Monday, June 30, 2008

In Search Of Truth


Acts, Chapter 16

The first five verses of this chapter deal with Paul and Silas revisiting some of the towns that Paul had preached in before.

Along the way they met a young man, possibly in his teens, named Timothy, who would become an important and long-lasting friend to Paul. Paul was obviously impressed with him, as was the surrounding community. But since Paul knew they would likely encounter legalistic Jews, Paul had Timothy circumcised, presumably so that Timothy would not lose credibility with the Jews they were trying to communicate the truth to.

The trio continues on, delivering the Jerusalem council's response to legalism to the nearby churches that Paul had been to before. It's a cool and "edgy" idea today to rebel against systems of authority. The word "accountability" makes us feel confined, or judged. While no leadership on earth is perfect, and human leaders should not expect to avoid questioning, we also see here that as a result of these churches' accountability to the council in Jerusalem, they were "strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers."(verse 5) There's certainly nothing wrong with testing the words of our leaders, but it would seem we shouldn't automatically rule them out, either.

Something interesting happens in verses 6-8. Paul and Silas chose the area of Phrygia and Galatia, not because God clearly said, "go there", but because he told them where NOT to go. The rest was educated and prayerful guessing. They saw Mysia coming up and knew it was technically part of Asia Minor(which they were supposed to avoid), so veered away to Bithynia in the north. But Jesus didn’t want them there, either.

At times, these great men, in line with God’s will, were confused wanderers, having NO idea what was coming next, but trusting that they were in the will of God because they kept their eyes on the mission God had given them: Create disciples, who would create disciples, who would create disciples… Very often we don't get the specific direction from God that we would like. "Should I quit this job? Sell this house? Start this ministry?" We may try things out that we believe are in the will of God, only to see them fall apart. We can take comfort in knowing that this happened to Paul, too. And while it may seem less than productive to us, these aren't "detours" from God's plan. Paul used what knowledge he had available to make wise decisions and made serving God and others his number one priority. He hit some U-turns, and so will we, but this is a simple formula that anyone can honor God with.

Later, Paul forces a fortune-telling demon out of a slave girl who had been making money for her owners with her demonic ability. (Although the demon spoke the truth regarding Paul's identity and purpose, it was likely a distraction that made it difficult for Paul and the others to build relationships with those they met. This probably led to Paul's frustration, followed by the excorcism.) Having lost a good source of income, the slave owners slandered Paul and company and had them beaten and thrown in jail.

In the middle of the night, an earthquake rocks the prison. All cells are opened and manacles break free. The lone guard wakes up, sees the damage and assumes the worst: He feel asleep on the job and the prisoners escaped!

Assuming his life would effectively be over anyway for neglecting his duties, he prepares to kill himself. Amazingly, Paul and friends haven't left the prison and quickly tell the guard not to kill himself. This must have spoken volumes to the guard. How could they not have taken advantage of this kind of impossible opportunity to escape? He seemed to recognize that these men had something about them that he needed to have, too.

Before the night was done, the guard and his family had become believers in Christ. Now for the twist at the end of this tale. When the authorities release Paul and company in the morning, they find out that they are citizens of Rome. Beating a Roman citizen without trial is illegal. (You can verify this by jumping ahead to Acts 22:25) Paul knew this. He and his friends had a "get out of jail free card" that they could have used at any time. Before the first lash hit their backs, before the stocks were put on their feet, or anytime overnight in prison. But somewhere in this, Paul and his partners saw an opportunity to share the truth in a powerful way, and so willingly accepted the suffering they knew would come! Wow.

Next Time: Searching For Truth In "Spirit Blade: Chapter 3"!

Coffee House Question

What "detours" in your life can you think of that God took you through before establishing you in something? Are you experiencing a "detour" now?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The End Is Near!


No, we haven't received notification of the world's destruction, but Paeter IS working on scene 30 out of 36 scenes. (Scene 32 is a song that's already completed, and scene 35 is the end credits sequence. So there's even less work left than it sounds like!) Out of 66 pages, only 6 and 1/2 pages of script remain to be mixed! Two songs also remain, one of which is about 1/3rd complete. After the rough mix on the scenes are finished, we'll be finalizing our musical score purchases and mixing them in as well.

