On CHRISTwatch, in the CROSSwalk – Heart-Set, Head-Strong

Where your heart’s set, and your head’s facing.

THAT’S where you’re goin’!

Believers on a journey, Scouts on a hike, just-folks in a hurry,

we all need to know!

So if you wanna follow Jesus, even to the end,

you gotta get your heart right, and your head, too.

Consider… the Johnson boys!

You know the Johnson boys, don’t you? Drew and Rocky? Both Scouts. Eagles all the way. Like so many brothers (and sisters) amazingly different. But (as we say) tarred with the same stick. Drew, driven by what he set his heart on. Rocky, headstrong and determined, but warm and passionate. We can learn a lot from these two, in life and faith. …Ahh, the Johnson boys. That is, John’s sons. In Hebrew, Bar Jona. Drew, short for Andrew Bar Jona. Rocky, from the Rock, Petros, Peter, the name his friend Jesus gave the elder brother, Simon Bar Jona. You could say they were in Scout Troop #1, their Master, Jesus! Both made Eagle, best-of-the-best for Jesus, in their own distinctly different ways. One, by heart, one by head, each led to follow Jesus all the way.

The heart is the emblem of Andrew’s life. (Hmm: that’s also the badge of those who become LIFE scouts on the road to Eagle.) Now, Andrew had his heart set… on God. And the ways of God. And the hopes of God. And the love of God. So let me stop here and ask you plainly. What’s your heart set on? What’s your heart set on becoming (no matter your age or station)? Where’s your heart set on going, and taking you with it? (Any chance it leads to a hill or a cross with a Savior on it?) Let’s talk about Andrew’s heart. And where it guided his feet. ‘Could be, we might wanna go there, too. ‘Drew grew up a good scout, so to speak. Lots of us have, too, in or out of uniform. He was a devoted child to his family. ‘Worked the family business: FISH. He earned all his water merit badges. Boating. Sail mending. Fish catching. Net tending. He stayed at it ‘til grown. But that’s not where his heart was set. By & by, following his heart, he earned his hiking merit badge. He likely led several “spirit scouts” from town on a 60 mile hike to meet up with John the Baptist. John bathed Andrew in a kind of cardiology of the spirit. He placed it on Drew’s heart/soul that faith isn’t in outward forms and religious rituals. (Not in creeds, laws, stained glass or Bible class.) It’s an affair right here (gesture) with God! He learned following your heart’s not an argument but a living experience of the holy. That’s why he was so good at bringing others to Jesus and to God. [We can learn from this!] He never gave folks all the reasons they should believe.  He didn’t have to know-it-all and answer-every-question to win someone to Christ. He just said, “Come and see. Share the air. Hear the Word. Fill your heart.” The Baptist permissioned Andrew to be #2, knowing God is #1! [What that would do for me and you!] John willingly gave disciples to Jesus. Among them, Andrew, Peter, James and John. Andrew introduced Jesus to Peter, and to the Zebedees (J/J), then let his older brother have all the fame, and Christ have all the glory! It was his heart’s desire to bring others to Jesus! Who spies that lad (scout) on a hungry hill with loaves and fish and brings him to Jesus? Andrew! And 1000’s are fed. By “a good turn” from a boy scouting for God, led to Christ by a heart set on serving God. [Maybe it’s no accident. Scouts to this day live a 12 point law. You know: “thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.” Reverent, of God/for God/from God. The last point, the summary that contains the other 11…. It’s where scouting’s heart lies! What about yours?] To the last, Andrew has his heart set on heaven, even heaven on earth. Christ is on his way to the cross. Now, even non-believers are coming. “We want to see Jesus!” The 12 have never seen such a thing. So Philip goes to: Andrew! He’ll know what to do.  Andrew goes with Philip. They tell Jesus! And Jesus just knows. “This is it! The hour’s come! Crosstime and glory shine, straight ahead! So what’s ahead for you if you follow what your heart’s set on?!

There IS, of course, another brother and another way. Or at least another lead. Ask Rocky. Jesus did. Today, we’d call Peter sort of a headcase! I mean, stuff had to make sense to Peter. He was a make up your mind kinda guy! We got those folks, too. In church, scouts, family, on the job. What can Jesus do with such as these? Well, he can build on them. On us. On you! There’s a little Pete Johnson in most of us. I’ll believe it when I see it. Prove it to me. I’m gonna do it my way! You’ll never convince me, I’m as sure as I can be. We’ve all had a scout like that, a student like that to teach. Friends are like this. Husbands! (Amen?) Wives, sons, daughters, parents! (Amen?) I mean, don’t they/we seem just hopeless! Maybe not so much, when heads are turned to Jesus!

Consider Peter the elder/Eagle! The solid citizen. The one parents always hold up to younger brothers (and sisters). “Why can’t you be more like him/her.” I know that tune! You? Peter. The one dad will will the company too, even back then! First married. Houses at Bethsaida, Capernaum, maybe Jerusalem. He even lets his mother-in-law move in with him! (Such a nice boy!) It will take Jesus three calls to win Peter over. And you can imagine. Imagine how hard it was to follow when Jesus said, “You’ll have to give up everything to come along with me.” For some, that wasn’t askin’ much, they had little or nothing. But Peter, he had stuff! Still, Jesus called him his Rock! ‘Not just because he was the first to say, “You are the Christ,” but because he was warm. He had a certain touch with people. He connected with them. He was passionate. Once he got his head around something he was truly all in! ‘No weaselly ½ way about this Rocky! So God in Christ was willing to work it out with Peter. The same guy who lifts Christ also forbids him the cross. And Jesus will have to tell him to take a step back! Peter’s hallelujahs always seem to pass through a great furnace of doubts! (Dostoyevsky) Who here can relate? Boys to men, girls to women, in life and faith. Headstrong Peter will become rock ready and rock steady. He will affirm, yet deny Christ at the start. But he’ll be the Pentecost preacher who converts 100’s at Pentecost, as Andrew, proud not jealous elbows a friend, “That’s my brother!” He will say only to himself, “I got to bring him to Christ!”

Peter will open the faith to non-believers (Gentiles). We’re not here, if not for Peter! Andrew will get credit for taking Christ to Russia, the Black Sea, even Scotland! He will die on a “X” cross, 2 days to come to Christ. Peter will leave us on his own cross, upside down, saying, “I am unworthy of a cross in the same manner as my Lord!”

No matter your age, may it be your adventure to scout out God’s Kingdom in Jesus Christ. Set your heart on it! Nothing less! And if you’re headstrong, be strong in HIM, and your strength might change everything, from this world to the next!

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