Monthly Recap: November 2015

Hi everyone! Happy December! It’s the start of the last month of the year, so what better time than now to have another monthly recap right? Hahaha. So without further ado, here are all the content released on Fool’s Bench in the month of November.

1) For Fun

RL

MGMW

2) For Laughter

OPM

3) For Creativity

FIAF

4) For Christ

AF

OOFON

TG2015

That’s all for the month of November! Hope you enjoyed reading and I’ll see you again soon in this exciting month.

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Ambidextrous Faith

Note: The following is a detailed write-up of Pastor Lia‘s message over the weekend of October 31st & November 1st.

What is faith? To different people, it may mean different things. For some, it can be a feeling; for others, an attitude. Maybe the best source to find out about faith isn’t ourselves, but the Bible! So let’s take a look at what it has to say.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

There we have it – the most reliable definition of faith. According to the Bible, faith is a strong sense of belief that we can have, especially for things that we have yet to even physically see or touch. With that basic knowledge, we can now move on to understand Pastor Lia’s message even more. Yup, it has only just started!


In life, it is very easy to be fearful. In a hospital room, in an examination hall, on stage. The struggle is not between needles & veins, questions & answers or speaker & audience – but faith and fear.

11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” – Hebrews 6:11-12

When we are in tense settings like those mentioned above, it is very common for us to respond in fear. It is almost like an instinct for us to imagine the worst that can happen! However, just as described in Hebrews 6:11-12, we should have faith. Because it is through this faith in God that He will lead us to our “promised land”. God is always awaiting to do great things through us and fulfill His promises in our lives. But it is only people with faith – a special kind of faith that will inherit these promises.

ambidextrous-faith

Ambidextrous = able to use both left and right hands equally well

Some of you must be thinking at this point, “What exactly is this ambidextrous faith?” Well, Pastor Lia begins to explain with a historical example. Saint Basil of Caesarea was a bishop who lived in the 4th century, when many heretics were preaching and spreading their belief that Jesus was a mere man. In such a time as this, one would normally shrink back in fear. But Saint Basil was different. Though it was difficult, he chose to fight back in faith and spread the truth of Jesus Christ.

As such, his siblings described him as having “ambidextrous faith”. Why? Because with one hand, he held the blessings of God and in the other, the pains and struggles of life. We must understand that both blessings and problems are equally important in bringing us towards God’s plan for our lives! If you read the New Testament, you would realize that the disciples of Jesus understood this principle too. Even they had their fair share of sufferings. Of course, it’s best that we do not encounter such persecutions and tribulations. But if we do happen to, we shouldn’t be surprised! As we accept the good and the bad that is in stored for us, God will use both of them to bring us into our destiny.

“We may never find the reason for our suffering. But we can find the purpose for our suffering.”

Still a little unsure about the concept of ambidextrous faith? Pastor Lia continues with Scripture from Judges 20:13-16 (NLT & MSG). With this passage, she explained that in the olden times, when soldiers are wounded in battle, they have 2 choices. The first is to head home; the second is to stay and fight. The 700 elite soldiers mentioned in these verses chose the latter option, even though their right hands/arms have been wounded beyond function. These elite troops are described to be ambidextrous, deciding to learn how to fight with their left hands and becoming better doing so than they were ever before while right-handed.

How awesome is that? Some of us may have been discouraged in our faith, but we got to choose to be like the 700. We can decide to “go home” and be spiritually handicapped or stay on and continue the fight. Those guys back then refused to quit and became so accurate even with their left hands. The Bible describes them as being able to sling stones at a hair and not miss. They are literally Hawkeye! In the same way, we must keep on going and exercise ambidextrous faith. Sometimes, we may feel like we are neither qualified nor adequate enough to serve God. Or maybe we have stumbled in our faith and feel like we have failed Him. It hurts as much as having our right arms ripped off. But we got to learn how to fight with our left hands. Because where our strength ends, God’s begins.

child-like-faith

15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” – Mark 10:15 (NLT)

The other kind of faith that we need in order to enter into the promises of God is none other than child-like faith. Note that “child-like” does not mean “childish”. What this means is that we have to approach God with a trusting & simple heart of a child. A child looks up to and trusts his father. In his eyes, his Dad can do anything and will do anything for him. At this point, Pastor Lia addressed the congregation.

