Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Recent Demos

So the medical demo is still being organized and implemented into Gemstudio(TM). It's kind of frustrating because I design the visual images in illustrator then break them down into individual Gif. files to be incorporated into Gemstudio and turned into functional buttons. I kind of suck at figuring Gemstudio out so another guy I work with named Brian -who is a Jedi ninja at Gemstudio- puts the files in and makes them work. But then he'll come across issues involving resizing and formatting and then I have to go back into Illustrator and adjust the individual images and re-save them. It's a pain. 

In the meantime I was asked to start working on some new possible demos for future display use. At first I designed 4 demos based on conveying functionality. But then I was requested to do some based on another industry -like medical- that often uses our displays so they can see what their own displays may look like. 

So before I went into designing the "Auto Industry" demos, I first focused on the functionality demos. 

 This basic demo has several functions on it. I designed this one to focus mostly on Audio, with 3 different sliders that could be assigned different volume controls. I also included the Number pad to show that you could type in a string field of numbers after pushing the number buttons. The symbols on the right refer to (bottom) the Page it's on, (above bottom) the Paint/Draw Page, (2nd from top) the Slider Page, (top) and the Diamond Select Page. At the very top of the buttons is the Amulet Logo which could also be turned into a button that could clear the Number screen so new numbers could be typed in again. 


This page demonstrates the Scribble/Draw ability for our displays. You can click on any color and then using your stylus draw or scribble in the white area. It's pretty fun. 



This page shows the Slider function. The arrow on the slider can be moved up and down. As it goes up -so does the purple in the white bar to the left. Meanwhile, the numbers on the right will increase or decrease as it goes up or down. 


Lastly I created a page to show how you can select various buttons and boxes while others are deselected. At the bottom of the page are 6 tabs with the Amulet logo showing in various colors. Initially each box will be white with no logo showing until you hover over a box. Then when you click down on one of the colored logo a giant white logo will appear in the upper box of the corresponding color. 



When all this was completed I needed to start working on a more practical simulation of a demo to be used for an actual industry. 


Having briefly checked out typical displays and buttons on a car display, I combined the most significant ones into 4 pages. The first page is the Audio page which shows a button for Radio, CD/MP3, Rewind/ Skip, Pause/Play, Fast-Forward/Skip. I used the MP3 as an example showing that a list of Artists/Albums/Songs/Playlists could be shown and navigated through. The circular button in the upper left hand corner with the Amulet logo could be turned to scroll through the Artists as well as turn up the volume. The logo within the circle would spin to denote the direction of the rotation. 


Next was DVD. I figured since most adults driving cars have DVDs in the back to entertain the kids during the ride the featured movie-types should be Family movies and Kid Shows. Like the MP3 page, you could scroll through the movie options using the circle in the left hand corner. There is a button for Volume Control, Rewind, FF, Pause/Play, and Eject for if a DVD were inserted. 


The next page was the GPS -which I made by hand. The starred location is actually the Winchester Mystery Spot. I included the Zoom In/Out buttons as well as an Alternative Route button. The Blue bar on the right shows what the next action is and how far away from that action you are (Turn Right in 0.45 Miles). It also shows your Estimated Time Til Arrival, Level of Traffic in the area, the Weather conditions outside, and the overall Distance left to go until you reach your destination. 


Lastly I made a page for controlling the temperature in the car. The buttons at the bottom show which vents you want the air coming out of, as well as heating and air conditioning. The Blue bar on the left shows the current temperature in the car, the outside temperature, and the current level the fan is set to. If you want to increase the fan you can rotate the circle in the upper left hand corner. 


So yah, these are my latest designs.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Overcoming a Warped Self-Image –Sermon by Tim Lundy April 15, 2012


(Part 1 of “Unstuck” Series)

