Grand Con

See Nerd Chapel at Grand Con 2015! Go to http://grand-con.com/

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 in Review

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

2015 has been a great year for Nerd Chapel and for me personally. Here are my thoughts from this year:

Cons:

Grand Con went amazingly well this year. It was exciting to have Dice Tower founder Tom Vassel. We also had our own booth for the first time at a con. Lots of people stopped by to say "hi" and purchase a copy of 42:Discovering Faith Through Fandom. Our presence definitely grew this year.

Nerd Chapel also went to the Grand Rapids Toy and Comics Expo which was not as successful as I had hoped. I will be at the next one but further attendance will depend on how it goes.

Gen Con was amazing! Although Nerd Chapel had no "official" presence there I volunteered with the Christian Gamers Guild at their booth. Between the CGG booth and Nathan Marchand's booth 42 sold extremely well. The church service was great and this year I actually got to participate in leading the service by helping with communion.

42:Discovering Faith Through Fandom

It was exciting to see this book come out into a reality from an idea in my head. It has been exciting seeing it come out into the world. It sold well at 2 of the conventions I took it to this year. One gentleman who bought it at GenCon was so excited about it he read the first two entries in one sitting instead of waiting for the next day.

Game Nights:

The Pandemic Party we hosted was a success. It was much larger than the monthly game nights are moving along steadily. This is an area that needs some growth but is certainly not falling apart.

Future:

I am hoping to be at a lot more cons and events with Nerd Chapel in 2016. The monthly game nights will be continuing and I am looking into more cons to attend. Very little is set in stone so far, aside for a few game nights at All Shores Wesleyan Church.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The One Story Worth Spoiling!

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

Christmas is coming! Yep, just a few days away. Presents will be wrapped in nice paper only for the paper to be ripped apart. Many will attend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services. What is your families tradition? My brother and I are always busy on Christmas Eve. We run tech for our church's services which is a full day of work for us. 4 services in all. Christmas day is a day for resting and relaxing.

I was thinking this morning about spoilers. We have all been very concerned about spoilers for Star Wars, right? For me the movie was spoiled a little bit. A student in a class I was subbing for (last class of the day on Friday, mind you) ruined a detail for me. A rather important detail. There are certain things, such as movies, that we are careful not to divulge to much information about.

Bethlehem on the night of Jesus birth was not so worried about spoilers, though. The town was bustling with travelers for the census, shops, Roman guards, and more as a few shepherds walked around very excited telling everyone all the details about the biggest event in history: God had become man and was born in a stable.

Did you ever experience something and everyone you talked to wanted every detail? Maybe it was a trip you went on or a funny story about a goofy person in your life. Shepherds were not the most popular people in that day. It was a big deal for them to be the first to hear the news of the Messiah being born. They might not have been used to people wanting to know the details. Admittedly, I wonder if at some point in the night they felt like someone with a UFO story might feel. If someone just was not listening to them. But that is not what we are told by Luke. Luke 2:18 tells us all who heard it were amazed at what they were saying. This was a big deal. Angels and the Messiah in the tiny village of Bethlehem. That big news has changed the world more than any other story. More than Star Wars or even Romeo and Juliet.

Just so we are clear, the Christmas story is one you don't need to worry about spoiling. Tell as many people as many details as you can! Get the word out. Life has changed because God has come among us.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hook and Gray

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

Last night I watched a few shows with my Mom, including The Librarians and Once Upon a Time. Interestingly, both of these shows focused on darkness or sin in our lives in some form. Some spoilers ahead.

Found on the "Once Upon a Time" FB page.

In Once Upon a Time, we find a town panicking as multiple Dark Ones approach townspeople for what you might call tagging them. They are all given a mark targeting them to be pulled down into the Underworld. You see, the Dark Ones can only stay if they are replaced by someone in the Underworld. Somehow, Emma gets through to Killian, who is now one of the Dark Ones. He pulls all of the darkness, from all of them, into himself in an attempt to gather it into one place to be destroyed. I won't tell you here if it worked or not.

Found on "The Librarians" FB page.

We see a different take on sin in The Librarians. They come across a club where people are stricken with consequences of actions they did not commit or experience. A girl who is walking with her friends is thrown several yards and injured as if being hit by a car. A boy almost dies from a drug overdose without taking any drugs. As they investigate this club they meet Dorian Gray. Dorian has taken his ability to pass his consequences on to others and digitized it, using pictures taken of people in the club. He used his own vanity to gain immortality. This way he can live as long as he wants and do whatever he wants with no consequences. There were some other antics to enjoy in this episode, but I won't ruin them for you.

Darkness does exist in real life. You know that, right? We call it other things. We call it "mistakes" or "poor decisions" and once in a while we are honest and call it "sin". The good news for us is that we don't have to worry about beating the darkness. Jesus already did that.

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8
Jesus chose to be more like Killian (aka Captain Hook). He accepted a painful death on the cross. Killian deserved the punishment. He had spent years pirating and killing. Jesus had not. Jesus didn't kill anyone or steal from anyone. He chose to come to Earth, give us some instructions about love and respect and responsibility, and then he accepted death to take our spiritual consequences and give us what we don't deserve: access to God the Father and an infilling of the Holy Spirit.

God is not going to settle for us living a life of sin with no consequences. Jesus did not die to turn you into Dorian Gray, but to enable you to repent. Later in Romans, Paul says: 
"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning to increase grace? BY NO MEANS! We are those who have died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?" Romans 6:1,2
I do think there is a difference between spiritual consequences and natural consequences and I do think we still have to face the natural ones. The Book of James is quite honest about natural consequences of our actions. This repentance thing isn't easy, but reliance upon God helps a lot.

I encourage you to read all of Romans 5 and 6 as it pulls together our faith with Christ's work on the cross to show how we can receive cleansing from Him to live in righteousness.