A Few More “Reboot” Details

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As part of the recent “Reboot” for Nickel Boy Graphics, I began reworking some of the initial comic strips beginning with Laser Eyes Jesus. This was partly to make them fit into a new format that would work better across all of the comic strips (some funny, some serious), but also to align them better with my first goal: “Present the Gospel in a way that is visually connected with our times.”

Some of the reworking involved editing each multiple panel comic strip into a single comic panel that still had a touch of humor while giving the reader something to consider. So far I’ve been able to tie each of these to one of “The Five BIG Questions” that were selected as part of the “Reboot.”

The new square format, somewhat shortened dialogue, and absence of any additional commentary as you’d find in WordPress have worked well with Instagram, allowing me to reach a new audience. These are also being shared on the Nickel Boy Graphics page on Patreon (with commentary) as everything previously there was scrapped as part of the “Reboot.”

Anyway, you may want to flip through this slideshow, particularly if you are a new reader. These are going all of the way back to the beginning of the Laser Eyes Jesus comic strips! There are only three, so you can get a small sample from the very beginning.

Before closing, I’d like to thank the group Christian’s In Motion for providing support for this project through my Patreon page. In fact, they recently started their own page on Patreon as well. The work that they are doing is great (especially videos and podcasts), and I really appreciate the renewed enthusiasm that their support has given me! Thank you so much, Christians In Motion! Please be sure to check out what they have to share on both WordPress and Patreon!

“It’s Not About Being One Of The Best”

This post is a followup to yesterday’s post and tries to fill in a few gaps that may explain why some people become who they are.

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.”

I don’t know when we stop becoming little ones. There are times that I want to go back to being a little one, particularly on days when I feel I have absolutely no strength in myself.

I have a feeling that there are some things that we have to resolve when we are a little one, and if we don’t resolve them then, they will confound us until we do. One of those things is the love of Jesus.

Perhaps one of the strongest senses a child has is whether or not they are loved. It may be stronger than their sense of whether or not they are warm and nourished. Children gravitate to love. They want to figure out how to receive more of it. Sometimes it’s very difficult to figure out, particularly when using just outward appearances. Sometimes outward appearances appear to be what love is all about. Who always seems to have new stylish clothes? The popular new toy? Who always seems to get picked for special privileges at school and at church? Who is “The Best Boy” in my class? Who is “The Best Girl”?

God made you just the way you are.

God loves you just the way you are.

God picked out your family just for you.

But what if you don’t look like all of the other children? You have brown skin, but they don’t. You have a twisted limb, but they don’t. You wear the same thing to church every Sunday, but they always have something new. Your mom gives you cereal for dinner, but they have a hot meal. Your dad is in jail, but theirs is playing ball with them in the backyard. Maybe that’s part of what “They are weak, but He is strong” is really all about.

It’s not always easy when you’re not one of “The Favorites,” but then there is a different kind of difficulty for those who are one of “The Favorites.” Maybe that’s a different kind of weak too.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that sometimes we may have to help people figure out God’s love is not like the things we see that may accompany human love. It’s too easy to be lured away by those things as nice and as wholesome as they are. Then maybe they will realize they have been receiving God’s love all along.

“Of Goats And Emerods (With Apologies To John Steinbeck Fans)”

One of my favorite summertime novels were those of John Steinbeck. For quite a few years, I would read a different one each summer. So the title and some of the wording today is just a fond reflection of those summers. I’ve always appreciated the way a good novel can capture what it means to experience life.

When you sort through all of the gobbledegook and gibberish that has been cobbled together by Flamethrower Mommy, you’re really left with just a lot of what it means to experience death. So I’m not going to touch any of that! (In other words, I’m avoiding all of that like I would avoid a plague. Not even a cartload of golden mice and golden emerods would get me started down that path!)

