Tuesday, March 20, 2012


First, let me start by saying I don’t have all the answers.  This is a process and a journey for everyone and I am just inviting you along to get a peek into my thoughts on this book and life. I am far from perfect, but, I am willing to invite you along on my imperfect journey.

I also want to make it clear that my son, who wrote the wonderful post, is on his own journey. He’s not perfect and as a Mom I just continue to pray that he keeps turning to the Lord his whole life. That the words that he spoke in that post, will keep with him when it is really going to cost him deeply to follow Jesus. That he always feels as he does today that Jesus is his best friend.
With all that out there, let’s proceed.
Right from the start, you get a welcome feeling from Kyle, or at least I did. It’s one that I can picture this Pastor inviting you in to sit and chat with him in his living room. Throughout this book, he seems to carry on a conversation with his readers, which I love.
At the beginning, Kyle sits there searching for what he is going to say on Easter Weekend, feeling the pressure as some of the people who attend this weekend are only in attendance on Christmas and Easter and he wants them to come back. I cherish his honesty.
Then, he sits and thinks about what Jesus taught when he had the big crowds.  It was then that he discovered something that was going to change him. What he found was that whenever Jesus had a large crowd, HE would preach a message that was going to cause people to leave.
Seriously, why would HE do that? Because what Jesus wanted to know was it HIM that they wanted or was it only what he could do for them? Jesus isn’t going to change HIS view or soften HIS message to make it more appealing to chase after HIM. Instead HE wants the deeply committed followers to chase after HIM.
Kyle lets us know right away his intent for the book and it is this…
“I hope that you will read this book and discover with me what it really means to follow Jesus. I will talk more about repentance than forgiveness, more about surrender than salvation, more about brokenness than happiness, and more about death than about life.”
People, put on your seat belts because that’s just the prologue.

Chapter 1 -D.T.R.
An opening question that can’t be taken lightly:
“Are you a follower of Jesus?”
Seems like a simple enough question until you dive into what it really means—then it’s no longer simple or as easy to answer as you once thought.
Kyle points out that if you are reading this book, you likely fall into one of two categories.
1.       The Jesus fish on the back of my car group. These people are serious about their faith. They may follow a bunch of rules, go to church, pray, own multiple bibles, say bless their heart, etc. But, even those in this category have to carefully look at if they are true followers of Jesus.
Turn to Matthew Chapter 7. Read all of it. But, then go back and read Matthew Chapter 7: 21 through 23.
2.      The other group is the why is there a fish on the back of my friend’s car group—those people tend to be the type that it doesn’t bother them that some people choose to follow Jesus. But, it’s just not there thing.
Kyle guesses that after reading this book people in both categories will turn down the invitation to follow Jesus.  Yes, even those fish on the back of the car group will turn down the invitation to follow.  Why? You will have to follow along on this series to find out.
But, for now we move on to D.T.R which stands for Define the Relationship.  In this study, we are going to work to define our relationship with Jesus.
So, now the question is are you a fan or follower? Get ready, because what you find out could shock you.
A Fan is by definition and enthusiastic admirer.
Kyle goes on to say (pg. 25) how Jesus was never interested in fans and that he wants more.  See all fans want is to get close enough for the benefits, but not close enough that it requires something of them.
Kyle goes on to talk about cultural comparisons (starts on page 25). This is the act of comparing yourself with others to prove that your relationship with Jesus is just fine, perhaps even better than fine. 
How many of you do this?
On page 26, he continues to show us ways we might think we are followers, but at the end could really end up just being merely just a fan. Did you read thought his list of questions? Did you catch all of that? You could go to church, be a christian, own multiple bibles, get a purpose driven life in 40 days and still not get what it means to be a follower.
Chapter 2- A Decision or a Commitment?
In this Chapter, Kyle talks about Nicodemus and how fans are happy to follow Jesus as long as it doesn’t require anything that will have a negative impact or make any serious, significant changes to their lives.
Kyle asks a very direct question: “How has following Jesus interfered with your life?”
Think about that one.
When I read this, I thought about this song. Bring the Rain. It’s a favorite of mine, go ahead and listen to the words in that song.
The truth is that many people have made the decision to BELIEVE in Jesus, but have not make the commitment to FOLLOW Him.
As Kyle points out: “Following Jesus isn’t something you can do at night where no one notices. It’s a twenty-four-hour a day commitment that will interfere with your life.”
Read pages 34 and 35 again. They are both worth it.
A point that I really liked was the one where there was someone that asked for their membership to be removed from Kyle’s church and the reason was that he didn’t like Kyle’s sermons. Kyle explains how he confronted this man and the man went on to say that whenever he listens to one of his messages that he feels that Kyle is interfering with his life.  Interesting, huh? Can I tell you that is what I look for a Pastor to do; I want my Pastor to interfere with my life through his sermons. But, more importantly, I want Jesus to interfere in my life.
That said, I have moments of failure. When he places me somewhere to be the example of a follower and I just sit on the sidelines. Here is an example.
I had left the book study and was out getting the things I needed to pick up at the store. I was standing in line and overhead the conversation between two of the employees.  This is how it started…
Person A: I can talk to you about my life, but I can’t talk to her. She gets all in my business.
Person B:  said something along the lines of… Yes, she is preachy. I go to church on Sundays; I don’t need someone preaching to me.
Person A:  I don’t (go to church) but I probably should because it might help clear up some things.
Person B: said where she went and that she enjoyed it.
Person A: My fault is that I try to please everyone else.
Person B: Yeah, you need to please yourself.
YIKES! I must confess, I failed, as I listened to all of this and didn’t chime in at all. I almost went back in to talk to these ladies. ALMOST did you hear that? Almost, meaning, I didn’t.  I had what I wanted to say on the tip of my tongue and yet, I didn’t speak it. I was not being a follower at that moment.  I can make excuses for myself, such as: I don’t know the other woman they are talking about or her heart and even that it wasn’t my conversation to butt into, etc. But, the truth is, I failed.  There were things that were placed on my heart that I could have said, but I didn’t.
What would I have said? I could have said that living a life to please Jesus is the only life that will give you full meaning. That going to church is good, but having a deep relationship with Jesus is needed. That woman that you say is preachy, she may be that way because she cares for you and is willing to put herself out there to interfere in your life because perhaps she wants more for you. Now, maybe that is not the case, maybe she is just preachy.  I don’t know but, what I do know is that God loves you and wants to work in your life and that means that he is going to interfere and get a little preachy with you.
I didn’t say any of those things to them; instead I kept my mouth shut and I walked away knowing I failed. Sometimes, I have small fails and other times I feel I have more epic fails. But, the truth is that I keep trying. There are times that Jesus does interfere in my life and I allow it to happen. I'm getting better at it, but I want to do that more than I do at this moment.
Toward the end of the chapter there is a statement that I want to quote:
“If you have believed in darkness, Jesus now invites you to follow him in the light.”
For what it’s worth, Kyle, I like that your book is interfering in my life and making me really think.
That’s all for today, but I hope that you will come back next week for more. Same place, same day. See you then.

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