Sunday, September 30, 2007
If you are a Christian, this can be a difficult chapter to read. Jesus is physically tortured and mocked. His claims of royalty are thrown in his face by use of the crown of thorns and the purple robe he is given by the soldiers. Pilate again affirms to the crowd that he doesn't find Jesus guilty of anything here, and still Jesus is put to death.
Pilate is in a difficult situation. He doesn't see a legitimate reason to kill Jesus, but if he doesn't keep the peace, the Jews seem to be threatening that they will report him to Caeser for not stopping a political uprising.
We're not sure why Pilate became afraid when he learned that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God(v.8), but it may be that he was a superstitious man. Maybe even more so considering his wife had just had an unsettling dream because of Jesus. (Matthew 27:19)
Although Jesus had been open to answering Pilate's questions until now, he remains silent when asked about his place of origin. We don't know why Jesus chose silence here. Maybe because he knew Pilate wouldn't believe him. In any case, Jesus remained in control of his fate during this entire ordeal. Given Pilate's level of uncertainty, a man of Jesus' obvious wisdom and intelligence could have said the right words to be freed, or at least possibly exiled. Yet Jesus knew that it was necessary for his life to be sacrificed in order to make a restored relationship between God and humans possible.
Jesus further clarifies the true nature of power by pointing out that Pilate only has power given to him from those in authority above him. Pilate is responsible for his sin in this situation. Jesus doesn't deny that. But he does say that those responsible for handing Jesus over to him have committed a greater sin. The jewish religious leaders pre-meditated this entire plot to have Jesus killed. While Pilate is guilty of making a self-serving decision under pressure, the religious leaders conspired together to orchestrate the death of Jesus.
It's interesting to notice that these events took place just before Passover. This Jewish "holiday" was in remembrance of the historic escape from slavery in Egypt. (Exodus chapter 12) On the first passover, each family was instructed to kill a lamb that had no defects of any kind and to place its blood on their doorpost. God moved through Egypt that night and killed the firstborn in every house that did not have the blood of a lamb on its doorpost. Those with the blood were "passed over" without a life being taken from them.
In this chapter of John, Jesus, a perfect human without sin of any kind, was killed. And his sacrifice is what to this day saves every eternal soul that chooses to be associated with it.
This is why, horrific as it was, the torture and death of Jesus is so central to Christianity. Jesus, being God himself, is worth infinitely more than a lamb, and so his death was sacrifice enough to pay the penalty for every evil done in all of human history.
This "spiritual transaction" is not spelled out as clearly here as it is in some of the New Testament letters of the Apostles, but it's worth making note of on our way through.
The irony here is heart-wrenching. The Jewish Leaders, in an effort to have Jesus crucified, yelled out, "We have no king but Caeser". This couldn't have been more true, as the prophesied ruler they had been waiting for was right in front of them, but they refused to submit to or even acknowledge him as King.
In verses 19-22 we see that Pilate had a sign placed over Jesus' head labeling him as the King of the Jews. When pressed by the Jewish leaders, he refused to change what it said. We don't know for sure why. His own sense of irony? A small expression of respect? Pilate's internal struggle and view of Jesus remains something of a mystery.
Next week, we'll finish our look at this chapter by examining the extraordinary prophecies fulfilled by Jesus in his dying moments! Compelling stuff that you DON'T want to miss!
Coffee House Question: If you saw "The Passion", what kinds of thoughts went through your mind while watching the film for the first time?
Thursday, September 27, 2007
On the upside, while earning some extra change as a substitute teacher, Paeter has been able to take a little bit of work with him. Not for Dark Ritual unfortunately, but Paeter has been able to continue script adaptation for "Similitude Of A Dream", Spirit Blade Productions' next big project after "Dark Ritual"!
It's in the infant stages of development, but "Similitude" will likely have a flavor very different from the Spirit Blade saga. We're not sure yet if we'll say it's "based on" or just "inspired by" John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress", but at the very least, our story will aim to be faithful to the messages and life lessons found in the classic allegory. More as that project develops!
