Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crazy fans!

I was channel surfing the other night and stopped suddenly on VH1 Classic. They were showing the documentary of Iron Maiden's World Tour Flight 666. I am a fan of Iron Maiden or at least I thought I was until I watched this documentary. I am a fan in the sense that I like their music, I own the Powerslave album from 1984, I have a few favorite songs like Run to the Hills, Wasted Years, and Number of the Beast. I also admire Nicko McBrain for being a Christian and staying in the band. Also, as an amateur bassist I really admire Steve Harris, the guy is phenomenal. I said I thought I was a fan but after seeing these fans I realized I have a long way to go if I truly want to consider myself a fan.

As lead singer Bruce Dickenson would land the tour plane (yes he is the lead singer and pilot) in the city they were playing that particular night the true Iron Maiden fans would do anything they could to get close to them. They would chase the cars they were in, they would show up at the hotel, they would wait at the concert venue for hours until they could get inside. They waited in the heat, they waited in the cold, they waited in the dark. One fan said his friend actually quit his job so he could go to the concert. Compared to these guys I am far from a fan, I am a casual spectator at best.

Also once the band showed up on stage these concert goers sang along to every word of every song, they raised their hands, the shook their head, they reached out to try and touch the band members as they performed, they cried when the concert was over,  in essence they looked like they were worshiping the band. Take a look! They went absolutely crazy for a band that could only offer them entertainment for 3 hours and then they would be gone for who knows how long, a year, two years maybe three years or more in some countries.

As I thought about that I began to think about churches across my city and state and I began to wonder why we do not get this excited for the Sunday morning service. These Iron Maiden fans were worshiping a band of sinners and we have the opportunity to worship the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We have the opportunity to worship the risen Christ. I began to wonder if we would be willing to stand in line for hours to try and get a good seat in church on Sunday mornings, would we be willing to quit our job to go to a church service, are we ok with letting these fans out worship us?

As a follower of Christ we are called to radical obedience. We are called to take up our cross and follow Christ. This is not a half-hearted following, this is not an I'll follow Christ when I have finished doing all the stuff I want to do. Take a look at what Christ said we would have to do if we were going to truly follow him.
Mark 10: 17-22 - 17  And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22  Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Luke 9: 23-26 - 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Take a look at a couple of examples of men who actually got it and lived this Christ centered life out. The first is Stephen being stoned and the second is Paul's reminder of what he has been through for the church.
Acts 7: 54-60 - 54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

II Corinthians 11: 24-27 - 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
I am not trying to imply that if you are not beaten or stoned you are not a truly committed follower of Christ or you are not a true worshiper, what I am saying is that if we look at our lives does it appear that we are letting a group of Iron Maiden fans or Justin Beiber fans or Toby Keith fans show more passion for a musician that we show for our Savior. We don't have to wear I Love Jesus shirts or dance like a Dead Head at church during the worship music. However, maybe we could raise our hands in the morning giving God thanks for another day of life, maybe we could wake up very early or stay up very late when it is quiet and spend some time in prayer. Maybe we could get excited about gathering with like-minded Believers and and following the examples of the early Believers in the book of Acts. Maybe we would one day quit our job and server him full-time.

Instead of banging our head we should start by bowing our head. Rock on!

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