Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bananarama (Classic)

This is is one of the earliest posts on the blog... and it's back because it makes me laugh & think at the same time.

Off the AP wire:  

Woman Pelts Robbery Suspect With Bananas  
Thu Mar 24, 5:13 PM ET 
By JAMES MacPHERSON, Associated Press Writer 

BISMARCK, N.D. - Crystal Senger stopped at a convenience store to buy pop and cigarettes, and she saw the clerk being choked in a robbery attempt. She ran to call for help. Then she started throwing bananas. 

Senger, 19, said she grew up playing organized baseball, and used those skills to pelt the suspect in the head with every banana she threw, from about 10 feet away. "I was seven-for-seven," Senger said in a telephone interview Thursday. "They were green bananas — not the ripe mushy ones — so they hurt." 

Senger said the suspect, who police said was intoxicated, was stunned from getting hit by the flying fruit. 

A 17-year-old was arrested after he bolted from the Devils Lake store and tripped over a piece of wood, after a short foot chase, Police Chief Bruce Kemmet said. The teen had no weapon and no money was taken from the store, Kemmet said. 

Police said the suspect, who was not identified because of his age, stood more than 6 feet tall, and weighed about 300 pounds. He allegedly entered the Holiday Station Store about 1 a.m. Tuesday. 

"It's pretty simple. The guy walked into the store and said something to the effect of "Give me what I want,"' Kemmet said. 

"He threw me around like I was nothing," said store clerk Ed Bingham, "and I weigh 220 pounds." Bingham said the suspect kicked and punched him for what "felt like forever." 

Bingham, 43, said he pushed a button that alerted the store's security company. 

"When I walked in the store, I saw Ed in a choke hold, yelling for help and gasping for air," Senger said. "There was blood everywhere." 

She ran out and told her friend to call 911 on her cell phone. "She was in shock, so I had to do it," Senger said. 

Senger said she came back in the store and "screamed at the top of my lungs at him to stop." When she was sure the suspect was unarmed, she began bombarding him with bananas. 

Senger said the basket of bananas was the closest thing she could find. "If there would have been cans of soup on the counter, I would have thrown those at him," she said. 
Man, you can't make up stuff like that. I'd love to see the in-store security camera footage of the scene. And I'm betting that Isaac would sign Ms. Senger up for our softball team in a heartbeat.

But you've probably guessed that I'm telling you this story in order to make a point. (I always have a point, right? Well, most of the time.) 

Here's the point: Ms. Senger saw a situation that demanded action (the robbery) and decided to act. In fact, she was willing to use anything she could find to make a difference... in her case, green bananas. (We'll have to check with Bruce, our local expert on all things "police-y", but I'm guessing he didn't receive any training on how to foil a convenience store holdup with produce.)

Our God works the same way
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God. 1st Corinthians 1:26-29 (New Living Translation)  
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have--right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start--comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God." 1st Corinthians 1:26-31 (The Message)  
Basically, we're bananas. Or cans of soup. Or 6 month old packages of pastries. Or whatever. We're the "foolish things", the "powerless things", the "nobodies". 

Now, I'll bet I'm not the only person reading this who doesn't like the sound of being a "nobody". I've spend most of my life trying to be "somebody", to garner a little pile of fame, recognition & success. But the thrust of the passage in 1st Corinthians makes it clear that it isn't the scrapings & shavings of power & honor that we've swept into our corner that makes us valuable to God. It's the fact that Jesus loves us so much He uses us to change the world. 

In other words, it's not what you throw (bananas or soup cans), it's who's throwing it (an ex-baseball player). 

In other words, it's not what you throw (the foolish, the powerless, the nobodies), it's who's throwing it (Jesus Christ). 

Take a minute right now and let that sink in - no matter what you've managed to accomplish, or how your life has crumbled & collapsed... you are being pitched into the game of life by the One the book of Hebrews calls "the author & perfector of our faith." You're a green banana upside the head of the Enemy... enjoy!  

This article originally appeared in the 4/5/05 edition of "the Grapevine", the e-newsletter of NewLife Community Church.

