UNREACHED

Gaming with Purpose: Brent Dusing's Quest To Turn Game Time Into God Time

May 29, 2024 UNREACHED Season 2 Episode 11
Gaming with Purpose: Brent Dusing's Quest To Turn Game Time Into God Time
UNREACHED
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UNREACHED
Gaming with Purpose: Brent Dusing's Quest To Turn Game Time Into God Time
May 29, 2024 Season 2 Episode 11
UNREACHED

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Brent Dusing's path from a Harvard grad to a digital evangelist reads like an adventure novel, full of twists, purpose, and divine encounters. Our latest guest on Unreached, Brent offers a riveting account of how his life's journey is woven with threads of faith, entrepreneurship, and a deep-seated desire to connect gamers with the gospel. As you tune in, you'll be captivated by stories of business ventures,  life-altering commitments, and angelic encounters that seem straight out of a movie scene. These narratives aren't just for entertainment—they challenge us to consider how we can use our own talents and platforms to further a greater mission.

Have you ever pondered the role of technology in faith-building? Our conversation with Brent takes a deep dive into this very question, exploring his transition from a tech entrepreneur to a Christian content creator. We examine moments that spurred Brent's spiritual awakening and his subsequent move to Austin, where he embraced the tech space with a renewed Christ-centered purpose. The dialogue opens a window into the world of digital media's impact on society, especially the youth, and the pressing need for positive, faith-based content, a need that Brent is actively addressing through his groundbreaking projects.

Wrapping up our time together, we present Truplay, Brent’s imaginative venture that's reshaping how biblical stories are shared in the digital era. From thrilling video games like King David's Battles to platforms that span continents and languages, we discuss the potential of video games to influence and inspire. As we close with a prayer for families navigating the complex digital terrain, we hope this episode leaves you both encouraged and enlightened, ready to explore your part in the narrative God is crafting in our tech-driven world. Join us on Unreached, where every story shared is another step towards bridging the divine with the digital.

Follow @unreachedpodcast on Instagram for more!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Brent Dusing's path from a Harvard grad to a digital evangelist reads like an adventure novel, full of twists, purpose, and divine encounters. Our latest guest on Unreached, Brent offers a riveting account of how his life's journey is woven with threads of faith, entrepreneurship, and a deep-seated desire to connect gamers with the gospel. As you tune in, you'll be captivated by stories of business ventures,  life-altering commitments, and angelic encounters that seem straight out of a movie scene. These narratives aren't just for entertainment—they challenge us to consider how we can use our own talents and platforms to further a greater mission.

Have you ever pondered the role of technology in faith-building? Our conversation with Brent takes a deep dive into this very question, exploring his transition from a tech entrepreneur to a Christian content creator. We examine moments that spurred Brent's spiritual awakening and his subsequent move to Austin, where he embraced the tech space with a renewed Christ-centered purpose. The dialogue opens a window into the world of digital media's impact on society, especially the youth, and the pressing need for positive, faith-based content, a need that Brent is actively addressing through his groundbreaking projects.

Wrapping up our time together, we present Truplay, Brent’s imaginative venture that's reshaping how biblical stories are shared in the digital era. From thrilling video games like King David's Battles to platforms that span continents and languages, we discuss the potential of video games to influence and inspire. As we close with a prayer for families navigating the complex digital terrain, we hope this episode leaves you both encouraged and enlightened, ready to explore your part in the narrative God is crafting in our tech-driven world. Join us on Unreached, where every story shared is another step towards bridging the divine with the digital.

Follow @unreachedpodcast on Instagram for more!

Speaker 1:

In Revelation 7, john shares his vision of heaven, with members from every tribe, tongue, people and language standing in the throne room before the Lamb. Yet today there are still over 7,000 unreached people groups around the world. For the last six years, my family and friends have been on a journey to find, vet and fund the task remaining. Come journey with us to the ends of the earth as we share the supernatural stories of God at work for the men and women he has called to reach the unreached. Hello everyone. Welcome back to the Unreached podcast. Dustin Elliott here, your host. Great to be back on the mic and we have a really special guest.

Speaker 1:

We have a friend of ours here in Austin who I met several years ago through a community Bible study. This was a Bible study that gathered men from all different churches and denominations in town. It was through an organization called New Canaan Society and Brent Duesing led that group here in Austin for six years. So, brent, welcome to the show today. My man, good to be with you. And so we got to know each other. Through that study. We found out we had so much in common. You know backgrounds in business school, backgrounds in faith and getting to know the Lord, backgrounds in discipling men and leading studies, but then some divergences as well. Our career paths are very different. We're both entrepreneurial, but you took a bend, started one company, sold that one.

