CC Dispatch - June 2018
A new audio member interview! This month we talk to Ongurth, Bible Study Leader and longtime member of staff. Interview by DynamiteTiger
My sophomore year our football team got a new coach. He was a tough man from North Branch, Minnesota—I always thought his facial features made him look like a shark. Coach Link was a leader in the truest sense and we respected him with great fear. During practice, as we were running drills, he would often shout out “Discipline!” at the top of his lungs. One day, during our post-practice huddle, he explained it to us: “Discipline is what will separate you in all aspects of life. If you’re able to deny yourself and focus, you can succeed at anything.” We won a lot of games that year and we never felt like any task was insurmountable.
Kenneth Boa describes the significance to our spiritual life of spiritual disciplines: “Spirituality is not instantaneous or haphazard; it is developed and refined. The Epistles are full of commands to believe, obey, walk, present, fight, reckon, hold fast, pursue, draw near, and love.” I have found his words to be true. It is times where I have been so engrossed in the day to day that I have forgotten regular practice of Scripture and prayer that I have slid spiritually, emotionally, and personally into despondency. Spiritual disciplines are the weightlifting of our spiritual life. While they are not to be the focus themselves, they can be tools and avenues into greater spiritual heights. Just like two a days in football helped propel us into the challenges of the season, so too does solitude, celebration, and fasting prepare us for the trials of this world.
Spiritual disciplines help us to focus our attention appropriately. As we are pulled and prodded by external forces we lose sight of the Truth of our Lord. My small group went to a set of squash courts to play volleyball one day. I was on a team of about four high schoolers, one of whom was desperate to show off his athleticism. He ran all over the court: spiking balls over the net, setting up at the opposite end of the court. He undoubtedly had skill, but when the game went into overtime and we needed to make a highly technical play. He fell trying to get the ball outside of his zone and we lost the game. I pulled him aside afterward and talked to him about what happened, “You’re probably the most talented kid out here, but you’re not the best because you don’t have discipline. Sacrifice doesn’t make you weaker, it makes you better.” When we sacrifice our own natural inclinations, we are refined and better able to handle the “overtime” scenarios—the turning points in our lives. Spiritual disciplines direct our attention, quiet our soul, and build our spiritual maturity: “As we implement [the disciplines] in a consistent way, we cultivate holy habits.”
I left high school viewing spiritual disciplines as very rigid and legalistic. But as I progressed through college I saw the absolutely necessity of them—and their proper place: “Spiritual disciplines are good servants but poor masters,” Boa reminds us. I found that in a world filled with noise and distractions that times of solitude, with pure silence and short prayers were essential to my spiritual health and growth. Many long, quiet prayer walks in the wintry woods readied me for difficult weeks and they still do. It is still my practice to take at least one long retreat into the wilderness a month to listen for what God must speak to me. Make it your own; try a few exercises. I think you’ll grow to appreciate the fresh moments with your Lord.
When humanity was facing it’s final hours, a magical entity arrived, called the Phoenix. Now it’s Phoenix-born versus Phoenix-born, and who will inherit the new world? Or who will become ash and be absorbed by other Phoenix-Born?
What is ‘Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn’? This game is an LCG (Living Card Game, more on that later) where instead of using a separate deck, (Force of Will™) or combined deck (Magic: The Gathering™), where you tap certain cards to play cards; this actually requires the use of dice, which are provided. Luck is required but is mitigated through cards and actions in the game. For example, a player might have a card in hand that says “Change 3 of your dice in your Un-exhausted pool to a side of your choice” that allows them to have the correct dice that they need or want in their dice pool. Rounds are somewhat short, but I personally like long card games such as Magic: The Gathering™ that require resource management and so on and so forth. A included starter kit, like those found with most LCGs, includes a rule book, decks for everyone to play, and tokens. The price for the Starter kit is $45 MSRP and the Expansion Packs are around $9 to $24. Premium Expansion packs include all of the dice, additional rules, and a deck box. For this game, I feel that they should have invested in the card stock, but after feeling cards like Force of Will™, and Magic: The Gathering™ it felt like they were a happy medium. However, I do strongly recommend getting card sleeves for them, maybe even clear dragon sleeves.
What is an LCG? An LCG stands for ‘Living Card Game’, where, instead of new cards being released in booster packs and requiring massive luck to get decent or good cards, you get all of the cards in that set or deck. This LCG uses the deck method and some cards can even be used in custom decks. Its awesome that Ashes has support for this, and even a built-in draft system. So, if you want to do a draft, you can. Each deck requires you to have a dice pool of 10 different dice (again, these are included in the base set) which can be in any combination. The only ones that have new die are the Deluxe Expansion sets.
