CHC bids farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012 with a message of salvation.
Contributed By Yeo Wee Kiat
What better way to end, and start, the year than to learn about the great work of the Cross and the salvation it won for mankind? Members and new friends in City Harvest Church ushered in 2012 with the Church Introductory Class at service last weekend, on Dec. 31 and Jan 1.
The CIC is a four-part course for new members to understand the why, what and how of CHC—the reasons the church does what it does. This course, first introduced by CHC’s senior pastor Kong Hee in 1997, is regularly taught by zone pastors and supervisors for people who have just joined the church.
(More about Church Introductory Class)
To welcome back the new friends who came during the Candlelight and Christmas services in December 2011, and to help them understand the church in a deeper way, Kong is teaching the class over four weekends during service. Above educating newcomers, this is also a “refresher” for existing members who went through the course in previous months or years. As Kong explained at the first class last weekend, “The aim of CIC is to get members to commit to Jesus and to City Harvest Church.”
The lesson opened with a hilarious skit centered around a game-show called “Whose Church Is It Anyway?”. Four fictional members of CHC competed to answer questions about the church, such as “What is the largest ministry in CHC?”, “How many pastors are there in the church?” and “Why do the members attend cell group meetings?” While most of their answers were hilariously wrong, the right answers gave the congregation a better understanding of CHC.
The first lesson in CIC dealt with the topic of salvation. Kong first answered the question of why is it important to join a church to lay the foundation of the lesson. He then explained that Mankind was made because God loves us, wants to have a relationship with us and to give us a purpose for our lives. Yet, the world is filled with conflicts and problems because Man has chosen to rebel and ignore God’s principles of living. The only way out of sin is to accept God’s free gift of salvation for us.
Salvation through the Cross
Salvation is free, but the price which Jesus paid for our salvation is not. He was unjustly tried, brutally whipped by the Roman soldiers, forced to carry the cross for our sins, and endure the brutality of His crucifixion. Kong explained that the way for Man to break free from the bondage of sin is not through good works but by believing in Jesus Christ and his death on the Cross for us.
Jesus’ death on the Cross not only avails to believers forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life, it also has the power to take away sicknesses and bring healing. Kong shared the deeply encouraging testimony of He Weiling from Hsin Tien Covenant Church, one of CHC’s affiliated churches in Taiwan. Being diagnosed with a brain tumor at 13, she struggled with night blindness and excruciating headaches, which often cause her to faint. Her tumor rendered her blind in one eye and a hospital error caused her to lose sight in her other eye. After she came to salvation, she learned to pray and confess the healing of Jesus Christ. Her breakthrough came after more than two years of prayer and she was fully healed by God—the tumor disappeared and she regained her sight fully.
Just as importantly, the Cross redeems believers from their failures and empowers them with the ability to succeed and prosper. “God wants us to prosper and He delights in our prosperity. He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others,” Kong said, as pictures appeared on the screen of Christians who have made an impact in the marketplace.
Lastly, the Cross takes away our rebellious nature and sinful character, and enables believers to break free from their bad habits. Emphasizing the importance of renewing our minds and attitude toward life, Kong added “When we live by our new man, we can live every day in righteousness and holiness, and we lose our urge to sin.”
The senior pastor then led the whole church in the sinner’s prayer. He explained that the church helps new and existing members to obtain spiritual maturity in five ways: to experience God and to love Him (Prayer/Worship); to build fulfilling and lasting relationships (Fellowship); to have their characters changed to be more like Him (Discipleship); to use their talents to serve others (Ministry); and to share the Good News with the lost (Evangelism). These five points also form the DNA of CHC.
Rounding off the lesson, Kong urged all members and newcomers to stay committed and connected City Harvest Church.
“CHC is a great and supportive family. We really welcome all of you and want you to stay and grow with us.”
The atmosphere transformed into one of sentiment when Yong Te-Chong, CHC’s hospitality pastor (also the first worship leader in the church) took over the stage with a rousing rendition of “Auld Lang Syne”.
The hall was filled with hugs and tears, amidst confetti, as the service came to a nostalgic close with everyone singing familiar favorites, “Have I Told You Lately” and “Xie Xie You Ni Men”. Kong had, during his sermon, encouraged members, quoting from Isaiah 43:18-19, to forget the hurts and disappointments in 2011, and to anticipate new hopes, visions and dreams which God will bring forth in the New Year. As members looked back at the friendships formed and strengthened in 2011, they looked forward to growing closer as a church family in 2012.
Don’t miss the next three weeks of CIC at service!
You will be learning about the following:
1) CHC’s Statement
- Purpose of CHC’s existence
- Church’s Mission Statement
2) CHC’s Strategy
- What CHC believe
- What CHC practice
3) CHC’s Structure
- The “skeleton” of CHC
- What does it mean to be a member of CHC