Don't Be Deceived | UMC YoungPeople
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August 2018

Don't Be Deceived

By Rey Oliver Fabros

By: Rey Oliver Fabros

Deuteronomy 11:16 "Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.”

As spring arrives in Japan, the beautiful time for flowers to bloom also comes. It’s also the perfect time for gardening! Months ago during fall, I started helping in the chapel garden project of my workplace. We planted many plants and flowers like tulips and hyacinths, and they started to germinate this spring. We never planted dandelions, but they started to grow and spread so fast in the garden. I love how inviting its bright and yellow flowers are. Every time I water our plants, I also take the time to water the dandelions.

One morning, as I was watering our garden, I saw our neighbor destroying dandelions in hers. She looked at me and said, “Please destroy your dandelions.” I wondered why I should destroy such beautiful creation-- they give beauty to my plot. I asked her why, and she explained to me that dandelions are dangerous weeds. Their roots grow so deep in the soil that it gets all the nutrients that are supposedly for the other plants and, after some time, its flowers will go off and scatter seeds all over the place. It reproduces very fast, will dominate the entire garden, and will slowly kill the other plants.

As I reflect on this, I realize dandelions can be compared to social media. Social media plays a big role in our youth ministry. We are using it in our church to contact youths and announce upcoming activities. It has become a powerful tool for communication. On the other hand, I observed that it also causes young people to be disconnected from each other and the church. During services, many young people tend to focus on their mobile phones, and it is distracting! When asked about the sermon, they don’t know what the message is all about.

Like dandelions could bring beauty to a garden, social media could bring benefits to our ministry—but, if we are not careful, it will destroy us and will make us turn away from what God wants us to be. It will become one of our gods and will overshadow God in our lives if we let the “weeds” get out of control.

  • What habits do you have that give you pleasure but are actually drawing you away from God?
  • What are you doing to cut off these habits?
Rey Oliver Fabros (known as King) is a Global Mission Fellow of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, serving for two years at the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in Nasushiobara, Japan. He was commissioned in August 2016. King is from Isabela Province in the Philippines, where he is a member of Burgos United Methodist Church in the Northeast Luzon Philippines Annual Conference, and was was raised in a home of a mom and dad both working as ministers for the UMC. King wants to be a missionary to share the love of God.