Trolls [In perspective]

Dreamwork’s Trolls put a lot of effort to put together a child-friendly animation with their velvet-like 3D animation of the Trolls against the naked, bug-eyed toys we are all familiar with back in the 90s.

Trolls the movie is full of color and sparkles, musical numbers that gets stuck in our heads, humor which is somewhat safe for general audiences, and a moral story we can pick up at the end of the movie.

I was not able to see it back then while it was still showing in theaters but thank God for Netflix and your nephews for allowing you to see the movie with them. (Not a paid advertisement for Netflix lol)

If you haven’t seen it, *spoiler alert* again, and it might be a good chance for you to see the movie (with your kids or nieces or nephews) before turning into this page. I believe it’s safe enough to watch for the younger audiences.

The movie was able to highlight the importance of:

  • community (“No Troll is left behind”)
  • family (Poppy salvages King Peppy from the hands of Chef the Bergen)
  • trust (Tandem of Poppy and Branch; Creek sold out the other trolls for his personal gain)
  • happiness (How far someone would go to get it, and how far someone would go to get it back).

But one thing that really speaks to my heart, apart from the up-to-date musical numbers, is the emotional scene of Poppy, being trapped inside a coulderon before they (the other trolls) were served to Bergens in the eve of Trollstice.

Poppy, being the usual happy, bubbly, pink troll herself, slowly succumbs to the reality that she cannot save everyone at their current state where everyone was trapped, and every one of them is hoping that she would be their savior from the impeding doom they will soon approach. As a result, she then slowly loses her bright pink color and turned gray. Eventually, it causes a ripple effect to other trolls; which in return, turned gray as well, embracing their doom. Branch, being the first to turn gray, sings their own rendition of “True Colors” (performed by Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake), which serves as a “motivational song” for her and everyone around her. The event made a U-turn for Poppy, and instantaneously recovered from her sullenness and got back to her feet.

Now, let me stop there and segue to the importance of this scene. I could have discussed the song separately, but why would I still want to discuss it with the song? I guess the movie, together with the song, made a perfect illustration of my point of discussion.

Sometimes, we are like Princess Poppy: We shoo the idea of sadness, hate, sullenness, negativity and even death that we don’t have the time or the effort to be vulnerable to others of what worries us, what keeps us at night and what we wrestle with; thinking that these afflictions and showing of our weaknesses can question our authenticity of being a Christian and a Disciple of Jesus.

But you know what? God cares.

God isn’t afraid of what you’re afraid of, but God is concerned of what you’re concerned with. That’s why it says in 1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
He’s concern of your fears.

He’s concern of what makes you tear up.

He’s concern of your doubts.

He’s concern of the things you care most.

God allows us to be vulnerable before Him, to set our eyes on Him despite of what is going on around us.

God is telling us, “My son/My daughter, it’s okay to well up. It’s okay not to be okay. I got you.”

Are you in your season wherein your faith is being challenged? Pour it our to God. Lay it at the foot of the cross. Why? because He cares for you. Allow yourself to bask in His prescence and immerse in His unfailing love.

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Thor: Ragnarok [In perspective]

Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen Thor: Ragnarok, then this must be a good chance for you to close this blogpost because *spoiler alert!* and see it for yourself. I highly recommend it. Your money and time is going to be worth it!

Photo courtesy of moviestruckers.com

I have seen the movie “Thor: Ragnarok” in two different occassions and of course, it didn’t change one bit (in a good way!). It only makes it more interesting and I was able to see it in a different perspective. There are some scenes I wanted to look into, dialogues you cannot miss, and action-filled scenes that made my jaw drop.

Thor: Ragnarok is a movie filled with testoterone (because Chris Hemsworth, Edris Alba, Tom Hiddleston and Mark Ruffalo, duh!) comedic humor, family issues, friendship being tested, betrayal and redemption — all weaved together to form an art, hammered together (see what I did there?) to make die hard fans craving for more Marvel Universe movie. Also, let’s not forget how Cate Blanchett and Tessa Thompson was able to carry out their characters well. (A big applause for Cate Blanchett for playing Hela!)

Trivia: Hela is the first Female Antagonist in the whole Marvel Universe franchise.

Now, not everyone of you might agree with me on how have I described he movie as I know I’m not even qualified to be a movie critic whatsoever. The point is, I enjoyed the movie and it made me more excited to know how will the Marvel Universe interlace the whole MCU for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

Some of you might get too caught off guard with Thor’s “criminally seductive” look (and that’s a nod to the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum right there) or the heart-stopping fight scene between Thor and Hulk, the hilarious witty exchange of lines between the Asgardian siblings, name it. There are scenes you cannot simply miss. Scenes that I know our brains will try to recall how awesome they were. But I know this one scene that left a dent in my heart, and has somehow points me to write this blogpost.

Thor, facing Hela, loses an eye and then has a vision of Odin that helps him realize only Ragnarök can stop Hela. While Hela is distracted, Loki locates Surtur’s crown and places it in the Eternal Flame. Surtur is reborn and destroys Asgard, seemingly killing Hela.

