Grand Con

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Nerd Chapel at Alma Con 2016

Greetings Scholars and Warriors!

I am excited to announce that Nerd Chapel will be attending a new (for us) con this February. We will be at Alma Con at Alma College in Alma, MI. Yes, that was a little repetitive. They must really like the name, "Alma".

We'll have a booth in the artist/vending area and we'll be planning a Sunday morning service for the con as well! The message will be connecting Cosplay with Paul's discussion of putting on the "New Self" in Ephesians 4.

Also, my co-author for 42:Discovering Faith Through Fandom, Mr. Nathan Marchand, will be hanging out at our booth that weekend.

I'll be cosplaying on Sunday as Obi-Wan Kenobi and on Saturday I'm gonna have my Martian Manhunter cosplay for at least part of the day. Hopefully by then I'll have the red eyes going.

Please stop by and say "hi". Keep tuned to the Nerd Chapel FB page for more info.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Let's Go to China!

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

This summer I'm going to China. This will be my third time there and there. Essentially this is an English camp. We'll partner with a Chinese team to use drama, games and music to teach English to kids of a variety of ages from elementary ages up through high school and possibly college as well.

Here are my reasons for going:

1. The people are fun, inventive, and engaging. I always come back with new friends.

2. I firmly believe in the work of Project Partner. They do a great job of acting as a support for Chinese who are trying to build up their own nation.

3. It is always an adventure.

Here is a video about the trip. The audio is a little low on the video itself but it doe suffice.

There is still space to join the team. The trip is July 28- Aug. 7. If you are interested in joining please visit these websites, the top one is for the organization but the bottom one is for applying to be on the trip.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Character Study: Rey from The Force Awakens

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

How are you today? Well, by now you have probably seen "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens". I've seen 3 times so far with different people. I am still waiting to work out a time for my Mom and I to go see it. Warning, spoilers ahead.

Found at

Today I want you to consider Rey. Daisy Ridley has certianly gripped our hearts with her stellar performance of this new character. What can we, as Christians, learn from her story? We find her living a rather difficult lifestyle. Collecting parts from old Imperial ships that were destroyed in some sort of battle years before this to get food from a very untrustworthy fellow. I almost feel like she is a slave.

Jesus once told a story about a good Samaritan who helps an injured Jew that was ignored by religious people, who seemed to have authority, passing by him.  We soon learn that Daisy has the heart of a good Samaritan. She hears the whistles of droid BB8 when another scavenger is trying to take him for parts. Not only does she help him there, but she reluctantly agrees to take him with her for a while and moves on to get him back to the Resistance.

Her experience in the inn run by Mas is quite interesting. She has a vision showing herself on Jakku as a little girl being left behind by someone and sees many other things. Her dream points to quite a legacy and a future, but she is terrified by it. All she wants to do is run back to Jakku as she is convinced her family will come back there for her.

Thus, we have one of the most teachable moments in the film. Mas comes to speak with her. "You won't find fulfillment in the past anymore. Your family is not coming back there and you know it." This moment is about holding on to what is behind us. A similar moment is mentioned in the first verse of the song "Beyond Belief" by Petra:

We're content to pitch our tent when the glory's evident
Seldom do we know the glory came and went
Moving can seem dangerous in this stranger's pilgrimage
We have a choice to move or not. If we move, the adventure might be larger than we can possibly imagine. If we stay, it is nice and comfy. Unfortunately, Rey did not get to choose, not at that time. She was captured but that led to it's own moments.

Kylo Ren was interrogating her. He even showed her his face. But, she was much stronger in the Force than many people he had used it on and he did not get much out of her. This was our first notion that she has the Force, aside from the vision. This is the first time she really uses it.

Then she showed more Force ability. She escaped using a Jedi mind trick on none other than James Bond. Yes, that was Daniel Craig in Stormtrooper armor, one of many cameos in the film. Oh, and this troopers designation was JB-007, but back to our story. She reconnects with our heroes and soon ends up meeting Kylo Ren again.

I found it interesting what happens as she fights him in a lightsaber duel. He offers to train her in the Force and then she looks surprised. She had not even realized what she was doing this whole time. Back when she had talked with Mas, she had been told to be calm and open herself up to the Force. This is exactly what she does. She closes her eyes and briefly calms herself...and then she comes back with all the power of the Force. The rest of the fight is amazing, wasn't it? What she could do when she knew it was the Force she was using was spectacular.

Just like the Force, God has given us an amazing gift. His Holy Spirit. That comes with a vast array of powers and abilities. Just read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. Jesus Himself said we who follow Him would do more amazing things than He did (John 14:12).

Rey does choose to go on to amazing things. In fact, she goes on the mission to find Luke Skywalker. We do not yet know what she will learn from him, but think about finding a man you once thought was a myth, a story. How would that feel? Maybe you feel like Jesus is a myth. Many people think that way. In my experience He is real, powerful, loving and trustworthy. He'll do what is right by you, but not necessarily what you want. Will you go beyond belief?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Aligning Hearts

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Today I want to share with you something about my prayers of late. One thing I have been praying about Nerd Chapel for a while now is that God would align my heart with His heart. My reason was that it is so easy when you step out in ministry to focus on what you want or what you feel comfortable doing and I felt that doing so would help keep me straight and focused on God's direction instead of on my desires.

As of late I have been praying this over myself more generally. I think this is going to be something for my 2016. I am not sure this is a "safe" prayer, but why do we pray safe prayers? What benefit is there in that? Do we grow from safe prayers? Do we benefit from them?

King David did a lot of amazing things. He fought bravely for God against the warrior Goliath and in many other battles. He wrote many songs of praise that we still use today for the worship and adoration of God. He built up the nation of Israel and expanded its boarders significantly.

Yet he also failed. Israel had been warned that a king should not have many wives and he had several. One of these relationships began as an illicit affair with a married woman. He then tried to cover it up with murder by sending her husband to the front lines of a battle.

In all of this David was called "a man after God's own heart" in 1 Samuel 13:14. Why? Well, one example of this came after the great sin he committed. A prophet named Nathan came to confront him about it. He told a story about a man with many sheep taking the only sheep of another man for a feast. David was outraged at the man doing this and Nathan said "YOU are that king". David immediately saw his own sin and repented.

Essentially, David course corrected to align his heart with God's heart. There were still some consequences for David's sin and actions. But God did forgive him. I have to wonder...what if David had stopped earlier to align his heart with God's heart? How would things have been different? Would David and Bathsheba been spared many problems if he had kept his heart aligned with God and chosen not to pursue her? We will never know the answer, but I think things would have been very different.