A Year of Writing: Fool’s Bench

Hello readers! Like I’ve said before, time really flies. Exactly a year ago on this day, I announced and launched Fool’s Bench with my first 4 posts. And since then, it has become a weekly rhythm of mine to write something fun or inspiring to just share it with all of you.

At times, ideas came easy and I would have a lot to write about. On other occasions, I struggled to even type a word. But no matter what, I am so glad and thankful for all the support and encouragement I got in the past year from my friends and readers – you.

Thank you for your kind words, affirmation and comments every single week. It is because of you that I know I am making a little difference through the Internet. And that keeps me writing.

So I can’t believe it, but this is my 63rd post! And what’s a better way to celebrate this day than to look back at some (well, actually 30 lol) of the posts that were written here in the past year? Come on, let’s travel back to a year ago. ūüėĄ

post-a
Written exactly a year ago at the launch of Fool’s Bench, this post describes what my church is to me.
post-b
Originally a sermon by Pastor Lia, “Ambidextrous Faith” talks about having faith in our battles and finding strength in God.
post-c
One of my first few attempts at writing something creative, haha.
post-d
Written out of a personal revelation, this post shows you from just ONE chapter alone, how amazing the Word of God can be.
post-e
On Thanksgiving last year, I wrote about my incredible pastors & leaders in church.
post-f
One of my personal favorites, “Star Wars for Beginners” is to this date, the most read article on Fool’s Bench.
post-g
Never too late to read my first post of 2016.
post-h
My favorite movies from 2015!
post-i
Memories.
post-j
More than just a song.
post-k
“Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future.”
post-l
“You never get what you want in life. You only get what you prepare for.”
post-m
“Why I Enjoyed” is a series of posts where I talk casually about recent movies I’ve watched. “Zootopia” is still one of the best in 2016.
post-n
On Good Friday, I wrote a short post about our imperfect world and what we can do about it.
post-o
The April Fools’ joke that pranked hundreds of people.
post-p
Every 3 months, I write about upcoming movies that I am looking forward to.
post-q
I believe. Do you?
post-r
A post dedicated to Pastor Lia on her birthday this year.
post-s
This is the second guide that I’ve written about a fictional universe. I’m such a geek.
post-t
Don’t just breathe. Live.
post-u
One of the funniest posts I’ve written. Or at least I think so.
post-v
The 50th post on Fool’s Bench.
post-w
First post after a one-month break. These people are awesome.
post-x
Witness how “funny” me and my friends are.
post-y
Could our current pain have a future purpose?
post-z
Heroes can rise out of the most unlikeliest of places.
post-za
Probably the most read post so far in 2016, this post like the movie, was a surprise hit among my friends.
post-zb
A new series of short posts that literally kills time with jokes – around 1 minute to be specific.
post-zc
Give with the right heart; give cheerfully.
post-zd
The last post of Year One describes the journey of a dream.

And that’s it for Year One of Fool’s Bench! Once again, thank you for reading and sharing, and I’ll see you in the next post. ūüėČ

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The Fool’s Bench

jim-elliot_quote

Hi readers! Today marks the 7th month of Fool’s Bench existence! If you still remember, it was on 22nd of September last year that this site was launched. Ever since then, many people have visited and shown a lot of love and encouragement, and today if you’re one of them, I want to thank you for your support.

But today is not about celebrating another month of Fool’s Bench! Today is about going back to its origins. Because today is also the birthday of a woman who a year ago, preached a message that inspired the name of Fool’s Bench. If you’ve been here long enough, you would know that I am talking about my spiritual mother – Pastor Lia.

So as I was thinking over the past few days what I could write about today, I thought there could be nothing more appropriate than to share with all of you my notes that I took down for The Fool’s Bench message more than a year ago; since you know, today’s about Fool’s Bench and Pastor Lia (who preached about The Fool’s Bench). ūüėČ Haha, ready for a #throwback? I present to you, one of the most important messages I’ve ever heard – The Fool’s Bench.

“The Fool’s Bench” by Pastor Lia

The first thing I remember Pastor Lia saying was that if we want to be world-changers, there are 2 questions we need to ask ourselves.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2

Am I a Thermostat or a Thermometer?

Because if we blindly follow everyone else in the world, how can we change it? There is a huge difference between a thermometer and a thermostat – a thermometer measures room temperature, whereas a thermostat controls the room temperature.

