Spent 90 minutes last night with a group of great brothers and sisters in Christ who are reading books together this year and trying to learn more about what it means to be a Christ follower. Our book this month was titled "Not a Fan" by Kyle Idleman and it posed the question, are you a fan or a follower of Jesus? A fan is someone who roots for, has an interest in and who knows about while a follower is someone who passionately pursues and is engaged with. Can you see the difference? A fan is one who has a cheering interest. A fan might change allegiances or have multiple allegiances. A follower is a devotee, someone who has said "you are my one and only". A follower has invested and committed, is "all in".
Idleman's book poses some hard questions for the Christian and asks us to consider our relationship with Jesus with the thought in mind, "are your ready to follow whenever, wherever and whatever?" The mark of the true Christian is to be sold out entirely, nothing withheld.
Idleman tells the story of the Knight's Templar who were baptized into their order by immersion and dedicated their lives to service, but as they entered the water they held their swords above the waters of baptism as if to say, "I am all yours except for this sword." What is it that we withhold that keeps us from being followers? Is it our checkbook, our lake house, our retirement plans, our children's interests? What competes for your allegiance to Christ? Does that mean that we have made an idol of that which we have not submitted to Christ?
What would happen this year at Faith UMC and in the world if 10 or 12 of us were "all in" for Christ? Would the effect make a difference? It did when Jesus gathered the 12.
NOT A FAN by Kyle Idleman is now in the church library. It is a good read, but be careful if you read it......it might remind you of how far short most of us have fallen from the standard of 'true' Christianity. Are you a fan or a follower?