Oh Halo… I have given you my heart over and over and OVER again, and you shatter it into pieces so many times like an errant shot from a needler striking a rock. You gave me all my favorite Master Chief games in one package… but then you also gave me Halo 5 Guardians, a broken and flawed debacle which also happened to be the first Halo that EVER shipped without split-screen co-op. You promised Halo Infinite would remedy all of the many disappointments from your last release, but now this game has faced repeated delays and suffered from some pretty underwhelming reveals. Of course, like any good and loyal Halo fanboy I am prepared to forgive ALL as soon as that shiny Halo Infinite disc hits stores… but my enthusiasm has taken yet another hit as it was announced this week that in order to hit the holiday 2021 release target, some sacrifices were going to have to be made. And on the chopping block? Campaign co-op and Forge, both of which are hallmark modes of the Halo franchise. Yes, for the first time EVER, Master Chief will TRULY be all alone on this journey. A journey that I am not entirely sure I am willing to take at launch now, because I would rather wait for the full experience that they had originally promised us to be completed.
This wouldn’t be such a bitter pill to swallow if I had known that this game would launch as a solo experience… but they PROMISED us split-screen campaign co-op was coming back after they let us down with Halo 5 Guardians. They PROMISED. Maybe it is not a mode that is important to you, but this is how I have always preferred to experience Halo… and did I mention that they PROMISED? Sure, they said it is still coming at some point in the future… hopefully. But now that trust has been broken once again, so who is to say for sure? After all of my blind loyalty to this franchise, sticking with them through the dark times of Halo 4, Halo 5, and the misery that was the Master Chief Collection until they finally patched the daylights out of it… I’m not mad really, I’m just disappointed. Okay… maybe I’m a LITTLE mad. But ALSO disappointed.
Under-delivering on big promises isn’t just something that has been cropping up more and more on the video game front… it has plagued all of us at some point or another in our lives. We make well-meaning promises to our family, our friends, the Lord, and to ourselves… but inevitably many of these end up falling under the weight of our inability to sustain them. We never meant to end up in the place we are currently at, and the challenge of continuing forward when we have already fallen so far behind can be overwhelming. When we look back at old pictures of ourselves we see a different person…someone who used to be so young, so full of potential, with big plans to make an impact on the world around us. Now we look in the mirror and barely recognize that the person staring back at us was once that same individual. Buried beneath all of the day-to-day struggles of life is a dream unfulfilled… a destiny that may feel out of reach, a life that is no longer an option because of the all the mistakes we have made and bridges we have burned along the way. But don’t worry, I have some good news for you… because it isn’t about how you launch your game, but how you FINISH the fight that truly matters.
One of the most disheartening challenges that Christ faced here on earth was that his own brothers did not believe in Him or His mission, as seen in the verse below and expounded upon in one of our previous videos…
John 7:3-5 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him.
This would include Christ’s brother James, who see listed by name as one of the brothers of Jesus in the book of Matthew…
Matthew 13:55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brother James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?
To be fair, there are a LOT of people running around named James in the New Testament… it seems like it was a REALLY popular name. Apparently all of the “What to Name Your Baby” books all fit on one page back then. But we are going to focus on just ONE James, the biological brother of Jesus, because His path likely mirrors many of ours more than we would care to admit. James certainly started off wrong, but he finished incredibly strong. When Christ’s ministry first started and He was looking for supporters, James and all of Christ’s other brothers were not there for Him. But that was NOT the end of the story for James… in Acts 1 we see that the biological brothers of Jesus were listed as present at the very first meetings of the Christian church…
Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
After this we find James begin to emerge as more than merely “one of the brothers”… he was specifically “name-dropped” by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians, identifying him as not only an “apostle”, but as a “pillar” of the early church. And if that isn’t enough, when the early church was struggling with how they would integrate the Old Testament laws with the Gentile converts that were being reached by Paul’s missionary outreaches, it was none other than James who had the final word, ending the schism with a judgment that was not challenged by anyone present.
Galatians 1:18-19 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.
Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Acts 15:13-19 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the Lord who does all these things.’ “Known to God from eternity are all His works. Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God.
James started off as an unbeliever… he was known only through his proximity to Christ, and that relationship was purely superficial. But somewhere along the line James regrouped, transformed, and became the James who clearly was an authoritative and critical figure for the early church… proudly devoting his life to the cause that was previously far off of his radar. We have no record of this occurring while Jesus was performing His earthly ministry… when Christ could have really used the support of His family members, they were notably absent. But James did not allow His previous failure to define him or deter him from his destiny… he became the leader of the church that he was born to be, even if he didn’t fulfill that role the first time around. Christ gave this example as clearly as he could in the brief parable below…
Matthew 21:28-31 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?”
Perhaps you, like me and the son in this story, did not perform what the Father asked of us to this point in your story. Perhaps your launch was less than what you should have delivered and what you had promised others, the Lord, and yourself that you would be able to fulfill. Like Halo Infinite, you promised you would be able to get it all right this time… full campaign split-screen co-op, multiplayer that works, forge, and so many other things… and now you are scaling back and just hoping to hit your release date. You made some big and important promises, and they didn’t happen. You failed to follow Christ when you said you would. You weren’t there when He needed you. Well… neither was I. Neither was Peter, or Paul, or James. Welcome to the party. Here is our encouragement to you… wherever you are now, whatever you have done, wherever you have been… it’s time to join us and come work in the vineyard. We are ALL unworthy here, but the day is NOT over yet… and if there was room at the table for James to sit and become a leader within the group he previously wanted nothing to do with, there is certainly room for YOU.
Maybe the campaign co-op and Forge modes for Halo Infinite won’t land when I wanted them to, and that is disappointing. But the Halo franchise also has a history of taking disappointment and turning it into something I didn’t know I needed… I didn’t originally want to play as the Arbiter in Halo 2, but I later realized he was pretty awesome. I didn’t want to play as some nameless, faceless rookie in ODST… and then it turned out to be an amazing and unique look at the world of Halo. For every misstep like Halo 4 there have been unanticipated delights like Halo Reach… and if your resume is spotty, you are not alone here. My personal track record for Christ looks a bit like Swiss cheese… but regardless of how I started or how it has been going, I am going to finish this fight. It’s not how well we LAUNCHED, but how we FINISH that matters… maybe you promised you would go, but you didn’t. Maybe you said you wouldn’t go, and now you are wondering if you can still come back. Just LAUNCH with the Lord from wherever you are at right now… we NEED you, just as you are. Taking fallen, mistaken, and repentant brothers and sisters and placing them into their destiny happens to be Christ’s specialty.
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