Same Task, New ‘Tude

I know I wrote a recent post about motorcycling and the Christian life, but some themes bear repeating. Smile  I got to ride my bike today for the first time in over a month (it’s been WAY too hot in Phoenix), and man oh man is riding fun. I just love hitting the starter button and listening to the exhaust pipes burble (that’s a new word…I am going to patent it I think). I love feeling the throttle engage, banking into a turn and accelerating out of it. I love letting the bike whine in first gear for a little too long because the engine was built to rev.

 

For pure joy, no car ride can touch the same trek on a motorcycle. I’ve had fun driving cars, too, but a bike transforms a commute into a fun time. Usually the drive between school and church is taken as quickly as reasonably possible just to get from one to the other. Today it was a lot of fun, and I am really looking forward to my ride home!

 

Isn’t that a great reminder about the rest of life? It’s the same task, but when approached from a different perspective it can become so much more fun and engaging. I think that the Christian life can become much the same: boring when we get into a rut or keep at the same old thing, but fresh and new if we will change the pattern or find an engaging way to accomplish the same task. Maybe your Bible time is boring…how about reading a devotional instead, or getting the Bible on audio narrated by celebrities? If your service at church is getting stale, have you thought of approaching the task from a different angle or maybe changing ministry focus? If your prayer life is stuck, how about making time for God at a different time of day and with a different focus?

 

Tasks can get repetitive and boring, including spiritual disciplines. How do you keep it fresh and keep your perspective on the Christian life fun and engaging?

Sometimes you just gotta laugh

Some posts on ABF are serious and deal with hard-hitting issues relevant to the church and our culture.  Some are just my ramblings.  Hopefully, occasionally some make you laugh.  Like this one.

When your students love you enough to completely spoof you, ala Vintage 21, then in my opinion you have made it as a professor.

I’m John Correia.  I have a beard.  Discussion…over.

Mad props to my students Hunter Combs and Matt “Clubber” Porter for making this.  Hunter and Matt were two of my best students last year and I laughed so hard at spots in this video.  If you’re wondering where their inspiration came from, it’s from a series of videos made by Vintage 21 church in Raleigh, NC.  They spoofed some of the cheesiest Jesus movies ever made by dubbing them over with a voice track to goof on what people think Jesus is like.  Thank heaven He isn’t!

FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!  Number 3 is my absolute favorite.  I laughed and laughed at this one.

Alright all you sinners…come with me, it’s time to pay the piper.

I think that sometimes we get awfully concerned with making sure everything is completely proper without considering whether a good laugh is the order of the day.  I am teaching Gospels right now, and the more I read about the life and ministry of Jesus the more convinced I am that Jesus enjoyed a good laugh with his disciples.  I can see him set them up for lessons, and with all of the other emotions we see from Jesus in the Gospels it would flabbergast me if Jesus didn’t make jokes with His guys too.

So laugh a little today, even if it is at your own expense. 🙂

Building Community…One Pie at a Time

If you know me at all, you know that authentic, transparent community is very important to me.  Christians absolutely need the “three-legged stool” of the Scriptures, the Spirit, and the Saints to live the life that God wants for us; take one away and the stool falls.  It takes all three to truly experience the life that God wants for us.  The first two “legs” of the stool are the “easy part,” at least for me.  I am a total Bible nerd whose passion is expository preaching and Bible teaching, so the Scriptures are like water for my soul.  I have a growing and healthy prayer life, and seek the Spirit’s guidance throughout the day.  Naturally there is always room for improvement, but these are not my areas of weakness.

At my core, though, I am a social animal.  I am an extrovert, a jokester, and a people person.  I absolutely, 100% need the people of God in my life in order to be the man that God wants me to be.  Yes, that means that I have mentorship from good and godly men who kick me in the pants when I need it.  It also means that the men in my church keep me accountable to walking with Christ, as friends helping me chart an appropriate course.  Sometimes that gets very serious, whether that be friends praying over me when I have a rough Sunday morning preparing for church (happened this week…true fact) or me asking a friend in Christ to remember who owns them and forsake sin.

DSC07106 Other times, not so much.  At our annual church picnic we have a tradition that we raise money for a cause within our church by auctioning pies.  Anyone who bids $100 or more on a pie can, if they choose, throw that pie at their pastor.  This year the money raised went to our “Acts 2:45 Fund,” which goes to help those in our congregation who have financial troubles.  This year we raised over $600 to put in the fund!  Even though the picnic officially got rained out, we stayed at church and had a potluck instead, then auctioned pies and pelted me with them.  There is much glee and happiness over this tradition of smiting me with custard!

Everyone who stuck around for the picnic had a great time.  It really warmed my heart to see about 130 or more people have a meal together and get to know one another better.  Just standing in the corner of our worship hall listening to the cacophony of voices and seeing people talk warmed by heart!  It wasn’t really deep or significant conversation for the most part.  It was just a fun afternoon of hanging out with friends in Christ.  God reminded me that not every interaction with my family in Christ needs to be serious and eternally significant; having fun and being silly and just being friends is good for my soul too!

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Look at the smiles on people’s faces in this picture!  The little girl letting me have it was a first-time visitor brought by a friend.  She asked me earlier how old she had to be to be baptized, a pretty serious conversation!  We talked about what baptism meant and about the Lord.  Thanks, God, for the opportunity to witness!  She then asked if she bid the $10.75 she had if she could throw her pie at me.  Um…sure!

God also taught me a valuable lesson once again in this annual “chuck a pie at the pastor” Sunday.  My congregation respects me very much and shows me love in lots of ways.  They are very respectful and loving, but because of my status as the pastor and the fact that I am the Bible nerd expert on Jesus I can be a little intimidating at times.  Having experiences like this that remind everyone that I am just one of the members in our church is very helpful to our body.  Sure I have a particular spiritual gift and am called by God to shepherd the flock, but that is no reason to be a stick in the mud.  A shepherd needs to know the needs of his flock, and today my flock needed a good laugh and some wholesome fun in covering their shepherd in lemon meringue and whipped cream.

Maybe you’re not the extrovert that I am, and the Scripture and the Spirit are more significant aspects of your spiritual life than the Saints are.  Even if that is the case, don’t neglect the people of God in your life.  You need those people to encourage you to live for Christ and to be there for you, just like the author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 10:23-25:

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Build the authentic, transparent, and sometimes goofy community of Christ around you.  Trust me, having those friendships and support will be the difference between making it and falling when life gets tough.  Got it?  Go!
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Sing Along Blog!

Okay, in honor of my favorite blog of all time (starring Neal Patrick Harris…either you know what I am talking about or you aren’t nearly cool enough)…today it is time to be a little goofy. How does being goofy help us have a biblical framework for life? Simple: go read the gospels and you will find that Jesus liked to have fun too. I bet Jesus has a fantastic sense of humor and I would not be surprised to hear Him drop a “your mom” joke on one of the Twelve. We should have a sense of humor too.

So…it’s a SING ALONG BLOG!

Here is the drill: I will start the song and you will comment with the next line. I turned off moderation on comments so they will appear immediately! The song was chosen in response to my amazing wife buying me an awesome CD the other day just because she loves me.

Here goes…

“Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world.
She took the midnight train going anywhere.”