A New Season

Hi readers, it’s a new season! Before I begin writing about the message that was preached by Pastor Lia over the weekend (27th & 28th February), let me first show you in video form the kind of fun we have in church. Be awed.


Haha, have I ever mentioned before how much I love my pastors and my church? If you thought what you saw was cool, wait till you come and experience them for yourselves! Alright. Today we are talking about seasons, and I’m going to once again do my very best in bringing you my pastor’s message. But trust me, nothing beats hearing the man & woman of God for yourself. First scripture of the day:

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;”
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

After showing us how cool our “runway screens” can get, Pastor Lia begins her sermon with this scripture. Because there is a season and a time for everything in God’s calendar, as well as our lives. In our school, in our families, in our friendships – all of them go through different seasons. What’s important is doing the right thing in the right season. Because if we flow with God and His seasons, tremendous blessings will be poured out over our lives.

However if we don’t flow with Him, our lives might turn out to be frustrating and disappointing. Today, I believe we are all in a new season; not just for my church as a whole, but for you and I as individuals. And this is how we can all enter into this season and flow with our God.

#1 Don’t get stuck in a season

newseason-3

Firstly, we got to learn how to flow and move together with God. Don’t let past seasons determine our destinies, no matter how good or bad they were. People are held back in their lives because they can’t seem to get out of a season. For some, it could be due to nostalgia. You know what I’m talking about; their favorite phrase is “those good old days…” Now it’s totally okay to have fond memories of the past, but it’s a whole other thing to hold on to it and refuse to let go!

Sometimes, people also cling on to old seasons because of fear. They fear and worry that the coming seasons will not be as good as their current one. If you’re feeling this way right now, let me just say that God will always bring us to a better place in a new season. As long as you and I walk faithfully with Him, we will go from glory to glory and faith to faith. We will not go from glory to sorry or faith to failure!

There are also those who hold on to these seasons because they can’t forgive themselves for their past mistakes. Maybe they’ve made foolish decisions in this past season and feel condemned, unable to let go and move on. Or maybe it was a season of loss and grief, when they experienced the death of a business, a dream, or a loved one.

“Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.” – Joshua 1:2 (NIV)

“Now then, you…” God spoke to Joshua after the death of Moses. He was trying to tell him and all of us here today one thing – it’s a new season. It doesn’t matter whether it was good or bad, it’s time to move on! Don’t let nostalgia, fear, self-condemnation, grief or even friendships and relationships get in our way. It could have been that way for a long time now but it’s time to let go.

Don’t try to resurrect things such as past relationships that God has allowed to die in our lives. Flow with Him, or else everyone except for us would have moved on to a new season. We can then be compared to people wearing fur coats in summer and swimsuits in winter – out of season. That is why we got to not only move on, but also learn to act & talk for the season we are in.

#2 Put away childish things

newseason-1

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. – 1 Corinthians 13:11

After moving into a new season with God, the second thing we have to do is to put away childish things. As humans, we have been designed to improve, grow and develop. Just look at things around us (or on us) like our hairs & nails. They keep growing, and it’s the same for kids! You don’t see them for a few weeks or for a month, and when you finally do meet them again, you’ll be shocked at how much they’ve grown and how different they now look!

So as you can see, we have all been designed for change, increase and progress. But though we were made to desire for growth, we got to know that it is one thing to desire, and another thing entirely to grow. Change is inevitable. Growth however, is intentional. If you sit around long enough, your hair will naturally turn grey. That’s change. But for growth, intentional plans have to be put in place. Especially so in this new season.

Childish things for example, have to be intentionally and deliberately put away. They do not automatically leave our lives. When we grew up, we knew to put away our dolls, toys and games. But it’s not those things that we are talking about here. It also does not mean that we can’t have some fun and recreation once in awhile. What Pastor Lia is referring to is childish ways. These childish attitudes can destroy so many things in our lives, but what exactly are they? Here are some examples:

  • Needing to win all the time
  • Childish ways of responding to rejections and conflicts
  • Needing attention all the time
  • Moodiness
  • Childish ways of handling offense

Let’s go through some of the above. Are you a person that can’t take “no” as an answer? Do you always have to get what you want, be it from your parents or from your friends? Then most probably, you have a childish way of responding to rejections and conflicts. Next, are you needing attention all the time? Are you always so self-absorbed that in every conversation, you’re the only one talking? Time to ask somebody “How are you?” How about being moody? Your kiddish emotions can swing from one extreme to the next within minutes. You’re like a land mine and a time bomb. And in case you didn’t know, people find it difficult to even be around you, not to mention approaching you!