Introduction: How do we get stuck?
v  We get stuck with unresolved pain in our past.
v  We get stuck when we have pain of a warped self-image.
v  Self-image: The mental picture or conception of oneself; a person’s own idea of self or self-worth. Composite image of the mirror in our lives.
v  Factors or influences that shape our self-image:
o   Parents + Upbringing
o   Authorities and Role Models
o   Peers and Friends
o   Appearance and Performance
o   Cultural Norms/ Media
v  The impact of a Warped Self-Image:
o   Insecurity and Inferiority
o   Performance Orientation or Withdraw
o   Denial, Over-compensation, or Addictive Behavior
o   Unfulfilled longings for significance and acceptance
Most of these concepts were pretty strait forward and not-so-revolutionary, but it was a good place to begin with. The relationships we have with ourselves, others, our community, and God affects us deeply. But the relationship we have with ourselves is most deep because, aside from God, nobody else knows us like ourselves. When we reject ourselves we wind up feeling inadequate and insecure. Like I said in my blog, “”, a negative Ego go manifests in 2 ways: Being defensive and over-compensating or being submissive and reticent. We either draw back into our shells or we come out with wielding shield and blade in hand.
As far as addictive behavior –everybody needs and escape from reality. Reality sucks. It can be boring, suppressive, volatile, depressing… and everyone needs a way to relieve stress. Some people do yoga and take pottery classes. Some draw, read, or watch TV. Others turn to sex, alcohol, video games, or drugs. These things aren’t inherently addictive –although some do have chemical properties that can lead more easily to addiction- but overuse usually leads to obsession or a compulsive need for what becomes an addiction. Usually when people are highly dissatisfied with their lives or their current situation and feel helpless or powerless to change it –or their in denial of it- they start to give in more and more to avoiding that situation and reality. Addiction isn’t the actual problem –it’s a symptom of greater issues lying under the surface.
Ultimately what people –what souls need- as I’ve said before is Acceptance and Love. If society denies you unconditional love –find it elsewhere. If your family and friends deny you unconditional love, seek it elsewhere. If everyone including yourself has denied you unconditional –seek God. God is the only being capable of ultimate Forgiveness, Acceptance, and Understanding. His love is resilient and eternal.
My notes on this page include: “Freud’s ego Theory”, “Guys V. Women insecurity”, “Type A –Fire”, “Know who you are –who you want to be”, “Mirrors = Parents-Cultural Norm List”.
I should probably mention the “Guys V. Women insecurity” and “Type A –Fire”. Tim Lundy did discuss how insecurity was different for men and women. He said he felt bad for women when it comes to trying to measure up to stereotypic body images imposed by the media. He said that the models and actresses most women aspire to look like have a physical body type that only 1%  of women are actually physically capable of achieving. He said, “No wonder you’re so insecure. When guys look in the mirror they take about 30 seconds to make sure there’s nothing on their face and then they walk away because most men aren’t judged by how well their face looks”. He said, “I want you know that each woman in this room is beautiful. In your own unique, individual way, each woman here is beautiful just the way you are”. It was sweet.
The second thing he mentioned was that most Type-A personalities were actually the most insecure of all people. This is fairly well known actually. Type-A usually boils down to Fire signs. Fire signs are dominant and usually have instinctual leadership ability. Trying to constantly stay on top of the heap and get people to respect you and follow you on top of trying to measure up to your own ideal self can easily lead a person to feeling like they don’t measure up. That’s why most CEOs are either obese or immaculately fit –they can’t seem to find the balance in between and either give into food cravings to bury the insecurities or go out of their way to look good physically so no one will notice their self-doubt. They often feel judged by others –especially being in dominant leadership roles- and therefore judge others harshly as well as themselves. The over-judgment and scrutiny leaves no room for acceptance and forgiveness.
WHAT DOES GOD’S WORD SAY ABOUT US?
Ephesians 1:1-6
v  Background to the passage:
o   Written by Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ
o   Written to the saints who are in Ephesus
v  Key theological concepts:
o   Sovereignty of God – Scripture teaches that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and in control from eternity past to eternity future.
o   Free will of humanity – Scripture teaches that humans have responsibility and culpability for their actions and must choose to accept or reject relationship with God.
o   As we hold these two truths in tension it produces:
§  Respect for God’s Word.
§  Humility with each other.
§  Awe at the Mystery of a Big God.
The first thing Tim Lundy spoke about on this page was the background details for the letter Paul wrote to the Ephesians. There was a land called Ephesus that was a huge metropolis. It was very cosmopolitan and had banks, tourists, a Temple of Artemis, a wide and varied variety of open sexual expression, and a mixture of different cultures and practices –most of with weren’t exactly moral. Paul called the Christians he was writing to Saints. Today the word “saint” is applied to only and special few, hand-selected individuals deemed worthy of the title –but back then it was used to refer to people who were following God’s path.
There were several important things Paul wanted the Ephesians to know.
1. Paul wanted them to know that they were predestined to be adopted as the children of God through Jesus and that this love was given freely by God.
 2. It is up to each individual person to work out their own salvation with God. God chooses people to bring to Him and they then have to choose Him back in order to have a true relationship with God.
