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2021 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Lunch and Learn

Andy Stanley - Lunch and Learn

When I was growing up, my dad is a pastor, and so every once in a while, he would leave town when I was a kid and go preach at another church, and whenever he would come home, my sister and I, she's three years younger than me, we would run to the door, "Daddy's home"! Then the next thing out of our mouth, "What did you bring us, what did you bring us? What did you bring us"? He would set his suitcase down and his briefcase down, and he would say, "I brought you me"! And we would say what? Awe, yeah, right, and then he'd pick up his suitcase, go in his bedroom, open the suitcase and start unpacking, and we would sit there in the corner thinking, "Is there anything in there for us"?

And sure enough, well, I did just happen, some of you went through that. Then I grew up and I had my own kids, three kids. Every once in a while, I would leave town and go speak somewhere, and I'd get home, and they'd meet me at the door, "Daddy's home, daddy's home! What did you bring us"? and I would say, "Me"! And they would say, "And you are all we need". And we'd circle up and have prayer time right there. No, you know, anyway, so here's the thing. All of you can relate to that maybe on one end or the other, as a parent or remember growing up, however it was. But here's the thing, early in our faith journey, especially if you're a brand new Christian or you've just come back to faith, or maybe this is the reason you left faith to begin with, early in our faith journey, it's a little bit like that. It's like, Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, let's get that out of the way, what do I get and how do I get it? What do I get and how do I get it? What do I get?

And if you don't know what I get, I've got some things that I'd like for you to get for me. How do I get them? If you wanna make a lot of money, write a book on how to get God to give you what you want. You don't have to call it that, but you can call it some cool title, but if it's a book about how to God to do your bidding, how to get answered prayer, all that stuff, people love those books, because early on in our immaturity, there's just something in us that God is God and I'm not, and what do I get and how do I get it? The problem with that is this, and you all know this at some level, in fact, some of you this describes what's going on in your marriage or maybe with one of your kids or with your parents, it is impossible to have an authentic relationship with someone from whom you're always trying to get something. You can't do it, because there's an agenda, and since there's an agenda, you're measuring your words, you don't go for it directly, it's like, how's it going, chitchat, a little chitchat, a little hey, by the way, it just occurred to me, have you ever thought about, and you're kinda doing this dance.

As long as you want something from someone or if you consistently want something from someone or you feel like you just gotta keep getting something from someone, you cannot have an intimate authentic relationship with them, it's just impossible. The cool thing and the amazing thing is John, who followed Jesus in the first century, said that God gave us everything we needed and everything he wanted to give us all at once, because he gave us himself. He showed up, and if that's still not overwhelming to you, then today's message is for you. And if that's not still overwhelming to me, this message is for me, because when the idea that God showed up on planet Earth because he cared so much about you and because he cared so much about us, when that goes from a theological category in our heads to our heart, it changes everything. It changes your entire perspective on everything, as we're gonna see. You will experience what Paul called the peace that surpasses all human comprehension in one translation, or transcends all understanding.

When this goes from your head to your heart, you will be okay when things are not okay. When this goes from your head to your heart that God actually showed up and he gave you something, he gave you himself, you will know that there is a purpose even in the random seemingly meaningless pains and sorrows and disappointments in life. We're in part four of this series, Bystander, John and the Rabbi from Nazareth. We're following John as he journeys with Jesus. Early on in the series, we talked about something John said at the end of his book, and he said basically that he has an agenda.

One part of his agenda is he does not want us to be confused, he wants us to know that he, John, the follower of Jesus, did not follow Jesus because of faith. John followed Jesus because of what he saw and because of what he heard. In fact, what he saw and what he heard actually convinced him that Jesus was the Messiah, and once he was convinced Jesus was the Messiah, he actually placed his faith in him as his Messiah. He believed based on what he saw and what he heard, and he wants his audience to, in their mind's eye, see what he saw, and through their mind's ears, to hear what he heard so that we would arrive at the same conclusion about Jesus that he did. Then as an old man, as an old man somebody convinced him, "Hey, John, you're not gonna live forever, and you were right there with part of the action. I mean, you walked and talked with Jesus. We need your account".