“Before we get a vision for God, we need to get a vision of God.”

Most of the time, we Christians may only think that what matters to God should matter to us. But we must also realize that what matters to us, matters to God. Never forget the love of God and why we want to do great things for Him in the first place. Before Pastor Lia wrapped up her sermon, she shared with us a quote.

“What if faith and not fear is your default reaction to threats?” – Max Lucado

Can you imagine how different our lives would be if our “default mode” is always faith? God will be able to do amazing things in our lives! When we live by faith, knowing that we are children of the Most High King, we will inherit His promises and be fruitful. In Genesis, God just told Adam & Eve to be fruitful and multiply. He didn’t even need to explain fruitfulness to them because they were by default, already living in an environment of faith and fruitfulness! They instantly got it. If we let faith be our default mode in approaching our careers, schoolwork, relationships, sicknesses and life in general, we will walk in fruitfulness and miracles and sometimes not even know it.

The reason why I go to Heart of God Church every weekend without fail is this very reason – it’s an environment of faith. Through the worship, sermons and people, faith always leaps from one corner of the church to another and fills our hearts. This is why I have the strength to conquer every single week that comes. It isn’t just positive thinking! Trust me, if you ever step into our church on a weekend, you will leave it forgetting what “Monday blues” even mean. I dare you to try, especially if you are not yet a Christian. You may be thinking “Let me see God first, before I believe in Him.” But remember what faith is in its very roots? Have faith in Him today and believe first. Then, you will see Him for who He truly is.

29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”” – John 20:29

Before I end off this post, I must say that I did not exactly follow the order of Pastor Lia’s sermon! Honestly, there are also certain parts of the message that I’m very sure I did not include in here too. So if you’re in Singapore anytime soon (or if you’re Singaporean), do drop us a visit and you may just hear the woman of God for yourself! It is way better than reading this for sure.

Now, I am going to conclude this article with a story that Pastor Lia originally shared in the middle of this sermon. It is the story of a young man in our church who possesses ambidextrous faith, and I would like to share it with you here to end off today’s post.

calvin

Calvin has been a member of our church for the past few years. He serves in the Videos Ministry and you would often find him in our Media Room, giving his best in serving God. These are a few things in church that he does amongst others that make up his purposeful life. But what makes him so special? What makes him such a man of ambidextrous faith?

Well, until recently, few of us would know that he was born with a deficiency – color blindness. This condition causes him to see certain colors as others, and also renders him unable to tell apart shades of the same color. You must be thinking now if I made a mistake about him being in the Videos Ministry. Nope I didn’t; the church has seen his work before too! Calvin just didn’t let his condition be his conclusion.

Just like the 700 elite troops, he did not let his deficiency be a disadvantage or excuse for himself. As soon as he got a vision from God one day to do videos for Him, he just ran with it with passion. He got trained, got into the ministry, and the rest is history. He has done so many excellent videos to this date and is on his way to doing more, and none of us could ever tell that it was done by a man who has his condition.

In fact, for 4 long years, nobody knew about his deficiency! It wasn’t because he was insecure and wanted to keep it a secret. He just didn’t look at his disability as an issue worthy enough to raise. In his eyes, it’s nothing! He did not look at this disability first and let it stop him from pursuing the dreams that God has given him. With the help of his friends in the ministry, as well as with his determination, he is able to produce awesome videos like the rest.

Just to put you into context with an example, other video crews would usually just work on a video and choose colors for it easily. But for Calvin, if he wants to have a certain color for a video, he would need to go through a longer process of searching up the hexadecimal code of that color (e.g. Gold #ffd700) and pasting it into the editing software, before applying it on the video itself.

Has these slowed him down in producing videos? Maybe a little. But has all these slowed him down any bit in terms of chasing his vision? Not at all. That is why he is our hero of ambidextrous faith.

