How Followers Are Formed
|John 17 (NKJV™)|
|6||"I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.|
|7||"Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.|
|8||"For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.|
|9||"I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.|
|10||"And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
Okay, so which is it? Did I choose God or did God choose me? Perspective is everything! If you look at it from the divine viewpoint, you'll say God chose. If you're looking at it from a human viewpoint, you'll say we do the choosing. But why can't both be true? I suppose you can sit around, scratch your head, and try to ponder such imponderables, or you can sigh happily and say with a grateful heart, "I'm elated that He chose me!" But you should also ask yourself another question while you're at it—What am I going to do about it now?
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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One question to ponder: What does it mean to you to be chosen out of the world to follow Jesus?
Greek terms: μαθητὴς; mathētēs - pupil, learner, student; Λαμβάνω; lambanó - accept, catch collect, grasp
Publications Referenced: The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost; Kids are Dogs, Teens are Cats, by Adair Lara
Cross References: Exodus 3:14; Joshua 24:15; Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Matthew 4:19; Matthew 4:21-22; Matthew 5:17; Matthew 9:9; Matthew 11:28; Matthew 13:3-23; John 1:1; John 4:10; John 5:40; John 6:35; John 6:37; John 6:44; John 7:37; John 10:7; John 10:11; John 10:35; John 14:8; John 14:9; John 14:14; John 14:17; John 14:26; John 16:12; Romans 10:17;Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 1:15;Revelation 22:17;
Would you join me as we pray together?
Our Father, we want to say thank you. Before we ask for anything from you, we just -- we marvel that we're your children, that we’re in this eternal covenant with you, this wonderful love relationship of grace that we enjoy with you. We just say thank you. Thank you, for what you've done for us which you’ve done to us, in us and what you're doing through our lives to reach other people. We're so honored. We just give you the glory for that and we do pray that you would help us to broaden our perspective, on how you shape and form disciples. We ask that simply in the name of Jesus. Amen.
I'm a follower of Jesus Christ. When I used the term follower, I'm not using it in the Twitter kind of way. If you do tweet or if you follow Twitter, if you want to keep up with what people are saying, you become their followers. That’s what they're called. You signup and you have so many followers. And I've always been intrigued by that. I decided to find out who's the most successful at Twitter and who has the most followers in Twitter world. Lady Gaga is number one. She has 14 million followers. Justin Bieber is second. He has 13 plus million followers and they have the top 50, top 100, top 1000.
It was interesting that Jesus Christ has a presence on Twitter. He has a page. I don’t know who it is but somebody took that hand of Jesus Christ and you can follow Jesus on Twitter. He has 363,000 followers and not quite as many as the top 10, of course, it's not Jesus who's doing the twitting at somebody who's giving out messages in His name on His behalf.
But when I say I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, I mean that I'm a disciple of His. I remember when I chose to become one. I remember when I received the Lord into my life. I remember where I was. And I knew that when I was choosing that path, that was not the most popular path, that I would be a minority not a majority.
You probably know that the famous American poet Robert Frost did a little poem called, "The Road Not Taken." In that poem, he talks about being in a forest and there is two paths that split off and he has to choose which road he's going to walk down. And he knows that he can only invest himself in one path though he tells himself that he'll be back eventually one day to look at the other path though in all honesty he knows that will never work.
And so he writes, "I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." By the end of the poem, you realized that Frost isn’t really talking about two paths in a forest as much as choices made on life's road. And we make very important decisions of where we're going to go. And when I chose to follow Christ, I knew I was choosing the road less traveled by and that made all the difference.
I know that I'm also addressing fellow followers. I don’t know that everyone in this room is a follower of Christ. I would never dare to say that. I suspect that there are a lot of you who are truly following Christ. And if you are able to share your story now, you would have your own testimony at a certain time, in a certain place, maybe by the influence of a certain person, you came to realize how important that choice was.
And so you made a decision to follow Christ. It might be I was lonely or I was searching or I was this or I was that or was after a divorce or after a difficult time in my life, whatever the circumstance is you would say, "I remember choosing to follow Jesus." That's true, but it's only partly true.