3. Paul humbly let them know that the only reason he had any right to speak and state these things was by God’s will alone. Without God, Paul had been a sinner who murdered Christians. Now –through God’s grace- he was able to overcome his past wrongs and teach others about God’s message.
Tim says the main point here is that God is omniscient and sovereign, but man also has the power to refuse God and reject Him. He said that man can choose to wander down his own path in life seeking things he desires and wants for himself or he can wander down a path with God that he has laid out. When man wanders down his own path alone he often gets lost and lacks the full knowledge to really give himself what he needs. When man wanders down God’s path, it is often equally challenging in some ways but ultimately more fulfilling and meaningful. Man then gets what he needs and does not feel alone, inadequate, unloved, or tormented by life.
God often takes man’s desires into consideration as well and tries to make man happy by giving him some of the things he wants in life. But ultimately God knows what man truly needs and what is best for him and He goes out of His way to give him that. Tim also mentions how churches have divided over the issue of whether man should live as he chooses or man should live by-the-book according to God. Some people struggle with the balance between autonomy and subservience to God. The one thing He clearly wanted was for people to come together and instead they chose to divide His church because people have a hard time grasping the concept that man can be both in control of his own life and having a life led by God.
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE “IN CHRIST”?
v  We’ve been chosen by Him:
o   Unearned- not based on what you do or don’t do
o   Eternal- before you existed
o   Core Truth: you are Blessed, Loved, and Chosen by God
v  Adopted by Him
o   Complete –All the rights, privileges, and blessings
o   Irrevocable- never ends
o   Core Truth- You are Loved by God as His Child
v  Called by Him
o   Holy and blameless in His sight
o   To live with purpose and grace
o   Core Truth: You are significant to God
Tim said there is a kind of peace man can have by accepting the fact that “God will never be smaller than you”. You will never be able to hold Him in your mind completely –He was always be all-encompassing and all-knowing. He will be a mystery to you and so will life and that truth will keep you humble and in awe of it all. But it is important for us to know that even though God is beyond us and is greater than us, He still loves us.
Here on Earth if you want to succeed and you want to get wealthy and you want to be famous and you want to have power and be seen as worthy by others –you have to prove yourself. Who you are isn’t good enough, you have to go out of your way to please people and prove your worthy of being noticed. But to God, He has already chosen you. He already singled you out before you were born as worthy of His grace and His love. You have nothing to prove to Him, only to embrace Him.
We are adopted by Him. Jesus was His only son and His only direct child and He has chosen to adopt us as equals in His family. He can’t revoke that choice or erase it. He has chosen us to be with Him and led us to Him. When you have Christ in you God sees Him in you and you become as His own. You become blameless, untainted, and full of light. That’s why even though we as people are imperfect and seemingly unworthy God can embrace us and we can hold relevance to Him. This is a truth most people know but have trouble letting it in. Look to God as your mirror –as the image you want to see in yourself.
Discussion Questions:
1.      Which mirrors of your past have impacted you the most? How has this played out in your life and relationships? Well the most impactful relationships had to have been with family. My friends have all been blessings to my life. I’ve never been hurt or betrayed by friends. I’ve never felt unworthy to my friends. My friends have enriched my life. But my family has issues… Ultimately I was negatively impacted by family, but I let go of most of that between the ages of 21-22 and have overcome those past issues. They don’t hold much sway over my life now. I’ve found peace with family members I’ve had issues with and now know how to be around the people I don’t get along with that well. I now look on the past for what it was: Truth to be learned so that I can better understand life.
2.      Review the truths about what God says about you:
Chosen by God –You are Wanted
Adopted by God –You are Loved
Called by God –You are Significant
Which of these truths most impacts you? Why? Chosen by God is a trippy one. I felt I was led by God after I let Him in so to think that the whole time He knew I would come and chose me to come is a little mind-blowing. Loved by God feels as true as air to me. I need it just as much. “Called by God –You are Significant” doesn’t hit me in the same way. There is doubt there –mostly in myself to achieve whatever He has called me for or wants me to do. I tend to hide from action, so I fear I won’t be able to answer whatever calling He may choose me to lead.
What are some specific steps you could take to allow the truth of God’s mirror to become the basis of your self-image? I think the process has already begun. It starts with letting go of self-loathing and doubt and letting in love and acceptance. Then allowing God to take your life and lead it –giving full trust and faith in that choice. Then allowing yourself to be led and embracing the changes –not resisting them. Then reflecting on Truth and God and life often so the thoughts start to reframe your mind. Then allow your heart to follow through by opening it up to more people. –I think this is where I’m at right now. The next step is for me to reach out to more people and build more relationships with people who are spiritual and accepting. Then from there they will probably influence to take more action and step out into the world more. I’m a couple years away from hitting my full potential and coming into my own –but on average most people reach their peak at 30. I’m 24 so I know I have at least 6 years to develop into who I’m meant to become.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Demos

