10 Things You Should Do This Summer

Summer break is always an exciting time of year. For me it is a chance to slow down a little bit and enjoy life at a different speed. It’s also a chance to recharge my batteries and prepare for the next leg of campus ministry.

1. Read a good fiction book.

2. Volunteer to serve someone or somewhere.

3. Play in the water.

4. Go on an adventure.

5. Grow a vegetable.

6. Reevaluate your New Year’s Resolution.

7. Watch a sunset (and possibly a sunrise) from a beautiful place.

8. Cook meat on an open fire.

9. Invest extra time in your relationships, especially your family.

10. Go see Man of Steel! (Premieres June 14)

Search Engine Queries

Search engines are great. You can type pretty much anything you can think of into one and it will probably connect you with something that lines up pretty well with your query. My blog host allows me to track all of the web searches that result in a hit on the site. This is a list of some of the humorous 2012 web searches that lead to nathanology. They are only funny because they are completely removed from the context of the article they arrived at. I hope you enjoy. These are completely unedited.

1. the face book post about hanging jesus for being a hippie liberal

2. slacktivism christianity

3. God hiking

4. where do liberals hang out on facebook

5. oh you have swag i bet that looks great on a resume

6. merica

7. what does “situation number 2” mean in storytelling?

8. huckleberry finn moral maturity

9. things that can be learned from spiderman

10. exploded brain

11. what in the heck is a doily

12. blistering sword

13. windows8 eats your soul

14. comic character in speedo

15. know me for my idiosyncrasies

16. football is idolatry

17. picture of the people walking with problems

18. who is francis chan going to vote for

19. they are just humanity’s way of trying to rationalize our own selfishness

20. people who pick up trash

10 Things We Say & What We Really Mean

Life usually doesn’t fit into nice neat little lists, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. Welcome to my Tuesday 10, where I try to fit the messiness of life into a list of ten.

We have a lot of little things we say that don’t really mean what a careful interpretation of the words would lead someone to believe. Whether they are catch phrases, idioms, web/text speak, shorthand, or whatever. Here are ten things we say and what they actually mean.

1. “Maybe.” — “I don’t really want to commit myself to anything.”

2. “This goes without saying, but…” — “I really think this is important enough that you should know what I’m about to say before I even say it, but I am going to say it anyways. Probably because I like the sound of my own voice.”

3. “Lol” — “I have nothing else to say, but I want the conversation to continue.”

4. “Yeah … yes …. uh-huh” — “I’m not paying attention to you.”

5. “I just want to be me.” — “I just want to be who I think everyone wants me to be.” or “I want to be as strange as humanly possible and get a lot of attention.”

6. “I’m starving.” — “It’s been at least an hour since I ate an extra large double cheeseburger.”

7. “I love (nonhuman variable)!” — “I have an unhealthy affinity for (nonhuman variable)!”

8. “It’s good to see you this morning.” — “Oh, hey we are passing each other in the hall at church again this week.”

9. “That is so EPIC!” — “I don’t know what an epic is!”

10. “Outreach” — “We want people to come to an event at our church on a night not typically associated with going to church.”

If I Were the New Grand Poobah

Life usually doesn’t fit into nice neat little lists, but that doesn’t keep me from trying.

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Like you I am sick of politics. So, I promise that this is my absolute last blog about politics for a long time. At least until my next one. This is a list of ten policies I would implement if I were the Grand Poobah.

1. Pedantry and Reality TV would be crimes punishable by death.

2. All professional sports would be permabanned, with a one time concession that NASCAR, golf, and bowling are actually sports.

3. FedEx, UPS, and other similar shipping companies would be forced to hire drivers from the pool of suddenly unemployed NASCAR drivers, who would only be allowed to make right turns.

4. I would reestablish space exploration by sealing Lady Gaga in a time capsule and launching her into space, towards the Sun.

5. My national bird would be Woodstock from the Peanuts.

6. Chemical warfare would mean dropping dirty diapers via drone.

7. Tony Stark, I mean Robert Downey Jr., would be Secretary of Defense…and Chris Evans would have to legally change his name to Steve Rogers.

8. George Lucas must go door-to-door to every American home apologizing for Jar Jar Binks.

9. There would be no such thing as money, or dubstep.

10. I would start this thing called The Hunger Games, where once a year 24 political commentators fought to the death with whiffle bats and sock puppets.

11. No Christmas music before Thanksgiving, no exceptions.

10 Things I Learned Via Missions

Life usually doesn’t fit into nice neat little lists, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. Welcome to my Tuesday 10, where I try to fit the messiness of life into a list of ten.

I have worked as a Missionary Associate with the U.S. Missions Department of the Assemblies of God for almost a decade. Crazy how fast that time has flown by! When I started I was incredibly focused on reaching those nearest me, with a singular, and often narrow-minded purpose. In the time since I have come to understand the remarkable value to be found by participating in missions on a greater scale. Here are some things I learned along the way.

1. Airplanes aren’t as bad as I once believed. I used to be terrified of flying.

2. I paid much better attention in Spanish class than my report card may have indicated.

3. God is not American. While I have instinctively known this for many, many years; both my time abroad and Gungör helped to reinforce the idea.

4. Nail + Foot = Terrible Pain

5. When you commit yourself to loving and serving others unconditionally, you will humble yourself to do just about anything.

