Wednesday morning’s OPEN session focused on God’s “Top Five” favourite things. Josh launched the meeting with Ephesians 5:10, which says, “And find out what pleases the Lord” (NIV). He said that it’s fun learning about what pleases the people we love, including our Heavenly Father.
“If you want to know what pleases your Dad in Heaven, why don’t you ask him?” Josh asked the teens.
He then stated that he already knew what one of God’s favourite things is: us.
“You are in God’s top five favourite things,” he said.
Then, programme team members Leke and Marshall took the stage to bring the discussion back to the seven letters in Revelation, which speaks of God favouring perseverance in his saints. Marshall and Leke made the distinction between earthly perseverance and the kind that can only be found through God’s power. To illustrate the point, they had two girls search for coloured squares on the floor in the Main Hall, amongst a crowd of teens.
“Sometimes, [perseverance] looks like us trying to get through a really packed crowd,” said Marshall. “We try to just hold on and persevere through, and it seems like we sometimes have to do it all in our own strength.”
He then contrasted that with the perseverance that the Ephesian church mentioned in Revelation had, as well as the perseverance of Moses in Exodus. In both cases, the people couldn’t do anything with their own power; they had a God walking with them through the crowd, leading the way.
Debs took the stage again and pointed out that God doesn’t have a “Top Five” favourites list; there are many things He loves, and there’s nothing we can do—or not do—that would make Him love us any more or less.
“What is so lovely about God is that it’s not that we have to do the things He likes so He likes us; He loves us,” she said. “And not only does He love you, He likes you. He created you with all your intricacies, and He likes to spend time with you.”
To end the session, Debs used the example of her husband Josh and their adopted son Isaiah to illustrate the point that, when you spend time with someone you love and admire, you grow to become more like them. Because Isaiah was adopted, he shares no biological connection to Josh; however, the more time he’s with Josh, the more he begins to share interests and passions with his adopted father, which pleases Josh.
“It brings such joy to Josh to see Isaiah love the things he loves and to see Josh’s characteristics grow up in Isaiah,” she said. “And how much more does our Father enjoy seeing His characteristics grow in us?”
Debs explained that the Bible says we have everything we need for Godliness already in us and, when we spend time with our Father, we begin to become like Him. He has tailor-made joy and freedom for us, and all we have to do as Christians to walk in them is to spend time with Him.