Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Real Story

Maybe it happened in a comic book. Maybe a TV series. Maybe even within a movie. You find a character you like, someone you identify with. You get to know how they work. Then, suddenly, they say a particular line or make a particular choice, and it just feels wrong. They would never do that, you think. You can tell the writer forced the moment in for convenience, or because they were pressured into it. It just doesn’t work.

I think God has similar moments with us.

You may not believe this, but God has a story in mind for each of us. We’re all hand-crafted, made for a specific purpose. And God cares very much about us fulfilling that purpose.

When we depart from that purpose, it can cause a lot of angst. It can feel like that out-of-character moment in fiction — except we’re living it out.

Sometimes we get there by defying God. We know what we need to do, but we’re too scared or too comfortable to do it. Or we may get there because we don’t think there’s any purpose to our lives. Maybe we never did; maybe we did once, then lost hope.

Whatever the case, believe this: You are not an accident. You are not a mistake.

God didn’t mess up when He made you. He had something good in mind. And He wants each of us to find what that good thing is. He wants us to live out our purpose.

Talk to Him about it. Take a moment in a quiet place. Ask Him what He meant your life to be about, then listen. If He doesn’t show you something right away, keep it in the back of your mind. He’ll find ways to get through to you.

Don’t force a story into your life that’s not your own.

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Jesus’ Character Sheet

I love my RPGs, my video games, my novels, my movies. I love a good adventure. And apparently, so does God.

Jesus was born into a poor family, in an unstable country with a burdensome, restrictive religion. He lived a life that made Him a household name 2,000 years later. That’s incredible. But the most incredible part is that Jesus was born at all.

God allowed Himself to be born as a child. Fully God, fully human. A level 0 character. That is absolutely insane. The burdensome religion He was born into was a caricature of what He had handed down from Heaven. The broken world He was born into was a fractured version of what He had created.

There is no indication in the Bible that Jesus was some sort of superbaby. There is no mention of Him feeding or changing Himself, or speaking early, or even being particularly quiet, as in “Away in a Manger.” It says He was a baby. And it says that as He grew up, “He was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was on Him.” (Luke 2:40)

Jesus rolled a starting character and leveled up like anyone else. He played through the whole adventure.

He robbed us of the illusion that God is far off, and doesn’t understand what life on Earth is really like. Know what’s extra crazy? He knew before coming to Earth. But by coming in person, He made sure we knew.

It’s really important to recognize that Jesus was fully God and fully human. There are so many implications that I could hardly list them here if I tried. But here’s one of the most important:

Temptation of Christ by Ari Scheffer

Do I even have to roll a Sense Motive?

For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

-Hebrews 2:17-18

He lived a life like any of ours, with an important exception: He never sinned. He was tempted, just like we are, but He never gave in. Never failed a Will save.

Turns out that makes quite a difference, especially as we approach Easter. As the passage above says, Jesus lived a perfect life in order to cover over our brokenness.

At Christmas, we celebrated that God came to Earth for us. On Easter, we’ll celebrate what He did for us.

How to Grow

The last XLM Bible Study was great. Thanks to everyone who came out! And thanks once again to Adventures in Comics and Games for hosting us!

We’ve got more events coming up soon. We’ll post more details soon on the Facebook page, the Twitter feed, the Google+ page, and here at the blog.

Below are my notes from the Bible study.

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Last time, we talked about how God can change us into new people, how he can move us past things that we think are insurmountable. We can grow beyond what we are now.

In Extra Life Ministries, and at Crossroads in general, we talk about growth a lot. We encourage people to really engage what God wants to do in our lives. So, the question is, how do we do that? What can we do to grow spiritually?

I want to talk about three areas we can grow: knowledge, faith, and practice. And as I was thinking about those, I realized there were some parallels to the Matrix.

Think about Neo at the beginning of the Matrix, before he’s really Neo. He goes through life with these lingering questions he can’t ignore. He’s literally enslaved, but he can’t do anything about it because he doesn’t even know he’s enslaved. Something in him knows it, and knows he needs to do something about it, but he has no idea what.

When we lack knowledge, we are left without answers to the questions that bother us. Sometimes, we don’t know enough to even ask the right questions. Read the rest of this entry