Why am I so convinced that only God can be responsible for such faith? How am I so sure that Calvin’s story is true? Well, have I ever mentioned before that I also serve in the Videos Ministry? Haha.

Calvin_LR

He’s my friend.

The Movies of Fall/Holiday 2015

Just to Share: I know it’s already a little into Fall season right now in terms of movies, but better late than never right? Haha so without further ado, here are some movies I am personally looking forward to for the remainder of the year!

1. The Martian

Remember me saying previously that I have a thing or two for science-fiction? Yup, that was enough to get me interested in this movie. And of course, it looks really good with an interesting fresh plot. Based on the novel of the same name, we will be brought on a journey to Mars where an astronaut gets stranded on, finding means to survive while his crew mates on Earth struggle to return and rescue him. Seems like the kind of movie that would be engaging from start to finish.

2. Pan

Childhood fantasies will be relived this October when a new origin story is birthed forth on the big screen for Peter Pan. I mean seriously, the last time I watched a Peter Pan film, I was only 7 years-old! And like I said, I would always love a good movie about adventure. But that’s not the only thing that I’m looking forward to in the movie. I’m also looking forward to Hugh Jackman’s performance as Blackbeard, which so far, looks oddly interesting.

3. Goosebumps

Just as we were on the topic of fantasy, here comes another one in the genre, mixed with comedy and fun. Goosebumps totally reminds me of those Scooby-Doo movies that I used to enjoy as a kid! But honestly, I just want to see what this movie has to offer in terms of story too. Also, it’s been some time since I watched a film featuring monsters on the loose (not referring to those scary ones). So if it’s good, why not?

4. Spectre

Let’s change frequencies a little. 2015 has been a year of spy flicks, with the likes of Kingsman, Mission Impossible and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. But one of the most renowned agents, 007 is returning to bring a conclusion to spy films for the year. Well, at least from what I know, there aren’t anymore big ones coming out! And for the most of it, the James Bond films starring Daniel Craig have received great reviews so far, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out. That is, after I’ve finished watching the previous installments first.

5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Talking about movie franchises that I need to catch up on, it reminds me of The Hunger Games. But having watched none of its previous installments, I’m already hyped up for Mockingjay Part 2 by this trailer haha. Still, there’s no way I am stepping into the cinema without first finding time to watch the first 3 films! Being one of those movies that first kicked off the trend of films based on young adult novels, I’m confident this last installment in the series would give fans an epic conclusion that will not disappoint.

6. The Good Dinosaur

Pixar. The animation studio that has brought us Inside Out, my favorite film of the year so far, is going to bring us into a world where dinosaurs roam the Earth alongside Man. With Inside Out being such a great success both critically and commercially, it makes me both excited and worried for The Good Dinosaur. With 2 movies released in a year, and having the first one being so successful, people are going to have high hopes for the second one. So much so that it may not meet up to their expectations. But for me, I’m going to have faith in Pixar that they’ll deliver once again. Just look at how beautiful the film looks from the trailer!

7. Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie

Probably the last big animation film of the year (that I know of); Blue Sky Studios are bringing the art style of the Peanuts comic strip into the larger canvas of a feature film. I’m always up for a good animation film and so far, the look and the animations of this movie looks really interesting. You can tell it’s not just your usual 3D animations, but with a blend of “hand-drawn style” animations as well. I’m seeing it as the kind of movie I would watch with some of my younger cousins & some popcorn during the holidays. How about you?

8. In the Heart of the Sea

Not the most edifying movie to watch I must say, with the kind of “disaster at sea” that it portrays. But I have a feeling it will be a great movie still in terms of plot, acting and visual effects. I’m especially looking forward to Chris Hemsworth’s performance outside of his role as a superhero in The Avengers. And did you know that this movie is directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Rush)? There’s great potential in this movie turning out to be phenomenal.

