Monthly Archives: July 2016

Pokémon Go or Disciples Go

With the risk of sounding like a fuddy duddy (Fact: if you are using the term “fuddy duddy” you are a “fuddy duddy.”), I have not downloaded the Pokémon Go app to my phone. If you are asking what’s “Pokémon Go”? Please feel free to join me at the next “Fuddy Duddy Annoymous” support group meeting on Tuesday.

Pokémon Go is the newest rage sweeping the country. The “augmented reality” game was released last week and has already has been downloaded to over 20 million phones. Since I highly doubt that many readers of this article are counted among the 20 million Pokémon crazed users allow me to use this space as a public service announcement.

The free app uses GPS to make a cartoony map of wherever one happens to be located. Yes, there are even Pokémon at Central Church. (NOTE: the plural of Pokémon is “Pokémon” not “Pokémons.” One sure way to indicate your need for a Fuddy Duddy Anonymous group membership is to refer to many Pokémon as “Pokémons.”). Anyway, in this colorful, Big Brother is watching me kind of reality, Pokémon are just about everywhere, and when you come within range of Pokémon you can “approach” them and they will show up on your phone.

You trap the Pokémon by using Pokéballs on your phone. You get more Pokéballs by going to Pokéstops. Pokéstops are generally interesting places located throughout one’s community. Imagine the jump in attendance on Sunday if Central Church were a Pokéstop. I wonder how we could make that happen?

So the idea is to walk around looking for Pokéstops and Pokémon that you can trap when you use a Pokéball. Does this make sense? If you are saying about now, “When I was a kid we played Monopoly. What’s wrong with Monopoly?” then see the above references to the “Fuddy Duddy Anonymous” support group meetings.

For the most part, Pokémon Go has accomplished for America’s youth what my mom constantly insisted upon during my summer vacations (that is, get your lazy bones out of the house and enjoy the fresh air). And while there have been a few downsides to the craze (there are reports of students looking for Pokémon but not looking both ways before crossing a road and getting hit by a car and in one case youth stumbling not upon Squirtle, a type of Pokémon, but instead a dead body. Yikes!), has been harmless fun.

So why use this space to educate you about Pokémon Go?

Without the aid of a phone app, Jesus told a rag tag group of recently failed followers in Matthew 28 to “Go and make disciples.” Jesus plan to change the world was simple: disciples making disciples making disciples making disciples. And they did it. They went throughout the known world not looking for Pokémon but for folks who needed the best news of all.

Times and methods have changed but the command from Jesus is the same: Disciples making disciples making disciples. Imagine if we could develop a Disciples Go app for our phones where believers would have the same intensity to make other disciples as the 20 million down loaders of Pokémon Go have to find Pikachu (If you are asking, “What is “Pikachu”?” Without question you need to to be at the next Fuddy Duddy Anonymous meeting). Listen our goal is not to make 7 billion dollars like Nintendo did this past week with it’s Pokémon Go app, but to make more and more disciples. App or no app the message from Jesus has not changed: Disciples Go!

The Movies, a Nazarene and a Credit Card Mix-up

Karla and I recently saw the movie Tarzan. I’m not a movie critic or the son of a movie critic but that Tarzan was no Johnny Weissmuller (anyone younger than 50 will not have a clue of Johnny Weissmuller. Too bad or as the “real” Tarzan would say, “Oon-Gowa.”). Karla liked the love story between Tarzan and Jane, but I’ve always been partial to Cheeta and alas there was no Cheeta.

Here’s why I’m telling you about our recent trip to the movies: when we went to the theatre, I paid for the tickets with a credit card. As the young clerk was handing me the tickets and my credit card, I realized that I used the church credit card instead of my personal credit card. Both credit cards are blue. They look similar. I’ve made the mistake before in reverse and used my personal card to pay for church items. But this time I used it at a movie theatre! Thirty years ago, a Nazarene preacher going to a movie theatre would have been reason for real troubles with the church big wigs.

Old time Nazarenes remember the days when good Nazarenes didn’t frequent such establishments. My first movie was as a junior in high school when I snuck out of the house to see Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. The whole time I was in the theatre filled with second graders watching the cartoon, I was praying that Jesus would not return and catch me in that evil place! When I was in the 5th grade, my mom gave a note to the gym teacher stating that square dancing was “against our religion” and I could not participate in the activity. Had I offered a church membership class, every boy in the 5th grade at Marquette Elementary School would have joined the Church of the Nazarene on the spot. To many folks, face cards were a no no too, but Rook cards and Uno cards were OK. All of this seems silly now.

Back then too often holiness was defined by what we didn’t do and where we didn’t go. Holiness seemed to be more about outward appearances than an inward transformation. At times, holiness morphed into a “holier-than-thou” type of legalism rather than an honest pursuit of a Christ-likeness.

This is not to say that holiness in unnecessary. Quite to the contrary, “Be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16) is still in the Bible and is pretty straight forward. God’s plan has always been for His people to live a holy life, and God’s power enables us to do it. Holiness is not a call to legalism nor is it the impossible dream, holiness is becoming more and more like Jesus. Plain and simple. Now more than ever our world needs people that think and act like Jesus. Now more than ever, we need holiness!