Monday, September 29, 2008

In Search Of Truth, 1st Thessalonians 5:14-28


Paul finished this letter with a densely packed series of instructions designed to help us live in community with each other, simultaneously honoring God with the way we handle our relationships.

The NASB translation in verse 14 says that we are to "admonish the unruly." The Greek word here for "unruly" means to be disorderly or lazy. Although we should be tactful and sensitive in our approach, we should be willing to do the hard thing and warn a fellow Christian about the effects of a disorderly or lazy lifestyle if we see this pattern in them.

We’re also meant to encourage the insecure or those who have a negative view of themselves (NASB "fainthearted"). We’re called to help the weak (which here refers primarily to physical, not spiritual weakness) and be patient with everyone.

The Greek word here for "patient" literally means "to suffer long." God knows that holding back our anger from those who frustrate us will involve some suffering. Have you ever been so annoyed or frustrated with someone that you felt sure your head would explode if you didn’t say or do something to them? God wants us to learn to live with those folks and not lash out at them, verbally or otherwise, when they bother us.

Of course, sin is a different issue. We have to be ready, with cool heads, to talk to our Christian friends or relatives when we see them sinning. But we need to learn to hold our anger in check and respond to sin only when we can do so with even tempers and genuine respect and care for those we talk to.

In verses 16-18, Paul lists 3 things to do constantly. Rejoice, pray and give thanks. The Greek word here for "rejoice," refers to an attitude of celebration in direct response to all the good things God has given or done for us. To pray without ceasing implies a mentality where we include God in even the small, mundane details of our lives. When was the last time you asked God to help you find your keys? Thanked him for the cool video game he enabled someone to create? Told him you were nervous to call a cute girl? God wants a constant dialogue, to be intimately involved in the little details of our lives. God wants us to recognize that everything we enjoy, in any part of our lives, is ultimately a gift from him (James 1:17), and to thank him for those people and experiences.

Verses 19-20 emphasize the importance of being open to what the Bible says and having an openness to those who communicate the truth. But being "open" doesn’t mean "automatically buying into." As verse 21 says, we should examine/test everything to determine, as best we can, what is true/good and what is false/evil.

God’s desire is for every part of who we are to be "sanctified"(set apart for God’s purposes) and without blame until we see Jesus face to face. With this statement, the bar is set impossibly high, but Paul reassures us that God is faithful. In other words, God always does what he says he’s going to do. And if God has called you to believe in him, he has made you "without blame" in his eyes and will keep you that way until you see him face to face. (Romans 8:28-30, Philippians 1:6, )

Verses 25-27 shift to a more personal tone where we can find principles to follow, but not necessarily commands to obey. For example, it is no longer necessary to pray for Paul and his companions (v.25), but we can be reminded to pray for our Christian friends and leaders. We don’t need to kiss each other when we meet (v.26) but we can be friendly, positive and encouraging in other ways.

Next Week- 2nd Thessalonians Chapter 1!

Coffee House Question

What’s a "churchy" word or phrase you can think of that rarely or never comes up in your "normal" conversations?


Friday, September 26, 2008

Welcome Odiogo Man!


Oh! One last thing!

You may have noticed the option to listen to each of these posts right here on the weblog. So if you like to multi-task, you can now minimize this page and listen to each post while surfing the web in another window.

It's a fun little gadget I just found that I'm really digging. I can make this guy say whatever I want. For example.

Paeter is the bomb. I really like his hair. His breath doesn't smell anything like an artichoke.

Okay, so he doesn't quite get my name right and misses a few other things here and there, but I'm still happy to welcome the Odiogo Man to the Spirit Blade Underground!

Dark Ritual Previews!


Hi Everyone!

I've just posted a new cast interview on the "Media" page of Michael Tully, the voice of Raan Galvaanik, sat down with me here in person just after recording to discuss the grueling schedule for "Dark Ritual" and what it was like to sing "without notes!" The interview also begins and ends with clips from "Dark Ritual," so don't miss out!

Also, if I forgot to mention it here (which I may have), I've also posted the interview with actor Melissa VanSlyke and clips I played last time on the podcast. Two great reasons to visit the Media page at!