Paeter is aiming to have a version completed by August 13th. At this time, the mastering process will begin and will hopefully not last more than 2-4 weeks. Although we had once hoped for a summer release, things are shaping up for an early fall release instead. As always, we'll keep you posted!

In the meantime, tell a friend about our podcast! Chapter 2 of "Spirit Blade" is playing this weekend, and by the time we've played all chapters of "Spirit Blade", we'll probably have just a few weeks before "Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual" is released! And if you haven't done so yet, remember to come back here after listening to each Chapter of "Spirit Blade". Each Monday before a chapter airs on the podcast, we're highlighting the philosophical and Biblical truth from the story in our "In Search Of Truth" weekly post! Bring a friend and join the discussion!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Psalm 5

IMG_0545 Today I found myself in Psalm 5. In several ways it captured where I'm at this morning, so I thought I'd share a few spots that jumped out.

Many Psalms refer to enemies, and while I can't think of anyone in my life that would fit that term, I believe that there are plenty of enemies in the spiritual world for me. Not to mention my own sinful tendency, probably my greatest enemy.

Although not necessarily written to be interpreted this way, I often find Psalms that more clearly express what I'm going through if I put them through that filter. Suddenly the Psalms become very easy to "pray along with" as I read them. Maybe you'll find the same to be true in your experience.

Psa 5:3  

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Psa 5:7  Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; with deepest awe I will worship at your Temple.
Psa 5:8  

Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Tell me clearly what to do, and show me which way to turn.

Psa 5:11  But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Protect them, so all who love your name may be filled with joy.
Psa 5:12  For you bless the godly, O Lord, surrounding them with your shield of love.

Monday, June 23, 2008

In Search Of Truth


Looking At Truth In "Spirit Blade- Chapter 2"

In what ways might the daily events and choices in your life be similar to a battle fought in war? In what way can the results of those choices be the same as the outcome of a battlefield encounter?

In the song "Soldiers", the chief metaphor is a military one. But although this is reflected in the Bible, we should be careful never to view other people as the enemy in the battle for what is right. Isaiah quotes Ephesians 6:10-12 to identify the true nature of this "spiritual warfare".

Ephesians 6:10-12 - A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

In verses 13-17 of Ephesians 6, the author uses the military metaphor to describe how we can prepare for the unseen spiritual battles we face every day. And the first peice of equipment mentioned is a "belt of truth". If we don't start with truth and give it the ultimate value in our lives, every other peice of equipment will just slide and fall right off of us. Without the existence of absolute truth, nothing is certain and nothing can have definitive purpose or value.

So what is absolute truth? Absolute truth is that which is actual and conforms to reality. It is the same for everyone and is completely unaffected by the beliefs of groups or individuals. This analytical and logical view of truth has been the universal basis for learning in the areas of science, history, mathematics, linguistics and any other number of fields.

The idea of "relative truth" claims that each individual somehow creates truth for themselves, allowing for multiple contradicting beliefs to simultaneously be true. Although on the surface, this idea can feel welcoming and tolerant, when examined logically it falls apart. If the individual creates his/her own reality, then the individual becomes more powerful than the god/higher-power they create, making worship of such a being pointless. Self-centeredness is the outcome.

We might also ask ourselves why we choose to use a different system of thinking when it comes to spiritual matters, compared to the way we process information in every other area of learning? Does this make any sense? Or are we simply avoiding real confrontation of these issues because they bring us discomfort to think about and discuss?

Maybe that discomfort is worth it. Most religions include a solution of some kind to the problem of death. The latest studies show that 10 out of 10 people will die. This is a real problem. As real as it gets. If we want to deal with it, we'll need real answers. Not ideas that help us avoid the issue and make us feel good for now, but answers that are just as real as the fact of death.

We might conclude that God will be content if we are sincere in our beliefs, whatever they may be. But God values absolute truth more than anyone! Every good thing we are capable of enjoying in life ultimately comes from him. And when we don't acknowledge him, or give someone/something else the credit instead, he understandably finds that ungrateful response to be offensive.