Have a great weekend and don't forget about our podcast! New episodes go up by end of day Saturday, every week!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Okay, so we don't have a "Fan Of The Week" award here, but if we did, then this week it would go to Colin Snow! Colin's a regular listener of the podcast, and one of the most enthusiastic fans of Spirit Blade I've had the pleasure to interact with.
A few days ago, out of either boredom, insanity or just for the fun of it, he made some video recordings of himself singing along to some of his favorite songs. I was thrilled and flattered to learn that he included three Spirit Blade songs in his impromptu YouTube concert.
So be sure to check out Colin's energized performance and give him a big hand for being brave enough to turn on the camera, throw caution to the wind and just have some fun!
Deadly Game- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt52P7QQ31M
The Reason (Studio Version)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYsl1puHol8
And for ALL of Colin's singing videos, go to http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=ColinSnow
Monday, September 24, 2007
The Creator of all space and time allows himself to be put on trial by the tiny human insects that he created. This reality alone is incredible to stop and think about.
Jesus' mission approaches the end as we look at this chapter.
Once again, Jesus affirms his identity as God by echoing Exodus 3:14, where God introduced himself to Moses, saying that his name is "I Am". We don't know exactly what caused the men here to fall backward upon hearing Jesus say this, but it seems clear that he wasn't simply verifying that he was "Jesus of Nazareth".
Peter, zealous as ever, still had his own agenda in mind and hadn't allowed himself to consider that this was all part of Jesus' plan. Another reminder to us that our passion, without truth, can lead us away from God's agenda, even though we may feel as if we're serving him. In any case, we see that Peter's zeal was no substitute for a mature faith, as he later denied any connection to Jesus three times in this one night.
The high priest, Annas, began asking Jesus questions, probably in an effort to get him to incriminate himself. They hadn't found any success in building a case against him, even through the use of false witnesses(see Mark 14:55-59). Jesus' response communicated that they weren't going to hear anything different from him tonight that they could use against him. Jesus maintained consistency of character and teaching, and required the high priest to build a case against him based on what Jesus had already said.
Even later in front of Pilate, a local government official, the case against Jesus was unconvinicing. When Pilate asks what Jesus' crime was, the crowd's first answer is "We wouldn't have brought him to you if he wasn't a criminal."(Verse 29-30) They avoided the question altogether!
Pilate asked if Jesus was "king of the Jews". When Jesus asked Pilate about the origin of this question, he was probably doing so to clarify the issue before answering. At the time, Israel was ruled by the Roman empire, and Pilate was a local official representing Rome. So if Pilate asked as a Roman official, he would be asking if Jesus was going to start an uprising against Rome. If he was asking as a Jew, he would be asking if Jesus was the Messianic King.
More clearly here than anywhere else in scripture, Jesus affirms the importance of truth. In verse 37 he says "for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
Pilate then asks a question that is possibly more relevant today than it has ever been: "What is truth?"
With so many different beliefs about God and spirituality in the world, it can be hard to determine where the truth can be found. But Jesus grabs our attention here and communicates that those who genuinely value truth will listen to what he says. A startling statement that feels very "intolerant" to our modern ears. Because it stands to reason that if all who value truth listen to what Jesus says, then those who do not listen to what Jesus says, do not value truth.
Although Jesus' love for and acceptance of sinners is very clear in scripture, he also very clearly draws some lines that separate people into one of two categories.
The implication here is clear. If we don't listen to Jesus, we're making a big mistake.
Coffee House Question
: If you could sit down and ask Jesus one question, what would it be?
Next week: Jesus' mission comes to a close as we watch him sentenced, crucified and buried.
