Thursday, July 24, 2014

9 Lessons I Learned from Transformer 4: The Age of Extinction [Spoiler Alert!]


I watched Transformer 4 two times already. First with my mother and brother (I told my mother, “It’s going to be more than 2 hours…” She arrogantly replied, “Even 10 hours, I don’t care.”). And secondly with my friends (sponsored ticket). For me the movie is very good, excited, entertaining, imaginative, fun, humorous – and undeniably too long. I kind of ‘addicted’ to Transformers film series since Transformers (2007), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) and now Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). Seven years being faithful followers.

Do you know? On 2013, there are three possible titles for Transformers 4 which were Transformers: Last Stand, Transformers: Future Cast and Transformers: Apocalypse. But after that they revealed one last possible title, Transformers: Age of Extinction. You know the outcome already.

The movie start after the battle at Chicago five years ago when geologists discover a dinosaur corpse turned to or covered in strange unknown metal. Sixty-five million years ago, the flashback, there were beings known as the Creators “denoted many Seeds wiping out most of life on earth.” Then our new hero, Cade Yeager (acted by Mark Wahlberg), a struggling inventor and single father, come into the scene. One day he found an abandon old truck, bring it home and repair it with the hope that he may sell it. His concern is to send his daughter, Tessa (acted by Nicola Peltz) to college. He didn’t know that the old truck is none other than an injured Optimus Prime. At the same time, an elite CIA agents known as Cemetery Wind with the help of Transformer’s intergalactic bounty hunter, Lockdown, hunt down Transformers – Decepticons and Autobots – all together from the face of the earth. And so the adventures, secrets and avengers begin…

Apart from some negative receptions from my friends about this movie such as the overall directing, length and script writing, I personally find that this movie (again) must be praise for the action-packed scenes, great visual effects and Mark Wahlberg’s acting performance. I also think that this movie should be praised for its moral values. I learned:

1) To see that there is greatness and potential in everyone of us. When Cade Yeager found and bought the old truck home he didn’t know that it is the injured Optimus Prime. The rusty truck is actually the legendary leader of the Autobots! Some people that we meet or perhaps ourselves may look “rusty” from the outside but inside if we look deeper there is a great potential within us if only we let God change us from the inside out.

2) To (sometime) say “No” to good thing so that we can say “Yes” to something better. When Yeager found out that the truck was Optimus Prime, he changed his mind. He doesn’t want to report it to the government and get the reward money but instead he repairs it and work alongside Optimus because he know that there is something big is about to happen – he don’t want to miss it! How many time we missed a lots of opportunities that God have in store for us when we say “yes” too soon?

3) To be royal and faithful to our leaders. When the remaining Autobots (Bumblebee, Crosshairs, Drift and Hound) receive Prime’s command “Calling-all-Autobots!” message and then get to know that Prime is still alive – they rejoice! In their discipleship, they’re faithful to the end even that mean, to some of them, loosing their own souls (“sparks”). Ratchet, the Autobot’s medical officer, even willing to died than to reveal where Prime is to Lockdown. When Christ, our Leader, called us into the new life in Him, He wants us to be Christians that is royal (undivided heart) and faithful (obedience to His Word). We must be willing to abandon and sacrifice our lives for Him if that is required of us to serve Him. We are not just people (“Transformers”); we are Christians (“Autobots”)! 

4) To not underestimate others. After the incident at Cade Yeager’s house in Texas, the CIA hunts down both Prime and Yeager’s family. They are looking for them but they hardly find them. Attinger, the leader of the CIA said to his field leader, James Savoy, “You said he (Yeager) was a nobody!” Don’t underestimate others. Don’t underestimate what God can do through you. Throughout the Bible and even today, God is still using the nobodies (shepherds, tax collectors, fishermen, carpenters, young men and women, old people, mechanics, dancers, security guards, teachers, uneducated parents, etc.) to accomplish His purpose and plan. Are you a ‘nobody’? Good! God may use you if you trust Him.

5) To take actions even if we don’t know what lies ahead of us. Cade Yeager when he realized that he is dealing with something bigger than himself said this: “I’m doing things out of my league” – move ahead and doing his best to save humanity. He and his alien gun. When we don’t know what lies ahead of us, just move on, not by sight but by faith – take actions.

6) To realize that we can’t control our sinful nature. Joshua Joyce, the head of KSI, has perfected “transformium, a codeable, molecularly unstable metal that the Transformers are made of” and created human-made Transformers by using decoded dead Transformers’ brains. (Galvatron was created using data from Megatron’s brain). When they tested the prototypes, they soon realize that they can’t control all of them. Galvatron had manipulated and corrupts all the drones. In the same way, we sometime think that we are in control but actually we are being controlled. Maybe we are being control by our lusts, anger or whatever manifestations of sins (“Megatron’s mind and evil desire”) in our lives. Its time to let go of our sinful nature and let God through His Son, Jesus Christ, to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

7) To ask for help and to offer help when there is a need. When Optimus Prime found out that the Autobots and humans are in danger, he releases and tames the Dinobots, the Transformers’ legendary heroes. With their help, they destroy Galvatron’s army in no time. We need to be humble (even if we’re the leader) and ask help from people. And when our help is needed, like Dinobots, we must ‘rush’ to help too.