Speaker 1:

Now you've gone into this content creation and this gaming space and this just fascinating place where you've been called to meet people where they are, and today the next generation is often on a screen. You're meeting them on the screen with biblically sound, relevant content. You're turning what's the tagline? Turn game time Into God, time Into God time. I love it, I love it. So let's rewind. Take us back to where'd you grow up? How'd you meet the Lord? Walk us through some school and let's kind of get set up. For how did God get Brent Duesing into the position to lead this charge today?

Speaker 2:

Sure. So I grew up in Springfield, missouri, and grew up in the 80s and the 90s, went to a church where one of the denominations that was really moving away from biblical orthodoxy, if you will. You know, the idea that Jesus is real, the Bible's true, was kind of drifting off. I went to Harvard in the late 90s and when I showed up there I was someone who believed that God existed. But I wasn't. I didn't know that. You know, is the Bible really true? Was Jesus really the Son of God? You know, I believe in the idea of God.

Speaker 2:

I'm surprised that anybody doesn't think there was some level of creation. If you've ever fallen in love or seen a waterfall or a beautiful face or you know flowers in the spring, that somebody created all that beauty. But you know, went to Harvard in the late 90s and of course that school has been in a lot of headlines lately. But even then there was this very, very anti-Christian agenda. You would get an anti-Christian worldview in, you know, philosophy class, which is kind of fair game, but you'd also get it in expository writing. You get it in biology class, and so I wasn't really prepared. I kind of walked in with a butter knife, in terms of my theology against a machine gun right, and I wasn't prepared for that and so never really bought in to the secular humanistic worldview but didn't really have any foundation with which to defend the idea that there really was a God or that. You know a lot of the craziness that gets espoused over there than any of it was true. So in any case, one of the most formative experiences for me was I felt a real draw to go to Africa, south Africa, in between my sophomore and junior year, so I took a year break. Now I would say I was called by God to do it, but I didn't know what that meant and again, I wasn't a Christ follower, I wasn't reading my Bible, you know that kind of stuff. I just felt a real draw to go there. You know it was a fascinating time.

Speaker 2:

It was the late 90s, 1998, so four years post-apartheid, and I spent a year working with homeless people and refugees at a church. You know it was a really formative experience for me. One of the biggest things that I kind of walked away from that with was that I could use my business skills to do good in the world. I helped a ministry raise so much money that it could survive. I helped start another one for Francophone refugees, and so you can actually use these God-given business skills to do good in the world. And that's obvious to a guy like you and what you do you know professionally, dustin, and probably to a lot of people listening. That's not obvious when you're a college student in the Ivy Leagues that you're getting taught you know, communism, you know and all these kind of things. So that was a real paradigm shift for me.

Speaker 2:

Came back, did my last two years at Harvard, then started out in Silicon Valley in 2001. In fact, I started my first job on September 4th 2001. Wow, yeah, what a time to start a career Spiritually. Here's the real truth. I woke up one morning in 2002, and I felt guilty that I hadn't been to church in years. The kind of guilt you would feel if you didn't write your mom or call her for Mother's Day or her birthday. Like, hey, it really is your fault, like you really should feel bad. You know that level of guilt that I hadn't been to church in years. Okay, so I opened up the Yellow Pages and I saw this little lad if you remember Yellow Pages those listening who are if you're over 35. Pre-smartphone, yeah, if you're under 35, just skip forward. Hit the fast forward 30 second button, this ad to say, hey, there's this little Bible church in Mountain View, california. If you're a Texan, you're listening. Yes, there are still churches in California, just not enough.

Speaker 2:

So I had grown up around evangelicals and the truth is I didn't really like them because you know, if you said a bad word they would scowl at you. If you say let's go have a drink, you know they didn't want to do that because drinking's wrong. But at the minimum, what I respected about them was they walked their talk. I had a lot of friends, a lot of different, you know, religious views in college and when you boiled it down, some of them didn't actually believe in God at all, even though they claimed a particular religion, or others would essentially tell you that their religion was kind of like a salad bar where you could pick out whatever you want. Well, that's not truth. That's a choice, that's culture, maybe that's fashion, but that's not truth, right, right Truth is you know, dustin, if you and I jump off a building at the same time and I believe in gravity and you don't, we're both hitting the ground at the same time. Yeah, that's just fact.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I began this journey, kind of asked the pastor, who was very genuine, real questions. You know he gave me the case for Christ, evidence that demands a verdict, recommended a Zondervan study Bible that I still have to this day. But what really got me was the prophecy, isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 and the parts of the book of Daniel where Jesus is predicted hundreds of years and it's exactly fulfilled in the New Testament. And the other thing that got me really was the Passion of the Christ that came out in 2004,. Right, beautiful excellence in the way it was executed, you know the way that it was done, but also really adhered to biblical truth and really made me realize. You know, when you grow up in Christendom you see a cross. That's just a symbol for a church. That's kind of what you think. Right, you don't realize how horrific the crucifixion was and I didn't until I saw that movie. That made a big impact for me was and I didn't, until I saw that movie.

