When Encountering Jesus Isn’t What You Expect

Margaret —  June 3, 2013 — 35 Comments

When Encountering Jesus Isn’t What You Expect

During the Lenten season, I invited you to read the entire Bible in 40 days (sounds crazy, I know. Click here to download the free reading guide). We glimpsed God’s story at a breathtaking 40,000 feet. Themes popped off the page I hadn’t noticed before. Stories I had typically glazed over were brought to life once again. I learned things about God and myself during those 40 days that I’m still chewing over.  And I am busting at the seams with a love for God’s Word like never before.

While it was breathtaking to read Scripture at such a broad view, many of those who read along wanted to slow down and dive deep.

Well, me too! Me too!

That’s why I’m inviting you and your friends to go on another wild adventure with me through God’s Word this summer. I’m so excited to be diving into the Bible.

And I want you to come with! We’re going to explore the Gospel of John and the Book of Genesis in depth over twelve weeks.

Beginning today, we will spend the next six weeks studying the Gospel of John using the accompanying DVD Bible Study: Pursuing God’s Beauty: Stories from the Gospel of John. After John wraps up, we will be dive into Genesis, using the accompanying DVD Bible study: Pursuing God’s Love: Stories from the Book of Genesis.

We want to make this as affordable as possible for you. That’s why we’re offering a Summer Bible Study Special—the DVDs and Participant Guide Workbooks for BOTH Pursuing God’s Beauty and Pursuing God’s Love for only $40.00 (regularly $73.96). Click here to purchase your Summer Bible Study Special today.

Each week, we’ll read a handful of chapters from the Gospel of John, watch a session from Pursuing God’s Beauty: Stories from the Gospel of John DVD, interact with the five days of homework, listen in each Thursday with a live interview on Midday Connection (click here to subscribe), and discuss what you’re learning along the way at MargaretFeinberg.com, on Twitter, and on Facebook. For my fellow blogging friends, each Thursday you can link up your posts as you share what God’s teaching you through His Word.

Here’s your homework for Week One: Encountering Jesus:

1. Watch Session One (Encountering Jesus) on Your Pursuing God’s Beauty DVD (18 minutes) and begin working through the homework. (See below)

2. Read John 1-3.

3. Come back to MargaretFeinberg.com on Thursday, the same day you can enjoy the Midday Connection podcast on the session, to discuss what God’s revealing to you along the way.

If you have a blog, consider linking up with MargaretFeinberg.com each Thursday and share what God is teaching you through the Gospel of John!

As an extra special gift to you and a sneak peek to what we can look forward to in the weeks ahead, below, you’ll find Session One: Encountering Jesus from the Pursuing God’s Beauty DVD. To purchase the Summer Bible Study Special (which includes the DVDs and Workbooks for BOTH Pursuing God’s Beauty and Pursuing God’s Love, click here).

(RSS Subscribers, click here to view session one).

FOR DISCUSSION: Answer the following questions as a comment to this blog post. Feel free to ask questions, reply to others’ comments, and post prayer requests.

  • How did you first encounter the person of Jesus Christ? (Page 14) Share your story below as a comment.
  • Will you also share the first name or first initial of someone you are praying will encounter Christ? We would love to pray with you.


Read Thursday's post from week one, here.

Don’t miss a post during the Summer Bible Study at MargaretFeinberg.com. Subscribe to the RSS, here.


Want to catch up on the online #SummerBibleStudy at MargaretFeinberg.com? Here are the links to the Pursuing God's Beauty: Stories from the Gospel of John Online Bible Study Posts:



Session Three: MONDAY | THURSDAY




35 responses to When Encountering Jesus Isn’t What You Expect

  1. Cherie Sheldon June 3, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I am so excited to be starting this study! This morning I read John 1-3 in The Message. I noticed many of your quotes are from the Message so thought I would try it for reading. It makes you think more because it is less familiar than NIV. Margaret, I thank you so much for these on line studies! You are special. God bless you, Leif and especially Hershey!

    • Cherie, I’m SO thrilled you’re joining us.

      Yes– I read the Message Bible during Lent and fell in love with Eugene Peterson’s translation. You are right– it makes you pause and really read what even the most well-known passages say.