It's true that God will let us believe whatever we want:

Romans 1:21-25 (NLT) Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes. So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.

But ultimately, God wants more than sincerity from us. A sincere belief in something sincerely wrong doesn't count for anything where God is concerned:

Acts 17: 29-31 (NLT) And since this is true, we shouldn't think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. God overlooked people's former ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone everywhere to turn away from idols and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.

Isaiah and the members of the liberation are looking for real answers. They're tired of just thinking good thoughts and living in denial. They want to know as much as they can about how the universe works, who is in charge, and what their roles are as individuals. The answers on this journey don't come quick or easy. They shouldn't be oversimplified and will usually come with a cost. Usually the cost is our own comfort. But the reward is more than just a nice thought to help us sleep at night. The reward is real.

As you listen to Chapter 2 of "Spirit Blade", we'll leave you with some questions to ponder:

What do you think Isaiah meant when he said, "To even say 'truth is not absolute' is a statement of absolute truth'?"

What might a spiritual decision or "faith" have in common with a high stakes bet?

What might you do (legally, of course) to ensure placing the right bet on a sports team, or a race? Can you do the same thing to ensure a good choice of spiritual belief? How?

Why do you think Isaiah wanted Merikk to make his decision of belief with both his heart and his mind? What would be wrong with making a decision like this with just one or the other?

Next Week: Paul and Silas Do Time In The Slammer! (Acts Chapter 16)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Progress Report

Dr_cover_proj_pg200 This week, Paeter is working on scene 29 out of 36, as well as the song "Silence". We're excited to be using a live Cello for this song and think it will create a unique flavor within the context of the largely electronic music in "Dark Ritual".

Scene 29 is the second part of our climax which, as a whole, takes place over the course of four scenes. Huge revelations, shocking events, explosive action and soon, the reason we keep saying "no one is safe". It's all coming to a high point, but not without some devestating lows.

Some new scoring options have presented themselves that we will be looking into. Although we're using temporary scoring during the mixing process, we've decided to wait on final purchases of music until all other elements in "Dark Ritual" are finished being mixed. We will then choose the options that sound the best and try to save some money by purchasing them all at once. We've got some great music to choose from and believe that the result will be a cinematic quality that considerably raises the standard for our productions.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Incredible Hulk (Review)

With a new cast, new director, new studio (Marvel Studios), new origin and new focus, "The Incredible Hulk" set out to re-launch the franchise for the Green Goliath. From the very beginning it's obvious that we're meant to forget that Ang Lee's film ever screened in theaters.

Through fragmented flashbacks in the opening titles, supported by exposition later in the film, the origin of Bruce Banner's "anger issue" is revamped. While it's still possible Bruce had a bad childhood, the film doesn't spend the amount of time examining Banner's brain that the first film did, and thankfully so. The angst in this film is based much more on his relationship with Betty Ross.

Character is given just enough attention to draw you into the story, but it seems clear that after Lee's film they wanted to spend more time on action.

And the action is pretty good. Nothing mind-blowing, but more fast and intense than the first film. The down side on the action, particularly late in the film, is that it involves lots of CGI. As cool as the Hulk looks, he doesn't often look like he's real. Detailed, yes. But something about CGI still gives itself away and this movie is no exception. I actually felt there were more moments in the first movie when the Hulk looked real. Usually (as in this film) when he's not moving. My theory is that studios need to develop more realistic motion capture or animation for CGI to really fool audiences.

Comic book fans will enjoy the numerous references to the Marvel Universe. One ally and one villain from the Hulk comics make significant appearances in this film, though not yet with their super powers. Although for at least one of them, the door is clearly opened for their super-powered involvement in the next Hulk flick. Perceptive fans may also notice a reference to Dr. Reinstein's super-soldier formula (responsible for creating Captain America).

The performances turned in were very good, though no award winners here. The script didn't demand much of them either. With moments of humanity that make the film worth investing in, much of the movie is a combination of chase scenes, slug-fests and mayhem in general. Definitely enjoyable for comic fans and folks in the mundane world as well. Still not as good as Iron man. But lots of fun.

