not a fan
Twenty times in the New Testament, Jesus issued a compelling and challenging invitation to follow him. He’s not interested in mere fans. He doesn’t want enthusiastic admirers. He wants completely committed followers.
Based on the engaging approach of Kyle Idleman, this cinematic small group study examines what it means to deny one’s self and truly follow Jesus.
Follow the journey of Eric Nelson, a man leading a compartmentalized triple life as a pleasure-seeking rebel, a cutthroat corporate executive, and a nominal Christian. When confronted with a near death experience, Eric embarks on a spiritual journey that transforms his commitment to Jesus Christ, and tests the faith of his friends and family.
Jesus’ first beatitude from the Sermon on the Mount is “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What does it mean to be poor in spirit and how does blessing come from it? How can brokenness lead to wholeness?
As a young newlywed ambitiously climbing the corporate ladder, Rachelle Starr was a successful person by all outward appearances. Yet her inner life was marked by a gnawing discontentment. But, then God lovingly led her far beyond her comfort zone, where He would transform her life and the lives of many broken women.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” Grief can come in many forms and over many things –the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or even the collapse of a dream. But, God promises to draw near to those who grieve.
“He’s Quietly Taken The NBA By Surprise,” trumpeted a 2011 Wall Street Journal headline. It was the latest of countless accolades for New York Knicks star Landry Fields, who by that time had come to find his identity and worth in athletic success. But, a mysterious, career-threatening injury would force Field’s to find his identity and worth in something infinitely greater.
In John 6, Jesus faces a vast crowd of growling stomachs. He fills them. In John 4, He finds a woman by a well. Her life is empty. He fills it. In John 2, He saves a wedding banquet by filling six empty jars with water that He miraculously turns into wine. Jesus loves to fill what is empty. But, as D. L. Moody once said, “Many a man is praying to God to fill him when he is full already with something else.”
At thirty years old, Ken Mansfield was hobnobbing with The Beatles and managing the US branch of their famous label, Apple Records. From there, he segued into producing albums for Waylon Jennings and other members of Country Music’s pioneering “outlaw movement.” But, even while topping the charts, raking in profits, and partying with the rich and famous, Ken Mansfield couldn’t shake a feeling of profound emptiness. Only after losing everything would Ken begin the journey toward the one who promised, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Jesus wants the inside of a person to match the outside of the person. His harshest words were to duplicitous religious leaders whose righteousness was only skin deep. He even told them that prostitutes and tax collectors were entering the kingdom of heaven ahead of them. Those humble enough to see and acknowledge their own faults will seek God’s face. And, they will find it.
Raised on the south side of Tacoma, Washington by a single mom, Jefferson Bethke was a regular church pew-sitter going through the motions. Burnt out by years of destructive choices and addictions, he genuinely gave His life to Christ as a college freshman. As Jefferson began to grasp God’s transformative and life-changing acceptance, he uploaded a spoken word video to Youtube in hopes of sharing his newfound joy with others. When the video’s view counts rapidly escalated along with the controversy surround its message, Jefferson was once again forced to face his lifelong question: to whom should I look for true acceptance?
Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. Witness Jesus with his disciples at the Last Supper as He teaches by example that our life purpose is found in serving others.
In Jesus' darkest hour, two of his closest friends turned their backs on him. Through the betrayals of Peter and Judas, we discover that in response to our sin we have the choice of repentance and life or despair and death.
The journey to the cross was marked by betrayal, abuse, humiliation, loneliness, and agonizing pain. "Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted." (Hebrews 2:18 NIV)
Imagine the thoughts and emotions of Mother Mary as she witnessed Jesus' journey on the road to Golgotha. Watch as she struggles to reconcile giving birth to the Son of God with the scene of His imminent death. Did God really have a plan for her life? What of the life of her perfect, precious Son?
The heart of the gospel message is powerfully presented as we experience the crucifixion and death of Christ. Through the interaction between Jesus and the thief on the cross, we find ourselves in Jesus' plan of salvation.