How wonderful Your Covenant, oh God
Your marriage vow to me.
Your banner over me is love.
Your contract sets me free.

You bring the sacrifice
I bend my knee
You shed Your blood
I am redeemed

You break Your body
I offer mine
You die for my sins
I have new life

You brought the atonement
I walk in grace
You wash me and make me clean
I worship and praise!

This is Your agreement
A blood oath to me
I stand on all Your promises
Lord Jesus, I believe.

Poem by Maria Hass, published October 6th, 2019. All rights reserved.

Sweet Exchange

Posted in Faith, Family

My “guild” is my church!

I do not own the rights to this image. Or any image really.

Ok so the concept of a “guild” is foreign even to me as far as it’s historical/real life applications. But I play World of Warcraft so I can definitely see it in terms of an MMO world.

I’ve always been a bit of a homebody and a geek. As a young adult, I was never into the social life of night clubs and bars (Reason #1, I was saved and happily married by the age of 19. Reason #2, I’m an introvert). Paul was at first military, then FAA, then worked for UPS before he went into the medical field. Odd hours and three young kids back to back, there wasn’t any real opportunity to go on dates. But we could play video games together at 2am while the babies slept and have a fun time.

Now I’m in my 30s and I still find it more fun to be in comfy leggings playing WoW with my husband and son than “going out”. Because WoW is purposefully designed to be played in community, unlike other games. As in, you CANNOT experience the fullness of all the game developers have created as a lone player.

Well you CANNOT experience the fullness of all God our Creator has developed for us as a lone Christian, either.

World of Warcraft Classic has brought about a sense of community out of nostalgia. It’s a re-release of the original game most of us in our 30s played when the game first came out about 15-20 years ago. This game is a planet unto itself much like the fictional world of Narnia, and you (+ other players) try to be the hero with every quest. But in the modern expansions, you have things like “Dungeon Finders” or “Raid Finders” where game system automatically places you in groups and in places to accomplish objectives. In Classic, there are no such favors. Need to know where how to get to that one cave? You better ask the other players. Can’t kill a bad guy by yourself? Find some other people to join you.

People run around in different races and classes meeting their objectives, but find no problem helping the people they run by. Paladins (holy warriors, my husband’s favorite) run by placing “blessings” on random players because it costs nothing and helps raise stats. Often I’ll run by and see a single player taking on a mob – and I’ll help. It doesn’t give me any XP or loot, but it doesn’t make sense to just let the player struggle alone. Often you find yourself in an area and you can tell there’s four other players with the same objective – so you “party up” (formally create a group in-game that shares objectives, loot, and experience) because everyone turns in faster.

A lot of people feel that the world would be a better place if the community felt more like what it does in these MMOs… but I digress.

Blizzard in all it’s wisdom even designed the group efforts to require people of different skills in order to succeed. When you are going into a “Dungeon” (the enemy’s camp), you’ll set up a group of 5 people (no more, no less) where each person has a specific job based on the skill set of their character. A “tank” (the person that holds the attention of the enemy), a few “d-p-s-ers” (damage per second, the people that take down the enemy quickly), and a “healer” (the person who keeps primarily the tank alive, and then everyone else, so that the mission is victorious).

Did you know that in order for a church to be effective and growing in it’s community, it needs to employ a five-fold ministry?

1 Corinthians 12:27-30 NIV

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

Many denominations differ on the definition of these things and I’m simply going to refer you to your Pastor if you have questions. But I can tell you from observation that a church that is only employing the Pastors to do ministry, or that are only relying on teaching, aren’t growing. Any physical body cannot grow or multiply if only one component is active and the rest of it is dormant. #truth

So to help find other people to level up in World of Warcraft with, many people start or join “guilds”. It’s basically a club, a group of players whose chat is in neon green font (to make it easier to catch while you are playing) and who agree to help each other out. Higher level players will help lower level players get through dungeons and objectives that are wiping them out. People will pass on resources to other guildies that they picked up but can’t use on the particular character they play with. You chat, you play through the game together, and you build friendships with people as you tackle more and more difficult/exciting/rewarding activities.

If a video game, which has no eternal benefit and no real life benefit, can take BIBLICAL wisdom of COMMUNITY and apply it to their entirely secular concepts so that they GROW WILDLY SUCCESSFUL – 3.4 million people world wide kind of successful – how much MORE should the Church be growing and thriving! Bringing people into our church is not that much more harder than recruiting players into a guild – go out there, do “life” with people and as you get along or you help someone out, invite them! It’s literally how the Church STARTED and it’s still how the body of Christ grows today – it’s not rocket science… nor does it require a degree in Theology.

The Fellowship of the Believers – Acts 2:42-47 NIV

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The absolute kicker is, we have the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit. Simply put, it’s fail-proof. Be encouraged!

I’m familiar with people who are not comfortable with going to church but feel community in their online guilds. Praise the Lord, my “guild” is my church! My introverted, geeky self has a group of people flesh and blood to do spiritual warfare with. The Kingdom of God is far deeper and wider than we can truly wrap our minds around, and the enemy spawning here on earth are far more threatening to our families and our cities today. And I am a part of it. I would love for you to be a part of it too.