Global Game Jam

Warp Zone is Louisville’s shared working space for video game developers (one year old this week!). It was founded by the Louisville Makes Games group, which is in turn comprised of several small independent game companies.

Read up on the spot in Business First, Louisville DistilledNerd Louisville, Never Nervous, or On the Record Magazine.

Or check out this short intro video of the zone.

Global Game Jam

This annual event gives game developers just 48 hours to create a brand new video game based around a theme that is announced on Friday night. The teams then have until 7:00PM Sunday night to upload their games to the worldwide game repository (in order to be eligible). Then, all the teams demo their games. Visitors are welcome to attend the final presentations.

The theme this year was “Waves.”

The Games

All of these games were made in just 48 hours! Many of them even had a custom soundtrack that was composed and recorded over the weekend, as well.

Duolastic: This can be described as air hockey played with cones made of jello instead of regular paddles. That gave the developers a chance to play with some unusual elasticity properties. What was impressive is that several players (in pairs) could play against each other at once. There were a few two-player games going on in the room by audience members with laptops… while the demonstration was still going.

React: This is more of an experience than a game. Dancing gradients of color dance on the screen based on user input. Sort of like a screen saver that thinks it’s a mood ring, based on clicking or touching like a piano or drum. The effect was soothing and beautiful, like staring at a fishtank or a fire. I lost my mood ring. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

YellScreaming Mosquito: You play a mosquito that goes up when he flaps and falls when he’s not, and who dies if he touches the overhead clouds or water underneath. But the interface is the amazing part. This was pitched as “flappy birds controlled by noise”. The whole room would scream as he fell, causing him to rise up again. It was the most innovative and engaging game interface I’ve seen in years. I could see this quickly becoming the phone app game that every child loves, and every parent hates, possibly even launching a new craze.

Gupi: You play cute alien fish that swims through the water, eating floating hamburgers and avoiding a snake that twists all around. The artwork was so adorable that you might want to keep playing just to watch more of it.

Flowr Powr: You play a robot who spreads flowers over a boring grey planet. Even robots need to stop and input the flowery aromas, I suppose. The background textures, the lights and shadows, and other visual elements worked well together, making the colorful blossoms stand out even more. “I, for one, welcome our florist overlords.”

Ice CreamSweet Wave: This was a virtual reality game (that can also be played 2D). You play an ice cream truck employee who hurls ice cream cones at onrushing children, to get them to shut up. If you didn’t take care of the brats soon enough, they’d overwhelm your truck and start shaking it back and forth. The cartoony art, the smooth gameplay, and the chance for everyone to play a game using the latest VR tech made this was another standout achievement for the Warp Zone teams.

Photo Gallery

React Duolastic Screaming Mosquito Gupi Flowr Powr Sweet Wave

Want More?

Warp Zone has frequent social events, game jams like this one, classes, demonstrations, and other events.

Join the meetup group to keep abreast of the latest happenings.

Warp Zone is at 612 W Washington St, Louisville, KY 40202.

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Winter Quest

This weekend, I went to www.Winter-Quest.com, a charity comic-con to benefit the homeless in Louisville.

Comic-Con for the Homeless?Hotel Louisville

The event was held at Wayside Christian Mission‘s Hotel Louisville.

Wayside is a homeless shelter that has been in Louisville for many years. A good friend of mine runs the “Samaritan Patrol” for them, delivering coffee, sandwiches, coats, and such to the homeless camps, bridges, train tracks, etc. every Sunday.

Hotel Louisville was once a Holiday Inn, but it ran into financial troubles right after a major remodel. So Wayside bought the hotel, where it now houses the homeless. The homeless also run the entire hotel, gaining experience at cooking, cleaning, managing, and otherwise taking care of business.

