The Movies of Q1 2017

It felt like yesterday that we were just talking about movies at the end of 2016, but here we are in February 2017! Here are some movies I’m looking to watch from now all the way through to March! Maybe you would be interested in watching them too?

The Space Between Us

If you know me, you will know that I love anything that has to do with science-fiction. And this is why I’m excited for this movie. It’s probably going to be my first sci-fi film of the year! But more than that, it’s actually a romance film. Telling the love story between a boy from Mars and a girl from Earth, I’m hoping this film will be as beautiful as it looks.

The Lego Batman Movie

A spin-off from 2014’s The Lego Movie; what else is there to say about this? It’s LEGO and it’s Batman. This combination is going to bring loads of fun to the big screen and I can’t wait to just catch it with my friends who love animation!

John Wick: Chapter 2

If you would love to have a good action film to watch over Valentine’s Day this year, you have one. A sequel to the 2014 hit film John Wick, this action thriller looks to slay once again. Starring The Matrix star Keanu Reeves, John Wick: Chapter 2 sees the returning of a legendary hitman and his face-off against some of the world’s deadliest killers.

Logan

For some reason, watching this trailer gets me slightly emotional. Maybe it’s the fact that this will be the final portrayal of Wolverine by Hugh Jackman. Maybe it’s the reality that this will be Patrick Stewart’s final appearance as Professor X. Or maybe it is the knowledge that this will be the conclusion of Logan’s story after 17 years. Whatever it is, I’m watching this.

Before I Fall

Imagine for some reason, you get trapped in a day, having to live it again and again and again. How would you make this day different and special each time you live it? Before I Fall explores that idea and looks to be really interesting. Got to catch it!

The Shack

Based on the book of the same name, this movie talks about a father’s journey through loss and his struggle with faith. Looking at the trailer and reading just the synopsis of the story, I can’t help but feel this could be one of the most uplifting films these next few months.

Table 19

Now this looks really light-hearted and interesting. This film talks about the story of an unlikely group of friends who met at a wedding table reserved for the most “unwanted” guests. What kind of sparks will fly and what tales will follow from their first meeting? We shall find out in this comedy film starring Anna Kendrick.

Kong: Skull Island

Set in the same universe as 2014’s monster film Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island brings the iconic beast back on the big screen! I remember when I was really young, King Kong (2005) was one of my favorite films as a kid. So I’m just excited to see what fresh take this film is going to have on Kong. And not to mention, it has a stellar cast too!

Beauty and the Beast

Now this is one of the highlights of the year for me in terms of movies. It just looks so amazing and seems to pay so much homage to the original animated film that we all watched when were little. The cast is so fitting of their roles, the visuals are stunning and the soundtrack so beautiful. I think we are all going to feel really nostalgic when March comes.

Power Rangers

As if the last 2 films I talked about weren’t enough to bring back childhood memories, here comes another one! Every 90’s kid would remember the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, so this film would be another major throwback for many of us! Can’t wait to see a whole new portrayal and imagination of our childhood superheroes.

Life

Probably the second science fiction film that I’m going to watch this year, Life explores the possibility of alien life (hence the name) in space, and as seen from the trailer, things don’t go very well for the scientists. Looks like an intense thriller I’d like to catch for sure!

The Zookeeper’s Wife

The last film on this list is going to have to be this drama film set in World War II. Based on the true story of how a couple saved the lives of hundreds of Jews during the Occupation of Poland, this film is going to portray both the terrors of war and the existence of heroes in our world.

And that’s it for my list of movies to watch until the end of March! Do you have any movies that you’re looking forward to that isn’t listed here? Let me know your thoughts and as always, thank you for reading.

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The Movies of Q4 2016

Once again, another quarter of the year is around the corner. And with it, comes many more movies we all want to watch. In fact, I think these next three months could be the most exciting season for movies this year, judging by the amount of movies I am looking forward to. There are in total 12 (the most there has been on my quarterly watch list this year) films that I think would end off 2016 pretty well! Here are the reasons why I am going to the cinema this holiday season between October and the end of December.

The Accountant

This year seems to have been a really busy year for Ben Affleck, in a good way. After appearing in Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, the actor is going to appear in yet another three films in the next one year. More than that, he is going to direct one of it as well as the upcoming Batman movie which he is also starring in. The Accountant will be the latest film to feature his talents as an actor and I think the film has an interesting vibe to it and I can’t wait to see it. Watch the trailer above.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Tom Cruise is back and he still doesn’t look his age. Taking on the role of Jack Reacher once again, he gets involved in what seems to be a conspiracy and must uncover it to clear the name of a friend. From the trailer, I honestly think that we will see one of the coolest cinematic heroes of the year from this movie. That confidence and that skill is just epic.