And so John, I believe, dictates his account as an old man. And he organizes his account, which we call the Gospel of John, around these events that he said weren't just random acts of kindness. They were actually signs that pointed to something, and the signs were evidence. Evidence of what? They were evidence that Jesus was who Jesus claimed to be, that the reason Jesus did miracles wasn't simply because he cared about people. He was making a point about his own identity, and he wants future generations, John wanted future generations to know what he knew and to see, again, what he could see, but not, and this is so important, but not simply so we would know what Jesus did. He wants his audience, he wants us, he wants you to know who Jesus is, because recognizing who Jesus is re-frames an entire life.

So he tells us at the very end. He says, "Let me tell you why I wrote what I wrote. Let me tell you why the story came out of me the way the story came out of me. These particular things are written that you may believe, I have an agenda, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have," have what? And that's the question the people in the first century were asking, and that's the question perhaps you're asking. In fact, perhaps because you didn't get the answer you wanted, you quit asking and maybe you're not a church person anymore, maybe you don't consider yourself a Christian anymore. The question is what do I get out of this? What do I get out of this? What do I get out of this?

That's the tension we're confronted with today as we continue our journey, because today we bump into the fourth sign in this series of sign that John builds his entire account around, and it's one of the most popular and one of the most famous and one of the most well-known stories in all of the Bible. It's the sign of the feeding of the 5,000 plus, and we'll talk about the plus in just a minute. Now if you haven't been with us, let me kinda catch you up. The nation of Israel is like a big oblong nation that runs north and south, and last we left off with Jesus, he was in the south of the city of Jerusalem, and he and the disciples begin to journey north about five or six or maybe even seven days to the Sea of Galilee. They get on a boat, they go to the northern most shore of the Sea of Galilee. They're about 100 miles away now from Jerusalem, and one of the reasons they went, we discover, is that John the Baptist had recently been beheaded, Jesus needs a break, maybe he's grieving, but he needs some time away.

So he goes to this very, very remote part of the country. But in spite of that, word spreads about where Jesus is located, and here's where the story picks up. And a great crowd of people followed him because no matter when he went, no matter where he went, there was a crowd and people kind of always knew where Jesus was. And a great crowd of people followed him because, because of faith? No, nobody in the first century followed Jesus because of faith. They followed him because they saw the signs that he was performing by healing the sick. What they saw, what they heard, is why they followed. What John saw and what John heard is why he ultimately believed.

So imagine this, Jesus and the disciples, they've gone way out of their way to get way out of their way so they can get out of the way of people, and in spite of that, here come thousands of people. Many of them have never seen him or heard him before, but now he's in their region, and while he's close, they wanna be close to this, wanna be, maybe be Messiah that has come from God or prophet or miracle worker, or if nothing else, maybe they'll see one of his tricks, and if they're lucky, maybe a friend of theirs would actually be healed. Jesus turns around and here comes this crowd, they're in the distance, and the text says that Jesus went up on a mountainside and he sat down.

Did you ever just wanna sit down? It's like, I'm tired, and Jesus sits down with his disciples and then John, before he continues the story, gives us a little detail that's important for what happens later in the story. He says, "Oh, by the way, you need to know the Jewish Passover Festival was near". This is given to explain the crowd's response later in the story. You probably know Passover was the Jewish celebration of celebrating God delivering the nation of Israel, the ancient Israelites, from the nation of Egypt. This was when God sent Moses, a prophet, and Moses the prophet led the people out of Egypt and destroy Egypt in the process.

In the first century, Passover was an annual reminder to the Israelites, to the nation of Israel, that they needed another Moses, they needed another Joshua, they needed another Judah Maccabee. They needed somebody to come along that could single-handedly galvanize the nation and throw the Romans off their land. After all, God had promised them this land. This was their land, and as long as they were an occupied nation, it was a sign of God's judgment, and they were ready to be done with that. The story continues. So, when Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, so you gotta picture, he's sitting down, he's tired, they're in the middle of nowhere, he's thinking, really? And the disciples are thinking really, really?