There's another side of the coin. We have seen it a few times in the Gospel of John already. Now, Jesus is reiterating it in prayer form to His father. What you have here, beginning in Verse 6 and we’re going to go from Verse 6 to Verse 10, that's our paragraph this morning.
We have God the Son, talking to God the Father, about how followers are formed, how disciples are made. And this prayer lifts us above just the human choice to the divine choice or divine election.
Notice the wording as Jesus prays to His father in Verse 6 saying, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom you have given me for they are yours. And all mine are yours and yours are mine and I am glorified in them."
When it come to the formation of the followers of Jesus, there's three components in this paragraph that I want you and I to see together. First of all, the Father reserves them. Jesus says, "They were Yours and you gave them to Me." He says that in Verse 6. "You gave them out of the world to Me." That's repeated in so many words in Verse 9 and in Verse 10.
So to sum it up, the Father at some point before the world ever came to be the world we understand from the Bible, God had you in mind, God chose you, He reserved you and He then gave you as a gift to His son. We covered that a little bit last week. So you and I become part of a whole new company of people called the Church, Jesus said upon this rock, "I will build my church." But what we see is, in listening to this part, in eavesdropping on Jesus talking to His father.
We're dealing with these holy mysteries of election and predestination. It's some pretty heavy theological stuff. Before we even dip our toe into those waters, however, let me just give you the definition of the disciple. Now you know that term from the Bible, disciple but what you may not know is the term was common in usage a couple of thousand years ago. The philosophers, the great mentors of the mind in the ancient world had many disciples.
The term in Greek is Mathetes, Mathetes. It means a pupil, a learner, a student. We get the word mathematics from the word disciple, Mathetes. You wonder, "Well, I don’t see the connection." Until you realized ancient philosophers took large sums of money from their students, from their disciples.
See, in those days, disciples were the ones that pursued the mentors, pursued the masters would ask to be mentored or a disciple by some great teacher or a philosopher and they would pay the money, they would choose where they would want to be mentored, what their master, who the master was. And so, we see there's a difference between that kind of follower, that kind of disciple and these disciples.
Fist and foremost, who chose whom? Well, it was Jesus who was walking by the Sea of Galilee, one day and saw Peter and Andrew. They were casting a net and Jesus walked up to them and said, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." He walked a little further, he saw out in a boat two other brothers, James and John mending their nets with their dad Zebedee in the boat. And Jesus said, "Hey you guys, follow me." It says immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
Later on in the same town was Mathew. He was an IRS agent, a tax collector. Jesus walked into his office and said, "Buddy, boy, it is quitting time." In so many words, "Leave all these. Follow me immediately." it says. He left everything and he followed Jesus.
Some time later, our Lord will remind those disciples of that truth. When He says to them, "You did not choose Me, I chose you. I appointed you that you should bear fruit." Now, in one sense Jesus did choose them, but in another sense they had to make the choice to cooperate, to follow. Their own volition was involved in the choice
There’s always been this tug of war, these ankhs between two great biblical truces, God's election and man's volition, man's choice.
See, on one side you have all these texts in the bible that talked about us making a decision to cooperate with God. Remember in the book of Joshua, when he said to the nation of Israel, "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve?" He appeals to their decision-making processes.
The first message of John the Baptist in Jesus was repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Again, appealing to them to make a choice. In Mathew Chapter 11 Jesus said, "Come unto Me all you who labor under heavy laden, I will give you rest." To the leaders Jesus will say, "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." Again in John Chapter 7 Jesus says, "If anyone thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink." All of these appeals for the exercise of human will.
All the way to the last book of the bible, the last chapter of the last book of the bible, in Revelation 22 we read "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirst, "Come!" And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely"
But on the other hand, you have all of these other texts in the bible that speak about God doing the reserving and the electing and the calling and the predestining, etcetera.
