Monday, January 30, 2012

Spirit Blade: The Adventure Card Game- "Items and RPs"

As with the other card images I've posted so far, this one is a "pre-cut" version, so imagine the border to be thinner and rounded at the corners. Even so, this is a pretty good example if an "item" card, and also gives me an opportunity to explain the concept of "RPs".

In Spirit Blade: The Adventure Card Game, one or two players take on the role of Seekers, who have made it their mission to seek out and reclaim hidden or lost information about the nature of humanity and the universe that, if exposed to the public, could radically alter the destiny of the human race to our benefit.

Atlantis Incorporated, who benefits greatly from humanity's ignorance, has worked hard to conceal such information. In addition, Atlantis has stolen a multitude of designs and projects created by Raan Galvaanik, who once worked for Atlantis and now serves as a key operative in the Underground Liberation. So Seekers also endeavor to reclaim materials that by right belong to the Liberation.

Information, or you might even say "truth", is the currency of the Spirit Blade card game. Seekers spend most of the time in the game on missions, which usually take them behind enemy lines inside Atlantis property. While sneaking through security systems and fighting opposition, Seekers are always searching for information valuable to their cause. This information is measured in "Resource Points".

Nearly all items have a Resource Point Value. The Liberation has to gain all supplies "off the grid", and so some items are valuable simply for their raw material components, while others, like data pads or similar devices, contain valuable information that can be put to direct use in the work of the Liberation.

Between missions, Seekers can turn in items to the lab techs of the Liberation in exchange for other resources, like weapons, armor, or useful gadgets. In the above picture, the specific type of item is a "weapon", as indicated by the text on the card. Most items modify the Primary Stats (Attack Points, Defense Points, Hit Points, Spirit Points) of the Seeker using them. In this case, the Pulse Rifle adds 2 APs to a Seekers AP stat.

An item like this one can be "purchased" from Liberation lab techs between missions using available RPs, or it may also be found on a mission. A Seeker may also choose to exchange this item to the lab techs for half of its RP value rounded down. (125 RPs in this case.)

Now if that all sounds confusing to you, we can just as easily cut through all the nonsense for you veteran gamers and say "in this game, Gold Pieces are called Resource Points."

Stay tuned for more next month!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Upcoming Changes and Special Feature Delay

With the audio book I've been working on effectively finished, I've been able to turn my attention to a few details that have been put on the back burner recently.

One of these details is the Special Feature for January. As you may already know, I create and release a new "special feature" each month and place it on our Media Page. Usually these are some sort of "behind the scenes" look at the productions we've released, and since last spring they have come in the form of videos nearly every month.

But my ancient video editing software (on my even more ancient desktop) has finally had enough of me, and is refusing to obey my commands, begging instead for a quick and merciful death. Re-installing may be an option, but it's more likely that I'll need to find some replacement software, hopefully for free.

Those of you who have gotten to know me a little on our forums may remember that I am technologically inept. So in addition to the hunt for new video editing software, I will need time to learn how to use it, which I don't imagine will happen quickly. Long story short, I won't be able to release a new special feature this month, but hope to be back on schedule next month.

In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for free video editing software on PC that is "grandma-friendly", I'd love to hear about it!

Leveraging Time

In addition to that little curve-ball, it's become necessary to adjust my work schedule significantly to better serve my wife and two boys. The amount of time I spend working Linkwill change very little, although my day to day routine is being put on its head.

Because of this, blog posts are now much more likely to go up in the evenings and I'm also planning a change in the regular content of both the Spirit Blade Underground Weblog and Paeter's Brain. My plan is to temporarily switch to a twice weekly posting schedule on Paeter's Brain (instead of three times) while retaining the regular schedule and content for the SBU Weblog. However once I have my ducks in a row, I plan to stop posting to Paeter's Brain and instead place the posts that would normally appear there elsewhere.

When I started "Paeter's Brain", I saw it as a way for listeners of SBP to see a little more of me as a person, and share in some of my random or not so random thoughts. But I believe the forums we launched in 2010 now serve that purpose much more effectively.

The movie reviews, my odd game reviews and philosophical musings about Geekdom from a biblical perspective will soon be posted on a new blog designed specifically for that purpose. I will also include an archive page that contains all of my past reviews and some other posts from Paeter's Brain. This will serve as a growing resource for Christian Geeks who are interested in engaging in their faith more as they enjoy the crazy fun that sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comic books offer.

