

As I look back on this sermon, I'm putting together the pieces.  If we look to Jesus, and let his light shine in our lives, we're going to feel exposed.  Can we expose our everyday lives to Jesus' light?  Sometimes it's easier to go about our days and let time with him slip away.

How about you?  How did this sermon touch your heart and life?

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