At which point does a little spark become the flame that consumes an entire forest? How does a candle in an inner room eventually reduce a house to ashes?⠀ ⠀ This latest Hallyu saga is wilder than any K-drama series you've ever watched. And every day, it gets worse. More famous names surface. Another celebrity bows out of the entertainment industry.⠀ ⠀ These men had everything you could want: Good looks, talent, wealth, influence. For those of us who fall short of that standard, they had “made it in life” – reached peak human. And that’s how we easily look at others, especially leaders, public figures and visibly accomplished individuals. But hidden in private conversations and business negotiations, something had gone very wrong somewhere. Was it greed, lust or plain ego? Had the immensity of fame created such a shadow for the double life to thrive?⠀ ⠀ In this recent upheaval of public perception, it must push us to reckon with our private lives. It’s not just about not doing anything really illegal (we do live in an age of torrents and file sharing). This is taking a good look at your life and asking yourself the tough questions: What am I involved in that I don’t want anyone to find out? What character traits or habits do I keep hidden because people will reject me or shame me if they knew?⠀ ⠀ We might never know what transpired within the hearts of the men involved, but of this we can be sure: It all comes to light one day. Whatever you’re struggling with or still hiding today, we hope you have the courage to bring it into the light. Tell a trusted friend who can help you. Seek professional counselling. Don’t be afraid to leave the party when the house is on fire.
Why does the Church exist? God set up His church. We are His representatives, so the nature and essence of church is to represent God. If the church does not know what God wants to do on earth, it will do the wrong things. The Bible says that Christ came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).⠀ ⠀ The church is a called-out assembly. That means we all have a calling. Why are you called to come? In Mark 1:17, Jesus said to His first disciples: Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.⠀ ⠀ Jesus also said these words when He left the world: Go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19); become my witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).⠀ ⠀ We must all have the vision to look beyond the church – this is what a church is supposed to do. Those of us who are shepherds must lead by casting a vision, pointing a direction for disciples to follow. Not only must pastors be trained to evangelise, all our disciples must be trained to evangelise.⠀ ⠀ Whatever you do, ask yourself: How is this related to the Gospel? If it cannot be linked to the Gospel, don’t waste your resources.⠀ ⠀ Another question to ask: Is evangelism the engine room of the church? Even if the carriages are gilded in gold, without a locomotive it is useless. Our eyes and hearts cannot stay within the church. ⠀ ⠀ Don’t wait for pre-believers to walk in; we must be proactive to live among them. Jesus didn’t sit and take numbers; He went to the lost sheep. What is the church? The Word that became flesh! So it must be with us. We must do everything for the sake of sharing the Gospel.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”⠀ ⠀ High above a cacophony of gunfire and explosions, the proverb rings true in Apex Legends, a free-to-play game that dropped in early February and became an unexpected runaway hit, amassing 25 million players in its first week. The only way to win is through close cooperation within your squad of 3 players. No matter how talented you are as a gamer, if you do things solo, you’re ultimately never going to win going up against 57 other players.⠀ ⠀ The same can be said for real life. For all of our talents, strength and gifts — no one makes it alone in the world. We need each other. It really fleshes out the picture of Ecclesiastes 4:12 for Gabriel and his teammates: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” ⠀ ⠀ There’s no such thing as a lone-wolf Christian. We need the encouragement, accountability, challenge and love from being in fellowship within the body of Christ.⠀ ⠀ As newbies to the battle royale genre, Gabriel and his teammates were truly awful when the game first launched. The thought of being the Champion Squad seemed like an elusive prospect: How were we ever going to beat 57 other players to get to the end?⠀ ⠀ But they kept at it, learnt the guns, learnt the map, learnt the mechanics of the game… and they eventually did it. Practice and perseverance with the goal in mind finally got them to the top spot.⠀ ⠀ Now imagine you are taking your last breaths, at the age of 101… and you are entirely at peace knowing you are about to meet Jesus in heaven. That’s finishing the fight and running the race well. Think of the sweet relief and eternal satisfaction at having been found faithful.⠀ ⠀ Christians don’t coast — they press on and persevere passionately in the Lord. And they do these things together.
The Bible tells of a wonderful story of God's salvation for mankind. As believers, we should attempt to read the Word more (even better if you can read it end to end), as it’s the greatest story of God’s faithfulness and love for us. From the fall of man in Genesis 3, the Old Testament prepares the reader for the promised Messiah.⠀ ⠀ In the Gospels, we read about Jesus and His ministry, which culminates in His death and resurrection. The rest of the New Testament reminds Christians how we should be living differently from the rest of the world and to share the Good News with others ’till Christ returns to earth.⠀ ⠀ Through the laws given in the Old Testament (while boring and archaic to us), we know how much our God treasures holiness and justice. Israel was chosen to be a blessing to all nations (Genesis 12:3), and with the laws the nation would be set apart from its neighbours.⠀ ⠀ The Word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119: 105), which enables us discern God’s will for us. Knowing God more will also change us to become more Christ-like, enabling us to fulfil our purpose as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). We also get to know Him more intimately.⠀ ⠀ If we do not know the Bible well and understand its background, we will misinterpret it. Worse, we will easily fall prey to false teachings. Knowing the Bible better will help to guard us against wrong understanding.
It’s clear that pornography is a massive issue that we need to confront and address – for ourselves and in our churches.⠀ ⠀ Speaking at Set Free 2019 about younger people who stumble onto porn for the first time, Josh McDowell emphasised that it’s not so much a matter of protecting them from seeing it – but preparing them for the first time they see it. ⠀ ⠀ Two questions in a Whole Life Inventory survey are particularly telling of how younger people want to learn about sex, only to be contrasted with the reality of how they are actually being taught.⠀ ⠀ According to the results, after parents (79%), young people wanted to be taught by church pastors/leaders (8%) about sex. However, in their own experience, most received such information through the Internet or social media (24%).⠀ ⠀ What this means is that if parents or churches don’t teach young people about sex, the Internet will. If biblical sexuality is not taught, the alternative is learning about sexuality from the world.⠀ ⠀ We need good and trustworthy people we can talk to for help regarding sexual matters. And we need to be such people for each other as well as the next generation.⠀ ⠀ We have to start building authentic relationships with each other so that there is enough trust to be able to speak of sex and sexuality – and then we must speak about them. ⠀ ⠀ As McDowell said: “When it comes to porn, the best defence is not silence. It’s knowledge.” So let’s get equipped and let’s start talking about these things.⠀ —⠀ Join a national conversation on pornography. Josh McDowell will be speaking this weekend at UNVEIL 2019: Breaking Free, a sexuality summit for youth and young adults. Uncovering the myths behind porn, it also empowers the next generation with practical and positive solutions in their fight with porn addiction. More details: @crusingapore