Nerd Pastor Nate
The Story Behind The Story of OneShot (Also, will we stay on Twitch?) | Nerdy Sermon [No Spoilers]
A bit of a different one today, but maybe the most important message we have to offer at Checkpoint. This nerdy sermon will cover a wide variety of topics by the time all is said and done, but we'll ultimately explore the answer to the question, "Will Checkpoint stay in Twitch?" with all that is happening right now. The easy answer - yes, but a better answer will ultimately come through this video and nerdy sermon.
Not to mention I try to talk about trending media, and I had to figure out a way to weasel in a quick sermon on an older game I am obsessed with right now.
So what do Twitch, indie darling OneShot, and Checkpoint Church have to do with the disciples of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Luke and my TikTok account? Let's talk about it.
Welcome to Checkpoint Church - where nerds, geeks, and gamers come together to talk about faith, games, and not knowing you pronounce the U in PogU for, like, a whole year. I’m your Nerd Pastor Nate. If you like these weekly deep-dives, be sure to sub and hit that bell to find out when our next one drops.
Luke 12: 4-12 (NRSV)
Reader: Perispectus (Ryan)
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body and after that can do nothing more. But I will show you whom to fear: fear the one who, after killing, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear that one! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you will answer or what you are to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.”
What the heck is OneShot?
Full transparency I didn’t know either. I was watching one of our friends of the church JateLIVE’s stream, and we started talking about my favorite kind of games - mind-warping, eye-opening RPGmaker types like Omori and Undertale.
Jate rec’d OneShot and then wouldn’t say another word about it. I poked for more about it, but he wouldn’t give me anything other than that I should play it.
Now, I don’t always push recs up to the top of my endless backlog, but I trust Jate’s discretion and am a sucker for adorable art. When I saw the MC, whose name I would discover to be Niko (adorably appropriate), I was sold, hook, line, and sinker.
So I started my journey into OneShot, which was off to the races. I was immersed in the world, the lore, the gameplay, the style, the aesthetic… everything got me right away.
It got me so hard that I’m not going to spoil anything from the game because I want YOU to go and play the game for yourself if you haven’t.
Yes, it’s that good. Yes, it’s worth your time.
But more importantly, the game is just one of the parts that made this game so worth talking about anyway.
When I booted up the game, I discovered there is more to this than meets the eye. We started streaming, and occasionally we’ll get new folks joining us when we start a new game. Sometimes they’ll even hop in and play with us if it’s co-op.
But generally, after some time, they either give us a follow and have something else to do or slowly build up a relationship with the community over time on Discord.
But with OneShot, it was instant, and it was profound. We launched the game and immediately had somebody new join us - Sky.
Sky didn’t just join the chat and hang out, though… Sky viewed themselves as a kind of OneShot guide. A self-appointed die-hard fan that joined for every single minute of our stream and nearly every minute of our playthrough.
Sky was there to answer my questions but was never pushy or backseat-y about it. Sky praised me for the puzzles I got quickly and was patient through the more obtuse ones.
Then we had Seelen join us and start doing the same thing.
And then, when the ending of the game started to happen, they began to engage the chat deeper, as if they were a part of the game, egging on tough decisions and providing flashbacks to prior dialogue that had happened in the game to make the experience more immersive for me and the chat.
Then we had Audacity join us. And then BobOrClaus joined us.
It was unreal. These self-appointed passionate people were invading our stream and making this game an even better experience than it would have been without them.
And this caused two trains of thought for me.
First - I was humbled beyond belief because these folks were the most effective evangelists for a thing that I had ever seen. If the church could make Jesus half as exciting and non-pushy as these folks did, we’d see a life-changing transformation rivaling Pentecost.
But second - I realized that the space these fine folks were entering was sacred, holy ground. They were given a chance to meet Checkpoint Church through the game that they loved. It’s all I’ve ever wanted from this Twitch stream.
See - from the beginning, I’ve known the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ with our Twitch channel. Our goal at Checkpoint is never to go viral, make millions, or become influencers in a modern sense. Our goal with Twitch is to meet YOU, whoever you are. We see it as a coffee shop online where we get to meet people where they are.
But then there’s a less obvious why behind Twitch. We also seek to be a positive and affirming place on that platform. Not only do we want to meet people, but we also want to provide a safe space that, if nothing else, lets them know the three things that we believe to be true about them that you hear in every video we’ve ever made - God loves you. We love you. You matter.
