The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Friday, January 13, 2012

LAN Parties, Headshots in Halo, and the Glory of God

I can remember enjoying LAN parties in high school. About six or eight of us would get together, drink 8 Red Bulls, eat 15 slices of pizza, 20 cookies, and stay up all night blowing each other to smithereens while shouting not so nice things. The game was usually HALO. I had a good time, but I could never quite enjoy it like many of the others because they owned the game, and I did not. They understood the intricacies and nuances of the game that I was unaware of. So when Jonathan Lee or Adam Perrell no-scoped me from the other side of the map and flipped out in celebration, I couldn't fully appreciate the talent and skill that was involved. I couldn't understand the magnitude of the moment.

This was because I didn't understand HALO very well. However, I do know baseball pretty well, and I can tell you, I get goosebumps every time I see a short stop making a diving stop in the hole, scamper to his feet in an instant, and fire a bullet over to the first baseman, who scoops up the short-hop and nearly does a split in the process. For me, that's a "flip out and go crazy" kind of moment, a moment truly worth celebrating. However, my aforementioned friends likely wouldn't understand, at least not to the degree that I do, just how amazing such a play in baseball really is. This is because they haven't experienced baseball like I have and do not know it as well as I do. But when it comes to HALO, they have the experience and knowledge- I don't. 

A no-scope head shot from across the other side of the map, like a diving stop and throw from short-stop in baseball, could be called a glorious play. We see how amazing the headshot, or the diving stop is, and thus we celebrate it. We take great delight in it because it's awesome! Now here is the cool thing, glory has two definitions, one for when it is used as a verb, the other when it is used as a noun. Here they are:

Noun: High renown or honor won by notable achievements

Verb: Take great pride or pleasure in

So then, no scope head shots and diving plays at shortstop are glorious because they are notable achievements, remarkable achievements. That would be the noun sense of "glory." The verb form of glory, then, is the exaltation/celebration/veneration that comes when others rightly recognize the notable achievement. In other words, the proper response to witnessing something glorious, is to glorify it (verb definition). Great HALO players, or any video game for that matter, get glory, because of their notable achievements, as do great baseball players when they make great plays.

So when we get excited about a great video game player, or a great moment (like a headshot) within a video game (and likewise, a great baseball player or great play in baseball), we are glorifying that person for that play, for that notable achievement. And remember, to glorify is the verb form of the word glory. So to give glory, as it says above, means to "take great pride or pleasure in."

Therefore, contrary to what many, many many churches and pastors and Christians teach and think, when God says to glorify Him and His Son, He is actually saying to take delight in Him FOR His notable achievements. And as we glorify Him for His notable achievements His fame, His renown and honor (see noun definition above) is spread throughout the earth.

What I want everyone to be able to see, is that God is more glorious than video games (including beastly no-scope head shots), God is more glorious than baseball, God is more glorious than girls. God is the most glorious thing, the most praise worthy, the most unbelievable thing in the world. He is like 1,000 headshots in a row, all no scope, all from the other side of the map. He is like pitching a perfect game and striking every hitter out, but infinitely more. This is because what God has planned, and what Christ has done so far exceeds the highest, most glorious moments of video games or sports or even relationships that all else falls short, all else pales in comparison.

The problem of course is that even Christians often do not see much of His glory.  Many of us do not understand why God is so glorious, because we don't know Him very well. That's blunt, but it is true. The more we understand HALO, or baseball, or anything, the more we can appreciate the best and most exciting moments of it. Likewise, the more we know God rightly, and the more we understand and comprehend what Christ did on the cross for His people, the more we can see and appreciate and thus be amazed by all His glory.

Ultimately, God's fullest expression of glory is the gospel, and the reason so many Christians today don't see the gospel as glorious is because their churches and pastors are not teaching them the true gospel! They are teaching them a watered-down, diluted version of the gospel, that robs God and Jesus Christ of all His glory! And thus, it robs the cross of all its meaning. Is it any wonder then that we have so many backslidden Christians? Is it any wonder then that those in the pew have a hard time getting excited about God or Jesus Christ? To preach a watered-down gospel and expect the congregation that hears it to praise and fall in love with Jesus and live for Him is like showing the most boring moment of HALO (like switching between the weapons you've gathered or something like that) to someone who has never played it before and then tell them to shout in celebration and say "Wow, that was so awesome!" Or alternatively, it would be like showing a routine ground ball to short stop, or just a regular pitch in baseball, and expecting everyone to suddenly love the sport and find it amazing. No, in the Bible the true gospel is supposed to be the no-scope headshot from across the room just as the person you are no-scoping emerges from behind a wall. The true gospel is supposed to be that walk off grand slam homerun in the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series in baseball. It's the high water mark, the moment that brings people to the event. The gospel is the fullest expression, the highest expression of God's glory in all His attributes, and is supposed to be the message that changes hearts and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, turns people from their sins and gives them a strong desire to live their lives for their Lord, Savior, and Maker- Jesus Christ!

And as we can see from the two definitions above of glory, only a truly glorious God is worthy of being praised! So if God is not seen as glorious, as amazing, as the one who dishes out headshots like nobodies business, then we cannot expect to scream in celebration or get very excited over God and Jesus. To prove this, as another illustration, just take out all the headshots, all the most exciting moments of HALO, or take out all the diving plays and home runs from baseball- does that not greatly diminish the glory of these games? Likewise, when the gospel is watered down as many churches have done, the glory of God is watered down, and thus, all that is left is a god that cannot save and thus no one can get very excited about.

God must be seen in His full glory if He is to be praised as He ought to be praised. The true gospel is the beginnings of seeing the full glory of God, and thus is the beginning of all that is exciting about Christ, and all that makes Christ worth living for in place of our sinful, selfish desires. I began to see the full expression of God's glory over three years ago when I was introduced to Calvinism, which I believe is the true expression of the gospel. For the first time in my life, I had real substance, truth, that moved my heart and gave me a far greater desire to stop sinning and start living for Christ- not just emotionalism that pastors try to conjure up at youth rallies, chapel services, or Christian camps.

And that is why, ever since then, His glory has been my story. That is why, ever since then, I have been screaming about Calvinism and the true gospel and theology. It is the most glorious, most exciting thing. And I want all my friends and all that I know to experience it and give God the praise and glory for it.

Before you can have heart surgery (being born again/getting saved), you got to have brain surgery (hearing and understanding the true gospel). If you have found Jesus hard to get excited about because frankly, you didn't see what was so amazing about the false version of the gospel that you were taught, I would strongly encourage you to seek out the true gospel and see what really made Jesus a boss. The Boss of Bosses, in fact.  

And the truth is, once you see God as supremely glorious, you uncover the truth that God can be enjoyed through sports, video games, marriage, and the like as well.