35 And the people came out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. Luke 8:35 NASB

Monday Mantra – Close Encounters

Pam and I have been invested in sharing backpacks and first day school supplies for almost 2 decades. I was in the Mall yesterday receiving donations through our Apples for Education campaign when a former child from our church came to help.

He donated money and asked if he could go and buy supplies. I gave him a list of things to purchase and asked how he was doing. He said he has a great job and is saving to purchase a home in a couple of years. I thanked him for his help.

He replied, “y’all helped me and my family when we had very little. I learned a lot from y’all. Now I have the opportunity to help like y’all have been doing.” He met up with Pam who was already shopping for school supplies. They helped one another and when he left, she cried.

Life begets life. For transformation to occur, it will require close encounters with others. The demoniac was delivered from demons, but the transformation became complete as he sat at Jesus feet. Jesus allowed him to get really close. Jesus opened up the close space around him to let the transformation of love occur.

Even as Jesus was leaving the man was begging to stay with him. He was told to go home and share the good things that occurred to him. With joy he began telling his story – up close and personal

Close encounters are needed for love to be communicated. For God so loved the world that He gave His son Jesus who walked and talked and lived among us. John said we encountered (beheld the glory of the son). Being close to Jesus is transformative.

We can learn from books, we can learn through great teaching, we can learn by watching others, BUT transformation occurs through close encounters of loving realtionships.

Types of Close Encounters

  • You must be born again. Jesus told Nicodemus that understanding and life with Jesus begins when the Holy Spirit brings new birth. Without being born again, no one will see the kingdom of God. The first and most important eternal encounter is to become a child of God
  • Fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings the person of Jesus up close and personal to us. For the believer, the Holy Spirit brings the internal changes to outward expressions. Lasting transformation will include intimacy with the Holy Spirit. 
  • Conflict and forgiveness. As Iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. We will all have conflicts with other people. Staying engaged together to give time for forgiving one another is the key to growing deep bonds in relationships. Don’t run away from conflict, the forgiveness journey requires close encounters
  • Body life. The Holy Spirit gave each follower of Jesus a place in the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12. The only way for each joint to supply is for that part to be connected to the other parts. Transformation for the body of Christ anticipates healthy growing as each person exercises the role. Every joint supplies. 

A few of questions?

  • Have you had a personal encounter with Jesus in which you laid down your life to follow HIm…all the days of your life?
  • Do you know the Holy Spirit intimately? Can you identify when He is talking with you? What are the last words that He spoke with you?
  • Have you been avoiding resolving conflict with another? What would it take for you to humble yourself to have that close encounter of transformational forgiveness.
  • How are you fulfilling your role in the body of Christ? Are you walking in close community with some other people?
  • Who are you engaging with so they can be transformed by their close encounters with you?

On this Monday Mantra may you be blessed with lots of “close encounters” that brings transformation. May God put people into your life and may you invest your life with others. Open wide your hearts – and let transformational close encounters begin.

Blessings Love y’all