Grand Con

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Asgard and the Holy Spirit

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

I have been watching Stargate SG-1 with my Mom lately. We just started season 3. Now you might remember in Season 2 there was an episode where Col. O'Neill interacted with a "headsucker". From this interaction, a large cache of data was downloaded into his head. He started speaking in Ancient rather than English and it was to much for his head. He would do things he didn't understand and it was overwriting his brain to the point that the doctor feared for his life.

Eventually he used the information in there to create a device that enabled a one-time trip through the stargate to an Asgard planet in another galaxy. The Asgard realized his situation and downloaded the info from his head so it would not endanger his life. In his conversation with them, he learned they had studied Earth and humans. "What did you learn?" he asked. "You have great potential." Eventually, the Asgard, especially Thor, begin a relationship with Earth, and specifically the SGC, that assists and even trains SG-1 and others. We even see an Asgard named Hermiod working on the Tau'ri vessel known as the Daedalus in Stargate Atlantis.

Jesus knew we had great potential. He spent years teaching thousands and even mentoring 12 men. But He wasn't done there. He promised a helper. A comforter. Enter the Holy Spirit.
"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you." John 14:26
Now, the Holy Spirit had been working before this. He had been with various prophets and kings of Israel, such as David and Jeremiah. But this was different. Eventually he came on a day known as Pentecost. This was about 50 days after the Resurrection. If you read through Acts you will find many instances and anecdotes where the Holy Spirit gives guidance and brings hope and healing. But He also oversaw the writing of Scripture, including both Old and New Testaments.

But The Holy Spirit did not stop there. He is available for you and me. When we need wisdom and help dealing with sin. When we don't know what to choose. Listening to him is not something that comes easily for everyone. Just like any other relationship or skill it takes time and development. But Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the Father are available. However: you have to respond.  Here are a few helpful hints:

Don't expect every leading to be comfortable. He will ask you for things outside of your comfort zone. Deal with it.

Recognize that Prayer is a time to listen as well as talk. Often He will prompt you with an idea during prayer. Prayer is more than reciting a list of wants and needs. It is a conversation between you and God.

Expect the Unexpected. I remember watching The Amazing Spiderman 2 in the theater. The end, where a kid steps up in a Spidey costume right before Spiderman arrives, was a teachable moment between me and the Holy Spirit. "See that, when you step out in my name, I'll move." He might speak in other ways as well. It might be through a song or when you are walking your dog.



Thursday, March 30, 2017

Be a Hero or Take it Easy

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/teri-hatcher-and-kevin-sorbo-lend-90s-flair-superg-252427
Today my Mom and I caught up a little bit on Supergirl by watching last weeks episode (along with the musical crossover on Flash after that). Spoilers ahead!

In last week's episode, "Star Crossed" (yes we get the hint CW), Supergirl found out Mon-El was not just a resident or citezen of Daxam, but a prince of the planet. He had lied to her. In their discussion about this, she tells him:
"You just want things to be easy, Mon-El, but being a hero and falling in love, those are not easy things. They're hard, and they're messy, and they hurt sometimes."
She is so right. Jesus Himself warned people who wanted to follow Him that it was not easy. In Luke 9 a man comes and asks to follow Jesus, but Jesus has a warning: Foxes have dens, birds have nests, but the Son of Man (Jesus) has no place to lay his head. Jesus did not have a home. He never owned a house and He was often surrounded by crowds for a variety of reasons, which included such desires as being healed by Him and desires to trick or even kill Him.

Another time Jesus tells us that if we want to follow Him we must take up our crosses and follow Him. Now, a cross is not a fun device. It is a torturous device of death. He was telling us we would have to die to our own desires. This was repeated by Paul in Romans 12 when he tells us that we should be "living sacrifices" to God.

Later on that episode, Mon-El chose not to go with his parents. He told them to leave without him because Supergirl had changed him. He didn't like who he was before he had met her and he didn't want to take the easy way out. I had mixed feelings about this. I think it showed some growth on his part and maybe he still needs help growing, but I kind of wanted to see him go back to Daxam and change the culture there.

So the question for each of us is this...what do we need to give up for God? Is it a selfish desire? Is it a sin? Sometimes God even asks us to give up good things for Him. Not because they are bad but so that our priorities are focused on Him alone. He might give that back at a later point and He might not. As Job says, "He gives and takes away"(Job 1:21).

Following Jesus is not an easy task, but it is good. It is messy and sometimes it hurts, but it is good.

Hey, please go to this link here and donate to my campaign for going to the Christian Game Developers Conference. I'll be doing prayer appointments and using my teaching gift through the weekend.
 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

K'un-Lun or the World?