In the end, I'm hoping this will allow me to leverage my time a little better and bring more focus (and more readers!) to the content I put online to represent Spirit Blade Productions.

If you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions as I prepare to move into this new territory, I'd love to get your feedback!

As always, thanks for your support!

-Paeter Frandsen

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Underworld: Awakening (Movie Review)

I'm a big fan of the "Underworld" movies. It's hard to beat vampires in leather and trench-coats leaping from tall buildings and blowing away werewolves with handguns. But this cool concoction gets even better when you add a dash of character and story worth caring about.

Star-crossed love has been a consistent theme in all three of the previous films, and two of those featured a pivotal romance between Selene, the ultimate werewolf killer among vampires, and Michael, the first vampire/werewolf hybrid in history.

Underworld: Awakening opens a few months after the events of Underworld: Evolution. The existence of vampires and lycans (werewolves) has now been made public, resulting in a worldwide attempt to exterminate both species. Michael and Selene make hasty plans to escape and live in secret far away, but are captured in the attempt. Selene is frozen by scientists for experimentation and is freed 12 years later. She immediately begins looking for Michael, but instead finds her 12 year old daughter, removed from her womb and allowed to grow up in the confines of a laboratory. Together they hope to escape and find Michael.

First off, I should say that if you haven't seen the previous films in the series, don't bother with this one. Although they briefly try to "catch you up" in the beginning, you really have no reason to invest in Selene if you haven't watched her story from the beginning. This, in itself is not a mark against the movie, just something viewers should be aware of.

The action in this flick is some of the best yet, especially where Selene is concerned. She has tons of cool drops, jumps, flips and fight choreography that make the first 30 minutes possibly the best action in the series so far. If you were hoping to have that itch scratched, you're in for a treat.

The visual look of the series is also intact, with washed out, cold color schemes even during the daytime. Costumes and props all look great. It's the signature look of Underworld from start to finish, gory action and all.

What seems to be missing is the movie's heart. As I mentioned, the previous films all had a romance at their core. Two people in love that the people around them viciously aimed to tear apart. This movie was completely missing that element, and the absence was obvious through most of the movie, which often seemed like a horror/action flick on auto-pilot rather than the emotionally driven pattern (or attempted pattern) of the rest of the movies.

Scott Speedman, who played Michael in the previous films, was not involved in Awakening, and as of yet I've been unable to hunt down a reason why. The Hollywood politics of this remain a mystery for now. Instead, in the brief moments Michael is seen, he is represented by a stand-in (human or digital, I'm not sure) always partially obscured by an object or special effect.

The script feels like the result of trying to scrape together a replacement for Michael, the result being his role clumsily divided among multiple characters. Selene's daughter is a hybrid like her father, and so brings the special abilities that he had to the movie in his absence, and two male characters serve as "stand-in male support characters", though without any romantic connections to Selene. (Though I often thought things like, "I'll bet that was Michael sitting next to her in the first draft.")

Many other elements also feel like uninspired repetition of earlier characters and story elements.

Selene encounters a vampire coven leader who stands in opposition to her agenda, with age, hair and wardrobe almost identical to the Victor character in the first three films.

As each film progresses and Selene becomes stronger, the final threat she faces must increase as well. First it was an ancient and powerful vampire. Then it was the first and very oldest vampire. But in this flick, her final foe is just a really big lycan who heals extra fast. Honestly, I was never concerned for her safety for even a moment.

The fact that the existence of vampires and lycans is now public knowledge is an interesting new twist, and I don't think it hurts the movie. In fact, it may just be the game-changing breath of fresh air the franchise needs. On the other hand, this is the "Underworld" series, taking its name from the HIDDEN war between vampires and lycans. So this change seems to go against the original premise of the movies.

Bringing a daughter into Selene's life is another big game-changer. Even if Michael were present for most of this story, a child usually changes the core story from a romance to a story about family. I'm not against this idea, but it seems like the writers aren't willingly invested in it so much as they've been forced into it.