For example, in John Chapter 6 Jesus says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws Him." That's a sovereign work. That's a divine work. In Ephesians Chapter 1:4, "Just as He chose us in Him before the creation of the world." You might say God had you in mind before the world began. And even here in John Chapter 17 in the prayer that Jesus is formulating to His father, there's those same truce. "They were Yours. You gave them to Me."
Now for the life of me, I don’t understand the fight that has gone on and continues to rage. And boy, in some church circles, it’s quite a fight between those who adhere to Calvinism and they want to emphasize divine election over human choice versus the other side who wants to emphasize human choice over divine election.
Here's the deal. Both of these things are true and Jesus felt the freedom to include both of this truce in the same paragraph in fact sometimes in the same sentence, the same sentence. I remind you of this verse. This is John 6:37, we already covered it. Listen to this. Jesus said, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me. And he who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."
Now there's the combination of God choosing and electing and man cooperating and choosing from an earthly perspective. So here's the deal, please, what Jesus has sought to harmonize, let's not polarize on. He brings them together in one. You can marvel at it, you can wonder at it. You can scratch your head and go, "Hmm, interesting. Wow!" But at the end of the day, you know what you ought to do? Enjoy it. Because you know what it means? It means He picked you.
I remember what it was like when I was in grade school, in high school. Do you remember when they used to deviate teams and they would have team leaders and they would pick different students to be on their team? I was always one of the last kids picked. I love sports. I've used to have a lot of fun. I was never really good at one or the other team sport. So I knew whenever, "Here it goes. We're going to pick teams. I'm going to be sitting here, twiddle with my thumbs." and finally somebody go, "Okay. I'll take Skip." because there’s only two left.
I remember what that felt like but I also remembered what it felt like years later when I enrolled for a medical program with UCLA in San Bernardino, California and they selected out a thousands of students in California, just 13 to be part of this program and I was picked.
I remembered what that felt like. It was like, "Oh! This is what it feels like to be picked, to be picked first. Wow!" And I get that same feeling when I read texts in the bible like this one in our prayer today or other ones that I mentioned. God picked me. I'm on his team. Okay, I can read the books and I can muse over the literature and I can marvel at it. But at the end of the day, enjoy it man. I read the end of book. We're on the winning team. So just go, "Yeah! I'm on the team!" the Father reserves.
The second component in formulating and forming disciples, followers, it's not only the Father reserving but the Son revealing. Look at Verse 6. Jesus speaking, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world." Now, let me explain what that means.
That's an old way of saying that "I have manifested your name." That's an old way saying, "I have revealed Your nature to them." that's what it means. "I've revealed your nature." One translation says, "I spelled out Your character in detail to the men that You have given Me." In other words, Jesus shows us what God is like. Paul calls Jesus the visible image of the invisible God. If you want to know what God is like, you look at Jesus.
So in the Old Testament, the name of God Yahweh means, "I am that I Am." and every Jew knew He was the great, mighty, powerful, "I am that I Am." But Jesus took that name and made it more approachable, more understandable and more manageable.
He said things like, "I am the Bread of Life. I am the Living Water. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Door to the Sheepfold." In other words, he brought God down to the level where we can understand Him and God becomes to us whatever we need. "If you're thirsty, I'm the living water. If you have spiritual hunger, I'm the bread of life." So you might say Jesus Christ is God spelling Himself in a language that we can understand.
So Jesus said this, "If you have seen me--" you what? You've seen the Father. "Philip. Have I been with you so long? Don’t you know if you seen me, you've seen the Father?" What could he mean by that? Well, when you see Jesus for example, teaching the multitude. And the fact that you're seeing God who cares that we know certain truths about Him and about us. That’s God.
When you see Jesus healing people who are sick and the fact you are seeing a God who cares about human suffering. When you see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem and the fact that you're seeing God who is broken hearted over the rejection he has received from His very own people. "If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father." So, the Father reserves, the Son Jesus reveals the nature and character of God. If you want to know what God is like, you look at Jesus.
And it's more than just the nature and character of God. It's the truth about life. It's the truth about us. It's the truth about God. He gives us not just the nature of God but the truth in his words. Look at Verse 8. "For I have given to them the words." notice that, "The words that you have given me." Go down to Verse 14, skip ahead.