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

Found on IMDB.
Have you watched Iron Fist? I have. I do not feel that it deserves all the hate against it.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

Some of it I understand, but I think it was well done and I enjoyed the show very much. The show looks at many issues, including the 1 Percent controlling resources, drug addiction, and even PTSD.

In the middle of the season, Iron Fist (aka Danny) gets a visit from his friend, Davos, who came from Kun Lun to find him. His friend is angry that he left K'un-Lun unguarded but is also angry about something else: that Danny got up and left in the middle of the night without saying goodbye. Davos urges Iron Fist to come back to K'un-Lun an protect it as is normally the role of the Iron Fist. But Danny won't budge. He knows he has a role in NYC that needs to be fulfilled. Davos felt that the world was not worth fighting for. It was lost and they should not even try to save it.

In this we find a significant issue arising: that of removing oneself form the world, or being in it yet different. This is a debate that has gone on in the Christian community for a long time. In fact, there was a Jewish sect called the Essenes in the days that Jesus was doing His ministry that pulled away to a walled community top a hill and stayed there. Over the years there have been many "Orders" and monks that have build monasteries in rural places to get away from society.

Both sides have times when they get mad at each other. One side might accuse the other of being to worldly and not committed to relationship with Christ enough. On the other hand, the opposite side might accuse the monks/recluses of hiding away and not helping the world with problems and issues.

In reality there are certain uses for both if they are held in the correct tension. Jesus Himself moved in between both quite regularly. He often withdrew to lonely places for time alone with the Father and even spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting right before starting ministry. Yet he also spent time with people that the religious leaders would never hang out with. Tax collectors, "sinners", etc.

Keeping that tension involves a few things:

1. Keeping focused on Jesus and not on sin.

2. Working to help people around us and be a good influence.

3. Connecting with people who think differently than we do.

4. Time in prayer and Bible study alone and in groups.

I admit I have not been perfect at any of these three things. In all of them I have had times when I did well and times when I did poorly. Yet striving for a good flow of all this is important.

Considering what we found out at the end of the season, I think we shall see Danny having a hard time figuring all this out in the future. I think even in The Defenders we will see him dealing with this issue more.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Thank you Toledo!

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!



Toledo was a great success. I met a lot of great people at Fantasticon. My interactions included an adult who came with teens he had met at church. We talked about his concerns with violent movies. A man who grew up Catholic but no longer identifies as a Christian. We talked about a lot of religious topics. He left saying a traditional blessing to me. A group of high schoolers who run a D&D campaign with a mix of religions who have received a lot of flack from members of their church. They were excited to find a Christian nerd out there publicly. A woman who called herself a witch. We talked a little and she thumbed through the devotional and walked away. On one side I had an author who has written a few books a comic (Cutthroat Comics). On the other side a guy who makes custom funko pops for people (Somehow I don't have a name for him or a card).

Many people bought copies of 42:Discovering Faith through Fandom. Some flipped through it and moved on.

One of the more confusing things I had was this. I saw about 4 or 5 people who had Christian shirts or shirts related to Christian schools on. Most of them didn't even look at my table. 1 of them was one of the high schoolers mentioned above. He was quick to buy a copy of 42. Don't worry, I'm not freaking out about this, but it was annoying. Whenever you have a table at a con there are those who just look past your table like it isn't there, even if you say "hi" to them. It happens, but when they have a shirt for something you both agree with it is extra annoying. Sometimes they were so inattentive that I knew if I tried to say something about their shirt it they would not even hear me.

Overall, this was a great weekend. Here are a few pics.




Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Statewide Teen Success

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

I kept hearing "Moisterize me!" all weekend long. I wonder why?
This past weekend was amazing. I went to serve in ministry at the Michigan Statewide Teen Convention. They chose Nerd Chapel for their ministry focus for this year. This is a convention I have been serving at as a lighting tech for a few years now and I basically wore two hats. Focusing on both was a little difficult, but it was fun and a great challenge.

I got to share a small amount of what Nerd Chapel is all about in one of the main sessions. They also took up an offering to bless us with finances toward convention ministries. Along with this I taught a workshop (or Calibrate as they call them at Statewide) about using your passions missionally and also brought games for the fun time Saturday night.

The weekend was all about the "Tension" of conviction and grace. A pastor from Ohio challenged us about it in all four main sessions.

I got to speak a lot of people, many of which had never thought about ministry in the nerd realm. Some were nerds who were excited to find a ministry focused on them. Others were adults who were seeing this reach kids in unexpected ways.




