Follower or Fan?

“The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.” – Kyle Idleman, not a fan.

That quote from Idleman really makes me think about why I follow Jesus. What motivates me to follow Him, and am I actually following Jesus, or do I simply stay close enough to get some sort of benefit?

I used to travel I-35 quite a bit between North Texas and San Antonio. Along that highway used to be a church that advertised a “Sunday Morning 20 Minute Worship Service.” Their hope was by keeping everything extremely short and compact that more people would be interested in attending their services. But if our entire motivation in going to a service is that it will require very little of me, can we really call it worship? By the way, the sign and the church have since disappeared.

In Revelation we see Jesus sending a message to several churches. To the church in Ephesus he writes this: But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. – Revelation 2:4-5

To the church in Sardis: I know your works; you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. – Revelation 3:1

To the church in Laodicea: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth. – Revelation 3:15-16

If Jesus were to look at our level of commitment (follower vs. fan), would he say we had abandoned our love of him? Are we putting something else first? Do we look alive by playing the part, while we’re actually spiritually dead? Is our lack of commitment enough to make him want to vomit?

What does your life say about your commitment to Jesus? Do we actually follow him, or are we simply a fan? Does our schedule, our habits, our finances, our actions truly show that we are committed to following him, even when it costs us? Or are we fans that worship him only when it’s convenient, hang on to bad habits that dishonor him because we like them more than him, and give as long as we don’t have something we want to spend our money on at the moment?

2017 is all but gone. Let’s make it a priority in 2018 to honor Jesus in every aspect of our lives! Commit to truly follow Jesus. Commit to spending time with him regularly in prayer, in Bible reading, and in worship at every opportunity. Be radical! Do what the Bible actually teaches! Commit to giving both financially and physically in the service of the Kingdom. Make following Jesus your first priority above anything else!

But seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” – Matthew 6:33

Gone – How Time Slips Away

I have to be honest, I got the inspiration for today’s post from The Daily Post, but it’s something that has been on my mind quite a lot lately…the lyrics to one of my favorite Willie Nelson songs.

It’s been so long now but it seems now,
That it was only yesterday.
Gee, ain’t it funny how time slips away?

The idea of time slipping away has been front and center. My oldest daughter recently turned four. My youngest turns two on Saturday.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “should have done” and “what if’s” and how life would have turned out if some different choices had been made along the way.

Every so often I look around and wonder where the time went, only to feel lost as to where my time should go. Click to Tweet

We try so hard to plan out our lives, to control our own destiny, to organize everything just so…but then I remember the words of James.

James 4:14 – How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

And as I have seen friends this week deal with the tragic loss of their loved one that was taken from this life far too soon, I’m reminded that we really have to make the most of every opportunity we have because we really don’t have time to waste.

So hug your loved ones a little tighter, treat others a little kinder, and don’t waste your time worrying about the things you can’t change.

Because before you know it, your time will be gone.

Keep Your Focus

In 1978 during the a fireman’s strike in England, the British army took over emergency fire-fighting.  On January 14 they were called out by an elderly lady in South London to rescue her cat from a tree.  They arrived with impressive speed, and very cleverly and carefully rescued the cat, and started to drive away.

But the lady was so grateful she invited the squad of heroes in for tea.  They spent a great deal of time there talking, and enjoying a nice break from the hard work of the day.  After a good long visit, and with fond farewells and warm waving arms, they drove off, and in doing so ran over the cat and killed it.

The firemen lost the focus of why they were there.  If they had remembered and been focused on saving the cat, surely they would have looked for it before driving away!

2 Corinthians 8:20-2120 We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.

Sometimes we forget what we’re supposed to do in life. Even though we think we’re doing our jobs, and feel like we’re making progress, the reality is we’re so caught up in other activities that we’re not taking an honest look at what is truly going on around us. Sometimes we run over the cat we’re trying to save and don’t even realize it.

It’s times like these that we really have to stop and consider our path in life.  Am I really following the path God has planned for me, or am I being led astray by all the stuff the world throws at us?  Is God in control of our lives, or are our lives controlling our relationship with God?  It’s at these times that the first few verses of Hebrews 12 comes to mind.  We need to throw off all the things that entangle us and keep us in sin.  We need to fix our eyes on Jesus, and consider all of those who have gone on before us…all of those who endured so much more difficult and trying times “…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”   When we grow weary and lose heart we’re not the only ones that suffer.  Those who rely and depend on us suffer as well, and sometimes that’s the greater tragedy.