      I’d love to know, Cherie– how did you first encounter Jesus?

  2. I first encountered Jesus as a child (you can listen about my story in the video above). I’m so grateful God continued to pursue me over the years.

    I am praying that W will encounter Jesus. Who can we be praying for?

  3. Here is a link to the music video for “When Love Comes to Town” by U2 (the song from the experiential activity in session 1).

  4. Birdie Cutair June 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I read The Message Bible during Lent with you and really liked the style, too. That was a fast read, to say the least, so I’m happy to be going through John at a much more leisurely pace.

    I first encountered Jesus as a child in Sunday School and church, but didn’t really get to know him until I met the Holy Spirit. It was then that I developed a hunger for His Word that has never left me.

    • Lent was fast and furious, Birdie! I’m so so glad you’re joining us on this adventure, too. Can’t wait to see what God has in store for us!

      I’d love to know: if you were to meet Jesus for breakfast tomorrow where would you take him? What questions would you ask him?

  5. Danielle Neal June 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    My parents introduced me as an infant, and probably told me about Him before I was even born. So I don’t remember not knowing Him. I knew that I grew closer in relationship with Him in my mid-20’s when I began to grasp the personalness of His love for me. The Holy Spirit has done and is doing amazing work in my life and when I contemplate it I am awestruck with amazement and moved to tears. I grow deeper in love with Jesus daily.

    Please pray for J. Thanks!!!

    • The power of praying parents is remarkable. I’m so happy you’re joining us for this wild adventure, Danielle. Praying you never lose your hunger for God.

      Praying for your friend. May they experience how wildly loved they are by the Creator of the universe in a real, tangible way.

      I’d love to know: if you were to meet Jesus for breakfast tomorrow where would you take him? What questions would you ask him?

      • Danielle Neal June 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm

        I feel Jesus’s presence with me all the time, so in a sense, He’s with me at all my meals. 🙂 This is an interesting question. Because if Jesus were incarnate with me here and now, I am not sure where I would take Him. I guess I would ask Him where He wants to go, LOL. And if He replied, I don’t know where do you want to go, then I’d take Him home and cook for Him. (But if it has to be a restaurant, then Waffle House or Chick-fil-a or Cracker Barrel) As far as questions, I think I would be so excited, I would be speechless. Maybe the first question would be May I have a hug? Then I don’t know. Maybe how I can let go of stuff and overcome temptation more successfully? Or how can I open my heart to people more and not let comments hurt? Why did He have me study the Song of Songs during Lent? (The oddest and most precious experience of my life.) How to be brave, because He’s the bravest person I know. And I would certainly like to know how the Trinity works. And the Bible…what about the Apocrypha and the non canonical books. Are they trustworthy? I am afraid once I got comfortable, I would never ever stop asking Him things. Breakfast would just meld into lunch, then into dinner.

        • That is the best answer ever. Chick-fil-a is a PERFECT place to take Jesus for breakfast: God’s chicken!

          I would love to hear about your study through Song of Songs. It sounds amazing! Oh your questions just warm my heart and get my mind running in about 100 directions. So many options!

          Somehow I have an inkling that when we are in His presence, our questions may just be stilled.

  6. I will take a risk and understand if you delete this but I recently shared my story on a program called Words to Live By and I am posting the link to be an encouragement to someone who “feels” like God can’t forgive them My story is pretty crazy which only show how great is the love of the Father…

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Kim. And for your courage to share your testimony. I know it will be a blessing to others!

      His pursuit of us is absolutely breathtaking. I’m so happy you’re joining us on this adventure, Kim!

      • Kimberly Nyborg June 4, 2013 at 6:10 am

        I am excited to be here with you and others! My prayer concerns would be for my Momma, Joan in Orlando. Not physically well and in need of the Savior and my oldest son and his wife, Orion and Barb. Thanks for helping me lift the burden of their souls to the throne of God!


        • Praying alongside of you for your family and friends. May God reveal himself to them in big and powerful ways!

  7. Sandra Stewart June 3, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    I am excited about this study- I have never Done an online Bible study.

