Featuring all new content building on the mega bestseller Not a Fan, author and pastor Kyle Idleman dives deep into each of his principles from the original book and helps you see how you can live out what it means to be a truly committed and sold-out follower of Jesus.
Seventy-five days of insights, stories, encouragement, and biblical truth and inspiration will bring this life-changing book to an even deeper level for all those who desire to take the next steps in being a true disciple.
Each devotional gives you a scripture to focus on, a story or insight that illustrates one of the Not a Fan principles, and most importantly, a “Do Something About It” section that helps you with simple ways to put the principles in practice immediately.
This immensely practical and helpful devotional is a perfect daily read for any believer, new or old.
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About the Author
Kyle Idleman is teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church, the fifth largest church in America, where he speaks to more than twenty thousand people each weekend. He is the bestselling and award-winning author of Not a Fan, Aha, and Grace is Greater. He is a frequent speaker for national conventions and influential churches across the country. Kyle and his wife, Desi Rae, have four children and live on a farm in Louisville, KY.
Read an Excerpt
Not a Fan Daily Devotional
75 Days to Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
By Kyle Idleman
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2016 Kyle Idleman
All rights reserved.
the most important question
Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."
— Matthew 16:24–25
Are you a follower of Jesus?
It's the most important question you will ever answer, and it seems like a good place to begin this journey: Are you a follower of Jesus?
I know. You've been asked this question before. Because it's so familiar there is a tendency to dismiss it. Not because it makes you uncomfortable. Not because it's especially convicting. The question is dismissed mostly because it feels redundant and unnecessary. You recognize that this is an important question for many to consider, but for you? Well, it's like walking into a Boston pub and asking, "Who cheers for the Red Sox?" It's an important question, but you're so sure of your answer, your mind quickly dismisses it. But before you move on too quickly, let me clarify what I am not asking. I am not asking if you go to church or if your parents and grandparents are Christians. I am not asking if you raised your hand at the end of a sermon or repeated a prayer after a preacher. I am not asking if you spent your summers at VBS and/or church camp, have ever worn "witness wear," or understand phrases like "traveling mercies" and "sword drill."
Many of us are quick to say, "Yes, I'm a follower of Jesus," but I'm not sure we really understand what we are saying. One of the most sobering passages in the Bible tells of a day when many who consider themselves to be followers of Jesus will be stunned to find out that he doesn't even recognize them. Jesus describes a day when everyone who has ever lived will stand before God. On that day many who call themselves Christians and identify themselves as followers will stand confidently in front of Jesus only to hear him say, "I never knew you. Away from me." To be clear, that's not my opinion or my interpretation; that is what Jesus has said will happen. Read Matthew 7:21–23.
Whether you've just assumed you are a follower of Jesus or are faithfully walking with him, I pray this devotional journey will encourage you along the way as you reaffirm your commitment to follow him not perfectly but wholeheartedly. And remember we are invited to follow by the grace of God, and it is his grace that will give us the power we need along the way.
Recall that time you first decided to follow Jesus. Where were you? What prompted you to respond? What, if anything, changed about you in those first days and weeks? Write down your answers to these questions: Are you a follower of Jesus? Are you currently living out that decision?CHAPTER 2
jesus is not a t-ball coach
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
— Matthew 7:13–14
Early on in my preaching and teaching, I tried to talk people into following Jesus by portraying discipleship as appealing, comfortable, and convenient. My intentions were good, but my interpretation was bad.
One of the reasons I wrote the book Not a Fan was to consider how Jesus defined what it means to follow him, to be more than just a fan of his. It's also why I keep looking for new ways to encourage people to seek Jesus daily, instead of waiting for someone, even a pastor like me, to spoon- feed them. Most of our praying should involve sitting at Jesus' feet and listening to his strong words with a humble heart and open eyes.
I really hope that when you picked up this book, you weren't looking for a book about Jesus the T- ball coach, who will pat you on the head at the end of each game and tell you not to forget your free snow cone before you go home. When Jesus described the life of a follower, he described a risky adventure down a narrow and difficult path that only a relatively few will take. The Jesus I know and preach about is unsettling. He is countercultural in an uncool way. And he loves you so much that he tells you the truth even when it is hard to hear. It's because he loves you that he talks more about repentance than forgiveness, more about surrender than salvation, more about sacrifice than happiness, and more about death than life. Following Jesus is anything but easy. When we read in the Gospels about Jesus' inviting people to follow him, we see that some people signed up, but many decided to take the easy way out and walk away.
So how about you: Are you ready to follow this Jesus? It is the road less traveled, but it's not a road we walk alone. He is with us every step of the way, giving us exactly the grace and the strength we need as we follow hard after him.
Describe some ways in which it is hard for you to follow Jesus today. Write down a truth, lesson, or teaching of Jesus that is especially difficult for you to act on. How is Jesus specifically challenging you to follow him in a more uncomfortable way?CHAPTER 3
"I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."