The Waycool Cafe inside the hotel is crazy cheap ($5 buffet, anyone?), and they have a very good selection, including vegan and Esselstyn diets.Ministries

Ministries

I was at the con representing some of the various outreaches that I’m a part of:

  • the Christian Gamers Guild (geared toward board gamers, card gamers, and roleplayers)
  • the Grave Robbers (geared toward punks and goths)
  • Game Church (geared toward video gamers)
  • Fans for Christ (sadly now defunct, geared toward fandom, cosplayers, anime, etc.)
  • …and others that I didn’t specifically have materials to send home with people

Guests

The range of people and groups there was impressive for such a new event.Family Tree

Fun

Leia Cupcakes

“I love these cupcakes.”
“I know.”

For a small first-year event, there was a lot going on.

 

LouieLab

LouieLab opened on December 1, 2016.Louie Lab

LouieLab

It’s a new collaboration between Louisville government and the people. It’s designed for use as a coworking space, so government and people can work on specific projects together, like the Civic Data Alliance‘s hackathons through Code for America.

At the opening, two tech projects were demonstrated:

  • Smart Louisville, the city’s next-level open data interface
  • CASPER, the smoke alarm detector with a built-in 3G signal

Smart Louisville

Smart Louisville TeamVolunteers from the Civic Data Alliance built the interface between Amazon’s Echo Dot (“Alexa”) and various city data interfaces (“APIs”).

I was a (minor) part of the team that put all of this together. Most of the work was done by Reydel Leon, with lots of input from Michael Schnuerle (the city’s first Data Officer), Ed Blayney (who just won a Navigator Award for his work on SpeedUpLouisville), Matthew Gotth-Olsen (who manages LouisvilleKY.gov, and was once in a hardcore band), and others.

As it turns out, the most common 3-1-1 call is to find out about junk pickup day. Soon, anyone in Louisville with a Dot can just ask it, “Alexa, when is junk pick up day?”

The volunteers also have developed the interface to programmable light bulbs that can change color and intensity based on pre-selected options. That way, for example, the bulb could:

  • turn yellow to warn allergy sufferers during high pollen days
  • flash red during a tornado warning
  • flash through a full cycle of colors in time to a dance beat (although my theoretical ‘disco mode’ seems unlikely to ever get developed)
  • …and many more, in fact, the city would love to hear your ideas on useful interfaces

Where There’s SmokeCASPER

CASPER (the Completely Autonomous Solar Powered Event Responder) was developed by local makers Nathan Armentrout, James Gissendaner, and David Jokinen at the LVL1  smoke alarm hackathon a year ago. It listens on the standard smoke alarm frequency band (so that it should work with any variety), and makes a wireless call to alert the authorities. It’s primarily in use right now at vacant and abandoned buildings, since fires at a vacant building spreads to neighboring properties 80% of the time. The city of Louisville has several in use now, and plans to roll out many more. Other cities are also expressing interest.

News RoomLouie Lab Group

Here is some press coverage of the opening:

Other Nifty Tech Stuff

Here in Louisville, we’re also founding a chapter of the VRARA (Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality Association). We had dozens of people at the kickoff meeting last week.

Warp Zone, our video game creating coworking space, just had another successful Ludum Dare game creation weekend.

The KY Science Center just ran another three-day Celebration of Coding event, aimed at getting youngsters involved in software.

Costumes in the Bible

MaskI’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.

Some of you may know that Christmas really isn’t my favorite holiday, so here’s another Halloween-themed one. 🙂

This sermon talks about the various costumes and disguises that have appeared in the Bible — there are more than you might expect.

Costume Tricks

Many times, costumes were used underhandedly, to trick people.

You may remember Jacob and Esau, the brothers with very different lives and physiques. Esau was the outdoorsman, and has his father’s approval. Jacob was the quiet type, and stayed close to mama.

Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, and put them on Jacob. She covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with goatskins. (Genesis 27:15-16)

Rebekah tricked her blind husband Isaac into giving most of his inheritance to the wrong son.

