SINGAPORE, 23 NOVEMBER 2008 — ASIA CONFERENCE’S PENULTIMATE session started off with a bang. The City Harvest Church (CHC) Band brought the roof down during praise and worship, leading both halls 7 and 8 in exuberant singing, jumping and dancing to the songs like ‘Great is Our God’ and ‘Elevate’. The atmosphere reached its climax as renowned songwriter and worship leader Don Moen appeared on stage to lead his latest song, ‘I Believe There is More’ and the all-time favourite, ‘God is Good’. Moen was scheduled to leave on Friday after the night session but stayed back just for the final two days of the conference. His surprise appearance in the Sunday morning session only served to bring the congregation to a higher level of worship.
Delegates started queuing outside Expo hall 8 from as early as 7am in order to get into the hall and grab the best seats in the house and rushed in the moment doors opened for the pre-service prayer meeting. Their patience was not unrewarded as they were treated to a whole array of performances and best of all, preaching by Phil Pringle.
The first performance showcased CHC’s very own choir with their rendition of ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’. Accompanied by the flute and piano, the choir belted out the song as they looked regal in outfits of shimmery teal for the ladies and sharp black suites for the men. Their performance was shortly followed by the CHC orchestra which was recently registered as the Millennial Orchestra. The orchestra performed a medley of popular national songs from ‘Sketches of Singapore’, a musical composition by Dr Kelly Tang. The medley included familiar tunes such as ‘Stand Up for Singapore’, ‘Rasa Sayang’ , ‘Where I Belong’ and ‘Di Tanjong Katong’. The songs were accompanied by photographs of Singapore both past and present in the background, evoking fond memories and national pride among the Singapore delegates at the conference. The Millenial Orchestra currently has 45 members and aims to become a full-fledged 100-member orchestra.
The performances by the choir and orchestra were a perfect lead-up to what was possibly the most anticipated and exciting announcement of the Conference so far. As Kong Hee took the stage to announce the total Arise & Build 2008 pledge amount (pledges were made by CHC members two weeks before Asia Conference), the congregation started to buzz as the Arise & Build 2008 video was played. Finally it was revealed: A total of $25,040,458.17 had been pledged over the Building Fund weekend, leading multiple eruptions of applause and shouts from the audience, ecstatic that they had once again exceeded the target.
Kong’s offering message once again centred on humanitarian work and encouraged the conference delegates to give their best to help the needy in society. His message followed Oh Gi Gi’s touching personal testimony of how her life was transformed by her experience with volunteers from City Harvest Community Services Association (CHCSA).
Pringle and Kong took the stage for this morning’s special event: the ordination of six Reverends and four Pastors. Wayne Chang, Choong Tsih-Ming, Goh Yock Kiang, Kevin Loo, Tan Seow How, Wu Yu Zhuang, Angel Lee, Joseph Ang, Bobby Chaw and John Lee were ordained and licensed, each receiving a plaque as well as the prayers and blessing of the congregation, Phil and Christine Pringle.
The band from Christian City Church (CCC) led the congregation with songs from their albums ‘Here We Go’ and ‘For Your Glory’. As Pringle took to the stage, everyone was ready with Bible and notebook in hand to take down what this man of God had to say.
In his sermon, entitled “The Resurrection”, Pringle exhorted members to overcome the difficulties in their lives. Drawing from Ezekiel 37, he explored three things: why the dry bones were in the valley, why those bones were dry and disconnected, and lastly, the power of prophecy to revive and resurrect.
He explained that the truest sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is when trouble comes into your life. The bones in the valley are those of the ones who gave up, and “stopped walking on”.
He encouraged all of us to keep on walking, that is, overcoming the obstacles in our Christian life. “If you keep walking, even though you slip or you stumble, you will get to the other side”, he said.
The reason behind the bones’ dryness is fivefold — wounded spirits, cut spirits, bruised, poisoned and disconnected. To wounded spirits, he spoke healing in the form of joy and encouraged the audience to smile; to cut spirits, he called for closure and forgiveness.
|PHOTOS: Vincent Liew, Michael Chan, Daniel Poh|
In the most powerful part of his message, Pringle explored the power of prophecy to heal and resurrect these dry bones. Through prophecy, bones can become clothed in flesh and connected again. “Prophesy over your area of life”, he encouraged. To drive home this point, Pringle got the congregation to stand and prophesy over their nations, schools, church, family and personal lives.
In conclusion, he explained that the resurrection was meant to be a physical one. “God delights in new things”, he said, “and we should not seek the living among the dead.” We must dissociate ourselves from “the dead” in the form of old, conventional things and shun negative thinking. Pringle then led the congregation into a rousing declaration of encouragement and victory over all circumstances through verses from the Bible. With positive affirmation, the dry bones in our life can become alive again.