And here come these thousands of people and they're coming toward him, and Jesus knew why they were coming. They were kinda like us, they wanted something. They were more enamored with the signs that Jesus was performing than they were with the person to whom the signs were pointing. They were all enamored with the signs. They wanted another sign, they wanted another trick, they wanted another event they could go home and talk about. They lost sight of the fact, or many of them never knew in the first place, wait, there's a point to all this. All of these signs point to who Jesus is claiming to be. They wanted something. Then he turns and he surprises one of his disciples, and he turns to Philip, he says, "Philip," he's sitting there watching this crowd. They're all just watching them come, and they're thinking, "What are we gonna do"? He says, "Philip, hey, where shall we buy bread for these people to eat"?

Now you've heard this story many times if you grew up in church, and so I don't want you to race ahead, but you need to understand, nobody at this point in the story is planning to feed anybody. This wasn't a, hey, we're gonna feed these people. No, it's never been part of the conversation. This is just another crowd of people who wanna get a piece of Jesus and wanna be healed, and he's gonna teach another mind-bending sermon that they'll understand about 15% of and he'll have to explain it to his disciples later. I mean, they've been through this so many times, but they thought they were getting a break. So they're all starting at these thousands of people converging on this field, and they're a little bit up 'cause they've gone up on this mountainside, and Jesus just turns to Philip and says, "Hey, Philip, where are we gonna get enough food to feed these people"? Philip's like, "Feed these people? We don't feed people, we heal people. What do you mean, feed the people"?

Later, Jesus would kinda give them a little background and he said this, John discovers later, he said this, Jesus said this to test Philip, for he already had in mind what he was gonna do. He wasn't really looking for a good answer, and Philip says, "Well, it would take more than a half year's wages to buy enough bread for each one of these people to have a bite"! Translated, the answer to your question, Jesus, is nowhere, there is nowhere we can go. In fact, the reason he asked Philip is Philip was actually from this region, so he's like, "Hey, you know where all the restaurants are around here, where can we go buy enough food to feed all these people"? Philip's like, "The answer is nowhere, there is nowhere".

Then, again, if you grew up in church like me, I've seen the flannel graph version, I've seen the cartoon version, I've seen the storybook version, I've heard a thousand, so this becomes so romanticized and scrubbed and all the rough edges are kinda shaved off, but I think there was some humor, I think there was some drama, so Andrew, some kids got there first 'cause kids always get first everywhere, and they're down there, and Andrew sees this kid and he's got lunch, and he says, "Hey, kid, come here a second," and he turns, and one of his other disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, says, "Well, here's a kid with five small barley loaves," this is the food, this is the bread of poor people, "barley loaves and two small fish," probably pickled fish, "but how far are they gonna go among so many"?

I mean, this had to have been kind of a joke. He's like, "Kid, give me your lunch," and he's like, "No". "Well, come step up here and meet Jesus, okay"? We don't know, I think it's just like seriously? And Jesus said to their shock and their awe, Jesus said, "Well, I tell you what, since we have some food, have everybody sit down". Do what? Usually they line up. He says, "No, just have everybody sit down". There was plenty of grass in that place, and so they sat down. Then again, John gives us another detail because of what's about to happen. There were about 5,000 men in that place. About 5,000 men had gathered. Now why just he just mention the men? Does he not count the women because women don't count? I don't think that's what's going on here. 5,000 men was the equivalent of a fully formed Roman legion. 5,000 men, John is giving us a little foreshadowing as to what's about to happen.

So perhaps there were, some people estimate, 20,000 people sitting down on this field with no idea about the conversation that's going on down front. Then Jesus, I guess, smiles at the little boy and reaches down and takes his food, and he stops and this is the part, let's not rush by this, okay? Only 12 guys know what's going on, maybe a few people down front and this little boy, and Jesus just says, "Okay, guys, let's bow our head and close our eyes, and let's give thanks for lunch". They're not bowing their heads or closing their eyes. They're looking over their shoulder, like, are you kidding? Do you know how many people are coming? I was trying to think of an equivalent, and I couldn't think of one. It would sort of be like me coming in here today with a bagel, like, a bagel, and say, "Hey, I got everybody some bagel".

