Hunt the Wumpus Board Game: Bringing Back the Classics and Family Time!

Title ScreenYears ago my Grandpa worked for Texas Instruments and after saving a while, bought us a TI 99/4a computer.  Some of my favorite memories were all of my family gathered at Grandma and Grandpa’s house playing cards, dominoes, and the TI computer!  I was little so I was mostly kept on the bench spectating when it came to playing the computer games.  Well, my cousins and I would play for a while and then drift back into the kitchen and living room full of aunts, uncles, coffee, and plenty of laughs.  We didn’t have much, but we knew how to have a great weekend as a large family!

Well, enter 2013 and the digital age of instant everything, the unsociable ‘social generation’, and my kiddos who can’t keep their attention on anything but a cartoon that has to explain every single detail so that there’s absolutely no motivation to have an attention span. (And there’s my rant!)  But one thing my kiddos love is our family time just like I did at their age.  So every chance we get, we gather around the table to play some board games or around the TV to play the ole’ TI Computer.  The coolest part is that their favorite game is the same I always loved too!  Hunt the Wumpus.

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Soooooo I figured, why not put the two most nostalgic things that I and my family love together.  Introducing! (insert your dramatic music of choice) “Hunt the Wumpus: the Board Game!”

I wanted to make it look like an old-school board game with the over sized wood board and thick hand-sanded clunky pieces.  I love the look it gave but the next one I make will be acrylic, adhesive, and done!  Also, if you’ll look closely you’ll notice I haven’t sealed all the pieces or board yet.  I couldn’t wait to let the kiddos check it out!

Here’s a slideshow I made of the construction process and our debut of the game to the most important judges…the kiddos!!!  Fun to make and a blast to see my wife and kids sharing in the same things that take me back to wonderful memories I have.

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Seeing Real: Real People, Real History, Real Word, Real God

I don’t like the term ‘Bible stories’.  Call me crazy.  But the word ‘story’ often applies to something that may not be true or is even a fairy tale.  Today our culture needs to know the difference!  Sometimes as Christians who read the Bible a lot, we also need to remember that what we are reading is an ‘account’ involving real people, real history, and the One True Living God revealing Himself!  If we are not careful we begin to see the people as characters in a story instead of people with likes, dislikes, fears, goals, dreams, habits, hobbies, and laughter, and, we see the situations in light of a tale instead of taking place on, and affecting, the same globe you walk now.  If we do this, then we will also treat the revelation of God in that particular part of Scripture likewise.

Take a look at Luke 13:1-5.

‘There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”’

Jesus uses something that happened to real people in the current news to show the reality of eternal things personally to everyone listening.  Two thousand years ago, there were really people from Galilee that had this atrocity done to them as well as real people, with real lives, who saw the same clouds and colors and things that you and I experience, die in a tower collapse in the Jerusalem area.  Just like the people we see on the news today are truly experiencing the realities of the headline being broadcast, so were these folks.  And Jesus, speaking of these real-life events also speaks and teaches the eternal in the same light.  We can’t read God’s Word detached from the everyday, but rather, have to have eternal perspective.  And why not?  It is more real than the temporary we consume ourselves with…its been around longer!

shutdown illustrationSo why the disconnect?  Is it because of reading so much? secularization training?  the time-and-place gospel?  I don’t know.  But how are we to truly learn and apply a closer walk with God if we are separating the reality of God’s continual interaction and love with us throughout created history from the headlines, problems, and temporary that we are focused on everyday?

Romans 15 is probably the heart of why we do Bible study.  Especially verse 4.

‘For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.’

Hearing God’s real work in our world so that we may trust Him and apply it to a closer walk with Him!  Or else, why are we reading, praying, or seeking?  Is it not to turn to God and draw closer to Him, and Him to us, no matter our circumstance or past as He promised throughout His Word? (Deut. 4:29, Jer. 29:12-13, James 4:8 just a couple examples!)

God is the True Living God over people, nations, empires, and the work of men.  Therefore we should be careful to see His Word as having the same authority…and be sure to apply it as such!  Check out Jeremiah 38:1-39:18 sometime.  Be sure to think about the real people involved in this nation and the real Word of God at work.  Think of their fears, focuses, and where God was at in their decisions and priorities.  Notice that they ignored God’s message even as it was unfolding in their day to day tragedies as the Chaldean army cut off food, water, and freedom.  Maybe after slowly considering these things, we also notice the reality of God’s blessing to the ones who put their trust in Him and not in man or man’s solutions.  Hmm!  Sounds like that applies to us today and to God’s Church across our nation doesn’t it?

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The Serious Call for God’s People (National Day of Prayer Message 2013)

PrayerAre you set apart to God or are you blending in?  God’s redeemed are called to be set apart from the world continually throughout Scripture.  That is what the word ‘sanctified’ means; set apart!  How are we set apart if we are so busy blending in?