Selene really could have carried one entire movie by herself, dealing with the tragic loss of Michael as it rips her part. After building up this romance for two movies, we should have spent one entire movie mourning its loss with Selene. Instead, Michael is quickly yanked out of the picture and Selene is forced to give lip service to her grief while also dealing with the sudden existence of a daughter. Bringing her daughter into the story before we could see Selene fully deal with the loss of Michael cheats those of us who have invested in the romantic side of these films, and I believe it was a big mistake.

Of course you might say, "they had to cram a lot into this movie since they never know if they'll be making another one later". But the writers seem very confident that they'll be making at least one more, as this movie virtually ends on a cliffhanger. (A poor choice, given our reduced lack of investment in these characters.) With a run time of only 88 minutes, a disappointing final fight and the ending they chose to go with, this feels like only the first half of a complete movie. If that's the case, and they can manage to get Scott Speedman back next time, there is still plenty of opportunity to restore this series and end it very well, placing this movie in the role of "set-up" for the grand finale. And I'd be cool with that. But this is a hard one to recommend to anyone but big fans of the previous films.

I'm scanning my brain for something I might remember in this flick that might lead to worthwhile discussion afterward, but I'm coming up with nothing. In many respects this feels like your average "Resident Evil" movie: Cool gory action with zero substance. Pure, mindless escapism, if that's what you're in the mood for.

For fans of the genre, it's not bad. A cool flick that even has moments of visual greatness worth a ticket or rental. But it's definitely missing something substantial.

Rated R for strong violence and gore, and for some language.

Quality: 8.0/10

Relevance: 5.5/10

And to listen to this review this weekend, visit

Monday, January 23, 2012

Forced Agnosticism In Skyrim

Last time I brought up anything philosophical regarding "Skyrim", I was talking about the choice of religious views one can take in the Elder Scrolls world, and what my choice is as I play.

This time, I have a political decision in front of me. There is a war going on between the Emperial forces and those of a rebellion known as the "Stormcloaks", and in order to see one of the major plot-lines of the game I have to choose a side to join.

The Stormcloaks are fed up with the how things have been in Skyrim for hundreds of years. They believe Skyrim's High Kings have been nothing but puppet tools of the empire, and believe the status-quo should be forcefully overthrown. (Of course, they have a High King of their choosing ready to fill the empty seat as soon as the war is over.)

On the other hand, you have the empire, the legal, rightful ruler of all kingdoms, who reigns from a far off land, removed from the struggles of Skyrim and taking them for granted, except when they need men from Skyrim to fight their wars.

The status-quo clearly has some shortcomings that may even be responsible for the loss of many lives in Skyrim. But the Stormcloaks are all reckless passion and little reason as they aim to make things better.

The problem is that, much like I feel in American politics, all I'm getting are opinions. No matter who I talk to, I'm getting editorial rather than straight up news. Fox and CNN talk shows instead of C-SPAN coverage of the legislative meetings. So I'm forced into a kind of political agnosticism.

Now, there are two main forms of agnosticism. The pop-culture form, when someone says "I don't know" and the more formal philosophical definition, which says something "CAN'T be known".

Far too often in our search for the truth about God, we claim to take the former definition while living like we believe the latter. We say "I don't know if God exists, or if such and such is true about God" and leave it at that, as though the answers are not available no matter how hard we search for the truth of the matter. We assume that truth really can't be found and begin to value the search for it less and less in our lives, whether the search is related to God, our next President, or the best dentist to go to.

As I read fiction and enjoy the new wave of RPGs boasting complex moral choices, it sometimes seems as though the choices aren't all that complex, they just don't provide the necessary information to make an educated decision.

True, if we go back to real-world agnosticism, we can't know with the certainty of proof that God exists or that "so and so" would be the best choice for president. But there are many things in life we choose without proof that they are the best choice. Our family doctor, our brand of toothpaste, our next car, etc. In all of these cases we examine the available evidence and make the choice that we think is most likely to be the best one. The same is true (or should be) regarding our position on God's existence or attributes, or our position on who should be governor or president.

Maybe the lack of useful decision-making information in video game RPGs like Skyrim and Mass Effect is simply because it would make the writer's job far more difficult than it's worth. Or maybe it's because there is a tendency in our popular artists to believe that truth really cannot be found.

Whichever the case, it's an interesting phenomenon I've run into in books and movies for a number of years now.

