What Do You Want?

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 55


In today’s podcast we are going to look at a fascinating encounter that the disciples had with Jesus.  He asks them the question, “What do you want?”

This is Cindi Whitman with Restoring the Foundations. 

Key Verse

Jesus turned around and saw that they were following him and asked, “What do you want?” They responded, Rabbi (which means Master Teacher), where are you staying?” Jesus answered, “Come and discover for yourselves.”

John 1:38 (TPT)

This is a fascinating portion of scripture.  Jesus has arrived on the scene asking John to baptize him.  Of course, John, is taken back by his request feeling quite unworthy to baptize Jesus. He basically says he’s not qualified to baptize him.  John recognized Jesus as the Mighty One. Even though John didn’t feel like he was worthy or qualified he baptized Jesus out of obedience to what he had heard the Father say.  Then as the dove descended and landed on Jesus and remained this was the confirmation the Jesus was the One. He was the Son of God! 

The next day Jesus was walking past where John and the disciples were standing.  They immediately began following Jesus.  Jesus turned around and saw that they were following him and asked, “what do you want?”  Was Jesus irritated that they were following Him?  No, I don’t think so.  They asked Jesus where are you staying and he invited them to come with him.  He wouldn’t have invited them to join him if he was irritated. 

A couple of things that we can take away from this story.  Have you ever been asked to do something by Father God that you didn’t feel that you were qualified to do?  I know we have. 

In 2011 we were trained to be Healing House level RTF ministers.  At the time it was an intensive 4–5-month training on site in North Carolina.  At the end of our training, we went back to our home in Franklin, Tennessee and we started doing RTF Thorough Format ministry full time.  We loved watching the people God brought to us encounter Him during the week. Their hearts got healed and restored and their lives changed. The results were just amazing. 

In 2012 we were invited by the Director of Training to go to Kona, Hawaii and to do RTF training at the YWAM base. (Youth With a Mission) We had a great time pouring into the missionaries.  They were young and old and all were passionate about their relationship with Jesus.  We watched them get healed and set free and filled with hope to take this freedom to those they were going to serve in other nations.  As the years progressed, we knew that we were given several opportunities as “newbies” that others weren’t.  We didn’t know why we had such favor but we thanked God for the opportunities. 

In mid-2012 the Lord posed a question to us through a book we were reading.  He asked us, “Would you be willing to give up your dream to embrace the dream of Chester and Betsy?”  Now, this was a big ask.  We lived out in the country on 34 acres.  There was a pond in our backyard where deer, ducks, geese, swans, and blue herons made their home.  We loved where we lived.  We had built the house and loved living there.  We had a dream of building some cabins on the property where people could come to stay and receive ministry.  We wrestled with God, and our hearts, but we finally said, yes, we will give up our dream.  We had NO idea what the future held. We sold our country house and moved to a subdivision in Franklin.

Two years later Chester and Betsy called and said that they wanted to come to Franklin and see us, but they didn’t want us to tell anyone.  Of course, our immediate human response was to wonder what we had done wrong.  We asked God to search our hearts and show us.  After several days we had nothing revealed to us.  We then thought, “Well, if we did something wrong it was out of ignorance.  We will ask for forgiveness.  Forgiveness is key in RTF so they’ll have to forgive us, right?  Then we remembered that they said that they had a question for us.  We prayed about it.  We wondered what it could be?  We had lots of different thoughts. We thought maybe they would ask us to move to Mozambique to train IRIS missionaries to do RTF.  We wrestled with God wondering just what might the Kylstras ask us?

During that same time frame Betsy had asked us to speak at the RTF International Conference that would be held in September. This was February or March.  She contacted us that week and asked us for the title of the message.  We didn’t have a clue what we were going to speak about but we prayed about it and God gave us a title.  

The day came for the Kylstra’s to arrive.  As we sat on our back porch, we prayed that God would give us wisdom.   We asked him what he wanted us to do in response to their question.  He said, do you remember the title of your message?  We said yes, of course.  He said, “That’s what I want you to do.”

Chester and Betsy arrived.  We chatted for a while and then they asked us their question.  In all of our thoughts and imaginings we had never even considered that they would ask the question that they did.  You see, like John we would have considered ourselves to be unworthy and ill-equipped.  We would even have said disqualified.  (Our hearts were not yet fully healed) They asked us that day if we would be their successors and take the reins of RTF.  We were speechless. We were shocked. We were excited and yet undone. They asked us if we wanted to think about it and pray for a few days.  We said, “We will take a walk.”  We had sold our country house and now lived in a subdivision.  We took a walk around the subdivision and talked and prayed.  We realized that Father God had already given us the answer to the question they had asked.  You see He had said, “Just to do what the title of the message was.”  So, we walked back to our house and told the Kylstras what Father had said. We relayed our conversation with Father God from the porch that morning.  He said, “That He wanted us to remember the title of our message and do that.” The title of our message was “Just Say Yes”. We then began a new journey of becoming the leaders of RTF. 

In late 2014, we moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina to the headquarters of RTF which was a 126-year-old bed and breakfast.  We thought we would live there for at least 10 years.  However, through a series of events in 2017 we were directed by the Lord to sell the headquarters. We realized that it was impossible for us to expand RTF training at that location.  As we pondered and prayed about where the headquarters should be we heard the Lord ask us, like he asked John, “What do you want?”  As I sat on our back porch with tears streaming down my face, I remember telling Him, If you’re asking me what I want then I want to go home and be near our kids and grandkids.  We prayed and kept our conversation with the Lord private.  For the next few months, we asked the people in our network to pray about the future home of RTF.  Where should we be located?  What is the Lord saying to you?   We received 13 prophetic texts, emails or phone calls confirming that our new headquarters was to be in the Nashville area.  Many of those people did not know that the Nashville area was where our family was located. 