See, there is great seriousness in God’s call: in speaking only His Word, walking in only His Way, and His people’s/nation’s need for repentance!  But this call is not to the world, but to HIS people!  Listen to 2 Chronicles 7:14.

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Notice who this is written to, “My people”.

In Scripture we find a trend that there is a turning point when God’s people join in the sins of the peoples apart from God, when they no longer shine as His people, when they follow culture rather than God, and when they strengthen sin instead of season and expose it in His Grace!  This isn’t just a minor matter, but from Genesis 6 to Revelation, judgment comes when the righteous forsake righteousness!

Listen to another example of God’s Call and Testimony to His People!

“My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake.  I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of His holy words.  For the land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns.  The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up.  Their course of life is evil, and their might is not right. 

‘ For both prophet and priest are profane; yes, in My house I have found their wickedness,’ says the LORD.  ‘Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them;  for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment,’ says the LORD. ‘And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: they prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to err.  Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: They commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness.  All of them are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.  Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: ‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem profaneness has gone out into all the land.’”  Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.  They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD.  They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, “You shall have peace”’; And to everyone who walks according to the imagination of his own heart, ‘No evil shall come upon you.’” -Jeremiah 23:9-17

Listen to who He testifies against…His people and their leaders!  They practice the sins of the lost and idolatrous people from adultery to lies as well as covetousness and more we are told throughout Jeremiah.  And it hits a turning point when they not only do these things but strengthen the hands that do so!  When God’s people do the same and condone, strengthen, and embrace what rejects God so that “no one turns back from his wickedness” and they tell those that reject God and walk according to their own ways “You shall have peace” then we find in His Word, Covenants, and more that judgment comes.  There is a difference between the lost doing these things and members of God’s people teaching, condoning, embracing, strengthening sin and being apart from God.  The troubling thing is, we see the words of Jeremiah today in our nation everywhere, from the leadership of our nation but more importantly, in the Church.

            This call…this oh so serious call, is to God’s people!

For,“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”[1] and “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”[2]   Therefore we see in just a few Scriptures the seriousness and depth of  2 Chronicles 7:14 and can even see and follow this call to the churches in Revelation to return to Him![3]

 The call in our prayer for our nation’s healing, begins with you!  You, God’s children and redeemed are called to pray, to truly seek the Lord, to walk with Him in your community and no matter where you are!  To season the life you impact with His grace that is poured into you by living in His Way, Life, & Promise!  Therefore, answer the call to return and let your light shine for your greatest love Church – Jesus!

[1]    Matthew 5:13-16

[2]    I Corinthians 6:9-11 underscore added

[3]    Revelation 2:1-3:22

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A Thought of 2 Things

…just a thought and a wondering

#1)  The Traditional Church Model is failing.  Not because it is a bad model, but because the focus of people is no longer on God and family but ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ and keeping a schedule busy.  A model that surrounded itself on families always taking time for coming together in God is choked today by schedules and secular priorities.  It finds itself no longer equipping families to minister/deal with faith and the burdens of this life together, as well as no longer reaching out in the ‘marketplace’ or day to day life we live.  It is now secluded by families.  And moreover, it is ran assuming with no effort or priority that families will always come, know God, and always support a building to worship in (knowing the building is not necessary, but rather, the encouragement, support, and equipping of the Church when coming together in God’s Word as well as celebration and giving thanks for God’s Grace!)  Inspect the heart of the Church, not the building and grounds stats.

#2)  There is now, and has been, a religion that exists with our walk with Christ.  We need to identify it separately from our walk so that we can have a freedom to worship daily unhindered.  In the church model, regardless of the Christian denomination, we have formed a revered tradition of an order of a service within the walls and developed a thinking, even practicing, that IT alone is serving & living for God. (Like replacing Deut. 6:4-9 with the occasional church service when these are meant to encourage/reinforce the walk the family is already living in.)

Just a thought when when looking at our culture.  Wondering when as a Church we are going to get beyond the walls and invest our time and passion to dive deeper in God’s Grace, seek to walk closer and closer with Him, and reach our neighbors with more than a God Bless You or Temporary Happiness Gospel.

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Tough Times and Shipwrecks in Life

Most Christians know why things happen even though there are those times you still feel like asking.  But a lot of times I find myself only knowing that when they are not happening.

We’ve had a lot of bad news and stressful things the last couple weeks.  From loss of family, broken trust, financial worries…fit nicely, but not neatly, into the last two weeks.  We know why this world has bad things when God made it good.  That little world sin that comes from a world that continually turns away from Him and His good.  Still, questions arise like, ‘Why is this happening when we are where God has shown us to be?  …when we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing?’  But you know what?  The promise God gave us today, not long ago but paid long ago on the Cross, is not that all will be happy-go-lucky. Nor that the sin that is still killing the world will disappear around us because we are going to church.  His promise is that He has more for us one Day and that, on top of that, He promises us that we don’t have to go through today alone.

