Choosing Sides: When Following Jesus Doesn’t Make You a Winner

super bowl pic.2

It’s Super Bowl week if you haven’t noticed…

And, it’s not hard to figure out what team people are rooting for (at least where I live in the Northwest).

The people of Washington state are proud of their Seahawks.

(They’ve even given themselves a name…the Twelves).

I imagine that many people all over the US (and the world) have chosen sides for the Big Game.

Some are die-hard fans…

Some are jumping on the bandwagon…

(And, some just don’t want to see the team they love to hate win again…)

Now, I don’t know about Patriot fans, but I can say that Seahawk fans are unashamed of their team.

Believe me, there’s lots of ways they show their pride.

It’s obvious what team they’re rooting for…what side they’ve picked.

And, they want nothing more than to win another Super Bowl.

But, all of this got me thinking…

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What’s in your pile of unrest?

pile of unrest

Imagine a pile of everything that brings your life unrest.

Broken relationships.

Work stress.

Failing a test.

Family problems.

Poor self-image.

Unpaid bills.

Sickness.

Difficult people.

Bad habits.

Perceptions of others.

Deadlines.

Hard conversations…

Okay…how high is your pile?

(Or, maybe a better way to ask that question is, how heavy is your pile?)

Stress.  Anxiety.  Worry.  Unrest.

Sometimes it’s self-inflicted and sometimes it’s just collateral damage.

Either way, you don’t have to let it tower over you or weigh you down.

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Jesus Follower or Bandwagon Christian?

“Go ahead…jump on the bandwagon.”

You’ve probably heard some form of that phrase before if you’re into sports, politics, religion, or pretty much any part of life that involves people.

We love our bandwagons.

We love winning, being right, fighting for a cause, appealing to the masses, fitting in…

And, we hate to lose, or be wrong, or stand out too much…

So, we jump on the bandwagon.

The thing about jumping on the bandwagon is that it’s just as easy to jump off as it is to jump on.

If your sports team or political cause or religious idea suddenly isn’t as popular or “successful” as it once was, you can just go find another bandwagon…and jump on.

Freedom to choose, right?

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Jumping on the bandwagon isn’t anything new by the way.

A long time ago, Jesus told a story about people who were jumping on the bandwagon of what we now call Christianity.

(You can look up the whole story in Luke 8:4-15).

In the story, Jesus describes two different kinds of “bandwagon Christians.”

These are people who hear about Jesus, decide to jump on his bandwagon, but then jump off as soon as life gets too hard or too busy to stay on.

He finishes the story by describing the kind of person who sticks with him no matter what…the Jesus follower.

The Jesus follower hears about Jesus and stays with him no matter how hard or how busy life gets.

So, which one are you?

Which one best describes your life up to this point?

(And, which one do you want to be?)

Jesus Follower or Bandwagon Christian…

The choice is up to you.

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.  (Matthew 7:21)

It’s a New Year…Time to Check Your Heart

It was a trophy…

But not just any trophy.

It was the Championship Trophy from the ’76-77 NBA Champion Portland Trail Blazers.

And, I was standing next to it.

Blazer Trophy

Chances are that if you’re reading this you’re not a professional basketball player, so this trophy doesn’t mean much to you.

But, I bet there are other things in your life (or maybe even one big thing) that are a lot like that trophy.

You see, that trophy represents a goal that you’ve set.

That trophy is what gives your life purpose.

It’s what you work long hours for.

It’s what you sacrifice a lot of other things for.

For an NBA player, winning that trophy is the ultimate reward for a life devoted to long hours of practice and hard work and sacrifice.

It’s why you’ve probably seen images of Michael Jordan cradling the trophy in his arms and weeping over it after winning one of his six NBA titles.

MichaelJordan&Trophy

For him and so many other professional athletes, that trophy is their treasure.

It’s what they’ve spent the majority of their young lives seeking…

I have to admit that seeing that trophy in person was a little anti-climactic.

It looked old and…

Ordinary.

Like something you’d put in a closet or store somewhere and forget about.

Seeing it reminded me of something Jesus said.

Something along the lines of…”Don’t do that.  Don’t store up treasure on this earth.  It’s not worth it.  It won’t last.”

Maybe now at the start of a New Year it’s a good time to ask yourself questions like this…

What’s your treasure?

What are you seeking?

What goals have you set for this year?

What gives your life purpose?

Is it worth it?

Or, are you just seeking another trophy…

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.  Matthew 6:19-21