— John 14:16–17
In the 1950s, resourceful homeowners began to call themselves do- it- yourselfers. Instead of paying someone to remodel the kitchen or build a new doghouse, they hammered the nails themselves. With good American efficiency, the phrase "do it yourself" soon morphed into "DIY," and these days we have everything from DIY cheesecake baking to DIY music making. Entire television shows are based on the concept of doing it yourself. There's even a DIY Network and a DIY magazine. With the help of the internet, people can draft their own legal documents, appraise their own antiques, and even get a DIY divorce.
This do-it-yourself mentality didn't start with enterprising Americans, however. It's really nothing new, going all the way back to the Garden. "You can do it yourself, Eve. You're a smart woma." "You don't need God, Adam. You can be just like God." And DIY became part of the human DNA.
But Jesus came to change that. God knew we needed a savior, that we couldn't save ourselves. We can't even begin following Jesus by ourselves. Jesus made this clear: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them" (John 6:44). And because we need saving help every day, he sent his Spirit to live in the hearts of his people. We were never meant to follow Jesus simply by trying really hard or striving on our own. The Christian journey isn't a DIY project.
Don't buy into the ancient lie. You can't do it yourself. And here's the really good news for Jesus followers: You don't have to.
What's your biggest unsolved problem today, large or small? Describe ways that you have tried to take care of it yourself. Stop to pray a minute. Ask the Holy Spirit (who lives in you) to bring insight and strength.CHAPTER 4
knowledge versus intimacy
I want to know Christ.
— Philippians 3:10
In the Bible, we read about a group of religious leaders known as the Pharisees. The Pharisees knew a lot about God. When someone wanted to play Bible Trivial Pursuit, Godopoly, or Bible Baseball, they were the team to beat. They knew about God, but what we discover is they really didn't know him. It's the difference between knowledge and intimacy.
In Matthew 15:8 Jesus describes the Pharisees this way: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."
That description seems to fit a lot of fans I know. Churches are full of people who go to Bible studies about Jesus, complete with workbooks and homework. Many preachers refer to their sermons as lessons or lectures, accompanied by outlines where church members can take notes and fill in the blanks. I spent a number of years growing up confusing my knowledge about Jesus for intimacy with Jesus. For example, for as long as I can remember I've had the books of the Bible memorized in order — all sixty- six of them. Not only that, but I can actually say the books of the Bible in one breath. Don't try to act like you're not impressed.
Having knowledge is not the problem. But when you have knowledge without intimacy, you're not really following Jesus. Like the Pharisees, many people could describe everything they know about Jesus. The truth, though, is that Jesus is not impressed by your knowledge or by my talent. What he really desires is our hearts.
Tell Jesus that you want to know him, not just know about him. Do some honest self- evaluation: Have you spent more time learning about God than learning to fall in love with him? Consider reading through the Gospel of John in the next twenty- one days (just one chapter each day), simply focusing on getting to know Jesus.CHAPTER 5
the only thing on the menu
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
— John 6:35
Sometimes big moments can cause big problems.
The actor's mind goes blank at the moment of his big line.
The singer is forced to mouth "watermelon" as she forgets the words of her song.
The NBA player air- balls a free throw at a clutch moment.
The bride can't stop giggling through the entire ceremony. Or crying. Or some really awkward combination of both. (Thankfully, my wife did neither.)
The preacher calls the groom by the wrong name.
(I may or may not have done this. Twice.)
Maybe you've witnessed one of these scenarios. Maybe you've found yourself in one.
I was about to have a big problem at a big moment several years ago. It was Thursday afternoon, and I was struggling to decide what sermon to preach on Easter Sunday. More than thirty thousand people would likely be coming to the weekend services, and the pressure was mounting. Finally, this thought crossed my mind: I wonder what Jesus taught whenever he had the big crowds. I wonder how he handled the big moments.
John 6 tells us of one such occasion. With a boy's sack lunch of five loaves of bread and two small fish, Jesus feeds a crowd that likely has grown to more than five thousand. He has never been more popular. After dinner the crowd decides to camp out for the night so they can be with Jesus the next day. But the next morning when the crowd wakes up hungry and looks around for Jesus, aka their meal ticket, he is nowhere to be found. Starving, the crowd is hoping for an encore performance, but Jesus has decided to shut down the all- you- can- eat buffet. In John 6:26 Jesus says to the crowd: "Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill."
Then Jesus offers the hungry crowd himself. The question is, Would that be enough? Jesus says, "I am the bread of life." Suddenly Jesus is the only thing on the menu. The crowd has to decide if he will satisfy or if they are hungry for something more. Here's what we read at the end of the chapter: "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him" (John 6:66).
You see, it wasn't the size of the crowd Jesus cared about; it was their level of commitment.
In your prayers, what do you usually ask Jesus for? Think of a time when he didn't answer your prayer the way you had hoped. How did that affect how you felt about him? Read the rest of this story in John 6. Think of a time when it felt like Jesus was all you had. How did he meet your needs during that time?CHAPTER 6
the new rabbi
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
— Matthew 9:9
Matthew the tax collector used to be Levi the good Jewish boy. It's likely that he tried to become a disciple of one of the rabbis. Perhaps he was even expected to become a spiritual leader in Israel. But something had definitely gone wrong. Instead of serving the Lord, he decided to serve himself. He turned his back on his own people and became a tax collector for the occupying Roman government. And in those days, there was no such thing as an honest tax collector. They cheated the people to line their own pockets. They were religious and social outcasts, ceremonially unclean, and not even allowed into the outer court of the temple.
