By Pastor Manny
In his book Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman helps readers have a DTR moment with Jesus. For those that aren’t familiar with the term “DTR” it means, “define the relationship”. Kyle opens his book with a simple question: “Are you a Christ follower?” Now for many of us this seems like a rhetorical question, after all you’re reading a church newsletter! You probably just wrapped up a busy weekend of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. You undoubtedly have several Bibles sitting around at home, and if you’re hyper-spiritual, you even have it in app form on your phone or iPad. I would even bet that some of you reading this article show your followership by proudly flying the silver fish on the back of your car, the ultimate sign of transformation. (I hope that by now you can sense the sarcastic tone in my writing). Sadly, however, we often let these types of things define our relationship with Jesus.
We tend to confuse followership with fandom.
“When he (Jesus) defines what kind of relationship he wants, ‘Enthusiastic Admirer’ isn’t an option.” –Idleman (25)
For example, I’m a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks, so in my basement I have posters, signs, blankets, jerseys, and many other possessions that bear the image of my beloved Jayhawks. But I’m not a follower of the Jayhawks. What I do in my life is not dictated by the Jayhawks. I am not willing to lose anything (other than my voice) for the Jayhawks whether they win or lose. I’m a fan. I enjoy the Jayhawks, I watch the Jayhawks, I like the feeling the Jayhawks give me, especially when they win, but this relationship is one sided. I get all the benefits and it costs me nothing to be a fan.
In Luke 14, Jesus paints a vastly different picture. The one he paints is not of a fan at all; this is what it looks like to be his follower; “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters … ” (Luke 14:25 NLT). What he means here isn’t that we really have to hate these people, but, as Kyle puts it, Jesus is saying, “I want to be first place in your life. I don’t even want there to be a second place” (59). While fans tend to make Jesus “one of the many” a follower makes Him the “one and only”.
“Trying to follow Jesus part-time or halfhearted is impossible. The relationship he wants with you requires your whole heart.” –Idleman (65)
So how do we define our relationship with Jesus? First, for a more in-depth way of doing this, I encourage you to read Kyle’s book, Not a Fan, but here’s a brief set of questions that may help.*
1. Have you made a decision for Jesus or Have you committed to Jesus?
In other words, is your belief coupled with actually following, or are you like a fan that benefits from all that the team does, but it costs you nothing? “There is no forgiveness without repentance. There is no salvation without surrender. There is no life without death. There is no believing without committing” (35).
2. Do you just know about Jesus or Do you really know Him?
Knowing about something or someone can feel like intimacy, but we are easily fooled. Knowledge is the result of intimacy, but intimacy is not necessarily the result of knowledge.
3. When you’re hurt, where do you go for comfort?
Like a child who runs to a mother after falling down on the playground, we tend to run to that person of comfort in our lives when things get crazy. Is Jesus the source of your comfort? If not, this might be a sign that you are more fan than follower.
4. What frustrates you?
Kyle writes, “When we find that those things have the power to determine who we are and what kind of day we have, it very well may be evidence that something is more important than it should be” (62). Do you get frustrated when someone is in “your seat” at church? Is it trying when the praise team sings songs you don’t like, or the service goes too long, or the kids are being too loud? These could all be indicators that you are here to cheer on Jesus rather than follow him.
5. What gets you really excited?
Just as telling as what is frustrating in our lives, the things we get excited about are great ways to tell where we place high value in our lives. “Fans don’t want to put Jesus on the throne of their hearts. Instead they keep a couch on their hearts and, at most, give Jesus a cushion” (63).
It’s easier to look back at the tangible things in our lives that we’ve done to prove we are followers of Jesus, but this isn’t the way Jesus wants us to measure our walk with him. In Matthew 7 Jesus warns his would be followers with these words, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Jesus doesn’t want to hear us say “Lord, Lord”, he wants to watch us live “Lord, Lord” out in our lives each day. The only way to do this is to die each day to our own selfish desires, our own agendas, and our own ideas of what it looks like to live a life devoted to Him. It has to become a daily decision to take up our cross and follow Him. Are you a fan or a follower?
*These questions are from Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. I give full creative credit to Kyle and Zondervan.
