When I was a child, I was exposed to Rock and Roll music from a baby sitter and became a fan. My Dad didn’t care much for Rock and Roll, he said it was too loud. I think my Mom liked it, but she never said one way or the other as she tolerated hearing it in our family of 9 kids. I was also a fan of most of the other popular music of the 1960s. The fan list reads: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, The Beach Boys and so on.
I also loved sports. I was a real football fan. Our family enjoyed sitting on the living room floor watching professional football on the black and white and Mom serving TV dinners on TV trays so you could watch TV while you ate your dinner. That was a real treat for us, I loved everything about it. I was a fan of the Chicago Bears and eating TV dinners on TV trays.
My family went to church nearly every Sunday. I looked forward to going to church, kind of like going to a football game. I enjoyed the dressing up in my Sunday clothes, the coming together as a family and sitting together in “Our pew” in the same spot each Sunday. I enjoyed the sermons about heaven, Jesus’ love for the world, the whole church thing in general. I also enjoyed Sunday school through all my growing up years until I graduated from high school. I enjoyed what I learned about God, Moses, Jesus Christ and all the bible stories from Genesis to Jesus.
One of the teachings a Sunday school teacher shared when I was a junior in high school was, he told our class of ten students that according to statistics back then, only seven of us would probably make it into Heaven. That thought scared me. I was not as devoted as most of the people seemed to be in our church to Jesus or God. I was more of a fan.
When I graduated from high school in 1969, my interests in Jesus and God slowly went away. I followed a new crowd and was a real fan of all the hippy stuff. That didn’t last long though. In 1970 I nearly drowned in the Pacific Ocean while learning to surf in Southern California. I had become a fan of surfing.
In this incident while I was body surfing, as I was unconscious under the water, I had a “Real Jesus Christ experience.” I met the Lord Jesus while I was “dead” in the water and gave my life to Him. Jesus said some very profound things to me during what seemed like a brief moment under the sea of which I have never forgotten. Three things really stand out in my mind. “You don’t really know me. If you want to get to know me, get to know my Word,” and, “Your life is not your own to do what you want. Your life belongs to me to do my will.” The third thing Jesus said to me was I was not going with him right then. I had seen and experienced a window of Heaven which was awesome beyond words. I have to say, I was really disappointed that I couldn’t stay.
I asked Jesus why he spared my life and he said, “I have a purpose for you and you have not yet fulfilled it.”
That was the beginning of the rest of my life that day, when I drowned. Jesus was more than an idol in my life, He was my life from that day on. I was not a fan any more of Jesus, I was his follower.
We all make mistakes and take the wrong path from time to time. When I read the Word of God, I see that almost all the saints took the wrong path at times. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith if we will simply trust Him with our life. I see Jesus always standing before us with His outreached hands waiting for us to grab hold with both hands and let Him have us. Life is not that easy for most of us. Jesus said it would not be easy for us if we followed Him. We always have the choice though. Being a fan, we just watch from the sidelines and never really get involved with Jesus, or, being a follower of Jesus which takes everything we have, even our life. We make the choice, fan or follower.
Mark Conway is a Christian evangelist along with his wife Maryna. They live in Sterling where they have a year around Christian retreat house and prayer room for anyone needing prayer. You can contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.