Not A Fan – Part 1

Our church is currently in a church-wide emphasis called, Not A Fan. This is based on the book by the same name by Kyle Idleman.  There is also a six-week video series that we are using among small groups. The first two video installments have been powerful.  This evening – even though it’s been a long day already – I stopped and watched the second installment so that I would know how the series is going.  I don’t want to give up any spoilers, let’s just say that Jesus calls us — even those of who could be considered a Matthew – so trapped in sin that they think they can’t escape – to follow him.  Matthew was a tax collector – a Jew, collecting tax for the “enemy” the Romans.  Through grace, Jesus called Matthew to follow Him.  He calls each one of us to follow Him.

Here’s where the story gets personal:

I’ve been a believer for many years now…I asked Jesus into my heart over 40 years ago now at a campmeeting near Danielsville, PA.  Throughout the years, Jesus has called me to follow him.  While I don’t remember much about those early years, I remember going to church – everytime it was open (I want you to know, that’s not a bad thing. I am very thankful that I was brought up that way.) What I remember thought is coming to a time when I had to make faith in Jesus and subsequently following Jesus mine.  I couldn’t just follow my parent’s Jesus.  In 1980, our youth group attended a regional youth convention put on by the Wesleyan Church.  It was during this youth convention – on the last day – Dr. Jimmy Johnson preached a message about following Jesus – following Jesus into full-time ministry.  That day I answered that call.  I was a senior in High School at the time and enjoyed music then as much as I do now.  Most everyone assumed I would attend one of our colleges and be a music director (we didn’t call them worship pastors at the time.) Eventually all that happened.  Some would call it a crooked road – but God and I started on a journey that day – a journey that, even now, is not completed.  Sure there have been several (many) chapters written in that story.

In year’s past I covered pieces of that story.

Some of the decisions to follow Jesus were tough…Like leaving Allentown…with everything we owned and two small children to move to a completely new place where at the time we knew no one.  A strange place with no mountains and attend college.

I know and so does Pam what it means to sacrifice and follow Jesus…in my bio for this blog, it talks about us being Christ-followers.  I believe we are and yet…in some ways I am still just a fan.

I was thinking about that thought this morning while running.  In Chapter Ten of the above story, that will be a major influence.  Over the last few nights, I have been going back over Facebook posts and blog posts to reconstruct my running journey.  Over the last three years, I’ve posted all over the place, but all the stats were never in one place.  About two years ago, I started using Map My Run, but never transferred the old information over to it, so it has always been an incomplete record.

While I have written about this transition from casual runner to avid runner, I never thought about it in terms of being a fan of running to being a follower of running.  As I have been entering the stats, you can see, when all that changed.  For many months my mileage totals were in the mid 30’s to mid 40’s for the whole month, then last year – during the summer, all that changed.  Most month’s except for those while I was getting ready for surgery and recovering, now are in the high 90’s to somewhere in the 100’s.

I think the interesting thing is that I’ve had people say to me, “I think you’re doing too much — you’re getting way too skinny — you’re going to hurt your knees — etc.” What they are saying is that I’ve become fanatical about running  – and I would say that they are right – but I am also a follower — and yet this morning while finishing up my exercise, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Here I am, someone who has been more than a fan for his entire life and the Holy Spirit was convicting my that sometimes I am more of a fan of Jesus than I am a follower of Jesus.  Needless to say, the Holy Spirit’s because of the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I will be making some changes in my devotional life.  Isn’t amazing to be open to what Jesus wants for us.

The question is for you today, “Are you a fan or a follower?”

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