But two can play at that game. Years later, Jacob met the girl of his dreams, and worked for her father for seven years in exchange for marrying her. But Laban pulled the old switcheroo on him.

Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife Rachel.” But when evening came, Laban took his daughter Leah to Jacob. (Genesis 29:21-23)

Not so fun now, is it, Jacob?

But he didn’t necessarily learn from that experience, either. Years later, he has a son he liked more than the rest, and he dressed him in weird clothes.

Jacob loved Joseph more than all his children, and made him a coat of many colors. When his brothers saw that their father loved him most, they hated him. (Genesis 37:3-4)

His jealous brothers used that very coat as a terrible disguise to break their father’s heart and to cover up their own treachery.

They dipped Joseph’s coat in goat’s blood, and told their father, “We found this.” He recognized it and said, “Some ferocious animal has eaten him!” (Genesis 37:31-33)

Eventually, Joseph gets promoted to the top of the slave totem pole, and practically runs Egypt. When his brothers came to ask for food during a famine, they didn’t recognize their brother, so he took advantage of the situation.

Joseph recognized his brothers, but he disguised himself. He accused them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.” (Genesis 42:7-9)

What’s good for the goose, eh, brothers?

Moving away from that family tree, we look at an even weirder one. Tamar tricked her own father.

Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute, and Judah slept with her. She took his seal and cord as a pledge for payment. (Genesis 38:14-18)

She used that seal and cord to blackmail him. Two wrongs still don’t make a right.

And finally, king Saul disguised himself to hide his own wrongdoing.

Saul disguised himself, and went to the seer in the dark of night. He asked her to consult a spirit. But the woman said, “Saul has cut off mediums from the land.” (1 Samuel 28:7-9)

That ain’t right, Saul.

Costume TreatsGroucho

But costumes and disguises have been used for good, as well.

We are encouraged to “wear” godliness.

I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; the Lord has clothed me with garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10)

I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; justice was my mantle and turban. (Job 29:14)

And to use it for protection.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10)

Wearing love can cover up evil.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love will veil a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

The Almighty doesn’t care about the latest fashion trends.

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Even Jesus wore a disguise.

Jesus himself came up and walked with them, but they were kept from recognizing him. When their eyes were opened, he disappeared from sight. (Luke 24:15,31)

Of course, it was a miraculous thing, possibly similar to the transfiguration, but it’s kind of funny to think of Jesus removing a set of Groucho glasses at the end of a long walk with his friends.

But our words hold the power of life and death, and those words will remove all costumes.

A good man draws good from the good in his heart; an evil man draws evil from the evil in his heart. For from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)

There’s no hiding from our true selves.

Costume Warningsghost

Besides costumes in the past, there are more on the way, and many will not be used for good.

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

There are some who pretend to be rich, yet have nothing. There are some who pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth. (Proverbs 13:7)

When Jesus comes back, he’ll be wearing some serious duds. Beware, evildoers.

The Lord wore the breastplate of righteousness, and helmet of salvation. He wore vengeance for his garment, and zeal as his cloak. Righteousness is his belt, and faithfulness his sash. (Isaiah 59:17, 11:5)

We have to be careful ourselves, even in the church.

Watch out for the teachers who wear flashy robes to get respect in public, and take the best seats at church. They mask their evil by making long prayers. (Mark 12:38-40)

Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. (Proverbs 26:24)

But we must know ourselves and repent, to truly know God.

We are all infected and impure with sin. Our righteous deeds are nothing but filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)

Costume PromisesHero

Jesus had (and will have) even more costumes.

This is the one that makes the rest possible.

Christ Jesus made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:7)

He became not just a mortal being meant to die, but a servant.

And he continues to hide among us, or close enough.

I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you tended to me, in prison and you visited me. (Matthew 25:35)

His sacrifice granted him authority as Judge over all.

He wore a garment soaked with blood, and his name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)

And his own blood also covers us, and extends his righteousness to those who believe in him.