"I have given them Your word and the world has hated them because they are not of the world just as I am not of the world." Observe Verse 17, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth."
Not only is Jesus the living word going back to John 1:1, "In the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the word was God and the word became flesh." But more than that, Jesus also authenticated the written word. If you've read through gospels, you know that Jesus on many occasions referred back to the older testament and saw that as the very word of God except the scripture cannot be broken and He would often quote it, but He'd always speak of it as being the true inspired word of God. That's how He's saw it.
He said, "Don’t think that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets. I came to fulfill not destroy." And then He also anticipates the writing of the New Covenant, the New Testament. I want you to look at that. Go back a couple of chapters. Go back to Chapter 14 in John. I know we've covered it but it's a good time to remind ourselves because John 14 was probably a year ago.
John 14, look at Verse 26, "But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your name remembrance all things I said to you." That's a very helpful verse. It's helpful because we're sitting here today and wonder, "How could those disciples or fishermen? How are they going to remember all the things Jesus said and did and do it?" So it's like accurate. How are they going to do that? "I forgot what happened yesterday. How are they months later going to write these things down and have it corroborated with other sources? Not without the Holy Spirit. It's a super natural work Jesus anticipates. The Holy Spirit is going to assist you and help you and cause you to remember all things. "So that the gospels that were written were desirate."
Now, look at Chapter 16 for a moment on your way back to Chapter 17. Stop up Verse 12 of John 16. Jesus speaking, "I still have many things to say to you but you cannot bare them now." Interesting. A lot of truth I want to give you guys. You guys can’t handle it.
"However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears, He will speak and He will tell you things to come." I believe Jesus is suggesting the writing of the Epistles that Peter and John were writing. And the Book of Revelation, things to come that John were writing.
So here is Jesus who revealed the character and nature of God, but also authenticated the words of God from the Old Testament and anticipates the writing of scripture in the New Testament. And this is why whenever we gather together we say, "Open your bibles to" and we turn to a scripture. And we discuss and meditate upon a scripture. And somebody might be wondering, "Why is it every time I come to church Skip always has to do a bible study. Can we like have a dance one day or something?" because this is pure truth. And if you want to grow in your faith, you're exposed to pure truth. That's how we devote. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. In fact, that principle is found in Verse 8. Look at it -- of John 17, "For I have given to them the words which You have given Me and I have received them and have known surely that I came forth from You and they have believed that You sent me." See, receiving the words of Christ generates faith.
You don’t close your bible and pray for faith. You open your bible and that's how you develop faith. So Jesus reveals the truth. And there's a sense of authority and I'd say for me calmness, calm, knowing the scripture.
I've always loved the story about the clock tower in that Austrian village, the Glockenspiel. Everybody could set their watches on their wrist to what the time was on the clock tower until one day the glass broke in the clock tower and someone looked at the wristwatch and said, "That's not what my wristwatch says. That clock tower must be wrong." and reached it and changed the time.
Someone came by a couple of hours later and saw the time up there and saw his own wristwatch and said, "That clock must be wrong and set it back." The next day somebody came by and she said, "That can't be right" and changed it and somebody else changed it well eventually no one in that village knew what time it was. All authority had been lost. It was all up to -- whatever you think the time it is, that's what time it is. It's all relative.
So the Father reserves, the Son reveals. Here's the third and final component as we bring this to a close.
The follower responds to what is revealed. You should ask yourself a question. Every time you enter a room or a bible study is being given or hear a radio program or open the bible on you own and read something, you should ask yourself this question, "So what?" Really? "So what? What am I going to do about this?" You know why you should ask yourself that question because frankly most people don’t ask that question.
