What Does It Mean to "Encounter Jesus as Lord"?

Jesus is called Master for many reasons. Of course, being God He is Master over everything. That includes His powerful ability to open our senses and enable people to see the value of ordinary, everyday things we tend to overlook because of repetition and familiarity.

Our FBCH mission statement probably fits the description of repetition and familiarity. We see it each Sunday in our weekly bulletin, and its keywords are highlighted there and on the landing page of our website.

Today’s post is the first in a series looking more in-depth into those keywords of ENCOUNTER, GROW, and SERVE.

Connie often says I had an idyllic childhood. She may be right even though my family’s status was at best lower middle class living in a neighborhood in Decatur, AL. But she’s heard me recount a long list of memories of happy adventures from those years.

All those memories pale in comparison to the day I realized God was speaking directly to nine-year-old me. It happened at a Sunday morning worship service at Southside Baptist in March of 1957. Church attendance was a dominant aspect of our lives. Godly people taught me an abundance of knowledge in Sunday School, VBS, RA’s, and Bible drills. But, on that Sunday morning as the Word of God was preached, I experienced a real, life-altering encounter with God. I’d already realized my imperfection (sin), and I’d seen other people make a public profession of faith. It just was not yet personalized for me, and all that information seemed fuzzy and great for other people.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
— John 6: 44

Finally, in an instance, the fuzziness disappeared, and beyond doubt I sensed God drawing me to Himself. Without hesitation, I grabbed my Mom’s hand and stepped into the aisle making my own profession of faith in Jesus Christ. I’ve never doubted the reality of the events of that morning and as I write these words the clarity and assurance of my encounter remain as solid as at the beginning.

Church is a great place to encounter Jesus.

Yes, a person may encounter Jesus in almost any setting. But, because the church consists of a group of people filled with the Holy Spirit gathered together to worship God, we have reason to expect to encounter Him there. In fact, we have His promise on that:

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
— Matthew 18: 20

Small groups provide a family atmosphere to study the Bible and encounter God’s answers to questions relevant to personal life. Lasting friendships form in this setting as participants share how they’ve overcome struggles by applying biblical principles.

God is looking for worshipers.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
— John 4: 23

A worship service is a powerful place to encounter God. Jesus assures us that God looks for people to worship Him. When people come together, “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3: 16b), an encounter with God will occur.

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
— Isaiah 55: 11

I cannot count the times God has used His servants who preach the Word to guide me through a challenging issue. Sometimes it brings relief and comfort. Other times conviction and repentance. Hearing Scripture proclaimed by a pastor who’s prayed, studied, and sought Truth from the Lord presents a providential time to encounter Jesus as Lord.

Come to church this Sunday. Not out of habit. Not because it’s been a while and you think you should. Come because church is the safest and surest place to “encounter Jesus as Lord.”