On the Renewal Café Menu

Every Café includes times of fellowship, discussion and prayer. They begin with a short time of devotion. Here’s an excerpt from the March 3 gathering prepared by Rev. Andy Cornell.

I’m going to read Jesus’ prayer for His disciples, which takes up all of John chapter 17. If we ever need a powerful glimpse into the mind of Christ, this is it.

Read verses 1-5. Five times the word “glory” appears. Glory to God. And glory to His Son. This is glory that is not of this world. But it’s brought about as a result of the fallen nature of the world. God’s hands work in spite of the disorder.

There’s a lot of “giving” in verses 6-8. God the Father gave the world and its believers to the Son. And the Son gives holy knowledge to believers. And we have received that word.

And then, the Lord goes to bat for us, because He is about to ascend to glory but we will be left behind. Read verses 9-14. And read it again. You get an indication of how much Jesus Christ truly cared for us. It reads like a speech from a parent who is about to depart on a business trip or vacation and leaving teen-aged or young adult children behind. The parent has taught them everything they need to know. He’s coached them on safety, loyalty and the need for unity — please, no fighting.

He’s praying because not only does He know human nature — it’s clear the Lord doesn’t trust us — He also knows how evil the world is. So protect them, guard them, protect them again because the world hates them because they do not belong to the world.

The climax of this prayer is verses 15-18. This was not just for his disciples and followers then but for all believers to come. It’s for us today. Especially today. We are surrounded by the craziness of the world. It’s an unholy mess. We are in the midst of cultural changes not seen in generations. We are in either the beginning or the midst of upheaval not seen since the 1960s. Our world is wracked with disease, distrust of authority, damage from technology, disorientation in which increasing numbers of people don’t know who or what we are, disruption in mental health and division in the church.

What’s a believer to do?

In John 17, the Lord didn’t ask for us to be removed from it all. Just don’t belong to the world — don’t get caught up in it. Rather, allow God the Father to make us holy by His truth, teach us the Word, which is truth. For what purposes? To be sent into the world the same way the Father sent His Son into the world.

We have a God who really cares for us. Loves us. He wants to protect us and show us the way and is eager to answer when we reach out for guidance.

In light of all this, I ask: Who are we – what are we? How do we survive in (or adapt to) this culture? How do we respond to the hot issues of the day? How do we become renewed via all these cultural shifts?

The prayer of our Lord in Chapter 17 of John brings me great comfort. We should not feel any pressure to come up with instant answers to all those questions. I don’t have to worry about being home alone because I’m not – Jesus left behind the Holy Spirit. Let’s talk about these things.

– Renewal Café takes place at 1 p.m. Eastern on the first Thursday of each month. To reserve a seat, email <renewal-fellowshippcc@gmail.com>.

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