Honestly, there are a lot of people who'd listen to truth casually, forget it immediately and thus never grows spiritually. They listen to it casually. They forget it immediately. I know people that even bring bibles to churches. It is like, "I'm coming out with a bucket but a thimble." They come with the thimble and the fill it up and then it's spilled by the time they get to their car. "That's about it. That's my expectation. Just listen casually. Forget it immediately and never grow spiritually." I suggest a better way. A true follower will do this and follow it here in the text in Verse 8 number one, by receiving the truth, by receiving the truth. Jesus says, "I have given them the words that You have given Me and they have received them." Pause with that thought for a moment.
If you get a phone call -- not during service. I hope your phones are off right now. When you pick it up, there's a receiver on the phone. In your cell phone and your home phone, there's a little transmitter on one end and a receiver on the other. When you have a conversation most people typically just can go -- and hung up. They listen. They're receiving words through the receiver.
The word here receive is the Greek word Lambano which means to accept. It means also to catch or collect. And here's a better word, it means to grip. I like that. Get a grip of those words. Ponder them to grip them.
In football, there's a wide receiver. When the ball is passed, the wide receiver doesn’t catch it like this. If you've seen a wide receiver, he just grabs it. Grip, grab it, receiving the ball, I got it. So the idea of receiving truth is to be open to ponder it. Let it grab your heart. Let it do something inside. That's step one.
Step two, believing the truth. Again, Verse 8, he continues, "I've given them the words which You have given Me. They have received them and have known surely that I came forth from You and they have believed that You sent Me." That's the second part. Not just receiving but believing.
And that's how we began this thing called the Christian walk. That's how we began following Christ. We receive certain truths that we heard. We were there. We listen when somebody told us or we read in the bible that we all are sinners and we need to be forgiven. We go, "Huh? Let me think about that in a awhile, okay? I'm pondering that." And then we heard that Jesus Christ is a great savior and will forgive us based upon his perfect life and substitutionary -- "Huh! Okay, I'm receiving that." but there came a point where we cashed it in. We believed it. We said, "Yes!" to it. Now, that that process must continue.
If you are a follower of Jesus, it's much more than saying Amen to those truths once and just moving on with your life. It means that when you hear truth, you receive it and you believe it and you hear more and you receive it and you believe it and you keep repeating that over and over again and that eventuates in a mature follower of Christ.
Do you know that it is possible to listen to bible teaching and not grow at all? Do you know it's possible to listen to great bible teaching and not grow at all? Do you know who I'm thinking of in my mind when I said that? Judas Iscariot. Would you say he listen to good bible teaching?
Oh! Yeah, let's see, God was teaching. That's pretty good. He was like unfolding what He meant when He said this. You've heard that it was said but I'm saying it to you and he's just pushing it all together. And those disciples heard that and Judas heard that, he didn’t really receive it, didn’t grab it, didn’t believe it, didn’t cash it and didn’t change him. He's plotting. He was plotting all behind the saints.
Remember that Jesus told a parable about this? He said, "A sower went out to sow some seed. Some of it fell on the path. It didn’t even spring up. It didn’t have a chance to take root. Then some seed fell upon stony places. It sprung up immediately, but the sun came out and it withered. Other seeds fell upon a place where there weeds that grew up and choked up the seed."
Later on the disciples came to him and said, "What do you mean by that? Explain to us that parable, that cool little story. What does it mean?" Jesus said, "The seed that is sown on the wayside are those who listen." But as soon as they hear it he said 'The devil comes and steals away the truth.’" As soon as they hear a truth, they marginalize it. They rationalize it. They don’t even ponder it long enough to let it sink in, to even believe him."
And then he said there are those who listen. They're like the people on the stony places. They get all emotional, all excited. There's an immediate reaction but there's no depth in their lives so they last for a while. But when tribulation and persecution arise, they're gone. When the heat gets hot, they're out.
Then there are those Jesus said who are sown and they start to take root but the cares of this world like the weeds choke out the seed. The desire for other things chokes out the seed. The distractions of life choke out the seed. It becomes untruthful. But Jesus said there are those 25% in that parable, a minority who listened, who believe it. It takes root and they bring forth fruit, some 30, some 60 and some a hundredfold. Do you understand the process? First of all, receiving and then second believing.