Although superior to the Ang Lee film, I missed one thing from Lee's version. In this film, the Hulk had one uniform size. In Lee's version (and in the comics), the angrier Hulk gets, the larger and stronger he becomes. Small point, but it still would have been cool to keep here.

In terms of philosophical truth, this character and movie tap into the thing that makes so many superheroes resonate with fans. Bruce Banner is the misunderstood guy, loved by a woman who is the only one able to see past the strange monster on the outside. At one time or another, we all see value in ourselves that we wish others would notice, instead of picking out our faults and focusing on them. Secondly, Bruce has to deal with a monster inside of him. We've all got one of those. Pretending that we're naturally good, with defaulted tendencies toward good, will only result in us hurting the ones that we love. Giving in to serving ourselves is easy. Doing what's best for others is hard.

Bruce has to acknowledge the uncontrolled monster inside of himself. He doesn't simply say, "That's just the way I am." He's determined to tackle the beast within and control or destroy it. This is a great model for all of us as we examine ourselves and recognize the natural tendency toward evil that must not remain unchecked.

At the end of the day, this is an enjoyable film that is better than the first, though not by leaps and bounds. Still, most folks should see it and Marvel comic fans should buy the DVD when released.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence, some frightening sci-fi images, and brief suggestive content

Quality: 8.5/10

Relevance: 7.5/10






That's the name of the song I'm currently developing for "Dark Ritual". And no, it's not 3 minutes of nothing.

It's actually a departure from anything I've ever done before. The entire song will be made up almost entirely of vocal sounds. Most will be layers that are clearly voices, but a few will be "instrumental" material created by disguising vocal material with a multitude of effects until it sounds nothing like a human voice.

I've just arranged to have a Cello player record some material for an instrumental bridge, but that will likely be the only non-vocal sound in the song.

The composition is a different process as well. Usually, I create the melody first, inventing the chord structure after the melody has been completely established. Then I record once I have the chord structure figured out. But now I'm recording and mixing the melody before I know what the chord structure will be.

I'm also recording some vocal loops in the same key as the song, but without knowing yet where I may use them. So the recording process is very different for me since I'm basically needing to create all of my "loops" and "synth pads" with my own voice.

So it all feels just a little backward, but it's an enjoyable change of method for me. Speaking of which, I'd better get back to work. See ya!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, June 16, 2008

In Search Of Truth


Acts, Chapter 15

This chapter has some interesting significance for modern Christians, since the majority of us are non-Jews, or as the Bible calls us, Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas had been at the city of Antioch for probably around a year. (During this time Paul wrote "Galatians".) At some point, a group of men came to the city, teaching that men first have to be circumcised before they can be saved by faith in Jesus. After some debate with these men, Paul and Barnabas were sent, by the local church, to Jerusalem, to get input from the apostles and elders regarding this controversial issue.

Surprisingly, there were some among the Jerusalem believers that were also Pharisees. (Pharisees were a group devoted to the Old Testament Law and spent a lot of time examining and reinterpreting it, causing a fair amount of over-emphasis on the law.) They believed the Gentiles should all be circumcised and required to obey the same ceremonial laws as the Jews.

Peter had some personal connection to the issue. You might remember that in Acts 10:28, God made it clear to Peter that there should be no barrier between Jews and Gentiles. In verses 44-48 of the same chapter, Peter and other Jewish Christians saw that Gentiles were also given the Holy Spirit when they believed. Because of these two events, Peter concluded logically that God was not imposing any kind of barrier between himself and non-Jews.

Peter also saw another fatal flaw in the Pharisees' logic: If obedience to the law is even partially required to earn salvation, both Jews and Gentiles are doomed. It's so easy for the simplicity of salvation to be polluted. Peter recognized that this might happen if he didn't speak up, so he strongly stated, "No! We believe it is through the grace (undeserved favor) of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."

Paul and Barnabas use examples from their experiences to support Peter's claim. Then James uses prophetic scripture to do the same, quoting Amos 9:11-12. If you look at this Old Testament passage and compare it to James' quotation, you may notice that it reads a little different. (Grab your Bible and get ready to dig in!)

There are two reasons for this. First, James is quoting from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Second, he has paraphrased a small portion to make his point, something common among Jewish interpreters of the day. However, this isn't done in a

manipulative or deceitful way. There are two changes we can see by looking at the NIV translation. But first we have to understand what a "tent" is.