So here's some of the work I've done for the displays at work...
The picture of the display was taken by a professional photographer and uploaded into Photoshop. I downloaded the image on the screen from Shutterstock or iStock and then placed it in the display via Illustrator. I also added the drop shadow so it looks 3D. This is our new Amulet 4.3" Capacitive Display. It's a smaller touch screen, but the colors are very vivid.

This is our new Amulet 7" Resistive Display. The display pic was taken by a professional photographer then uploaded into Photoshop. I then took a screen image created by another guy I work with named Brian and placed it in front of the display image via Illustrator. The image is suppose to be for a refrigerator -showing Water, Crushed Ice, and Cubed Ice as as well as Time Settings. Our displays are a template that many different industries can and have used. We provide the hardware and the software (GEMstudioTM) so that Medical, Industrial, Appliance, Auto and other industries can implement the displays in whatever way they choose. After I placed the screen image on there, I was also told to include the image of the power supply, USB cord, and stylus which it also comes with. I took another image that had these elements -cut out that board and placed the 7" display in front. I also added a drop shadow to the 7 inch so it blended in more. 

My favorite part of playing around with display images was actually creating screen images of my own in Illustrator that were then uploaded into an actual 7" board through GEMstudioTM. I was told to create a series of interactive screen pages for the display to show off its features and also represent how a medical company could use it for products of their own. 

I decided to do some research and found that a lot of diabetes-related monitoring systems used LCD screens like ours. There's tends to lack color and design though. These devices usually measure things like Blood Sugar Level, Pulse Rate, Cholesterol Level, and Blood Pressure. I decided to make separate screen pages related to these sorts of monitoring devices. 


This page shows Cholesterol level. You can easily see which page you're on because the largest button on the left if that page. Other buttons include a Blood Sugar Test (the hand and the blue device), Blood Pressure, a Totals Page to show you're overall current health status (the Green circle), and a page for typing in your Height and Weight measurements (the Ruler next to the Person). I also added the Amulet logo in the upper Left hand corner and a time clock in the lower Right hand corner. The 120 mg/dL is the current Cholesterol reading. These pages will be featured in the 7" display.

Before I was told to create display pages based around a medical theme, I initially started with pages conveying the functionality of what the displays and interface are capable of. Since there were 4 main functions of interest I made 4 pages based around the 4 seasons. 


 This screen represents "Summer". More importantly it shows the "Scribble" function on the display. The seashells at the bottom have words like Purple, Blue, Fuchsia, and green on them representing colors. When you click a shell and scribble in the white box above the lines and images you draw will be in the selected color you chose. The Coconut under the tree on the left is the Reset button that will clear the screen and make it blank again so you can start over. I love summer :) 

 The "Spring" page is my sister's favorite. Each flower has a letter in it. When you push a Flower Button that letter will appear in the script box above it. You can type up to about 10 letters in the box. The Restart Flower Button on the left clears the box screen so you can start again. 

 The "Winter" page features a disassembled snowman (shown together here). The Hat, Coal Buttons, Cane, Wood Arms, Mouth, Eyes, and Carrot Nose initially appear spread out on the snow by the tree. When you click on an item (like the Hat for example) the item returns to where it should be placed on the snowman (like his head). When the snowman has been reassembled you can click the Restart Button in the lower right hand corner and the pieces will return to the ground. 

Ideally each of these pages would also have the Amulet logo symbol on them and when you click on the logo you will be returned to the main page. I also made a "Autumn" page, but it's functionality is boring because it just adjusts the back light.Once a page is finnished in Illustrator the individual components can be saved as JPGs, PNGs,or GIF files. These files can then be uploaded into GEMstudioTM and turned into buttons. You can then upload the project unto the Display and interact with it by pressing buttons, scrolling, and dragging items.