If you would like me to come help with an event at your church or a youth event of some kind, message me on Facebook and we'll see what we can do, esp. if you can cover transportation expenses.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Nightmare Redemption

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

Found on the G.I. Joe Wiki.
Lately I have been watching G.I. Joe. A channel we have is airing episodes at 5:30 am. No, I am not getting up that early because we can record it.

Today I watched the episode "Nightmare Assault" (Season 4, Ep. 24). In this episode Cobra has developed a machine that will let them affect the dreams of G.I. Joe. In this episode we learn that Low Light regularly has nightmares. Many members of the team keep suffering from these experiences, including General Hawk, Lifeline, Iceberg, and others. they eventually have Low Light fight the battle for them. At one point Dr. Mindbender is even connecting to the machine to affect their dreams, but this is not enough.

Low Light managed this because he learned to deal with the situation. Having experienced many nightmares, mostly from his Father being very hard on him, he eventually learned how to control his reaction within the dream and even the dream itself. This allowed him to come in and face the Cobra created phenomenon head on. As they linked up with machines for one dream experience he alone saved the day.

Paul discusses difficulties in 2 Cor. 4.
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; stuck down, but not destroyed. We always carry with around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body....Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." 
Low Light was in the rare position of being able to use what he had learned to bring comfort and even rescue to others. But he had to go through difficulty to get there. He had to be hard pressed and struck down and abandoned to bring that hope to others.

This even played out in Jesus life. Rejection was a significant part of the plan for salvation. Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leadership; by the humans he came to save. He could have called down countless angels to get Him out of the crucifixion, but that would not have brought salvation to us. More than that, He even felt rejection by God. He cried out "My God, my God, why have you foresaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). Then, the Father raised him from the dead to be the firstborn of the Kingdom of God (see Colossians 1:15-23).

If you are hard pressed or abandoned or perplexed, remember you are not alone. Look for Jesus and how He wants to intervene and walk with you in this. Look for others He has brought into your life to walk with you. Then, when you are through it, look to help others. Show them what Jesus has done for you or simply be present with them as they experience pain and sorrow.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Best Laid Time Travel Plans

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

Found on the IMDB page.
Have you been watching Timeless? I have. At first I felt like it was a little bit predictable and sometimes it is, but the quality of acting and intriguing portrayals of historical figures with the mystery of Rittenhouse have kept me watching. Most sci-fi shows nowadays are very dark, apparently since BSG was rebooted the networks think everything has to be dark. It is refreshing to see a lighter science fiction show with nuance that recognizes dark situations.

So essentially in Timeless we have a team of 3 people trying to stop another team from changing time. One team takes the stolen "Mothership" back in time and the other team, at the actual HQ, sees where it has gone and takes the "Lifeboat" back to keep the timeline from being altered and/or stop the thieves.

Spoilers Ahead.

Last night's episode was a little different. Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) went back to change time instead of protect it. Wyatt's wife was killed before he had been pulled into the program and he wanted to make sure the man who did that never existed. When they got back, they found out it had not worked. The man did not exist, but his wife had still been killed.
"We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall."                    Prov. 16:33 NLT
The reality is we can not fix everything ourselves. We have tried for years to fix things. The problem is we are a sinful race.
"Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil." James 4:13-16, NIV
Wyatt thought he knew what would happen when he got back. He thought he would go back to his find his wife there to welcome him. It did not work. Maybe the man who said he had killed her lied, or maybe Rittenhouse had been behind the murder somehow even from the start. His idea, which had even lead to a man's death as well as erasing one man from history, simply did not work.

But if you notice we are not told to never have any plans or that our ideas or points are useless. "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." We are supposed to be part of the solution. In fact James goes on to say that failing to do something we know we should do is sin. The question is more of an issue of whether we are cooperating with God and trusting Him or if we are trying to fix it on our own.

We might yet see Lucy get her sister back and Wyatt get his wife back. Or they might find that tampering with time is never going to work. But what about your life? Have you been seeking God's direction? Are you cooperating with Him? Why would you want to do it on your own and without Him?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Events of Feb./March 2017

Greetings Scholars and Warriors.

Here is a list of events Nerd Chapel will be at over the next 2 months.

I'll have a table at all of these events.

February 4: Byron Center Rec Comic Con https://www.facebook.com/events/228038290910925/

March 3-5: Michigan Statewide Teen Convention http://mistatewide.org/
Of these events, this is the only one that will use my public speaking skills. I'll be sharing at one of the main sessions and possibly leading a workshop.