Respond to our Coffee House Question by leaving a comment here, e-mailing Paeter (firstname.lastname@example.org) or recording your message at paetersbrain.blogspot.com or paeter.libsyn.com!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Part of the "Grindhouse" double feature, this film by Quentin Tarantino ALMOST stars Kurt Russell.
Despite getting top billing for the movie, Russell appears on screen far too little to save this movie from being the usual dialogue heavy mess of pointless chatter that I've come to expect from this director. The novelty of recreating a B-movie from the double feature days of cinema wasn't enough to keep me from fast-forwarding a lot, either. I simply didn't care about the drug/sex/shallow-relationship conversation topics that ran rampant through every scene.
My interest was in Russell's character. When he did appear on screen, Russell was fantastic. He's a bad guy that you love to... well, love to love. At least for me. His charm and wit sweep you along into having fun right next to him. At least for a few minutes until you once again become bored and fast-forward through the meaningless dialogue in the rest of the film.
The crash sequences were very intense and gruesome and Russell's defeat is frickin' hilarious! But none of this was even near good enough to save this waste of film. This could have been a fantastic 40 minute story, with plenty of time to still include Tarantino's few decent jokes. Instead, it seemed like Quentin felt obligated to give us a full-length movie, and so filled the time with pointless chatter and borderline sex-ploitation. There was nothing likeable about any of the female characters in the movie (although I did have a little sympathy for the first girl to be killed) and they were given far too much screen-time.
I honestly can't tell you if there was anything meaningful in the dialogue of this picture. After suffering through 15 minutes of non-stop nothingness, I developed the habit of skipping any non-Russell scenes. A waste of my cash, my time and Russell's talent.
(Part of double feature. Individual MPAA rating not available on IMDB.)
Relevance: 2.0/10 (I'm being generous since I didn't sit and listen to every word.)
This week has proven to be a great opportunity to catch up on scene mixing. A few delays in sound design and a couple paying gigs kept Paeter from staying on schedule last week, but this week was mostly free of distraction.
There are 37 scenes in total for "Dark Ritual" and today we begin work on scene 9. It's still too difficult to give an estimate on the project's completion date, as some scenes require very little effort and others require multiple days of work. These are usually action sequences, although this time around we're layering more foley into standard dialogue scenes as well.
Scene 9 is one of our larger action sequences for "Dark Ritual", but once completed, we plan to preview it on the podcast.
Speaking of which, if you're a podcast listener, or you've been following our weekly journey through The Gospel Of John, you may have noticed that in a few more weeks we will finish the 21st and final chapter of our current book and will be ready to pick up another book of the Bible and begin a new journey.
We'd like you to have some input on which book we look at next. Although we're interested in doing an Old Testament book at some point in the future, we'd like to stay in the New Testament for now.
At this point we're considering:
Galatians, the Apostle Paul's first letter, which focuses on teaching that salvation is not accomplished by being a "good enough person". (6 chapters long)
Acts, a history of how the first Christians started meeting together for worship and organized themselves into local churches. It also serves as an "origin story" for the Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament. Should we look at Acts, we would go through the first 14 chapters and then take a break to look at another book, possibily Galatians, since chronologically it falls right after the events in Acts chapter 14. If readers and listeners enjoy this pattern, we may consider continuing in this way through Acts, taking breaks when appropriate to read other books of the Bible chronologically. (28 chapters long)
Romans, a letter from Paul considered to be among the most complex material in the entire Bible. Incredibly packed with information, this book summarizes a great deal of Christian beliefs. We'll never be able to give each chapter the time and detailed study they deserve in our "chapter a week" format, but this letter is an incredibly valuable book for anyone to read that wants to look more deeply at the Christian faith. And don't worry, it's not near as intimidating as it sounds! (16 chapters long)
Matthew, an account of Jesus' life that is out of chronological order, instead placing emphasis on what he taught and his fulfillment of Messianic prophecy. (28 chapters long)
Send Paeter your vote at email@example.com and we'll see where we head next!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Partially master-minded by Bruce Timm, the man who brought us all things "DC Animated" since the 90's "Batman: The Animated Series", this film should have been better than it was.