    I first encountered Jesus Christ when at the age of nine made a personal decision to ask Him to forgive me of my sins and to live in my heart. I grew up in a Christian home went to church all my life. It was during a very difficult time in my 30’s that I truly was able to see who God really was in my life- not just what I learned as a child and during my youth. I have learned and witnessed God’s provision, protection, faithfulness, and love!

    I am praying for God to move and be made alive in the life of A.B

    Thank you Margeret for leading this study!

    • Yay! We’re so glad you’re here, Sandra. Online Bible studies are nice because they are so flexible and you get to meet people from all over the world! Where are you from?

      I’m so glad God has pursued your heart over the years, Sandra. May he continue to reveal more and more of himself to you each day!

  8. Laurie Witthoff June 3, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I grew up in a Catholic family; however, my grandparents were Baptists, and my younger sister and I (the two younger ones of four girls!) would spend the summers at their home in the Alabama countryside. Grandmother took us to VBS, where I learned the song, “Jesus Loves Me.” I have a vivid memory of being in the back seat of Grandmother’s big old Buick, looking out the window as we drove down the heavily wooded two-lane road and singing the words to the song and REALLY understanding that this Jesus was real and He REALLY loved me!

    • Your story warms my heart, Laurie! Its amazing how different all of our stories are and how God uses them to paint a beautiful portrait of his work in our lives. Thank goodness for praying grandparents!

      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so glad you’re here!

  9. I am so excited for this study and to see what God has for me and the other two beautiful women that are doing this study with me. I first encountered Jesus when I was young. I grew up in a Christian home and received him as my savior at a very young age. But, in the last three years, I feel like I am discovering Him in a new and exciting way.. That my salvation isn’t just about being saved from Hell and following a bunch of rules, but it is about relationship with him.
    I would ask prayer for Shelley that needs to have a relationship with him.

    • Beth, we’re so excited you’re here!

      What are the names of the other two women doing the study with you? I’d love to pray for them! Are you meeting online or in person?

      Don’t you just LOVE that no matter how long you’ve read the Bible or followed Jesus there is more of Him to get to know? He continues to reveal Himself to me in new and breathtaking ways.

      I will be praying for Shelley!

  10. I first encounter the person Jesus Christ in Sunday School, and Summer Bible Camps, than I lost Him for over thirty years, and found Him again in 1985 and lost and found Him ever sense.

    The person, I am praying for…..A

    Ms. Feinberg, I am so happy to be here. I did Wonder Stuck with a friend on Skype, and we loved it. Will be doing this one via Skype also. Thank you so much for all you do. Say hi to Leif and Hershey for me. Blessings.

    • Yet He continues to pursue you, Sue! What a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness. Thank you for sharing!

      I will say a prayer for A right now.

      I’m so happy you’re here, too! I’m thrilled you enjoyed Wonderstruck and am praying that God wraps you up in His never-ending love during the next several weeks. May you feel the soft pinch of his presence like never before.

      What is your friend’s name? I can’t wait to “meet” her. 🙂

  11. Laurie I love your visual of riding in the Buick singing Jesus loves me!!! I was introduced to Jesus by an elderly couple who lived next door when I was young they took me to church but I found the holy spirit after my husband took me to church and it has been great!!! I would like,to pray for J. She has,been taking her family to church but excited for her to find more 🙂

    • Wow- what an amazing testimony, Kim! How cool that your neighbors began bringing you to church.

      I will pray for J! May God reveal himself to her in amazing ways this week!

  12. Amy Faith Martin June 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    My parents became believers when my mom was pregnant with me, which is how i became Amy Faith Martin. Amy = Beloved, Faith = Trust, through the ups and downs of my life their name for me has been such a blessing. When i speak with them i thank them for a name the reminds me of Who i serve. I was also blessed in that my dad and his brother in the Lord, Haskell Stone were teachers in the fellowship God grew up around them in the late 60’s in Detroit. Besides being best friends mom & dad along with Haskell & Roz Stone (Haskell called himself a completed jew), i had rich teaching all the time i was growing up, and was baptized at 16 at a YMCA pool in Detroit. I love Jesus and am amazed that i am still learning new truths over 40 yrs since the day i was baptized.
    coming from a family of musicians & artists this first session really hit home for me. i am looking forward to the summer session we will be doing in our small group study this summer.
    Please hold my folks Harry & Di up in prayer. mom’s dementia has been a true walk in faith for them both. Praise God mom does not forget her Lord and Savior 🙂 and daddy who truly loves our Lord and has loved mom for over 64 yrs of marriage. he is taking such awesome care for her, and us kids pray God continues to give dad strength and wisdom!
    in His love & by His grace, amyfaith

