Grand Con

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Galavant and Reconciliation


photo from IMDB


Galavant was interesting. I had been excited for this because I really enjoy the work of Zachery Levi, who is a known Christian but also starred as the lead role in “Chuck” on NBC. It started out rather melancholy compared with my expectations. A lot of the jokes were sexual in nature and I don’t appreciate that, but some of it was funny and the story was interesting. It has a cheesy charm to it.

Galavant was a hero who lost his muster when his girlfriend was kidnapped to marry a king. He went to rescue here and she basically chose to stay with the king for the fame and money. He then went through a time of drunkenness to deal with this pain. The king then conquered another kingdom and the princess of that kingdom comes to get Galavant to come help with a claim that this ex-girlfriend was wanting him to come for her, thus getting our hero to jump back in to heroism.

Now, there were a lot of twists and turns over the 4 episodes of “season 1” (which was supposed to be a minie-series; so a “season” is a little odd). I won’t go into all of them, but one peaked my interest.

***Spoiler***
Eventually the wife of this king betrays him. In her betrayal, Galavant and the King start to become friends, even drinking together. This reminded me of a verse from Psalm 23:
          

     “You lay a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”


This verse speaks to the peace we find in God, yet I have, a few times, wondered if this was pointing to something greater than that: a reconciliation.

God is all about reconciliation. He even went so far as to let his one and only Son, Jesus the Christ, die on a cross to bring reconciliation between God and man. He wants this to come to all of us. Jesus himself, while teaching on prayer, told us we will be forgiven as we forgive others.

I won't fool you, reconciliation is a hard thing. I am no expert in it and I am not always so good at it, but Jesus is good at it and He would love to help you with it.

Overall, I found Galavant to be entertaining. If you like musicals, it is worth watching and there are some interesting plot twists in it. It is a story of restoration and I think it does have some interesting lessons to be learned.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Pandemic Party, or "More Things to Kill You"

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.


Saturday's Pandemic Party went quite well. We had 14 people (including myself). Most came right away (aside from a straggler). It started with 3 games going simultaneously, all trying to deal with a special scenario suggested on the Pandemic Parties website. Two groups broke up early as some people had to run away for various reasons.

Our goal was to enjoy games but also to pool resources together to donate funds to help Doctors without Borders deal with the Ebola epidemic.

One of them was well on its way to winning (having cured "blue" in the very firs round!). They had a weird thing happen where somehow after shuffling the cards, all players got blue cards for their beginning hands. They also received Government Grant quickly (allowing them to build a second research station anywhere in the world). I always like getting that one early on!

I went and got one drink for every disease (even the purple one from the expansion).
The third group won pretty easily. Things swapped around and I got to join in for a 3 player game (which we won). A couple more people left and we then started a new game using "On the Brink" (the first expansion). We used the Virulent Disease option for a 4 player game which means one disease gets really nasty. Unfortunately, we were only able to get the cure for that disease and then after we sun-downed it, a Virulent Epidemic Card brought it back. Oy! My buddy Nathan Marchand deemed this expansion "More Things to Kill You." Yes, we lost that one as we ran out of cards and we had at least 6 outbreaks. We then used the "In the Lab" Expansion for a 5 player game. It was a nice change in pace. With this expansion you have to move into micro-managing. Instead of turning in the four cards to find a cure, you need to make a series of actions at the research stations that lead to a cure being found. This is a very interesting expansion that makes you think a little more about the work being done in real life and the scientific methods used by researchers. No, your researching is probably not very realistic and it is not hugely confusing, but it does make you think a little more.

Then, we decided to change gears and play some Sentinels of the Multiverse while eating pizza.

Over all, we managed to pool together our resources and raise a donation of 150 dollars. That averages out to a little more than 10 dollars per person donated at a free event.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pandemic Party!

Greetings Scholars and Warriors.


This weekend Nerd Chapel is excited to collaborate with various other gaming enthusiasts around the world by presenting a Pandemic Party. If you are unaware of this movement, check it out here. They had one big weekend for it back in December, but I was busy that weekend and needed time to pull some details together for our event.