Her household has no fear; for everyone is clothed in scarlet. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. (Proverbs 31:21, Isaiah 1:18)

Discuss

  • How have you ever been misled?
  • How do you react?
  • How do you form your opinions of someone when you first meet?
  • Based on your “costume” (actions, words), who do people think you are?

Download

You can download the PowerPoint slides here.

Bible Gore

Bible GoreI’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.

This sermon talks about some of the scariest and goriest scenes in the Bible, and was prepared for my church service at the 2016 Fright Night Film Festival. It had been a while since I’d preached at a horror convention, and it was great to be invited to speak at this one.

Bible Gore

Sometimes, people ask me what I think is the scariest/goriest movie, and I generally answer, “The Passion of the Christ.” The graphic violence is very disturbing, but the same could be said of many other movies. What makes this one so horrible is that (Christians believe) it’s real, and was necessary because of our own sin.

In this sermon, I didn’t cover the crucifixion, which is brutal by almost anyone’s standards. I left that one out due to its familiarity. Most churchgoers and horror fans already know it, so I focused my attention on some lesser-known bits of horror.

Your Days are Numbered

Days are NumberedKing Nebuchadnezzar subjugated the Israelites, and forced them all to worship a large statue of himself or be put to death (or life in prison). One of them was Daniel, one of God’s prophets. Daniel was in prison until the king’s son, Belshazzar, took the throne.

King Belshazzar drank from a gold goblet stolen from God’s temple in Jerusalem. Then fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the wall: mene, mene, tekel, parsin (Daniel 5:3,5,25)

A disembodied hand wrote on the king’s wall!

The king’s advisors could not interpret the writing (which was written in Aramaic), so they sent for the prisoner Daniel. Over his many years in prison, he had gained a reputation for being a godly man who could understand visions.

PeggedDaniel explained that the writing said, “numbered, numbered, weighed, divided.” This was God’s warning that:

  • the king’s days are numbered (which is where we got the phrase that we still use today),
  • he had been weighed, he had been measured, and he had been found wanting (as so wonderfully quoted in A Knight’s Tale),
  • his many possessions would be split among his enemies; he would leave no legacy

Pegged

The Israelites were being attacked by the Canaanites, whose army was led by Sisera. When the Israelite army had the upper hand, the commander fled to take shelter in the tent of a Kenite ally.

Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to Sisera while he lay fast asleep. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died. (Judges 4:21)

Nailed it!

What a way to go. Very Saw or Final Destination.Big Hair

Locked Up

King David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). His son, Absalom, planned to kill his father and take the throne violently. Until the day he was outnumbered and ran away.

Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree, leaving him hanging midair. Joab plunged three javelins into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive. On top of that, ten of Joab’s men ran him through with swords. (2 Samuel 18:9,14,15)

“Dude, don’t leave me hanging!”

Absalom had long flowing studly hair that he was very proud of. But after riding so fast to get away, his hair bobbing up and down got snagged, and suspended him from the tree like a piñata. The army commander decided that he’d look better as a pincushion instead, and his men agreed.

Gut Reaction

Fat ManEvil king Eglon was soooo fat (“how fat was he?”) that when Ehud the Left-Handed stabbed him with a sword about 18 inches long (45 cm), Eglon’s fat closed up over the hilt (probably another 6 inches), and it got left there.

Ehud delivered tribute to the very fat King Eglon, and said, “I have a message from God for you.” Ehud plunged his sword into the king’s belly. Even the handle sank in, and his bowels discharged. (Judges 3:24,25)

Ehud stabbed the ████ out of Eglon.

Because of Eglon’s obesity, when his bowels emptied, his servants on the other side of the door assumed their master was relieving himself. He probably had a reputation for some real stinkers. This extra delay gave Ehud the time he needed to escape.

