In the first quarter of 2012, City Harvest Church members were blessed by messages from four new speakers. Each shared a different facet of relating to God and to man, but all added to CHC’s theme for this year: Relationship and Discipleship.
By Dawn Seow
CHC held a “Relationship Weekend” from Feb. 3 to 5, with main services held by Dr. Robi Sonderegger, an Australian clinical psychologist. Formerly the snowboard instructor of Prince Charles and Prince Harry, Sonderegger taught the church how to overcome issues of addiction, relationship problems and lack of self-identity, using faith as the foundation and science as the method.
With his animated role-play and funny stories, Sonderegger gave members an insight to how the human brain works, and presented clinically-proven, practical steps that can help them overcome relational issues. He also showed them that many of these steps work best when they have God as their Partner.
“In order to determine our value or worth, we first need to identify why we are here—our purpose. But to identify our purpose, we need to identify who we are, and to do that, we need to know the One who created us, God Himself.” ~ Dr. Robi Sonderegger
Canon J. John, founder of Philo Trust in the UK, gave the church a taste of his dry British wit and the truth of Christianity packaged in simple words and entertaining stories, over the weekend of Feb. 18 and 19.
John explained that Christianity is an invitation from Jesus. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus gave an invitation to all who are weary to come to Him. Whoever accepts the invitation, or “RSVP’d”, as John put it, will be connected to Christ and receive forgiveness from the past, new life in the present and hope for the future. His simple and funny but deeply provoking message led many to accept Christ’s invitation to a relationship that weekend.
“If we remove Christ from the word ‘Christian’, we are left with the letters ‘i’, ‘a’ and ‘n’, and ‘Ian’ can’t really help us. We need to be connected to Christ. If we don’t have Christ, we are just a friend of Ian’s.” ~ Canon J. John
The weekend of Feb. 25 and 26 was one of restoration as Bayless Conley, senior pastor of Cottonwood Church in Orange County, California, brought a message of faith to the members in CHC.
Conley shared stories of Bible heroes and real-life Christians today, providing evidence that God is still in the business of restoration. He encouraged members not to let the bad things in their lives crush them, or eclipse the good things that are happening.
“Unless we see the big picture in the midst of our troubles, we will not understand that God works through a process to bring restoration,” he said.
“We do not have to succumb to things of the world to fill the emptiness in our hearts. Jesus died on the Cross so that God can come and fill that hole.” ~ Bayless Conley
Bill Johnson, senior pastor of the Bethel Church in Redding, California, came not just with a powerful word in season, but also with a gift to CHC: the mantle of healing.
Over the weekend of Mar. 17 and 18, Johnson taught on how to gain the authority to release the power given by God, in order to fulfill His will “on earth as it is in heaven” and to establish a Kingdom culture.
Johnson explained that every believer has an open heaven above him. “What you are most conscious of, you will release into the atmosphere. If you are conscious of the Holy Spirit, you release Him wherever you go.”
“Our relationship on earth is to reflect that in Heaven. In Heaven we are celebrated, not tolerated.” ~ Bill Johnson