March 11-12: Fantasticon Toledo http://www.fantasticon.net/

March 18: Muskecon https://www.facebook.com/events/1102894249776217/


Monday, January 9, 2017

Foggy and Fakery

Greetings Warriors and Scholars!

Found through google/tumbler:
https://www.tumblr.com/search/foggy%20please
On my long quest of collecting and reading old issues of Marvel Comics. I have been reading issue 2 of Daredevil Marvel Masterworks which includes Daredevil 18 and 19. Foggy Nelson trying once again to impress Karen. His idea? Pretend to be Daredevil. Ok, so it was actually the idea of the guy at the costume shop who wanted to fight and kill superheroes to prove that he was the best costume maker (call him "Gladiator"). Foggy was just gonna have the costume around for her to find. DD had been noticing what was going on, of course. He was following Foggy when it all went down and managed to fight the villain and protect Karen. Of course, then the news somehow got wind that Foggy was DD and it got a whole lot more dangerous.

We all know that lying is a sin. It is condemned in the Ten Commandments as well as in Proverbs. But this was a particular kind of lying. This was putting on a show to impress people. He was being fake. By doing this he put both himself and others in danger. For most of us our fakeness will not get us in deadly situations. We won't be hunted down by someone who thinks we are another person to try and kill us. But, it still affects our friendships. It keeps us from getting to know others and them from getting to know us. The false pretenses it leads to will ultimately damage your relationships.

Why do we ever be "fake"? Quite simply, we like the attention. A pat on the back, laughter at jokes, smiles, hugs and of course invitations to events or dates. These all come with high emotions. But do these fulfill us? In most cases these are good things. They can all be forms of encouragement but they will not be the real fulfillment of any soul. That comes from Jesus, who was not afraid to say things that others did not want to hear, who has never pretended he was someone he isn't.

You are enough yourself. The only good kind of change is one that draws you closer to Jesus and is done for character growth and obedience to His calling. You do not have to pretend to be someone you are not. Look, we all have sinned. We have all had moments where we chose something wrong whether it was some form of sexual sin or lying or hatred. Also, we have all had silly moments where we did something socially awkward. You are not alone in that.

If you want to change, make it a healthy change. You do not have to agree with sin or do make up a story for attention. Especially the attention that is not in line with what God has for you. If you don't know what God has for you, start with scripture. Ask a friend for help. Just don't put on a show to get attention for the wrong act or to try and feel better. Foggy came clean at one point and you know what? Neither Matt Murdock nor Karen were all that mad at him. They just wanted to have the real Foggy safe.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Begins

Greetings Warriors and Scholars.

Today I want to look at the coming year. I am excited for a few things happening. Some are ministry details and some are just fun nerdy things. We'll look at fun stuff first.

As we continue what seems to be the "Decade of the Nerd" we have so many things happening on screen this year! I am not doing a "top 3" or anything like that because there is so much happening. The last season of Grimm starts this coming Friday along with a new, darker screen adaptation of The Wizard of Oz called Emerald City. I am very interested in how NBC's Friday night lineup these next couple of months will do. That will add to the shows I already keep tabs on (no, I am not going to list all of them). We also have Iron Fist and the Defenders coming for the Netflix MCU and 3 MCU movies this year! Also, we have Skull Island, both Wonder Woman and Justice League, Star Wars Episode 8, etc.

Boardgames? Well, I am not sure what games are coming out this year beyond the 2 I have coming from kickstarters. Unreal Estate is a card game about building a fantasy style city and Zephyr:Winds of Change is a cooperative game where you have a skyship that you take on missions. Honestly, I have not caught up with 2016 yet as I still have yet to play Scythe, Terraforming Mars, or Seafall. Gaming wise I am just excited to get back to Gen Con this year. I had to miss last year so I really don't want to miss this year!

In March I will be at a Christian youth convention called "Michigan Statewide Teen Convention" in Kalamazoo, MI. This will be my first time taking Nerd Chapel and 42:Discovering Faith through Fandom to a youth convention. It came about because I have been volunteering at this convention as a lighting tech for the main sessions for a few years now and they were interested in bringing a locally based non-traditional ministry to show students that ministry doesn't always mean working at a church full time.

I will also be at the Byron Rec Center Comic Con and Muskecon. These are both 1 day shows within driving distance of where I live that I'll have tables at. I do not have complete details on what shows I'll be returning to this year for Nerd Chapel. GrandCon is always a sound bet for me for a service. I expect to go back to Jafax, Midwest Media Expo with services and Fantasticon Fort Wayne with a table as well but we shall see what transpires.

Yes, I am going to be working on a sequal to 42. We have a direction to go in but we have not started the full writing process quite yet (although that will be soon).