What I would like to focus on instead is how Flamethrower Mommy uses words that are filled with death. Many of us may be carrying around similar messages. “This must have happened to me because I did something wrong” is one that seems very common. Along with that is “There must be something wrong with me. I’m a goat, not a sheep” is also another one that sneaks into our minds and disrupts our peace. (Instead of “goat,” substitute any negative label or stereotype.) Statements like this put the focus on self, not Jesus.

I also have a feeling that the best way to make changes in my life is to focus on Jesus, not on myself! As backwards as that sounds, it just might be right, especially when I realize that most days I don’t know what to change or how to change!

The question that began this comic strip is a simple one which comes from John’s Gospel. “Do you believe that Jesus is who he says he is?” It is very similar a question that appears in the other three Gospels. “Who do you say that I am?”

But I think the slightly different wording to the question in John’s Gospel works well with the miracle that follows.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 (NASB)

And then Lazarus comes out of the tomb! He is raised from the dead! In other words, it is very important that you also believe what Jesus says about himself. Believing what He says about Himself brings life, not death!

Just as there are seven titles for Jesus in John Chapter One, throughout John’s Gospel, there are also seven “I Am” statements like this one. Each one is Jesus saying who He is. Each one brings life, not death. More on that list in a separate post!

In the meantime, focus on life. Focus on who Jesus says He is, not on what other people think you are or say you are.

A Listmaker’s Dream!

It just didn’t seem right to leave Laura out! She just had to have a chance to answer the mysterious interviewer’s question!

Her list will be posted later, but for now, I thought that there may be a few readers who would like to ponder where Laura is going with this and which chapter of which book of the Bible she’s talking about!

“The BIG Five!”

Part of this “REBOOT” has been to examine the questions that I’ve been using, and it occurred to me that it just really might be a good idea to take a look at the questions that Jesus asked. (I know, brilliant, right?!?) As a result, I’ve put together five questions that I want to use to guide what I present here. These are similar to goals in that respect.

And who is better than Laura Wilson to present a list of questions?!? (Hopefully you realize there’s a touch of satire here in the suggestion that Laura’s Summertime Fruit Salad” is more important than her Bible Study List! So 1950’s, right?!?)

I can’t really say that these are “The Best” of all the questions Jesus asked, just that they are the ones that resonate most with me. My encouragement to you is to seriously try making your own list, even if Bible study is not one of your favorite things. You will have your own “The Best” which may even change over time.

Here’s maybe the easiest Bible studies that you’ll ever do! Just pick one of the gospels. Look for question marks. (You don’t even need to read the words yet! Just look for the question marks!) Read the question. If Jesus is asking it, you’ve got one! You don’t even need to know the context most of the time. The questions are that good.

Yes, that’s a lot like “cheating” on Bible study, but seriously it’s not a bad way to get started, particularly if it’s something that you don’t particularly like to do or even dread doing. I’m almost positively sure you’ll find a question that speaks to you in a deep and personal way, and then you’ll want to read more rather than feeling like you have to read more.

My personal favorite right now that I’ve been thinking about off and on throughout the day is the last one: “Do you understand what I have done for you?” John 13:1-17 is the context, but the actual question occurs in verse 12. This question can touch all people in all situations anywhere in the world. That is a truly BIG question!

Finally, as a quick follow up to yesterday’s post, you know I’m thinking through Laura’s comic strip. You may notice some subtle differences today that I’m trying out. Yesterday I read two different posts from two different authors here at WordPress that made me think. Really think. They really helped give me some additional direction.

The posts were about women and Bible study. These made me think how ridiculous it would be for Laura to present a wonderful Bible-based list, then urge others to make their own list, but to FIRST send off for her exciting recipe. Like making an “Exciting Summertime Fruit Salad” is more important and more appropriate for a woman than studying the Bible! (If you’re thinking “That is so 1950’s, I think you’re right!”)

Anyway, here are the two posts, and I highly recommend both sites!

Theology Is For Girls” from “Christians In Motion” (So get moving! There are some great videos there too!)

Beth Moore Is Not The Boogeyman” from “Meeting God In The Margin” (This is a great blog title too. You’ll need to go there to find out why!)