I’ll never forget the day I decided Jesus was lame.

I was a second grader in a Vacation Bible School class. We had a workbook with colorful illustrations of Bible stories, each clearly designed with children in mind. As a young boy that grew up in farm country I was accustomed to outside adventures that involved climbing trees, making forts, and turning sticks into swords to slay monsters and rescue my young sister and brother. The heart of a young boy longs for adventure and mine was no different.

Yet staring back at me from those VBS workbook pages was a blue-eyed, brown-haired Jesus that looked entirely boring. His tunic was perfectly white to match his teeth, which smiled mediocrity. Where were the monsters to slay, the people to rescue – where was the adventure? Marching behind Jesus in the pictures were his band of disciples, happy as could be to follow Jesus wherever he went. My image of Jesus was only reinforced as my teacher reprimanded me for drawing a large monster on my workbook page along with a giant sword in the hand of my cartoon Jesus.

“That is NOT how Jesus would act,” she said. She took my workbook away, giving me a pristine new one – one without conflict or imagination.

So, I wrote Jesus off. I wasn’t interested in a boring life – I wanted something exciting and adventurous. I wanted something heroic and epic – not a cartoon. Thankfully, when I was high school I was introduced to a different version of Jesus – the same Jesus that we find in the Gospels.

A God That Spits

At the end of my freshman year of high school I attended my first Steubenville Youth Conference with my youth group. Throughout the year my perception of Jesus was slowly changing and during Eucharistic Adoration I was struck with an incredible image as the Blessed Sacrament moved through the crowd:

Jesus once spit on a guy.

I know – really strange image. Earlier that day, our youth group reflected on the narrative of Jesus healing a blind man (John 9). If you read through the passage, you will note the peculiar way that Jesus heals the man: he rubs dirt and spit in his eyes. My entire view of Jesus changed with that single image.

Suddenly, Jesus wasn’t the carefree, white tunic wearing, always smiling and ever-boring figure I imagined. Jesus was messy, adventurous, and wild. Jesus hung out with a rough crowd – fisherman, tax collectors, prostitutes. He went fishing and spent time on boats, he confronted Satan himself, and he grew up a carpenter. Jesus didn’t invite people into mediocrity – Jesus invited them into greatness. Jesus invited them into an adventure.

That night I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal companion on the journey toward high adventure. I accepted his invitation to a life beyond boring – and I have never been disappointed.

The Adventure of Faith

Scripture is filled with people who had boring lives that Jesus destroyed. I used to cringe at that expression: “Jesus ruined my life.” What people mean is, “Jesus ruined my boring, mediocre, uneventful life.” I can’t think of any person that wakes up in the morning and says, “Today is a day to be lame. I hope to achieve the mid-level, the C grade, to be average.”

Faith in Jesus is an adventure because Jesus calls us out of sin – and sin is average. For all the promises sin makes of glamour and adventure, sin can never deliver. Sin is boring because it is always the same – it is something that every person can do and it has no care for uniqueness, quality, or love. Sin makes us all the same boring people.

Jesus calls us to greatness. Think of the disciples – they witnessed Jesus multiply loaves and fish, turn water into wine, heal the sick and raise the dead. They watched demons tremble at the feet of Jesus and even cast out demons themselves. They were witnesses to the Resurrection. Can sin promise any of that? Can a life without Christ be that incredible? Not a chance.

Jesus is calling you to adventure. My adventure of faith led me to rock and roll festivals as a Christian singer, bringing the Gospel to people that never heard it through music. It led me to youth ministry where the adventure continued. I met my wife through my faith in Christ and we have been able to travel and see the incredible things that Jesus does in his Church. Never since that day I realized Jesus wasn’t lame have I said, “Man, life is boring.”

Because life with Christ can’t be boring; it isn’t possible. Jesus is unexpected, joyful, adventurous, and exciting. Being a Catholic doesn’t destroy anything in your life except mediocrity, and who strives for just “ordinary?”

Jesus is calling you to something new – to adventure beyond the pictures in your children’s Bible. Take up the call, follow Christ, and let the adventure of faith begin.

Joel Stepanek
Joel Stepanek

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Joel Stepanek has been actively and passionately involved in youth ministry for over 10 years. What began as a simple internship in a parish youth ministry office evolved into an incredible adventure that led him on numerous middle school lock ins, high school retreats, and ultimately to meet his wife, Colleen, who is a campus minister. Joel is the Director of Resource Development for Life Teen International where he creates engaging youth ministry resources for middle and high school students. He received his Master’s degree in religious education with an emphasis in youth and young adult ministry from Fordham University. Joel is an avid Packer fan, loves cooking, running, and spending time with his wife and son, Elijah Daniel.