Speaker 1:

That made a big impact for me. So you go Middle America to the East Coast, to the West Coast, and you go through Harvard and then you take a little break and you go across the world and you go to South Africa and you said a couple of times those were formative for you. That time in South Africa was really formative for you and I know it to be true because I know what happens a little bit later in your story, right. But now you're in Silicon Valley. What's your profession at this point? What are you working in?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I started out in venture capital so I was on Sand Hill Road and basically looking at technology companies to invest in.

Speaker 1:

Right. So you're looking at tech companies to invest in at a particularly good time to be doing that sort of thing. That's still going pretty well today. You're getting connected to a church, you're getting connected to study Bibles, you're starting to read the Word, you're getting engaged. So somewhere in your early 20s mid-20s, did you have kind of an all-in moment, like I'm giving my life to Christ, this is the way to do this, or was it more of kind of like a spectrum for you of kind of figuring it out?

Speaker 2:

It was really.

Speaker 2:

You know, the beginning of the journey was waking up that morning in 2002 and saying, man, I feel guilty, I haven't been to church and going to this Bible church, where the pastor is still a friend of mine to this day. That was a journey and a process, because I had a lot of questions and I think it's okay by the way, if you're doing evangelism, you've got to be patient with people's real questions, you know, if they're really struggling with something or they have hang-ups to have the patience to walk people through it, because someone did that for me. And ultimately, though, yeah, I made a choice, you know, and it was part of it was seeing the movie the passion of the christ, and part of it was reading all of this. I mentioned the prophecy in the bible and, you know, evidence that the demands of verdict is a great source for that. A shorter a shorter, probably easier read, uh, probably a little more well-written too is Lee Strobel's Case for Christ, right, yeah, but at some point you've got to make a choice. You can be consumed with facts.

Speaker 1:

Don't miss that point right there. At some point you've got to make a choice. Yeah, there's only two teams, that's right. So you, through experience and education in several different places, through a movie which is really cool, that really helped kind of put that vision into your mind. And then you got there. Okay. So now tell us what changed in your life. You've had these formative experiences. You're Silicon Valley. You're seeing people chasing profit, chasing bottom line. You're seeing cutthroat tactics and we will do whatever it takes to win. And at the same time now you're wrestling with I know truth.

Speaker 2:

Now so what happened then? I was still at the venture firm, gave my life to Christ and actually got married right about the same time. So I started my first company, and this is back in the beginning of 2005. And again, for those of you who remember these days, before the smartphone, but everyone had a phone the Motorola Razr, you might have had a Nokia and we realized, my co-founder and I, that wherever there was a screen there was going to be an ad, and that turned into us doing a mobile coupon company called CellFire. So if you've ever shopped at Kroger or Safeway or Randall's or any of their affiliates and you've seen use your cell phone to save money or use digital coupons, that's what we created. We created and built the leading company in the space. We then sold it to another really successful kind of grocery advertising business and that was my first company. That I did as an entrepreneur.

Speaker 1:

Right Now. I got to pause for another storyline. I got to pull on another thread. You just said I got married, as if nothing significant is a part of that story. So take us through. How did you meet your wife and walk us through that story, please? So you want the real story.

Speaker 2:

Of course. So I was in Johannesburg, south Africa, in 98, 99, and finished my year there and then came back to Harvard in my last two years. So I basically took a gap year, did my last two years and I negotiated a deal with the firm the venture capital firm I mentioned for a signing bonus and also pushed out my start date for well, september 4th, the day after labor day, and then I proceeded to blow the entire signing bonus on my summer trip. So I flew, flew over there back to south africa and spent about five weeks seeing the country, because I hadn't. There was a lot of country that I hadn't seen. I had friends that wanted to go see.

