Monday, March 31, 2008

In Search Of Truth

Bible_light_4Galatians, Chapter 1

Galatians is the first letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to a group of Christian churches. His concern was that these young churches not be confused or misled by ideas that would distort the truth about who Jesus is and how God wants to be reconciled to us through Jesus.

First off, we should recognize that Paul was a complex thinker. Sometimes his sentences seem to have trouble containing everything he wants to say, resulting in a long chain of ideas that can make it tough to figure out what he's getting at. We'll try to break down some of those longer sentences, when it seems appropriate, so we can get a better grip on what Paul is talking about.

Second, you may notice that some "churchy words" begin to pop up as we look at the letters of the New Testament. By "churchy words" we mean words that you don't really use in common conversation with your buddies at the comic book store, but that seem to come up now and then in a Bible class or around other Christians. We'll try to define those as we encounter them, which leads to this week's vocab round-up:


Jesus chose to call his twelve close disciples apostles (Luke 6:13) which means "one sent" or "ambassador". It was a distinctive word not used much in the classical Greek language, and so it functioned well as an official title. This term was primarily reserved for those who actually encountered and were "sent out by" Christ after his resurrection. They represented him and spoke on his behalf, and so had a unique authority in the New Testament time period.


Although throughout the Bible this word has a variety of specific meanings, in general it means "undeserved favor". Grace is something good given without being earned. If we have anything good that we enjoy in life, whether or not we are Christians, it is ultimately because of the "grace" of God. We don't deserve it, but God has given it to us because he loves us.


From the Greek word- Euaggelion, meaning "Good News". Paul used this word specifically to refer to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the interpretation of these facts. The Gospel is the basic truth of who Jesus is, what he did for us, and what it means for us now and forever.

The Galatians had been confused by a local philosophy that distorted the gospel that Paul had explained to them. He makes the point in verse 7 that there is no alternative "good news" that can be accepted as an euqally valid option. There is only ONE version of the truth that's actually true! He's so emphatic about this that he says, "But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed."(verse 8)

To our modern ears, Paul isn't coming across as very "tolerant", is he? The truth is, he couldn't afford to practice that brand of tolerance. He knew he was an "apostle" and had the responsibility of speaking on behalf of God himself! So when it came down to it, Paul was much more interested in getting along with God than with people. (verse 10)

Paul spends the rest of the chapter explaining his credentials, making it clear that he was not a "wannabe" apostle. He was given his mission directly by Jesus Christ. Paul's "origin story" is still amazing evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. This man Paul, who had it made in his own religious community, had status and a quickly advancing career, threw it all away to join the cause he was trying to shut down, and in return he became an outcast whose life remained in danger until he was finally executed for his faith. How can we explain his story, and so many others like it in the New Testament, without acknowledging the miraculous?

God has the ability, as he's shown throughout history, to tranform our lives and do incredible things though us. Paul knew first-hand the transforming power of Jesus, so he wan't ready to let the Galatians toss it aside so quickly. We'll see in the coming weeks how Paul urges them to focus on the truth and not get caught up in cultural or religious traditions and philosophies.

Next Week: Paul vs. Peter!

Coffee House Question:

Although we've given a definition here, what typically comes to your mind when you think of the word: Gospel?

Friday, March 28, 2008

One Song Killed, A New One Born

Img_05185 This week Paeter tossed one song concept for "Dark Ritual" into the trash and found a new one to start over with. The original song was a re-work of a little-known ancient hymn. The idea had been on the back-burner for awhile, but as Paeter began to unwrap it for use in "Dark Ritual", it seemed to be out of place in the context of the greater story.

Thankfully, another idea quickly presented itself and Paeter is already fleshing out the new song.

In other news, keep an eye on the "Media" page of our main website. Later today or tomorrow we'll be releasing Part 7 of Paeter's "Spirit Blade" commentary track!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Are You Doing?

Img_0545 I've been asking God this question for awhile. Those peaks and valleys we experience in our journey with God can make for a wild ride. We can go from depression to a state of re-energized purpose.