Painted Way Nicer Than What He Went Through!Paul, the greatest evangelist of all time since the Church was established, suffered pain, tragedy, persecution, and even when heading where God had lead him, to do what God had called him to do, he even suffered shipwreck.  Literally.  Not the metaphor we would so easily want to relate to today.  And yet, the FACT and the TRUTH and actually knowing God in Christ still blew him away and was more than enough.

So it is encouraging when continuing to hear bad things from back home of all kinds, to know that the reality of God’s promise stands – the reality of more than empty religion but a real expectation, knowing, and place with Him forever and today, the promise of not being left orphaned by God, and the comfort of others who also walk a walk in Christ who struggle at times as well.   It is encouraging to see Paul and the others who simply knew Jesus and because of so, were able to continue on with Joy even if not in happy times.

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Does Prosperity Mean that Jesus, Heaven, Are Not Enough?

Blessings and Success are nice…but they never become the point.

After reading “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” in I Timothy 6, “… do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek…but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” in Matthew 6,  and even the struggles and tribulation of those in the last several verses of Hebrews 11 who suffered incredibly and “of whom the world was not worthy”; ever think the reason people struggle in America with faith is because we’ve never truly stepped out wholly?  Is it easier or more popular settling instead for a blind partial faith, or religious opinionated stance, rather than the seeing faith and relationship that Jesus paid the horrific price for?  Seems that history shows those who then, and brothers and sisters now around the world, who are even willing to suffer for this wonderful freedom and life in Christ.  (and do so without the luxury and safety nets we’ve come to expect here in the States.)

So why do they? Or why don’t we?

I’m not going to go on and on about what a relationship is versus a religion and what Christ truly offers instead of a crutch…because simply, that is exactly what is offered – something real WITH Him.  But unfortunately we have a people confused about that.  Why?  Because they have been told/shown that what Jesus gives is not different, maybe holier-than-thou, or money-blessings and happy times (and if you don’t have it your faith must be challenged/broken).  Also an overall dismissal of the devastating state with which we are left when in front of the Holy Judge in our sin. (ever lie?  ever take something not yours?  ever lust?  ever hate?  Holiness dictates that you and I are then lying, thieving, adulterous, murderers… That is His standard of what is good and how can that get into Heaven? So when we say we’re a good person, that is not the standard by which we are truly measured.  Its no wonder there’s a struggle when we’re supposed to be ‘okay’ and yet the ugly things remain!).  But truly, God does love us, that when we are that guilty before Him, He didn’t leave us there.  He placed on His Baby Boy the crushing weight of our sin (Psalm 22/Is. 53/Matthew 27) so that He would stand in our place; take our death penalty, so that we don’t have to forever.  Incredible!  We never have to be ‘good enough’ because we simply can’t be.

So why are we preaching prosperity, no hell, false happiness, or religious ritual instead of that true freedom we don’t have to earn (because we can’t). Or why a set of rules instead of a relationship and something real in Jesus so our circumstance in this life isn’t lord over us? (In case you didn’t know, the sin that separates us from God also infects this world and the bad things that happen. We are never promised that things will be hunky-dory but that we would have the expectation of seeing God face-to-face one day no longer guilty and that He would never leave us alone today…literally!)  When we’ve taught that you are supposed to always be chipper, about financial blessings, that everything is okay when you go to church, and so on…well then its no surprise we have a confused people around us!  How can that be true in Jesus when all I have to do is watch the news and see that things are not okay!  It is because the truth is, Jesus came because things are not okay, because life is not fair, and because our Creator wanted more for us than a temporary happiness that still leaves us dead.

So in light of all of that, isn’t focusing on our ‘stuff’ and circumstances, making sure we have on our fancy clothes for church and making sure that all looks ‘okay’ on Sunday morning, and basing the successes of our faith on how stuff is going, a tremendous handicap to experiencing a true faith in Christ?  Even a false teaching?  Possibly a false religion?  Isn’t the first step in truly experiencing His love and grace admitting that we are guilty before Him and cannot ever be good enough without the blood and forgiveness in Jesus?  Then accepting the Gift that He became good enough for us on the Cross so that we don’t have to live separated from Him?  Isn’t that the point?  What else matters without it?

We all want nice things and some may even be content with the stuff we have.  I’m looking for land for our family to invest in these days.  Nice stuff is, well, nice!  But it never becomes our purpose.  So I’m left with the question;  isn’t preaching prosperity and financial blessings really saying that Heaven and the gruesome cost paid for us on the Cross is not enough?  Are my emotional and mental struggles because I’m setting my heart only on the circumstances and the current state of ‘me’ today instead of on the Promise above all things?  What if another Great Depression hit tomorrow, and we lost it all? Could you and I still say “Blessed be the name of the LORD”?  Makes me think, that’s for sure.

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Been Awhile But….

…have a lot of things coming soon! Have been busy seeking the Lord and following Him and seeing Him work, but have also been writing and thinking (dangerous business that thinking!) and will be posting a lot soon! Also have some photos of the goings on here in Missouri! Peace!

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