Speaker 2:

So, long story short, I was out actually climbing some cliffs. Again, this is before I became a Christian, so this is 2001. So before this waking up and feeling guilty about not going to church story, I told you so climbing a cliff, slipped and fell by myself. By the way, about two hours into this, you know journey by myself out in the cliffs in South Africa and thought I had fractured my kneecap so it hurt so bad I couldn't stand without being in pain and had to kind of climb up a cliff and down and go through all this. You know, I remember climbing up a cliff with one bad leg and one good leg, so I had to use two you know two hands and try to grab a vine here and put my foot in this rock crevice. It would hurt so bad to put weight on my foot that I would scream, and it's a true story. These monkeys started screaming back at me because I think I was disturbing their peace. Love it, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And I had taken my shirt off and tied it around a tree so I knew how to get back to where I was going, because there's, you know, if you've ever climbed up a cliff and down, there's such a thing as parallax, which is the perspective you have standing in one position is very different than another position. So I tied my shirt around a tree and had to kind of find that and kind of climb back. And then, if you've ever hurt your leg bad, you know you can't really go down a slope. So I had to butt, scoot for about an hour to go down this slope to get to the very bottom, and so, anyway, wound up getting back, had a friend who was with me, who was basically at the bottom of the trail because he and I had split off and wound up going to the doctor. The next day Turned out it wasn't broken.

Speaker 2:

It was a deep bone bruise, got my leg wrapped, wound up going to Zimbabwe the next day to go to Victoria Falls and if you've never been, I highly recommend you go. It's a beautiful, just spectacular sight. So I was there and I was staying in this hotel and I was at literally at the waterfall and these two guys came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and they said, hey, your hotel's burning down. I was like, oh, whatever, because you know, when you're in Africa and you're clearly from out of town, people come up and ask you for money.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I said what, come on? So I said what, come on? Tap my shoulder again. Hey, your hotel's burning down. Hey, look, that's a good one. Like I haven't heard that before. But could you just let me be. I'm trying to look at this waterfall. Tap my shoulder a third time your hotel's burning down. I turn around and, sure enough, there's a plume of smoke in the sky. Now I think they were angels, and here's why they had a level of confidence that you typically don't see people who come up to you like that.

Speaker 2:

Second, how did they know I was in the hotel? There were multiple hotels in this town. I mean, this is Victoria Falls, zimbabwe. There's multiple hotels there and I wasn't wearing a shirt that said I'm staying at the Elephant Hills Hotel, right, and the Bible says that, right. They said sometimes you'll meet angels and you won't recognize them. And we came back and I had a bunch of stuff that I had with me and I had this little Bible my mother had given me when I graduated first grade that I was carrying with me that had gotten preserved during this fire. So our stuff was okay.

Speaker 2:

Then flew back to South Africa. We got put in a different hotel, flew back to South Africa the next day it's about a two-hour flight to Johannesburg and it was Wednesday night and I was leaving on a Sunday to fly out of the country. You know, basically sensibly, forever, right. So Wednesday night the one thing I hadn't done was go back to the church I worked at. So this is where they would bring food, soup and bread to homeless people and refugees across the city. So I went, and now let's have a moment of honesty between two men. Now we're both happily married, but let's just be real about something, so you had to get assigned to ride with people. When you're a young single man, who would you hope to be assigned to ride in somebody's car? Or if you were sitting with an empty seat next to you on an airplane, who would you hope would sit next to you? You're hoping for a young lady.

Speaker 1:

That you could possibly. Yeah, oh, beautiful woman.

Speaker 2:

I mean, it's just the way young men think, and that had never really. I said who am I riding with? He goes, that lady, beautiful young woman there. I'm like, oh well, hi, well, I'm Brent and, by the way, can I sit in the front seat because my leg is injured and you know. So we just talked, so we drove around it's her car. We drove around the whole night, had this wonderful conversation, best conversation I'd ever had with a woman, and she was so wise and again, and so things are kind of winding down. So I go well, hey, how would you feel about going out Friday night? And she goes well, actually I'm going to this party with a bunch of friends, so would you like to come? Now? Let's pause for a minute.

Speaker 2:

The implication of a bunch of friends, where there are going to be some girls there but some guys too, right, okay, again, when we're young and single, I think it's pretty hard for girls and guys to be just friends. I tell my daughters hey, that guy is not your friend. If you're an attractive female, no guy is your friend. He's in line. He might be in the front of the line, he might be all in that nerdy, that super nerdy guy that you'll never talk to. Tell one of my daughters in high school he's still in line. He might be the back of your line, but he's in line. Yeah, so I want to go to this party. Most of my legs hurt. It's a dance party. How's that going to go? Plus, there's all these guys that have known her longer than I have and she's good looking. Not a good move, sorry. Free dating advice on the Unreached podcast. So I said how'd you like to go out, just you and me on Saturday night. So we went out. It was wonderful.

