Grand Con

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Galactus and Jesus

Greetings Warriors and Scholars

Found at marvel.com
Galactus. The name rings fear in trillions of minds throughout Marvel Comics. He is a planet eating giant who sends out a herald to find him planets to consume. When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first came up with him, they wanted an undefeatable villain for the Fantastic Four. At that time Stan would give Kirby a story and Kirby would draw it so Stan could then pen in the dialogue. For this character Stan had specific directions: "Make them fight God."

The Fantastic Four first meet the Silver Surfer, who was Galactus' herald at the time. Eventually, when Galactus gets to earth, they have no ability to stop him. Nothing they try works. They decide to get Silver Surfer on their side, but not even he is not capable of stopping Galactus. He has to reason with Galactus. Somehow, he does reason with him and Earth is saved, but not without a cost. The Surfer is banished to Earth, no longer a herald for the giant consumer of planets.

God really is more powerful than we can imagine. He created us. He created the universe itself and the tiniest atom in our cosmos. His words to Job:
"Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you will answer me. Where were you when I laid the Earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surly you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone--while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'?"  Job 38:3-11 NIV
Many people see God with a harsh tone. As if He is waiting to punish us or is always angry with us. But this same God that spoke to Job, who loves us immensely, does not come to consume our planet for energy. He is no villain. He doesn't come to steal, but to reason with us.
"Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." Isaiah 1:18 ESV
The NIV says "let us settle the matter." He does not come with fear and devouring as His goal, but with compassion and hope. When Jesus spoke, early on in His ministry, at a synagogue in Nazareth, he quoted Isaiah 61:
"The Spirit of the Lord has come on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Luke 4:18, 19/Isaiah 61:1,2
Jesus then said "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. (Luke 4:21)." Jesus then did just that. He healed the blind, the deaf, and the lame. He brought hope to all who would listen. He challenged the pharisees that were holding people in a rigged expectation filled with extra laws. He comes not as a conqueror but as a friend and healer.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Busy Times!

Greetings Scholars and Warriors!

This has been a crazy month! China was a great time. The ESL camp was very successful. This helps students practice their English which will help them in the future when they start looking for jobs and careers. I am working on a blog post for my church so you will get a more full report with that. Just watch the Nerd Chapel FB page for it. If you are interested in helping deal with poverty in China, go to www.projectpartner.org to learn more.

Also, Sunday morning I had the pleasure of attending Evanston Avenue Baptist Church in Muskegon, MI. I was blessed with speaking to a Sunday School class about using your passions missionally and bringing Christ to the community around you.

This fall I'll be attending 3 conventions.

In September Nerd Chapel will be doing a Sunday Morning service at GrandCon on Sept. 18. GrandCon is always a great weekend full of gaming. I'll be running games as well including: Pandemic, Commissioned, Monsterpocalypse and Mow Money.

In October I'll be attending Fantasticon in Fort Wayne, IN. I went to college in Fort Wayne and I am looking forward to setting up a table for Nerd Chapel and 42:Discovering Faith Through Fandom. In fact, I'll be setting up right next to Nathan Marchand's book table. This should be a fun time and I am excited to meet some more Fort Wayne folks.

November presents yet another convention. (Cue: Batman '66 musical theme) Nerd Chapel is excited to announce that we are joining up with Costumers for Christ at Chicagoland Pop Culture Con November 26-27. I have been in online contact with them for some time. You might remember that a few months ago I did a book review for Scott Bayles book "Holy Heroes". This will be our first time working together at a convention.

Is this a busy enough schedule? I do plan on attending Grand Rapids Comic Con but I will likely be just going as myself rather than as any formal focus.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Thief Practicing the Presence of God

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Lately I have found myself watching the El Rey network. I first took this station seriously when they had a weekend long marathon of Godzilla movies. They show Asian fighting movies every Thursday which I have only sparsely partaken of. Well, Monday evening they were showing Ladyhawke and I had not watched it for a while so I turned it on.

http://www.tor.com/2015/03/13/ladyhawke-revisionist-fairy-tale/
Philippe, played by Matthew Broderick, is a thief. He is called the Mouse and narrowly escapes a jail by fitting through a drain. While running he starts bragging at an inn and gets caught by the guards who were in disguise. A man rescues him who has a hawk on his arm. Later on that night, Philippe meets a woman who has a wolf for a friend. Can you guess where this is going?

What I found interesting about this was Philippe's prayer life. Have you heard of the idea of practicing the presence of God? Practicing the presence of God is about praying regularly but it is also about perceiving His presence at all times. Philippe is a pro at this. He often prays, One time trying to make a deal with God, another admitting he has just stolen again.

In the middle of all of this, he becomes a companion for the man and the woman. We see a big change in Philippe in the movie as he goes from thief to finding friends and learning to be part of a team. At one point he complains to God that he did not see any of this coming and yet later tells the man "I talk to God all the time yet He has never mentioned you."

1 Thessalonians tells us to "pray continually" but not all of God's directions or moments for us come with a big announcement from Him. Often the important ones are the opportunities you do not see coming. This happened for two disciples with Jesus Himself. They walked with Him along a road after He had resurrected but did not realize it was Him until the very moment he left them. That is what happened for Philippe. This whole situation changes him for the better. And through all of this change he continues to pray and practice the presence of God.

Hebrews tells us that some have entertained angels but the important thing is not the angels themselves, but that these people have built hospitality into their lives. One author defined hospitality as creating a safe space for people around you. I think that is how we get to practicing the Presence of God as well. We simply build an attitude of openness for Him to be present with us regularly. This is not an easy thing to do with the distractions that often come our way; but it is not impossible.