Matthew could never imagine that God would still want anything to do with him. Then one day when he was sitting at his tax- collecting booth, a new rabbi came right up to him, extending this simple, life- changing invitation: "Follow me."
Jesus may have been a homeless, unconventional rabbi, but he was a rabbi nonetheless. Rabbis were teachers of God's Word, and every rabbi had a class of students, or disciples. But this was an exclusive group; not just anyone could be a disciple. Disciples had to earn their way into the rabbi's graces, proving that they possessed an impressive knowledge of Scripture as well as brilliant minds. The rabbi's reputation depended on accepting only the most highly qualified candidates.
But this wasn't the way Rabbi Jesus went about getting followers. Instead of followers applying, Jesus invited followers. And in this case, he was inviting the lowest of the low — a tax collector. Someone who was not only a sinner, but who sinned for a living! Someone whose friends were prostitutes, drunkards, and thieves. You know how we know this about Matthew? Because he tells us himself.
These days, people don't know Matthew as a failure and embarrassment who had sold his soul to the Romans for a lucrative job. We know him as a follower of Jesus who wrote the first book of the New Testament.
Excerpted from Not a Fan Daily Devotional by Kyle Idleman. Copyright © 2016 Kyle Idleman. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents25 days of following,
DAY 1: The Most Important Question, 13,
DAY 2: Jesus Is Not a T- Ball Coach, 16,
DAY 3: DIY, 18,
DAY 4: Knowledge versus Intimacy, 20,
DAY 5: The Only Thing on the Menu, 22,
DAY 6: The New Rabbi, 25,
DAY 7: Simple, but Not Easy, 27,
DAY 8: God Stories Worth Telling, 29,
DAY 9: Glory in Suffering, 31,
DAY 10: Desperate, 33,
DAY 11: When Sunday School Answers Aren't Enough, 36,
DAY 12: Another Wipeout, 39,
DAY 13: The Better Thing, 42,
DAY 14: Jesus Is My Hero, 44,
DAY 15: What Does Your Jesus Look Like?, 46,
DAY 16: Jesus Is Not a Registered Voter, 49,
DAY 17: He Calls Us, 51,
DAY 18: No Exception Clause, 53,
DAY 19: Getting to Know You, 55,
DAY 20: Listen Carefully, 57,
DAY 21: Fanatics for Jesus, 60,
DAY 22: Rest Your Soul, 63,
DAY 23: "It Is Finished!", 65,
DAY 24: Pay Attention to Those Signs, 67,
DAY 25: Better Than GPS, 69,
25 days of denying,
DAY 1: Pull the Plug, 75,
DAY 2: Too Many Gods, 77,
DAY 3: Not a Good Trade, 79,
DAY 4: Disordered Loves, 82,
DAY 5: The Real Problem Is, 85,
DAY 6: Smell You Later, 88,
DAY 7: Where Is Your Cross?, 90,
DAY 8: Humbled to Be Exalted, 93,
DAY 9: Finding Nemo, 96,
DAY 10: Money, More Money, 99,
DAY 11: No Happier Now, 101,
DAY 12: Merit Badges, 104,
DAY 13: Success Upside Down, 107,
DAY 14: Power Down to Power Up, 110,
DAY 15: Be Still, 113,
DAY 16: Take Captive, 116,
DAY 17: A Slave of Jesus, 118,
DAY 18: Snuggie Theology, 121,
DAY 19: Dead Elephant in the Room, 123,
DAY 20: King of the Hill, 125,
DAY 21: Soul Food, 128,
DAY 22: Slow Down and Fast, 130,
DAY 23: Whining or Worshiping?, 133,
DAY 24: Chasing After the Wind, 135,
DAY 25: Sacrificial Living, 138,
25 days of pursuing,
DAY 1: Multiple Choice, 145,
DAY 2: It's Not Too Late, 148,
DAY 3: The Heart of the Issue, 150,
DAY 4: Pots, Pans, and the Presence of God, 152,
DAY 5: God- Breathed, 154,
DAY 6: Leave Your Bible Open, 156,
DAY 7: Every Knee, 158,
DAY 8: The Least of These, 161,
DAY 9: Freedom of Choice, 164,
DAY 10: Outsider, 166,
DAY 11: Moving Sidewalk, 169,
DAY 12: Exhale, Inhale, 171,
DAY 13: Holy Comforter, 173,
DAY 14: Walk the Walk, 175,
DAY 15: In This Together, 177,
DAY 16: Pull on the Rope, 180,
DAY 17: I Believe, 183,
DAY 18: True Lies, 186,
DAY 19: Our Present Sufferings, 189,
DAY 20: Spiritual Apathy, 191,
DAY 21: Your Weakness Is Strong, 194,
DAY 22: When Jesus Says ITL[Not]ITLto Follow, 197,
DAY 23: Go, 200,
DAY 24: Not So Alarming, 203,
DAY 25: Thirty- Eight- Year Wait, 205,