JESUS WANTS FOLLOWERS, NOT FANS

Anyways, I am a fan of Star Wars. I watch the movies. I watch the cartoons (sometimes). I enjoy playing light-saber fights with my kid. If you ask me about Star Wars, I will praise the movies, the storyline, and the special effects. I will tell you that I think all of the movies were far ahead of their time in terms of technology, storyline, and computer generated effects.

The passage in Luke today reminds me that if I want to grow in my intimacy with my Savior, there is a great difference between an admiring fan, and a devoted follower. Jesus searches for and calls His followers to be devoted followers, not admiring fans. While I am an admiring fan of Star Wars, I am surely not a devoted follower. While Star Wars entertains me, I do not change the way I live or the way I think based on the movie. I do not seek to learn more about the force outside of the movies. I don't train in or engage in light-saber battles . I don't spend time with people discussing the dynamics of Star Wars. I don't practice using my Jedi skills to control other people's thoughts (although that does sound rather fun). While I do enjoy the sights, sounds, and action that the movies provide, there is nothing significant that changes in my life because of those movies.

It may be unfortunate, but there are many people in the church who are admiring fans of Jesus. There are many who applaud the carpenter from Nazareth and the cross from 2 thousand years ago. There are many who enjoy hearing about the miracles Jesus performed, the inspiring stories from the scriptures, and hearing the jokes that Pastor will share during Sunday services, however, nothing changes in their day to day lives. There are too many people who speak well of Jesus and the church, but neither He or His church affects what they do outside the church walls. Jesus entertains them and they enjoy the sights and sounds that the church provides, but there are no significant changes to the way they live or how they think. They are admiring fans of Jesus!

In my walk with Jesus, the gospel of Luke reminds me that I must be sure that I am not just an admiring fan but a devoted follower. Jesus says, "make disciples of all nations." He doesn't want a large crowd of fans speaking well of Him. He doesn't want fans of the cross and people whose faith simply entails the wearing of a cross around their neck and a bumper sticker on their car.

Jesus wants followers, or disciples, whose hearts are thrown across the line, who make it their passion everyday to please Him, and who are willing to follow Him with a reckless abandon for His cause. I must move from being one who admires what He has done, can do, and is doing, to one who is devoted to following Jesus regardless of the cost and consequences.

Tom Tran
September 9, 2013

Tom gave these remarks to the liturgist to read after his sermon. The scripture this morning was Luke 14:25-33:

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish.'

"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won't he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples..."

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