#25: Pandemic


Mark's Ranking
  • 2012: 25th
  • 2010: 27th
  • 2005:prior to publication
  • rank: 46
  • rating: 7.61
Print Status
  • in print
Why It's On The List
  • A brilliantly constructed cooperative game with nail-biting tension - are we going to be able to save the world from the viruses or not?
Tips & Tricks:
  • You must watch ALL of the timers - the one you're most likely to forget is the draw deck.
  • When you're teaching Pandemic, work extra hard not to "run" the game - let players make mistakes, learn, and enjoy this great game experience. If you really want to play the game with extra control, play it solitaire.
  • Do go out & purchase the On the Brink expansion - not only does it offer some fun new ways to play (Mutant Strain, Virulent Outbreak, new roles & new special help cards), but it also has the very cool petri dish holders for the pieces.
  • I'm not a big fan of the Bio-Terrorist variant in the expansion in which one player is working against everyone else.
  • While I can't share details, I have played a prototype of a second expansion set. 
  • There's also a LARP game that's been run at a few gaming conventions - again, I haven't got to play it myself but I love the idea!
  • Pandemic has a more "family with kids" friendly cousin, Forbidden Island... here's the review I wrote of it for my blog.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tim & Rob & Kristen & Me

I've spent the month of October preaching about marriage... and I'm not done yet. We've talked about:
  • not giving up (statistically, unhappiness in marriage now doesn't mean you'll be unhappy later)
  • biblical submission (which starts not with figuring out "who's in charge?" but with submitting to Christ)
  • being best friends (living out the 35+ "one another" commands toward each other)
  • speaking the truth in love (letting your spouse speak into your life)
In the next couple of weeks, I'll speak about:
  • the dangers of "keeping score"
  • the difference between consumer & covenant marriage (with a big tip o'the hat to Tim Keller for so succinctly writing/teaching on this)
Speaking of Tim Keller, a particular passage in his book, The Meaning of Marriage, has been nibbling at the edge of my brain since I read it... and while it's unlikely it'll make it into one of the upcoming sermons, I thought it would be worth sharing with you guys.
One of the most widely held beliefs in our culture today is that romantic love is all important in order to have a full life but that it almost never lasts. A second, related belief is that marriage should be based on romantic love. Taken together, these convictions lead to the conclusion that marriage & romance are essentially incompatible, that is it cruel to commit people to lifelong connection after the inevitable fading of romantic joy. 
I see the same thing Tim Keller sees - a culture that worships romantic love (just take a look at the public obsession with Rob Pattinson & Kristen Stewart) but is convinced that it will burn out and/or blow away. (Again, Rob & Kristen are worth referencing.)

Note: for those of you who live under a pop-culture rock, these two are the leads for the Twilight series of films whose off-screen relationship has been tabloid fodder for years. If you're older (than me, I guess), think Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor times ten.

Biblical marriage offers so much more than this. It's not devoid of passion or romance - for those who question that, your homework assignment is to read Song of Songs. In addition to those wonderful gifts of God, it is anchored in the love of Christ - a love the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes in this way:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
And it's not cruel to commit people to a lifetime of that kind of marriage... is it?

#26: Showmanager (Mark's 100 - 2012)


Mark's Ranking
  • 2012: 26th
  • 2010: 31st
  • 2005: 6th
  • appeared on all three lists
  • rank: 444
  • rating: 7.20
Print Status
  • in print
Why It's On The List
  • A wonderful card-drafting game that whips along at a breakneck pace and offers a consistently enjoyable gaming experience as the players cast (and miscast) theater productions.
Tips & Tricks:
  • You don't have to be a card counter to do well - but it is good to know what "9" cards are remaining in each show.
  • You do not have enough money - so you're going to have to accept that one of your four shows is going to be, well, a flop.
  • Use your flop show to borrow money - a common tactic is put on a flop, put it in the lowest point value city & then take the maximum amount of money out of the show.
  • While I'm very glad there is a reprint available, I do want to note that the two included variants are not necessary to enjoy the game.
  • Thankfully, the inferior version of the game (Atlantic Star) is out of print. 
  • Showmanager scales really well for 3-6 players... I'm least fond of 4 but it still works well.
  • Here's what I wrote about Showmanager for The One Hundred.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Nines 2012: Highlights

Last week, I spent 12 or so hours locked in my office listening to a dizzying array of speakers via Leadership Network's online conference The Nines... and, as usual, some of those folks absolutely blasted me with their wisdom & insight into ministry.

This year's overarching topic was "Too Hot To Handle" - and The Nines certainly delivered. What follows is a series of quotes from the presenters that manage to lodge in my brain... many of them I Tweeted during the event.