Speaker 2:

The next day, sunday morning, we go to church. Now this is an all-black church. It's downtown Johannesburg. I'm sitting. It's probably 400 people. I'm sitting two-thirds of the way back. It's the afternoon, I don't know.

Speaker 2:

Two o'clock service, something like that, and there was an associate pastor who was doing the announcements. Now he's a guy who I didn't work with the first time because he'd been hired in between the time I was there the first and the second, and he's giving announcements and he stops and he says you, thank you so much for coming. And he's looking in my general vicinity stops announcements. I'm like well, that's cool. Maybe I'm sitting next to Winnie Mandela, Desmond Tutu, like somebody important's here.

Speaker 2:

Thank you so much for coming, thank you for blessing us with your presence, kind of waiting for you know, winnie, to get up and go to the front and something's going on. In fact, why don't you come on up here and I look and you know, when you're sitting in a crowd you can't really tell if somebody's looking at you or the people around you. And I point and I go me, he goes you, I go me, he goes. Yes, you. And this old guy. I'll never forget he was about to fall. I felt he was so old he was about to fall off the pew. He points at me and he points forward like just go, okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I go up and I don't understand what's going on and a friend of mine, who was a lady who was in the choir, is laughing Sarge. He's about to fall off the seat and I'm like what is going on? She goes he thinks you're John, who's basically the only other young white male associated with this church. But she thought I was him and he had like a full beard and a shaved head and I looked pretty much a version of what I look like now. But he thought we were the same guy.

Speaker 2:

So, he was this pastor in training. He what I look like now. But you know he's thought we're the same guy. So he was this pastor in training. He thought I was a pastor in training. So he goes. Why don't you just give the children's sermon, like on the spot, just go? Yeah, great, and I didn't want to embarrass him. I actually liked the guy because I'd shaken his hand before. He's a super nice guy, so I had to give the children's sermon. I didn't know the Bible, so I did the 10, 5, and 2. Like I know, I got the numbers, but I did my best.

Speaker 2:

I winged it, walked out of the church after service was over, turned right and this guy came with four friends and stuck a 9mm in my chest and cocked the hammer back and they took everything in my pockets, except for two things. If you remember, this is 2001,. Before we had cell phones, you had a book of phone numbers. I don't. And if you guys remember having a book of numbers and actually, thank God, my passport was back at the house I was staying at. So the first thing I do is call my friend whose house I was staying at. I go hey, you got to come pick me up Like I've been robbed. They took everything I have. I didn't have any money. My credit card took everything. No, I'm not coming. Money Did my credit card? My credit card took everything. No, I'm not coming. What do you mean? You're not coming? I just got robbed. Yeah, it's not a safe part of town, I know. That's why you got to come get me. I mean, I can't walk my legs, you know, jacked up. No, I'm not coming. So who's my next phone call?

Speaker 2:

So I'd gone out to rewind Saturday night with this you know beautiful young woman and we had a great time. And then we had agreed let's go out Sunday and I was flying out, I guess Monday. Right, I was flying out on the Monday the next day. So she had decided in her mind that what's the point of going out with him again? I'm just going to get my heart broken if I spend any more time with him. So when he calls even though we'd kind of verbally agreed we'd get together on that Sunday night when he calls I'm just going to decline and say some family thing came up and I can't come. But if she was here today she would tell you. Well, when he called and the first thing he says I just got mugged, can you come get me? She said I didn't have a choice, right, and so she came pick me up. We hung out that night, Then she took me to the airport the next day and now, 23 years later, we're married with three children and I guess maybe to put a little bit of a coda on the story you know I almost lost my life three times in meeting my soulmate and if you think about it, when I was, when I fell and hurt my leg on the cliff I didn't share this, but I was.

Speaker 2:

It was this time when I said, god, you've got to help me. I really just cried out to God and I could feel his presence there. Now, the second time, as I mentioned, there was a fire at the hotel. I believe these two angels came and said hey, basically your hotel's on fire, but I think it was God reassuring you're going to be okay. Third time got a gun stuck in my chest. First and only time that's happened, they took everything. What's the point? When God comes to save us, what does he do? Sometimes he sends his presence, sometimes he sends angels, most of the time he sends somebody, and Most of the time he sends somebody, and I kind of had to go through those near-death experiences, I think, for God to get my attention. This is a woman you're supposed to spend the rest of your life with.

Speaker 1:

So it clicked and turned out to be quite the right decision. And so now let's fast forward to post-exit. You're in Austin, texas, y'all are starting your family, and something happens where you decide to start working in a space that few other Christ followers have waded into. Take us through that.