My plan (which I hope you'll hold me accountable to) is to release a new, non-spoiler special feature for "Dark Ritual" each week until its release.

Speaking of release schedules, I am awaiting a final quote from our CD manufacturers that will allow us to move things forward over the weekend. I'm also awaiting feedback from my last group of test listeners, which is due by Wednesday October 1st. If all goes well, I will be able to make the final adjustments to the mix on Thursday October 2nd. Then I'll be taking Friday through Sunday off to have my annual boardgaming weekend with an out of town buddy.

When I return, I'll hope to cross Ts and dot Is and then send everything off to print on that Monday or Tuesday. Turn around time may be as short as 10 days, so the chance of a release date before Halloween is very good. 

Thanks so much for all of your support! I'll continue to keep you posted every step of the way!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Back To Juggling


Well, it's the end of September, which means that my gigs as a substitute teacher are picking back up again. After a week out of town I came home to a three day subbing gig. Great for our family budget, but frustrating when I have a stack of things to catch up on related to the release of "Dark Ritual".

Over the summer, I became used to having at least 8 hours every day to give to Spirit Blade Productions, so to be away from it for a week, and then three more days on top of that, is pretty tough on my patience.

I'm squeezing in some work tonight, which will make me feel better.

I'd love to have more to say, but I think I'd go nuts if I spent any more time tonight staring at my screen to think something up. Better start working on that "to do" list instead.

See ya!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, September 22, 2008

In Search Of Truth


1st Thessalonians, Chapter 5:1-15

What is "The Day Of The Lord"?

In this chapter, Paul gives a few details to us about a future event that goes by this title. The topic of future events always comes with a level of disagreement on details between various students and scholars of the Bible. While we should continue to study and understand scripture more deeply (Proverbs 25:2), some things are meant to remain a mystery to us. (Matthew 24:36).

Regarding "The Day Of The Lord", we need to pull some details from other parts of the Bible to get a basic sense of this term, but we’ll still focus mostly on what we learn from the text in this chapter.

In Amos chapter 5, this day seems to be about God bringing justice to humanity. For those who trust in Christ, it will be a time of rescue. For those who reject Christ and ultimately choose to "worship" themselves and their own way of life, it will be a time of severe yet just punishment.

First, we can tell that it will come suddenly and catch people by surprise. (v. 2-3) It will bring inescapable pain (v.3). It will not surprise those who follow Christ. At least not in the same way that it will surprise those who reject Christ. (v. 4-5)

We can probably assume from verse 8-9 that believers in Christ will not suffer, or will not suffer as much, when the "Day Of The Lord" takes place. While the word used for "salvation" in the Greek here can mean either material or eternal deliverence, the context suggests a deliverence from the wrath of the "Day Of The Lord" at the very least.

Paul urges the Thessalonians, and by extension us, to be alert and self-controlled. (v.6) God wants us to be protected on a daily basis by our trust in him and our love for God and others. It’s interesting that trust in God and love for him and others is mentioned after being urged to have self-control. Love for others and a mind fixed on God doesn’t leave as much room for love of self and a focus on our own gratification. An "outward focus" is one great way to gain protection against self-serving sin.

Paul uses the metaphor of sleep in two different ways in this chapter. First, in verse 7, the context indicates that this kind of being asleep refers to a lack of alertness and self control. We might compare this to the expression "don’t fall asleep at the wheel."

In verse 10, Paul is probably using the common metaphor for sleeping that he also used in chapter 4:13. This kind of sleeping refers to physical death. It’s possible that Paul meant this in the sense of being lazy and uncaring, as he used it in verse 7. If this is the case, it would indicate that a person who is a genuine believer in Christ can live a life that is not very different outwardly from someone who does not believe in Christ.

Christians are not "saved" because of how well they obey God. On the other hand, this verse cannot be used to imply that everyone will be saved by Christ, whether they follow Christ or not. If this were the case, we would not see the importance of believing in Jesus emphasized so much in the Bible, or the judgment of those who reject him. Regardless of which way we look at this verse, we can see in it a reminder of both God’s mercy and his justice.

