As someone who’s left social media, Gabriel talks about why Netflix’s The Social Dilemma was an eye-opening docudrama that he could relate to.⠀ ⠀ Director Jeff Orlowski’s 93-minute film goes back and forth between interviews with tech industry giants who’ve turned their backs on Silicon Valley, and fictionalised segments of a family struggling against tech addiction and dependency.⠀ ⠀ Gabriel doesn’t use his Instagram account anymore, but his wife still keeps it tied to hers for some of the pictures they used to have on it. Whenever he goes back on Instagram and look through some of these pictures, there’s always a rush of good memories (the more “recent” ones are always milestones for our relationship).⠀ ⠀ Scroll a little further down in his feed, however, and things get increasingly uncomfortable. Gabriel starts to notice pictures being taken to accentuate certain things. He realised he was sold and had been played. For a time in his life, he was the sort of person who would curate, craft and conceal – and all for likes!⠀ ⠀ Many of us come onto these sites with the intention to “keep in touch”. But the ironic thing is that we chose mediums that make it difficult to connect deeply, most of which have changed to become arguably predatory.⠀ ⠀ Real engagement has become increasingly detached in favour of conspicuous pictures and colourless captions, which are in turn responded to and further perpetuated by vapid emojis and likes. We’ve simply forgotten how to connect with one another.⠀ ⠀ So what’s the end goal here? If it’s building or preserving friendships, we need to be clear about it. Social media isn’t inherently bad. It can be a force for good.⠀ ⠀ Remember that the world will seek to control and conform us so that we look just like them. But we were all meant for far more than that. We must remember who we belong to ultimately, and that is Christ.⠀ —⠀ FOR THE FULL STORY: The Social Dilemma: A take from someone who’s come off social media
It all started with a gothic novel, then music that was dark and deathly. Soon after, Janice even began flirting with the occult. This newfound passion of hers was all fun and games until she started hearing voices in her head.⠀ ⠀ Janice's heart palpitated frequently, and her appetite shrank so much that every time she ate, she felt like puking. For a period of time, Janice even salivated at such an uncontrollable rate that she had no choice but to swallow the foam every few minutes.⠀ ⠀ One night, Janice was just so utterly tired. She couldn’t think much. I could only sigh: “I am… I am…” She thought that she was in such a loss for words at her sorry state that she couldn’t even complete my sentence. She had wanted to say, “I am ugly.”⠀ ⠀ But with each “I am”, Janice felt a strange sense of release.⠀ ⠀ Soon after, she entered into junior college. In her first year, a friend invited her to her church’s Christmas service. Janice listened to the message and found herself at the front. She had no expectations. But when a pastor prayed for her, she just started crying like crazy.⠀ ⠀ That was the start of Janice's journey of forgiveness and redemption.⠀ ⠀ As she started going to church and learning more about Jesus, Janice realised what “I am” meant. God is the great I AM. She was so moved to learn that the random sigh she uttered back then was actually a call to God.⠀ ⠀ God was there with her even though she could not see it. ⠀ ⠀ God tells her that she does not need to be afraid of the terrors of the night nor the arrow that flies in the day. When she makes Him her refuge, no evil will conquer her and no plague will come near her home (Psalm 91).⠀ ⠀ Today, Janice is thankful that God set her free from the lies and torments of the enemy and she is a completely changed person.⠀ —⠀ FOR THE FULL STORY: The girl with a morbid fascination for death⠀ (Contributed by Janice Lee)
Max Jeganathan, Regional Director of @rzimasiapacific, was less than 1-year-old when he and his parents had to flee Colombo, Sri Lanka on a cargo ship due to violent racial riots in 1983. ⠀ ⠀ Known as Black July, mobs of Sinhalese gangs attacked Tamils around the country, forcing thousands into exile as part of the gruelling 26-year-long civil war. Max's family had narrowly escaped death, but their house was burned down to the ground.⠀ ⠀ Granted refugee status in Australia, Max went on to become a successful lawyer and political adviser, and later joined Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) as an evangelist.⠀ ⠀ But there was one gap, emotionally and spiritually, that he was struggling with: reconciliation and forgiveness.⠀ ⠀ "One of the real sources of that struggle was that I couldn’t understand how a people, how a government, how the men that attacked my family and tried to kill my father and I, could bear that kind of hatred, evil and darkness.⠀ ⠀ "It wasn’t until the Lord showed me that I didn’t have to look very far to understand that darkness and malice. I only had to look inside my own heart and there were very clear, though very embarrassing, traces of that darkness.