Doctor Strange

As you all would know, every installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets me pumped. And this is no different for Doctor Strange. What’s more, the cast looks amazing. We have Benedict Cumberbatch, one of my favorite actors playing the titular character! What did we do to deserve this? LOL. But jokes aside, I am excited to see a new hero on the big screen, and the film just feels very different from the rest of the MCU films. I can’t wait to see how it’s going to affect and shift the universe around it.

Hacksaw Ridge

Once in awhile, you get one of those films that teaches you something and inspires you. Hacksaw Ridge looks to be that kind of film. Starring Andrew Garfield, the film tells the true story of Desmond T. Doss, an American soldier who refused to use any weapon or to kill during his service in World War II. I can’t wait to see The Amazing Spider-Man actor once again, but most of all, a movie about staying true to your personal convictions would be something I’ll definitely watch.

Arrival

2016 has so many science-fiction films, I’m not even complaining. If you thought that movies like Independence Day and Star Trek are the last of movies like these that we will see in 2016, you’re wrong. I love Sci-Fi movies and would gladly watch a good one any day. So that is why I am happy to say that there are three more science-fiction films to watch just in these next three months alone! The first one is Arrival, and unlike the action packed spectacles we have seen this year, it looks really different and intriguing.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Harry Potter was my childhood as much as I know it is for most of you reading this. So you would understand the nostalgia that you get while watching the trailer for Fantastic Beasts right? Especially when the recognizable soundtrack plays? How can we miss this film? It is a spin-off and prequel to one of our favorite stories! Set in the same universe as the Harry Potter series, but in an earlier era, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is probably one of the most anticipated films of the year. Got to catch it!

Moana

Walt Disney Animation Studios are back! It seemed like only yesterday that we were talking about Zootopia, and now we have another Disney animated film on the horizon. But I am happy though. It is like a blessing to have two Disney animated films in one year alone. What’s more, it seems that Disney has been doing a consistently good job with their recent animated features. From Frozen to Big Hero 6 to Zootopia, all of these films were so different in concept and plot, yet Disney delivered. I believe that Moana will be the same. New idea, new story, new princess and The Rock. What could go wrong?

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The exciting movies just keep coming and coming, doesn’t it? We have Marvel, Disney, Harry Potter and now we have Star Wars. What a crazy last quarter of the year it will be. Rogue One tells A Star Wars Story that takes place between Episodes III and IV of the Star Wars saga. If you’re a fan of Star Wars like me, you would know what I am talking about. If not, go watch some Star Wars. You know not how exciting life as a Star Wars fan has been since The Force Awakens last year. And the best thing is that it’ll continue for years to come.

Collateral Beauty

Imagine being able to meet Love, Time & Death as actual people and having a conversation with them. How would your life change? This movie explores that idea and looks really profound; the trailer gave me the chills. If there is a movie that I will watch this Christmas season (other than Star Wars), it will be this one. Love the cast, love the ideas and love the setting. A must-watch for me.

Assassin’s Creed

To all the gamers out there, I know this is one movie you’re looking forward to. Personally, I enjoyed Warcraft earlier this year, so I’m hoping that Assassin’s Creed will be good too or even better! This will be my second time seeing Michael Fassbender this year after X-Men: Apocalypse, and I am looking forward to seeing a cool performance from him as well. To the general crowd, yes, Assassin’s Creed is a video game. And now, it’s going to become a movie too.

Sing

Disney isn’t the only one that are releasing two animated movies this year. The makers of Despicable Me who are most recently known for The Secret Life of Pets, are going to give us another treat in the world of animations. Sing looks to be a movie about chasing your dreams and has a lot of singing too! It’s like The X Factor with animated animals and a story. Haha, looks like we are going to be occupied with animated films this holiday – Moana on Thanksgiving and Sing on Christmas.

Passengers

Remember what I said just now about science-fiction films? Here’s another one, and probably the last one that will be released this year in the Sci-Fi genre. While Arrival has a mysterious and dramatic feel to it, and Rogue One feels big and epic, Passengers comes in to offer a different taste of a science-fiction thriller. Starring beloved actors Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, it seems to be one heck of a ride. And honestly, if this is the last film I will watch this year, I don’t think I’ll mind at all.

