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Apr 29, 2012

Your Biggest Cheerleader

Passage: John 17:1-26

Series: Life to the Full

Category: Theology, Encouragement

Keywords: joy, christ, jesus, cheerleader, buddy, victory, winner, won, success, loser


Making Jesus to be on the same level as one our casual friends or peers or “my homeboy” goes a bit far. But what does Jesus think about us? What does he want for us? What are his hopes and aspirations for us? Does he actually have aspirations for us as individuals? Didn’t he endure nearly a day and night’s worth of torture and endure hours hanging on a cross in agony over us? Was it just for our sins that he died? Forgiveness just the beginning.


Buddy Christ. This particular image of Christ comes from a movie called Dogma. I’ve never actually seen it but according to Wikipedia, the film follows two fallen angels, Loki and Bartleby, who, through a loophole in Catholic Dogma, find a way to get back into Heaven after being cast out by God. Although I’ve never actually seen the film, I can imagine that it is a bit irreverent especially in regard to the Catholic faith. But I actually love this image of Jesus. Let me tell you why. A number of years ago I was leaving a touring drama ministry (Covenant Players) to work off personal debt and prepare to go to Moody Bible Institute. I had a very difficult last tour. I was a team leader but one of my team members had a been a former team leader who was removed from leadership because she had a tendency to abuse her team members. She was a veteran in the ministry, very legalistic, letter of the law. I, on the other hand, was a younger leader, not a veteran in the ministry, and more spirit of the law. So, submitting to my ‘leadership’ was very difficult for Amy. Theoretically, we could have been a great team. It didn’t work out that way though. I left that tour feeling very beat down. Granted I warranted some of the beating. I was having some personal struggles at the time. But one night not too long after I had left years of being on the road, I had a dream. In the dream, Amy my team member was lashing out at me, telling me in so many words how I didn’t deserve to be a leader and on and on. I felt terrible. In the dream, I looked over and I saw Jesus standing there and he just winked at me as if we had some sort of secret that made everything all right. I later came to realize that the secret lies in the text we’re dealing with today. The film Dogma came out about a year and a half later and I didn’t even see this image until I moved to Spokane. But you can certainly see how I would connect to this particular expression of Jesus. He’s winking and giving a thumbs up as if he approves. This idea is very troublesome to some people. They worry that an image like this makes Jesus out to be approving of everything anybody does or that it is somehow recreating Christ in our image.

I don’t know about you but my default is a lot more like this: 

And certainly making Jesus to be on the same level as one our casual friends or peers or “my homeboy” goes a bit far. But what does Jesus think about us? What does he want for us? What are his hopes and aspirations for us? Does he actually have aspirations for us as individuals? I hope so because he is very invested in us. Indeed, didn’t he lay down his life for us? Didn’t he endure nearly a day and night’s worth of torture and endure hours hanging on a cross in agony over us? Was it just for our sins that he died? Not that that wasn’t enough but was there something more that he wanted for us? Forgiveness of our sins, I think was just the beginning. We’re in this sermon series, “Life to the Full.” When John and I plan these out we usually try to come up with a theme that governs the aspects of God’s Word that we’re going to focus on. We thought it would be a good idea preach out one of the gospels and Word’s of Christ that came to mind were John 10:10

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. [1] So, I would say that Jesus has a lot more in mind for us than the forgiveness of our sins. That’s just the beginning. He died for our sins but he also came that we would have life to the full…let’s read what his hopes are for us.


John 17:1–26 (NASB95)

The High Priestly Prayer

1 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,

2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.

3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

4 “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

7 “Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;

8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.

9 “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;

10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.

11 “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.

12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

The Disciples in the World

13 “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.

14 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.

16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

19 “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Their Future Glory

22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;

23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me;

26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”


Before go into exactly what it is Jesus is asking God the Father for, we need to be clear on who Jesus is praying for. You don’t have to be scholar to figure that one out. He says in verse 9: “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given me.” And who are those? They are those who (verse 6) Jesus has “manifested God’s name to” “they were God’s and God gave them to Jesus and they kept God’s Word.” He’s talking about the disciples, the 12 who followed Jesus, excepting Judas. He makes that clear in another chapter. But those are not all. In verse 20, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone but for those also who believe in Me through their word.” So everything he prays after this verse and before applies to those who came to believe in Christ through the words of his disciples. So, anyone who has ever heard the words of the gospel in any translation through any source, and came to believe in Christ through it, this prayer applies to them. So, John who was one of his disciples wrote a gospel, Matthew also wrote a gospel, Mark, not one of the 12 but in all likelihood recording the words of Peter, a disciple, wrote a gospel. Luke, an educated man, interview and thoroughly researching and recording the words of the disciples wrote a gospel account. Again, this prayer that Jesus prays is for everyone who has come to believe in Christ through the verbally and written accounts of his disciples. Us, it applies to us, here today, the church.


