Fun Times can be packaged in many different ways.  Something can be enjoyable without being amusing.  Pleasure can be found outside the realm of frivolity.  In fact some of the most pleasurable moments are often experienced while serving or even sweating.  Though some may not feel comfortable referring to some of these activities as “fun”, anything that brings a satisfactory smile to the face or warmth to the heart is going to be called “fun” in my book … and I believe our life in Christ is supposed to be fun!
And, I must tell you, I am in the middle of some very fun times.  Take this past week as an example.  Thursday afternoon, like always, was our regular “Family Time”.  Friday was a “no school” day for Brookly, so I had the fun opportunity to take my granddaughter to Comerica Park for a fun Tiger game (even though the we lost 8-0).  Saturday I was at Concordia, Ann Arbor for a chapel service – sitting in the pew, singing, praying, etc. – while Monica was at the Fox attending Mamma Mia.  Sunday I preached at a circuit congregation and then we spent the evening with good friends.  Monday I conducted a funeral in the morning, watched Mamma Mia the movie in the afternoon, and went out to eat in the evening with Monica and Joel.  Tuesday, after my early morning time with Andi, I made a couple hospital visits before concluding the day serving as taxi driver for T-ball practice.  Yesterday I attended two Bible classes (facilitating one), had my semi-annual visit with my cardiologist, followed up with getting a blood draw, and then ran a variety of errands.  And, as I wrote above, I classify all of these under the heading “fun times” (and the laughs shared at most of these events support my thoughts).
Yes, the great weather helps … but Monday evening I was looking forward to a quiet night alone by myself as Monica and Joel went to Comerica.  The weather did not cooperate – but we had fun anyway.  And yesterday Xfinity dropped Balley, but I still had fun with the Tigers, listening to the game instead of watching it.  In fact, there is something special about reading a book or working on the laptop with Dan Dickerson in the background.
Can texting and emails be fun, too?  Yessiree.  I have been in communication over the past week with at least a half dozen people from as many different churches as we seek to discern God’s plans for the future.  The smile on my face continues days later as I think about pulpits being filled, conversations moving forward, and resources being shared.  I have no idea what the future will bring, but my “fun times” include the time spent in prayer and visualizing the possibilities.
This is a time of challenge and change for the Christian church.  If one looks at this with a “cup half empty” view, frowns will dominate.  However, I do not believe this is how God looks at things – or how he wants us to see them.  A theology of glory says that we can only see God at work in power, strength, and victory … however, the theology of the cross (thanks Marty) reminds us that we also see God at work (doing good and gracious things) though pain, suffering, and death.  Knowing the end of the story enables us to smile even through the darkest storms.
During one of this week’s hospital visits we discussed the many twists and turns in the story of Lazarus’ death (John 11.1-44).  Though Lazarus was a good friend of Jesus, when word came that he was sick, Jesus intentionally stayed away.  When Lazarus died, Jesus did not even attend the funeral.  It was not until 4 days later that he came to see the family.  No wonder Martha, Lazarus’ sister, greeted Jesus saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (11.21)  But listen in to how the conversation progresses.  (Martha continues), “’But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.’  Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’  Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’  Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?’  She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.’” (John 11.21-27)
I am convinced of a few things about Martha in this conversation.  First of all, Martha is hurting – she is disappointed, broken-hearted, and scared.  You can likely toss in angry, confused, and searching.  Secondly, I do not think she understands what Jesus is saying.  She hears the words, but the cognitive recognition is not there.  However, and this trumps everything else, Martha completely trusts Jesus.  First she says, “I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”  And when Jesus asks if she believes in some phenomenal things regarding the resurrection (which I do not think she understands), she simply replies, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” – or, basically, “I have no idea what you just said, but I trust you.”
And it is here that we find the foundation for fun times.  We don’t have to understand what is happening, or what the future will bring.  We can be in the midst of pain, confusion, or uncertainty.  Or things can be inexplicably exciting, fascinating, or satisfying.  The fun times remain as the Holy Spirit empowers us to say – whether we understand what is going on or not, “Lord, I trust you.”   And let me tell you, the frequency of times when I have no clue what God is going to do next continues to increase … yet, so do the “fun times” … because God is Good (ALL THE TIME).

Fun Times