Book Review: Not a Fan

Author: Kyle Idleman

Reviewed by Mike Budler


not a fanAbout a decade ago, I told God that “He could have all of my life!”  Well, He took me up on my offer, as I have lost much of my life – finances, spouse, jobs, and relationships with some so-called friends.

Stated in a different way, author Kyle Idleman challenges his readers and small group participants to be followers of Jesus rather than just fans.  Idleman encourages believers to “deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus.”  For those following Jesus, this book/small group study will confirm one’s confidence in following Christ wholeheartedly.  For those who are just “fans” of Jesus, Idleman encourages them to allow God to convict which produces a deeper commitment of one’s faith.

As I enter my second week of six in the small group study, I have been both encouraged that I am following Jesus, but I have also been challenged to allow God access to my whole life and not just the areas of my life that I choose.  Bottom line:  are we going to surrender our diaries, finances, relationships, hearts and minds?  Or are we going to try and control our lives and emotions ourselves?

The small group resource includes a powerful video that looks realistically at life and death; the big questions of life are addressed with a decidedly Christian Worldview.  This resource is also unique in that the workbook is actually a daily journal in which participants interact with the DECIDE – COMMIT – FOLLOW  theme.  There are morning, noon, and evening daily questions in which one interacts, but the time needed for each day of journaling is not overwhelming.

Sports enthusiasts will surely understand the concept of being a “fan.”  Some fans are fickle – they follow their favorite teams only when the team is winning.  When teams begin to lose on a regular basis, attendance and interest drops significantly.  There is another type of” fan” – the one who is faithful to their favorite team whether the team is winning, just average, or losing regularly.  Idleman summarizes this 6 week small group study by stating that “it costs little to be a fan; it costs everything to be a follower.”

So why did God allow my decision to “let Him have it all?”  I believe that the apostle Paul answers this question as he writes:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

Idleman asks this: “Are you ready to lose all things and count them as rubbish, in order that you may know Christ more intimately?  Are you ready to stop being a fan of Jesus?  Will you be a sold out follower of Jesus?”

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