Hmm... books. Maybe the College of Magic at Winterhold has some books about the political history of Skyrim that would help me make my decision...

In Search Of Truth, Acts 20:13-24

Paul probably went to Assos on foot because it would take around the same amount of time (he was cutting across a peninsula that the boat had to sail around) and cost much less. Verse 16 indicates that Paul wanted to be in Jerusalem in time for Pentecost. It's been suggested that his desire to reach Jerusalem by Pentecost was so that he could present the gift to the Jerusalem Christians (collected from the churches he'd been visiting on his missionary journey) during a time when many would be present and could witness this gift and be assured of the unity and love of non-Jewish believers for the Jewish Christians. (Bible Background Commentary, Craig S. Keener, InterVarsity Press, pg. 383) (v. 13-16)

Although he couldn't afford to stop at Ephesus, he asked the Elders of the church in Ephesus to meet him at Miletus so that he could speak to them for what he believed would be his last time. (v.17)

In Paul's final words to the church leaders of Ephesus, we see a portrait of living worthy of imitation. Here are just a few observations from the text of verses 18-21.

Paul was not simply a teacher or intellectual of high standing. He served in humility and was emotionally invested in those he was teaching and serving, persisting even though hit by continued persecution and extreme difficulties. (v.18-19)

He taught everything that could be useful, rather than only discussing easily received topics and avoiding controversial subjects.

He didn't limit himself to public speaking, but also taught believers in more intimate settings with smaller numbers. (v.20)

His message was inclusive of all cultures, but uncompromising in its content. (v.21)

Paul was convinced that the Holy Spirit wanted him to go to Jerusalem, but was also bracing for the possibility of harm, since God had repeatedly told him that imprisonment and pain were in his future. (v.22-23)

This moment is especially striking to me because I have a tendency to worry about the unknowns in life, the things I can't control. I worry enough when I don't know whether or not something bad might happen, but here Paul KNEW that severe pain was inevitably part of his future and yet he didn't try to escape or delay it. He seemed to recognize, as I long to, that this life is just a dot on the line of eternity, and not worth holding on to or trying to make perfect. Instead, it's greatest worth and purpose comes in carrying out what God has intended for us to do. (v.24)

Next- Paul's Final Words And Warning Continued

Coffee House Question- God's general "call" to all of us is to love him with everything we've got and love others like we love ourselves.(Mark 12:28-31) But this takes on a specific flavor as we each try to figure out how God is "calling" us to do that. What does God seem to be "calling" you to do within the framework of loving him and loving others? What do you believe your "ministry" looks like right now?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Great Read-Through and Finishing The Audio Book!

Last weekend the read-through for Spirit Blade 3 went wonderfully! Everyone present seemed to enjoy the story. Jesse Tessier (Claudius Falcore) even stayed till the end when he had originally had to leave early, because "it was all just getting too interesting!"

There are a number of tweaks and polishes I still need to make and so the writing process isn't completely finished, but everything is looking good to begin auditions in a month or so!

This week I put the finishing touches on our upcoming audio book release, "The Golden Knight #1, The Boy Is Summoned" and turned it in to the author for approval. I'll probably get the final okay sometime next week, but his first impressions were that all of his expectations had been exceeded, which was very gratifying to hear! I'll look forward to announcing the release sometime next month!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In Search Of Truth, Acts 20:1-12

During his time in Macedonia, Paul was continuing to collect the donations for the Christians suffering in Jerusalem. (These are the same donations we read about while looking at 1 Corinthians 16 and 2 Corinthians 8) It's also believed that Paul wrote 2nd Corinthians while in Macedonia. The span of time represented in verse 2 is unclear, but it's interesting that Luke summarizes Paul's activity at this point with the word "encouragement". Paul is known to us, because of his writing, as a strong teacher. But more than just an intellectual, he was also a source of great encouragement to other believers. (v.1-2)

He stayed in Greece for three months, at which time he may have written Romans. In addition to many Jews wanting to kill Paul for what he was teaching about Jesus, he was also transporting large amounts of donated money at this time, increasing his appeal as a target for both murder and theft. Paul caught wind of the plans against him and made a quick change to his travel plans to avoid his capture or murder. (v.3)

For his trip to Macedonia, Paul would be joined by several men who met him at Troas. These men were likely the representatives of the churches that Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:23. (v.4-5)