How about dealing with offense? Do you get easily offended all the time? Do not let offense dwell in your heart. In life, we will always have conflicts and confrontations. The key is how we handle them. Because sorry to burst your bubble – there is no end to criticisms. I mean come on, even the best artists, leaders and politicians get criticized. There’s always that small 0.01% group of people who are 24/7 unhappy. Even three Happy Meals a day can’t solve their problem. *ding*

I mean seriously, they complain all the time. Paramedics call such people in an accident “screamers”. You know those people who shout out in pain and agony? Fun fact: the paramedics are trained to go to them last. Because if they are screaming, they are pretty much still alive! So they would “skip” them and go to the ones who are lying by the road lifeless or against the steering wheel silent. Because these people are in so much pain that they don’t even have the strength to call out for help. Some of them might even be breathing their last. So what can we learn from these heroes? Never give our attention to the screamers first. We go to the ones who need us first, the ones who are suffering in silence, the ones who really need our attention.

I have to put in a clause here though. THIS DOES NOT APPLY to people who are correcting us out of love, like our mothers! You might feel that they are nagging at you all the time but please don’t see them as “screamers”. They genuinely care for you. They’re not criticizing you! But regarding those who live to criticize and manage to find a way to speak some of their “kind words” to you, this is how you handle them.

Evaluate

First and foremost, we got to evaluate ourselves based on the criticisms that we’ve received. Ask questions like “Could I have done better?” or “Does the critic have a point here?” The last thing we want to do is to be so proud of ourselves and not learn to change (if the criticism was truly constructive). We have to make criticism work for us and use it to our advantage. See it as a way to make ourselves better!

Expel

Next, we have to expel whatever poison that the criticism might have put in our heart. A lot of criticisms come out of a jealous or cynical person, so we got to make sure to remove the “sting” of what we just heard from them. Take in only the factual part that we can learn from, but never the emotive part. Because that will cause us to take offense and grow bitter over time.

Entrust

In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.” – Psalm 109:4

Finally, we have to learn to entrust all these criticisms into God’s hands. The Bible says that God is greater than our hearts, and that even if we condemn ourselves, He won’t. So if we ever feel any tint of negativity from these criticisms, the one thing we must do is to lift them all up to Christ. People may judge us easily, but Jesus knows the intents of our heart and that our abilities are limited. He loves us no matter how people criticize us.

So that is why we must entrust these criticisms to God. Because even if our heart condemns ourselves, God is greater than that. He has an amazing future for you and I. Don’t let these criticisms linger and cause you to be sidetracked by offense. Especially if you just came back to Jesus not long ago due to past offenses; put away childish ways of dealing with them, let them go and walk strong in Christ.

#3 Start sowing in this season for the next

newseason-2

Last but not least, after we’ve moved into a new season and put away all the childish things in our lives, we have to start sowing. Our God is a God of seasons. And these seasons are constantly changing and moving. We need to have a “Harvest Mentality”,  where we not just live for the pleasures of today but also for the fruits of tomorrow.

You never get what you want in life. You only get what you prepare for. Wishful thinking about what you desire for the future wouldn’t help!

“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
Learn from their ways and become wise!
Though they have no prince
or governor or ruler to make them work,
they labor hard all summer,
gathering food for the winter.
– Proverbs 6:6-8 (NLT)

Have you ever observed ants work? There are lessons we can learn from these tiny creatures. They know how to prepare for the next season! So in the same way, we shouldn’t squander everything that we have in one season and find nothing to harvest in the next. Look at clothing stores. They always sell clothes for the next season! Why? Because people don’t buy clothes for a season only when they’re in it! It would be too late. You wouldn’t wait till winter comes before you prepare to get some warm clothes, would you?

The lazy man will not plow because of winter; he will beg during harvest and have nothing.” – Proverbs 20:4

In the same way, we must learn to plow in the “winters” of our lives so that in the “summers”, we can be harvesting and reaping what we have sown. So what do you want to sow for the next season? Or rather, what would you like to reap next season? Start sowing. Could it be better grades that you’re looking to reap? Study seriously. Could it be healthy friendships that you’d like to have in your life? Sow healthier conversations that are less frivolous & judgemental but more serious & encouraging.

Would you like to be closer to God? Sow some time into Bible-reading and prayer. Hoping to reach out to your family members? Sow kindness. Looking to reap good health? Exercise and diet. What we sow in this season, we will reap in the next. That’s what the harvest mentality is all about. But that’s not all. In closing, Pastor Lia reveals that there’s another mentality that we need to have – the gift mentality.

What is this gift mentality? Imagine giving gifts to children for Christmas or for their birthdays. When we give it to them, they would receive it happily and thankfully. They wouldn’t think they don’t deserve it or that they need to work for it. That’s the gift mentality that is above and beyond the harvest mentality. We need to have both.

God is our Father and He not only wants us to work hard, but He also wants to give us gifts. More than just sowing with our best, we must also believe for “surprises” from God within the gift dimension. For unless we are like a little child and receive the Father’s good gifts, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. This is not being childish, it’s being childlike.