Just look up Roger Bannister as an example. He set the temperature, a new standard, a new record. He is a “thermostat”. He changed the “rules” of the mile run forever. But what about us? Are we blending into environments or are we showing others how to live? World-changers are thermostats no matter where they are! They hold on to their convictions despite peer pressure. And in fact under pressure, their convictions are strengthened.

Look up another hero named Samuel in the Bible. He lived in an environment of corruption, but kept himself pure. In a time when God was clouded out by the world, Samuel lived differently. He too was a thermostat.

Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.” – 1 Samuel 3:1

And because he was a thermostat, God noticed Samuel and called him when He wanted to change the world. Just as how Samuel was different from the people around him, we can be the same too.

that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, ‚ÄúHere I am!‚ÄĚ” – 1 Samuel 3:4

Am I Heavenly-minded or Earthly-minded?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2

My pastors always say that Christianity is not the removal of the mind, but the renewal of the mind. So we want to lift the thoughts of our minds towards the things of God. And as Christians, we got to ask ourselves what exactly is on God’s heart.

And it can be safe to say, knowing my God for a few years now, that His heart is always for others; especially those who do not yet know Him. So if we want to change the world, we got to start with the people in our world. We got to live for others, not for ourselves. Of course, it isn’t as easy as it seems. Sometimes we might even feel like fools for living for others, reaching out to them and loving them. But that is why we have to be heavenly-minded.

To many people out there, the idea of “living for others” is a foolish one. But to God and to those who are heavenly-minded, it is a beautiful thing. Because money, possessions & success on Earth cannot be kept forever. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in Heaven & Hell or not, it doesn’t matter whether you believe in Jesus or not. One thing is for sure – all of us will one day depart from this world in death and all those things we have accumulated for ourselves in our time on Earth will be left behind.

Now I do not mean that success isn’t important. However, we should have both success and significance in our lives. And this can be done by being the “fools” that people may see us as. But it’s all about perspective. We aren’t just any fool on the street. We are a special kind of fools – fools for Christ. And I truthfully believe up till this day that fools for Christ are amazing. They are willing to make a difference in any way they can and see it worth their efforts – even if it means only one person getting touched.

In closing, Pastor Lia shared with us a story of a certain church in South Barrington, Illinois that has interesting benches in its lobby. Every weekend, there will always be a handful of members from the church sitting there, waiting for their friend, relative or colleague to show up. They have probably earlier in the week invited someone to come join them in church to experience all that they have experienced, which has impacted their lives in a certain way.

Fifteen minutes passes. Half an hour passes. An hour passes. A lot of these people that they are waiting for have said “Yes” to their invitations. But some of them never show up.

Thus, these church members waiting on the benches sometimes end up looking & feeling like fools. But I’m sure if you visit that church the very next weekend, they will be there again at the very same spot on the same bench, waiting. Because they are heavenly-minded and they don’t mind it. They know that what they’re doing can possibly make a difference in a person’s life that money cannot buy, and death cannot take away.

And so after awhile, these lobby benches that these people sit on every weekend became known¬†throughout the church as “The Fool’s Bench”. That is where the name originated from. It’s so inspiring, isn’t it? I want to be able to live like these heroes, who nobody might even know about, but are the real thermostats and heavenly minds that are changing our world for good & for God. I leave you today with one last quote by missionary Jim Elliot that perfectly sums up this entire message into one sentence: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

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.

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.

1st Month Recap

Hi everyone! Time sure passes real quickly! It’s been a month since Fool’s Bench was launched on September 22nd and I just thought it would be really cool to list down all the posts that I’ve written over the 1st month of its existence. Actually, I may even do such recaps regularly so that all you readers can be sure to never miss out on any content. So without further ado, here are all the content published over the past month!

1) For first-time visitors

  • The Homepage:

homepage

  • About Me:

About Me

  • Origins of Fool’s Bench:

Origins

  • Links to Elsewhere:

Links


2) For Fun

Fun1

Fun2


3) For Laughter

Laughter1


4) For Creativity

Creativity1

Creativity2

Creativity3


5) For Christ

Christ1

Christ2

Christ3

Christ4

Well, that’s all for the month of September 22nd to October 22nd! Once again, thank you for reading, liking and sharing. Looking forward to what’s installed in the many more weeks, months and years ahead! See you soon.

p.s. Here’s a hint for an upcoming post – “Vroom vroom!”