And you're thinking, well, I know how you do it, people are gonna come, some people with cool shirts on are gonna go through the aisles and we're gonna hand out bagels like we do food sometimes. I'm like, no, I got a bagel, a bagel. We're all gonna have some of a bagel. Let's stop real quick and thank God for the bagel. You wouldn't close your eyes. You'd be like, this is, what? So Jesus as sincere as he can, he gives thanks like the food trucks are about to roll out, the bread trucks. It's like not a big deal. I think this just looks ridiculous. It's kind of embarrassing, maybe he's smiling. One of the other gospel writers says that he took this bread and this fish, and he handed it out to the disciples before he prayed, and he distributed this little bitty bit of food to those who were seated as much as they wanted. And he did the same with the fish. You've heard this, when they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, this took hours, he said to his disciples, "Go head and gather up the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted".

Now there are all kind of stories about people trying to figure out how this wasn't really a miracle. I mean, everybody had lunch, but they weren't sharing, but once the little boy shared, they all shared and they all ate. Maybe, but that's just not what anybody who was there said happened, so I think we should go with the people who were there. John said, no, this was a sign, and everybody there, they didn't know initially, but eventually it dawned on them, wait a minute, they are distributing food and there is not a wagon or a cart to be seen. Look, we came from a distance. It was 12 guys and a few other people, but no wagons and no carts, and suddenly out of nowhere, we're eating bread and fish? So they gathered them, all the leftovers, and filled 12 baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

Now these are Jewish people, they get this. Under Moses, their ancestors had just enough bread each day when they were wandering in the wilderness. This guy creates so much extra food, they have extra food for who knows how many days, and the question they're asking, and the question they should ask, in fact, the most important question you could ever ask in your life, is who is this guy? The story continues, and after the people saw the sign Jesus performed, I mean this wave of acknowledgement and recognition of what has happened goes over the crowd, they begin to murmur and to whisper and to say, "Surely it's true, what we've heard, this is the Prophet who is to come into the world".

And for a moment, for just a moment, they shift their focus, and the reason this only lasted for a moment is because they would get hungry again, but now they're full and for just a moment they are able to take their minds off their own appetite, they're able to take their minds off themselves, and they're able to shift their focus from the sign to the person the sign was pointing toward and they recognize, oh my goodness, this may actually be the one we've been told about all our lives that would come, the one that Moses spoke of long, long ago, that said another prophet will come, the one that Daniel spoke of, the Son of Man will come. For just a moment, they got it. But Jesus knew their recognition and their acknowledgment was temporary, and besides, the time wasn't right.

So Jesus, knowing in his heart that they intended to come and make him king by force, and this was what all the foreshadowing was about, suddenly there are 20,000 people, there are 5,000 men, there's the equivalent of a single Roman legion, and if the first prophet Moses was able to deliver them from Egypt, certainly this second prophet, this rabbi from Nazareth, would be able to deliver them from bondage to Rome. Imagine the scene, 5,000 men marching from the northern most part of the city around the side of the Sea of Galilee picking up momentum as they go. By the time they leave Galilee, they've doubled in number. By the time, they're halfway to Jerusalem from the edge and the border of Galilee, they've tripled in number. By the time they get to the gates of Jerusalem, they're the equivalent of four Roman legions led by Jesus. The whole country would come alive, and finally a Messiah would have come and finally the land would be theirs again and finally their prayers would be answered.

Jesus knew all of this. As it turns out, he would in fact lead his disciples through the gates of Jerusalem during Passover, but a different Passover and not to be coronated, but of course to be crucified. Jesus knew their heart, and Jesus knew their intent, and Jesus knew their motive. Their motive had very little to do with who he was. It had everything to do with what he could do and would do for them. So, he withdrew, he withdrew to a mountain by himself. But before he leaves the crowd and before he dismisses the crowd, he gets the 12 together and he puts them on a boat.