Inside Out

Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat (dontcha love that name?) was the king of Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel, and formed an alliance with the northern kingdom by marrying Athaliah, daughter of king Ahab (no whales were harmed in the making of this story).Pig Lizard

Despite his alliance, he rebelled against God (2 Chronicles 21:10). The prophet Elijah sent him a warning letter, which Jehoram ignored. As a result, God inflicted him with a slow painful death.

God afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels. After two years, it caused his bowels to come outside, and he died in agony. His people did not build a great funeral pyre to honor him like his ancestors. (2 Chronicles 21:18,19)

His insides became his outsides. His entrails became his extrails (another great quote from A Knight’s Tale).

My guess is that his intestines swelled to the point that they pressed up against his skin, and eventually pushed through. Doesn’t sound pleasant.Tremors

Baited Breath

Not all of the gory stuff happened in the Old Testament. King Agrippa got eaten while he was on stage.

Herod Agrippa sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:21-23)

Most people are eaten by worms after they die. You’re doing it wrong, Herod.

This wasn’t a Tremors-style giant worm, but bunches of tinier worms eating him form the inside.

WTF, Man?

Why is all this stuff even in the Bible? Do we really need to know all of that grossness?

Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16,17)Cannot Be Unseen

So what can we learn from these stories?

  • Belshazzar: We may not always see the hand of God, but our own days are also numbered.
  • Sisera: There is nowhere to escape God’s justice, even when it takes unexpected forms.
  • Absalom: The object of his vanity became the object of his ruin.
  • Eglon: Gluttony is a tool for our enemy.
  • Jehoram: When we don’t put God first, our life turns inside out.
  • Herod: Despite what Ghostbusters advocates, when someone calls you a god, say no.

I’m sure there are other lessons. The same story can teach many lessons to many students.

But I think the bottom line is this…

Terrible Vengeance

God made the world; he made us; he will judge us.

God said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30,31)

Unless we turn to God and repent, a horrible fate awaits each of us.

Download

You can download the PowerPoint slides here.

If you’d like to further explore the intersection of the Bible and the macabre, check out the Grave Robbers Ministry.

The Walking Dead

I’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.

This sermon uses zombies to relate the gospel of Christ.

The Walking Dead

Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse?Zombie

The dead will indeed rise.

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! The earth will give birth to the dead. (Isaiah 26:19)

Many who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

But many who rise will not be at all happy about it.

The Lord will smite Jerusalem’s enemies. Their flesh will rot while they still stand, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. (Zechariah 14:12)

In those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them. (Revelation 9:6)

Hell is where the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:48)

God once gave Ezekiel a vision of a dead nation coming back to life, as a metaphor for the nation of Israel reawakening their spiritual lives.

There was a rattling noise across the valley. The bones joined to form skeletons. Muscles, flesh, and skin formed on their bodies. I spoke as the Lord commanded, and they came to life and stood on their feet; a great army. (Ezekiel 37:7-8,10)

When Jesus came back to life, he was not the only one. He brought some friends with him.

The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. (Matthew 27:52)

Through the power of His resurrection, Jesus defeated death.Death

Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. (Romans 6:9)

He can extend that same benefit to us.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25)

Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)

But this is a limited time offer (we never know when our number will come up).

Today if you hear his voice, harden not your heart. (Psalm 95:8)

See AlsoJesus

  • John 17:14
  • Ephesians 2:1
  • Romans 6:11
  • Proverbs 21:16
  • Matthew 8:22
  • Luke 15:32
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14
  • Colossians 2:13
  • 1 Timothy 5:6
  • Romans 6:23

Discuss

  • What place makes you feel the most uncomfortable?
  • What people-group makes you feel the most uncomfortable?
  • What dead sin have you been walking with?
  • What dead people are you walking right by?
  • How can you lead the walking dead into life?

Download

You can download the PowerPoint slides here.

Pirate Church

I’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.

This sermon uses pirates to relate the gospel of Christ. I preached it in 2014 as part of the Imaginarium creative writing convention. Since Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) was also that weekend, we held “Church Like a Pirate Day.”