Speaker 2:

Rewind back to 2017, and I had—you're right I'd moved to Austin, sold a company, had young kids, asking myself what am I going to do with the rest of my life? I was bothered by things I was seeing. There's—anybody paying attention. There's a ton of you know, incredibly inappropriate sexual content now pushed on kids, things around. You know identity confusion. You know the glorification of drug use, demonic content, hyper-violent content, and I could see our societies unraveling and falling apart.

Speaker 2:

And the thing that I realized was, you know, because I'd been in Silicon Valley for 15 years, I'd met a couple influential tech CEOs. I met quite a few people who reported directly into most of the people who run these platforms, and I knew that their worldview, most of their worldview, was that the message of the gospel, the message of Jesus Christ, was the most dangerous thing, the most repugnant belief you could have, and that, essentially, the tech platforms were working to stifle that perspective. Now, that's kind of an accepted, known idea now, but back in 2017, 18, it wasn't. And what? Furthermore, god really convicted me, really through a series of dreams and visions and people kind of sometimes it would be at church and say look, you've got this calling on your life to go, reach and change and impact culture. To go and impact children, impact society using technology.

Speaker 2:

In America, if people over 40 years old 62% of Americans believe in God, without a doubt, it's really not bad for a first world country, but for our children it's 31%. Anxiety, suicide, depression rates are all-time highs for children. The average male is exposed to pornography when he's 11 years old. That number was 13 years old back in 2018.

Speaker 2:

Not that long ago yeah, For the first time since Billy Graham work in the 1950s. So in the 1940s, less than half of Americans went to church. Now it's down to 48%, right. So we've been on every measurable level. We've been on this long slow burn and now it's accelerated again with all the. And what I realized was why are so many children, why are the youngest generations, turning away from God? In America, right, which has been the center of Christianity for quite a few decades, there's so many great pastors, so much great writing, so many great sermons and music that comes out of America that feeds the Christian church, and so many great evangelists that have come out of it. How do we get there? It's because the average person in America is at church 30 minutes a week and they're on a screen 52 and a half hours a week. And the content they're consuming some of it's neutral, some consuming Some of it's neutral, some of it's bubble gum, but a lot of it's toxic.

Speaker 1:

52 and a half hours a week On a screen 52 and a half hours a week and we all get that little screen time report right On our phone, so we can't deny it. Yep, Right so early on you had some really successful companies that actually didn't stay within the borders of the US, but you had some massive influence in the Middle East.

Speaker 2:

Talk about some of your was it Stained Glass and some of the other kind of earlier. Yeah, we did so. My second company was a company called Lightside and if you're listening, you may remember back in the days of games on Facebook, games like Farmville. There are games like that the Farmville Craze in 2008, 2009. Games you play on your browser and so we built a game called Journey of Moses, a game called Journey of Moses, a game called Journey of Jesus. So the Journey of Jesus game we translated it had two and a half million people play it and you literally played the story of the gospel. We had two and a half million people play it, we translated it into 15 different languages and we had over 25,000 people come to Christ through playing that game, because we partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Speaker 1:

There you go, there you go.

Speaker 2:

So you play the game and you kick over to their content and, by the way, probably countless people whose stories we'll never know this side of heaven. We also had 200,000 Muslims play our game about Jesus Christ and we surveyed them. Of those we surveyed, 65% said they wanted to learn more about Jesus IRL, in real life.

Speaker 2:

Yeah there you go. So I was kind of talking about, I felt, this calling that was happening, where God was clearly saying you know, you've got to go do this, and I was seeing how bad things were for kids and it bothered me that nobody was really standing up for children, that so much of the you know again, the social media companies, the technology platforms, the content creators were just rolling over children like they were underneath the treads of tanks. Think about how, just re-watching Rocky, rocky would pray before his fights He'd do a sign of the cross. You know you had this is a silly example but you had things like Hulk Hogan where he'd say say your prayers, brother. You know you'd have Superman, which, no, it wasn't a Christian story, but there's a lot of parallels that have been well covered about the parallels between Superman and Jesus Christ and even the first Star Wars films, right, a lot of kind of Christian thematic standing up against evil and doing what's right. And yet today that's nowhere to be found.

Speaker 2:

And so what we realized at Trueplay is let's go build one app, one platform where you download it. It's on your phone, on your iPad, with a ton of amazing content that's fun, that's beautiful, that's engaging, but that also contains God's truth. So we built one app that has a bunch of games that you can play, each game for hours and hours and hours. There's digital comics. We also partner with the Action Bible, david C Cook, kingstone Comics, and so, as a parent, we want to give you the opportunity to come and say, hey, I can download this, I can subscribe, and my kids got plenty of things to do.

