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DVD Review



I apologize for not being more active, but not having other reviewers or books to review, it's been a little difficult. However I want to let you know about this wonderful DVD "God's Not Dead." Working at the library I found it on our shelves and took it home. When I brought it back I raved about it. I wanted to take it out again, but it seems word gets around. It's always on hold for someone else. That's great.

The opening scene is in a freshman college philosophy class. The professor states he is an atheist, and asks that if everyone will sign a paper with 3 little words on it he can dispense of the dust and get to the subject. Those 3 words are "God Is Dead." One student cannot sign that. He is given 3 chances to argue the case of the existence of God before the class.

Fueled by hate on one side and a determined love of God on the other this is not your simple movie. The poor kid researches and goes off on a journey of his own to state his case. The end is nothing short of amazing. I guess telling people stuff like this is one of the reasons I can't get a hold of it a second time. It's really that good.

For more you can go here:
http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/synopsis

To purchase a copy try these links:
Amazon
ChristianBook.com
Barnes & Noble

May our Lord be with you now and always. Remember, God is in control, even when things look like they're crashing all around you. David

Saturday, November 10, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED



by Grace Bridges

Day 7 Saturday



I'd like to end this tour by talking about two more characters in FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges. These are the two people that have come to mean the most in Mariah's life over the years, and, to preserve at least some of the story for the reader, I'm not going to give you their VR identities.

The first of these two is Naomi. When Mariah first joins the underground church or group, it is Naomi that she becomes closest friends with. It is Naomi who inspires her to stand up strong for the Awakener. It is Naomi who introduces new technology that seems to bring freedom to the people. It is Naomi who, when people thought she was going to be honored, suddenly disappears, leaving Mariah to struggle with her first great loss. Through Naomi, Grace Bridges teaches us the value of friendship, the necessity of dealing with finding and losing. For nothing in life is permanent. Yet it takes both the finding of a friend like Naomi and the losing of her to help her create her own strength or rather her own dependency on the Awakener. This is so important.

Similarly, she bonds, on a different level, with Peter. As their romance increases, so does the desperate situation surrounding them. Mariah realizes that she has again found someone she can lean on, but must give up. It is Peter who helps the small group maintain their perspective, keep things focused, and look for answers that he believes can be found. Interestingly, it is Mariah who finds these answers, seemingly by accident. Together they forge a plan to save them all. The plan is extreme, and pleasantness does not mark their progress. Yet they are after something more than pleasure, they are seeking survival. Lingering in the back of the minds of Peter and Mariah, is that it will not simply be the survival of life, but of all the hopes and joys they have shared together. This is also important.

What I have learned, although I don't pick up books with the idea I'm going to learn something, is that God gives and takes away, and both are blessings. He gives us people when we need others to help us recognize Him and His love for us. Then, quite often, God removes these same people so that we will learn to lean on Him, to know Him more fully, that we might become someone others can lean on and learn of Him. As my pastor says, “We are Jesus with skin on.” Even the historical Jesus, the man, who was also God, came and lived for a short while among the people. There were those who heard the truth in His teachings and followed Him. Then God took Jesus away. Was this to cause pain? No! It was so that our relationship with Him might be even stronger. We are told that while the physical Jesus, the one the disciples saw in the flesh, left, yet He never really left them at all. For being God Jesus was now able to be with them in ways they never thought possible. Jesus said He would be a friend that is closer than a brother. And so He is to all who believe. Although taken away in the flesh, He is alive with us in the Spirit. Also we have that great joy and hope of His return, which also is part of our Gospel. We do not serve lifeless idols or men who have died, but a Living God, who came and took on our form, that He might take death upon Himself, that we might not die. He has also put to death those sins in our lives that have condemned us in His own flesh. There is no greater show of love than that. And still, He sends us others, believers we can walk with for a time. People who will strengthen our relationship with our Savior. Then he removes them from us that we may be people to others who need that same strength, teaching them to walk in the ways of the Lord. For a story so simple and seemingly just a nice parable, FAITH AWAKENED becomes a most profound declaration of God's love for His people. Thank you Grace. It's just what I needed.


On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

Friday, November 09, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED



by Grace Bridges

Day 6 Friday



The technology that she uses in this story include genetic engineering, virtual reality and cryonics. Let's look at these one at a time.

