Monday, February 20, 2012

not a fan

I am not a fan.

I recently read this book, and Jesus got all up in my bidness.  It's basically about not just being a fan of Jesus, but being a completed committed follower.   

Here is the product description from Amazon (if you're interested):
Pastor Kyle Idleman doesn't just want to be a fan of Jesus, he wants to full heartedly commit to him and be a follower of Jesus. But how can you make the leap from fan to follower? In Not a Fan Idleman uses biblical examples to show how the people who met Jesus also had to decide if they were fans or followers, and what it meant for them to then become followers. Being a follower doesn't mean that you go to church every week, that you slap a Jesus fish on the back of your car, and that you give to charity. That's what a fan does. What a follower of Jesus does, Idleman observes, is die to themselves each and every moment of the day because 'you can't say yes to following Jesus unless you say no to living for yourself.' In this three part book Idleman helps you to discover whether you are a fan or a follower, how to recognize the invitation Jesus has given, and what following Jesus looks like in your daily life. With humor and real life examples to draw you closer to Jesus, Kyle Idleman compels each and every one of us to Not Be A Fan.

Here are some quotes that I highlighted because they stood out as I read.  I could have highlighted the whole book, but I'm just going to list a few of the quotes in no particular or organized order. Warning: this is long.

"Fans have a tendency to confuse their knowledge for intimacy. They don't recognize the difference between knowing about Jesus and truly knowing Jesus.  ... In fact, knowledge can be a false indicator of intimacy. 
Clearly where there is intimacy there should be a growing knowledge, but too often there is knowledge without a growing intimacy."

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Matthew 15:8

"Instead of describing a relationship where I truly knew Jesus, I would have told you what I knew about Jesus. But when there is knowledge without intimacy, you're really no more than a fan."

"Jesus isn't just saying, "I want to be first place in your life."  He is saying, "I don't even want there to be a second place." When we compare our relationship with him to anyone else there should be no competition.  Fans will try and make Jesus one of many.  Some fans may even make Jesus the first of many.  But when Jesus defines the relationship he makes it clear; he wants to be your one and only."

"If following Jesus cost you everything, would it still be worth it?"

"Some fans are like the Sadducees.  Their faith was something they were born into.  It was never really something they chose.  Maybe when you were born your parents handed you a mask, and you grew up acting like Christians act, talking how Christians talked, listening to the music Christians listened to; but you never fell in love with Jesus.  Your faith has always been more about honoring your heritage than surrendering your heart."

(When discussing those who are new to Christ and the church)
"They just don't know any better.  And I hope nobody tells them that they're supposed to act like they've got it all together.  You don't often get to see people without a mask.  And it's such a beautiful thing.  That's what Christ wants in a follower-someone who isn't pretending on the outside to have it all together."

"Fans of Jesus sooner or later find themselves exhausted.  Fans grow tired of trying to maintain an outer appearance that doesn't match an inner passion.  They find themselves weary of trying to keep all the rules in hopes of somehow earning God's favor."

"He is not interested in enthusiastic admirers who practice everything in moderation and don't get carried away.  He wants completely committed followers."

"Even if there wasn't one when Jesus spoke these words, it seems that over the years the church has put an asterisk next to his invitation.  The sign out front of the church says, We Welcome Anyone and Everyone. But if you look real close you'll find a n asterisk.  And it turns out that Anyone means people who appear to have their lives together and don't have visible struggles.  Anyone does not include those who struggle with addictions or who have gone through a divorce.  Anyone means people who dress appropriately.  Anyone means those from certain social and economic backgrounds who are affiliated with a certain political party and have a certain taste in music."

"Jesus has invited anyone to follow him, but when they come to church they find that there is an asterisk. The not so subtle message is we have to let you in here because Jesus told us to but we are going to be keeping an eye on you. I can't help but wonder if that's how the other disciples must have felt when Jesus invited Matthew.  What about his qualifications? What about his past history? Jesus, surely you don't really mean anyone? But when Jesus says anyone, it turns out what he really means is anyone."

"It's not because God needs your time.  He has always been and always will be.  It's not because he needs your money. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. If God needed your money he could take it. It's not that God needs your worship. If you don't worship, the Bible says that the rocks and trees will cry out. The reason we talk about those things is not because God needs or wants those things; it's because he wants you. He wants your love. He longs for you to passionately pursue him, and all those things are come after indicators. They are outer signs that point to an inner reality that you love Jesus more than anything else."

Go read it and be challenged!

Any thoughts?

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