My pastor once said that although God can really use those dramatic moments in life to speak to us, one skill vital to the Christian walk is "learning to plod along". Staying focused on the work without counting on those miraculous "pep talks" from God.

God has certainly done his share of miraculous things in my life, but right now I think he's teaching me to plod along. To be content with the direction he gives only in his word, instead of hoping for a miraculous sign. I'll admit, it's pretty tough on me. Nothing like some valleys I've been in before. In fact, I wouldn't really call this a valley at all. But there's a real challenge for me as I encounter God's "silence".

It's nothing new. The psalmists often ask God, "why are you silent", or "why are you hiding"? God's not afraid of our doubt or confusion. He just doesn't want us to stay there. In Psalm 13, David expresses his feelings to God. He feels forgotten and abandonded. But his feelings don't change the way he thinks. By the end of this short prayer, David commits himself to trusting in God because of who God is. He focuses on the truth to keep himself anchored.

The theme of God's silence has become so significant to me recently that I scrapped one song for "Dark Ritual" that I had ideas for, but wasn't working, and am now developing a song with the theme of God's silence. I think it will be a great addition that will aid the story in Dark Ritual and I'm looking forward to praying my way through the creative process on it as well.

So there's my "deep thought" for the day. Hope you're doing great and living life on purpose!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, March 24, 2008

In Search Of Truth

Biblemag Acts, Chapter 14

Things started out great for Paul and Barnabus as they spoke to the people of Iconium. But the Jews who didn't believe them started a smear campaign against the two men. It's interesting to note that they embittered the people against Paul and Barnabus, not against the ideas they were teaching. This could have been for any number of reasons, but it's a pattern we should not imitate. The most productive religious and philosophical discussion will come about when we criticize ideas and not people.

God continues to use miracles strategically. Not to show off, but to validate the words of his messengers. (v. 3)

When things got too hot in Iconium, Paul and Barnabus escaped a lethal stoning, and eventually arrived in Lystra. During another speech, God somehow allowed Paul to "see" the genuine faith of a crippled man. God's response, through Paul, was to heal the man, who had been unable to walk since birth.

Can you imagine what that would be like? If someone was blind for a couple of weeks and then healed, there's room for a hoax. But someone healed from a condition they've had since birth would have been an undeniable display of God's power! (For other examples of this kind of healing, check out John 9:1 and Acts 3:2.)

A local legend of this community said that Zeus and Hermes once visited the town and were recognized by only two people. It's no wonder that the crowd was anxious to worship and identify these men as gods, since they wouldn't want to make the mistake they believed their ancestors did. But Paul and Barnabus tore their clothes (a cultural expression of anguish) and protested the idea.

Wisely, Paul made an attempt to appeal to the community's value system. The Phrygian culture of Lystra worshiped "the mother goddess" who they believed provided fertility to the earth. Paul aims to redirect their worship, explaining that it is God who has, despite their lack of belief in him, expressed his love and kindness by giving them the fruitful seasons they've enjoyed.

Ever wonder what the Apostle Paul and Wolverine have in common? Not much. But in at least one instance, Paul was rapidly healed from fatal injuries! When the crowds at Lystra were turned against Paul, they stoned him and, thinking he was dead, dragged his body outside of the city. It couldn't have been a pretty sight. Stonings were brutal, causing many broken bones, caved in skulls and all kinds of horrific damage. But while Paul's allies watched, he got up, and walked right back into town!

The book of Acts is silent on what went on in town that night before they went to Derbe the next day, but archaeology suggests that at least some of the Lystrans maintained the view that these men were gods. A plaque was discovered listing the date of Zeus and Hermes "second visit", which corresponds to the estimated time of Paul and Barnabus' visit. There seems to be no doubt that the people of Lystra saw something astounding that made them believe they had been visited by gods. Once again, archaeology supports even the radical claims of the Bible record. (For more info on this, check out the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, pg. 497)

Finally, Paul and Barnabus return to Antioch, where they stay for probably a year or more. Although there is still some debate, it is widely believed that during this time in Antioch, Paul wrote the book of Galatians. So next week we'll take a break from Acts (don't worry, we ARE coming back to it!) to see what Paul has to say in his first letter to Christians. We'll spend a few weeks moving through Galatians and then return to Acts afterward.