In fact, the imagery is kind of interesting. It's like he kinda manhandles them. He says, "Look, don't get any ideas," and of course they're thinking, "This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made. We have been looking forward to this moment. What a perfect scene, we are going to march on Jerusalem". Jesus says, "Get those ideas out of your head, get on a boat, and row across this sea, and I will see you on the other side". He gets them going, he dismisses the crowd, he goes to a lonely place and he prays, because he feared that perhaps even they would be caught up in the excitement. Again, as the story continues, Jesus would eventually join them on the other side of the lake, and when he joins them on the other side of the lake once again, he thinks, "Finally," perhaps he thought, "finally we have some space, finally we have some time". But once again the crowd finds out where he is and they head his way, and perhaps now the crowd is even larger, but little do they know, he's about to thin the crowd.

In fact, he's about to call them out. In fact, not only is he about to call them out, he's about to call some of us out. He's about to call me out. Here's what I mean by that. Have you ever had this thought, or perhaps you've heard this or you've heard a friend say this, or perhaps you've said this in the past, have you ever heard anything like this or said something along the lines of, you know what, I gave up on faith and I gave up on church because I wasn't getting anything out of it. You know, I used to do that, but I wasn't getting anything out of it. I used to go, but I wasn't getting anything out of it. I used to serve, but I wasn't getting anything out of it. I used to give, but I wasn't getting anything out of it. I used to go sit in the front, but I wasn't getting anything out of it. And the point that Jesus is about to make is that as long as it's about getting something out of an it, you still don't understand it.

As long as this is about us getting something out of it, we are still children racing to the door, what did you bring me, what did you get me, and how do I get it? So Jesus is in another part on the other side of the Sea of Galilee with his disciples. The crowd finds him, they show up, and the text says when they found him, John tells us this, when they found him on the other side of the lake, they said, because remember, when you're trying to navigate a relationship with somebody that you want something from, you're never direct, right? There's an agenda, there's a dance. And so the dance begins. When they find Jesus on the other side of the lake and they all finally gather, a spokesman for the crowd or someone in the crowd says, "Rabbi, when did you get here"? which is not their question.

Jesus just sorta shakes his head and goes right to the point, he goes right to their point, and he says, "You're not interested in when I got here, and you're only mildly curious as to how I got here. You are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed, not because you saw the signs I performed and made the connection and stayed connected to what the signs were pointing toward, you came looking for me because you ate the loaves and you had your fill. You're here for the food. You missed the point of the sign. You thought the sign, the miracle was the point". Then he leans into that crowd, and he leans into me for sure, and hopefully you're gonna feel like he leans into you, and he says to these men and women who again, we can't even begin to imagine this moment because of all that we know that takes place after this, he says to these men and women, "Look, come on, do not work for," in other words do not live for, do not work for, do not live for, don't give your entire life to, don't waste the hours of the day and the years of your life, don't think only about, don't simply work for, he says, "Do not work for food that spoils, but work for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you".

He's saying, "Come on, come on, do you not realize what I'm offering? Do you not realize what the sign is pointing to? Do you not recognize who I am? Do you not recognize that God has certified me," he says in the next verse, "God has certified me, he's authorized me to work on his behalf. Do you not recognize that I am speaking to you the words of God? Do you not recognize that I'm doing the deeds of God? Do you not understand what's happening in this moment"? He could have said to them, "Do you not understand 2,000 years from now, people will be telling this story? You're part of the story, you're part of a revolution, you're part of something way bigger than retaking land and a city from Rome. Do you not understand the gravity of what's happening here? All you can think about is lunch". And so they said to him, "What sign then will you give us that we may see it and believe you? I mean, we're starting to believe, we're kinda getting there, but you know, I think one more sign will do. I'll tell you what, if you'll just do one more sign, we will believe in you. So what will you do"?