So what do you think? Isn’t the last quarter of 2016 the highlight in terms of movies? Let me know what movies you would include in your “must-watch” list!

The Movies of Q3 2016

Time really flies! The last time we talked about movies, we were in the first half of 2016. But today as we speak, we are already in the second half of the year! In fact, we find ourselves in its third quarter. So in continuation with my quarterly habit of looking at upcoming movies, I bring you now the list of films I am looking forward to seeing in Q3 of 2016. Here are a few exciting ones that I want to catch between now and the end of September.

1. The BFG

Chances are if you have ever read children’s books before when you were younger, you would have heard or seen the name of Roald Dahl. I mean when I was in primary school, all the bookworms in class would be reading at least one of his books. Then when I went to the school library, I would see “Roald Dahl” all over the shelves. If Charlie and the Chocolate Factory rings a bell to you, then you would definitely know this successful author. The BFG which stands for “Big Friendly Giant”, is also a book written by Dahl. And now, it is has been adapted and brought to life on the big screen.

2. Star Trek Beyond

The last time we saw Chris Pine, he was leading a rescue mission with the U.S Coast Guard in The Finest Hours. Now, watch as he captains a starship in the third film of the science-fiction franchise – Star Trek. I got to be honest; I am totally new to Star Trek and have yet to see any of the films or television series nor read any of the books. But I am so stoked to catch up on what I’ve missed so far just to be able to watch Star Trek Beyond better. Science-fiction films like these are the bomb, guys.

3. The Secret Life of Pets

The creators of Despicable Me and its popular minions are back with a brand new animated film – The Secret Life of Pets. As I watched the trailers for the movie, I can’t help but find the visuals so stunning, the concept so fresh and the characters so humorous. Compared to the other animation studios or companies like Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks, Illumination is relatively new and young so I can’t wait to see what else they have to bring to the world of animated films.

4. Skiptrace

Jackie Chan is back! What more is there to say? No one blends action and comedy as well as our childhood hero even at his current age of 62. Personally, I grew up watching a lot of Jackie Chan and I can still remember up to this day that apart from all his films, one of my favorite cartoons as a boy was Jackie Chan Adventures! So obviously from that, you would know why I am so excited to see Jackie again; he just offers this unique flavor to the more than 100 films that he has starred in. And besides, it’s been more than 2 years since we last saw him in a live-action movie! Can’t wait.

5. Jason Bourne

You know, James Bond isn’t the only “J.B” that is cool and dangerous okay? And no, I am not talking about Johor Bahru or Justin Bieber even though they are cool in their own ways. I am talking about Jason Bourne. After 9 long years, Matt Damon finally returns as the titular character in the well-received spy action thriller series. So as you can see, anticipation is at an all-time high for this movie.

6. Suicide Squad

2016 is a strange year when superheroes clash and villains unite. We can see the former in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War, while the latter will be exhibited in the upcoming Suicide Squad. As the third installment in the DC Extended Universe, the film uses a concept that is rarely seen – having the villains as the main characters of a movie. Personally, I just want to see Batman against the Joker again, and also how this film fits into the whole DCEU. So just imagine the Avengers.. but with weird and psychotic people.

7. Pete’s Dragon

So how do you train your dragon? In the real world? The answer is you can’t – well, at least not in peace. A remake of the 1977 film of the same name, Pete’s Dragon seems to have a fresh and interesting tale to tell. Man, Disney is really on a roll this year with their name on film after film and with many more coming up! Just in this post alone, there are three of them! Continue reading to find out about the third one (and that isn’t even the last one in 2016!).

8. Queen of Katwe

Being on a constant “quest” to widen the range of movies that I watch, I find myself in the cinemas this year catching romance films, thrillers and comedies (which I didn’t used to watch as much). In the next three months however, I am going to challenge myself to watch a biographical drama film in the form of Queen of Katwe. And anyways, it is going to be a breath of fresh air with the movies I’m watching and also looks inspiring. So why not?

9. The Magnificent Seven

This last movie in this list could possibly be the last movie I am going to watch before I go into the army. For all you non-Singaporeans reading this, just Google “National Service in Singapore”. And honestly if it is, if Magnificent Seven really happens to be that movie, I don’t think I’ll mind. Because so far, it looks good! With the cast, the setting and the plot that we currently know of, we have a potentially awesome Western film! And for me, it has been a long time since I’ve watched a Western film like that, so I’m looking forward to it. Plus, it looks really cool and has Chris Pratt in it. Can’t wait to see one of my favorite actors in recent years back in action again.