Basically I see five things that Jesus hopes and prays for us here: preservation, sanctification, unification, glorification (asterisk, I’ll get to that later) and jubilation.


Preservation. In verse 11, Jesus asks God, the father to “keep them in your name.” Jesus prays for his disciples preservation. What does that mean?

1pre•serve pri-ˈzərv verb

pre•served; pre•serv•ing [Middle English, from Medieval Latin praeservare, from Late Latin, to observe beforehand, from Latin prae- + servare to keep, guard, observe — more at conserve] verb transitive 14th century

1    : to keep safe from injury, harm, or destruction : protect

2    a : to keep alive, intact, or free from decay

b : maintain

3    a : to keep or save from decomposition

b : to can, pickle, or similarly prepare for future use

4    : to keep up and reserve for personal or special use

How many of you have ever canned fruit or are familiar with the process? Why would you want to can fruit in the first place? Because it will go bad if you don’t. Why do care if it goes bad? Because it’s good and you want to keep enjoying it. Beloved, do you see the implication here. If Jesus thinks you are worthy of preserving, he thinks you are enjoyable. He enjoys you.

So, when you’re canning fruit, you just put the peaches in a jar and screw a lid right, put it on a shelf right? No. What do you have to do? You have boil the peaches and then you seal the caps on right. External processes have to take place, sometimes extra ingredients have to be added and then the fruit is sealed.

Indeed preservation for us is not a lot different. In Ephesians 4:30 (NIV84)

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.


So, we are sealed for time and season. What is the day of redemption? It’s a whole other sermon is what it is. Point is, we are sealed for something special. Say this, “Christ thinks I’m enjoyable.”


Secondly, sanctification. Jesus in verse 17, prays, “sanctify them in your truth.” I hear Pontius Pilate saying, “what is truth?” Jesus says, “God’s word is truth.” So, sanctified in God’s Word.

sanc•ti•fy -ˌfī verb transitive

-fied; -fy•ing [Middle English seintefien, sanctifien, from Anglo-French seintefier, sanctifier, from Late Latin sanctificare, from Latin sanctus sacred — more at saint] 14th century

1    : to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use : consecrate

2    : to free from sin : purify

3    a : to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, or respect to

b : to give moral or social sanction to

4    : to make productive of holiness or piety [2]

Set apart, purified, made holy, made productive of holiness or piety. Set apart? What are we set apart from? Sin, filthiness, impurity. What are we set apart for? A sacred purpose. Isn’t that cool, to be set apart for a special purposes.

Romans 9:21–24 (NIV84)

21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

If you’ve come to believe in Christ, you’ve been made for noble purposes not for common use. There was a series of movies made with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. They were known as the road pictures. The Road to Morocco, Zanzibar, etc. There was a rivalry between Hope and Crosby over women. Crosby’s character would say, “some got it, some don’t…got it.” So, if you’re in Christ… “got it.”


So, Christ prays for us to be set apart for sacred purposes. Hmmm.


Say it, “I’ve been set apart for special purposes, not common ones.”


Thirdly, Christ prays for our unification.


21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Their Future Glory

22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;


Just as Jesus and God are one, so are we to be one. Does that mean that we are to be the same in every aspect? No. Jesus and God weren’t the same in every aspect. Otherwise there would be no reason for there to be three distinct persons in the triune God –Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus, at the time of this prayer and even now has a physical body. Jesus, unlike God, the Father and God the Spirit, experienced birth, life, death and everything in between as a man. I would say that the unity being requested here is a relational unity.


Romans 12:4–5 (NIV84)

4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.


There is uniqueness among the members of this church and there is uniqueness in different groups of believers all over the world but we are unified in our relationship to Christ.


I referenced earlier that I had the opportunity to serve in a ministry called Covenant Players, a touring drama ministry. While there I had the opportunity to serve many different members of the body of Christ—Catholics, Episcopalians, Adventists, Lutherans, Foursquare, Assemblies of God, Methodist, Brethren, Quaker and serve alongside some in Covenant Players. Were there differences? Were there some that I could not abide? Yes. But when it came down to it when I started talking to these people about the Jesus they had a relationship with, he was the same Jesus, the same eye winking, thumbs up Jesus that I knew.


Does that mean doctrinal differences are unimportant? It doesn’t mean that at all. Some are important. I’d lay those out for you but that’s not the point of today’s message.


