Who do you follow? I've been thinking a lot about that question this week. Have you noticed that we've become a culture of followers? Followers on Twitter. Followers on Facebook. Followers on Instagram. Followers on Snapchat. Celebrity followers. Sport teams followers. Music group followers. It seems like we're all following someone these days.
Closer to home - we have people we follow too. People close to us. Our partner. Our spouse. Our boyfriend or girlfriend. Our boss. Our neighbor.
So here's what I've been thinking about this week. What is our criteria for the people we follow? Do we have any? Is it their political views? Their willingness to shock us? Their love life? Why do we follow the people we follow?
And closer to home - do we have a criteria for the people we follow, who are close to us? Any criteria for who can be our partner? Our spouse? Our boyfriend or girlfriend?
I love the Apostle Paul's attitude about this follow-ship. He was writing a letter to the folks at Corinth First Church, and they had their follow-ship all screwed up. They were following people who were eating and drinking within the church, while others went without anything. They were following people who were taking other church folks to court. They were even following people who were sexually active - not just within the church family, but within their own family! They were one messed up church.
Just like us!
What? You mean all this goes on within our church? I didn't say that. I am saying we have folks who follow folks who do this kind of thing all the time. On Twitter. On Facebook. And sometimes even within our own personal lives, with the people we choose as partners and mates.
Paul writes ten whole chapters to the folks at First Corinth Church and then comes to this stunning conclusion in 11:1: "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ."
That's the criteria for follow-ship. Follow people who are following Christ. If someone isn't following Christ, then you shouldn't be following them! Who know's where they end up? Why be willing to risk following someone when you don't know where they're going. Talk about bad life GPS! You'll be turning off when you should be on the straight and narrow!
Here's the other side of that equation - you also need to be able to say the same thing as Paul: "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." Now I know what you're already thinking. 'Hey, I'm not Paul. I'm not as good as him.' Really? Not as good as the guy who wrote, "Of all sinners I am the chief?"
The issue is not our perfection, but our intention. The best of us get it wrong sometimes. We make stupid mistakes. We take U-turns. But if our intention is to follow Christ, we course correct and get back to following Jesus again. People close to us see our example - even in the mistakes. They see that Christianity is very human in its application. They see that if you can do it, so can they!
So who are you following? Why? And who is following you? Will you get to heaven someday and have someone come up to you and say, "Thanks for the example! I needed some direction for awhile, so I followed behind you. Thanks for walking the Jesus Way!"
Sunday morning we'll talk more about this idea of "Follow Up" as we look at Luke 20:45-47. Want a head start? Here are the online sermon notes.
Featured Artist Sunday - Sunday our worship team has chosen music by Matthew West, an American contemporary Christian musician, singer-songwriter, and author. Nice pick, team! I'm looking forward to "following" Brandi, Trish, and Missie as they lead us in singing songs by Matthew West.
West is well known for communicating stories through song. He has released five studio albums, was nominated for five Dove Awards in 2005, and won the 2013 American Music Award for Best Contemporary Inspirational Artist. In addition to his solo career, Mathew West has worked as a songwriter for many Christian musicians and groups.
Some of the songs we will be singing include "Hello My Name Is," "The Motions," "Broken Things," "Do Something," and "Only Grace."
We Need Game Buzzers. Anyone reading this have game buzzers like is used on Jeopardy? We are preparing for a special Sunday event on October 8th and could really use the game buzzer equipment. If you have them or have access to them, please let me know or Brandi know. Thanks!
Here's what happened. Another group began to serve Saturday night meals very close to where we are located. It really didn't make sense for both of us to do it at the same time in the same place. So we began to look for another time that would be better for us without duplicating each other on Saturday night. In the meantime, the support for the other meal service dried up and they are no longer serving. So - we're back in business.
Thank you for your willingness to serve. I know after a few months' break, you'll all be ready to get back at it again! You know the drill. Show up to volunteer by 4pm. We begin serving meals at 5pm. We usually are finished cleaning up and walking out the door by 6:30 pm. If you want a gold star, bring a dessert to share with you when you come.
Housewarming - Bonfire - S'mores - October 21st. Eddie and Brandi want to invite all the church folks and many of their friends and family over for a special evening on Saturday, October 21st. There will be a bonfire in their back yard, s'mores and lots of great fellowship. More info to come. For now, pencil this in on your calendar for Saturday evening, Oct. 21st.
I sure am looking forward to seeing many of you Sunday morning. Keep praying for one another. We have many who are hurting and need your prayer support. Love you much! Pastor Mark