Now, we're gonna talk a lot about this next week. You really don't wanna miss next week. But this is where a lot of you, perhaps, or some of you are living. It's like, you know, I would believe in God if only he would. I would maybe come back and get involved in church if only God would. You know, I've got this little idea I've come up with, and if God would do my idea, then perhaps I would believe. So here's a group of people who have already experienced something beyond belief, and they're like, "You know what, if you'll just kinda do one more trick for us, let's see, oh, this just popped into our heads. You know, our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness". Jesus is thinking, "Good grief, we're back to lunch. All you can think about is food".

Speaking of lunch, so about two years ago, Sandra and I had lunch with a woman named Angela Ahrendts and her husband, Greg, and the four of had lunch. Now, Angela Ahrendts at the time, in fact, this just changed, she was the senior vice president of retail for all of Apple Computer. She was over all the stores. I don't mean she's the manager of your local Apple store. I mean she's over all the stores and the online store, and we had lunch and it was amazing. As we got to the end of lunch, she finally popped the question. "Andy," she said, "is there anything I can do for you"? I'm like, seriously? I am sitting two and a half feet away from the woman who has access to every single Apple store in America and beyond and the online store, and she has just said to me, "What can I do for you"?

Woo, what do you say in a moment like that, right? Here's exactly what I said. I said, "Angela, could you hook me up with a case for my foster daughter's iPhone 6"? And she laughed, and I laughed, because obviously I was kidding, right? The answer to that question is no, I don't need anything from you. I'm just so honored to meet you. Hug Tim for me when you see him, please, and thank you, you have already done so much for the world. To ask anything would just be, well, it would have just been weird. Just a little tip, do you know what you ask important people? You ask questions, you don't ask for anything. When you're with someone of significance, the fact that they are who they are, this is your opportunity to learn in a way you may never have an opportunity to learn. You don't ask for stuff. You just think about what a moment this is, what a moment this is, what an honor this is to be with this person.

I want you to think about this and we're done. This is so important. These men and women are standing, they're standing on the edge of the Sea of Galilee in the presence of the light of the world, God in a body, and all they can think about is their appetite. They can't see past their stomachs. In fact, when you read the rest of John 6, some of you know the story, on that particular day, many, John tells us, he was there, many decided to unfollow Jesus. Once they realized the magic show was over, they lost all interest in the magician. Once they realized there was nothing more in it for them, they walked away, they'd gotten everything they'd come for. Maybe, maybe because of the circumstances, they had an excuse. But you don't and I don't because we are on the other side of the resurrection, where the man who claimed to be the light of the world proved it. Where the man, as we're gonna talk about in a couple of weeks, who looked into the eyes of these friends of his and says, "I am, look at me, I am the resurrection and the life. I'm not gonna tell you about it, I'm telling you I am resurrection and life personified".

Of course, it would be difficult to believe that, but on the other side of the resurrection, we have every reason in the world to believe that. So what about you? What about me? Are we just in this for the food? Are you just in this Christian thing for what you can get out of it, for what you can get out of him? If so, you have not come to grips with whom you are dealing with. You have not yet recognized with whom you are dealing. You and I are standing there in the presence of the light of the world trying to figure out how to get some silly temporary thing. And Jesus is saying, "No, no, no, no, come on, don't spend your whole life working for that. Don't spend your whole life just thinking about that".

We have been invited to follow, and I tell you this all the time, I'll tell you as long as you'll listen, his followers, by the way, his first century followers, by the way, ultimately shaped Western civilization. They shaped the world. Listen, it wasn't the consumers that changed anything. It wasn't the, wow, did you see that, people who changed anything. It was the people who finally got it. In other words, for us in the 21st century, this is, this is no small thing to which we have been invited.

I mean, think about it. If every Christian in the United States of America for just two weeks, if every Christian in the United States of America for just two weeks would not ask God for anything but would simply love the people around them the way we've been called to love, would simply forgive everyone that they've been holding anything against, would simply load up on others firsting, others firsting, others firsting, if every Christian in America would quit asking and be as generous as God has called us to be generous and as compassionate as God has called us to be compassionate, and if every father would go home and be the father God's called him to be, and every mother would go home and be the mother God's called her to be, and every son and every daughter would submit to the authority of their parents as they submit to Christ, if we would all submit to each other in the way that God through Christ has submitted to us, if we would just do some basic things as Christians in the United States of America, the difference would be felt.