I don’t if you’ve noticed a pattern in my delivery of this sermon yet, but I’ve been quoting Jesus from the gospel of John and then quoting the apostle Paul in other parts of the New Testament. Why is that? Well, one of the reasons is to show unity between Christ and Paul. Christ prays for it, and Paul elucidates on the implications a bit.


The implications of unification in Christ are that we’re a part of something great. We’re not independent of one another and we’re on the winning team.


Right about the time I accepted Christ a song came out by a band called Oingo Boingo. “The Winning Side” The author seemed to have contempt for the “The Winning Side”. Indeed, that is the yawp of my generation, contempt for authority, the feeling of abandonment by our fathers and that generation…and that’s another sermon. But in the song there was this lyric, “When Jesus comes, he’ll march on with the winning side.” And I was at a point where I kind of despised God because I recognized that He was in control of everything but I didn’t necessarily believe He had my best interests at heart. So, I made a very cowardly decision, from the world’s point of view, I chose to be on the winning side. I didn’t know if God’s way was going to work for me but I already knew my way wasn’t. From childhood I knew that Jesus was on the winning team. Eventually, I have come to see that God’s way through Christ does have my best interests at heart.


Christ says, “I’m on the winning team.” You should, too. Say it,


Fourthly, Christ prays for our participation in His glorification. “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”


What does that mean? Is Christ’s the glory a bunch of angels singing good music (not the Satan rock and roll they play on the radio), ethereal light coming from everywhere. It might be all that but this I think is the heart of it… It means that we will participate in the glorification of Christ.  It’s not just being there, we’re a part of it. When the lead actor steps out onto the stage, it doesn’t really count unless there’s an audience. Otherwise, it’s just another rehearsal. It means, one, we will be with Christ. Earlier in Chapter 14:

John 14:2–3 (NIV84)

2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.


Two, we will, at long last be like Christ


1 Corinthians 15:51–52 (NIV84)

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1 John 3:2 (NIV84)

2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.


Three, we are Christ’s glory.

1 Corinthians 11:7 (NIV84)

7 …man…is the image and glory of God;


Part of Christ’s glory that we will see is the multitude around also who were also saved, redeemed and transformed by Christ. Christ, standing in the presence of the father surrounded by peoples of every tribe and tongue whom he has redeemed from the grave.



Wait a second there. Paul is saying that man is the glory of God. How am I jumping to man being the glory of Christ? Paul actually paints the picture of a man being the head of a woman, Christ being head of the man and God being the head over Christ, implied over all. But further than that. In Christ’s prayer he thanks God the father for all those whom He has given, including us. We are the glory of Christ.


To illustrate this point of us participating in the glory of Christ, I’ll point you to a Proverb.

Proverbs 30:29–31 (NIV84)

29 “There are three things that are stately in their stride,

four that move with stately bearing:

30 a lion, mighty among beasts,

who retreats before nothing;

31 a strutting rooster, a he-goat,

and a king with his army around him.


Christ, our king, with us, His sanctified army around him, His winning team.


“We are the glory of Christ” Say it,


Fourthly, Christ prays for joy, not just any joy but his joy,


13 “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.


What is that? I don’t have the words for it or a corresponding verse for it that won’t sound other than religious, works based rhetoric and Christ’s joy isn’t that it isn’t just religious, works based rhetoric.  I saw this video a few months ago and I think this sums it up:

YouTube Video...please watch.



That’s what I’m talking about, when it works. When what works? Our Christian life. This is Christ’s joy:


John 15:10–12 (NIV84)

10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.


Christ’s joy manifest in us is when we are living out our preservation, sanctification, unification and glorifying Christ through our love for one another. That’s when it’s working. That’s our joy.


“I have Christ’s Joy”

Let’s summarize the implications of Christ’s prayer for you.


You are preserved and protected because you are enjoyable, you are set apart for noble, sacred purposes, you are on the winning team with billions of other believers, you are part of a good thing, you are a prized jewel in Christ’s crown, his glory, you have Christ’s joy available to you.


If you noticed, I phrased all those as if they weren’t just Christ’s hope but a reality already fulfilled. Why did I do that? Why did I make that leap?

John 11:42 (NASB95)

42 “I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.”

NASB95: Chapter 16

   33    “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

NASB95: Philippians Chapter 1

   6      For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Joshua 21

43       So the Lord gave •Israel •all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.

   44    And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the Lord gave •all their enemies into their hand.

   45    Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

It is not God’s nature to lie, to go back on his promises or to not finish what he starts. You, like the apostle Paul can be sure that Christ will finish what he started in you by His spirit.