Living the Christian life is not an isolated journey. We are told to appreciate and love those that are responsible for leading us spiritually, implying involvement with a Christian community that includes some form of leadership. (v. 12-13)

Take a look at verses 14 and 15. Paul is describing activities that clearly involve relationships. In the age of electronic media and communication, it’s really easy to exchange some e-mails and be active on some message boards, and then think that we’re really "investing" in people. And to a degree, we are. We definitely shouldn’t overlook the ability of the internet to open doors of communication and relationships previously unheard of. But we should also recognize that the internet allows us a safety barrier and cancels much of the intimacy and vulnerability of live, on-on-one conversation. We can check e-mails and respond whenever we want. There’s no immediate obligation. The relationship is on our schedule, at our pace, on our terms. We can share our views on a message board and then vanish without remaining invested in the continuing conversation. Internet community is an incredible way to expand our relationships, but it is no substitute for being involved, in person, with other Christians.

Coffee House Question

What message boards or online communities are you a part of?

Next Week- We’re picking apart some "churchy" phrases as we close up our look at 1st Thessalonians!

Friday, September 12, 2008

We Need Your Help!


Hi Everybody!

I've got CDs out to my test listeners and will be getting a sample from our CD manufacturers today, so the end has never been closer!

As I get ready to transition from production to marketing, I could really use your help. Marketing is not my strong point, but I want to do all I can to get the word out about "Dark Ritual" when it is released.

I'll be getting on every podcast I can to talk about it, promoting it on message boards I'm a part of (when appropriate), and sending out e-mails to the folks on our list.

I've used Google Adwords before, but was not impressed with the results vs. investment. I'll be looking into a similar but more focused device on MySpace. But our marketing budget is very small, and I'm looking for as many alternatives to spending money as possible.

Any ideas out there? I'd love to hear them!

Lastly, Hurricane Ike is on the move and reportedly very dangerous. I hope you'll take a moment today and join me in praying for those who are affected by it.

Thanks and take care.

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Don't "get" God.


I don't get God. As much as I try, there are things about him that I just can't wrap my head around. I ran into Colossians 1:22 today-

Yet now he (God) has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

Granted, this is the New Living Translation, so I won't make a technical case using this version of the text, but the same idea is conveyed in more literal translations. I've been reconciled to God.

But I know my sins. I know the sins I committed yesterday and earlier this morning. Over and over I pray with sincerity that I do not want to sin like that any more. Over and over I fail.

How does God have the ability to look beyond my sin and not hold it against me? The answer, as any "Sunday Schooled" Christian can tell you, is Jesus' death and perfect payment for my sins.

But trying to nail down how that transaction works seems impossible. And understanding the nature of my forgiveness is just one of many mind-benders.

Here's another: If God is in complete control, how are my choices real? And since God knows everything that will ever happen in all eternity future, what's the difference between him "allowing" something to happen and "making" something happen?

Recently, I've asked one of the leadership team members at our church (we call them "Elders") to meet with me on a regular basis and "mentor" me. He's a very intelligent man, received formal education in his seminary master's program with an emphasis on ancient Greek and Hebrew. He's also a solid, yet transparent (how's that for mixing metaphors?) Christian.

He suggested I do some reading on "dimensionality". Well, I suck at math, and he's much better at it, so we're both going through a book together by an astronomer who has examined the dimensions that exist beyond space and time (apparantly their existence has been mathmatically proven) and uses that knowledge to try to understand more of the nature of God.

So that's the journey I'm on now. I've critically examined the claims of the Bible enough in my life that I've seen a pattern. The pattern is, the Bible is right. Again and again I keep throwing arguments and criticisms at the Bible that, at a glance, seem to tear it apart. But on further examination, the Bible always wins. It simply has the evidence in its favor. So based on that pattern, I could choose not to find answers for my remaining questions. After all, the sun keeps coming up, so why sit and suspect that it may not come up tomorrow?

But because many people use their questions to avoid the truth, I want to find answers that make at least a few of those questions impossible to use for that purpose. Add to that my personal desire to satisfy my curiosity and I've got no choice but to pursue answers until they are found.