Speaker 2:

But not just that that. They're going to love it, and I'll tell you something interesting, which is something that just kind of came out recently. In the gaming world, one of the biggest things you look at is what percent of people who use your product come back in a week. What percent come back in 30 days. If you give a kid Trueplay, or you give a kid Minecraft or Roblox and if you're not familiar, it's a very multi-billion dollar kids gaming platforms, two of the very most popular they're twice as likely to come back in a week to Trueplay, twice as likely to come back in a month to Trueplay. So the kids really love it. They really enjoy it. What's been so exciting is to see what kind of the feedback and response and be able to really make transformative experiences in people's lives.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so look for the listeners. I wanted to have Brent on for a couple of reasons. One, there are a lot of different ways to get the gospel where it's not. I love what you're doing. I'm so encouraged by it. I want the world to know it's available right and so, just so you know, you haven't heard of it Trueplay yet. It's very new, it's still very early stage. Where are we at right now? Kind of in the process.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we released Trueplay in August of last year, right, and we've just been focused on growing the platform and getting in as many people's hands as possible, while also always producing new content we produced. You were talking about biblical stories. We just released a game a few weeks ago called King David's Battles. It's a really fun game about the story of King David, obviously, but it's also a story about how a boy becomes a man. I think we've done a good job as a society of teaching young girls. You can be whatever you want, and I, I have two daughters. You have a daughter. That's a good thing. The problem is, the subtle message to young men is we don't need you, or you're stupid or you're irrelevant. And that's not the only reason, but it's part of the reason that you see a lot of aimless young men, a part of the reason you'll see them descend into things like pornography or video games, to the extent that they're so immersed in video. Look, obviously video games can be a good thing, but they can certainly be a bad thing. It's so immersed in video games that they drop out of real life and so think about going back to King David.

Speaker 2:

I think you talk to a lot of Christian men. He's their favorite Old Testament character, right, and it's one of the, you know, best stories in the history of human civilization. Right, and such a great. Certainly he wasn't perfect, but none of us are, you know but he certainly was always trying to lean into God's heart what God wanted, what was the right thing to do. And I think when you think about a man, you think about using your strength, using your abilities, to do the right thing.

Speaker 2:

We've been taught this false dichotomy that you can either be like Boy George or you can be like Harvey Weinstein toxic masculinity. Well, how about being like King David? How about being like Moses? How about being like Jesus Christ? You're using your strength, you're standing up. You're bold, dustin, you're one of the boldest guys I know. You know just the way you carry yourself, the way you're always willing to proclaim the gospel doing this podcast. If we had more men like you, the world would be a better place.

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm very humbled to hear you say that you know spending your time with God, and I think it's a CS Lewis quote, right, humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less. That's right. Or, another perspective on meekness is focusing more on the things of God and less on the things of the world. There you go, I think too many Christians. And look you and I see it all the time on the west side of Austin, right, which is there are a lot of Christians think, well, if I go to church on Sunday and if I don't kill or steal or rob and I vote for the right people, I'm doing my job.

Speaker 1:

Right yeah.

Speaker 2:

And the truth is, you know we're not. You think about talk about the unreached. If you went at any mall in America, would you see more Yankees hats or more Milwaukee Brewers hats?

Speaker 1:

on average.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yankees hats, okay, why? Recognizable brand, more successful team, more fans right, They've got more fans. Okay, if you go into any mall in America, you'll see more satanic t-shirts than you will Christian t-shirts on average worn by the average person. Even though, statistically, there's 65% of Americans identify as Christians and I don't know what is it less than 1% identify as Satanists.

Speaker 2:

Why is that? It's because all the things of God have been stripped out in all the big megaphones in our society the media, social media platforms, movies, music, entertainment, games, and so, as we think about where people are, what did Jesus do? He met people where they were. Did he preach in the synagogues? Absolutely, but most of his time he was at a party, he was on the hillsides, he was at the fishing docks, and so if modern day children are on screens 52 and a half hours a week, let's be where they are, but let's be there with something they're going to love, with the truth that God loves you, that Jesus Christ is real, that the Bible is true, and not only that, but there's actually going to be a lot of good takeaways for you in your life from it.

Speaker 1:

If I am listening to this and I am not in the US, or if I'm a missionary and I spend part of my time here.

Speaker 2:

Maybe I'm on respite and I'm hearing this and I'm headed out. Can I access that content anywhere that I have an internet connection? Trueplay is live in 28 countries. We are right now in English. We will be translating at some point we haven't decided the date yet and so, yeah, we're continuing to expand. In fact, we just turned on quite a few countries just in the last week.

