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Recently, Pokemon Go (a mobile game app described as a “free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game”) was launched. This has viralled into a global craze of over 20 million daily users, with the app designers reporting earnings of over USD$200 million in revenue, with an average of USD$10 million a day. In Singapore, you might have noticed in the past 2 weeks, crowds of children, youths, and even adults staring at their mobile devices playing this game whilst walking, commuting, and even driving (dangerously). 2 young men were arrested for fighting allegedly due to the game, and the police were called in when residents complained of hordes of cars and crowds congregating in a public housing estate carpark in the middle of the night, causing much disturbance and noise, with the only aim of “catching” virtual monsters.

Worldwide crazes and phenomenons have come and gone. Years back, it was the Hello Kitty collectibles from McDonald’s. I’m sure many of our young people in church have no doubtedly downloaded and are currently playing Pokemon Go. In and of itself, it’s just like any other computer or mobile game that is out there in the market. Parents and young people will need to exercise wisdom and discernment on whether or not it is advisable to play. I think the challenge is moderation, and when one crosses the line towards addiction and excessive playing. Also, we need to be mindful of how our behaviour changes when we are playing. Do we become reckless, foregoing safety, such as playing whilst crossing the road, or worse, when driving and suddenly pulling to the side and stopping abruptly just for the sake of the game? Or do we even become aggressive, anxious, depressed, and experience withdrawal symptoms when not playing or not being to get ahead of our friends or others in the game?

Romans 12 begins with the warning, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world.” Instead, Paul exhorts us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Many might laugh off this Pokemon Go craze as something trivial, but what are the other challenges, pressures and temptations for us to follow, to “conform” to worldly trends, patterns, thinking and behaviour? Are we only Sunday Christians, but the rest of the week, when we are out there in the world, no one can tell the difference between us and non-believers? Do we ever struggle with standing up to our biblical convictions, and risk being in conflict with our colleagues, our bosses, our companies, our schools, our friends, or maybe sometimes even our family members?

As we celebrate Young Adults Sunday today, my prayer is that God will continue to raise up faithful generations of young people who are rooted in God’s Word, filled and led by the Holy Spirit to be living sacrifices, godly examples and influencers in all spheres of society. May we truly be a community of spiritual support that loves sincerely and serves selflessly as we grow towards Christlike maturity, building each other up towards service and leadership, for the glory of God.

There is a higher throne
Than all this world has known
Where faithful ones from every tongue
Will one day come
Before the Son we’ll stand
Made faultless through the Lamb
Believing hearts find promised grace
Salvation comes

Chorus: Hear heaven’s voices sing
Their thunderous anthem rings
Through emerald courts and sapphire skies
Their praises rise
All glory, wisdom, power
Strength, thanks and honour are to God
Our King who reigns on high

And there we’ll find our home
Our life before the throne
We’ll honour Him in perfect song
Where we belong
He’ll wipe each tearstained eye
As thirst and hunger die
The Lamb becomes our Shepherd King
We’ll reign with Him

I had the privilege of having lunch today with the original local blogging pastor (or Blogpastor, as he’s more commonly known), Ps Kenny Chee.

I chanced upon his blog whilst starting up my own blogging journey in 2007, where he had already been blogging regularly for a few years, and had quite a good following. Since then, we have had sporadic interactions, exchanges through our blogs and social media, and a few near-misses (being at the same events but not meeting), e.g. Pastors Prayer Summit, him visiting the church I was pastoring youth at.

Finally after 8+ years of virtual friendship, by divine appointment (I only found out the night before through his FB post that we were attending the same conference), we arranged to meet today for the first time over lunch at the EPPI preaching conference. Such is the culture and times these days I guess, where people can somehow be connected, yet disconnected, virtual friends, yet never meeting IRL (in real life). But it is also interesting times, where we can actually meet and cultivate kindred friendships across continents, borders, cultures, churches and denominations via social media and the Internet.

We kind of hit it off quite well from the get-go, perhaps as we have some mutual acquaintances and common backgrounds. He shared about his pastoring journey of 35+ years at WRPF, as well as his challenges and struggles. It was a relatively short time, but I was really encouraged and blessed by this humble and faithful man of God, and in his words, I definitely gleaned some “gold nuggets” of wisdom on life and ministry from him. Interestingly, we never really got down to chat about our common, shared interests of blogs and bikes. But as I was reflecting, writing this post, perhaps it was for the better, as we shared about life and Bible ministry, pastoring and preaching, that which counts for eternity, of lasting eternal value – the Word of God, and the souls of man.

Looking forward to more encounters and interaction in the future! Continuing to keep you, Ps Kenny, your family and your ministry into God’s hands.

Your glorious cause, O God
Engages our hearts
May Jesus Christ be known
Wherever we are
We ask not for ourselves, but for Your renown
The cross has saved us so we pray
Your kingdom come

Let Your kingdom come
Let Your will be done
So that everyone might know Your Name
Let Your song be heard everywhere on earth
Till Your sovereign work on earth is done
Let Your kingdom come

Give us Your strength, O God
And courage to speak
Perform Your wondrous deeds
Through those who are weak
Lord use us as You want, whatever the test
By grace we’ll preach Your gospel
Till our dying breath

© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Visions and dreams

Daniel 2 records one of many dreams mentioned in the Bible. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which he used to test all his wise men, asking them to tell him his dream and interpret it, or else all the wise men in Babylon were to be put to death. The patriach Joseph was sold into slavery because he shared his dream of his family bowing down to him in worship. In Acts 10, Peter has a great vision of God instructing him to kill and eat all kinds of animals prohibited in Jewish dietary laws, ushering in the sharing of the gospel to Gentiles as part of God’s sovereign plan of salvation.

In history, there have been famous dreams as well, one being Martin Luther King’s famous speech “I have a dream” in Washington 53 years ago, calling for an end to racism in the United States, in the height of the American civil rights movement. It has also been recorded in many of Albert Einstein’s biographies that his famous theory of relativity was formulated through a series of dreams he had. Closer to home, it was primarily through the dream of one of our founding fathers, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and the vision of a modern, successful and independent Singapore, that propelled the birthing and development of the nation we call home for the past 50+ years.

Do you have a vision or dream from the Lord? Here we are not talking about prophetic visions in the same vein as recorded in the Book of Daniel, nor modern entanglements and abuses of prophetic or sign-gift ministries, primarily marked by the rise of charismatic church movements around the globe. Through our lives as Christians, dare we ask God to grant us a clear vision for our lives and families, for our church and ministries, even for our nation and perhaps the world? Proverbs 29:18 reads, “Where there is no revelation (vision in KJV), the people cast off restraint (or perish); but blessed is he who keeps the law.”

In your daily reflection and meditation on God’s Word, does God continue to speak to you and direct your paths according to His ways and purposes? Do we serve the Lord in various ministries out of clear God-given convictions, knowing what God wants us to do, and where He is leading us? Do we go about our daily lives with a sense of practicing God’s presence and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and guidance? May our faithfulness and obedience to His Word lead to God’s name being lifted high and exalted, as in the case of the king after Daniel interpreted his dream with God’s help, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” (Dan. 2:47)