6. Most Americans are spoiled self-entitled brats.

7. If it doesn’t fit in the bag, you don’t need it.

8. A 3 oz. bottle of shampoo/conditioner will last for at least twenty showers.

9. Worshipping in a multicultural international congregation that transcends language barriers is incredible!

10. No matter where I go, or how important my work there seems, it has always had a more profound impact on my own life than that of those I have tried to help.

10 Almost Serious Rules (to Protect You From Dumbness)

Life usually doesn’t fit into nice neat little lists, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. Welcome to my Tuesday 10, where I try to fit the messiness of life into a list of ten.

Living life can often be tricky.  Luckily I’m here (sarcasm) to offer a few pointers with this Tuesday  Wednesday 10.

1. Never underestimate the stupidity of humanity. People are dumb. Lots of them. Learn it. Remember it.

2. Mr. Pibb is not Dr. Pepper, and is an incredibly inferior beverage. That’s a well known scientifically ignored fact.

3. If you get an email from someone saying you inherited a fortune and they need some basic info (like bank stuff) it’s hooey. Legal Eagles don’t use hotmail to notify beneficiaries of their awaiting millions.

4. Windows 8 will break your soul and eat your Facebook profile if you update. Luckily iOS6 will fix both as long as you don’t want to use a map.

5. Cartwheels under ceiling fans make for exciting injuries and lame stories.

6. It’s important to fasten the seat-belt strap on your child’s car-seat. This isn’t even semi serious.  It’s completely serious all the way.

7. “Friend” doesn’t mean that at all where social media is concerned.  Kind of like when people write “LOL”.  No one is really laughing out loud, except for that one girl in the library.  They just don’t have anything else to say.

8. Texting and driving is dangerous.  Firing a shotgun while driving is more dangerous.

9. Not all “10” lists have 10. Don’t believe everything that you read, hear, say, do, find, smell, or walk over.

10 Temptation Truths

Life usually doesn’t fit into nice neat little lists, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. Welcome to my Tuesday 10, where I try to fit the messiness of life into a list of ten.

Temptation is real.  We all deal with it.  Some of us deal with it poorly, and some of us think we deal with it not-so-poorly, but we all could use a little, or a lot of, help.  Temptation is like bait on a hook.  Something used by the enemy of our souls to drag us away from all that God has for us.  It’s a fight.  These ten things are some things we discussed in my Sunday School class this past week.  For more, and better, insight go read Luke 4:1-13.

1. Satan is a real enemy. We are born into a real war and he is a subtle, crafty, and sly joker.

2. Satan will hit you. He’s not going to leave you alone. He will attack when you’re physically weak whether it’s when you’re tired, hungry, or alone. Solitude is good, but isolation is dangerous.  Being connected to God’s people helps.  Sometimes we create the atmosphere for our own temptation by doing something that might not be outright sinful but puts us in a physically, spiritually, or mentally weakened condition.  Staying up too late, excessive time on the computer, time with people we would be better off not being with–these are all things that set us up for temptation, but might not be sinful in and of themselves. It’s better to be preventative than reactive.  Take measures not to get in a precarious place, circumstance, or state of being.

3. Jesus is our victorious warrior King. Society teaches us to be proud, to have esteem, because we’re all winners.  We’re not.  We’re all losers.  All of us.  Yes, you’re a loser.  We’ve been programmed to believe that we’re the best thing since gravity, but we’re not. We’re wretched sinners by acts of willful commission and/or omission.Pride doesn’t give us high esteem, it makes us a proud loser. It causes us to ignore our need for God because we think we’re awesome. We’re not our own hope. Christ in us is our hope for glory. He triumphed over Satan at the cross, we triumph over Satan through His resurrection. Condemnation is debilitating, but conviction is liberating. There is conviction in Christ, but there is no condemnation.

 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. – Colossians 2:13-15

4. The Holy Spirit is your Power. Jesus resisted temptation for 40 days through the power of God the Holy Spirit. You can live as He did, full of the Spirit of God.

5. The Bible is your counter punch.Just stop making excuses.  Read your Bible. We take it for granted.

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. – Proverbs 30:5-6

6. Christ is your identity. Sometimes temptation is much less about sin, and a lot more about Satan trying to deceive you about who you are and who you belong to. Whatever your issue, be it promiscuity, perversion, or pride, it is not who you are.  It does not define you. Relationship with Jesus renews in you a new identity.  His identity.

7. Escape is always possible. There is always a way out. God makes the way. We have to pick whether we want the hook or the door. When temptation comes keep your senses.  Look for the way out.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. – 1 Corinthians 10: 13-14

8. Satan eventually taps out. He’s a quitter.  It’s his nature. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

9. Repent when you tap out and fight again. Repentance is acknowledging that you bit the hook instead of running out of the door. It happens.  There are a lot Christians who have let Satan trick them into thinking that’s not true. Don’t let religious pride blind you to your own inadequacies. But don’t beat yourself up about them either. Take them to Jesus, that’s where they belong.

10. Life is a battle with many rounds. Discipleship and sanctification take time. You will win against the devil. Some things that used to be serious temptations are no long even remotely an issue. He’ll bring some new temptations to the fight. He’ll find new bait. Keep your head and your heart firmly at the feet of Jesus.