The animation was not much better (if at all) than the Justice League or Superman animated tv shows, and I've enjoyed multi-episode story arcs from both shows more than I enjoyed this film. Although the aim was to re-tell the classic story of Superman's death and return, the script strayed too far from the source material to bring any of the magic of the comic book to life.
Now, I'm a reasonable comic book fan. The cast of characters in the comic book story was FAR too big to include here. And they must have felt they didn't have time to do the "Reign of the Supermen" story. In it's place, we have a pretty uncreative story of Lex Luthor creating a clone of Superman to do his bidding in the absence of the real McCoy. But even a nod to the Eradicator by using his Superman costume for the clone would have been nice.
Instead we have a ho-hum fight with Doomsday (and this is due largely to mediocre animation), an odd mix of Lois KIND OF knowing Superman is Clark and at the same time not, and an "evil Superman" plot that feels like a real disappointment compared to the original story concept. With great animation coming from the line of Marvel animated movies, this offering from DC falls incredibly short. I purchased it only because no Blockbuster in my city is carrying it. Good for them.
Despite all of these failures, I really loved this DVD. The reason? The special features! Namely the documentary about the creation of the original comic book storyline. I thought I knew the hows and whys of DC's choice to kill Superman, but I didn't know the half of it. Here's a hint. "Lois and Clark" the TV show, actually gets the credit for killing Superman, even though he was killed in the comics before the first episode aired!! Curious how it came about? I couldn't believe it myself!
The documentary runs about an hour and kept me glued to my seat as the writers and editors of DC (at the time of the "death" story arc) all returned to tell the amazing tale. Some of the writers even get choked up as they talk about the "Death Of Superman" story, and I'll admit, I wiped away a couple tears as well while I was reminded of the great drama that grabbed us from the comic pages in the fall of 1992. The documentary also does a great job of taking you back in time to when the events unfolded on the news and in mainstream newspapers and magazines. This documentary alone makes the purchase valid for me.
Also included is an exciting preview for DC's next animated feature, "Justice League: The New Frontier". This project looks MUCH more promising in terms of animation quality. This mini-documentary on the making of New Frontier may be included on that project's DVD, but it's still very enjoyable to watch.
In terms of Relevance, watching the "Death" documentary with another comic fan may allow opportunity to discuss the definition of heroism, or to draw comparisons to Christ.
I re-cast the role with a boy who is actually a year younger then Michael was when he recorded for David in "Spirit Blade". Although I believe our new David will be wonderful, I had some concern over the slightly higher pitch of his voice, until yesterday when I experimented with pitch manipulation.
Too much, and his voice would sound funny, but I discovered that if I lower the pitch of all of David's lines in "Dark Ritual" by one half step, it slightly thickens up his sound, simulating a boy's voice that is changing, but doing so slowly, as mine did, without all the cracking and breaking in tone. So that was a very fun discovery.
Raan is also more cybernetic than ever. I've dug up more servo sounds and even created my own using various household appliances. I also blended some pre-recorded sounds and my own original servo effects to create "walking" sounds for Raan. I drew some inspiration from the sounds of Robocop as he would walk around in the first film.
Today, after creating a few more original foley effects, I'll be settling in to work on a high octane action sequence that I think will be very memorable, but will take a good amount of work.
When I'm finished, it will be a scene that I will definately preview on the podcast.
Hope you're all having a great week!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Last Saturday night the Sci-fi channel premiered "Highlander: The Source". Although "sci-fi original movies" are usually terrible, this one was not produced directly by the sci-fi channel, and so does not bear the same curse as classics like Frankenfish, Mansquito and Megasnake.
