Make the Leap from Fan to Follower

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As we go throughout life, we are presented with many special offers.

Car dealerships, health clubs, credit cards, and VIP opportunities are advertised to entice us, to draw us in. Many times, we pursue these offers only to discover that there are prerequisites.

Often, the prerequisites mean there are exclusions that disqualify some, and separate us from one another.

 

The good news is that Jesus gives us a different kind of offer. Jesus gives us an invitation that has no prerequisites, and is open to anyone. And anyone means, everyone.

 

In Luke 9:23-24, Jesus says “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you give up your life for me, you will find true life.”

 

Given that we are accustomed to a worldly life where there are exclusions that place each of us at our respective level of the totem pole, it can be very easy to hear Jesus’ words here and think,

“This doesn’t apply to me. You don’t know my past. There is NO WAY I’m good enough.”

 

If these doubts creep into your mind, consider the people that Jesus HAND-SELECTED to be His disciples. They weren’t the business leaders, figureheads, or the model citizens of society. They were the lowest of the low. They were tax collectors and fishermen, people that society loathed! And yet, Jesus specifically chose them.

 

Jesus paints a very clear picture of his love for EVERY ONE of us in Matthew 18:12-14. In this parable, Jesus tells us that he will leave the ninety-nine others of his flock, to save the ONE that wanders away. Further, He will rejoice over finding the ONE that wandered, even more than the ninety-nine that didn’t.

 

So what does this mean for us?

 

1) Jesus loves you where you are, right now.

No matter what you’ve done, you are enough. Jesus loves and LONGS to know you.

 

2) His call to follow Him will not leave you where you are.

Jesus asks us to take up our cross and follow him, daily. This means leaving the bad stuff behind, and being made new in Him. And remember, this happens EVERY SINGLE DAY, because sin and temptation never lets up.

 

3) If you follow Him your life will be CHANGED.

Following Jesus means victory over this earthly, broken life, and eternity in His kingdom! 

 

No matter where you are at with jesus today, let’s continue to pray this prayer:

 

“Heavenly Father, I love you, and acknowledge that you are mighty, and greater than anything else in this world. Help me to be aware of your unrelenting love for me. Be present in my life, and give me the courage to take up my cross and follow you, every day, so that my life will be CHANGED.”

 

-Contributed by Tom L.

Tom and his wife, Mariah

Tom and his wife, Mariah

Not A Fan: Everyone (not just anyone) Is Welcome!

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Have you ever thought about Jesus' invitation to FOLLOW him?

Does that seem possible to you, or maybe like there's gotta be some fine print to it?

Does Jesus know my thoughts? My past? My attitude? My doubt? May shame? My guilt? My sin?

The answer is YES!

And He STILL invites you to an eternal relationship with Him.

A promise like that is worth looking into, isn’t it? 

 

Here's a key verse to contemplate: 

Luke 9:23 

 

Here's a story to think about:

Luke 7:46-50

 

Life isn’t about having “it” all together and neither is following Jesus! Jesus loves you where you are, but He doesn’t want to leave you where you are! 

 

Take a step towards Jesus today.

You're not alone. 

 

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Not A Fan: Define the Relationship

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Are you a fan or are you a follower of Jesus?

At some point, we have to have the DTR (define the relationship) talk.

As I contemplate this question, I seek to offer examples of ways in which I am a “follower.” But when I stop and think to myself if this is really true, it becomes challenging and convicting. 

To clarify, Pastor Josh loosely defined a “fan” as someone that essentially admires or adores. A “follower” is all-in, ready to deny themselves, and to faithfully trust in whom they are following.

Who do you admire? Who are you a fan of?

The part that becomes convicting, is that I think we can all come up with examples of people that we follow in our lives, and Jesus may not be even be a consideration on that list, a lot of the time.

A very simple example of this is the celebrities or successful people we look up to in life. For me, if a rock star like Dave Grohl, or professional climber like Chris Sharma, came rolling up into my day, I would drop WHATEVER I was doing at that moment in time to be with them. To learn from them. To follow them, and would basically be open to doing anything they wanted to do. Even if they suggested something I was uncomfortable with, I would still probably willingly oblige.

Do we think of Jesus, our Savior, the most impressive, capable, powerful, and loving person to ever walk the Earth, in this same capacity? If we are honest with ourselves, the answer, most of the time is, probably not. I can say, that sometimes I feel God calling me to do things I did not personally have mapped out for myself, and I fight that call, or try to seek justification for reasons why it “just isn’t the right time, God.”

We get sucked into our own priorities and goals in life, and struggle with letting go, and trusting our Father, with the difficult things. We often try to take control of challenges in our lives, like finances, our careers, whom we date/marry, where we are supposed to live, or how to finally cut our addictions, on our own terms. The reality is, we aren’t capable. 

The good news is that, we can follow a God who is! Jesus has paid our ransom, and has set us FREE. He has paid the ultimate price for us, so that we can be saved. All that we need to do to be set FREE is to follow Him. In the simplest terms, this means, letting go of our own agendas, and trusting in the plan God has for us, allowing Him to guide us through the difficult choices in life. That is not to say that our lives will be perfect, or without hurt. We live in a broken, sinful world, that will try to tear us down. The point that we need to focus on, is that this life is not our own, it is HIS, and it’s temporary. There is SO MUCH GREATER for us in the kingdom beyond this world.

So, what are we willing to sacrifice to follow our Lord?

The answer should be, EVERYTHING.

I pray that we can deny ourselves and our own priorities each and every day, and put our trust in our God and Father whom has paid it ALL for us. Let us follow HIM, and willingly live a life that is All-In.

Submitted by Tom L.

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Easter: WHY Jesus?