What is the game play like? As I stated before, game play is slow, and getting used to the game, if you have played previous TCGs (Trading Card Games) such as Force of Will™ or Magic the Gathering ™, is going to take some time. When I first picked this game up, my friend and I were absolutely confused on how the rounds worked. In this game there are 3 steps to a round: 1) Prepare, 2) Player turns phase, and 3) Recovery Phase. Prepare phase does not happen unless it is the first round of the game or after recovery phase when all players pass their player turn phase without taking a side action or a main action, after you choose your starting hand, and after 1 or more players pass. (This game supports 2 to 4 players, officially, but can support more.)
Player turns phases consist of a main action and a side action.
A main action consists of paying a main action cost, attack a Phoenix-born, attack a unit, or pass.
A side action consists of meditating, where you can either discard cards from your hand or draw pile and change a dice to your side of choice, paying a side action cost, or activating a dice power ability. After playing a few games of Ashes, I felt like this was more of a resource management game, however, it also felt like Hearthstone™ in a way.
What are the artwork and cards like? Artwork looks like ‘classical painting meets anime’, so to speak. The cards are absolutely gorgeous and the card stock that they use transfers colors really well. However, they don’t hold up very well, so I do recommend getting sleeves for them. Pro-Deck or Dragon Sleeves, and preferably Dragon Sleeves are the best choices. I have had great success with Dragon Sleeves, and the quality is great also. They are quite inexpensive (1 box = 100 sleeves at $10 to $15 a box on average. (That’s $0.10 to $0.15 before tax, per card.) These cards are standard-sized, as those found in Magic the Gathering™, and Force of Will™ sized cards. The deck boxes are amazing and I honestly love them. Despite that they seem to be made from a sturdy paper, somewhat like card stock, it felt like they could take a few hits.
Is this Christian-friendly? I would say Maybe. There is little to no sexually suggestive materials. However, there are spell cards in this game, so if you are trying to avoid games that use spells and what-not this might be a good reason to avoid it. Other than that, it is actually a great game for ages 14+. There are conjurations and cards that reference demons, however, if you read up on the lore, it kind of makes sense. Honestly, if my church allows it, then it must be acceptable. If you are weary of owning anything with demonic references, then I would say avoid it or see if a friend owns the base game.
Last Month on Ark . . .
The Ragnarok server received a new mod: Rare Sightings, which creates rare and special creatures. In addition, that map now spawns Aberration creatures.
In other news, the Aberration server was taken down in final preparation for the launch of our new server. This server will have a custom progression and will be running Extinction Core. This is sure to be a challenging and fun map. It will be running the Center map because we need completed caves for what we are doing.
With a recent character addition, Overwatch is continually keeping up the interest.
If you haven’t ever played Overwatch with a bunch of crazy Christians, you should give it a shot, we’re fun!
PUBG has seen some interesting updates through May, including a new anti-cheat system.
A few people like the newest rifle, the SLR, and are getting a kick out of finding more Vectors, and even M24s, scattered around the map, without having to locate a crate drop!
Please see our PUBG forums section for the latest news!
Rocket League Nights are drawing the usual crowd!
If you’re new to our community or servers, you should really give our Rocket League nights a try, they are great fun, and loads of our members play!
This month, DT performed an interview with Ongurth. Ongurth has been a man of many hats in the Christian Crew, and has served as a Council Member, a Bible Study Leader, and was even the first person who composed and created CC Newsletters!
If you don’t know Ongurth, I suggest you introduce yourself! He’s one of CC’s treasures! The Christian Crew has been, and IS much richer for having Ongurth be a part of it, and for as many years as he’s been a part!
If you have a suggestion or comment about questions we should ask during the next audio member interview, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, private message NeoJabez on our forums, or leave a comment at the bottom of the newsletter.
quote of the Month
If you have a fantastic caption for this month’s image, please send it to email@example.com, private message NeoJabez on our forums, or leave a comment at the bottom of the newsletter.
The winner of the Caption This contest will receive the incredibly impressive and valuable prize of bragging rights for an entire month!
Mis-Quote Of The Month
Caption This: Last Month's Winner!
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a teacher. Part of being a teacher is professional development. This means I am always trying to learn to do my job better.
While in that process, I came across an interesting story about a youth pastor who was getting ready to take his students on a missions trip. He wanted them to think about how people come to be saved.
So he pulled them aside one at a time and asked them, “How did your parents come to be saved?”
None of them knew the answer.
There could be a lot of reasons why they didn’t know. But, that set me to thinking about my life.
I don’t have kids of my own. I am, however, very involved in my nephew’s lives. I spend time with them almost every day. Yet, they could not answer that question because I have never told them how I came to be saved myself. Then, in class today I was asked during Bible Study how I was saved. My class was surprised by how young I was when I was saved. Over the course of the last year, I have shared with them many stories about how I struggled with various things. What surprised them was that all of that happened after I was saved. My students know much more about my story than my family, yet I had allowed them to form a misconception: that the day I was saved, my life became rainbows and sunshine.