Source: Wikipedia (don’t worry, this is accurate)

Whilst Thor was held captive under Hela’s hands and somewhat looked defeated, Thor (as describe in Wikipedia) has a vision of Odin. Thor, kneeling down before his father, admits that Hela is too strong; that he cannot fight her without the use of his weapon, the Mjölnir. Odin, filled with wisdom, then responds to his son Thor, which awakens his power. Odin then asks Thor if he is a god of hammers.

Odin reminded him that the hammer is not the source of his power, but to help him focus his strength.

To some, that exchange of conversation among them is nothing to us. But for me, there is an underlying wisdom to it.If you’re going to look at it at a Christian perspective, it would give you a different context, but same theme.

Odin has reminded Thor that his identity does not rely on his weapon, his strength is already within him.

That scene and that line has strucked me the most. It has been burned in my memory that I dire to write something about it.

Sometimes we are like that. Under the hands and pangs of the enemy, we, too, often forgot who we are and what we are. We hope on what is tangible, we hope on what is seen, what is real, what feels real in our hearts. We often forget that’s not how faith operates. We often forget that Jesus died for us, therefore changing our status into the rightful heir, into children of God.

Our real identity in Christ Jesus.

John 1:12, and among other verses in the bible gives out and elaborated our true idenity in Christ: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,”. Ephesians 1:5 highlights that idea about us being “adopted” in Christ: “He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,”. And finally, about us not being just an ordinary human beings, but called to be a heir and a member of the royal family in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

The Spirit within us makes us claim these things with full conviction and audacity, that we ar the Children of the living God, through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, with which the enemy tries to rob from us.

In times of our dull moments, when we feel like the pangs of the enemy is upon us, we forget about these promises and overwhelmed by our circumstances. My friends, I hope by the means of this blog, we would be reminded that we are not identified by our present and past circumstances, but by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

See, Feel, Think

“Surrender it to the Lord…”

“Pray for what you’re feeling and give it to Jesus…”

I think most of us would agree at some point, it is easier said than done and without being in that situation, we tend to give advices or practical ways how to cope up with lost, with pain, with letting go, even unforgiveness.

Us, being a sounding board, sometimes overlooks how a person sees, how a person feel, how a person think about the situation, and sadly we neglect those three things I have mentioned.

First, (SEE) we tend to overlook that it’s different from how we perceive things from the one who is experiencing it.

Second, (FEEL) we can never tell the gravity or the magnitude of how the person is feeling. We cannot speak for his/her behalf, because that is not our emotions to command.

Third, (THINK) laying it at Jesus’ feet is not our obligation. How fast you can move on from the situation may not be the same for some, and remember to think about how he/she can work at his/her own pace or speed of giving it up and laying it at Jesus’ feet. You cannot force someone to do something they are not yet ready to do.

Whatever they might be going through, rushing them might result to a greater injury.

We’re Christians, but sometimes genuine care gets lost, the Agape gets lost, and the emotional connectedness gets lost. We’re Christians, but we’re losing empathy. We’re Christians, but we’re losing Christ-likeness.

Is this how we want to display Christ when emotional turmoil arises? Before you speak, place yourselves in their shoes and see, feel, think were are they coming from, then you’ll know it wasn’t easy from their standpoint.

God works differently in us, but all works out for His glory.

All Walk or All Talk?

Am I a Christian because I claimed to be one or am I a Christian because I act like one?

These were the words that popped out of my head just when I arrived in the office which made me write this blog. I’ve been evaluating and re-evaluating my walk with the Lord as if there’s an assessment that might happen anytime soon. After all, “the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2), no one knows when it’ll happen, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mark 13:32 NIV). We’ll never know when will the judgment might happen, but God commanded us to be always ready (Matthew 24:44), so I guess it’s always better to place our best foot forward for His glory and not ours.

 

I’ve been checking my heart lately, is this condemnation? are there doubts? are there fears? Am I walking as a mediocre Christian? Do I walk the talk or all I ever do is talk? Am I being too hard on myself? No one really knows, God sees the heart that’s for sure. But as for me, I don’t think I ever went up or down the ranks of Christianity.

 

One thing I know for sure: The grace of the Lord is always available for us. His love and mercy has already covered us. His grace is always sufficient in our weakness. (So I just rebuked myself lol)

Whatever we’re going through, may it be that we just came to know Jesus or we walked with Him for years, focus on Him and Him alone; after all, He is the author and perfecter of our faith.

More than just Ministry…

I have been a Stage Manager for over 5 years now. I cannot remember exactly the date when I started volunteering for our church as a Stage Manager, but I certainly remember all the hardships, the stress, and the headaches, I have given to my superiors and  the people under me.

This is a recollection of what I can still remember. I started as a Stage Manager back when I was still a fresh Christian. I was going through discipleship with one of the Pastors of our church when he endorsed me to participate as a volunteer for our church. I was graduating that time from college and my degree is pretty much aligned with Stage Managing skills (since I took up Broadcast Communications). I am pretty much aware of how things done, but I kid you not, it wasn’t easy. I started volunteering where there only 4 Stage Managers I know, while there are 7 services that needs to be covered. I have experienced being on church the whole day that my relationship with my mother has somehow affected my activities in church.

