Saturday, March 30, 2013

Defining Jesus

Last week I had the opportunity to teach the Sr. High class at church. They are going through the Gospel Project, a survey of the Bible essentially, from beginning to the end. I was able to discuss Jesus' final trip into Jerusalem and his discussions with his disciples. Here is the passages we discussed and what I've been thinking about on this day between days.

1. Suffering Messiah
Matthew 16:13-16
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:21-24
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

First off, though it is good to know what others think of Jesus, he ultimately wants to know who you say he is? The interesting thing here is that Peter says gets the answer right, but a few verses later, when Jesus is explaining to Peter that he must die, Peter says "No! This isn't going to happen. You won't die!" Now you got to remember what the expectations of the disciples were. They were expecting George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr, or Captain America. He was expecting a hero that would throw off the oppression the Romans, set up a new government, and fix life there in Jerusalem 2,000 or so years ago. So when Jesus said this, he wasn't really expecting it. Funny thing is, Peter then tries to tell the guy, who he just defined as Son of the Living God, exactly what would or wouldn't happen. Peter tried to put Jesus in a box on his terms.

2. Sacrificial Lamb
Matthew 26:26-29

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed[b] and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new[c] covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

Not only was Jesus a Suffering Messiah, which isn't what the disciples planned on, he was a Sacrificial Lamb. Jesus chose this time of Passover as the time he would come and die. This is of large significance. The Passover is when the first-born in Egypt were slain, if a lamb wasn't slain for them. Jesus was showing that he is that lamb. Not only that day, that one Passover, but the Passover for eternity! This lamb was the best of the best, just as had been required in Moses' day. Not the hurt, sick lamb, but the perfect lamb.

3. Selfless King
Matthew 27:45-50
Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”[k]
Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

He took on the sins of the world. He was turned from by God. Not just God the Creator, but God his dad. This was justice being carried out on the Sacrifical Lamb. This isn't something he had to do. He was already the King. He didn't have to be selfless, suffering and sacrificing for us, but he did! The Son of the Living God, as Peter correctly called him, faced the wrath and justice of his father for us.

Defining Jesus was something that the disciples tried to do and it is something that I know I try to do all the time. However, what I think they learned and I continue to learn, is that we don't define Jesus, we accept him. His definition of himself. Not our definition that we try to give him.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Snow Chair

We had the last snow of the year yesterday, at least I hope so, because I'm ready to go fishing. Normally March is my thinkin' 'bout fishin' month. Not so much this year. Anyways, Kaylee and I went out and played in the snow. It was perfect for making snowballs, snowmen, and Kaylee's favorite thing, Snow Chairs.

She insisted, before making a snowman, we make a snow chair. I told her I'd make her a Snow Throne, but she didn't like that idea, so snow chair is what we ended up making (I still think it turned out more like a throne). We had a really good time, played in the snow for about an hour, and even shoveled the driveway. Though that seemed pointless as it has almost melted off today anyways.

Our snowman, didn't have a hat, so Kaylee was satisfied with ears instead. That is about it. This blog is about theology, board games, and life. Most of the time, after writing for a year, theology and board games bleed into life (especially theology), but this post is simply about life. Playing in the snow with a three year old. Good and fun times.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Every 100 Games Series - The Hobbit Card Game

My 3,900th game played was the latest in a long line of LotR themed games, The Hobbit Card Game. This one is designed by Martin Wallace, known for his deep and thinky games, that tend to have more historical and industrial themes. It was published by Fantasy Flight Games in 2012. I played it at IndyCon last week as a filler between a couple other games.

Game Play
The Hobbit is at its heart a partnership trick-taking game. Players either play for the good guys or the bad guys, play through the deck, and try to win the game. For example, in a four player game, one player plays Smaug and the other three players are Bilbo, Thorin, and Gandalf. Some of the cards have star symbols and some have orc symbols, which if you win the trick, you can hand out in various ways. If you are Smaug and get a star symbol it is a wound. If you are the Free Peoples and get an orc symbol it is a wound. Too many wounds and you die, which means the opponents win. Purple is always trump, the cards are numbered, and the game plays just like any other trick-taking game you might've played.

The game is just cards, nothing else. They seem a bit smaller than your average sized playing card, but not much. The art on the cards is good, though I don't think it really matches the art on the game box. The box isn't very big and there aren't that many cards, so this game won't take up a whole lot of space on your game shelf. The orc and star symbols do their job and the numbers and the colors of the cards are easily distinguishable.

Each player has a special ability that they get to do when they win a trick. Thorin, for example, has to deal all the cards out in a trick randomly to players, thus he could end up damaging his team or helping the other team. Bilbo must give one card to himself and one card to another player. Gandalf gets to hand his cards out to everyone, so he is much more powerful. So sometimes, you don't care if Thorin wins the trick, because the cards can only help, but other times as the free peoples player you want to be sure if you do win that it is Gandalf that wins. This makes for some nice teamwork between the players, but isn't so deep to bog the game down at all.

My Thoughts
I tend to like trick taking games. The Bottle Imp, Euchre, and Tichu are probably my top three favorites and though I'm not sure this game beats those out, I still liked it. It plays so very quickly. Maybe 15 minutes for the 4 player game we played, so it can fit in just about anywhere. It also attempts to fit the theme, not as well as Bottle Imp, but still pretty well for a card game. Thorin for example is somewhat crazy and unhinged, just like he is in the Hobbit. So I give it good marks for that. It probably isn't one I'd buy specifically, but I can see myself adding it to an order to get the free shipping price.

Tolkien Fans - I'm a Hobbit fan and a LotR fan. This game is on the upper end of Tolkien themed games I've played, but it still ultimately is a trick-taking game, so if you are a collector of Tolkien then you still might want to get it for that.
Trick-Taking Card Game Players - I'd say this is one worth picking up for you hard core trick taking fans. It has a neat 1 vs. all mechanic, which you don't often see in trick-taking games. The game play is very fast, unlike some trick taking games like Tichu, which can last over an hour.
Deep Card Game Players - This is way too light for you all. Those of you who expect to find something like Race for the Galaxy, 7 Wonders, or San Juan in this can look elsewhere. It is just very light, you only play through the deck once, maybe twice if a victory isn't obtained the first play through, so don't get this hoping to have your brain burned.

*Every 100 Games Series - Back in March of 2006 I began tracking each session of the various board and card games I play. I soon got the idea to write a review on every 100th game I played, one because I like writing reviews, and two because it is interesting to see what game I review next. You can find a list of all of them here: Every 100 Games Series Reviews.