(For more information on the cultural/historical details mentioned this week, check out the IVP Bible Background Commentary for the New Testament.)

Next Week: Is Paul a "wacky fundamentalist"?

Coffee House Question:

What do you personally think it means to be "tolerant" of someone's religious beliefs? When are we being "intolerant" of someone's beliefs?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

That's My King!

Biblepod2 Paeter will be out of town (but still answering e-mails when possible) this week, so we're posting "In Search Of Truth" a little early.

Take a look at this densely packed speech from the late, highly respected, Dr. S.M. Lockridge. Biblically sound throughout, these are the words of a man who spent a ton of time in the Bible. We'll play the audio of this speech on next weekend's podcast. It's pretty vintage, so this will be handy to look at when you hear it. For now, enjoy reading through this and reflecting on how amazing it is for us to be able to call Jesus, "our King" this Easter sunday!

My King was born King. The Bible says He’s a Seven Way King. He’s the King of the Jews – that’s a racial King. He’s the King of Israel – that’s a National King. He’s the King of righteousness. He’s the King of the ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of glory. He’s the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now that’s my King.

Well I wonder if you know Him. Do you know Him? Don’t try to mislead me. Do you know my King? David said the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament show His handiwork. My King is the only one whom that no means of measure can define His limitless love. No far seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supplies. No barriers can hinder Him from pouring out His blessing.

Well, well, He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. That’s my King. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s saviour. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He’s august. He’s unique. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s supreme. He’s pre-eminent. Well, He’s the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the supreme problem in high criticism. He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He’s the carnal necessity of spiritual religion. That’s my King. He’s the miracle of the age. He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him. Well, He’s the only one able to supply all of our needs simultaneously.

He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleanses the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharged debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent and He beautifies the meek. Do you know Him?

Well, my King is the key of knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory. He’s the master of the mighty. He’s the captain of the conquerors. He’s the head of the heroes. He’s the leader of the legislatures. He’s the overseer of the overcomers. He’s the governor of governors. He’s the prince of princes. He’s the King of kings and He’s the Lord of lords. That’s my King. Yeah. Yeah. That’s my King. My King, yeah.

His office is manifold. His promise is sure. His light is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Well. I wish I could describe Him to you, but He’s indescribable. He’s indescribable.

Yes. He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible. I’m coming to tell you, the heavens of heavens cannot contain Him, let alone a man explain Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him.

Well, Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilot couldn’t find any fault in Him. The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my King. Yeah.

He always has been and He always will be. I’m talking about He had no predecessor and He’ll have no successor. There was nobody before Him and there’ll be nobody after Him. You cant impeach Him and He’s not going to resign. That’s my King! That’s my King!

Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Well, all the power belongs to my King. We’re around here talking about black power and white power and green power, but it’s God’s power. Thine is the power. Yeah. And the glory. We try to get prestige and honour and glory for ourselves, but the glory is all His. Yes. Thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever and ever and ever. How long is that? And ever and ever and ever and ever. And when you get through with all of the forevers, then, Amen.

—Dr. S. M. Lockridge

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Are We Really Communicating?

MegaphoneThe internet makes communication easier than ever before. But is it always productive communication?

We've got a ton of news programs filling timeslots on CNN and Fox news, but how much is opinion/commentary and how much is actual cold hard facts?

Political talk shows will bring exciting guests on to discuss hot-topic issues, but the time-slot is so limited that people compete to talk over each other. Both hosts and guests seem less interested in discussing and learning, and more interested in figuring out their next come-back.