Anyways, this is just to show what you can create through the Amulet products and also the artwork I've been working on lately to promote them. 

Easter Sunday Sermon


“The Story of God’s Love” by Chip Ingram
Sermon on April 8th 2012

The following is based on the sermon of Chip Ingram and my thoughts/notes jotted down during. Firstly let it be said, Chip is freakin awesome!!! The way he talks if very heart-on-the-sleeve-down-to-earth. He doesn’t beat around the bush but he is well organized and builds his way to the main point. Very moving.
So when I recount this speech it is via notes taken on a handout given by the church so we can keep track of the main concepts and ideas. I honestly can’t tell whether the notes written are things he said or things I wrote –at least in general. I’ll do my best to distinguish between us. Basically: Outline format = Chip. “Notes by me” are by me. Thoughts in between are by me unless I specifically say Chip said something. There we go…
The first thing I wrote at the top of the pamphlet is: “Each of us has something only we can do as an individual”. Chip said this I believe. He was talking about based on our experiences, our views, our skill sets, and our ability to do things we as individuals see and do things that no other individuals can see or do. We each have something unique to bring to the table. I agreed with his point and it re-emphasized my own. I believe there is a basic blue print for human personality. People shift slightly within those confines based on education, experiences, culture… but for the most part most personalities can be distinguished. The thing that allows people to really be unique and individualistic is what they add onto their blue print via more skills, greater accomplishments, individual perspective, and differing lines of thought and focus. In the end, everyone can have similar life goals/ missions but differ in the way they accomplish them (or don’t accomplish them) and the logistics of how everything comes together.
The next thing I have written is what Chip said he would be talking about with regard to God, which is “The Greatest Romance Novel Ever Written”. Chip is one of those guys who talks about God’s love a lot –which can get a little sappy after a while, but then he brings it back to reality and truth so you continue to take in what he has to say. He’s the right combination of ideology and practicality.
The outline for this Sermon starts with “ACT 1 –How It All Began”. Since this was given on Easter Sunday the sermon was meant to be more generalized since some of the people coming there may not have been as familiar with the Bible or the church.
§  CreationGod made us for Himself. A perfect relationship in a perfect world; giving and receiving perfect love.
Luckily for me my friend Alex and I have read John and the beginning of Genesis so these weren’t new concepts to me. Adam and Eve were Vegetarian/Fruitarians. So no one can make fun of me now. Anyways, notes that I wrote around this heading include: “He wanted Genuine Love” and “Void in yourself until united to God”. I love deciphering through old, non-descriptive thoughts. Basically the thing that made God’s drive for love with humanity genuine was the fact that he gave man free will. He didn’t make man a puppet on a string or a slave that had to obey or act out of fear or obligation. He let man decide for himself whether to love God or reject Him. Which leads us to Act 2…
Act 2 –How It All Went Wrong
§  The Fall –God allowed us to choose to reject His love. Our choice to reject God’s love ushered in sin, death, and selfishness to every relationship, separating ourselves from God, ourselves, and others.
It is interesting that when you dig up people’s insecurities they tend to come from some fear of Denied Love or Self-Preservation. In fact all fear is either one or the other. Fear of Pain or Fear of Denied Love. It’s hard for me as a person to measure selfishness sometimes. Especially when you take Buddhism into consideration. Buddha said that we should remove a sense of “self” and we should feel a sense of “oneness” instead with the universe and all life around us. The ultimate goal then being that we would lose “self” and become a state of pure “bliss”. Which is bullsh*t. I never liked the notion of “Nirvana”. A state of non-self-existing in a state of pure energy and radiant bliss. This state doesn’t include God. You aren’t next to God or in relationship with Him you just cease to be distinguished as “self” altogether. Maybe it’s just me being “selfish” but I don’t like the concept of ceasing to me individually distinguishable. But I do also worry about thinking too much about me and not taking others into enough consideration. Like most things in life, it’s about finding balance between loving yourself and loving everything else equally as much.
Anyways, after man ruined things sin entered the world. It occurs to me now that since Hell is a place God created that was devoid of Him (as those who wanted nothing to do with Him desired it to be) then maybe the reason sin entered the world is because when man disobeyed God and let Satan in he brought things outside of God from Hell into the place God had created for man. These things outside of God that He had nothing to do with then tainted his creations. God didn’t invent disease. I imagine that since Satan was a fallen angel who had seen God create things, he may have tried to create some things as well. Like the serpent. And jealousy, gluttony, resentment… and other things that fell outside of God’s creation and jurisdiction. It’s not that man cast God out… it’s that they made the mistake of letting Satan in. It’s like your mom telling you not to open the door to let strangers in. Then you let a stranger in and he steals everything or harms the family.
