From Across the Net: “Will the Church Value Video Games in 2017?”

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Over at Christ and Pop Culture, Steven Miller writes:

One interesting complaint, however, was that the game withholds some power from the player. The Last Guardian revolves around a relationship between young boy and a giant bird-dog creature. The player controls the boy—the bird-dog is controlled by AI…an AI which acts remarkably like a finicky pet would. Both parts are necessary to solve many of the puzzles. If the player, as the boy, has solved how to get from point A to point B, but the bird-dog is busy munching on a snack or laying in the sunlight, the boy is stuck. This is, from the point of the typical reviewer, “bad game design”: the game withholds rewards from the player arbitrarily.

Please make sure to keep going with this piece. I love his thoughts on patience.

How many kids do you have?

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Walking from small group to the worship service on Sunday, I bumped into a fellow church member. We somehow got onto the topic of kids.
 
“So how many kids do you have?”
 
“One.”
 
“One for now, huh?”
 
“Yeah. One for now. We’ve been trying for the past five years though.”
 
“Well, you could have a surprise later in life, like your mother and father-in-law did.”
 
I am learning to be honest during simple conversations like these. Not to garner sympathy or even empathy but in an attempt to talk about the path God has my wife and I on. 
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The feelings that infertility brings out feel selfish at times. Even gross. I’m learning to communicate those thoughts and feelings out loud. Even if only with my wife.
 
Staying silent is frustrating.
 
Staying silent kills.

Surf Report – Winds of Change – 7/25/16

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Surf Report

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God / Life :

My brother-in-law gave me a devotional book for my birthday (Thanks, J!). Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional has been kicking my butt.

“At the end of the service where I announced my resignation, the oldest man in our congregation waited on the porch of the church for me. We were the last two to leave. He came up to me and asked if he could speak to me, then said: “We know you’re discouraged and we know you’re a bit immature, but we haven’t asked you to leave. Where is the church going to get mature pastors if the immature ones leave?””

Things have been hard at church lately. Winds of change. God has been reminding me to hold back and pray. I think we, as human beings, often run from the maturing process. Scrambling to find the ejection seat. Failing to remember what happened to Goose.

.: Gaming :

Wyatt and I played the LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens demo. Small smart mechanical changes aside, a LEGO game is a LEGO game.

That is it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

Tried something different for my men’s group this week

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Our night began with a simple question: What do you think of when I say the word Church?

One of the guys responded, “I think of what the church could/should be versus what it is not.” Reminded me of Saint Augustine’s The City of God. My men’s group is full of deep thinkers.

We talked about how messy the church can be. How Christians can unintentionally hurt one another without knowing it.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 was our main point of discussion. The verses talk about how the church is made up of one body with many different talents/skills.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Corinthians 12:26

Ephesians 4:1-16 were our follow up verses:

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. – Ephesians 4:15-16

One Body. Many Members. 

I brought my PS4 to church. Hooked it up to a projector with a large screen in our room. It was time to game.

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Thomas Was Alone was the first game I brought out. We played a bit of Claire’s story. Noting that like the Body of Christ, Claire needed the other characters to progress through the levels. 10 minutes with Thomas seemed like enough. What I really wanted to show the group was Broforce.

“This is like Contra!”

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Broforce was the hit of the night. I was blown away by the video game skills my guys have. Had fun laughing over the insane player deaths and cartoony gore. The best part though was watching my guys work together through a level, helping each other, just like the Body of Christ.

On the Verge of Fear

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There is a fine balance between acting in a responsible manner versus reacting in fear. The church has a responsibility to ensure that all are safe that walk through it’s doors.

The responsible church has plans for inclement weather. Plans to guard against predators who prey on children.

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. – Matthew 10:16 (ESV)

What happens when the church falters from responsibility into fear? I have been wrestling with this question. Wisdom and innocence alight in a dance. Chuck Norris hired to defend the front door.

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War, Projects, and Escape

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Saturday

A gang of birds nested underneath my patio, uninvited. They pooped on anything they could poop on. Tabitha and I declared war this weekend. Sealing up any space that provided refuge to these tiny feathered terrors.

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Job complete, we claimed victory. But we soon found that our invaders have no plans to leave. They have roosted themselves on the support beams. Beady-eyed hatred in their perched gaze. The rain of fecal matter has returned with gusto.

I know that we’ll win in the end. The big guns are about to come out… whatever “big guns” are.

Spent the rest of Saturday working on a smaller project that morphed into a larger project. One could say that I made things brighter in our front bathroom; one could also say that I installed a light.

Sunday AM

Taught Ecclesiastes 8 in small group. Camped out on verses 12-13:

12 Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. 13 Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.

The keywords of “fear God” and “reverence” led us to Psalm 128:1

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.

We then applied fear with obedience and looked at 1 Kings 11:1-13. At this point in the story, Solomon has intermarried to the tune of seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. He has gone against what God has told him. Showing neither fear, reverence, nor obedience to Him. We talked about how God is a God of justice. How Solomon’s disobedience carried consequences. This discussion paralleled the last half of Ecclesiastes 8, where Solomon comments on justice. We noted that justice does not always occur in our time frame, but God will exact justice in His time.

Sunday PM

Fired up the Honda and cruised to The Caldwell Zoo.

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Enjoyed the cool breeze, walking around the zoo, and just chilling out.

Great weekend.

Feel Stuck Volunteering In The Church? Stop.

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Sunday mornings you get dressed, eat breakfast, and then head out the door to church. Upon arriving, you check your children into their designated areas. Ah, free childcare!

Navigating halls filled with the smell of fresh brewed coffee, you make your way to your small group. Greet friends. Swap stories. Enjoy a quick Bible lesson before heading off to the main service.

Everyone wants to be served and no one wants to serve. This model of the Body of Christ is broken. Prone to burning out volunteers who become stuck in their volunteer roles, for years. No escape. No growth. All due to someone else not heeding the call, that slight Spirit tug, to be the hands and feet of Christ to the church.

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Dejected and depressed, these burned-out volunteers fuel our churches. Under the impression that if they do not serve, no one else will. This is a lie.

God calls every Christian to serve in various areas for a season. Seasons change, just look outside the window. The Bible talks about there being an occasion for everything (read Ecclesiastes 3).

I want to challenge those that feel stuck volunteering in the church to stop. Take a step back. Examine where you are on your faith journey, where God is calling you. The Body of Christ cannot function in selfishness. Give another brother or sister in Christ a chance to serve His people. Allow God to help them grow through service; Allow God to help you grow in freedom.