Moral Failure 
  • "Everything you say must be true, but everything true does not need to be said." (Craig Groeschel)
  • "Grace is doing the most loving thing." (Pete Briscoe)
  • "Their current failure doesn't diminish their past successes in ministry; but their ministry does not diminish their current failure." (Brad Powell)
  • "Forgiveness & restoration are two different things." (Matt Williams)
  • "The thing that kills organizations is not the original sin; it's the cover-up." (Rich Nathan)
Rogue Staff
  • "Say the hard things before it's hard to say things." (Brian Tome)
  • "90% of all leaders are sitting on a conversation that you know you need to have." (Michael Fletcher)
  • "A leader forfeits his leadership when he fails to make the tough calls." (Bryan Carter)
  • "A toxic culture will eat vision for lunch." (Sam Chand)
Social Justice
  • "Christ's example: do good works wherever He preached." (Krish Kandiah)
  • "God was at work before you came... look for His leading." (Dave Gibbons)
  • "We need to ask ourselves, 'If our church ceased to exist would our community notice?'" (Dave Ferguson)
  • "'To preach or to serve?' It's not an either-or question any more than the question 'to live or to breathe?'" (Dan Ohlerking)
Rapid Growth
  • "The biggest issues are not space or buildings as much as the personal issues the leaders face. Manage your own house well!" (Scott Williams)
  • "Systems are like underwear - they need to be changed often." (ND Strupler)
Elder Boards
  • "You want your board to actually like meeting together." (Larry Osborne)
  • "Do not give away your power easily; it is difficult to get back." (Sebastian Van Wessem)
  • "Without clearly defined roles, the elders will default back to their individual personalities." (Jim Powell)
  • "Boards are not a problem by design; they only become a problem when the wrong people sit on the board." (Steve Stroope)
  • "Elders bring baggage with the 'seed of evil' into the leadership circle... scared, scarred, confused or ignorant describe the four most common types of baggage." (Mike Bonem)
  • A great conversation to have with your elders: "A year from now, how are you going to keep score?" (Scott Wilson)
Kill A Church Program
  • "That room doesn't belong to your Sunday School class - we're not going to get into a hostage negotiation." (Mark Driscoll)
  • "Productive growth may initially look like shrinkage." (Eric Geiger)
  • "Things that matter the most must not be at the mercy of those things which matter the least." (Eric Geiger)
  • "Weak leaders struggle with killing programs because attendance equates to success to them." (Scott Lehr)
  • "If you want fans - start a Facebook page, if you want disciples - preach the Gospel." (Scott Lehr)
  • "Five options: combine, contributize, cascade, cage, cut..." (Will Mancini)
  • "Programs have a life cycle... they can outlive their productivity." (Brian Bloye)
  •  "Every pastor need to know how much disappointment of others he can handle." (Bruce Wesley)
Grab Bag
  • "Oftentimes, wives of men in ministry are spiritual widows." (Matt Carter)
  • "You are the most spiritually influential man in many people's lives... are the most spiritually influential man in your wife's life?" (Matt Carter)
  •  "God is an artist. He will never lead you to copy someone else." (Ken Shigematsu)
  • "Our weaknesses are the most powerful path for connecting to Christ & to others." (Chip Sweeney)
  • "You can spend a lot of time listening [to social media]... don't waste your time & give away your personal peace!" (David McGee) 
  • "Your calling has nothing to do with your position." (Jorge Molina)
  • "Are you more concerned about the success of your spiritual children than about your own success?" (Neil Cole)
  • "Change is not criticism." (Laurie Beshore)
  • "Love the mission more than your opportunity to advance the mission." (Aaron Brockett)
  • "It is here at the foot of the cross that we shrink to our one true size." (John Stott quoted by Aaron Brockett)
  • "Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy." (Warren Wiersbe quoted by Daniel Fusco)
  • "Giving should be a time of celebration, not a reaction of desperation." (Chris Elrod)

Game Central Station: Flowerpower

This is an article from my now nearly-defunct gaming website... and putting Flowerpower on my top 100 games list reminded me that I hadn't ported the information over to the blog. So - now I have. 

The decidedly cheesy cover to this Kosmos 2-player game makes you go "ewwww"... but underneath this bizarre exterior is a nifty tile-laying game that offers some interesting choices & fast-paced gameplay.