On MySpace, YouTube and any given forum on the web, it's very much the same: People spitting out assumptive statements and oversimplified answers to issues that deserve lengthy and repeated examination and discussion.

Are we really interested in the truth, or have the most important issues for conversation in the world become nothing more than opportunities to feel smart?

Sometimes I'll read a post or watch a video that flies in the face of everything I believe. It angers me and I want to respond. But I've learned through experience that those are rarely the right times and opportunities to have meaningful dialogue.

It's much harder to discuss controversial issues one on one, in person, with someone you know and care about. But I can't think of any better way for us to learn from each other.

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, March 10, 2008

In Search Of Truth

Bibleburned Acts Chapter 13:26-52

Paul knew he would be presenting some "out of the box" ideas to his traditional Jewish audience, so he paved the way with lots of references to Hebrew scripture. By quoting Psalm 2, he reminded his listeners that the Messiah would come from David's uniquely blessed bloodline. (It was nearly unheard of in the Old Testament for someone to be called a "Son of God"!) As he made clear, Jesus, descended from the Davidic bloodline, was eligible to fulfill the role of Messiah.

Paul's audience understood that some of the promises given to David would be fully realized in his descendants. He reminds them of this by quoting Isaiah 55:3. Then he zeroes in on a specific promise to David's messianic descendant: That he would not see decay.

This is another reason that belief in Christ's resurrection is vital to our forgiveness and salvation. If Jesus didn't really rise from death, then he's not the Messiah and he can't do anything to restore our relationship with God. Additionally, if Jesus can't save himself from death, why in the world would we think he can give us real eternal life?

Paul finishes by emphasizing the one thing that easily separates Christianity from every other major religion. Forgiveness and a right relationship with God that we don't earn ourselves in any way. As much as we should want to honor and please God with the way we live our lives, rescue from eternal death and access to heaven comes only through our trust in Jesus. Like the Jews of Paul's time, so many today, including those who might call themselves Christians, believe that if they are "a good person, that should be enough." But compared to Jesus, no one is good. Jesus is the only one who can earn a way to heaven. So that's what he did, for everyone. Our role is simply to acknowledge who he his and trust that his work effectively "pays the fine" for our criminal record.

Some of Paul's listeners were convinced. Others were not. This kind of spiritual transaction goes against our nature. We want to trust and believe in ourselves. We don't want any "crutches". The Jews who rejected Paul's teaching may have felt something similar. But the invitation to have a fixed relationship with God was opened to Gentiles (non-Jews) as well, causing the truth about Jesus to spread even further and change even more lives.

Jews of high social standing who rejected what Paul was teaching eventually said "enough is enough" and kicked Paul and Barnabus out of the city. But the two "missionaries" just picked themselves up and went on to Iconium.

Next Week: "That's My King!"

Coffee House Question:

What thoughts/images come to mind when you hear the word "Easter"?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Back In The Game

Img_05185 After a week of fighting "the crud", Paeter is nearly back to 100% and has jumped into mixing again. Our goal is to have one more song and one more scene completed before the end of next week.

We're also planning to have a trailer completed for "Dark Ritual" before the end of April. As always, we'll keep you posted on that as it develops.

That's it for now! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Emerging From The Pit

Img_0593 This morning I can feel myself slowly emerging from "The Pit Of Creeping Crud". Last Saturday, right after finishing the podcast, I noticed the first symptoms of a cold coming on.

Things pretty much snowballed from there and I got some drugs yesterday. (A "Z-pack", I think. Which my pharmacist wife said is really cool.) I don't get sick very often, but when I do it can sometimes be pretty rough. The most frustrating part has been being at home all day but with NO energy to work on "Dark Ritual"!

I'm feeling a little better today, and so hope to get a few things accomplished. "In Search Of Truth" has been bumped until next week, but we'll still have something valuable and thought-provoking for you on the podcast this weekend, so don't miss out!

Hope you all are having a good week and for those of you in school, Spring Break is just around the corner! Push through those mid-terms, you can make it!

-Paeter Frandsen