April 30, 2017
Luke 24:13-35
1 Peter 1:17-23
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19


Meeting Jesus Again
Easter 3


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Dean Feldmeyer
In this week’s lectionary gospel reading, two disciples walking to Emmaus encounter a fellow traveler and fill him in on the unsettling events of the previous few days. When they invite him to stay with them for dinner, his actions at the table lead them to recognize their companion as Jesus -- whereupon he vanishes. In the aftermath, what the disciples focus on is the intensity of their personal encounter with their risen mentor (“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”) -- leading them to share their experience with the rest of the disciples (“they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread”). In the next installment of The Immediate Word, team member Dean Feldmeyer points out that this is an excellent distillation of what many people are looking for spiritually these days... and that all too often they believe they won’t find in our churches. While we tend to focus on outreach through programs and church growth strategies, Dean reminds us that what many people are really looking for is a personal encounter with the divine that changes their lives and that they perceive makes a difference in the world. So, Dean asks us, have we lost sight of what ought to be our prime directive in the church -- helping our people connect with Jesus? Here’s a preview:


Meeting Jesus Again
by Dean Feldmeyer
Luke 24:13-35

Last month the Barna Research Group released some more of their findings about why people, especially those in the millennial generation, aren’t going to church. Basically, it can be boiled down into two assertions:
1. I’m not meeting God at church; and
2. The church isn’t making the world a better place.

In other words, from their perspective the Christian church, in all of its modern
permutations, is not keeping the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40), nor is it living out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

Of course, Barna says, this is not news. It has been happening for decades. It’s just being felt more now because the numbers are greater.

People come to church to meet Jesus, up close and personal, face to face. They want and expect not just to hear about Jesus but to have an encounter with the Living Christ. They are hungry for that encounter; they need it to give their lives meaning, direction, depth, and authenticity. And they want to be part of something that is actually improving their lives and the lives of generations to come.

Like those two disciples walking to Emmaus on that first Easter afternoon, they are at loose ends and looking for direction -- and they are asking us to help them find it through Jesus Christ....
Click here for the full installment.


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