This is as good a point as any for my disclaimer: I may like this game simply because I've won 25 of the 28 games I've played of it. (I don't think so, but I'm pretty sure that fact at least influences my feelings.) I will say that this game could be dismissed as "luck of the draw", but my win/loss record seems to indicate otherwise. (Note: this paragraph was written back in 2004... my winning percentage is not quite as high now - though still quite good.)

This is evidently a first "published" design for Angelika Fassauer & Peter Haluszka... Luding only lists flowerpower and their new game from Klee, Trick Track Troll, which was just shown at Nuremberg in 2002.

Below are two sections: the first talks about the misprint in the game (which is important to know about!); the second is my take on flowerpower strategy (which you can take or leave as you see fit!)

The One Problem With Flowerpower

Each flower (there are 10 different flower/"suits" in flowerpower) appears 20 times in the "deck". (I'm still not sure what to call a bag full of tiles... sigh.) Anyway, each flower has 18 tiles (it's paired with every other flower twice) and a double tile of it's own "suit".

Every flower, that is, except the poor red 5-petal (on a dark background), which does not have a double. (This is due to a misprint which has been confirmed by Kosmos, the compnay that published the game.) Instead, there is an extra tile with the white/purple(?) combination.
This does not drastically affect gameplay - but you should note that it's silly to set yourself up for a move that requires the double 5-petal red flower. You should also tell your opponent about this mistake in the tile set, because it's the right thing to do.

NOTE: Within 24 hours of publishing this page, I got an e-mail from Emma Crew, who just received a new copy of flowerpower from Germany: "After reading what you said about the misprint, I opened up my copy, freshly arrived from Adam Spielt, and sorted/examined all of the flower tiles. My set includes 2 of each mixed flower tile, and 1 of every double (including the carnations/pinks--ok, I'm a girl *and* a gardener, I recognize the kinds of flowers). So it looks like there's been another printing that fixed the problem, something you might want to keep in mind if you're playing using an unfamiliar set. I'm just imagining a game 'HA-HA she needs the nonexistent tile to finish that bed and win, what a fool..D'OH where did THAT come from?'" So, you need to check - the first printings were messed-up... but the new ones aren't. (How's that for a conclusion?)

Flowerpower Strategy

Loath though I am to give away my secrets, here's the general gist of what I do.

1. My first tile is played in the center of my garden two spaces away from the neutral zone.

2. My second tile goes to the left or right of my garden in the open if it doesn't match the first tile. If it does match, it is placed next to the 1st tile with the new flower pointing toward the neutral zone. (This makes it easier to build into the neutral zone later & use it as a scoring area.)

3. I concentrate on two things:
  • making flower beds of 3 flowers
  • using the neutral zone as much as possible
Don't waste your time/tile draws making your garden pretty... 2 three-flower beds are as good as 1 six-flower bed and are both easier to build and harder for your opponent to block with a weed.

4. I play aggressively ONLY when a tile doesn't help me or is only marginal. I do not use tiles that help me to hurt the other player - again, this is a "waste not, want not" kind of game!

5. I play weeds to use up 3-4 spaces in my opponent's garden... therefore, I usually don't play weeds until the mid or late game. Timing is everything here - an appropriately placed weed will use his own flowers to gum up his plans by directly blocking some growth and indirectly blocking other growth. The main functions of a weed are to chew up good options for the other player and to stop him from building a 10+ flower bed.

6. When in doubt with a "useless" tile (if there's not a REALLY good place to weed), I play it in the neutral zone along the edge where my opponent has already placed flowers. It eats up neutral zone space with non-matching flowers and prevents him from using the neutral zone to score.

7. I try not to forget the magic numbers: 3 flowers = 1 point, 6 flowers = 2 points, 10 flowers = 4 points. When you forget the magic numbers, you end up building beds of 4-5 flowers, wasting plays, space & potential points.

8. This is not usually a card counting game, but you MUST count double flower tokens... once they've been played, it's MUCH easier to block an opponent from turning three-flower beds into six-flower beds. You can place a weed so as to leave them room to play (3 empty spaces) but not enough room to complete the bed they want.

9. There are 10 empty spaces on the board when all the tiles are played (it's happened twice to me in 21 games). You need to weed/eat up the neutral zone in such a way as to leave 8+ of those empty spaces in the neutral and/or opponents garden. Doing this, however, is secondary to scoring yourself.

10. Finally, if it starts to feel close, work on getting one flowerbed to 10+ flowers... it's not so much for the points it scores as it is the tie-breaker. In case of a tie in points, the largest single flower bed wins... and, yes, I've managed to win one game this way!