Genetic engineering is already being done. This is the human manipulation of DNA to create something different than what was originally intended. By different I mean the same thing only stronger, purer, in some ways better. It seems we are always trying to improve on what God has made. In FAITH AWAKENED geneticists find a way to create a fertilizer that increases productivity. This is perhaps a real possibility. Yet, look at how Grace Bridges handles this. The new fruit that grows looks ugly, misshapen, and only grows a single season. It's seeds, however can be utilized for the next planting season, with the same results of increased harvest of misshapen fruit. I find this interesting. Whether intended or not Grace is saying you cannot improve on what God has created. It may seem to be an improvement, but it loses its beauty, and even shortens its lifespan. In short you can't improve on what God has made. You'll have to read the story to see how devastating this technology really becomes.

We're all acquainted with virtual reality on one level or another. There are now tons of VR games that are played regularly by kids. VR really is nothing more than a computer-generated reality. Gamers love the stuff. You take on a character, add in some of your own characteristics, within defined limits, and place that character in a pre-designed world, whether it's something like Middle Earth, King Arthur's world, or an urban war-zone. VR is limited, however, kind of like a large box. Inside it can be large enough to seem like it's the real deal, but the reality is you can't go beyond certain borders. You can't remember things that haven't happened. You can't embrace experiences that haven't already been experienced. So, to mimic that, you make memories smaller, or link them together. You take real experiences and shrink them down so they feel realistic. Again, Grace Bridges has done a marvelous job of showing us which world is which, even if the characters stuck inside each world can't be sure which is real or not. This adds to the credibility of VR technology being used, and it also helps the readers keep track of who's who without a scorecard.

I'm sure most of us have heard about people being frozen, while still alive, to prevent actual death. The name for this science is cryonics. According to Wikipedia, "Cryonics is the low temperature preservation of humans and other animals that can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine until resuscitation may be possible in the future. Human cryopreservation is not currently reversible. In the United States, cryonics can only be legally performed on humans after pronounced legally dead. The rationale for cryonics is that the process may be reversible in the future if performed soon enough, and that cryopreserved people may not really be dead by the information-theoretic definition of death." Apparently cryonics, at least in the U.S. can only be used after a person is pronounced dead. Although it can only be useful if the person is not truly dead. Then there are other obstacles to this, however, a growing number of scientists are backing cryonics for the preservation of human life when it cannot be achieved through what we are currently capable of. So Grace Bridges uses cryonics in this way. If we will let ourselves plunge into this "what if" scenario, the her descriptions of the apparatus used for this is very imaginative, realistic and sometimes graphic. Even the feelings a person might have are explored and utilized for her story. I found it mesmerizing.

Grace Bridges does something unique, something I never would have thought of, and it is just beautiful. She combines cryonics with VR technology. In doing so people don't have to just be frozen for a length of time, like sleeping, or more correctly, in a coma. Instead while they are in this coma state they experience a world that they have created using VR technology with Mariah's computer programming skills to help out. You define the world you'll be in, the people you meet, even some events up to a point. If you'll notice, the life of Faith is full of “blank spots”. That's because it's a virtual world. No way could we create every feeling, thought and experience we go through in life, so in a virtual world you'd expect “gaps” to appear. To me, this is part of the genius of the story. She takes the unacceptable, unbelievable, and makes it believable to those in a cryogenic virtual world. This is an awesome task, done with skills I wish I had.

If this post doesn't move people to visit her site and get her book, then I don't think anything would. Yet if you are into science fiction, or even just fantasy, you will be doing yourself a disservice by not getting this book.


On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

Thursday, November 08, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED



by Grace Bridges

Day 5 Thursday



Now I'm going to embarrass Grace Bridges, by a very special post. I've known writers to write poems and use them to embellish their stories, but Grace has taken this a step further. Instead of being satisfied with poems she has written songs. Here they are, four of them in all.




Awaken Me (Chapter 3)



Awaken me, be the light in my eyes.

Awaken me, be the strength in my hands.

Awaken me, be the joy in my heart.

Awaken me, awaken me.



Awaken us, be the words that we pray.

Awaken us, be the songs that we sing.

Awaken us, be the lies that we live.

Awaken us, awaken us.




Day's Breaking(Chapter 10)



Day's breaking, awaking inside of me.

Bright morning, light's dawning, ow I am free.

Day's dawning, bright morning, making me see

Light's breaking, awakening. What can it be?



From darkness you have bid me rise.

The sound of my Awakener's voice.

I wll not give up. I will not let go of the life that you give.

I will stand with you. I will never leave your side for as long as I live.




Remember (Chapter 17)



Remember where you are, child

Remember you are mine.

Remember I love you, child

That wont change. It's for all time

Remember I made you, child

Every little part.

