Rewind Wednesday – Backpack Life

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Note: I think this is one of the first pieces I ever posted to JBG. Thought I’d share once again. – Bryan

Life is full of in-betweens, periods of time spent waiting, watching, and listening for the events that mark one transition to the next. We spend most of our lives in transit; out of our comfort zones, away from the stability that normalcy provides. I believe God uses these periods of change to remind us that there is a great need for Him.

Not knowing personal direction (job, relationship, etc.) keeps us, as humans, searching for solid ground. We find ourselves desiring black and white answers, all the while demanding that God illuminate our current life path. We are scared of the unknown; we find ourselves in need of our Creator.

In the transitory periods of life, the time spent living out of a backpack, we long for God the most. I know I do. The journey from childhood to adulthood is unmarked by any specific event. The world around might say having sex is the mark of an adult, while others might say voting in an election is. No specifics are given as to what qualifies as a transition, we live life without a hint book.

Perhaps one of the greatest errors society makes is the lack of specific transitory ceremonies. I can only imagine what such a ceremony would entail. A starry night comes to mind as a campfire burns in a forest. Communion with nature somehow mixed with pain. Pain always seems involved with transitions, whether they are physical or mental.

The notion that God is good becomes bedrock while searching because ultimately God is good. Stripped down of unneeded thought or theology, we can find ourselves resting on the firm foundation of God. Now I’ll be honest, God’s foundation is not always easy to find but is indeed there. I am not saying that God’s foundation moves but that there can be trouble areas in our lives that keep us from finding him. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I take comfort in God being good and Lord over all. During the times when you cannot fathom where life is leading, times which grip one in fear, remember the solid foundation that is Jesus Christ. Living out of a backpack isn’t all that bad when one knows that the journey has already been written and has an end. An end no movie sequel can hope to resurrect.

Radiance Game Dev Podcast Review

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Back in the beginning of January, my friend Josh set out with fellow adventurers and created the Radiance Podcast. The format of the podcast is simple:

  • Life check-in + a brief discussion on what games everyone has been playing
  • A featured guest interview that explores faith, life, and game development.
  • Last but not least, an exploration of the featured game of the week. The guys dissect design elements and seek out lessons Christian game developers can learn/apply.

The Good

Perhaps I am partial because Josh is my friend, but I think he does a great job keeping things on track and offers a unique perspective. In a sea of developers, he provides the listener with a lifeline into the world of design.

For their first test season, the Radiance Podcast has featured a solid line up of guests. I have appreciated hearing their individual life stories and different expressions of faith.

The Bad

The podcast is edited in a way that does not sound natural. Laughs are cut off, potential dead air space does not exist, etc. There is a feeling of heavy production and a lack of organic sound.

Personal Preference Alert! I wish the music/interlude music sounded more game-like and less stuffy/church-like.

The End

The meat of this podcast, the interviews with the developers, are where this show shines. If it were me, I would take out the beginning “what are you playing” segment and just dive on in. For example: The GameChurch Podcast does a fantastic job of focusing on the interview portion and less on the small talk.

Bottom Line: I think Radiance Podcast needs a second season to get comfortable and find the podcast groove. The audience is out there, Radiance Podcast just needs more time to find and connect with them.

As of now, Radiance Podcast has completed it’s first season. You can check them out on their website or on iTunes. Make sure to give them feedback either way. The second season of the show hangs in the balance based on feedback received.

Cultivate Your Thoughts

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Our reaction to change can either be positive or negative, depending on the mindset we choose to cultivate.

My church is in the midst of a building project that includes a brand new two-story children’s wing. Breaking ground this Spring, we have had to merge the nursery and children’s department together. This will allow us to demolish the current nursery and begin work on the new building. This is positive change.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to serve with the kids. During one of the lull periods, I found myself in a brief conversation with one of the volunteers.

“Those kids are so loud.” said the volunteer with disdain.

Now, I do not know this person at all, but I detected a consistent negative thread to our conversation. So, I changed the tone.

“Have you seen the new virtual tour video on the church website? I uploaded it yesterday.”

I went on to talk about how exciting it is that we are moving forward with the building project. I’m excited about where we are heading and I wanted to share that enthusiasm. Doing so ended our conversation on a positive note.

Funny how we get upset over temporary things and fail to look at the big picture. We can make the choice, with God’s strength, to view our current situations through a healthy lens. Yes, I’m preaching to myself.

2 Timothy 2:23-26

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Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. – 2 Timothy 23-26 (NIV) (Bolded emphasis, mine. Thought this went along with what I wrote yesterday.)

Abuse of Power

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For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

I think that Christians often follow parts of the above verse found in 2 Timothy. We read it as a green light to go forth and speak our minds with power–we will squash you fools!–. Our failure is that we do not live out the second part of the verse, the part that talks about acting with love and self-discipline. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, God gives us power that is only balanced with love and self-discipline. This means that we can be bold in talking about our faith with others as long as it is done through the lens of love and keeping ourselves in check, by the Spirit.

Not Alone

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For years I thought I was alone in writing about videogames from a Christian perspective. I was wrong. On January 23, 2013, Zachery Oliver contacted me. His initial correspondence sparked what has become a collaborative friendship. Zach and I have since launched Theology Gaming University (TGU). A Facebook group dedicated to open discussions on faith, life, and videogames.

I want to take a moment to invite you to join our growing community. Come ready to be challenged in your faith and your perspective on gaming. 2015 is going to be a great year for TGU, so come join us!

Jesus at the table

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My wife and I started reading Paul E. Miller’s A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World tonight. I wanted to share a quote from the book:

When Jesus describes the intimacy he wants with us, he talks about joining us for dinner. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20).

A praying life feels like our family mealtimes because prayer is all about relationship. It’s intimate and hints at eternity. We don’t think about communication or words but about whom we are talking with. Prayer is simply the medium through which we experience and connect with God.

I don’t think that I ever noticed the part of the verse that talks about Jesus eating with us. How cool! If you were to have dinner with him, what would you talk about? Your struggles, hopes, dreams? Miller says that prayer is supposed to be this way. Can’t wait to read more of the book. I’ll make sure to share as we progress.