Amos 9:11-12 is prophecy indicating that God would "restore David's fallen tent". (We would say "house" or "family" to parallel what is meant here by "tent".) David's "house" was restored to its former glory by his descendant, Jesus, who is a king like no other. And he rules like no other king, allowing time for people to willingly submit to him before he eventually brings absolute justice. So when you see "tent" here, think of David's bloodline first, and then think of Jesus. Now, back to the differences between Amos and Acts:

Amos 9 says that the remnant of Edom will be "possessed" by David's bloodline. In the original Hebrew, this word implies a forceful takeover. And this will eventually be the case, when God is finished waiting. (2 Peter 3:9) But James modifies it slightly, probably to reflect the "in between time" that we are currently in, instead saying that "the remnant of men may seek the Lord" during this period. Both versions capture the truth of Jesus' reign, but during different periods of time.

The second change is from "remnant of Edom" in Amos, to "remnant of men" in Acts. The Edomites were enemies of Israel. By saying specifically the "remnant" of Edom, instead of Edom itself, Amos is saying that the enemies of Israel will come under the control of the bloodline of David (meaning Jesus). This will ultimately be fulfilled in the future when Jesus physically returns to the earth. James modifies this slightly, demonstrating that even now, Gentiles, those who were once enemies of Israel, are being included in the kingdom of Jesus.

So James is using this prophecy to say, "Hey guys, what Peter is describing here is in line with what God says he has planned." (Just FYI, Simon is Peter's Hebrew name.) In order to avoid unhealthy conflict with the culture (described in verse 21) surrounding them, the apostles and elders create a short list of activities to avoid. Some of which are part of moral law that should be followed regardless of culture, and some that are purely cultural, but were held to strongly in the Jewish communities. Sometimes, we are to obey laws and customs that God does not require of us, so that we can more easily get along with others. For more on this issue, look at Romans 14 and 1st Corinthians 8.

At the close of this chapter, Paul suggests that he and Barnabas re-visit the towns they'd preached in to see how the local churches were doing. Barnabas wanted to take Mark along, but Paul didn't like the idea because Mark had abandoned them during an earlier trip. The disagreement was so strong that Paul and Barnabas decided to part ways! We don't get any insightful commentary telling us who is right and who is wrong. But we do gain one helpful bit of wisdom: Even in ministry and even among the best of men, conflict happens.

If we look for Christian churches and communities where the people and the leadership never have strong disagreements, we'll be looking forever. The Utopian church does not exist. We can expect a good church to be talking through those disagreements and doing their best to peacefully resolve them, but disagreement should not keep us from being connected to a Biblical church community.

Next Week: Paul and Silas do time in the slammer!

Coffee House Question

What kinds of things do you enjoy that people around you don't seem to understand?

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Spirit Blade" Begins This Weekend!


Later today we'll be playing the first chapter of "Spirit Blade" on our podcast! Paeter will also have a few other brief items to bring up, so be sure to tune in even if you've already listened to our first audio production.

And if you know someone that would enjoy listening to Spirit Blade, but doesn't quite have the change available to purchase the download, this is a great opportunity for them to check it out! We'll be alternating between our normal podcast format and chapters of "Spirit Bade" for the rest of the summer in anticipation of releasing "Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual", so this is a great time to jump on board!

As always, you can buy the complete "Spirit Blade" audio drama in high quality audio in either CD format ($7.99 w/ free shipping in the US) or the digital download for $5.99! That's 2 hours and 25 minutes of high quality audio-cinematic action for an unbelievable price!

And once again, if you'd like to play one or all chapters of "Spirit Blade" on your podcast, send an e-mail request to Paeter Frandsen, at

Thanks for continuing to help us spread the word about "Spirit Blade" all over the web!

We can't move forward without your prayer and involvement, and your support is never taken for granted!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Day "Off"

IMG_0565 I don't get paid days off, so it's not often I take a vacation. Still, I decided it couldn't hurt too much to spend the day with my brother-in-law, geeking out and playing a boardgame for 6 hours straight.

