Pastor's Blog
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February 18, 2016, 12:00 AM

Coexistent Contradictions.......

I write these words on the afternoon following our first “Not a Fan” study during this Lenten season. Sixteen folks from First UMC and Christ UMC gathered at First Church and wrestled with the question “Fan of Jesus, or follower?” Thirty more persons have indicated they’ll be here at Christ Church this evening to wrestle with that same question. Kyle Idleman defines a “fan” as an enthusiastic admirer – a person who is excited about a celebrity or a team or a rock star but hasn’t ever invested themselves with those folks beyond listening to their music or wearing the team jersey or watching the latest movie with the celebrity in it. A “follower” on the other hand is defined as one who “adheres” to someone or something. This adherence is clearly seen in how the adherent conducts their living. The someone or something that one adheres to impacts how one lives life just as glue that holds two things together. The question from the study – Fan or follower? – invites us to look honestly at our connection to Christ to see if we are more admirer of or adherent to Jesus.

As we wrestled with the question this morning, I made a rather startling discovery: fan of Jesus and follower of Jesus coexist in me. There are times when I joyfully and humbly follow my Lord wherever he chooses to lead, whether the terrain is smooth and easy going, or arid and steep. I am full of faith and trust in Jesus for provision, protection and presence, no matter where the journey takes me. But there are also times when I’d like to “customize” my following. Times when I’d like to tell Jesus, “I admire what you’d like to do in that place, but I think you’ve got the wrong person. I’ll gladly follow you here, but asking me to follow you over there, well, thanks, but no thanks.” It’s kind of like the Facebook conversations I read – and participated in – in the wake of this past Tuesday’s snowstorm. Multiple people expressed gratitude for the folks operating the plow trucks – they enable us to get out and get going. But with the next breath, the same people – myself included – expressed frustration at the plow drivers for pushing snow back into our already cleared driveways and sidewalks! So we are thankful for the people who plow us out, and frustrated at the same people for plowing us in – coexistence!

Sounds a little like what the apostle Paul was saying in Romans 7: (from The Message)

21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

Paul seemed to experience “coexistence:” the desire to be sold out for God and the reality of our sinful tendencies present at the same time. It seems contradictory – desire and commitment to godliness living right beside the tendency to selfishness. But that does seem to be the journey of discipleship – learning how to choose godliness over selfishness in more and more situations – being less of a fan and more of a follower. And I am much like Paul – wanting to choose godliness, but sometimes lacking the power to do so. Maybe you’re like that too. Well, here’s how Paul ends Romans 7:

24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? 25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

The answer for every place of contradiction, every place of weakness, and the reason behind every moment of victory is what God has done in Jesus Christ. Thank God, …………………….indeed.

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor D.



Comments

03-03-2016 at 2:17 PM
Sharon Goldsmith
Sorry for all the comments!! I was trying to edit the first comment but it wouldn't delete. It just kept reposting instead. Sorry!!
03-03-2016 at 2:14 PM
Sharon Goldsmith
This has been my question, Pastor. Can we be both? Some people I talk to also doing this study say you are one or the other but you can't be both. I disagree because I also feel times I am follower and other times only a fan. Thank you for this commentary.
03-03-2016 at 2:13 PM
Sharon Goldsmith
This has been my question, Pastor. Can we be both? Some people I talk to also doing this study say you are one or the other but you can't be both. I disagree because I also feel times I am follower and other times only a fan. Thank you for this commentary.
03-03-2016 at 2:10 PM
Sharon Goldsmith
This has been my question, Pastor. Can we be both? Some people I talk to also doing this study say you are one or the other but I disagree. Thank you for this commentary.
02-19-2016 at 10:04 AM
Lynn Harriger
I went last night because I have been feeling like a fan lately. But I know that I know Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior! Coexistence ?
02-18-2016 at 8:50 PM
Lois Carr
I think a little of both live in all of us. I know it's true for me.
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