We're walking around with the ruby red slippers. We don't need anything new. We've been given everything we need. And a handful, a handful of disenfranchised Jewish people impacted the world and they survived the temple and they survived the Roman Empire. Ultimately, it was the love of Jesus expressed through them that captured the attention of the empire because they realized, a handful of them realized, we already have everything we need. The question is not what do I get out of it? The question of first importance, the question that will change everything for you, no matter how long ago you prayed the prayer to become a Christian so you wouldn't go to hell, no matter how long ago you put a stick in the fire when you were a teenager and then you kinda drifted away, the question that changes everything, no matter how old you are and no matter how many prayers you've prayed, the question that changes everything is the question that Jesus was trying to get his audience to focus on.

The question is this, who do you believe I am? For some, he was nothing more than a magic rabbi and they lost interest after the show, but a few of them would ultimately recognize him as God in disguise, and they responded the way you respond when you realize it's God in disguise. They quit asking, and they just surrendered, and they followed, and in the end he gave them more than they could have ever imagined. He gave them himself. So Christians, Christians, I hope you're not just in this for lunch and a phone case. If so, you will miss the adventure. You will miss your Savior. Here's why I know that to be true. You see, it's impossible to have an authentic intimate relationship with someone from whom you're always trying to get something.

So, stop negotiating. Just say yes. Every morning, embrace the words of the psalmist. I pray this every day. Instruct me and teach me in the way that I'm to go. Counsel me with your eye upon me. Heavenly Father, instruct me and teach me in the way that I'm to go. Counsel me with your eye upon me. I just wanna know that I'm following you. Embrace the words of the apostle Paul when he said, "Just surrender the members of your body as a living sacrifice". Just get up every morning and say Heavenly Father, here are my hands and here are my feet and here's my mind and here are my eyes and here are my resources and here's my pain and here's my story, here's everything about me. I am making myself wholly available to you. I don't need anything. The only thing I would ask is to make sure that I'm in the center of your will, as generous as you want me to be, as available as you want me to be, as committed as you want me to be, as authentic as you want me to be, as forgiving as you want me to be, as loving as you want me to be.

I just wanna know that I'm following with everything that I have in me. Or you can use the short version. You can use Jesus' words, you can just say Heavenly Father, not my will, thy will be done. Heavenly Father, my will comes with a grocery list. Let's forget that, not my will, thy will be done. In other words, let's just follow, and in light of Calvary, in light of the resurrection, we have every reason to and we have no excuse not to. God has already given you, think about it, God has already given you what's most important. You get to address him as your Heavenly Father.

John says it this way, he said, "Look, the reason I'm telling you all this, the reason I finally decided to get my story out there, the reason these things are written is I want you to believe. I don't want you to believe so you can get something. I just want you to recognize who we're dealing with. I want you to recognize that Jesus is the Messiah. He is the Son of God, and that by believing you may have," and here it is, bigger than lunch, "you may have life in his name".

Whoa, life in his name? Do you know what that means? That means there's more to this life than what you see. That means you forgive because you've been forgiven. That means you love because you've been loved. That means if you never get another yes to a prayer that you pray, you have the opportunity of addressing God as your Heavenly Father. It means that life is much bigger than you ever imagined. There aren't the bookends that everybody else lives with. This is a brand new kind of life. This is a different perspective on everything.

And when that's enough, new life begins. The adventure begins. But until it's enough, you may have reduced your Savior to the significance of a food truck with a menu that never fully satisfies your appetite. Until this goes from your head to your heart, you will find yourself, and I love this lyric, you will find yourself in negotiation with the God of all creation. How silly is that? Let's not be consumers, let's be followers. Let's not be consumers, let's leave a mark. Let's not simply be consumers, let's leave his mark, because again, this is no small thing to which you have been invited. His followers, not the consumers, his followers, not the people there for the show, his followers changed the world once, and perhaps this generation of followers will change the world again. By all means, do not miss part five of Bystander.
Are you Human?:*