Remember that I called you

And you are close to my heart.



Don't forget all the times

When you called and I answered you.

Don't forget how my words light your path

And you know that I'll make

Everything work for you good

Since you gave all your days to my hand



And you know that you're safe

In my arms wherever you go.

And you know that I'll show you the way

Be assured of my love

And my help in all you do.

Be assured that I'll stay by your side.




Give Me Faith (Chapter 19)



God has left me, and I'm alone now.

He doesn't se me any more.

Oh God, my God, oh Lord my God

Why did you leave me?



He has turned his face from my hurting soul.

Have you forgotten about me?

Oh God, my God, oh Lord, my God

Why did you leave me?



And still in my pain, I will look up to him.

I do still believe!

Take me and bring me to you.

Lift me high above this place

Like Job, that I will see your face.



Let me praise you again with a joyful heart.

Then I will thank you, God of wonders.

Oh God, my God, oh Lord, my God

Help me to trust you



Give me faith.



The words of these songs are almost as haunting as those in the Psalms or in the book itself. If you go to your www.faithawakened.com website you can find these songs, hear them, and even download them for your later enjoyment. May each of us have our FAITH AWAKENED.





On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED



by Grace Bridges

Day 4 Wednesday



One of the things I liked about FAITH AWAKENED, was how Grace Bridges referred to Christians as “the Awakened”. Also they served the “Awakener”. Truly this is what happens when we come to Christ, it is as if out of the sleep of Death God Himself has awakened us into His Life, which is eternal. While other aspects of FLASHPOINT, by Frank Creed appealed to my masculine need for the “rush”, this description of the Christian seemed better than the way he went about it. However, as we noted, he had to cut some things out. Still, wouldn't it be more realistic to be called by another name in the future? The followers of Jesus were first called “Followers of the Way”, then “Christians”. These are the two oldest, and most defining terms. Over the years we have been called, “The Chosen”, “Born Again”, “Believers”, “Charismatics”, “Jesus Freaks” and so on. Each time the words used took the same basic truths and reflected the current society, so the people would understand them.



Not only does the Awakened, seem more realistic, but it points to our current lack of trying to relate Biblical truths in words that our society will understand. We often tell people we are Born Again, and you'll even hear this on the news. Yet, most people don't know what in the world we are talking about. We need to first show them that they are dead in order for them to understand they can be born again. Similarly, in Grace Bridges' futuristic story, people need to realize that they are asleep before they can be awakened. This to me is a very strong point of the story.



Though awakened, these believers find themselves forced to worship secretly. Friends, this is not as futuristic as it sounds. For years, in many places around the world, Christians have been forced to meet underground or in secret. Still, they find a way to share the Gospel with those around them, and that is the beauty of it. While remaining “in secret” the Awakened still see a world that needs to be shaken from its deadly sleep. May we learn a lesson from this and not wait until we too, are forced to worship in secret.




On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges



FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges

Day 3 Tuesday



The main character in FAITH AWAKENED is Mariah, a 22 year old young Irish woman in Belfast. Although she works with computers she feels that her job is part of an enforced slavery by the Masters over all people. Chapter 2 starts out in the most amazing and foreboding of ways. Mariah tells us, the readers, that she is going to tell her story, a story of how great the world once was, and how nearly all of mankind was destroyed. Talk about giving you a hook. Yet, even in the prologue and chapter 1 you get hooked. Grace Bridges is a very unique and gifted story teller. You'll find this out the more you read.



Before I introduce you to the other main character I need to go back to the prologue and jump around a bit. Mariah, in the prologue, is hooking up survivors to a “virtual reality cryogenic system”. That's right. Those left behind, by some horrific event she has not yet shared with us. The gist of things are that only a handful of people seem to be left living on an otherwise crowded planet. For the human race to survive those living must enter into this state of cryogenic suspension. She is fairly graphic in her depiction of all of this. She gives us hints, in that this time of entering a suspended state, are faced with a certain amount of fear and anxioty, as well as welcomed with joy.



Okay, now I can tell you a little about Faith. We start out with her as a young child and “grow up with her” so to speak. The one thing that becomes noticeable about her is her lapses of memory. There seem to be bits of her past that fade away into the mists of nothingness. In fact, there is a feeling of skipping over things when you read this chapter. Believe it or not, this is important. She grows up like any young girl, at least one with Christian parents and influence, but Grace shows all the pain and frustration at trying to figure God out. The teen years are particularly interesting, just as they are in real life. These years are the ones that most of us face some of the greatest challenges of our lives. We either stand or fall, by how we react to these challenges. She does a great job of depicting Faith.



