Monday, January 9, 2012

not a fan.

fan: an enthusiastic admirer.

In the Gospels, Jesus never seemed too interested in fans.

Is that how you define your relationship with Him? An "enthusiastic admirer"? Close enough to Jesus to get the benefits but not so close to require sacrifice?

He was looking for followers. Not just any follower though, but a...

completely. committed. follower.

How would things change if you lived as Jesus lived, and loved the way He loved?

Maybe you’re ready to join the hundreds of people who have stepped across a line and said:

I am not a fan.

Are you a follower of Jesus?

Don’t answer too quickly.

In fact, you may want to read this book before you answer at all. Consider it a “Define the Relationship” conversation to determine exactly where you stand. You may indeed be a passionate, fully devoted follower of Jesus. Or, you may be just a fan who admires Jesus but isn’t ready to let him cramp your style. Then again, maybe you’re not into Jesus, period.

In any case, don’t take the question—Are you a follower of Jesus?—lightly.

Some people don’t know what they’ve said yes to and other people don’t realize what they’ve said no to, says Pastor Kyle Idleman . But Jesus is ready to clearly define the relationship he wants with his followers.

Not a Fan calls you to consider the demands and rewards of being a true disciple. With frankness sprinkled with humor, Idleman invites you to live the way Jesus lived, love the way he loved, pray the way he prayed, and never give up living for the One who gave his all for you.

A taste...

chapter 5
following jesus
or following the rules?

Matthew 23

Do you remember the story of Matt Emmons? He was one shot away from claiming victory in the 2004 Olympics. He was competing in the 50-meter three-position rifle event. He didn't even need a bull's-eye to win. His final shot merely needed to be on target. Normally, the shot he made would have received a score of 8.1, more than enough for a gold medal. But in what described as "an extremely rare mistake in elite competition," Emmons fired at the wrong target. Standing in lane two, he fired at the target in lane three. His score for a good shot at the wrong target: 0. Instead of a medal, Emmons ended up in eighth place.

That's a picture of what happens to a lot of fans. If you asked them, "Are you a fan or a follower?" they would confidently respond "follower." It's not a question of their effort or desire. They are following hard. Here is the problem; it's not Jesus they are following. Without realizing it, they are aiming at the wrong target. Instead of following Jesus they are following religious rules and rituals. They have confused the targets.

In Matthew 23, Jesus tries to get the attention of a group of fans known as the religious leaders. If you were trying to determine who were fans and who were followers in Jesus' day, it would be likely that these religious leaders would quickly be identified as the followers. They had a mastery of the Scriptures and were considered expert theologians. They were especially known for their strict observance of the law. They would have received high scores for their religious rule keeping, but that's not the target Jesus was most concerned about. Following rules kept them focused on the outside, but who they were on the inside is what Jesus paid attention to. And the problem with these religious leaders is that, like many fans, who they were on the outside didn't match up with what was on the inside. In this chapter Jesus preaches one of his last sermons here on earth and it's directed right at these religious leaders. He doesn't hold anything back. If you grew up thinking of Jesus as a Mr. Rogers of Nazareth who was always smiling, winking at people, and wearing a sweater vest, the tone Jesus takes with these religious leaders may surprise you. The name of the sermon we're going to study is not "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" This sermon is traditionally called "The Seven Woes."

The word "woe" is an onomatopoeia--a word where the definition comes from is sound. The word "woe" is both an expression of grief and curse. Seven times in his sermon Jesus says, "Woe to you..." Each "Woe" is followed by a scathing rebuke. This isn't a warning by Jesus. He isn't caustioning the religious leaders. He isn't offering them counsel or advice. Jesus is going to strongly oppose these religious leaders because he doesn't want people to confuse following the rules with following him. His indictments against these religious leaders should serve as a warning to those fans who consider themselves followers because of their religious rule keeping and Christian credentials.


It may rock your boat of comfort. (I know it did mine.)

The Truth can do that.

There is no way to follow Jesus without Him interfering with your life.

So, are you a Fan or a Follower?
not a fan.

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