Being a Stage Manager allows your OCD to become useful and your communication skills is being tested as well. As an ambivert, I am more leaning forward to introvertism and communicating what I want and what I need is a bit challenging for me. But through the years of training, coaching and prayer, people around me where able to raise me up as a leader, a communicator, and impart what I know from start to finish.

God has been faithful to our ministry that it has grown from a small scale of volunteers to an even larger scale of volunteers whose hearts are really an overflow of their love to serve Christ and His church. 

This year, not only does our ministry is blessed, but my team as well. There are people who came and go, but still, I am in awe of how many volunteers are now involved in my team alone [insert teary-eyed emoji here]. 

Taken last December 29, 2016 during our Post-Christmas Party

Taken last March 26, 2017 after the last full show of Beauty and the Beast


Taken after 6PM service last Sunday

I don’t know how, but I guess it was never my strength who made this team grow. We’re more than just a ministry, we are a family bonded together with common interest: to serve our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His church…and of course commonalities like we love to eat and watch movies!

Overall, we watch over each other’s Spiritual walk, uplift our Spirits together in honoring God and keeping Jesus as center of our team and the gift of friendship; a gift God Himself orchestrated for us.

So for those who are asking, why are we so clingy? Because this is not just a ministry…it’s a family.

Ready your eyes and ears…(QTR)

“When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.” Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.”

– Exodus 15:23-27 ESV

After God has taken out the Israelites from Egypt, Moses is yet faced again with another circumstances: first is a question to his leadership and second is responding to do God’s will for them (the Israelites). Their hearts was so hardened that all they could do is complain to Moses and to God instead of looking at the bright side that they were released from the claws of the hardship that they faced when they were in Egypt. Even after God undeniably showed His mighty hand to both Egyptians and Israelites, they (the Israelites) still have a room for complains

Talk about hardship! If I were Moses, I would’ve given up on them that easily [insert table flip meme here]. Not only that you hear complains left and right, you’d also have to deal with the heat of the sun, provision, the starvation, the coolness of night, and the hard-headed people of Israel. I’m glad I’m not Moses!

God provided water by making Moses throw a log to Marah to make it drinkable for them despite of their obvious lack of trust from Moses’ leadership, and God’s ability to provide for them. But that didn’t stopped there. God made them a statute and a rule to test them. They would need to listen to Moses as God’s microphone for them to obey and to hear God’s voice through him.

So what’s the lesson here? First, adversities makes us hear more from God, not from the world. Just like one of my older post, if we are too focus in our own needs, we are missing God’s hand working in our lives. God’s silence doesn’t mean He’s not doing anything; God is working through us even when He’s silent.

Second, provision comes from the Lord. The Lord knows what we need, all we have to do is ask. It says in Matthew 7:7 that all we have to do is to simply ask.

Third, obedience first then provision will come. Even after all the complaining of the Israelites, God still demonstrated His mercy by allowing them to encamp by the water were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees are at present.

Stepping out of your Egypt is never easy. God pruning our character is never easy. But all are worth it if we allow God to step into our wilderness and trust Him working in us and through us.

God demands our eyes to see Him working and demands our ears to listen diligently to Him.
I pray that we will lean on Him alone.

QTR

Parting of your “Red Sea” (QTR)

“When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.””

Exodus 14:10-14 ESV

(photo credits to Bible CA)

Imagine after God performed 10 plagues over Egypt just to show to the Pharaoh and even to the Israelites how powerful our God is, still, they (the Israelites) would come trembling in fear just with the sight of the Egyptians. Even after God proved Himself that He alone can take them out of Egypt, they would still doubt not only Moses’ leadership, but also God’s power. It’s so sad that even after all the miracles, the signs and wonders Moses and Aaron performed before them, the Israelites would want to stay in Egypt and be their slaves just for the sake of comfort, despite of the harsh treatment of Egyptians to them (because there’s food for them to eat and a place for them to stay).

Sometimes, just like the Israelties, we are too confined and comfortable with our comfort zones that we refuse to step out from it even after all the signs and wonders God is able to perform. Sometimes we are too afraid that when we step outside of it, things will never be the same, that it would be a lot of adjustments and a lot of things to accomplish before we are able to say that we’ve finally stepped out of our comfort zones.

Of course, things will never be the same once you step out of your comfort zone! My mother would always remind me that “the first step is always the hardest” whenever I make a decision. When adversary arrives, remind yourself always of what Moses said to the Israelites, “The Lord will fight for you and you only have to be silent”

Does silent here means not being able to tell God of the harsh reality of life? That we, too, as human beings are limited and that we have a wide variety of emotions to show? Of course not! God created us with emotions, and our emotions are all valid.

In other translations, the word silent translates to “being still”. Being still means being able to trust God, depend on God, lean on His strength and not on our own fully with all our heart and soul even when don’t understand His plans (Proverbs 3:5)

Are there areas in your life that you need to step out from? Afraid of what it’s like on the othet side? Remember that His grace will always be available and sufficient for you (2 Corithians 12:9). At the same time, the God who has demostrated the plagues is the same God who could part the sea for you. He can always provide you a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Trust God. Trust His plans.

QTR