⠀ ⠀ "I used to think it was about good fighting the evil out there, but through this journey, the Lord showed me that while the fight between good and evil is real, it’s inside every human heart. It’s not an 'us versus them' thing.⠀ ⠀ "That’s when it dawned on me that as far as God is concerned, as far as His perfection would have it, my dad and I might as well have been on the other side of the door with those men who were attacking us.⠀ ⠀ "We’re all just a bunch of people who are broken, who need the saving and transforming love of Jesus Christ, and who can only be delivered through His cross and His forgiveness."⠀ —⠀ FOR THE FULL STORY: A refugee’s story of racism and redemption⠀ (This powerful story of redemption was adapted from a short film by @rzimasiapacific that follows Max back to Sri Lanka, as he recounts the miraculous hand of God on his life.)⠀ #InternationalDayofPeace
They joke that their career prospects depend on the death of the planet, but these young adults are dead serious about the environment.⠀ ⠀ We sat down with the spunky six behind @creationcare.sg – Dennis Tan, Vinnie Chua, Liaw Ann Shin, Rachel Tan, Allison Mak and Rebecca Goh – on why they don't just want to change the world but save it. On their Instagram page, they plan to share practical steps people can take to reduce their carbon footprint.⠀ ⠀ For instance, Dennis, a member of Sengkang Methodist Church, put up a recycling box in his church. It was a simple idea: a recycled A4 paper box into which members could drop their bulletins after service ended.⠀ ⠀ Nevertheless, it was a step in the right direction. In the fight against climate change, every small effort counts.⠀ ⠀ “We want to remind our fellow Christians that creation care is a God-given duty,” Dennis explains. “By getting the conversation going, we hope to encourage churches to speak out more on environmental issues and help to make Singapore more sustainable.”⠀ ⠀ Shin adds: “Climate change is seen as a secular issue, but I’ve realised that it is actually not separate from our faith — just like every other social issue on this earth.⠀ ⠀ “Human neglect of the earth is a reflection of our sinful nature, especially if you compare the current state of the earth with the Garden of Eden.”⠀ ⠀ Dennis, together with writers from three other churches, has put together a devotional for the Season of Creation, a global Christian celebration of prayer and action for the planet that will last from 1 September to 4 October.⠀ ⠀ It is intended to be a time for believers to renew their relationship with the Creator and His creation through repenting, repairing and rejoicing together. ⠀ ⠀ After all, as Genesis 2:15 tells us: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”⠀ ⠀ Man has since ventured far beyond the Garden of Eden, but our responsibility still remains.⠀ —⠀ FOR THE FULL STORY: "6 young adults launch local creation care initiative"
Just 2 years ago, being a successful singer-songwriter was an idol that had a stronghold on Wei Chiang's identity. Because of this, he had lost the joy and freedom of playing music without feeling he was in the “courtroom” and being judged for his performance.⠀ ⠀ Lost and without a way out, Wei Chiang made a dramatic decision to pack his bags and fly to Japan. It was there that he was shown, with new eyes, the beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ. ⠀ ⠀ With the support of an international church community in Tokyo, he slowly felt something inside of him being emptied out. That “inner drive” and “endless need to prove” mindset was slowly replaced with new life, joy and freedom.⠀ ⠀ One afternoon, as Wei Chiang was mucking around with his acoustic guitar, he somehow chanced upon 2 lines: “You are the song inside my heart / All the words that make my art”.⠀ ⠀ His epiphany: “I” am actually very unimportant in the grand scheme of things.⠀ ⠀ "When 'I' am 'the song' – when my music and life revolves around myself – then I have a lot to lose. I get anxious if I am performing well. I am always trying to earn, to be recognised, to be somebody.⠀ ⠀ "Either that or I am very busy trying not to be somebody, to show everyone how much of a humble nobody I am, which is an equally self-centred and frustrating endeavour."⠀ ⠀ But understanding the gospel afresh reversed everything for Wei Chiang.⠀ ⠀ From this newfound freedom, he was able to return to Singapore, leave his former government career and restart his band, Chasing Daylight.⠀ ⠀ Wei Chiang's heart can now sing to a different tune. “You Are The Song” is the band's new single that denies itself – it’s about not having to write a song to prove his worth. ⠀ ⠀ He can write songs again, he can have big dreams again. He is free to do all these things, and he is free to not need them either. He is free to live as called, under grace, a beloved son.⠀ —⠀ Written by @chasingdaylightband frontman Yap Wei Chiang, “You Are The Song” is an uplifting anthem for all those searching for true freedom from the weight of expectations and performance anxiety.⠀ ⠀ FOR THE FULL STORY: "Freed from performance anxiety, I no longer had to pretend"