But I don’t think God hates man for that action any more than a mom could hate a na├»ve child for disobeying. I think if God was angry at anything it was that man then placed blame elsewhere and started scapegoating. Notes written on this portion of the pamphlet include: “This is Not God’s desired world”, “They didn’t reject Him, they allowed themselves to be led from Him”, and “No one really loves you if they don’t have the freedom to say No to you”.
Act 3- How God’s Love Rescued Us
§  Redemption- “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” -John 15:13
o   God the Son took on human flesh, lived a perfect life to reveal God’s heart, then offered His life as a sacrifice and payment for the sins of all people of all time: that whoever would choose to receive new life may have it.
§  Love gives Light that leads to Forgiveness
I think God made a trade with the Devil and said, “I’ll sacrifice myself as a human man and die for all men who have chosen to love Me and have Me in their lives. In return for this life I give to you, all men who choose to believe in Me and have faith in Me will be forgiven of the darkness you tainted them with.” In doing so He defeated death because He is eternal and cannot die and He defeated sin because men could wash it away from themselves through Him. Imagine if the kid who was told by his/her mom not to open the front door for strangers, opened it for someone who then came in and threw mud over the furniture, the floor, the ceiling, and every room in the house. Then the mom said, “I will pay you to clean this house yourself and in return for my payment to you, you will never again cover mud over anyone or anything that enters this house.”
§  The Result: People get a Redue -2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Notes I wrote on this page: “God is personal. He can be hurt”, God is all powerful, but He is also vulnerable by being open to love and the pain it can bring. He is also perfect in it”, “Jesus = Mirror of God”, “He died for every individual”, “people still have a choice”.
Love is frightening because it requires you to be open and vulnerable. I think it’s hard for people to imagine the level of hate men have evinced against God. They have murdered His own children and used His name to justify it. The level of pain God is capable of feeling must be great. But His ability to overcome pain is what has given many the strength to overcome pain and suffering in their own lives.
Act 4 –How It All Will End
§  Restoration- Jesus will return again as promised and make all things right in Heaven and on Earth forever.
o   Every moral being will be justly judged (repaid) for their thoughts, choices, and actions. Sin, death, and Satan will be vanquished forever, and God will re-establish perfect relationships in a perfect world, giving and receiving perfect love.
o   Love leads to Restoration
This is why I believe life as of now to be a Test. You study for the test and are taking it every day. Then when it’s your time the teacher calls you up and THEN you are judged on how well you did. Until then everything is just progress being made to achieving the greatest goals in life you are able to reach. It is Not for us to judge others, but rather to help them study life and better understand it, themselves, and God. Also, a lot of people who don’t care about animal rights or environmental issues bank on the Final Judgment as an excuse not to care about what happens to the planet before then. But the fact is that the Earth is dying.
The more man chooses not to care about it, the more beings will end up suffering on this planet during the waiting period for it to be restored. It’s kind of like being told you will get an iPod player soon. For now you just have a CD player. If you drop the CD player a lot and don’t take care of it –it will break and stop functioning properly. Then you’ll be left without anything to play music on until you eventually get your iPod. Only instead of going without music, for people it will be: starvation, water scarcity, animal extinction, harsher environmental conditions, plague and wide spread disease, lower quality of life… Let’s try to make this waiting period as pleasant as we can.
Notes written on this section: “You can’t impart what you don’t possess”, “Came as Savior but will return as Judge”, “A God of love promises Retribution will be had. A Just God.” If God didn’t redeem the earth and make it new again His people would feel hopeless and alone. If we really were stuck with this planet as is forever we would not outlast the depletion of its resources. Millions of millions would die as the planet started to decay more and more. People would have no sense of security and no one to turn to. They would feel apart from and rejected by God.
#1- How Do We Know God’s Story is True?
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death first came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” –Corinthians 15:19-22