Paul took time from his schedule to stay in Philippi for the Feast Of Unleavened Bread, which begins with Passover and lasts seven days. This detail is a reminder that Paul did not throw away his Jewish heritage or consider the ceremonies of the Old Covenant to be worthless. Rather, they likely became more meaningful to him in some ways because of what Christ had revealed and done for the Jews and all of humanity which fulfills the requirements of the Old Covenant. (v.6)

Matthew 5:17- Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Paul was a man who knew the value of time. He knew his time in Troas was short and so prolonged the time he spent talking to and teaching the people there. He spoke long into the night and apparently wasn't quite captivating enough to keep everyone present awake. A young man fell from the window of the upstairs room Paul was speaking in and was dead when they came to pick him up. But when Paul bent over him, his life returned. (v.7-10)

When God performs a miracle, it's never to simply dazzle, but has a practical purpose that we can almost always immediately see. In this case, this miracle validated Paul as a representative of Christ, and also allowed him to continue speaking, teaching and encouraging until morning, instead of having his remaining available time taken by the inevitable distractions of a sudden death. (v.11-12)

Next- A Farewell And A Warning

Coffee House Question- What form has "encouragement" taken for you when it has been most valuable and what form does it take when you "encourage" others?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Created Equal

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights... - United States Declaration Of Independence, Preamble

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:28

"In Search Of Truth" will be back later this week. For today, I hope you'll take just a moment and join me in thanking God for the men and women he has used throughout history to secure and advance our freedom, and ask that in turn we would use that freedom to willingly pursue and serve him.

Have a great MLK day!

-Paeter Frandsen

Friday, January 13, 2012

Spirit Blade 3 Reading Session Tomorrow!

I am totally stoked for tomorrow! The invitations have gone out, the scripts have been printed and we're ready to go! Tomorrow at 1pm, a collection of family and friends will be coming to my home for a complete read through of the script for Spirit Blade 3. Those attending will include:

Randy Hesson, the voice of Vincent Craft
Holly Frandsen, my wife and the voice of Ebony and AIA
Michael Tully(by speaker phone), the voice of Raan Galvaanik
Sean Anthony Roberts (by speaker phone), the voice of Saolos
Preston Hancock, the "Scottish" Sanctafi
David Alderman, friend and author of the Black Earth novels
Dave Lindstrom, friend and Bible study mentor, to help look for heresy in the script ;-)
Jesse Tessier, returning to voice Claudius Falcore!

This will be the 4th reading session I've had for one of my scripts and the 3rd at my home. Never before have I had this many cast members involved in one, so it's going to be a HUGE treat and a LOT of fun! An awesome way to officially kick off production for this long awaited project!

More details after the weekend!

-Paeter Frandsen

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Midnight Chronicles (Movie Review)

As a fan of Fantasy Flight Games, I came across news in 2007 that one of their fantasy role playing games, "Midnight", was being developed into a movie. A TV pilot, to be exact. Written, Produced and Directed by Christian T. Petersen, the founder of Fantasy Flight Games.

Looking at the promotional clips online gave me mixed feelings about what the final quality of the production would be like. And the fact that a game producer was doing all the creative heavy lifting could be awesome, since he would have complete control, but also terrible for the same reason, if he doesn't know how to make movies.

The movie was passed up by all those considering it for going to pilot. Not a good sign. But nothing in the clips or trailers I'd seen told me this movie would be monstrously bad. (The first "Dungeons And Dragons" movie comes to mind in that capacity.) So I watched and waited until it finally came to DVD, and waited even longer until distribution made it possible for me to rent it before making a blind purchase. This week it was finally available for me to rent and my curiosity at last was satisfied.

From the very opening of the movie, a dark, dreary tone is established. This is the story of a fantasy world with elves and magic, but one in which the big, bad, unspeakable evil... won. For 100 years the world has lived under the cruel oppressive rule of the dark god Isrador. Commoners move from city to city under the watchful eye and lashing whips of orc soldiers. The premise of this movie is ripe for some wonderful storytelling. But the script never gets around to it.