Going back to our story. The question Jesus posed to the disciples rings in my years.  “What do you want?”  In this account you see that John’s obedience required him to push past his own feelings of inadequacy to obey the Lord.  He set the table for the question Jesus posed to the disciples. Often times our obedience is key to our next steps.  When the Lord asked us to give up our dream and to sell our house, we had no idea what the future held.  When we said, yes to the Lord, and to the Kylstras that day we had to push past our own feelings of inadequacy to say yes.  God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies and equips those he calls. Many times, in the last 8 years of our journey of leading RTF we have gone back to the story of how God called us.  He not only told us to say yes but he had also told the Kylstras in their own encounter with the Father that we were to be the next leaders of RTF.  When times get tough having those “memorial stones” is important.  They keep us grounded.  They give us the determination to keep going even when things are difficult.  When the noise of the world is loud the peace of God is louder!

The question Jesus asked the disciples is one that I think he’s often asking us.  What do you want?  Have you taken time recently to ponder that? Sometimes life is so hectic that I don’t think we even know what we want.  Sometimes we get so stressed out trying to find the will of God for our lives and he’s asking us, “What do you want?”  For some of you this might be controversial but I think God gives us choices.  I think that we could have said no to the Kylstras and Father would’ve still loved us.  We would have continued to allow us to minister to people.  We could’ve even said no to selling our house.  However, that may have been the decision to obey that set us up for the opportunity to lead RTF.  Our decisions have consequences but I don’t think there is always a right and wrong choice.  Don’t get me wrong there are times that God instructs us to do something and if we don’t then we are being disobedience and rebellious. Other times God gives us the choice.  We live with the consequences of our choosing to say yes, or no.  But we can get so hung up on doing the right thing that sometimes it keeps us from doing anything at all. 

Recently, Lee did a podcast on God of the Guardrails.  As long as we stay in the guardrails of God, we’re good!  His purposes will be achieved one way or another!  (July 4, 2023)

I remember hearing Reinhart Bonneke share about God asking him to “Take Africa for the kingdom”.  As I recall Reinhart “argued” with God about his qualifications.  The Lord said to him, “Well, you weren’t my first choice.”  Two others, men or women, had been asked by God to accept the challenge and opportunity and they had not accepted.  God chose Reinhart to complete the mission and he accepted although he felt inadequate.  Bonnke became known as “the Billy Graham of Africa”.  There were many ups and downs throughout his ministry, but because he said yes to God, millions of African people came to know Jesus.  The kingdom impact was enormous. 

Imagine what it would be like to be one of the ones that didn’t accept the invitation.  I wonder if they had regrets.  It would be difficult not to look back and wish you’d made another choice.  However, did the Father’s love change because they said no?  I don’t think so.  God gives us choices but He loves us no matter what.  There’s a saying that a friend of ours taught us.  “There is nothing you can do to make God love you more and there is nothing that you can do to make God love you less.”  That truth has given me great peace.  The Father God I know now is loving and kind.  He always wants what’s best for me, but if He gives me a choice and no matter what I say no he still loves me.  There are consequences to our choices but losing God’s love isn’t one of them. 

 I remember one time we had several choices, or doors, opened to us. We desperately wanted to choose the right one.  As I prayed about it I saw a picture of the old TV show Let’s Make a Deal.  If you’re younger than 40 you probably don’t have any idea what I’m talking about but it was a game show where the contestant was given a choice of Door number 1, door number 2, or door number 3.  Behind one of the doors was the grand prize.  The other doors held prizes but none was like the grand prize.  As I prayed, I saw myself in front of the doors.  I was debating about which door to choose.  So, I opened Door number 2.  I saw Jesus standing their smiling.  I wondered what was behind Door number 1 and 3.  So I opened each door.  I found Jesus smiling behind each door.  You see because my heart was yielded to Him, he was behind whichever door I chose.  He was asking me, “What do you want?”  I think he’s asking some of you that question today.  What do you want?  Do you even know what you want?  Have you been so busy that you don’t know anymore?  Have the responsibilities of life weighed you down so much that you have given up on your dreams?

Jesus asked the disciples that question, “What do you want”?  Their answer, “Rabbi, (which means Master Teacher), Where are you staying?” They could have asked for a number of things. They could have asked for a ministry, for wealth, to be married, but their desire was to be with him.  They wanted to hang out with him.  They wanted to be where he was. Nothing was more important or valuable to them than being with him.   That is probably the desire of your heart too.  Jesus answered by inviting them “Come and discover for yourselves.”  So, they went with him and spent the remainder of the day and night with him.  What was the outcome?  They discovered through their encounter with Jesus that He was the Anointed One.  He was the one they had been waiting for.  He was the Messiah! No one had to convince them.  Spending time with Him was all it took.

So, today Jesus is asking you, “What do you want”?  You might know right away or you may need to take some time to ponder the question.  It takes intentionality to set aside time to be with him but the takeaway will be worth it! 

Let’s pray:  Father God, thank you for always loving us.  Thank you that you give us choices.  Thank you that even when we don’t respond with a yes, you still love us.  Lord, help us to be willing to set aside time just to be with you. Help us to shut out all of the noise and distractions just to hear your voice and to “be” with you. Help us to discover the answer to the question, “What do you want”? We yield our hearts to you.  Lord, it is our desire to do your will.  Help us to be willing to say yes when you call.  We want an encounter with you! We rest in knowing that you love us no matter what. 

Declaration:  I declare that I will set aside time just to “be” with Him. 

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.