New Hope Church has recently started a new series called Fan or Follower based on the book of the same name by Pastor Kyle Idleman. All of the church’s small groups are following along using the follower’s journal and series of small movies each week in their group meetings. I hear that my old church also did a sermon series on this recently.
The basic premiss is this: Are you a fan of God? Or are you a fully committed follower?
I watched the movie with some interest…and found myself quickly distracted by the story it told. While the speaker, Kyle Idelman, was supposed to be the focus, I couldn’t help but be taken by the story they chose to tell while he spoke…a man who has a sudden heart attack in front of his family and who dies shortly after. To be honest it hit too close to home – my own father had a heart attack in front of me and passed at the age of 47 – and I had a hard time processing parts of what the pastor spoke of. It was one of those things that couldn’t be helped, and I will most likely go back and watch the video again…hoping to concentrate this time.
After the movie we separated into our small groups for discussion. And there, I began to decipher what I would take out of this exercise. The questions were:
1. Can you define the relationship you have with Jesus?
2. What part of your life are you refusing to let God into?
3. If you died, what would your friends and family say about you and your faith?
1. Defining the relationship is difficult as I sometimes feel it can be a little fluid…too fluid really. Too easy to set aside. I think, I am a fan most of the time. I think I admire Christ, I quote Him, I read about Him, I think about Him, I talk about, talk to and sing to Him. But I don’t know that I have ever had to really deny myself in order to follow him. Really been tested to take up His cross and follow.
2. As for what part of my life have I refused Him entry into? That is easy and hard at the same time. I think the hardest one to shake is that I have not let Him into my self image. I can’t see me the way that He does. It is the most glaring example of how I am unable to let go of something and let Him have it. I feel like I know who I am and yet I know it rarely matches how He sees me.
3. I think we all have a public persona. And then we have the private person that our closest friends and family know. And then we have the us only we and God know. If I had to guess about what people would say about my public persona, it would be that they think I am a better person than I know I am. If I had to guess what my closest friends and family would say, I think they would also believe me to be a better person (although maybe not as good as the public persona) than I say I am. And for the me and that only God and I know…well, I am who I am and I am constantly trying to be better than I know I am.