Granted, I didn't quite take the day "off", since I've moved things around this week and done some extra work mixing in the evenings while my wife is working and my son is asleep.

No signs of burnout, and I'd have a tough time slowing down production on Dark Ritual anyway. We're getting so close to the end!

I also finally picked up a new fantasy novel I'm hoping to enjoy. My available reading material has been pretty spotty lately.

So, nothing all that interesting or thought provoking. Just keeping you guys in the loop. I keep this place pretty free of nerdy particulars, but if you ever want the details on my geekiness, be sure to visit "Paeter's Brain".

Thanks for stopping in! Talk atcha later!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, June 9, 2008

In Search Of Truth


Looking At Truth In "Spirit Blade- Chapter One"

Have you ever tried to discover the truth about something that was spiritual in nature? How did you go about doing it?

Did you read, pray, trust in your feelings, or maybe talk to a friend? Do you believe spiritual truth is absolute, whether anyone believes in it or not? Or do you believe there can be many truths, and what is real depends on personal belief?

Merikk is struggling with what he was raised to believe. There's probably a part of him that would really like to just fit in and be like everyone else. Who wants to be an outcast, right? But he can't simply bury the questions he has. He's not interested in believing in something he "feels" may be right "in his heart". He wants to come as close as possible to really knowing the truth about himself, the universe and whatever higher power may be in control of it.

Did you know that God likes it when we ask questions? He wants us to find answers and confront our doubts. God knows what's real and knows who he is, so he's not afraid of our questions. If truth is really true, it has no reason to fear investigation.

Check out these parts of the Bible that support investigation of truth:

Proverbs 25:2 (NIV) It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT) If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. (Emphasis ours)

1 Peter 1:10 (NLT) This salvation was something the prophets wanted to know more about. They prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you, even though they had many questions as to what it all could mean.

Even the Old Testament prophets, who spoke for God himself, had questions and things they had trouble understanding! And searching out truth is an honor worthy of kings! There isn't anything unspiritual about asking questions or having doubts, as long as we follow through and really search for the answers. That's the kind of journey God really wants us to go on!

At this point, Ebony might say, "I'd rather just remain open-minded toward all possible religions and beliefs instead of limiting myself to just one religion." But Merikk isn't interested in finding religion. He's interested in understanding how the universe works and what his place is in it. In any case we have to ask ourselves, "What does it mean to be "open-minded"? What does it mean to "tolerate" someone's religious practice?

According to Webster's Dictionary, to tolerate means: to allow to be, or to be done without opposition.

(We should probably point out that we don't truly have the ABILITY to be anything but tolerant of someone's beliefs, since being intolerant would require the ability to hypnotize or mentally control someone.)

So, to tolerate another's religious practice means that we allow that person to practice what beliefs they want. We don't physically try to prevent them from praying, reading their scriptures or going to a religious service. However, being tolerant does not mean that we can never question their beliefs or express doubt in them. Being tolerant doesn't mean that we give equal weight to every idea in the world if enough people believe in it. The same is true for being "open-minded".

Acts 17:11-12 (NLT) And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the scriptures day after day to check up on Paul and Silas, to see if they were really teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did some of the prominent Greek women and many men.

Based on this verse, we can conclude that being open-minded, according to the Bible, includes an eagerness to learn, but an equal dedication to that which is really true.

Truth is a very important concept in the Bible. Take a look:

Psalm 31:5- Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.

Psalm 119:30 -I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.

Proverbs 23:23- Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.

Zecharia 8:19b- Therefore love truth and peace.

And how many times did Jesus uses the phrase, "I tell you the truth" while teaching? We counted 78 throughout all four Gospels!

Jesus said a few other things about truth as well:

John 3:20-21- Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

Did you notice that in this example, Jesus presents truth as the opposite of evil? Jesus makes the observation here that evil hates to be questioned and wants to remain hidden and unchallenged. By contrast, truth loves to be examined, because it has nothing to hide and points us to God!

Jesus also said that God is looking for people who will worship him not just with their spirits, but also with minds that value truth!