And so that is all for my personal list of movies that I would love to see in this third quarter of 2016! In fact, some of them has just been released in Singapore so I am probably going to go catch one or two of them in the coming week. But how about you? Do you have any movies that you would love to watch too but are not in this list? Let me know in the comments below! See you all again for our next list in October. 😉

Subscribed: Action Movie Kid

Hi readers! Today, I’m going to try something new. I’m starting a new series – Subscribed, which will be a series of short posts that I will be using to share with all of you some interesting YouTube channels that I am personally subscribed to. Some of these channels make me laugh, some of them keep me up-to-date to things I care about, and a few others inspire me as a video maker. So I thought maybe they could do the same for you too. And besides, we should always share the good stuff with one another, right? 😎

For the first Subscribed post ever, I went to take a look at my subscriptions on YouTube (which would probably become a norm for me soon). And thanks to the default alphabetical order in which my subscriptions are sorted, the first channel to appear is none other than Action Movie Kid.

A quick background about the channel: Action Movie Kid (AMK) stars adorable little James who has been given the titular nickname by his dad – the manager of the channel. James, much like any of our young selves has a vivid imagination. The only difference though, is that James has a father who is a Dreamworks animator.

Combine the wit and creativity of both father and son and you get a collection of popular “parenting” videos, sweet family moments, lots of fun (and destruction) and even a children’s bedtime storybook.

So if you’re ready, let’s watch as the Action Movie Kid brightens up our Friday a little more with his latest adventures.

Why I Enjoyed: Zootopia

Note: This article is spoiler-free.

Hi Moviegoers! I’ve been going to the cinemas recently and have watched some of the films that I’ve intended to watch since I knew about them. And so far, they’re pretty good! But there’s one interesting thing I realized about the films that I’ve enjoyed the most in the past month – they’re all produced by Disney. That’s right, I’m talking about 2 films in particular – The Finest Hours and Zootopia. Today however, I’ll be talking specifically about Zootopia, which has just been released in USA a week ago. Here’s why I enjoyed it.

1) It’s Beautiful

If you’re like me, and enjoy looking at amazing 3D animation, then this one’s for you. I’m not even kidding, every frame in the movie looks beautifully crafted and incredibly detailed. One can only imagine the amount of hard work that all the artists and animators had to put in before all the visuals in the film could become a reality.

2) It’s Cute

This is one thing I can’t deny. All the animals, from the bunnies to the… well especially the bunnies, are extremely cute. Oops, I forgot that only bunnies can call one another “cute”, but still! They are very adorable. Just watch the trailer; can you resist all the furriness?

3) It’s Funny

Besides just being visually stunning and cute, this movie is also hilarious. And I’m not talking about the lame kind of jokes that I like to churn out all the time. These is humor that is so fresh & unique to the world of Zootopia. Yes I am talking about the sloths. Catch the movie and you’ll love them too! Haha.

4) It’s Smart

Next, I must also say that this movie is very smart. With all its Easter Eggs to previous Walt Disney animated films like Frozen, references to our real world, subtle messages and timely themes about stereotypes and prejudice, as well as a thought-provoking plot, it just goes to show that animated films ain’t just for kids anymore.

5) It’s Inspiring

Last but not least, Zootopia is in its own way, inspiring. It talks about about making a stand, about acceptance, about redemption. It talks about true friendships, about never giving up and about dreaming big. So if you’re wondering what movie to catch right now, here’s one for you – other than Kung Fu Panda 3 of course!

A Look Back on Films in 2015

Note to reader: Don’t worry, this is a spoiler-free article.

Hi everyone! So much has happened over the year of 2015, and if there’s one thing I can remember about it, it’s that it was a year full of great movies. In fact, I think it was the year when I’ve watched the most amount movies! That is why before we even get into the films that are going to be released this year, we should take a look back at some of the most memorable films of yesteryear. I have watched the following films and would personally recommend you to do so too if you haven’t. Ladies & gentlemen, here are my personal favorites of 2015.

12) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Starting from #12, we have the epic conclusion to the Hunger Games film series- Mockingjay Part 2. Ironically, I enjoyed this film despite never having seen any of its predecessors. Personally, I liked the whole tone and setting of the film, as well as Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Katniss Everdeen. I also really enjoyed watching the protagonists’ struggle and fight for freedom. How the film ended eventually left me satisfied too. In summary, if you are a fan of dystopian fiction, this movie is for you. But of course, watching the other films or reading the books before this will give you a better experience.

11) Avengers: Age of Ultron

2015 had so many movie sequels and this is definitely one of the most anticipated ones. Being probably the film that kicked off the summer blockbuster season last year, watch as our heroes unite once more to save the world. This movie is packed full of details in every scene, paving the way to upcoming films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So if you are a fan of the MCU like me, you can’t miss this.

10) Jurassic World

Talking about summer blockbusters, how can one forget Jurassic World? I had a really fun time watching this film and felt so nostalgic when I heard the famous score playing again. Much like a lot of people, Jurassic Park was a part of my childhood! Also, the cast all did a great job portraying their characters, especially Chris Pratt as Owen. This man can play a hero anytime. So if you enjoyed Jurassic Park, you got to watch this too. It might just be the perfect “mid-year” film for you, just like it was for me.

9) Kingsman: The Secret Service

If you’re looking to watch a movie full of good old classic action, do yourself a service – watch Kingsman. With so many movies such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E and Spectre, 2015 was like a year of spy flicks. This one is my favorite. Set in modern day England, watch as Colin Firth redefines the phrase “gentleman spy”. Filled with awesome fight scenes and cool spy gadgets, this is a film I really enjoyed. But what I especially loved about it was the idea of how a veteran spy saw the potential in a young nobody and trained him to become a heroic somebody. Having a mature rating, I must mention though that this film is not for the faint-hearted/minors (as you can tell from the trailer).

8) Ip Man 3

Next, let’s talk about something more recent. In fact, it’s still playing in cinemas right now. If you’re a martial artist, or just love martial arts films in general, this is the best you can get in 2015; and I’m not even exaggerating. Donnie Yen once again portrays the inspiring character of Ip Man so well and as usual, the display of Wing Chun in this film series is the best. But maybe you’re thinking if you need to watch the first 2 films before this. My answer to you is that it’s not necessary. These films have always been great standalone, though I would still recommend you to watch the other 2 because well, they’re awesome.

7) Ant-Man

It’s Marvel, what can I say? Ant-Man is hands down the best superhero film I’ve watched in 2015. It’s probably also the funniest MCU film so far due to all of its well-placed jokes. Introducing a new hero with his own solo movie in a long while, experience heroism in a whole new perspective – literally. Accompanied with amazing visuals, a fresh plot, witty humor and cool action, this movie was the perfect way to end off Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And of course, the fellows at Marvel have once again cast the right man for the job. You’ll be surprised; Paul Rudd can pull off the role of a superhero pretty well.

6) Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

First question I had when I watched this movie – “How does Tom Cruise still look so young?!” Haha jokes aside, this movie holds one of the smartest plot lines I’ve seen in 2015. It may confuse your mind at some points, but it will blow your mind at the end. More than that, I must also applaud Tom Cruise’s bravery to hang by the side of a plane! With crazy stunts, an engaging plot, and a flawless climax, this film will keep you at the edge of your seat. To not enjoy it is almost impossible.

5) Our Times

This film was literally the talk of the town towards the end of last year. Everyone was raving about it. I didn’t understand it of course, until I watched it for myself. Let’s just say, it deserves the #5 spot on my list. If you’re the kind of person that loves to watch movies that pulls at your heartstrings or gives you the “feels”, then this might become your instant favorite. Oh and you will definitely find yourself humming away to its theme song the whole week.

4) Furious 7

Arguably the best Fast & Furious film to date, this is the final film ever starring Paul Walker. More than just being the best tribute to the late actor, this film was also incredibly well-paced and enjoyable at every minute. From start to finish, it is filled with moments that get your adrenaline pumping. There’s just so much action that we’ve never seen before in the ever-evolving franchise and how the film ended was also especially unforgettable. And if you didn’t know, the now famous song  “See You Again” was also originally commissioned as part of the film’s soundtrack as a tribute to Paul. Indeed, this was the perfect way to honor the fans and to send off the beloved actor.

3) The Martian

It’s been awhile since I’ve watched a realistic science-fiction film, so I was really hyped up about this one. And when I finally watched it, I was not disappointed at all. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I wrote a mini-review about it back in October. To find out more about why I loved this film, click here.