So if you'll excuse me, I've got some reading to do...

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, September 8, 2008

In Search Of Truth


1st Thessalonians, Chapter 4

Welcome back! So, have you been reading along? Hopefully you have! Otherwise, you're missing the most important part. I just want to emphasize again that although I spend time carefully preparing my thoughts for this post every week, my words are not God's words. If you're crunched for time, I'd much rather you skip what I write and just read the chapter for each week as we get to it. Unlike what I post here:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do. (2nd Timothy 3:16-17)

In this chapter, Paul deals mainly with three issues:

1. Sanctification-

This word often has a general meaning of either "purification", or the result of the purification process. To be in the process of sanctification means that imperfections are being stripped away, with the goal that only the pure and perfect elements will remain in the end.

As the term is used here, it's referring specifically to sexual sanctification. For unmarried Greek men of this time period, it was socially acceptable to have sex with prostitutes, slaves and other men. In both Greek and Roman culture, sex with slaves and prostitutes was common and not discouraged.

Paul acknowledged how well the Thessalonians were living to please God, but also urged them to become even better at it. (v. 1-2) In other words, he wanted them to remember that this life is a spiritual journey that is never meant to stop. We're continually moving forward.

The specific area he wanted them to give attention to was in the arena of sexual purity. The word used for "sexual immorality" (as the NIV translation puts it) is "porneia". This word refers to any sexual activity that happens outside of a marriage relationship between a man and woman.

Sex is an incredible thing. Clearly, God designed men to enjoy women's bodies and women to enjoy men's bodies. The Bible is in no way "anti-sex". Paul says that to resist your spouse's desire for sex is "depriving" them and shouldn't be done unless both agree to abstain temporarily. (1 Corinthians 7:5) And the "Song of Solomon" (or "Song of Songs") in the Old Testament often refers to the sexual relationship between a man and woman in a good way.

What Paul is stressing here is that sex is meant to be shared only in the marriage relationship. It's God's desire for us to have self-control OVER our bodies, not to be controlled BY our bodies. We're meant to share this unique and ultimate physical experience with only one person.

"Lustful passion" (or "passionate lust") is behavior to avoid, according to verse 5. Although in the original Greek, the word for "passion" here has a negative meaning anytime it is used, unlike the English word, "passion". In other words, there's nothing wrong with passion experienced between husband and wife. Some religions or demoninations of Christianity have taken the view that sex is only for procreation. But when the Bible is examined, we don't find any support for this man-made idea.

Paul knows the pain that can come from sleeping with another man's wife, and reminds us that God is the "Avenger" in these matters. (v.6)

These ideas about sex are not some kind of "oppressive" invention of organized religion. Paul makes that point clearly in verses 7 and 8. If we reject these ideas, we are rejecting the same God that lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit, blessing us, protecting us, encouraging us and giving us strength. A Christian that ignores what God says about sexual relationships is rejecting their greatest source of life and support!

2. Love For Christians-

Paul says that the Thessalonians are doing so well at this that they don't need any more instruction on how to do it. But Paul does urge them to become even better at loving other Christians.

According to the IVP Bible Background Commentary of the New Testament, "living a quiet life"(v.11) refers to being inconspicuous, not being withdrawn from society. This verse should encourage us not to need attention from others, but it shouldn't keep us from interacting with others.

Landowning aristocrats of this time period despised manual labor, but Paul wanted everyone to be productive. A life of leisure should not be our goal. Whether we have great financial needs or are very wealthy, we're meant to work and be productive, not lazy and "free-loading", as Paul implies when he likely refers to begging in verse 12.

3. Death-

The term "sleep" was often used during this time period to refer to death. Paul reminds us that as Christians, we don't have to grieve in the same way that others do. We don't have to wonder or settle for wishful thinking regarding our fate after this life, or the fate of those Christians we love who have died. The more we examine and verify the truth claims of the Bible, the more we have trustworthy, reliable hope for life after this one.