It’s interesting the way they talk about death here. They act like death is a disease –a passing phase that can be cured. It “passes through”. We think of death as a permanent state, but maybe it’s only “permanent” from a physical stand point. From a spiritual stand point death isn’t the end, but just a phase in a cycle. There’s nothing “final” about it. Spiritual life goes on.
As for how we know the story is true… I think people who don’t acknowledge God exists are stupid. How can they really be that dumb? And it would be sad if millions of people throughout the millennia lived and died for the belief in Christ if he never actually lived and died and then lived again. It would be a tragedy. But I think the fact that He is very much alive today in the hearts and souls of men is proof that He once lived and was not conquered by death. Millions of people over centuries and centuries and wide varieties of cultures and times all coming to the same conclusion can’t be just a random coincidence.
#2 – How Do We Receive God’s Rescue?
The Facts of the Gospel:
1.     You are a Sinner. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” –Romans 3:23
2.     The penalty of sin is Death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 6:23
3.     Christ died to pay for All sin. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” –Romans 5:8
4.     You must personally receive Christ by Faith/Grace/Love. “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” –John 1:12
[Chip: And for those who do not want to be children of God, He created a place for them too out of compassion. A place devoid of Him and His presence. Hell is God’s place for people who don’t want to be with Him. ]
I think it’s interesting that the price of sin is death. Because death was also something that God did not create. It was a result of man’s error in being led astray by Satan. Therefore death doesn’t come from God, but from The Devil. When people give into sin they allow Satan into their lives and his price for that is death. Since Satan is the polar opposite of God it makes sense then that if you embrace God, your life will be without death and sin. At least spiritually. A soul cannot die. It can be twisted, contorted, withered, and frayed –but it cannot die. A soul can suffer and experience suffering. When God says souls can live forever through Him, I think He means that without Him souls die the way a body dies –by slowly decaying away into something unrecognizable from the life it once was. To “live” is not the same as to “survive”. If you’re living in suffering and pain you aren’t really “living”. If you’re dead on the inside you can’t say that you’re really “alive”. God created a way for men to live eternally like He intended them to.
Intellectual Acknowledgement v. Spiritual Faith and Participation
Us: Sin with wages of Death
God: Grace and Eternal Light
How we reach Him: The Cross; cross over into His life and let His life into ours
You can’t just play make believe and pretend you carry God within you when you don’t take Him into consideration, reflect on His teachings, and love Him as your Father. You can’t just mentally acknowledge God, you need to have Him in your life. It’s the difference between “saber” and “conocer”.  To know of someone is not the same as to know them personally.
 Discussion/Application Questions:
1.     What aspect of “God’s Love Story” is most intriguing to you? Why?
Well a lot of it is intriguing. A lot of it is also, not confusing, but just a lot of big concepts to take in. The problem with this portion of the Bible when it comes to understanding it is that it has been discussed so many times over the years over and over in various media forms and by various religious leaders. It gets kind of muddled after a while where you think you know everything about it and yet there’s still so much to grasp. I think the most intriguing part is how God conquered over the Devil who had ruined His creations from the beginning. Redemption.
2.     How does Easter and the Resurrection demonstrate God’s love to you?
It’s interesting because the only time of year I would usually go to church was on Easter Sunday out of love for my Grandma. She passed away a couple years ago, but I still made it a point to go to church on Easter Sunday out of respect. I think when you love someone, even if they can’t see the acts of love you are doing for them, the fact that you are expressing love to them makes you feel like at least you’re putting it out there and maybe in some way your love will reach that person. I think that’s what God did for His people.
3.     Have you ever received Christ’s personal gift of salvation to cover your sins and give you eternal life? Where? When? The 17th of June 1968. It was a cloudy day…What the heck kind of question is this? It’s questions like this that lose people and make them decide, “Ok… church is getting a little weird now”. No, I have not yet been baptized.
4.     Is there anything keeping you from trusting Christ “right now” as your Savoir and Lord? Honestly it took a little time to warm up to the idea –mostly because of stereotypes related to Christianity that have been cleared away thanks to actually reading the Bible and hearing some of the sermons. Now there’s nothing holding me back from openly accepting God and Christ into my life. I am in a much better place with Christianity than I was before.
5.     Who could you talk to about experiencing God’s love in your life? Alex is the go-to-guy for Biblical discussions. As far as experiencing God’s love, I think I’d have to seek Him for that.