2) Inside Out

Creative, emotional and surprisingly real – that’s how I would describe Inside Out. A lot of people might say that animated films are for kids,and while it might be true for some of them, it is not so for this one. This film is for all ages. In fact, you would have to be of a certain level of maturity before you can understand many of the metaphors in this movie. No matter how old you are, it can be very relatable. Pixar has done their magic once again so don’t miss it. You’ll be surprised how emotional you can get watching emotions have emotions.

1) Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Last but not least, my favorite movie of the year. No film has ever felt so fresh and yet so familiar at the same time, and Star Wars did it for me. Without doubt the most anticipated film in years, it lived up to the hype. Honestly, right from the start, it had that magical feeling. Every second of the film will have your eyes locked on to the screen, absorbing everything that is happening. There were so many memorable moments in the film, it is such an experience that we have to thank J.J. Abrams for. And to see the original cast playing their characters once again after 30 years, I was sold from the beginning. So if you haven’t watch the film, what are you waiting for? You might even want to watch it again and again! Just make sure to catch The Original Star Wars Trilogy first or check out my guide for beginners before this so that you can experience this film to the maximum.

And there you have it – my top 12 movies of 2015. Of course, these aren’t all that I have watched for the year, and there are some great films too that I didn’t manage to watch. But like I said, the films above are listed based on my personal liking, so don’t take my words as a pro’s review. And actually, a lot of these films can’t even be compared because they’re so different. I would gladly watch all of them again though. So if you have a backlog of movies you want to watch, you can safely start with these. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and I’ll see you in the next one.

To My Pastors & Leaders – Thanksgiving 2015

Hi everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!

Now I know what some of you Singaporean readers are thinking. “We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving!” Yeah I know! But I just thought that it’s a great opportunity for me to use this day to share with all of you some people in my life that I am really thankful for. Besides, you guys aren’t the only readers out there right? Haha!

On top of that, Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday! And in case you haven’t noticed, I post usually on either Tuesdays and/or Thursdays. So without further ado, let me begin to share with all of you some really awesome people in my life. And specifically, just 2 groups of them.

The first group of people that I am really thankful for are my leaders in Heart of God Church. Wise, sharp, inspiring, spiritual, anointed, patient, joyful, kind, encouraging, loving – there’s just too many great words to describe our leaders in church! These people who are full of character never fail to watch out for us in every single area of our lives, be it in our school, work, relationships, emotional health, spiritual health, (or even) physical health! In our valley-lows and our mountain-highs, they are always there to bring strength and affirmation.

Personally, I have quite a few leaders that have sown into my life. But today, I’ll be talking about one of them as a prime example, just to show you why we love our leaders so much. Hmm, let me just call her “Catherine”, since this is a surprise mention and I don’t really know if she’s comfortable with me revealing her identity! And nope, I’m not talking about the Duchess of Cambridge here. LOL.

Anyway if you know me, you would know how passionate I am in creating videos. In fact, I serve in the Videos Ministry in Heart of God Church! And personally, I have huge dreams of serving God in this area in the future. So knowing that, Catherine always encourages me and the “creative bunch” in our Connect Group to never stop dreaming and working towards our dreams! But earlier this year, she decided to go beyond her words to show just how much she believes in us.

One day, Catherine dropped some of us a text and asked us out for a day at the Dreamworks Exhibiton, which ran for a period of time at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. Of course, as an animation enthusiast myself, I immediately agreed! So on the Friday of July 31st, Catherine and us the creative bunch visited the Dreamworks Exhibition.

I was really excited on my way to the ArtScience Museum and really looked forward to what the exhibition had in stored for us that day. I was a little late though because of school. But it didn’t matter! The rest had lunch, bought the tickets and were just at the entrance as I reached. There, our little adventure into a world of imagination began.

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The overarching theme of the exhibition was “From sketch to screen.” It showcased every single stage of the production process for our beloved animated movies such as Kung Fu Panda, MadagascarShrek and How to Train Your Dragon. From storyboarding, to modelling, to music composition and to world-building, every stage was equally important. But more than just seeing the importance of every stage, I was just so amazed and inspired by the level of detail that Dreamworks Animation Studios was at. I told myself that in the future, our church will do great productions like this too. Just that for us, we we will be glorifying God!

