Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not a Fan

"Faith is better understood when you see what it's like than when you hear what it's about."

That was the opening to the final session at the Summit and I think Kyle Idleman, a pastor at Southeast Christian Church and author of Not a Fan is right. It's hard to describe faith with our words, but living it is another story. But how do we live our faith out loud? We have to follow Jesus, of course. That's easy enough, right?

Let the quotes begin.

"If we are truly following Jesus, most of our stories won't be of comfort and convenience because taking up your cross daily is neither."

"Jesus puts us at a crossroad. We have to make a choice. We choose to be comfortable or we can follow Him."

"We live in a snuggie culture."

His went on to explain his laugh out loud statement.

We want to be comfortable. It's human nature. And even if we are already comfortably sitting on the couch, cozied up under a blanket, watching TV, remote in hand, if something else comes along to make us more comfortable, we want it. We want that blanket with arms that allows us to change the channel easier so we don't have to go through the discomfort of pulling our arm out from under the blanket to change the channel, messing up our comfortable position and having to get every thing just right again only to, sure enough, have to change the channel again a few minutes later. Along comes the snuggie. And we just have to have it. "We live in a snuggie culture."

"So what do we want? A snuggie or the cross?"

"Are we merely fans of Jesus or true followers?"

Do we walk around proclaiming one thing and living another? Are we standing on the sidelines cheering for Jesus and cheering on those that are actively carrying their cross while staying behind the lines and returning to comfort after they pass or are we in that line of followers?

In Luke 9: 57-62 we read about the cost of following Jesus. One man approached Him and said he would follow Him anywhere. Jesus basically tells the man that He is homeless. Apparently the guy didn't want to follow Him that far into anywhere. Jesus tells another man to follow Him. The man tells Him that he needs to go bury his father first. And another man that says he wants to follow Him wants to first go tell his family good-bye. Are the last two wrong for delaying Jesus? If we're honest, wouldn't we all want to go back to bury our fathers if needed and surely we would all want to tell our families good-bye, but when Jesus says "go" and we say "no" or "not yet, maybe later", that says a lot about which group we are in. If we say no or not yet when He is telling us the time is now, we are on the sidelines just cheering Him on and that is the wrong place to be. In His words, "No one....who looks back is fit for the service in the kingdom of God."

Idleman talked about how the growing orphan crisis is not something we can ignore.

"Someone once asked when he saw so much poverty and injustice, "Where are you God?" And then he realized that was the wrong question. The question should be...where are God's people?"

There are so many people involved in fighting poverty and injustice. There are so many caring for orphans and advocating on their behalf. But there is not enough.

"It isn't enough to be a check writer. It isn't enough to pray for those that go. It isn't enough to cry sometimes because you've been moved by something. If you aren't actively living it out, it's time to re-evaluate our life and ask, "Are you just a fan or a follower of Jesus?"

That leaves so many of us, myself included, in a pretty scary place. I claim to be a follower, but so often I act like I'm just a fan.

Being a fan isn't good enough.

Being a servant, the get down and dirty servant, living out a life different than what we may have planned for ourselves, being uncomfortable more often than not...that's when you just scratch the surface of being a follower.

Along with a few other books from the Summit, Not a Fan sits on top of the stack waiting to be read. I kind of feel like it's glaring at me, but to be honest I'm afraid to open it. It's one of "those" books. But in the next few days I will jump in and I am sure I will be stirred.

I know that I will be reminded that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and if we are true followers, we will follow His lead.

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