Bible Studies - Join Us!
-Study Group @ Glenwood Place in
Marshalltown, 2 pm, 1st & 3rd Mondays.
-Molded Bible Study meets at BLFC at
7 pm on the 2nd & 4th Mondays.
-New Men’s Bible Study group will begin
meeting on Thursday, May 8, 7pm at BLFC.
They plan to meet the 2nd & 4th Thursday
evenings each month and will start the
study Wild at Heart. Contact Loren Peters
*Please Note This Switch*
Starting Sunday, June 1st
thru Sunday, August 31st
Morning Worship, 9:30-10:45 am
Sunday School, 11:00-11:30 am
HOC Meal Report
On April 24th, 11 from Bangor Liberty were involved in preparing, serving and cleanup for 83 guests. The menu was sloppy Joes or cheeseburger pasta soup, French fries or tostada chips and cheese, green beans, baby carrots, fruit salads, dump cakes with whipped topping or
Hy-Vee pie or cake and drinks.
Thanks to our great volunteers: Betty, Veronica & Bob, Darlene & Mark, Margaret & John who provided food or funds; Vi & Betty who prepared; Darla, Vi, Neil and Ann who served; and Neil, Ann and Darla who stayed to clean up. We appreciated the help of several guests who cleared tables, put away clean dishes and picked up chairs. Many told us “thanks for the good meal”.
Our next meal responsibility will be Thursday, May 29th. Come join this fun night of service and fellowship.
FUM Triennial, June 11-15, 2014 at Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, IN. “A Great People to Be Gathered”. On-Line registration is now open. See fum.org to start your registration process.
Bangor & Liberty USFW
On May 15th, ladies of both circles will gather at the church at 7:00 pm to hear Cathie Zeliadt share the new reading course books for the coming year. All ladies who are interested in books are welcome to come hear her reviews and purchase or just browse the books. Both children’s and adults reading course books will be available.
May 21st will be our last DEEPER session for the school year. If any group wishes to continue meeting throughout the summer you are welcome to do so, but childcare will not be provided. The Youth Group will continue to meet weekly on an informal basis in different locations.
House of Compassion
Annual Volunteer Banquet
May 19th, 6:00 p.m.
St. Henry’s Catholic Church,
Marshalltown - Anyone who has
volunteered the past year is welcome!
Library Ledge – Spring, Mother’s
Day & Gardening
Spring is here, time for gardening and Mother’s Day is coming. Lots to do! Don’t forget to rest with a good book from our library. We have new books to our library and more new books coming. Check them out.
Remember In Prayer
~The new Men’s Bible Study beginning on May 8th.
~IAYM Superintendent Search Committee & Ron Bryan who will retire at the end 2015.
~IAYM Ministry in Belize as Sam & Becky Barber & family will be returning to the US in August.
~Providential Homes & Arlen Daleske, our mission emphasis for May.
Mission Emphasis: Providential Homes
Our 3rd Sunday mission offering in May will support a local ministry in the New Providence and Eldora area: Providential Homes. The purpose of this ministry is to provide safe housing for families, especially widows and orphans in need. The ultimate goal is to equip people to become solid in their Christian faith and be productive citizens. Arlen Daleske, Providential Homes Board founder says, “We believe that families should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.”
The homes are donated. The group repairs and renovates the house, using volunteers, professional labor, and donated building materials and appliances. The families are encouraged to work on the renovation alongside volunteers. Once the work is completed, it is a rent-to-own situation with the goal for the family to purchase their house through a no-profit, no-interest mortgage program. These renovated homes not only give a sense of pride to the family, but improve the neighborhood as well.
Arlen will be sharing in the Mission Moment portion of our May 18th service. Please be generous in your giving to this non-profit which provides the basic needs of shelter and stability.
2nd World Cup Café Meeting
BLFC, Wednesday, June 4th
We will continue to discuss
the results from our recent church survey.
~Clarke Macy, son of Will & Jo Macy, will graduate from BCLUW High School on May 18th. Friends are invited to his reception at Brekke Park on the 18th from 4-6 pm.
Clarke will be working for Bob’s Farm Center at Conrad this summer and will be enrolled in the Welding Program at Marshalltown Community College in the fall.
