The 15-week Bible study course inspires leaders and members of the YK zone in City Harvest Church to grow deeper in their walk with God.
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan|
The late preacher, Edwin Louis Cole, once said that life is lived on levels and arrived at in stages. Likewise, the believer’s spiritual life can be viewed in similar fashion as evidenced in the Book of Psalms. In the Book of Psalms, which is the longest book in the Bible, there are 15 chapters (Psalm 120 to Psalm 135) known as the “Songs of Degrees” or “Song of Ascents.” It depicts the 15 ascending steps or stages a believer will encounter as he or she progresses into spiritual maturity.
Goh Yock Kiang, a zone pastor in City Harvest Church, is currently conducting this Bible study series for a group of cell group leaders under his care. The course lasts 15 weeks and the group is currently in their fifth installment of the program. Sessions are held every Friday morning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at various venues.
Because of the nature of the course, which is progressive, Goh encourages each individual not to miss any single lesson, as there would be no “make up” class. If anyone were to miss a week’s lesson, he or she would have to attend the next round which could be several months later. “This is to ensure that each person benefits fully from each week’s lesson as it is a precursor to the following week’s lesson,” Goh explained.
Apart from the teaching, Goh also leads the group in worship every week. “I believe that the depth of our worship experience is directly proportionate to the personal encounters with God in our life. That is why we allocate a two-hour session for this series, so that we can spend a longer time in worship and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us.”
Goh was in a prayer meeting one day and during the worship segment, he felt that although the people were involved in the “activity” of worship, they were not entering into the “heart” of worship. That incident made him remember the early days of CHC where the pioneers of the church—including CHC’s senior pastor, Kong Hee, his wife Sun, and other key pastors in the church today—would “desire for more of God’s presence in their lives that we would pray and fast for encounters with God,” Goh shared. Although they were young and inexperienced, Goh remembers those days where he himself would seek after God, reading the Bible and praying daily. Goh fondly recalls that those times were “life-transforming experiences for all of us.”
So what is the Songs of Degrees all about? Goh shares that the series is for the believer who wants to have “more of God and His presence.” Hence, the holy dissatisfaction that he experiences will lead him on an ascent as he starts in his spiritual growth. A lot of the material focuses on issues of the heart and tackles areas such as personal obedience, surrender of self, consecration, and commitment to God … “[The series] works a lot on the ‘becoming’ aspect of the believer,” Goh says, and even if a person may be a believer for many years, the aforementioned areas are applicable to him or her regardless of age. This is because believers will always face the same issues in their lives where their spiritual convictions will be challenged. But Goh believes that God allows each one to go through such stages in life in order to help them become a better follower of Christ.
The response has been positive so far, as those who have attended the first few lessons have been tremendously blessed.
For Olivia Lau, 28, her highlight each week is the time of worship and ministry that takes place before and after the teaching of the Word. “I feel this [Bible study] is very timely for us as a church. I believe that this is a season where God is bringing the leaders and members back to Him. After all, the Songs of Degrees is about God drawing His people and we responding to Him in return.”
Wong Ming Koon, 30, business analyst, shared, “After being a Christian for a while, there is a tendency for us to ‘forget’ God in our daily life as we try to solve problems by our own strength. But this Bible study helps me once again, to go back to building my relationship with God and to depend on Him.”
At the end of the day, Goh’s aim is to help the members in his zone have personal encounters with God. According to Goh, this Bible study series will “bring our Christian walk from one of just head knowledge into an experiential one. It takes us back to all the basic foundations that build our Christian experience.”