9. The Revenant

Academy Award® winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu is back in the director’s seat after his 2014 film Birdman won the Oscar for Best Picture earlier this year. This time, it seems to be yet another Oscar-worthy film. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, The Revenant feels like a really intense and immersive film. According to reports, the making of the film had gone way over-budget and over-schedule because of certain ways the director wanted it to be shot. It seemed bad but I’m also looking forward to seeing the results of his decisions & everyone’s hard work on set. Who knows? Maybe DiCaprio can finally win an Oscar through this.

10. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

You’ve probably guessed this last movie that I’m most looking forward to right now, haven’t you? Hahaha everyone is looking forward to it! The Force is strong, but the hype for this is even stronger. I watched Star Wars as a kid, and I must say that when I watched the trailer above, just hearing the opening music alone brought chills to my spine. The rest of the trailer did what it set out to do – making us want to watch it again & again until the movie comes out. Oh, and it reminded me to go watch all Episodes 1-6 one more time. Soon I’ll be ready! Going to the cinemas this Christmas will feel magical.

Well, it always seems that my lists of “anticipated things” always ends up being a list of 10. But that wraps up all the movies that I’m really hoping to watch this Fall/Holiday. Hopefully I can suck out all the creative juices that they have to offer too. Haha, thanks for reading.

Most Anticipated Video Games in Q4 2015

Just for Fun: I’ve been a casual gamer since I was a kid and although I do not game as much now, they continue to be a source of entertainment for me from time to time!

So with the launch of Destiny: The Taken King just a week ago, I thought it would be really cool & fun to talk about it, as well as some titles that have been released over the past month. But mainly, I’ll be mentioning some upcoming titles that will be released in the last quarter of 2015 that just looks amazing.

Now before I begin, I must mention that I currently game mainly on the PS4 and only occasionally on the PC. So please do not be upset if you don’t see any of your Xbox One exclusives on here! It’s not because I find them bad, but it’s Just Cause (hehe) I literally have no access to them! Also, I would probably only play a selected few of the games mentioned below, leaving most of them foreign to me (I have other priorities in life, LOL). So the list is based on what I currently know, and have good opinions about.

Please do not think I’m trying to replace sites like IGN or Kotaku! This is just me having fun with my own thoughts. So with that, here goes nothing!

(September releases)

1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain


A Hideo Kojima game.

I’ve only been exposed to the Metal Gear series recently through Ground Zeroes and I can’t say I’ve played enough to know it all. But playing Ground Zeroes for that few hours has gotten me hyped up enough to do some reading about the series. And together with watching videos & trailers like the one above, I have to agree this is one massive game and series that continues to deserve and live up to the expectations of its fans. Epic story, open world, brilliant action and tactical freedom, what else can I say? Imagine being the Big Boss once again, crumbling a base slowly while being disguised as a cardboard box the entire time. Wouldn’t you like that?

2. Mad Max


As if the locations in The Phantom Pain wasn’t enough to satisfy your desert battlefield fantasies, Mad Max gives you an entire desert wasteland to play with. Fully open to explore, the world of Mad Max is home to extreme weather conditions, deadly car chases and brutal action & adventure. This is the game that was released on the same day as Metal Gear Solid V, and though I have not watched any of the movies or played this game, I’m sure there are people out there going mad (see what I did there?) thinking as to which game to spend their money on. I mean you can build your “dream car” and “show it off” to people in the desert! If this is the kind of world you like to “live in”, why not?

3. Destiny: The Taken King


One of my sources of entertainment right now.

Personally, I’ve only played the demo for Destiny half a year ago. Well that is, until last week! I’ve been waiting for the best opportunity to get the full experience of Destiny and now, with the release of The Legendary Edition, that opportunity has come. So I’ve played a bit of it here and there over the past week with a buddy of mine and I totally enjoyed it. I think what really is praiseworthy about the game is its multiplayer experience. Compared to many multiplayer games I’ve seen & played, Destiny’s multiplayer is really stable, easy to get into and more fun than playing alone (which obviously is super important). Oh and have I mentioned that I have a thing or two for science-fiction? So what continues to appeal to me is its world & setting. In Destiny, I can literally be a Guardian of the Galaxy!

(Upcoming releases)

4. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection


Xbox has its Master Chief. Playstation has its Nathan Drake.