My point is this: if we don’t share our faith, where we are, where we came from, and how we got there with the younglings in our lives, can we really expect them to understand it? Opportunities pop up to share a little bit here and there all the time. I pray that the Lord will give me wisdom to see when they have come, and to know how to respond when they do.
try these websites when you're bored!
Many of us find ourselves in routines, and sometimes these routines become iron-clad in our lives, and even in our web-surfing habits. We tend to use the same search engines, go to the same places for news, and basically exist in the same resounding echo chambers as the day before.
We should occasionally take the time to break out of that routine, to smash that monotonous cycle, and find new things to engage us, teach us, and open our capacity for creative thinking.
So, here are a few websites that might break you free from the ‘same ole, same ole’ for a bit. Some of these websites could expand your creative horizons, or perhaps give you the inspiration for creating something you’d been hoping to find. Some of them are just cool and interesting, and you might learn something from having seen them. Others are just pure boredom breakers, full of games and mindless entertainment.
But all of them probably deserve your visit even more than a Facebook or a Twitter.
Kongregate is an indie games portal and community with over 118,749 games. (That number continues to rise.) They're also responsible for over 30 very popular mobile games.
The platform features such game types as: Action, MMO, Strategy and Tower Defense, Sports and Racing, Adventure & RPG, Shooters, Multiplayer, and more. They also have a robust achievement system.
Yup That Exists
"Things You Never Knew Existed" is a site that might give you ideas, inspirations, or just help you kill some time, but in a way that's interesting and cool!
Yup That Exists is a website, in a sort of 'blog article' format, that features all sorts of things you probably never knew were a 'thing', and in some cases, you can buy them! (Or make them yourself!) The site has a side menu that features subject headings, so you're sure to find something in their amazing breadth of categories.
This Is Sand is easily one of the coolest and most creative time-wasters in our list. Make sand art, in multiple colors, on screen! What's not to love? You might even decide you need to start making sand art in the real world as a result! Watch out, Hobby Lobby, here we come!
Daily Random Facts
Cool, interesting, random trivia for you! Impress your friends! A large variety of facts from an impressive array of categories will teach you lots of tidbits about our world you might not have known.
Did you know that, smart as he was, Albert Einstein never learned to drive? Astronauts have a patch of Velcro inside their helmets, so they can scratch their noses hands-free in space!
Come on, that's cool info!
We've all seen 'hackers' in movies and television blazing through the firewalls of the Pentagon, or some other secure cyber realm. And now you can do it, too!
Basically, you go to HackerTyper and just randomly click your keyboard keys in no real order as fast as you like, and HackerTyper will generate an impressive and ominous amount of code on your screen as if you're a super-hacker or super-coder that can't be stopped! Anyone looking over your shoulder is sure to be mightily impressed!
Adobe Color CC
(Formerly Adobe Kuler)
A smart way to find the best color combinations! You can find colors that complement one another, or are opposites. You can create entire palettes for your game, website, or artwork.
This page will give you every conceivable type of color value information, and you can customize pretty much everything.
Give it a shot!
The Scale of the Universe
This is, quite honestly, amazing. I know that scientific people probably love this for their own reasons, but there's no reason that a Christian can't take away a massive appreciation for God's Skills once they've interactively explored our universe from the smallest known sub-particle, all the way to the outer reaches of the known universe. (And our scale within it all.)
Truly, our God is an Awesome God!
Lizard Point tests your geography knowledge with lots of quizzes and questions designed to teach. In fact, you can track your progress, and their are tools for teachers built into the site itself.
There are also quizzes dealing with national flags, world leaders, art, math, and more!
If you're not familiar with Ted Talks, or TedX videos, what rock have you been living under?
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and features talks and presentations given by people from many of the different fields that fall under those three categories.
The general idea is that you will listen and watch, and besides learning something new, maybe find inspiration in your own field.
MIT OPEN COURSEWARE
How would you like to learn ANYTHING taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology? You won't get a degree from this website, but you'll learn everything in the MIT curriculum.
You could take that learning to new heights, with or without a diploma, or use these courses to GET a diploma! It's never too late!
Take a look at their exhaustive list of courses, in all kinds of cool fields!
Speed reading is the art of silencing sub-vocalization. Most readers have an average reading speed around 200wpm, but they don't realize they are limiting themselves to that because that is the speed and cadence of their inner reading voice.
This website tries to assist readers in learning how, with better comprehension, they can read far faster than that inner voice can follow.
This is a slider, please swipe or use your mouse to go to the next slide.
We really want to thank you for reading! We hope very sincerely that we offered entertainment, interactivity, and fascinating content!
Please feel free to comment below and tell us how we did! And stay tuned for our June Newsletter! We hope to take your comments and suggestions and continually improve future editions!
Anyone interested in contributing to the newsletter with written articles, graphics artwork, music, videos, or virtually any other type of media is welcomed! Let’s show everyone the kind of content creation the Christian Crew is capable of sharing! All inquiries should be routed to NeoJabez at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also Private Message Neo through our forums from his profile by clicking HERE.