We truly enjoyed ourselves that day. Every single one of us. We covered every corner of the exhibition, took a lot of pictures and even bought souvenirs for memory’s sake! But it wasn’t until the end that I found out the true purpose of this trip. As we left the museum, I recalled that because I was late initially, I haven’t paid for my ticket to the exhibition. Knowing that Catherine and some of them paid for our tickets first, I approached her to ask her how much it cost.

But to my surprise, she told me that I just needed to return to her a portion of the ticket price. She went on to tell me what she explained previously to the rest while I was on the way. She said that she really believed in my dreams and that as she gave to pay for a portion of my ticket’s cost, it was a sign of her faith in them. She believed that as she sowed into my dreams, one day they will come to pass. As a matter of fact, she paid for a portion of all the tickets of everyone who were there that day. She told us all that as we went for the Dreamworks Exhibition, we must also know that our dreams will work out too in the end. THAT has got to be one of the most inspirational puns I’ve ever heard, haha.

Jokes aside, Catherine’s actions just blew me away, more than any exhibition could. It is one thing to say that you believe in someone, and another to do something and make a little sacrifice to show just how much you mean it. That was what I caught that day, more than all the inspiration and creativity.

Today, I am so thankful for leaders in Heart of God Church like Catherine, who constantly cheers us on to pursue big dreams for God. And she is just ONE of the hundreds of leaders who have made a difference in this place! I’ve witnessed leaders loving their members in so many ways. Some have been a great listening ear in dark times, others have helped people to overcome their addictions,  and there’s those that have financially blessed the ones that are in lack. And these aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. So if you’re a leader in Heart of God Church today, or if “Catherine” you are reading this, I just want to say that I appreciate you and love you for who you are.

So that’s the first group of people that I really wanted to talk about! The second group of people that I want to thank on this day are well, two people actually. Every Christian in Heart of God Church would have either seen them or heard them. Some may even know them personally, especially all the leaders above! Haha, it’s obvious who I’m talking about, isn’t it? Of course, it’s our beloved Senior Pastors – Pastor How and Pastor Lia!

pastor-how
Pastor Tan Seow How
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Pastor Cecilia Chan

Pastor Tan Seow How and Pastor Cecilia Chan are not just the founders of Heart of God Church, but our spiritual parents. You will know in awhile, but the reason why all of us can do what we’re doing today, be it in ministry, leadership (as mentioned above), having big dreams for God, or even the simple fact that we have a place to know Jesus and have a relationship with Him is because they first started Heart of God Church. Without them, I wouldn’t even be here writing this to you today! And Catherine, the creative bunch, and all my friends in church would have also not stepped into God’s destiny for them.

That is why today, I want to thank the both of them for first giving their all to build this House. Some of you may not know or realize this, but Heart of God Church has never been built by the brilliance of one man, the wealth of the people or the abilities of a talented bunch. The church started with just 9 youths; our beginnings were humble. But I believe that Heart of God Church has always been built on teamwork, a heart that puts God first and a belief that He will use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. And it all started from our Pastors. The classic stories are the ones we will never forget.

Back in the day, as soon as Pastors felt God calling them to build Heart of God Church, they immediately obeyed. But obviously, this obedience would take some tough choices. For Pastor How, he had to choose between building the church or assisting his father in his business. It’s clear which is the easier path. Along with that, his father even challenged him that if he were to drop his idea of becoming a pastor, he would give him not a quarter of, not a half of, but a full $1 million.

Of course, you know what Pastor How chose to do. But with that in mind, you must also know that it didn’t mean his relationship with his father was compromised. In fact, years later, Pastor How even led his father to Christ! Today, Pastor How has also taken over his father’s business and is both a successful businessman and the pastor of our church.

As for Pastor Lia, it wasn’t easy too. She was working as a journalist and loved her job! Then the call from God came, and it came just as she was going to be promoted and given a bonus. But here’s the thing. Pastor Lia loved her job, but she loved God even more and decided to obey Him immediately, giving up the promotion, the bonus and the job.

At that point in time, their actions must have seemed so foolish and crazy to the people around them. But because they obeyed God and wanted to encounter Him on a deeper level in their lives, we have a Heart of God Church today that is not only impacting all levels of society, but all walks of life. It is also without doubt that that many lives have been changed, and are still being changed by God as a result of Pastor How & Pastor Lia first sacrificing and putting God first in their lives.

But more than that, they also put others before themselves, and are constantly having people on their minds. For example, when they are on vacation, they would always see certain books or clothes or gifts and be reminded of somebody in church! Knowing that this certain thing would bless that person, they would buy that gift and when they are back, love him/her with it. And this isn’t all!