These are the 2 main characters in FAITH AWAKENED. Grace, if I have misrepresented them in any way, I apologize ahead of time. To the rest of you, I apologize that I cannot give you more information without allowing you to experience the story for yourself. It's always a challenge to find 7 posts for a novel without giving away the major plot aspects and the ending. So I ask that you give me a little slack here. I could easily tell you the story, but then what would be the point of reading it? You must read this book, because the story held within is best told by its author, and because there are several messages that you need to come to grips with. As Mariah says, “You won't find any censorship, even though you will mourn for worlds long vanished. I intend to tell it like it really is.” She follows this up with the ominous words, “Really I can't be sure that anyone will ever read this. Yet if the human race survives, then read on and weep for what once was, and what used to be. For it is no more...”





On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

Monday, November 05, 2007

FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges



FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges

Day 2 Monday



FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges, and FLASHPOINT, by Frank Creed, have 3 similarities. First, both books deal with end times scenarios. Second, both books point to the coming persecution of the Christian believers. Third, both books deal with advanced technology that may not really be that far from becoming a reality. Apart from these 3 things these two novels are vastly different.



Rather than deal with a group of underground believers who are actively engaging the beastly government, Grace Bridges begins her novel right at the end of that period, so the bulk of her work deals with what happens afterwards. This should not be seen as escaping the command of Christ to “Go and teach all nations, whatsoever things I have taught you.” For she begins her story at a point in time where the existence of the human race is at stake. This being the case she is able to give you the actual feel that these believers are the only ones left on the planet. She deals with each of them, although she mostly focuses on a young woman named Mariah. The ability to focus on so few a number of characters is an active ingredient, which I'm sure you will all enjoy, that makes this novel work.



What I found interesting is that you don't really meet the key character until the 2nd chapter. She sets up things with a prologue, then skips ahead to another character in the 1st chapter, and finally gets around to her main character in the 2nd chapter. This skipping around through time, at first, leaves you wondering what in the world is going on. She quickly helps you understand what is going on and why this story needs to be told this way, and the reader is drawn into a world where 2 realities seem to run side-by-side. It is an awesome undertaking that is done so smoothly you cannot imagine it being told any other way.




On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Faith Awakened - Day 1




FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges

Day 1 Sunday



It is my great pleasure to meet some fantastic writers. I mean, yeah I put in some really odd hours, but it's been worth it. Last month we toured Frank Creed's amazing work, FLASHPOINT. This month, we again turn our eyes towards the “what ifs?” of end times with FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges. I invite all of you to visit her media page on the Faith Awakened site. Grace hasn't just put together a fantastic story, she's created some interesting videos, and even written and recorded songs she's used in the book (which you can listen to as MP3 files).

A little boast on my part before we get to the book. Grace was either the first or one of the first members of the Lost Genre Guild to join the Christian Fiction Review Blog. I have a sneaky suspicion that she started spreading the word about CFRB and suddenly our ranks grew. It wasn't just the numbers joining, but the dedication of the people joining that impressed me. If you really want to find some dedicated writers, then visit the Lost Genre Guild at http://lostgenreguild.com Just to show you how influential Grace has been by introducing LGG members to CFRB let's recap a bit:

LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF DARKNESS – LGG
INFINITE SPACE, INFINITE GOD – LGG
THE DUKE'S HANDMAID – LGG
FLASHPOINT – LGG
and now FAITH AWAKENED - LGG

Knowing me I've probably missed someone. My sincere apologies. But as you can see, LGG members have taken up nearly half of the tours. That's not because we won't tour other works, but we always give members the first option. I actually had Grace Bridges scheduled for August at one point. We finally made it.

Not only has she been instrumental in helping both LGG and CFRB (and I suspect a couple other groups), but during the last tour she made her post as she was flying from Germany to New Zealand. Now, to me, that's dedication. She could easily have said, “Gosh, Dave. I'd love to get involved, but I'll be flying back to New Zealand at that time.” I would have understood. She knows I would have, but she posted anyway.

Why am I saying all of this? Because, more than any book I've read since CFRB started, it really helps to know a little about the author. Her references to Ireland and Germany come from firsthand knowledge. Reflections of her own struggles and triumphs are neatly tucked into this masterpiece. Read and enjoy!!!




On sale at Lulu Books


Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It


You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog


The best site for information, pics, audios, etc, however, can be found at
Faith Awakened

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