Speaker 1:

Okay, yeah, all, quite a few countries just in the last week. Okay yeah, all right, so check it out if you have it available. If you don't, you may have it available soon and there's an opportunity obviously for Trueplay to, like you say, to go into other languages and be supportive in other cultures.

Speaker 2:

What's next? You know we're going to continue to keep building more content. In fact, we just have a new game, another game coming out. It's about praise and worship. So praise and worship hasn't really been really done well in a video game. It's a game where, so the story is part of our content.

Speaker 2:

There's these characters who live in this world, this fantasy world. If you go to our website, you'll see a little girl who's a bunny rabbit in a tiger costume, or a boy who's a skunk who wears a crocodile robot suit. They live in this world, this fantasy world, where God is real and the Bible is true, but there's real evil, and what you find through the games is this big, epic story told over all these games and comics and videos. What you find is that the whole world they live in has deteriorated because this evil queen, who they later discover, has confiscated all the Bibles. So in their world there are Christians, there is some scripture, but nobody has a whole Bible. Okay, wow. And as a result, the whole society, and the environment as well, has deteriorated.

Speaker 2:

What this new game we have coming out, chirp Song, is about it's a fun bubble shooter If you ever played a bubble shooter. You kind of bounce something off the wall to knock these colors out and the level keeps progressing as you kind of try to get through it and make it enough shots. The level keeps progressing as you kind of try to get through it and make it enough shots. But this beautiful music comes out as these birds are released and sing and praise and worship God. And so the characters are learning.

Speaker 2:

Because our heroes are these children. They're learning the value of praise and worship. You know, too often people think when they go to church, oh, it's a concert, no, no, no, you're not the audience, god's the audience. That's why they're called worship leaders. You're singing to God and so it's that learning that praise and worship is something that improves the environment, but it also improves you because, like we talked about a few minutes ago, you're focusing on the things of God and his magnificence and his love and his character, right, and that's the value of praise and worship. So we're just continuing to make new games and get it in the hands of more people. We have some exciting partnerships. We have coming out with quite a few different Christian groups and organizations and just continuing to grow.

Speaker 1:

I love it. Brent, thanks for being here. I love what you're doing, like I said, and just want to help tell your story, want to help get this out to the people that engage with our platform and obviously, folks check it out and share it with your friends.

Speaker 2:

Let your friends know, you know, look we're all called to our own mission fields. I would encourage those listening to consider that America is so quickly turning away from Christ. That that's concerning for some of the statistics I mentioned today, and it has happened before. You look at Europe, you look at Turkey, you know countries that were very predominantly Christian, in fact, the capitals of Christianity at certain time periods in history that turned away. Here's the good news. God's not done with us.

Speaker 2:

I believe my encouragement to people that I'll leave you with is that a revival is coming. God's using different people. You know Dustin, he's using you, he's using me, he's using some of the guests you've had on this podcast before. He's using, you know, promise Keepers is kind of revitalized as one example. And God's not done and I think he is going to continue to do his work and transform our society. And our job is to go where we're called and appreciate the time to talk about True Play. You're welcome. If you're listening and you're interested, check out trueplaygamescom, t-r-u-p-l-a-y gamescom. You can also go to the App Store or the Android Store and just love what you're doing here and appreciate being with you.

Speaker 1:

If you would please pray for the audience and close us out as we love to do here.

Speaker 2:

Lord, thank you for the opportunity to be with Dustin today and we just pray this is a blessing on families and want to pray a prayer of encouragement to whoever's out there who may be struggling with the content your kid's watching. You know, we know a lot of people deal with children being exposed to inappropriate things, whether it's pornography or violence or regrettable things that come on screens, and we just pray for encouragement for those people today and to just encourage them that the story isn't over, that God is still sovereign, that God is still on the throne, that there is good work happening out there, that there is hope and truth and light and beauty and that Jesus Christ is still alive. So we just pray for a blessing on everything that Dustin's doing with Unreached and that this reaches people around the world. In your name, we pray Amen.

Speaker 1:

And amen. Thank you for listening to Unreached. Our sincere desire is that what you've heard today will cause you to see the mission of God differently and your role in it more clearly. If this adds value for you and we hope it does would you please rate and review the podcast wherever you listen. Also, share with your family, your friends, your church, your life group, small group, d group, wherever you do life, and if you want to connect with us, find us on Instagram at unreachedpodcast, or email us at unreachedpodcast at gmailcom email dot com. You. You.

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