This latest film in the Highlander franchise takes place in the near future and follows Duncan Mcleod and several other characters on a quest to discover the source of the immortals powers. For those fearing a repeat of the mistakes made in Highlander 2, be not afraid! Brett Leonard directs this direct to TV/DVD release and delivers a great product in several respects.
First of all, the film has a unique visual style that constantly reminds the viewer that they are entering a realm of mystery and power. Leonard uses filming techniques that rely more on creativity than flashy effects, although the movie still has a few of those. The sword fights are not the lavish, epic affairs that fans have come to expect from the previous films and a few of the TV show's episodes, but never has the myth of the immortals felt more mystical and mysterious.
The performances brought to the project by Adrian Paul (Mcleod) and Jim Byrnes (Joe Dawson) are among the best we've seen from them. Peter Wingfield is also prominent in the story as the fan-favorite ancient immortal, Methos. In general, the cast as a whole did a fine job. Cristian Solimeno played the villain of this story, known as "The Guardian", a cursed immortal with powers that rise far above even the mightiest immortal we've ever seen in the franchise. This devastating foe makes a great villain, and though he draws a little from the waters of Clancy Brown's performance, he certainly makes the role his own. (Unlike the ridiculous Mario Van Peebles immortal in Highlander 3)
The downsides in this film are not hugely significant, but should be mentioned. First, it is a direct to video release, and so doesn't quite have the budget you'd like to see for this kind of film. However, as I mentioned earlier, the director did a great job of making it almost a non-issue. About half-way through, the movie begins to suffer from "Queen" songs being covered by other bands and it just feels odd. Maybe they thought this nod to the origins of "Highlander" would help fans adjust to the new feel of the franchise that seems to begin here, but instead it felt awkward and very forced. The film also suffers from an ending that feels a little anti-climactic. Not a serious problem if you're aware that this is the first film in a new Highlander trilogy. But if "The Source" doesn't succeed and the other two aren't made, this movie will be a really weak ending to the franchise. Lastly, as I mentioned, the sword fights in this movie don't break any records, but they service the movie well enough.
The greatest weakness may be that the film takes the franchise in such a different direction, stylistically. Fans expecting more of the same will be disappointed. I, however, am very pleased with this breath of fresh air into the mythos. There are only so many sword fights, flashbacks(of which this film has surprisingly none), romances and quickenings that you can create before it all gets formulaic. This movie is exactly what the franchise needs and I greatly hope that both old fans and new will embrace it.
In terms of meaningful dialogue that might result from watching this film with others, take careful note of the character Giovanni. It's clear that he represents the writer's view of many "Christians". Giovanni is an immortal that seems to work at the Vatican or something else connected to the Roman Catholic church. He is devout but self-righteous and self-serving. When the group of immortals is in a bind (literally) he says, "God would never allow this to happen to a true Christian." To which Methos, tied up near him replies, "Giovanni, I've seen Christ. I watched him teach and I saw him heal. And you, you self-righteous son of a b****, are no Christian!"
In another scene, Giovanni refuses to believe something told to him about the legend of the source, declaring "This is blasphemy." To which another character shouts, "This... is truth!"
In both of these there is room to talk about the true nature of following Christ (doing so devoutly, but while loving others deeply) and the nature of truth and our responsibility to constantly explore and test new information without letting our dogmatic traditions automatically rule out what may be truth.
If you're a fan of Highlander, you simply can't miss this movie. Check your local listings as the sci-fi channel will be broadcasting it again soon! I'm not sure when this movie will be released on DVD, but I will definitely be grabbing a copy. Meanwhile, I'm steadily completing my collection of the Highlander TV series by looking for Season three on DVD next!
Rated R for violence and some language
The nature of God as three persons and yet one God is one of the great mysteries of the Bible. As Jesus prays in this chapter, we gain a little understanding of how Jesus and the Father relate to each other. Although Jesus is just as much God as the Father is, he is a willing servant of the Father. And the Father is the one delegating authority. We see this kind of "servant language" from Jesus throughout his prayer in this chapter.