Every year, during Fathers’ Day, Pastor How would write cards and get simple gifts prepared for all the members in our church who do not have a father figure in their lives. Some of them may have lost their fathers at birth or at a young age due to different reasons. Others may have parents who are divorced. And Pastor How would just want to just affirm every single one of them and point them towards their Heavenly Father. In fact, I myself experience this because I am one of them!

And for Pastor Lia, she would do the same too every year for those who do not have a mother figure in their lives. No matter how busy they are, our pastors remember people and love them. They could be preaching 4 services that weekend, but nothing would stop them from being others-centered and caring for the people. Truly, our pastors don’t only preach on stage. They live out the Word of God and genuinely care for, and want to know every single one of us. This is why I said they are our spiritual parents!

Even up till today as the church is starting to grow bigger, they still try to get to know every new person. This is because they believe that even as the church grows bigger in size, it must feel smaller and closer as a family. There was once when a youth in our church bumped into Pastor Lia in the washroom. Not only did Pastor Lia talk to her and find out more about her, but she even took a photo of her, uploaded it onto Instagram and encouraged her through the social medium. She said that she will be a leader of hundreds and change her world. Until today, that youth still remembers that act fondly and is indeed growing and serving in church.

That is just ONE of many things our pastors have personally done for people over the years! Oh and have I mentioned before that they are very hardworking people? They never fail to give their best to God no matter what. One more story. There was once when Pastor How was playing soccer with some of the leaders in our church when all of a sudden, he fell down. It turned out that he actually pulled a ligament in his leg. All the leaders were so worried and immediately helped him to get to the doctor’s.

There, Pastor How got a cast on his leg and had to use crutches to get around until he recovers. But here’s the catch – he was supposed to preach that very weekend. I think all of us would guess that he would have asked Pastor Lia or one of the senior leaders to take his place. But that wasn’t the case. That weekend, with crutches, he went up on stage, took a seat and preached the Word of God with his best. Do you now see why we respect our pastors so much? The reason why the leaders and myself can be who we are today, is because we have great pastors as our role models. We model after them as they model after Christ.

“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1

Last but not least, I love my pastors for their simplicity.

“We know the price of everything but the value of nothing.
We know the price of a house but not the value of a home.
We know the price of dinner but not the value of fellowship.
Our children know the price of an iPhone but not the value of communication.” 

– Pastor How

In Pastor How’s recent article, My Answer to Prosperity Theology, he talked about how he and Pastor Lia have decided to live simply. For 20 years since their marriage, Pastors have lived in probably the cheapest neighborhood in Woodlands. Pastor How explains why:

“In the early years, that’s what we could afford.  But now we can easily move to a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood.  The first reason for choosing to live simply is our personal covenant with God.  Inspired by the words of Haggai 1:4, we made a commitment to build God’s house first, then build our own house.  So perhaps after Heart of God Church moves into our new Home, then I will move my home closer to church.”

“The second reason for choosing to live simply is our decision to give one million dollars to our church’s Building Fund a few years ago.  Pastor Lia received a big insurance payout because of her cancer.  Together with profits from my business and all of the insurance money, we took that leap of faith.”

Yes, in case you didn’t know, Pastor How & Pastor Lia did give $1 million to the church in 2012. I was there and I witnessed that significant event. But it’s interesting isn’t it? How God sees our sacrifices and honors them? If you remember, $1 million was exactly what Pastor How gave up back then to start the church. But now, after being faithful to building God’s house for so many years and also with a habit of saving, Pastor How is able to give $1 million to the church together with Pastor Lia.

You see, God never shortchanges us. When we take Him seriously, He will take us seriously. But what I am also really amazed with here are Pastors’s attitude towards blessings. Whenever they are blessed in their lives, instead of keeping everything to themselves, they are always found pouring these blessings back into the church, just like how they poured back $1 million back into Heart of God Church. And they always say this:

“When God blesses you financially, it is not just to raise your standard of living but your standard of giving.”

Yup, so that’s my pastors and leaders for you! Just thought of really taking this day to really appreciate them and give them double honor.

17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. – 1 Timothy 5:17

I also think that having a spirit and heart of thankfulness is really important. People tend to complain a lot when they’re not thankful. But in Christ and in thankfulness, we can be different. I shall end off today’s post with one last verse.

“12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” – Colossians 3:12-15

Thank you for reading.