WHEN WE UNDERSTAND WHY THE RESURRECTION IS IMPORTANT...

 

It becomes relevant to us.

...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God... Romans 3:23 (NIV)

It moves us to action and life change.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned... John 3:17-18 (NIV)

It is personal.

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Revelation 3:20 (NLT)

WHO DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH?

Judas:

  • one of the 12 closest followers of Jesus, a theif, criticized Jesus, betrayed Jesus

Peter:

  • one of the 12 closest followers of Jesus, hot tempered, criticized Jesus, denied and abandoned Jesus

Thomas:

  • one of the 12 closest followers of Jesus, questioned and doubted Jesus

HOW WILL YOU LET JESUS CHANGE YOUR LIFE?

Judas got so caught up in his shame, guilt, greed, and sin that he pulled himself away from Jesus' forgiveness and love, didn't see the hope that Jesus' resurrection would bring and ultimately took his own life without it (see Mark 14:10 HERE).

Peter was restored from his unbelief and God used him to build his church and do other amazing things (see John 21:15-17 HERE).

Thomas wanted God to prove Himself so he could believe (see John 20:25-29 HERE).

 

WE WANT GOD TO PROVE HIMSELF SO WE CAN BELIEVE HIM. GOD WANTS US TO BELIEVE HIM SO HE CAN PROVE HIMSELF. 

 

  • Maybe you want to be restored.

  • Maybe you want to experience, believe, and trust...you have a pulse, so you're not Judas! You have a chance to do it!

  • Maybe you can't believe just yet...will you give us another chance to tell you about Jesus?

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Ifs, Ands, & Buts: Trusting God

Ifs, Ands, & Buts: Trusting God

Trust in the Lord with some of your heart, lean on your own understanding, in some of your ways Submit to him, and you can make your own paths straight.

This is how we should have to read Proverbs 3:5–6 when we are living a partially surrendered life. Here’s what it really says:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5–6 (NIV)

OTHER KEY SCRIPTURES:

 

…“Go up and take possession of the land I have given you.” But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You did not trust him or obey him.
Deuteronomy 9:23
…But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Mark 9:22–24 (NIV)
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:3–5 (NIV)

 

The PARTIALLY SURRENDERED LIFE happens when we decide:

  • I’ll give God some things, but not everything.
  • I don’t fully trust God with _____. (Fill in the blank.)
  • I want God to prove Himself so I can trust Him.

 

We want God to prove Himself so we can trust Him. God wants us to trust Him so He can prove Himself!

 

Developing a WHOLEHEARTED TRUST in God requires that we:

  • Get to know the goodness of God.
  • Get to know the love of God.
  • Get to know the faithfulness of God.

ASK: Is the reason I don’t trust God or surrender to Him because I don’t know Him?

 

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Ifs, Ands, & Buts: Living for God

 

Ifs, Ands, & Buts: Living for God

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me — gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
REVELATION 3:15–20 NEW LIVING TRANSLATION (NLT)

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

THINK OF SOMEONE WITH “HOT” FAITH. WHAT SETS THEM APART IN YOUR MIND?

DO YOU LIVE FOR THE APPROVAL OF PEOPLE OR FROM THE APPROVAL OF GOD? HOW CAN YOU CENTER YOUR LIFE ON GOD’S PERSPECTIVE?

LUKEWARM IS A SUPER COMFY TEMPERATURE, HOW COMFORTABLE IS YOUR FAITH? WHAT WOULD TURN UP THE HEAT?

DO YOU FIND YOURSELF MORE INTERESTED IN WHAT GOD HAS OR WHAT GOD WANTS? WHAT DO YOU THINK GOD WANTS FOR YOUR LIFE?

LUKEWARM CHRISTIANS:

  • CRAVE ACCEPTANCE FROM PEOPLE MORE THAN ACCEPTANCE FROM GOD.
  • RARELY SHARE THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST.
  • RATIONALIZE SIN.
  • THINK MORE ABOUT LIFE ON EARTH THAN ETERNITY IN HEAVEN.
  • ONLY TURN TO GOD WHEN THEY NEED SOMETHING.
  • THEY GIVE WHENEVER IT’S CONVENIENT.
  • THEY ARE NOT MUCH DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD.

“How you live reflects the reality of what you believe.”

 

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Ifs, Ands, & Buts: Fearing God

Click on and read each of the key scriptures below

What stands out to you? 

Psalm 36:1-2

Proverbs 9:10

Proverbs 14:27

Proverbs 22:4

Genesis 22:12

 

Love God + Respect God = Fear God

 

Blessings of the Fear of God

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom ... Proverbs 9:10 NIV 

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27 NIV 

True humility and fear of the LORD lead to riches, honor, and long life. Proverbs 22:4 NLT 

 

“The fear of the Lord is an ongoing attitude of my heart that moves me to choose over and over again to obey God when it’s easier to do something else.” 

 

“The greatest evidence of the fear of God is complete obedience to God.” 

 

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Ifs, Ands, & Buts: Knowing God

 


You Believe in God, BUT Don’t Really Know Him

 

Click on and read each of the key scriptures below

what stands out to you? 

1 John 2:3-4

Matthew 7:21-23 

Galatians 4:8-9

Psalm 63:1-4

Psalm 9:10 

Ephesians 1:16-20

 

They claim to know God, but their actions deny him... Titus 1:16 (NIV)

 

SOME BELIEVE IN GOD...

... but don’t know Him.

... and know Him, but don’t know Him well.

... while knowing Him intimately and serving Him wholeheartedly.

 

“Don’t just be informed about Jesus. Be transformed by Him.”

 

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE OR ON ITUNES OR...

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