In verse three, Jesus again affirms that belief in both God and himself is the way to have eternal life. (We just can't seem to separate Jesus from his exclusive claims, can we?)
Starting in verse 9, Jesus shifts away from the topic of his coming death, and begins to focus on his followers who will be left behind. He asks the Father to keep them united (v.11) and away from the evil one (v.15) while still in the world. Notice that although Jesus wants his followers to have his "joy"(v.13), his focus is not on their comfort. Christ's agenda is that we be "sanctified" or made "holy". When something is sanctified or made holy, it means that it is set apart for the purposes of God. Jesus wants us to have the fulfillment of serving the ultimate purpose, the ultimate cause: God himself. So how do we become "set apart for the purposes of God"? Jesus states it clearly and simply. "Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth."(v.17) If we want to be "spiritual" people, it's clear that we need to spend time reading and exploring the Bible, our greatest source of absolute truth.
In verse 20, Jesus extends the focus of his prayer to all who will ever trust in him because of the disciples that were currently with him. (That's all of us that trust in him today!) Jesus prays that future believers will be united together and united with God. How sad it is, then, that we don't see more unity between Christian denominations today. In a few broad strokes we do. Christians will come together for conferences and seminars, camps and concerts. Christians from every denomination also come together and fund organizations like Compassion International, providing food, vocational training and Bible teaching to children in poverty all over the world. But there is still a feeling all too common at the local church level of separation and sometimes even a feeling of competition! "Well, if they want to do THAT, they can just go on over to blah blah church. But WE'RE going to do things different!"
Hopefully we will see a change in climate as the rising generation becomes tomorrow's church leaders. Hopefully we'll see more partnership at the local church level as communities of believers come together to impact the lives of those in their neighborhoods. The more Christians are united in their love for each other and their service of God, the more that the world will know who Jesus really is! (v.23)
Coffee House Question
: When was the last time you did something where you felt strongly united to others?
Just four more weeks in The Gospel Of John! Have another book of the Bible you'd like us to go through? Send your vote to firstname.lastname@example.org !
See you next week for Chapter 18, where God himself is betrayed, captured and put on trial by the very creatures he made!
Friday, September 14, 2007
The scene will be the first of several crazy and imaginative action sequences in the project. We're making every effort to bring you an even more action packed and intense experience than we did with "Spirit Blade", and although we've got our work cut out for us, we're enjoying the opportunity for a challenge!
If you missed last week's podcast, be sure to go back and check it out! We previewed the very first scene for "Dark Ritual" on the show! Of course we can't give EVERYTHING away on our podcast, but stay tuned in the weeks to come for more scene previews and other goodies!
Have a great weekend!
The Spirit Blade Underground Podcast: http://paeter.libsyn.com
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
This week was my first week back and I was reminded of the poor reading level that is now common to so many of the high schoolers I work with. They seem disenchanted with books and often say, "I'll just look it up online when I get home."
As my wife and I step into the role of parents, I'm compelled to renew my vow that our children will be readers. In a culture that increasingly accepts fiction as a source of philosophical truth, and becomes informed by news programs so often accompanied by personal commentary, we'll need a generation of people that are interested in seeking truth out for themselves.
Maybe most people CAN struggle through reading just about anything. But it's not that they CAN'T read. It is that they don't ENJOY reading, or find the very act of reading to be a chore. Instead, they'd rather "see the movie" or watch the discovery channel. So the power is placed in the hands of writers and producers of documentaries, television and film, to shape the minds of tomorrow's leaders. When really, tomorrow's leaders ought to be shaping their own minds, today.
So if you look at the world around you and see ideas and values that you fear will distort the perspective of the rising generation, join me in grabbing a book and reading. Read by yourself, read to your kids. Fiction or non-fiction. Turn off the TV (or even an audio drama!) and engage your mind more fully.
The future will owe you a debt of gratitude.