Booty

What do pirates seek? Booty.

Jesus told a parable about a man who found a treasure more valuable than everything he owned, so he sold everything he owned to make it his own.

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that is hidden in a field. A crafty man found the treasure buried there and buried it again so no one would know where it was. Thrilled, he went off and sold everything he had, and then he came back and bought the field with the hidden treasure part of the bargain. Or the kingdom of heaven is like a jeweler on the lookout for the finest pearls. When he found a pearl more beautiful and valuable than any jewel he had ever seen, the jeweler sold all he had and bought that pearl, his pearl of great price. (Matthew 13:44-46)

Jesus also warned us to focus on eternal treasures, which have true everlasting value, instead of getting distracted by the temporary appeals of this life.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Like the man that sold all he had, we give our lives to Christ. The treasure we are given in return is worth far more than anything we’d given.

Blood

What do pirates thirst for? Blood.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. (Hebrews 9:14)

We owe a debt that we cannot pay.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and the wages of sin is death. There can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Leviticus 17:11)

But there is one who has already paid on our behalf.

Jesus said to them, “This is my blood. The blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.” (Mark 14:24)

All the people answered, “May his blood be on us, and on our children!” (Matthew 27:25)

As Christians, we thirst for the blood of righteousness, the blood of Christ. That alone can save us, and wash away our sins.

Broken

With peglegs, hooks, and eyepatches, how are pirates’ bodies? Broken.

Living in our fallen world, our bodies are broken, as is all of creation.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet. (Mark 9:45)

That brokenness encourages us to seek God, who will make us whole. By using our broken vessels, His strength and glory are made known to the world.

Bones

What is on a pirate flag? Bones.

When a ship raises its flag, its allegiance is known to all.

Everyone will know that you are my disciples by you love for one another. (John 13:35)

For a tree is recognized by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33)

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)

Do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:16)

Every one of us also waves a flag, identifying our loyalty. A wedding ring waves our flag of marriage. A military uniform, a sports jersey, a lapel pin, a bumper sticker, and many other items can indicate who or what we are beholden to.

As Christians, our flag is our love. It’s not a church membership, a seminary degree, or anything of that sort. Only our actions — our love for one another — waves our flag for Christ.

Shanty 23

I found this “pirate-ese” translation of Psalm 23:

The Lord be me cap’n, oi shall not mutiny.
He steers me clear o’ land lubbers, and pilots me thru the doldrums.
He trayned me up roight or else.
E’entho I stagger thru seedy ports,
Oi feares no wun, fer ye be wif me;
yer pistol an yer cutlass hinspoire me;
the grog flows freely.
Surely the Kinge’s navy and ninjas
shall foller me all the dayes ov me loife,
an’ Oi be swabbin’ the Lord’s decks forever.

Discuss

  • What’s your favorite book or movie that involves pirates?
  • Would you rather go to a game with the Pittsburgh Pirates or Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
  • What do you treasure?
  • What do you thirst for?
  • What breaks you?
  • What are you known by?

Download

You can download the PowerPoint slides here.

Pokemon Go

Pokemon GoI’m a Christian, and sometimes a teacher/preacher.

This sermon looks at Pokemon-Go.

Background

Pokemon Go is an augmented reality (AR) game. It’s played on phones, and mixes the real world with the digital world. In a way, it’s like a cross between geocaching and yelp, but with a scoring system.

Seek

To play Pokemon Go, first players must find Pokemon.Pokemon Go Map

Jesus came to seek and save the lost (us). When he sent out his disciples, he gave them instructions on where they should look for their audience.

Jesus called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness. He sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matthew 10:1-7)

Choose

After finding some Pokemon, players choose which ones to keep.

Jesus chose all of us, while we were not worthy.

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:16,19)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

TrainTraining

To advance in the game, players train their Pokemon.

Spiritual training keeps us “in shape” as followers of Christ. Just like a physical muscle or skill, if we don’t exercise, we’ll lose strength.