#27: Flowerpower (Mark's 100 - 2012)


Mark's Ranking
  • 2012: 27th
  • 2010: 17th
  • 2005: 78th
  • appeared on all three lists
  • rank: 1283
  • rating: 6.58
Print Status
  • way out of print
Why It's On The List
  • Despite an off-putting box cover, this is a tremendous two-player game of building gardens that can be played "friendly" or "cutthroat"... and enjoyed both ways.
Tips & Tricks:
  • You must use the "community garden" area wisely - ignoring it will simply allow your opponent more space to plant with.
  • Wait to use your "weeds" (you only have three of them) until your opponent has filled up enough of his side of the board to make them painful.
  • Pay attention to how much space you'll need to get a flower bed to the next point level - there's no use making a bed of five flowers when they're worth the same as a bed of three flowers.
  • This is a game that begs for a reprint.
  • Here's what I wrote about Flowerpower for Game Central Station (my old website)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

#28: Africa (Mark's 100 - 2012)


Mark's Ranking
  • 2012: 28th
  • 2010: 40th
  • 2005: 41st
  • appeared on all three lists
  • rank: 2157
  • rating: 5.99
Print Status
  • out of print
Why It's On The List
  • A great Knizia exploration game that was sadly under-rated when it first appeared in 2002 because it wasn't the next Euphrat & Tigris.
Tips & Tricks:
  • As much as possible, don't waste moves. You can work to set up plays so that you can make sure that each turn has two productive activities.
  • Use the "skip a turn, move anywhere" power sparingly.
  • Relocating nomads can be very lucrative point-wise, especially if you plan for it.
  • Africa packs a lot of game into 30 minutes... it's worth tracking down a copy.
  • Here's what I wrote about Africa for The One Hundred

Saturday, October 27, 2012

#29: Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit (Mark's 100 - 2012)

Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit

Mark's Ranking
  • 2012: 29th
  • 2010: 25th
  • 2005: 45th
  • appeared on all three lists
  • rank: 213
  • rating: 7.52
Print Status
  • out of print
Why It's On The List
  • This is possibly the best licensed game out there... based on the weakest film in the Star Wars franchise. It manages to capture the best parts of a bad film and make a splendid game.
Tips & Tricks:
  • The Trade Federation is slightly easier to play... but with two experienced players, the game is pretty well balanced.
  • If you're playing the Naboo side, you MUST use every Anakin card possible to push the timer. (This is really the only "can't miss" bit of strategic advice I can give you.)
  • This is not the only good Star Wars game (I also like Star Wars: Epic Duels) but it's certainly the best.
  • Here's what I wrote about The Queen's Gambit for The One Hundred

Friday, October 26, 2012

More Popular Than Jesus (Classic)

This is a classic aka pastor guy post from March of 2010...

 44 years ago today, John Lennon opened his mouth during a magazine interview in England and this is what tumbled out:
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first—rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.
A few months later, the American magazine Datebook reprinted the quote... and things went a bit nuts. There were record burnings, death threats, and even the KKK got involved. By the way, important safety tip: you can figure out when you've probably gone off the deep end in your reactions when the Ku Klux Klan agrees with you. (You can read more details about it on Wikipedia.) John offered this half-hearted apology:
Lennon: I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it, but I just happened to be talking to a friend and I used the words "Beatles" as a remote thing, not as what I think - as Beatles, as those other Beatles like other people see us. I just said "they" are having more influence on kids and things than anything else, including Jesus. But I said it in that way which is the wrong way.
Reporter: Some teenagers have repeated your statements - "I like the Beatles more than Jesus Christ." What do you think about that?
Lennon: Well, originally I pointed out that fact in reference to England. That we meant more to kids than Jesus did, or religion at that time. I wasn't knocking it or putting it down. I was just saying it as a fact and it's true more for England than here. I'm not saying that we're better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it's all this.
Reporter: But are you prepared to apologise?
Lennon: I wasn't saying whatever they're saying I was saying. I'm sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. I apologise if that will make you happy. I still don't know quite what I've done. I've tried to tell you what I did do but if you want me to apologise, if that will make you happy, then OK, I'm sorry.
So, this morning, my friend, game designer Stephen Glenn, decided to use his Facebook status update to mock the Beatles tune, "All You Need Is Love" - and then I commented about the anniversary... and we were off to the races. 