And now, I have a chapter from my fantasy novel to finish before bed!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Jesus warns his followers that they will be outcasts and the victims of murderers who believe they are serving God. But despite this dark shadow of the future, Jesus also promises the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' physical body, he can only be in one place at a time, but through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is omni-present.
It's interesting to note that Jesus considers a lack of belief in him sinful. (verse 9) And it's a real comfort to note that because of what Jesus was about to do, humans can be considered righteous in God's eyes. This is hinted at in verse 10.
Something worth remembering is that the Holy Spirit is more than once referred to as "The Spirit Of Truth". Jesus said the Holy Spirit will guide us "into all truth" and that he won't be just "presenting his own ideas", but will represent Christ in the world. Sometimes a very spiritual sounding movement will claim divine inspiration. Whether the movement has its origins in Christianity or elsewhere, based on what Christ says here we can know that if a spiritual movement or teaching of some kind in any way contradicts the teachings of Jesus, it's not really from God, since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of TRUTH and is in this world to represent Christ.
Jesus presents several sources of comfort for his followers(this includes his followers today!), in anticipation of the difficulty they will have in life.
1. Jesus promises the presence of the Holy Spirit (v. 5-15)
2. Jesus says that because of their connection to him, they can pray directly to God the Father, without need of anyone like a pastor or priest to speak to God for them. (v. 22-27)
3. Jesus reminds his followers that despite their difficulties in life, he has already overcome all the evil in this world, winning for us the ultimate victory, and saving us from the ultimate punishment. So when we experience pain, we can experience peace by remembering that all pain in this life is temporary, and because of Christ a time will come when those who love and follow him will never have fear or pain again.
If you've been having some frustration lately in your life, hopefully these verses will remind you that God is not interested in being cold and distant, but wants us to be close to him all the time, finding comfort and support.
Come back next Monday for our look at Chapter 17 and learn how Jesus prayed!
Coffee House Question
: When was the last time you felt like the "odd man out" because of something you believe?
Friday, September 7, 2007
I'll be the first to tell you that I'm constantly learning when it comes to the computer/software side of what I'm doing. Just yesterday I finally figured out how to properly use my editing software to record audio. Until now, I've been using a rinky-dink $20 program from 2001 to record all of my audio, but yesterday I finally figured out what I needed to do so that I can record from inside "Sonar", the program I use to edit and mix my sound files. I also purchased an mp3 encoder for "Sonar" so that I can work with high quality mp3 instead of wav, which will allow me to save up to two-thirds of my hard drive space without sacrificing any sound quality.
I've also (nearly) finished work on the introductory scene for "Dark Ritual" and am picking up speed. My goal is to complete three scenes per week, on average. I may be setting the bar too high, but I'm going to give it my all and see how things are looking at the end of this month. At that time, I should be able to project a pretty accurate release date and re-post the countdown ticker for "Dark Ritual".
It's exciting to be getting better at this and learning from my mistakes. This project will have its fair share of challenges, but my desire is to make each Spirit Blade Productions project better than the one before it. I'll let all of you be the final judge, but I'll tell you right now that I'm predicitng some exciting improvements!
Once I've got a few more scenes completed, I will preview some of them on the podcast. So if you haven't subscribed yet, now's the time to get on board! New epsiodes are posted weekly on Saturdays. Check it out at: http://paeter.libsyn.com/
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
This week I'm trying to organize my work schedule a little more. Now that the main cast is finished recording(and it will only be a few weeks before I have dialogue from supporting roles as well), mixing has become my primary concern. But at the same time, I see the ever increasing need to network online, establishing a presence for Spirit Blade Productions on sites like MySpace, ThyWorks and other networking systems.
I was telling my wife yesterday that it's very difficult for me to leave something undone. Particularily if it's a creative effort. The most recent example is the work I'm putting into the Spirit Blade Productions MySpace page. It's coming along slowly. And it was very difficult to stop working on it on Monday. But I know that if I keep working on it until it's done, I'll slow production on "Dark Ritual", which I refuse to do.