The more frequently we’re kind to others, help those in need, study the scriptures, and pray, the better we’ll get at it. Then, in moments of stress, expressing the love of Christ will be second nature to us.

Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things — for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

Bible books that sound like they could be Pokemon:
• Amaziah
• Baalam
• Basemath
• Dodo
• Jehoshaphat
• Nergalsharezar
• Zebedee

Evolve

In the Pokemon Go game, the creatures improve their abilities after enough training, and actually become a new creature.

In Christ, we also become new creations, after being born the second time.

He will change our weak mortal bodies into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power he will use to bring everything under his control. (Philippians 3:21)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (Romans 12:2)

Go

What makes Pokemon Go different from other games is that it overlays the real world. To travel in the game, you must travel in real life.Bible

For us to advance the gospel, we often must travel in real life. Christ’s last words to us before he ascended were:

Jesus said, “Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-19)

It’s hard to make disciples of all nations when we’re sitting on the couch. Going out, meeting people, making friends, helping others, trying new things… all of that leads to us building relationships. By following Christ ourselves and spending time with others, we can share God’s love and fulfill our purpose.

Download

You can download the handout and a flyer for the sermon here.

Game Master as Writer

The Christian Gamers Guild has reposted an article of mine about the similarities between running a roleplaying game and writing a story.

http://bit.ly/GMasWriter

The article was originally published in the guild’s ‘zine, The Way, the Truth & the Dice. The original article is much longer, and will be serialized into multiple posts.

 

Nerdy Event Roundup

There are a lot of great things happening in Louisville this weekend.

Geek Dinner

Get a jump on the weekend activities at the quarterly Geek Dinner. Gather at the BBC in St. Matthews on Thursday at 6:00. No pitches, no presentations, no recruiters; just a friendly get-together for technophiles.National Day of Civic Hacking

The National Day of Civic Hacking

Also called Hack For Change, this is annual event is a way for the government to promote the use of public data.

I’ve been to this one every year. I love it.

It’s a great way to make new geek friends, create something, and learn new stuff.

Here’s a flyer that you can use to spread the word!

ISSA Kentuckiana Network Forensics Workshop

The ISSA (Information Systems Security Association) is hosting this network forensics workshop. Proceeds benefit Hackers for Charity (a group that I love to support; Johnny Long and his family’s mission to teach tech to street kids in Uganda).

WonderFestWonderFest

WonderFest is Louisville’s model-building and special-effects convention. It even hosts the country’s largest model contest for sci-fi, horror, comics, etc. There are also seminars, workshops, celebrity guests, and other coolness. I’ve attended several times, and even exhibited there a few times when I still ran a publishing company.

LEGO Kids FestLEGO Kids Fest

I’ve always loved LEGOs, but still haven’t been to one of these trade shows. This is at the Fairgrounds, right across the street from the Crowne Plaza that’s hosting WonderFest.

Neighborhood Summit

Also at the Fairgrounds, this summit focuses on healthy, sustainable, safe, attractive neighborhoods here in Louisville.

Butchertown Art Fair

Check out the exotic creations of the Butchertown neighborhood, home of LVL1 makerspace, Play Louisville, Cellar Door Chocolates, and other cool local businesses.Sub Rosa

Sub Rosa Reunion

Gather with freaks, geeks, and weirdos just like you at the Sub Rosa reunion, hosted by everyone’s favorite ginger: Divinity Rose.

After hanging out, stick around the Bard’s Town to catch the Friday showing of…

The Roast of Prince

The Louisville Roasters pick on someone new each month. This time around, it’s the color formerly known as purple. Roasters include David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and more.Julie of the Wolves

Louisville Outskirts

This benefit for Girls Rock Louisville includes one of my favorite local bands, Julie of the Wolves. Art destroys apathy.

Bonus Event

Next weekend, check out the Louis-Villainz Market for Mischief.