OK, so great, you believe in Christ. You know that He is able. More than that though, Christ believes in you. Really? Do you think God was up there saying in response to Christ’s prayer, “I don’t know…that’s a pretty tall order, you want me to preserve ‘em, clean ‘em up, help ‘em get along, invite them to your coronation AND have joy. Pretty tall order. Maybe if you die on cross twice.” No…that’s not what happened. God hears Christ’s prayer for us. Jesus wants us to win. If Jesus is rooting for us, how much more is God rooting for Jesus. Look at it this way when you were watching that video, did you find yourself rooting for that kid? Why? He’s not even your kid? Were your happy when he was successful? Why? He’s not your kid, and his project has nothing to do with you and does not have any real apparent noble purposes. If you, who are not perfectly compassionate or loving, could be rooting for a kid who you’re not even related to about a project that doesn’t affect you, how much more do you think Christ is you’re biggest cheerleader when He is related to you by blood and His love is perfect. Friends, I would like to propose to you that Jesus Christ is your biggest cheerleader.


What do we do with that? Well, like the kid in the video we live life anticipating a certain amount of failure but we’re not playing to fail, we’re playing to win at whatever we set our hands to.

Jesus, our biggest cheerleader says, John 16:33 (NASB95)

33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

He’s already at the finish line, he’s run the course, mapped it out for us.

Our Victory in Christ

  26   •In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

   27    and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

   28    And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

   29    For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

   30    and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

   31    What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

   32    He who •did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

   33    Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;

   34    who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who •is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

   35    Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

   36    Just as it is written•,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;

We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

   37    But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

   38    For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

   39    nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


So, all things, we work as if we work for God, as if we are going to win. Whatsoever your hands find to do, do it with all your might as if you are doing for God, whether it’s your job, your ministry, your family life, even your hobby, even Bloomsday.


But what if you don’t succeed. What if you blow it really bad several times? How does that line up with Scripture? Well, I’ll tell you, experience doesn’t trump scripture. If things aren’t going well, it’s not over yet. Christ has the last word. Even when whatever it is you were hoping for seems totally dead, that just means Christ has a resurrection or new beginning right around the corner for you.


The concept of Re.


My eldest daughter Kim has been studying Latin roots since eighth grade, it’s useful because much of the English we speak today has some origin in Latin.


One of those Latin roots is “re”


a prefix, occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, used with the meaning “again” or “again and again” to indicate repetition, or with the meaning “back” or “backward” to indicate withdrawal or backward motion: regenerate; refurbish; retype; retrace; revert.


Sometime ‘re’ has a positive connotation. Like, to be reelected. You’re elected all over again. What are some other positive examples of ‘re’? Right. But sometime, ‘re’ has a negative connotation. Like, when you have to re-do something.


Rehearsal. When I was in high school I took a liking for the stage, doing dramas and musicals and such. I loved the auditions, a chance to show your best, the anticipation of seeing the cast list the next day just find out that you may have gotten “chorus/townspeople”. I loved the auditions. I also loved the performances…the lights, the audience, it all comes together. You what I didn’t like? Rehearsals. Re-hearsals. Apparently, you’re not hearsing right, so you have to hearse it over and over again. The director constantly telling you, it seems, what you’re not doing it right and you’ll feel clumsy trying to do it because you’re walking, talking and dancing a role that isn’t you in the first place.


Kind of like life, even our walk with Christ, we are overjoyed accepting Christ, getting cast in his play. We look forward to our day of redemption, opening night, but in the meantime we have rehearsal, stepping into a role that, although we were made for it, it is not our nature and there is much stumbling and correction.


Like I said there are some ‘re’ words that have a negative connotation—regurgitate, redo. There are some that are positive like rebuild, recreate and there are some that we don’t know yet because it depends like, rebuild…will we build it right the second time….re-marry.


That one depends also. If someone tells you they are going to remarry, you have cause to think it didn’t go right the first time, ended prematurely, someone or something died. Indeed, if someone says, it’s their fifth marriage, our natural inclination is usually to doubt, “oh really, again?” But ‘re’ is always a chance to start again whether those around us are skeptical about our efforts or not. I still think Jesus is our biggest cheerleader though and I think he wants us to succeed to the glory of God and the joy of all men especially if there is a ‘re’ involved.


So, I would challenge you. Don’t play merely to win, play as if you’ve won because that is your ultimate reality. There are no losers in Christ.

37       But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.


Oh, the Places You'll Go!--exerpted from


Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, 
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't
Because, sometimes they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up 
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's 
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
You're off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996). Jn 10:10.

[2] Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary., Eleventh ed. (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).