So this week I'm trying to plan my work days a little more so that I can put a project(like the MySpace page) down, knowing exactly when I'll be picking it up again. This kind of planning and organization is not my strength, but I'll probably sleep a little better at night after mapping a few things out.
You'll notice the countdown ticker to "Dark Ritual" has been removed. I'm also hoping to have a better handle on knowing when "Dark Ritual" will be available, and streamlining my work schedule will help me to do that. The countdown will return, and hopefully without a dramatic change in time-table. But I wanted to remove it until I have a strong idea of the release date.
I'd love to have your prayers as I work through optimizing my efficiency. I want to give my time to the people and tasks on God's agenda, not just the checklist on my agenda. And determining the difference between the two is a constant challenge.
Thanks for all of your support! I hope you're doing well and living life on purpose!
Monday, September 3, 2007
Have you read Chapter 15 yet? If not, take a miunte and catch up with us before continuing. Or else you'll miss out on reading the most valuable words of the day!
Jesus continues to make it clear that he is more important than any teacher or even human that ever lived. He says that apart from him, his followers can do nothing. In fact, he says that anyone who does not remain in him will be thrown away and burned. Very hard words to read and think about! On the other hand, those that remain close to Jesus will have meaningful, productive lives that will show other people how amazing God really is! Two very different sides of a singular choice that we all make, and continue to make every day.
Jesus emphasizes his desire for his followers to remain in a loving relationship with him. He doesn't want anyone to be separated from God, and would love for everyone to have a perfect and lasting relationship with him. He wants our lives to be overflowing with a sense of joy like we have never known! And he knows this will happen if we obey him.
Obedience to God isn't always fun. In fact, much of the time it can be difficult. But Jesus knows that obedience is the pathway to an unstoppable joy! If we were simply obeying a pastor or priest, it would be a meaningless chore. But God knows absolutely what is best for us. He knows exactly how we will find ultimate fulfillment, because he designed us himself! So it should make perfect sense that by recalibrating ourselves toward the designer's original pupose, we'll "function" the way we were meant to and fulfill the purpose of our design! Have you ever wanted to feel a sense of fulfillment and purpose in your life? The key presented in scripture is to follow Christ and become continually closer to him and his teaching.
Another amazing facet of this chapter is that Jesus calls his followers "friends". Think about that for a second. If you have put your trust in Christ and are endeavoring to follow him daily, you are God's friend! Not just a servant, but someone that he has chosen to bring close to him and confide in! And Jesus modeled ultimate friendship for us when he gave up his live so that we could live with him forever.
Although it's very likely you'll never be asked to die in place of someone you know, can you think of a way that you can "lay down your life" (or set aside your self-interests) for someone you know today?
Finally, we listen as Jesus comments on his relationship to the rest of the world, and in turn, our relationship to the rest of the world. The nature of Jesus' message is that some will embrace it and others will in some way be offended by it. There's not much room for indifference once you undersatand the totality of what Jesus said during his time on earth. And those that are offended by what Jesus taught will also be offended by the people who believe in it.
However, let's be clear that the reality of this situation does not give Christians permission to be antagonistic or play the victim. After all, the true battle has already been won and we are "more than conquerors" in this life.(Read Romans 8:35-39 for a very encouraging reminder of this!) Not conquerors over other people, but over the pain and fear that might try to make us feel removed from God.
Not only that, but we have an ally in life: Our Counselor, the Spirit of truth. He will help us understand God's word and know Jesus more and more throughout life, if we'll take time and learn from him.
If you're feeling alone or misunderstood this week, remember that God wants to have a very personal relationship with you. He loves you more than anyone possibly can and wants you to know the incredible joy found through loving and living with him.
Coffee House Question: What would be your idea of a true friend?
Don't forget to read Chapter 16 for next week!