SINGAPORE, 20 NOVEMBER 2008 — ULF EKMAN’S first session this morning was a precursor to the mighty move of the Holy Spirit at Session 4 tonight.
Ekman’s morning message was a call to commune with the Holy Spirit — who was here on Earth to make sure God’s will is done through the body of Christ. Already the conference delegates that packed the room were swaying in the thick presence of the Holy Spirit.
Tonight’s meeting began with a loud and live praise session with Sidney Mohede and True Worshippers. Mohede’s powerful vocals had every person in Hall 8 on their feet, dancing unabashedly before the Lord. Crowd favourite Don Moen was up next, with songs that led the room into an atmosphere of worship.
The attendees were wowed when the CHC singers, led by Alison Yap, marched on stage with a row of drummers, who drummed the hypnotic rhythm of the anthem ‘Crossing Over’ — a song about claiming the nations of the world for Jesus, a most fitting “theme song” for the Asia Conference. Then up on stage came the Parade of Nations, which had beautiful young people in traditional costumes of the cities that City Harvest Church has affiliations with, from Japan to India, Indonesia to Korea, and various parts of Asia. It was a poignant and rousing salute to all the conference delegates, whose hometowns these were.
The City Harvest Effect
The night’s most touching segment was the testimonies of pastors from three CHC-affiliated churches. Kevin Loo of City Harvest Kuala Lumpur shared how he caught the CHC vision and started the church in KL, and how he basically copied everything CHC did, especially for Emerge. His church grew from 800 to 1,628 within a year.
Raymond Fernando from GPdi Elohim Church in Sidoarjo, Surabaya gave a touching testimony about how the church lost their Senior Pastor and his wife in a plane crash, and how Kong Hee and the CHC team descended on Sidoarjo to help them with Bible study. Raymond, with GPdi’s new Pastors Franklin and Nina Lumoindong, followed Kong as he traveled across Indonesia; they caught the vision and applied what they learned. From a church of 700 they recently hit a record attendance of 1,883.
Jenny Hung of New Life Church took the stage to share about the growth of this Taiwan church, which has a congregation of 2,200. Inspired by City Harvest Church, New Life Church released its creativity in its outreach. Among many efforts, a significant one was the pooling of celebrities and other talents in their church to record an album, which has since sold 100,000 copies and enjoyed over 200,000 downloads. Hung revealed that the Christian population in Taipei has grown by 8.9 percent in the past year.
To Sichuan With Love
Aries Zulkarnain interviewed Wu Yu Ying from Harbin, China. When the Sichuan disaster struck on 12 May 2008, Wu made a decision to go and help bring relief to the Sichuan quake victims. She brought her 11-year-old daughter along, and they both stayed one month in Sichuan, helping with the orphans. One 6-year-old girl spent her young life looking after her depressive mother, and handling the housework. Wu built such a great connection with this little girl, the girl gave her her favourite toy when she left. Wu shared that what motivated her to go to Sichuan for a month was the fact that God saved her for a reason, and “I wondered why Sun was so quick to help — she, a Singaporean, was there so fast! I’m from China, I should be doing something.” She exhorted the audience to “be like Sun and Kong and bring God’s love to these children.”
A Message of Reconciliation
Carola Häggkvist, the Swedish singer who won the Eurovision three consecutive years, took the stage to lead the delegates in praise and worship. She ushered in Ekman, who gave a message about how to build a relationship of obedience with the Holy Spirit because without Him, we cannot do the work God has called us to do.
In Luke 4, Jesus was baptized in the Holy Spirit. He was strengthened by the Spirit, then led into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Then his ministry began. The Spirit could work because of the obedience of Jesus. Jesus walked in voluntary obedience all the days of His life.
“It starts with a hunger for God,” said Ekman. “A tenderness that seeks Him in the secret place so we can show His power in the public place.”
“Tell the Holy Spirit, ‘I want this for the rest of my life. You are my life,’” he continues. “You will get an encounter; you will come to a holy uncertainty where you have to throw yourself out and believe someone’s going to catch you, and use you for the rest of your life.”
Ekman also emphasized the importance of hearing the voice of God. It is the privilege of every believer, as promised in Isaiah 30:21. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”
We learn step by step to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. “He will build confidence in you — you will make mistakes, but after those mistakes, like [with] Peter, Jesus restores.”
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Then Ekman addressed a problem in today’s society. There is a generation gap between the older and the younger people. Many young people today are disengaged from society — they have a culture that despises the past, a tribalism made up of temporary pleasures. They are in the midst of things, but they are totally cut-off. “Our task is to deliver them from slavery. We have to help that generation,” declared Ekman. “If you neglect or reject your kids, they will rebel.”
On the other end of the scale, the older generation suffers from pride and prejudice. If we don’t understand that we need to be inclusive, we will be fragmented. “We need to make the right choices, or the devil will push us.”
Ekman led the people in a prayer asking for forgiveness of the sins of past generations, and for the young to seek the old for mentorship. He shares how his mentor Lester Sumrall changed his life.
The session ended with an altar call for pastors and preachers, and Ekman released blessings for pastors to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and he asked for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to come upon them, and for fruits to come.