While the opening tone of the movie is great, and the depressing grit remains through much of the movie, the writer seems more interested in introducing us to the world than in giving us a story to follow. The pace moves incredibly slow, with very little action to break things up. This would be fine if the movie worked as a character drama, but there are no characters I found myself relating to or caring about. The script would have been served well by cutting out a number of plot lines to center on just two or three, using the remaining time to give us reasons to invest in these characters. It seemed to me as though many of these characters had rich stories that wanted to be told, but all of the best material was left in the writer's notebook instead of being put in the script.

Performances were also pretty bland, with a few performers that I wouldn't be surprised to learn are just really good volunteer LARPers (Live Action Role Players) rather than actors, especially given the presence of a particular, minor speech impediment that I've found to be most common around a gaming table.

Visual effects were standard TV series quality, which is not an insult, given that the movie was shot for consideration as a TV pilot. But in a fantasy movie with a run time of an hour and 40 minutes, I would have liked to see more of them.

The fighting scenes, when they did get around to them, seemed to be put together without any benefit of a fight/stunt coordinator. Very poor even by TV standards of 15 years ago.

The included documentary about the making of the movie is a little interesting, and the fact that the entire thing was produced by a table-top game company should not be overlooked. But their first time out should have been less ambitious.

This movie might have worked if they had focused the script on two or three characters and what they want to achieve, and searched far and wide for stronger actors (volunteers though they may be) and a stronger director, who could tell a character driven story that was emotionally involving, without needing fight scenes or lots of effects.

As it is, I can't even recommend spending a dollar to rent it, or two hours of your time to watch it unless you really have nothing else to kill time with. It's not offensively bad or cheesy, just extremely uninteresting. For the same reason, I find it highly unlikely that any meaningful conversation would come after viewing it.

For a better experience in the same intended mold, try "Dragon Age: Redemption" for free on YouTube.

Not rated by the MPAA, but I'd roughly place it at PG-13 for violence and language.

Quality: 6.0/10

Relevance: 5.5/10

To listen to this review, visit this weekend

In Search Of Truth, "Acts Recap"

For those who have joined our little "Search For Truth" here in the last year or so, and for others who may have forgotten, we started out way back in 2007 by looking at the Gospel of John. After that, I thought it might be interesting to follow the continuing timeline of the early church by going through the book of Acts and stopping along the way to look at books written during that time-frame as they would fall in the chronology of Acts.

So far we've seen the Apostles start new communities of believers and equip them for growth. in chapters 1-7. In chapter 8 we were introduced to Saul, a zealous persecutor of the first Christians, who at the very least supported and enabled the deaths of multiple Christians, and probably even organized their capture and executions in a number of cases. But this same man was confronted by the resurrected Jesus in 35 AD and the experience changed him forever.

In Chapter 10 we witnessed Peter's vision, in which it was made clear to him that non-Jews should not be excluded from the amazing gifts of forgiveness, freedom and eternal purpose that God offers. God's Holy Spirit, who had already begun to do incredible things through Jewish believers, was now working powerfully through non-Jews as well, and continues doing so today.
In Chapter 12 we saw John's brother James killed by King Herod's order and Peter be freed from capture by an angel. Later, Herod's acceptance of those worshiping him resulted in his death at God's hands.

Then Saul left with Barnabas on his first missionary journey, beginning in Chapter 13. At this point, Acts begins referring to Saul(which means "desired") with what seems to be his preferred, humbler name,"Paul" (which means "little"). On his first missionary journey, Paul confronts a magician who was aiming to turn people away from Jesus.

In Chapter 14, we see Paul, in Antioch, summarize the grand story God has been telling throughout Jewish history and the climax it reaches in the life and work of Jesus Christ. Soon afterward he was driven out by some of the Jews there and so he and Barnabas continued their journey, seeing great success as many Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) listened and believed in what they were saying about Jesus. Their ministry was marked by both suffering and miracles and took them to many places, but they eventually returned to Antioch and stayed there for about a year or more.

In chapter 15, Paul returns to Jerusalem to settle an issue regarding whether or not Gentiles should be required to follow all of the Jewish laws once they become followers of Christ. It was determined that they should not be saddled with this requirement as even Jewish Christians were unable to fulfill God's law, which is why Jesus fulfilled the law on our behalf to begin with.
Later, Paul wanted to go back and visit the various communities of believers that he had started on his first missionary journey, and invited Barnabas to accompany him, but they disagreed over who ought to come with them, and so parted ways (Paul now taking Silas with him) to continue serving God on separate missions.