    • I love learning the meaning of names and how God continues to reveal more and more of Himself to us each day that we seek Him.

      Can’t wait to hear what God teaches you through this study, Amy and I’m so glad you’re here. You will have to take a picture of your small group so I can “meet” everyone!

      I will be praying for your parents. I can only imagine what a beautiful picture of Christ’s love their relationship is after all these years. Hug to you new friend!

  13. Sandra Stewart June 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I live in Fresno California. Fresno is mentioned in your book”Scouting the Divine” I loved that book. Very insightful!

  14. I’m so excited to be a part of this summer study session. The air was thick with the scent of rain the might I met Jesus. My mom and I were tucked in an adirondack chair on our front porch, my body nestled against hers and covered with a purple quilt she had lovingly pieced and sewn for me. I don’t really remember the questions or the conversation, but I distinctly remember that it led to me asking Jesus to be my savior. When I was fourteen or so I began regularly reading my Bible and recording my journey in various journals. I grew a lot during that time, but I must say that it has been through more recent failures that I have encountered the beauty of Jesus’ redemption and grace.

    Throughout this study I’ll be praying for my grandparents’ salvation. Their names are Wendell and Theresa.

    • I love that you remember such beautiful details of your story! And what a sweet memory to share with your mom.

      Lifting up Wendell and Theresa– may God overwhelm them with his presence and his love in the weeks ahead so they may know and trust him as their Lord and Savior!

      I’m so happy you’re joining us, Kristina!!

  15. I’m a little late to the party. I’m living in Germany and getting a copy of the book in English took a little longer than I thought it would.
    I first met Jesus when I was a young child, but I don’t remember much of that time. The time that I really consider the time of transformation for me was six years ago when I was deathly sick. I was 24, had had one surgery to removed my gall bladder and two gallons of fluid from my abdomen and the doctor’s still could not figure out what was wrong with me. They gave me a 50% chance to live. For the next few months the doctors tried to figure out the cause of my issues, but were struggling to do so. Yet during this time, I had an incredible sense of peace. I was in pain, I could barely walk around one floor of my townhouse, I couldn’t work, I might have been dying…but it didn’t matter. I was content. It was like God was saying directly to me, “If you die, I have got you in my arms and if you live, I have got you in my arms.” No matter what His plans were I knew He had me and I could feel it.

    I am currently in language school attempting to learn German and I have 18 classmates. I am not sure if any of them are Christian. Please be praying for all of them and specifically O.M. and G.R.

    PS: The first week study gave me a longing to be restored to that peace that I once had. When the study mentioned three days being so important I felt God telling me to fast for three days. I am a big guy so this is a big deal. I am through day one but could use your prayers for me to finish strong and experience a restoration.

    • That’s the best part about online Bible studies, Jacob! It’s impossible to ever be late. 🙂

      So excited you’re joining us from Germany– how cool! You’ll have to share pictures!

      Praying for your time there– God has brought you into that community of people for a specific purpose. May you shine His light brightly and beautifully.

  16. I grew up going to Sunday school, diff away, away’s prayed, never really went to adult Sunday school. But with in the past 3 1/2 started doing bible studies and was reintroduce to God and Jesus.

    • It’s amazing how we continue to grow and change in our faith over the years. The things that ignite our love for God and His Word keep changing– in one season of life it could be friendships, in another it could be Bible studies. Throughout it all the constant is that God is pursuing us wholeheartedly. Such a beautiful picture! Thanks for sharing your story, Jennifer!

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  1. Let’s Dive Deep This Summer: Study The Gospel of John & The Book of Genesis In Depth - June 10, 2013

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