John 4:23

- Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

In fact, Jesus himself actually IS ultimate truth/reality, according to the Bible:

John 1:14- The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:17- For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 14:6- Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

The same can be said of the Holy Spirit. Jesus refers to him as "The Spirit Of Truth". (John 15:26, 16:13)

And finally, have you ever tried to answer the question: Why did Jesus come into the world? Was it to show God's love? To save humanity? To die for our sins? To show us how to live our lives? Jesus certainly did all these things. But Jesus didn't include any of them when he himself explained his reason for coming to the world:

John 18:37- "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

As much as we may say we respect him as a man of love and peace, as a teacher or prophet, Jesus is the most controversial figure in history. He taught the existence of absolute truth, said that he himself is the truth, and in the verse above says that "if you're really commited to truth, you'll listen to me."

Wow. Anyone uncomfortable yet? These are not politically correct or socially safe ideas. Even many who call themselves Christian would probably cringe if confronted with the absoluteness of what the Bible teaches.

Merikk was feeling uncomfortable, too. He realized that if he pursued answers, he would probably lose some friends and become an outcast. In this first chapter, he steps far outside his comfort zone to gain real answers to real questions. His journey will become harder before it becomes easier, but the answers are not far away.

Next Week: Agreeing to Disagree in Acts Chapter 15.

Coffee House Question

If you knew that you would live, without serious illness or injury, no matter what, until you were 90 years old, what would you do differently?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Spirit Blade On YOUR Podcast!!

Dr_cover_proj_pg200 This week, Paeter began work on the climactic scenes of "Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual". From here it's a roller coaster to the finish!

Also, the final part of Paeter's commentary for "Spirit Blade" is available for free download at So if you've been waiting for the entire commentary to be done before listening, wait no longer!

Finally, we're announcing a special summer event as we count down to the release of Dark Ritual. Paeter has re-edited "Spirit Blade" into an episodic format so that it can be more easily broadcast or used on podcasts. (If you'd like to play all six chapters of "Spirit Blade" on YOUR podcast, just let us know!)  After this weekend, we will be using the podcast every other week to play a chapter from "Spirit Blade", while continuing our normal podcast format on the alternating weeks until the last chapter has been played.

So if you know someone that might enjoy listening to "Spirit Blade" for free, tell them to start checking out our podcast starting on June 13th!

Paeter has also been preparing notes for a philosophical and biblical discussion of "Spirit Blade" that he will be sharing here on the weblog for the "In Search Of Truth" segemnts on the weeks leading up to an episode of "Spirit Blade". So have no fear. Whether we're having a normal podcast episode or a "Spirit Blade" episode this summer, we'll be in the Bible and applying it to our lives together!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In Search Of Truth


Galatians Chapter 6

Paul finishes this letter with some thoughts about living with our own sin and the sins of those around us.

When we learn that someone is "caught" (meaning entangled, not "found out") in some form of sin, our knee-jerk reaction should be to support them and help them recover from the pattern of that sin. Meanwhile, we should keep an eye on our own lives so that we aren't tempted by the same sin.

Jesus summed up much of God's law by saying "love you neighbor as yourself". (Mark 12:31) One way we can do this is to "carry each other's burdens". Have you ever avoided spending time with someone because their faults make them draining to be around? Do you have a friend or relative whose life is messy? These are people that Jesus loves and wants us to invest time in.

As we are interacting with people whose flaws may be evident, Paul warns us not to think of ourselves as more important or significant. Instead, we should focus on stripping away our own faults over time. As we grow and change, the only record we should compete against is our own. (v. 3-4)

Should pastors be paid for what they do? Should Christian speakers and writers gain any compensation for their work? Verse 6 indicates that those being taught from the Bible should share what they have with those who teach the Bible. Being paid for his work doesn't make a pastor or speaker less "spiritual". It makes the community surrounding him or her MORE spiritual and in line with what God desires.

An added benefit not included here is that a teacher or pastor can do their job better if they don't need to spend half of their time in a job that keeps them away from learning and helping others learn. They can completely dedicate themselves to their role as teacher or pastor.

A wake up call is issued in verse 7. God does not just allow himself to be mocked, snubbed or neglected. Those who purposefully develop sinful habits will ultimately suffer eternal decay. And those who, by God's grace(undeserved favor), live their lives with a desire to please God, will gain life of eternal quality and quantity.

