Hot Springs, Guitars Have Souls, and the Prius

A few weeks ago, my brother Mike called asking a question:

“Do you want my Toyota Prius?”

His initial question led to my family driving to Hot Springs, Arkansas the following weekend. Which is the halfway point between Longview, Texas and Norfork, Arkansas.

We got lunch and then spent the afternoon walking into various stores. Did I mention it was hot? No? It was.

As we were sitting around a table, in the Arlington Hotel’s lobby, cooling off, Wyatt told Mike that he was looking to buy his first electric guitar. According to my brother, guitars have souls. Each guitar speaks to you in different ways. So you have to play different guitars until you find one that speaks to you. Wise advice.

Ended the day by driving back to where we had parked the Prius. Mike went over how to:

  • Start the car
  • Put it into park

He signed the car away, handed me the keys, and I hugged him goodbye. Wishing him the best with his move from Arkansas to Florida. And then my family and I drove home.

In the time since then, I’ve registered the car in the State of Texas. It’s now a Texas Hall Family Vehicle. I have also sold my Honda that I had driven for at last eighteen years. Goodbye sweet friend.

With the money from the sale of my car, Tab and I were able to make the final payment on her car.

The end result is how good God is. He knew what we needed (I’ve needed a car with AC) and when we needed it. I didn’t realize, deep down, how ready I was for a newer vehicle until now.

Good luck in Florida, Mike. Thank you for allowing yourself to be used to bless another.

I love my car.

Mr. Bryan

Here in East Texas, we teach our children to call adults “Mr. Steve” or “Mrs. Janet”. For some reason, the title of Mr. or Mrs. before the first name conveys respect. (I should note that usually its the title plus the last name.) There are even adults at church that I call Mrs. Renee or Mr. Richard because I can’t imagine calling them by their first names. They are older than me and have surely earned their respectful title.

Over the weekend, I had the chance to journey to Stephenville, Texas to attend a sister-in-laws college graduation. It was hot! My brother-in-laws brother-in-law asked me a question, “Mr. Bryan…”. I was thinking in my head, “Why are you calling me that? I’m not that old.” But then it dawned on me, I am definitely older than him.

I think it is funny how we can be a certain age (in my case, 41) and still feel much younger (I feel somewhere in my 30’s). I feel no different than I did in the past. And yet, I can remember when my dad was in his 40’s as well.

I’m finding as I get older, I feel more like I don’t have life figured out. And I think the key is learning to be okay with that.

Red Flags, Video Games, and the Gospel

For years, with a handful of people, I helped run a successful Christian video game group on Facebook. I learned several things through that time (these two things being a primary standout):

  • Be careful who you partner with. Make sure that they have the same vision, work ethic, goals, etc.
  • When games become more important than the Gospel, something is wrong.

Our group was a place where struggling Christians/non-Christians could ask, “Can I play video games at all?” Or even, “Can I play such-n-such game?”

And to answer the questions above real quick:

  • Yes, Christians can play video games. Welcome to the party! If you think the answer is no though, there are tons of other hobbies available.
  • First, are you old enough? What are your parents telling you? If you are older, what about the game gives you pause? Is it because you don’t normally play in Hell with a zombie sawblade of doom? Joking aside, figure out why the game gives you pause. If it’s related to a sin that you are struggling with, don’t play it. Simple as that.

The danger is that it went from asking questions to more of a whispered, “You should play this because there are tons of other Christians, in this group, that have played it”. Forget Jesus. Any sort of conviction. Forget that sin you struggle with that this game will ultimately amplify. Just do it. It will be fun.

Yes, you can use video games to reach those who haven’t heard the Gospel. It is when the Gospel, the Good News, begins to be replaced with more of your particular hobby than Christ that the red flags go up.

The Great Hunt: Book 2 of the Wheel of Time – A Quick Review

I finished The Great Hunt: Book 2 of the Wheel of Time this morning.

I liked it.

Robert Jordan, the book’s author, is one of those authors where a bunch of “whatever stuff” plays out over the first four hundred and twenty pages of the book. The last forty pages however, stuff is going down! (I will note that the same thing happened with the first book in the series.)

  • Magic users walking around on leashes held by other magic users (WHAT THE HECK!) – CHECK
  • Friends revealing themselves as darkfriends – CHECK
  • Rand al’Thor battling with the Dark Lord himself – CHECK
  • Rand al’Thor not really defeating said Dark Lord (there are 12 more books) – CHECK
  • Swept up in Robert Jordan’s narrative of the ages and time – CHECK

The Great Hunt improves upon the foundation laid in The Eye of the World in almost every way. Although the reader might know where this particular leg of the journey ends (the book tells you… multiple times), the way the story plays out and its conclusion will keep the reader guessing.

I enjoyed my experience with The Great Hunt. I’m going to take a breather, read some shorter books, before diving into the next book.