Here's a third that completes the process. It completes the response. Behaving according to what you've received and believed. Verse 6, "I've manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me and they have kept your word." Allow that word to just sip right now into your heart. They've kept your word.
It's not enough to appreciate the bible. It's not enough to just hear the bible. It's not enough to underline the bible. It's not enough to memorize the bible. There comes a point where you say, "I'm going to try that on for a size today. I'm going to apply it. I'm going to behave according to it."
Did you notice in Verse 6 how Jesus words this? They were chosen out of the world. "They were yours that chosen out of the world. You've given them to me." Did your life reflect the fact that you've been chosen out of this worldly system? But, does your life mirror the worldly system? You've been chosen out of the world. Do you see now? True disciples, followers are more than learners. They're livers. I don’t mean that in the organ sense, the spleen and the liver. They're not just those who learn. They are those who live the truth.
Here is the problem and I include myself in this. I'm preaching to myself not just you. Our problem is that we don’t really believe what we believe sometimes. We have two sets of theological books. We have our formal theology but we have our practical theology. This is what we say we believe. This is how we live our lives. And a lot of times, they don’t even match.
In our formal theology we say, "Jesus is Lord." But in our practical theology our life says, "I am lord. It's all about me and Jesus will be my Lord as long as he doesn't upset my little deal."
Now, we have a discrepancy. What we say is not what we live. And Jesus said, "The response is receiving, believing and behaving."
I want to close to something that I read. Now, at first you're going to think, "What does this have to do with this?" It's about dogs and cats first of all. And really, it's a little piece written by a parent raising teenagers. And I’ll apply it at the end. I’ll tie it up together hopefully.
This parent begins by saying, "I just realized that while children are dogs." Now, let me don’t -- tuned off today. I can't believe he said that. Listen to the context, "I just realized that while children are dogs, loyal and affectionate, teenagers are cats. It's easy to be a dog owner. You feed it. You train it. You boss it around and it puts its head on your knee and gazes up at you as if you were a Rembrandt painting, right? That's a dog owner. It bounces in doors with enthusiasm when you call it.
Then, around age 13, your adoring little puppy turns into a big old cat. When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed as if wondering who died and made you emperor. Instead of dogging your doorstep, it disappears. You won't see it again until it gets hungry. And then it pauses on its sprint through the kitchen long enough to turn up its nose at whatever you're serving for supper.
When you reach out to ruffle its head in that old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you and gives you a blank stare as if trying to remember where it has seen you before. You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat thinks that something must be desperately wrong with it. It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of depressed. It won't go on family outings.
Since you're the one who raised it and taught it to fetch and stay and sit on command, you assume that you did something wrong. Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble your efforts to make your pet behave -- only now you're dealing with a cat.
So, everything that worked before now produces the opposite of the desired result. You call it, it runs away. You tell it to sit, it jumps on the counter. The more you go towards it ringing your hands, the more it moves away.
Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you could learn to behave like a cat owner. Put a dish of food near the door and let it come to you. But remember that a cat needs your help and affection too. Sit still and it will come seeking that warm comforting lap that it has not entirely forgotten. Be there to open the door for it. And one day, your grownup child will walk into the kitchen give you a big kiss and say, 'Mom, you've been on your feet all day, let me get those dishes for you.’ And then you'll realize that your cat is a dog again."
That's raising teenagers. When I read this little piece, what went through my mind is "I want to be like a dog before the Lord. I don’t want to be like a cat, aloof and like -- I want to just -- "You want me to sit? Okay. You want me to jump? All right." and gazing up like he's a Rembrandt. That’s the kind of immediate loving response.
Father, we just pray that we "church people" would be "Jesus people", we follow.I pray Father that we would enjoy the truth that you selected us but not get too hung up on that. I pray that we will respond to Jesus as He reveals the nature and character of God in terms as humans can get and all the truth that comes along with it, the Old and New Testament. But then we would respond. We perceived, we'd ponder and listen and open up our hearts long enough to even believe what we receive and then to behave accordingly. In Jesus' name. Amen.