I’m sure many would agree that Drake is one of the most beloved characters created by the highly favored developers from Naughty Dog. He is almost like a Playstation icon, and with his return in full high-definition glory on October 9th, I’m sure many are excited to experience and find out about his adventures for the very first time. Yup, I belong to the group of people that has never touched a single Uncharted game before. But I’m sure this collection would definitely blow us away and prepare us for the next installment in the series – A Thief’s End.

5. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate


Why is this game on my list? Because I see it as the make-it or break-it installment for the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

Let’s be honest here. A lot of people would feel that the franchise’s previous installment did not meet up to the expectations that it gave people, even though I’m sure that there are good points about it. So because of that, all eyes are watching this one. Some are convinced that it will be a flop too, but I choose to have a little hope and am waiting to see how it actually turns out! Cause honestly, it has a decent setting! Victorian London is seriously beautiful so far, and has managed to catch people’s attention. But will the game play as good as it looks? We will only know for sure when it comes out on October 23rd (for consoles).

6. Fallout 4

Bethesda. The kings of open world role-playing games are back with one of their highly acclaimed franchises – Fallout.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world after the events of a nuclear war, the creators of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim brings you on a journey through dystopian, mysterious, and yet beautiful re-imaginations of New England regions such as Boston. When it comes out on November 10th, fans of open world RPGs as well as post-apocalyptic genres would definitely be drawn to the sheer amount of adventure and environmental storytelling present in the game. And by the way, have you seen how your character’s face can be created by sculpting? Man, I almost fell out of my chair when I first saw it. *ding!*

7. Star Wars: Battlefront

Everybody knows that movie that’s going to be released during Christmas season this year. Everybody’s hyped up for it. But there’s also a game that everyone is hyped up for, which will give them more hype for that hyped up movie. HAHA cut the chase, this year’s Q4 has “Star Wars” labelled all over it. One of the perfect examples of video games based off movies, Star Wars: Battlefront has fans of the franchise going bonkers, and even more so since Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is also just around the corner. Though it can’t be compared to how long it has been since the last movie came out, it has also been some time since the last release of a Star Wars game. With beloved characters making appearances, large-scale battles reminiscent of those in the movies, and epic dogfights in the sky, many fans may end up in a galaxy far, far away when November 17 arrives.

8. Just Cause 3

Did you enjoy The Expendables? Do you love Michael Bay films? Would you like to set the world on fire and chaos in ridiculously creative ways? Then this is the game for you!

Having played Just Cause 2 before in the past, I have to say this is one series that presents action in the craziest way possible. And because of that, this is the kind of game that makes a great stress-reliever. Just watch the video! You can do whatever you want, you see explosions more than your enemies, and you feel invincible. Maybe you would get this game when it comes out on December 1st. Just Cause…

9. Hitman

On December 8th, Agent 47 will return in this really interesting prequel/reboot (no one is exactly sure yet) to the Hitman video game series. It looks totally amazing and the developers of the game are awesome. They removed the idea of additional paid content & DLCs, as well as micro-transactions from the game, explaining their belief of it as a wrong approach. With that, players would just need to pay once and for all for the game when they purchase it, and continue to receive free updates including new missions and locations regularly. The passion & dedication of the developers can be clearly seen not just in their promise to deliver, but also in the gameplay footages released so far. Players can explore huge levels that are like sandboxes and neutralize their targets in so many possible ways, be it quietly or dramatically. Gosh, now I need to check out the movie that was shot in my country.

10. Firewatch (BONUS)

The last game on my list is an indie title that many people including myself, wants to check out right now. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact release date as of yet, though it’s worth noting the developers are hoping to release it by this year. Which is why it made it to this list!

But seriously, recent indie games have become more and more impressive and Firewatch is definitely one of those highly anticipated ones. I’m totally in love with the art style of the game, its voice acting and the interesting mystery that seems to fuel its story. Definitely watching this one closely for any news.

So that concludes my list of Most Anticipated Video Games in Q4 2015. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it and I’ll see you in the next post! Thank you!