So we reap and we sow. But on top of that, we must also know that God loves us and wants to give us gifts that we didn’t work for. So you might be studying hard for an examination, hoping for a ‘B’. But God wants to give you an ‘A’. You might be sowing into a sibling’s life, hoping that he/she would one day come to know the love of God. But Jesus wants your entire family to experience Him. We need to reap both the harvest and the gifts that God has for us. The harvest mentality looks to the fruit. We sow, we cultivate, we harvest.

But the gift mentality looks to the gift and to the Giver. It comes free by the grace of God. So if you’re a person that is so used to always fighting for what you want in life, you got to know that with God, you don’t have to live life with your fists raised. You might be used to going against all odds, but Jesus wants to turn your opposition into opportunity. He wants to turn your weaknesses into your weapon. He wants to turn your pain into your promotion. He wants to turn your test into your testimony. Step into a realm where half the effort will produce twice the quantity & twice the quality.

Have faith, my friend. It’s a new season.

Advertisements

The Movies of Q1 2016

Last Friday, we had a look back at some of my favorite movies from 2015. Today, let’s get ourselves excited for some of the movies that have been, and will be released between now and the end of March.

1) The 5th Wave

I’m going to kick off my new movie year with a new take on alien invasions. With an interesting concept, a great setting and a fresh plot, The 5th Wave adapts the book of the same name onto the big screen. It mainly tells of the story of a girl’s search for her brother, all in the aftermath of an alien invasion. The “waves” of attacks by the “Others” as they call them, are also the center of the story (hence the title). Having just been released on the 14th in Singapore, this is one film I got to catch for myself.

2) Kung Fu Panda 3

You all know I love animations, so it’s no surprise that this is on my list! In this third installment for one of the greatest fan favorites from Dreamworks Animation, the one and only Kung Fu Panda returns to find that there are actually, well – MORE Kung Fu Pandas. After watching the trailer above, I just can’t help but be awed by the art and visual aesthetics done by the talented people behind it. And once again, the comedy we always associate with the series is present. I’m so going to see all of it this Chinese New Year!

3) The Revenant

Some of you may remember this film appearing in my Fall list last year. And yes, after all the delays, this film is finally going to be released in Singapore on the 4th of February. But still, my excitement for the movie has not been dampened and I’m looking forward to experiencing the cinematography of the film and the performances by the all the actors. Oscar-worthy? Highly possible.

4) The Finest Hours

Yes, this is a movie by Disney. And yes, just like The Revenant, The Finest Hours is based on a true story, which tells of the U.S. Coast Guards “greatest rescue mission” in 1952. When two oil tankers were split in half by extreme weather conditions, watch as the Coast Guards maneuver the storm against all odds and attempt to save the crew trapped on board. Coincidentally, the film will be released on February 18 in Singapore, exactly 64 years after the real events of the rescue mission on February 18, 1952.

5) Risen

Whether this film will turn out to be biblically accurate or not is another thing. But for now, this movie seems to have a cool and interesting perspective on Jesus’ resurrection. Looking through the eyes of an unbeliever, witness the greatest miracle in the history of mankind again. If you live in the U.S, you can catch it in cinemas starting February 19th.

6) London Has Fallen

Remember Olympus Has Fallen? This is the sequel to it. And the general idea seems to be similar – terrorist attacks, U.S. President gets targeted, Gerard Butler is an agent, this agent protects the president, they kick some butt together. But that sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? I shall make this my first action/thriller film of 2016. Haha, I got to catch the previous movie first though. 😆

7) Zootopia

Animations. WALT DISNEY ANIMATIONS. From the studios that brought us Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen and Big Hero 6 comes a brand new story about animals living in a society much like humans. Sounds interesting? Well, I would also throw in words like “cute”, “amusing” and “exciting”; just watch the trailer. But seriously, this studio has not disappointed us at all over the past 3 years, and with such a different concept this time, I just can’t wait to see what it has to offer.

8) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

The sequel to Man of Steel I know everyone has been waiting for since a long time ago. For the first time on the big screen, the “holy trinity” of the DC Universe – Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman will appear alongside one another. So I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of interactions they are going to have, though it all seems to be pretty intense so far. And of course, we’re definitely going to see different takes on all the characters and the establishment of the DC Extended Universe.

That’s right. If you don’t yet know, we’re going to have a cinematic universe for all the Justice League characters with films already announced for the coming years, much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s going to be loads of comparisons between not just this film and Captain America: Civil War (which both involve conflicts between heroes), but also the DCEU and the MCU. But I don’t care which is better though. I’d enjoy all of them if they’re good. I just… personally prefer the MCU more. 😛

So there you have it. These are just some of the films I would love to catch in this first quarter of 2016. What about you? Are there films that you want to catch that are not mentioned here? Feel free to comment below and share them with me! I might just end up getting interested and watching them too. Once again, thank you for reading and I’ll see you next week.