And it’s that that makes me want to tear up. I don’t know where Sky goes when they aren’t on Twitch guiding people on OneShot. Neither do I see the rest of them. These are people that could hate the church. Or been hurt by the church. These are people who could have made big mistakes. Or they could be the kindest hearts that have never been cared for properly.
But what I know now - is that those people heard that they matter. At least three times. They heard that God loves them. They heard that Checkpoint Church loves them and is the place for them and will take them as they are.
I can’t possibly imagine a better situation. And the only explanation behind this kind of bizarre experience is the Holy Spirit.
That brings us to our scripture for today.
This passage from the gospel of Luke contains some of the teachings of Jesus to the disciples about the thumb of the Pharisees placed upon the leaders of the Jewish tradition.
The abuse, the scandal, the negativity caused by bad eggs, and a poor reading of the law led to, at best, extortion and, at worst cold-blooded murder.
But Jesus is offering some encouragement here - while these sycophants may have power over your body, rest assured they have no power over your soul.
What should you be worried about, then? Acknowledging the Son of Man - Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the savior, the one who would die for us and be resurrected.
Don’t speak against the Holy Spirit or the Son of Man because that will warrant the punishment of the soul - something that Jesus talks about very rarely. There is nothing that Jesus says will not be forgiven, but this is one of them.
So, when you are drudged up before the atheists, the agnostics, the pagans…
Oh, wait - that’s not at all what it says.
No, when you are taken before the synagogues, the fellow believers, the rulers, the authorities, the powers that be - yeah, those people - in those moments, don’t worry about what is correct to say, but instead, have faith that the Holy Spirit will teach you at the right time what to say.
Do you know who is the most active enemy of the digital church?
It’s not atheists. It’s not agnostics. It’s not cheeky trolls on the internet. We’ve only had one or two of those at most.
The biggest thorn in the side of Checkpoint Church’s ministry that is reaching people like Sky, Seelen, Audacity, and Bob… is Christians. It’s the church. The established church.
Recently, I gave in to the temptation of responding to a naysayer on TikTok. I know I should have known better. But I extended an olive branch for a chance to talk seriously about the digital church and its viability.
I was quickly accosted by someone saying there is no benefit to the digital church.
I disagree. Sky is a benefit. Sky is worth it. Sky matters. Sky is loved by God. Sky is loved by Checkpoint Church.
And in this passage, I’m noticing the Holy Spirit is providing the words and moments happening in our streams. This isn’t the first time we’ve genuinely new people and offered them a grace they’ve never received before. That’s Holy Spirit work, baby.
And do you know what happens to those that blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? Let’s just say I’ll keep doing the work that’s being affirmed because I know God watches the sparrow watches over me, too. This calling is not opinion. This calling is not surface-level. This calling is not easy.
But moments like we had in OneShot remind me that I am not at the beck and call of a random Christian on the Internet. I’m here for the radical transformation of the world towards the grace-filled embrace of the one and only Son of Man, savior, and redeemer Jesus Christ.
What does this mean for us today?
Well, first, let’s go back to the question - will we remain on Twitch with all that’s happening between scandals and newsworthiness? Yes, we will stay on Twitch because of stories like this one. We know the why behind the what, and right now, Twitch is the place where the Sky and Seelen and Audacity and Bob’s are. So as long as stories like this keep showing, so will we keep showing up on Twitch. God is doing things on Twitch. If you don’t see that, you aren’t looking. And I’m not just talking about Checkpoint here. Like it or not, the Holy Spirit is moving in the digital church, like it or not.
Second, those here with Checkpoint Church… know you are a part of a life-changing ministry. You are affirming the Holy Spirit vibrantly present in the digital Body of Christ. So stand tall, pray for us, pray for Sky, pray for the nay-sayer. Boldly share stories like this. Shout from the rooftops the victory of someone hearing that God loves them. That we love them. And that they matter. Because God does. We do. And they do.
And if even one hears this message, it is all worth it. That’s the benefit. And it’s more than enough for me.
And to the naysayer, I hope you’ll open your heart, and I hope you’ll be very careful before questioning the Holy Spirit rather than using your mind and heart to better what the Holy Spirit is doing. Doubt is fine. But Thomas looked for the holes in Jesus’ hand and side before reaching his conclusion. Look and see. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, go back to the 99. I choose the one because they are always welcome here at Checkpoint Church.