Paul uses Jesus as proof that life after death is possible through God's power. In fact, Paul teaches here, when Jesus returns to the earth, the Christians who have died will rise from the dead and join Jesus even before the Christians who are still alive when he comes! After this, the Christians who are still alive will join Jesus in the air and we will begin our new lives with him forever.

Death is not the end. For those who put their trust in Jesus, trusting that he paid for their sins through his death, trusting that he is God, just as he said he is, death is only a transition into an incredible life beyond our ability to imagine.

"Therefore, comfort one another with these words."(v.18)

Next Week: Preparing For The End...

Coffee House Question-

Whether you are a Christian or not, death can be a scary thing. What, if anything, scares you about death or life after death?

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Next Order Of Business


I spent around half of this week working to figure out what company and method we will use to produce our "Dark Ritual" CD sets. Several companies are sending me samples, I'm discussing options with my graphic designer, and I'm also looking for ways to potentially cut corners and reduce costs. It has all involved flexing a different muscle than I have been for awhile, but it's been very good for me and actually enjoyable.

When I ran out of things to do for "Dark Ritual", I pulled out the adaptation work I've done so far for "The Pilgrim's Progress" and continued my work on that project for the first time in many months. Already, I'm looking forward to working on the early creative process for "Pilgrim" and doing the careful thinking, absorbing and studying that adapting that work requires.

I've been working on "Dark Ritual" in one form or another for more than two years now, so putting it down to work on a different creative project felt unusual, but very good. There's still work yet to do before "Dark Ritual" is released, but as I begin the process of "letting it go", I find I'm already anxious for what is coming next.

-Paeter Frandsen 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In Search Of Truth


1 Thessalonians Chapter 3

In this brief chapter we see further examples of Paul's genuine love for the Thessalonian church community, and we can also take from it an example of how to pray for and love other Christians.

First, we see that Paul sacrifices the valuable presence of Timothy so that he could go and give help and encouragement to the Thessalonians. (V1-2)

As mentioned in the first chapter, this new group of Christians was suffering mistreatment. Paul knew that affliction can wear down our faith and cause us to turn from God. He had told the Thessalonians that pain is inevitable, but was still concerned that the tempter (Satan) may use the persecution they were experiencing to turn them away from God. (3-5)

What would you say your instinct is when you experience trouble, or stress? Do you ask, "why me, God"? Do you become resentful toward God? Do you ask him for help? Do you tend to push God away, or do you try to get closer to him?

Like Paul, when we know someone is experiencing pain or stress, we can let them know that we've been thinking about them and purposefully praying for them. We can also take steps toward helping them, despite the sacrifice it may mean for us in terms of time, money or resources.

When Timothy returned, he was able to tell Paul that the Thessalonians had been remaining strong, trusting in God even through their pain. And the news helped Paul to do the same! Did you know that our pastors and mentoring friends often take a huge amount of encouragment from the faith we show in our lives? They get to see God working in us and in them. Seeing people grow is a reminder to them that God is really here and really involved in our lives. So if you ever want to encourage a pastor or a friend that helps you grow spiritually (and they can really use the encouragement!), let them know what their words and actions have meant to you. Tell them about the small ways you may have grown because of something they said or did. They feel so much purpose in helping others grow, that it will mean a lot! (V6-10)

Paul ends this chapter with a prayer for the Thessalonians. He wants to be reunited with them and for them to love those around them more and more, because love is at the core of having a heart that is "unblamable". We won't achieve "unblamable" hearts in this life. But learning to grow in love for others is part of our journey in "holiness". (11-13)

Quick definition: Holiness means being set apart for the purposes of God.

We will be completely and perfectly in line with God's purpose for us when we are finally with him after this life. But the journey begins today as we continually learn how to love others more effectively.

Coffee House Question

Can you think of someone that influenced you to go deeper in your spiritual journey? What did they say/do and what was the result in your life?

Next Week-

Love, Sex, Death: Chapter 4 has it all!!

Monday, September 1, 2008


IMG_0545 We'll be back on track with "In Search Of Truth" on Wednesday. For now, I hope you guys will join me and take a minute from your day right now to pray for everyone being effected by the Hurricane.