In Chapter 16, a young believer named Timothy joined Paul and Silas. Around this time, it is believed that the author, Luke, joined Paul and the others, since he begins using the pronoun "we" at times instead of exclusively "they".

In Philippi, Paul and his team met Lydia, who sold luxury cloth to the wealthy. She became a believer and gave Paul and the others a place to stay. But soon, when Paul cast an evil spirit out of a slave woman, thus removing her fortune telling powers (a chief money maker for her owners), her owners made a fuss over what Paul was teaching and he and his team were beaten and put in jail.

God used this situation to reveal himself to the jailer, who nearly killed himself for fear of punishment from his superiors when an earthquake broke the locks and freed all the prisoners. But rather than use the chance to escape, Paul and his partners stayed in the prison and shared the truth about Jesus to the jailer, who became a believer that night. Soon after, Paul and the others were freed.

In chapter 17, after suffering more persecution which forced them to flee, they eventually came to Athens, where Paul delivered a now famous address to the philosophers there. Athens had altars to a multitude of gods, including an alter to "an unknown god" just to cover their bases. So Paul took the opportunity to tell them about the God they did not know, and shared the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done for all of humanity.

In Chapter 18, in Corinth, Paul met Aquila and Priscilla, Jewish believers whom Paul lived and made tents with for awhile as he preached on the Sabbaths. He found great success there and stayed to teach in Corinth for a year and a half before continuing his journey, bringing Aquila and Priscilla with him. It was roughly during this time or in the time briefly following it, that Paul wrote the book of Romans, which we finished looking at before the holiday season.

In Ephesus, a believer named Apollo was very effectively teaching people about Jesus, though his knowledge on a few issues was incomplete. But Aquila and Priscilla were able to fill in the gaps of his understanding, which he was receptive to, making him all the more effective in teaching.

In chapter 19, Paul taught some believers about the Holy Spirit who had never heard of him, and a number of those practicing magic and attempting to use the name of Jesus as a "magic word" to do their work were overpowered by the demons they attempted to control.

In Ephesus, Paul's preaching was so effective that the metal-smiths who made statues of gods were afraid they would be put out of business and so started a riot against Paul and his partners. A Jewish man named Alexander was put before the crowd by the Jews, presumably to publicly disassociate Jews from Christians in this matter, but the revved up crowd wouldn't listen, until the city clerk quieted everyone down and finally brought reason to the environment.

Next- Acts Chapter 20. Sleeping Through Sermons Can Be Lethal!

Coffee House Question- So far in the book of Acts, there have been numerous inspiring examples of how believers should live. In what way would you especially like to be more like Paul or another believer described so far in this book?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ready For 2012!

After some very welcome time off, I'm back in the saddle and geared up for a HUGE 2012! God promises tomorrow to no one, but if we're on the same page with him, as I aim for and hope we are, here's some of what's coming this year:

Although 2011 may have seemed like a "quiet" year for Spirit Blade Productions, 2012 will be making up for it! This week I'm gearing up for the official read-through of the script for "Spirit Blade 3" (final title still TBA) this Saturday afternoon. Michael Tully(Raan) and Sean Anthony Roberts(Saolos) will both be on speaker phone from out of state to read the script with me and some other friends, family and returning cast members. Then auditions will begin sometime in February or March! So stay tuned if you wanna be involved!

At the same time, I will also be polishing the script for the second episode of "Pilgrim's Progress", which I will schedule a read-through for in a few more months and then hold another set of auditions to cast it.

In February, we'll see the release of our first contracted Enhanced Audio Book, "The Golden Knight: The Boy Is Summoned"! I'm working on the mixing right now and can't wait to have it out there for you guys to enjoy!

And sometime between now and June we'll be releasing "Spirit Blade: The Adventure Card Game", which I will be spilling more beans about soon!

There are a few things that may also be coming to make the back half of the year interesting, but it's still too soon to talk about them. In the meantime, please keep this little company in your prayer time, asking that God will empower it, and all those involved, to accomplish his plans for it this year, and that I will have the wisdom, discernment and willingness to take it wherever he wants it to go.

As always, thanks for your support! See you back here Wednesday for our continued "Search For Truth"!

-Paeter Frandsen