CHC’s Youth movement held its annual vision-casting conference online this year, with the exhilarating Emerge 2020 Mukbang Challenge as a prelude.
Due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, Emerge’s annual June conference was held online via the movement’s YouTube Live on June 26, 2020. Emerge is City Harvest Church’s youth movement for members from 13 to 25 years of age.
The conference started with Mukbang, an exciting speed-eating challenge initiated by the Emerge committee in a bid to connect with all the youths from the different zones during this period of social distancing. The contest was followed by a service led by Pastor Wu Yu Zhuang.
Mukbang is a global trend that began in South Korea, where a group of people compete to finish consuming a large amount of food in front of a camera while interacting with one another. Hosted by Emerge coordinators David Guru, Fan Lei and Elisa Ng, a total of six participants made it to the semi-finals. The fastest three to eat two McSpicy burgers, two medium packets of fries and one small cup of green tea would move on to the final round. To ensure the safety of the participants, a parent or guardian was stationed near each contestant to indicate an “X” with their hands if the contestant chose to quit.
Emerge youths Benedict Goh, Desmond and Yu Quan Yeo were the three finalists who had to compete in the final round: two cups of medium-sized bubble tea. Quan Yeo was crowned champion for finishing the two cups in 34.8 seconds.
TO LIVE IS CHRIST
The much-anticipated Emerge Conference 2020 centered around a sermon by Pastor Zhuang, on maturing as a Christian. Drawing from Philippians 1:21, the pastor preached that one has grown into maturity when one lives life not for his own gain but for the sole purpose of Christ.
Pastor Zhuang described Paul as a living example of what “to live is Christ” means. “Paul was not a murderer nor a thief, yet he was imprisoned for the testimony of Christ,” he pointed out. “He didn’t have a pulpit nor a stage, but he preached. The bars of his jail cell testified of Jesus.”
The pastor went on to emphasise Paul’s endless determination and joy despite being in prison. “Whatever is going on in your life today, young people, I want you to know that the light of God still shines in your life,” he reminded the youth. “Paul had more joy in the prison than most Christians have in freedom.”
Pastor Zhuang expounded on three things that “to live is Christ” means.
1. Paul lives in Christ
“Paul was born of the flesh in Tarsus, but he was born of the spirit on Damascus Road,” Pastor Zhuang began. “He was a descendant of an elite tribe of Benjamin, a strict observer of the law and a defender of his religion. Meaning, he was a Pharisee and had outstanding credentials.”
However, none of those achievements and heritage were significant to Paul once he met Jesus; “now he valued his identity in Christ more than anything.”
“What is Christianity to you?” Zhuang challenged the youth. “Does it define you or does it just describe you?”
People often define themselves based on nationality, family, occupation and achievements. However, Paul refused to be defined based on worldly standards but by Christ. He was determined to have one love and one identity: Jesus Christ.
2. Paul lives like Christ
Reading from 2 Corinthians 3:18, Pastor Zhuang said, “Paul said that we should mirror the glory of God and be transformed into the same image as Christ. He preached, spoke, walked, served, discipled, loved and even suffered like Christ.”
Whoever claims himself to be a Christian must live like Christ, just as it is written in 1 John 2:6. Thus, Pastor Zhuang encouraged the church to always ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?”
3. Paul lives for Christ
“Paul was the most cruel persecutor of Christians in his time, but Jesus confronted him and he repented,” said Pastor Zhuang, referring to Acts 9:13-16.
“Christ died for us not just to save us a place in heaven but to give us a purpose and an assignment for our lives,” he added. “Paul was saying yes to the purpose God has for his life. He is not going to live for himself anymore. He was living for Christ.”
The problem in today’s world is that believers give first class dedication to a secondary cause, when Jesus has so much more for His people.
In conclusion, Pastor Zhuang shared a view of Simon Peter. “Peter was part of Jesus’s inner circle. He followed Jesus for three years during ministry.” But Matthew 26:58 states that “Peter followed Jesus at a distance” after that.
“Maybe you are like Peter. You once followed Jesus closely, but now at a distance. I want you to know that you don’t have to follow Jesus at a distance anymore,” encouraged the pastor. “Jesus loves you and He wants to draw close to you.”
“Let’s live in Christ for He is our identity,” exhorted Pastor Zhuang in closing. “Let’s live like Christ for He is our example. Let’s live for Christ for He is our purpose and the reason why we live.”