With this in mind, Paul urges us to press forward in doing good and loving others, especially loving other Christians. We should in no way neglect loving those who are not Christians, but God still asks us to give special attention to loving the Christians in our community. One reason is that this will demonstrate the authenticity of our commitment to Jesus. (John 13:35) Loving Christians can sometimes be even more challenging than loving non-Christians, but the call from God still remains.

In verse 11, we see an indication that Paul has been dictating this letter to an assistant. He wrote the rest of the letter himself probably either for emphasis, or to add a personal touch for his readers.

Paul reveals that the "Christians" who wanted his readers to be circumcised only wanted it: 1- So they themselves could avoid persecution from the anti-Christian segment of the Jewish community. 2- So they could feel good about "converting" someone else to their way of thinking.

When people add rules to the Bible and then expect others to follow them, they may be misguided and well intentioned, prideful and self-serving, or some combination of both. So before we approach someone to question a choice they've made, we should do some real self-examination to see what it is we might personally gain from confronting them. Is it really about helping them, or are we aiming to feel better about ourselves in some way?

Paul zeroes in on the ultimate source of the Christian's personal identity. We should not develop our sense of self-worth based on our actions, but on what Jesus has done for us. Like Paul, the world is dead to us and we are dead to the world. Although we can't see it as God does, we have been transformed and are a completely new creation. By trusting in Christ, our spirits have been remade by God and are continually undergoing a transformation that one day the physical universe will catch up with, as God recreates it as well.

Look at verse 16. Those who find their self-worth in what Jesus has done in them will experience contentment (peace) with their lives and will avoid a lot of pain (mercy).

If you're an artistic or creative person, you may find it easy to only see your worth in what you do or make. But if you've put your trust in Jesus, take a minute now and thank him for the ultimate worth you have as a new creation, a representative of hope to a dying universe. God has made you into the preview of what's coming! If it's important for you to feel loved and appreciated, remember that the person whose opinion matters most, loves you more than you can possibly fathom! God thinks you're wonderful! He made you, and the day you put your trust in him, he transformed you! He hasn't abandoned you either. That transformation is continuing all the time, pointing ahead into eternity.

So thank God for all he's done and still doing, and ask him to keep your mind focused on what really matters.

Next Week- Exploring The Truth In "Spirit Blade"!

Coffee House Question

From what sources in your life do you try to gain approval, and what do you try to gain approval for?

Monday, June 2, 2008



You may be wondering, "Hey, where's the Bible Study today?" Don't worry, it will be here on Wednesday. Sorry for the delay. I suspect that God wanted to derail me from my pattern today. Thirty minutes into my study time, I realized I'd forgotten to work on Galatians today.

Lately, as I may have mentioned here before, I've been wrestling with God's silence. I spend time in his word 5-6 days in the week, but I'm going through a season where it feels a little too familiar. Some of you may know what I mean.

The problem isn't that I've "learned all there is to learn". Just typing those words feels stupid. But I do think I need to change my pattern some. Maybe it means reading from a different translation of the Bible. Maybe it means slowing down my journey through God's word, picking apart phrases, exploring more of the Hebrew/Greek and doing other research. On the other hand, maybe it means less of that, and more of simply reading the Bible for awhile.

I'm the type of person that can get really excited doing that kind of deep, involved study. (Go figure, since I hated studying in college.) And God uses it in a major way in my life and personal ministry. Spirit Blade Productions is partially an avenue for me to share and teach what I've learned through studying. But I want to be careful that I'm not just getting to know about God. I want to get to know God himself. Sometimes, deeply technical study results in some very personal encounters with God for me. Other times, it's just cool to be learning, but doesn't build on my relationship with God. So including purposeful prayer and sometimes worship at my piano are what I need to keep things personal with God.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a little of my personal journey with all of you today. Today I'm at a crossroads and determining what my next steps will be. Maybe you're going through something similar. If not, chances are high that you have before and will again. These little lulls are never fun, but when I respond to them the way I believe God wants me to, they usually lead to something better than I had before. Even in his silence, God is on the move.

-Paeter Frandsen