8) To love our enemies. Autobots was once an ally to the human. But after the world is peaceful and the war end, they turned against them. The human betrayed the Autobots. But what the Autobots finally do? They protect the human beings from the real enemies. This is forgiveness. If the machines are willing to forgive the humans (humorously speaking), and if Christ the righteous One are willing to die for us the sinners (seriously speaking), aren’t we suppose to forgive and love our enemies?

9) To have hope in humanity. Since the incidence in Chicago (Transformers 3), Optimus Prime has lost his faith in humanity. He even considers leaving the planet earth until Cade Yeager manages to talk and restore his faith in humanity. “We are human,” said Yeager to Prime, “we make mistakes.” He reminds Prime that it is by ‘mistake’ that he found and saved him. Yeager continues, “Have faith Prime...” And then Optimus Prime changed him mind. Though we read and hear many news about what is happenings in Malaysia and the world today such as the missing of MH370, the crash down of MH17, the war in Gaza, the persecution due to racism and religious agendas, the corruptions and human slavery, etc. – as long as God is on the throne, we still have hope for humanity. God will never leave us. God will still use us – humans that makes mistake we are – to accomplish His will in this world. Have hope in humanity because no matter how much we failed and sinned, we still bear “the image of God” within us. We are redeemable, we are savable and we can be righteous in the sight of God by grace through faith in Christ. We can be useful and we can do many good things and can make the different in this world if God’s Holy Spirit works in us. Have hope people!

Cade Yeager asks Optimus Prime, “Will we ever see you again?”
Cade Yeager, I do not know,” he answers.
But whenever you look to the stars, think of one of them as my soul.”
Do you know what Christ would say to us now if we ask the same question to Him?
He would say: “Be sure, I will be with you. You will know that I’m always near you.
 And whenever you look at the Cross, you know that I love you.”
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What Campus Students can Contribute towards the Life of the Church?

Picture taken from: http://www.aletheiachurch.com/
What are some areas where students can contribute towards the life of the church? Consider the following:

1) Teaching the Sunday school class or helping the Youth Fellowship (YF). The challenge here is especially great for men. In many Sunday schools or YF, there is a shortage of male teachers. It is probably because of this that churches often find it difficult to retain boys once they have finished their secondary school education.

2) Helping to counsel young people. In a way, this is related to the above. Having just undergone the struggles of adolescence themselves, students can better empathize with younger friends now going through theirs.

3) Literature work. Students can either write articles for the church newsletter, recommend books that they have found helpful or load their books for others. It may even be possible to run a book table by making appropriate arrangements with a bookshop. The reading of good books leaves a lasting impact on young lives.

4) In the course of campus life, students gain experience in doing the Lord’s work, for example, leading Bible study groups, learning to share one’s faith, planning a term’s programme, and so on. These experiences can be shared with others in the church.

5) Students’ secular studies can also be put to good practice. Those doing accountancy can help to streamline church accounts and specialists in education can help to upgrade Sunday school teaching.

6) Students can share items about campus life and witness during the church’s prayer meeting. In this way, others will be encouraged to see them as the church’s “missionaries” on campus. Those who study in campuses away from their home towns can keep their church leaders informed of their activities through occasional letters or better through – social networks.

Reminder: The above list is not exhaustive but time is an important constraint. Students will have to strike a balance among various commitments to church work, campus witness, studies and family life. Situation will vary. In churches where there is a lack of capable personnel, students obviously will find themselves tied down with church work. But those who want to take on leadership positions in student work must first carefully think through their priorities. For a period of time at least, students may not be able to do as much for their churches as they wish. Hopefully, their church leaders will be understanding and can be encouraged to see the exceptional possibilities that exist on the campus. The students are their churches’ missionary representatives there. As in FES Malaysia, we encouraged students to embrace their missionary identity in campus! Amen.

Think Big. Start Small. Go Deep.


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Origin of True Worship


When God forgives us for Christ’s sake he accepts us as we are. So we don’t have to pretend anymore. We can now face ourselves and what we have done without being driven to despair. For God “declares the guilt to be innocent” (Romans 4:5) – declares us righteous in His sight on the basis of the once-for-all death of Christ for us. When we grasp this wonderful truth, the healing of all our hurts begins (a process, not overnight). I can accept myself because God has accepted me.

C.S. Lewis described the Christian life as “going in for the full treatment.” Jesus promised that, after He returned to heaven, God would send the Holy Spirit to live within every person who is reconciled to God. Turning from our sins and asking for Christ’s forgiveness gives us the privilege of receiving His Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is a bit like an interpreter. He reveals Jesus to us, illuminating His teaching and applying the significance of His death on the cross to our lives. He helps us to know God intimately and gives us direction in life. But He is more than an interpreter. For He brings Jesus into our lives as the One who saves us – the Savior – and become our Lord and Friend. For if the Holy Spirit lives in us, so does Jesus.

We cannot fully understand the cross. It has depths to it that we cannot plumb – depths of love and mercy that we shall never exhaust. But this we can know: Jesus died for sinners, and these sinners – you and me – needs to respond to such amazing love. This is the origin of our true worship, a respond to God’s amazing grace.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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