~Jennifer Davis, daughter of Scott & Mary Davis, graduates from West Marshall High School on May 25th. Her reception is being held on Saturday, May 10th from 4-7 pm at the West Marshall Elementary School Lunchroom. This summer Jennifer will be a lifeguard and will also play softball. In the fall she will attend Grand View College in Des Moines to major in early childhood/elementary education.
~Nathan Davis, University of Northern
Iowa, May 9th, Master’s Degree in Post
Secondary Education: Student Emphasis
~Dustin Hammers, Iowa State University,
May 9th, Bachelor of Science Degree in
Family & Consumer Sciences Education
with a minor in Educational Technology
& Endorsements in Health & Coaching
~Ann Hoover, Drake University, May 18th
with a Degree from the College of Business
with a major in Marketing & Communications & a minor in Advertising.
~Rachel Bachman, Drake University on
May 18th, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.
Weird Animals VBS
Where God’s love is one-of-a-kind
In just a few months, Bangor Liberty will be filled with kids moving through activity stations with their Zoo Crews. Every station is designed to reinforce the daily Bible point in an interactive way. Kids will worship God through songs and prayer, experiment with Sciency-Fun Gizmos, and discover life-changing Bible truths in memorable ways. To have the best adventure possible, we need lots of volunteers who can give their time, energy, and most importantly love to the kids.
Whatever your abilities we’ve got a place for you! Crew leaders, staff devotions, Bible leaders, set designers, transportation, mission presenters, song leader, skits, registration, snacks, nursery and lots of floaters.
If you’ve never volunteered, ask someone who has to share his or her experience. Past Crew Leaders: Lora, Mary, Chris, Josie, Scott, Reg, Leah, Diane, Clarke, Charlene. Past Bible leaders: Breanne, Jo, Peggy, Ann R. See Jenalee or Margaret to volunteer or to learn more. We believe that God will use this program to reach many children with the message of His love, so prayerfully consider your role for the evenings of July 20-24.
My 30-Hour Famine
First of all I want to thank everyone who was able to donate toward helping feed the hungry during our 30- hour Famine. We were able to raise a total of $958 with your donations, the change buckets, Pizza Ranch fundraiser, and all the other fundraisers the HCNP Youth Group did. I will post pictures of the famine on our website (www.blfyouth.weebly.com) soon, or you can link to it from the main church website.
We started our famine around lunchtime on Friday the 25th. From then on, we were only to drink water or juice and eat no food. I was excited to see what the famine had in store for me physically and spiritually.
The groups got together at around 6:30 pm on Friday at the Quakerdale gym. We were pretty relaxed until all the kids got there from their track meets and other engagements. We really got things started around 10 pm. The groups were split into tribes and were together for the remainder of the evening and into the next day.
There were a few games played as tribes and the winning tribe was awarded a “survival card.” At this point, we had taken a few “hydrate breaks” and were feeling pretty good. After we played a couple games we built cardboard huts to sleep in.
We went to sleep and woke up and were actually still feeling pretty good. On Saturday we did a service project at Quakerdale, mainly some yard work (picking up sticks, raking leaves, etc.). Then in the afternoon we had another service project planned at Mesquakie Friends Center. One group cleaned their bus, a second group helped clean up the pond nearby, while another group painted their shed.
At this point I was feeling the effects of the famine. I had a headache, I was tired and worn out, and I felt physically ill. After our service project we came back to the gym to break our fast.
Around 6:15 pm on Saturday we ate some sandwiches, fruit and salad to break our 30-Hour Famine. Some could eat a lot, and some could not each much. I was in the category of not eating much. I felt sick to my stomach and physically drained.
From my perspective alone, I know that the effects of hunger are not something that I would want to experience on an every day basis. We only went 30 hours without food, and some people, kids included, go without food for days at a time.
I, along with many of the kids, am glad that I got to experience the Famine this year. It gives us a new perspective and really helps us to understand that it’s a real thing in the world.
One of the theme verses for the famine was Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
We may hunger and thirst for food, but God is the only thing that can fill our soul.
Kris Smitherman, Youth Pastor