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Saturday, May 25, 2013

book review: not a fan by kyle idleman

Title:  Not A Fan.
Author:  Kyle Idleman
Publisher:  Zondervan (2011)
 
 
Synopsis: Are you a follower of Jesus? Don't answer too quickly. In fact, you may want to read this book before you answer at all. Consider it a 'Define the Relationship' conversation to determine exactly where you stand. You may indeed be a passionate, fully devoted follower of Jesus. Or, you may be just a fan who admires Jesus but isn't ready to let him cramp your style. Then again, maybe you're not into Jesus, period. In any case, don't take the question---Are you a follower of Jesus?---lightly. Some people don't know what they've said yes to and other people don't realize what they've said no to, says Pastor Kyle Idleman. But Jesus is ready to clearly define the relationship he wants with his followers. Not a Fan calls you to consider the demands and rewards of being a true disciple. With frankness sprinkled with humor, Idleman invites you to live the way Jesus lived, love the way he loved, pray the way he prayed, and never give up living for the One who gave his all for you.
 
I was so incredibly moved by this book. Right from the get-go, Idleman poses an unsettling question:  are you a fan or a follower of Jesus? A fan is classified as someone who loves the idea of following Christ, the one who follows someone due to all the perks the association brings; a follower is someone who drops everything and actually goes all out for Christ, a person who labels himself or herself as a bondslave. Which are you? While it may be something that isn't easy to answer honestly (mostly because you would always assume, "Oh, I'm definitely a follower."), this question is challenging because it prompts you to search your heart for a true answer. Why? You're going to be accountable for everything you do and say when you face our Lord in the end. There's no short-cut or magic password that will get you around that day.
 
While this book offers a hard truth, however, it also provides encouragement right from the scriptures. Idleman brings readers through John 3, Matthew 23, Luke 14, John 16, and many more passages to give examples of fans and followers from the Bible and, through these examples, shows us what we can do to become followers. Some of these examples are Nicodemus, Matthew, and more. Idleman also weaves in stories from Christians that have dedicated themselves to be "followers," not "fans," including stories from his own life to drive points home. Given, being a follower is hard:  followers must bear the cross daily, and it may even include turning their back on things they love. After all, in Revelation 3:15-16, it says, "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth" (NKJ). God wants us to be completely sold out for Him, and we as Christians, or "little Christs," should strive to do just that, not just pick and choose to end up being a mixture of worldliness and Godliness.
 
I encourage everyone to read this book. It offers a truth that should not be missed by anyone and highly proclaimed. We shouldn't be fans of Jesus, like some of us are of celebrities (I'm guilty of it). We should be followers that think about and pursue Him each second of our lives. We should want to know Him in His every aspect, as He knows us. We should want to be just like Him and sacrifice ourselves and the things we love for no reason to do it.
 
This is a great aid for us to understand what the Bible says about how our relationship with Christ should be. It can be adapted as a devotional to go along with Bible chapter readings that often accompany the beginning of each chapter of the book, if you're looking for a daily devotional. I didn't do that, however; I read it within 48 hours, which should indicate the caliber of the material and important message Idleman presents.
 
This won't be a waste of your time. I've known about this book for awhile, and it took me that long to get around to actually reading it. But I encourage you sit down and read through its pages as soon as possible; when you are finished, you will have been glad you did.
 
If you'd like, just as a precursor here's an introduction to the book's overall message by Idleman himself:
 
 
 
'Til next time!

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