Having a personal, intimate relationship with God the Father and with Jesus precedes everything, declare Kong Hee and Phil Pringle at the opening session of the School Of Theology 2012.
By Yong Yung Shin
The 18th intake of the School Of Theology had the privilege to listen to a very special guest on Monday, Mar. 5—the first day of school. City Harvest Church’s advisory pastor Phil Pringle addressed nearly 500 students, talking about the fundamentals of faith, leadership and the Holy Spirit. “One of the most important things for an SOT student is to draw near to God. If you don’t know Jesus, you can’t bring others to Him.”
Held at CHC’s Jurong West premises, senior pastor of CHC, Kong Hee, gave the opening address before handing the rest of the morning to Pringle. Kong reminded the students that true ministry can only flow out of a deep sense of being loved by God the Father; for ministry to be effective, every believer must have a personal revelation of the Father’s love.
Establishing the imperative for the students, Pringle said, “Sometimes we’re in love with the idea of loving Jesus. During these seven months, you will sit at the feet of some of the greatest ministers and speakers in the world, but more than anything else, you will need to develop a consciousness of God’s presence in your life; when you have that, you will be able to hear when He speaks.”
And these revelations—the “rocks” of truth Jesus builds His church upon—comes through five ways: by hearing, reading, writing, studying and memorizing the Word.
But for the Word to really be effective in our lives, we need to meditate on it. “Meditating in new age teaching is to empty your mind. For Christians, it means to fill your mind with God’s Word. It is the digestive faculty of the soul. When you feed on the Word, you feed on Jesus!”
Pringle quoted Philippians 3:8, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ …”.
“More than having the message you need to have the Messiah. More than the principles, you need the Person; and you won’t get the Person unless you pay the price to know Him. If you spend your time—which is your most precious asset—with Jesus, you would have spent it on the most valuable thing in the world.”
Using the parable of the sower from Matthew 13, he reminded the students to not take the Word “casually”, i.e. reading it without taking the time to assimilate it. He also said that if there was any “stony ground”, i.e. the hard parts in our hearts that cause unbelief, cynicism and bitterness, the Word will not be able to take root. Finally, he exhorted them to be steadfast in their commitment to finish the course, and to be careful of the “thorns that choked the plants”—the cares and lusts of this life that may cause some to drop out.
The day ended with an afternoon of teambuilding games to help the students get to know their teammates better, while marking the start of a defining period in their lives.