After a bit of conversation, Stephen said something pretty profound:
Let's say, for sake of argument, that at any given time the Beatles *were* more popular than Jesus. In the big False American Idol contest, Jesus comes in third behind money and The Beatles. Why would that even matter to someone who had chosen to dedicate their life to Christ? Are they so insecure and threatened if someone/thing happens to be more "popular" than their guy?
First, ouch. Score one point for the snarky game designer with the Spiel des Jahres nomination under his belt. Second, duh. I attended seminary for a reason, right? I was forced to respond with:
Biblically, Jesus was a "man of no reputation" (Philippians 2:7) and "despised & rejected by men" (Isaiah 53)... so I must humbly admit that you, Stephen Glenn, are correct. Dang, I hate it when you're right - and that False American Idol thing is genius... I'm gonna steal that & use it in a sermon.
So, I didn't use it in a sermon - though that may still happen. It became a blog post. (Stephen graciously OK'd my use of this so I didn't have to steal & therefore missed breaking a commandment tonight - thanks, dude!) 

Look, if Jesus really was a man of no reputation - a guy who managed to cheese off both the government & the religious leadership - why are we who call ourselves followers of Christ so concerned about polishing his image? Isn't the objective to be more like Him rather than to make the world like Him? 

And if that's our goal, our vision, our pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow, why do we waste so much of our time & energy trying to force other people to pay respect to God, like we were some kind of enforcers for a spiritual mob boss or a ministers of protocol to some tinpot dictator? If God doesn't care that much about his Q rating, why should we? 

#30: Monopoly: Tropical Tycoon DVD Game (Mark's 100 - 2012)

Monopoly: Tropical Tycoon DVD Game

Mark's Ranking
  • 2012: 30th
  • 2010: 18th
  • 2005: 17th (Monopoly - original edition)
  • appeared on all three lists
  • rank: 5587
  • rating: 5.93
Print Status
  • out of print (but pretty easy to find on Ebay)
Why It's On The List
  • It takes the classic game (Monopoly) and makes it extremely gamer-friendly by adding Cosmic Encounter-ish roles, a variety of choices for building, and a great point system that lets you stop the game at any point and declare a legitimate winner.
Tips & Tricks:
  • Basic Monopoly strategy still works with Tropical Tycoon... but there are major new considerations when you are building on monopolies. You can build for cash or for points... or for some balance point in between.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Order Up!

The preacher is not a chef; he's a waiter. God doesn't want you to make the meal; He just wants you to deliver it to the table without messing it up. That's all. (John MacArthur)
I posted this quote about preaching to my Facebook page last week... and received some interesting responses that started my brain on a couple of detours I wanted to share with you. 
  • "Waiter! Could I have seconds please!?" 
I have to say that your average pastor (and by that phrase, I'm really talking about me, myself & I) would be floored by a request for "seconds". Don't get me wrong - I get compliments, comments & questions that indicate that the folks in my church are listening and struggling to apply the Biblical truth I'm trying to preach/teach. But that "hungry for more" attitude just isn't that common.

Is there a way to change that? I think it's a bit like practicing for those crazy eating contests - you know, "how many hot dogs can you eat in 10 minutes"? (The guy who won the Coney Island competition in 2012 managed 68!) If you're going to eat a lot of food, you've got to get your stomach properly expanded - used to taking in food. If you're going to want more Biblical truth, you've got to get your heart & mind properly expanded - used to taking in Scripture... and that means you need to study, read & learn throughout the week, not just on Sunday mornings.
  • "I'll have what she's having."
This comment is care of a libertarian atheist friend who was referencing a famous scene from WHEN HARRY MET SALLY... and I'm pretty sure he wasn't intending to give me a spiritual illustration when he posted it. (That's OK - he's been a good friend and a great source of sermon illustrations & quotes for a very long time.)

A Sunday morning tip: when you are moved by the preaching & teaching at your church, it's OK to let it register on your face. People around you can see you dealing with spiritual truth and it increases their chances of doing the same thing.

Perhaps you're not a demonstrative person - that's OK! You can share with others - verbally, online, whatever - what God did in your life through the teaching. When you do that, you make others "hungry" to have what you're having! 
  • "If you bother the waiter, he'll spit in your food."
This is actually something I try to keep front & center in my preparation and presentation. It's very easy for those of us who preach on a regular basis to take out our frustrations & hurts with a few individuals on the entire congregation... and it's a sin.