Essentially, we will enjoy the cooperative board game Pandemic and make donations to help Doctors without Borders deal with the Ebola problem. This has already raised over 30,000 dollars for this cause and their goal is to have raised 100,000 by the end of this month.

Jesus is all about helping the needy. Just in the book of Matthew we find Jesus "having compassion" for crowds/individuals at least 4 times. That barely scratches the surface of the miracles He did for people! So when we found out about the Pandemic Parties movement, we could not help but participate!  Admittedly, I missed out on Extra Life back in the Fall so I had no excuse for missing out on this opportunity.

Our party is this Saturday (January 17) at 1:00 at All Shores Wesleyan Church. I encourage you to go to the FB page to keep up with all the news/details.

I hope you join us! If you are not in the West Michigan area, please check out pandemicparties.com to find one near you! If not, then organize one yourself. It can be private or public. It is as simple as inviting your friends over to play and pitching in to make a donation on their web page. Even if you can not attend an event, please go to their site to donate.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ravagers and Repentance

Found on marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com.
Ravagers. We don't always think good things when we hear this word. Certainly, the Ravagers in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) are not seen in a good light by very many. They steal, kill, and make comments about eating people (or at least Yondu does). They are all about living on the move, making money in immoral missions, and drinking alcohol.

But at one point, they did something...good. They formed an alliance with the team that would come to be known as the Guardians of the Galaxy and even with the Nova Corp to protect a planet from a terrorist force led by a Kree named Ronan the Accuser.

This is an act we refer to as repentance. Admittedly, this repentance seems short lived as they soon turn their weapons on the Guardians. Repentance is a Greek military term for turning around. Going 180 degrees in the other direction.

John the Baptist taught this in preparation for the coming of Jesus. Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand. Mark 1 tells us that he came "preaching a baptism of repentance". This was all "for the forgiveness of sins".

All of the Guardians showed major growth over the movie. This included fighting for people who would prefer they be thrown in jail, revealing various forms of pain to us, and giving something valuable into the hands of law enforcement.

But repentance shows a preparation for forgiveness. It shows you are willing to change by doing the change, not by making empty words. This is not always fun. It often means fighting our own desires and appetites. I find that it is easy to be mad at myself when I keep falling off the horse. When I find myself failing at something regularly I get frustrated with myself. Don't you?

Let us learn from Batman Begins: "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up again."

But what good does this do us? In both John 1 and Mark 1 we learn that John the Baptist was simply preparing the way for Jesus ministry. And that is one of the reasons we repent. To enjoy the presence of God. My only advice for repentance? Keep getting back up. Don't give up because it is hard!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pursuing the Present


Greetings Scholars and Warriors.

How many movies are you looking forward to in 2015? How many movies did you see in 2014? New Years is a time of looking back and forward in the same moment. We enjoyed a lot of change in the Transformers movie verse and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) this past year. We have been watching as things are developing for 2015 with Jurassic World, the MCU, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and several other movies. We also look at other things in our lives, though. More practical aspects of life.

How interesting is it that we celebrate the Birth of the Saviour at this same time? We celebrate the one who gave the most for us and to us as we evaluate ourselves and our future.

Jewish leaders did not always put 2 and 2 together very well. They spent a lot of time looking back at scripture, but they were not looking for God to change them. They wanted a political change and were infuriated with Jesus for changing other things. Jesus defended Himself in John 5.
"You study the scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." John 5:39-40
These leaders were far more interested in looking back than at looking at their present. They certainly did not understand how the future was supposed to look (although we should admit that we don't understand the future well either).

Think about the disciples. They were a very different group from the Jewish leaders. They were "unlearned Galileans". They were fishermen with a tax collector following a carpenter who had put the religious leaders to shame with his knowledge at just 12 years old.

Jesus certainly did not disrespect scripture. In Matthew He said that not even the tiniest stroke of the OT would disappear. He wanted the leaders and the people to see that Scripture pointed to Him; but He was doing something new. Something they were not expecting. Instead of changing the world of politics and nations, He came to change the world of the heart; knowing that all worlds change when that changes.

As we change years, what are you looking toward? What are you looking back to? How is Christ at work in your heart right now? How can you cooperate with His work? Your best life will be found in Jesus, not in any other thing or person in your life.