Have you ever had a moment that made you stop and think, “Wow, this changes everything”? Maybe it was finding out you didn’t make the team or that your parents were splitting. Maybe it was finding out you’re good at something or bad at something you didn’t expect. In these moments our lives change direction quickly. The funny thing is nearly everyone who met Jesus had one of those moments. They came in with a plan, a direction, an identity. And as soon as they spent any time with Jesus, those ideas were turned upside down. And, as we look at four of these stories, we find that an encounter with Jesus has the power to flip our lives as well.
Session One: Up in a tree.
Bottom Line: Jesus wants to love you, not judge you.
What are you afraid of? Spiders? The dark? People who twerk? Most of us have at least a few things that scare us. Sometimes they’re surface fears. Simple fears. But most of us also have a few deeper fears. Those are the ones that we don’t talk about as much. And, if we’re not careful, they will cause us to miss out on some really great things in life. Zaccheaues was a little man with some big fear. Fear that controlled him and caused him to keep a safe distance from everyone, including Jesus. In his story we find that getting to know Jesus, and what He really cares about, can flip our fear and lead us closer to Him.
Session Two: Losing control.
Bottom Line: When your ability runs out, Jesus’ ability keeps going.
Who really calls the shots in your life? Think about the most powerful person you know. Reality is, no matter how powerful that person is, there are some things he or she still can’t control. Jesus met a man like that. This guy had assistants for his assistants. Everyone followed his orders. But at the end of the day, someone he cared about was really sick and there was nothing he could do to change that. However, he understood something about authority that we could all learn from. He understood that when his ability had run out, Jesus’ ability kept going. And trusting Him to be in charge flipped everything.
Session Three: Peel the Label
Bottom Line: There’s a label that beats all other labels: His.
Funny. Pretty. Jock. Nerd. Popular. Smart. Not Smart. We all have a tendency to label the people around us. In fact, we tend to label ourselves too. We think about ourselves in terms of categories. But have you ever thought you gave someone the right label only to find out that they were totally different? Or have you ever heard someone else label you and thought, “that isn’t really me”? That’s the problem with labels. They aren’t always true. And even if they are, they’re always changing. Nearly everyone who met Jesus had their lives flipped, and in the case of a woman with the worst possible label, He changed her whole identity. He gave her a new label that would last. One that changed her whole world and can change ours too. Because there’s a label that beats all other labels: His.
Session Four: Does it matter?
Bottom Line: Jesus wants to be what you want.
Everyone dreams about what they want to be when they grow up. Maybe you want to be a doctor or an artist or an engineer. Maybe you want to be known for being a great athlete or a great speaker. Whatever it is, chances are you want to become someone or do something that you feel is important. Something that matters. And you work toward becoming whatever that is. Jesus met a man who had already met his goal. He was rich. He was powerful. He was well known and important. But surprisingly, Jesus said he still lacked something. This young man had achieved everything that he thought mattered, but through his story we find that God wants more for us than just achievement or fame. He wants us to pursue Him first.