Dr. Yonggi Cho calls City Harvest Church to a higher level in God through understanding faith and eternity.
By Jeremy Chua
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship,” said Greek poet Aeschylus. In the midst of one of the greatest storms that City Harvest Church has had to weather, senior pastor Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho have been preaching and living out the Word given by the Holy Spirit to CHC, tirelessly. What could be more fitting and better exhortation than to have the man Kong refers to as “my senior pastor” bring words of life and encouragement to the church?
That man is founder and senior pastor-emeritus of the largest church in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea, Dr. David Yonggi Cho. This giant of faith has played a pivotal role in the growth of Christianity in South Korea, and his influence can be felt and witnessed throughout the world.
The weekend of Apr. 14 and 15 was a memorable one; the members were first treated to a performance by The Millenial Orchestra and the adult choir, before Cho shared the Word of God, bringing direction, comfort and encouragement. The uplifting sounds of the orchestra accentuated the soaring vocals of CHC’s “divas” Annabel Soh, Alison Yap and Sendy Bolang in a sweeping rendition of “When You Believe”, from the soundtrack of the animated film, The Prince Of Egypt.
As prelude to Cho’s preaching, Dr. Paul Kim, executive director of Church Growth International, and Dr. Kim Sung Hae, the wife of Dr. Cho, whose love for the church, Kong and Sun was apparent to all, greeted the church.
Goldmine In The Heart
Preaching out of Proverbs 4:23 in the Bible, Cho taught a lesson that was simple, yet profound. Likening our hearts to untapped gold mines, he shared of how the simple act of changing our hearts can release the power of God in our lives. He told of South Korea was transformed from a war-stricken country ravaged by poverty to a leading world economy by a change in the hearts of the people.
“No human can help the helplessness of people,” said Cho. “We have to develop people’s hearts, to believe, to think and speak according to God’s Word.”
He then revealed an important truth: the thinking process has tremendous attractive power. When one thinks right, the right things will manifest in their lives. Cho expounded on the four ways people can develop the “goldmine” in their hearts.
First, a poor thinking pattern has to change. The foundation for positive thinking has to be built on Jesus and the Cross; by understanding the work of the Cross, Christians can then claim and confess the promises of God for them. As they constantly remind themselves of God’s goodness and saturate their hearts with God’s grace, they will develop habits through repetition, and positivity blossoms in their thinking.
“Exercising in your heart what you want makes it easier in real life,” Cho said as he illustrated this with his personal experience of wanting to be warmer to his family; he now freely tells his wife and children that he loves them, and is physically affectionate toward them.
Once the thought pattern is on track with God, Christians next have to ask the Holy Spirit for clear visions and dreams. Speaking about Abraham and his God-given visions, Cho said that Abraham was a nobody until he received vision for his life from God.
“Visions and dreams are possible because we don’t need money or education for them; we just need prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit,” Cho proclaimed. “The Holy Spirit is just hovering above us before we have visions and dreams; He will move once we receive visions and dreams from God.”
The third step is to have faith and believe. Cho revealed that he too struggle with the lack of faith. “I had a lot of doubt in my heart, and looking at the mustard seed that I kept in a jar every day didn’t seem to help!” he said, amidst laughter. God spoke to him while he was praying once, and told him that just as the mustard seed is the smallest of seeds, He only needs the smallest of faith to move mountains on his behalf. “Even if you have 99 percent doubt, and only one percent faith, it is enough for God to move! We have to focus on the positive thing that we have; you are in church today, so you have at least one percent of faith!”
He concluded with the final step to developing the heart: confessing with the mouth. This is the key to seeing the Hand of God move in one’s life. “Mouth confession has tremendous power; speaking the right thing releases hope, visions and dreams, and faith.” Cho taught. By the spoken Word of God, the world was created; likewise speaking will manifest the visible things from the invisible realm into the lives of the believers.
“I feel victorious after listening to Dr. Cho’s message. I feel as though I can claim many things in my life that I didn’t try to claim before. I only need one percent of faith, and God will provide all!” shared Catherine Aw, a purchaser in her mid-50s who was hearing Dr. Cho preach for the first time.
Nickson Kee, 20, a full-time national serviceman, shared his thoughts. “I caught that the most important thing is to have a clear vision in my heart. I have often wondered what my purpose in life is, and now I understand how important it is to have a clear vision for my life.”
Time and Eternity
The next morning, on Apr. 15, Cho came bursting full throttle out of the gates, and proclaimed the eternal and unchanging nature of God. Speaking impassionedly about time and eternity, he instilled a sense of urgency and a fear of God into the church.
“Every change comes through time, but once we die and go into eternity, time stops and change stops. No change is available in eternity!” he declared.
Jesus came to preach the Gospel to the world, so that He could prepare people for eternity. Cho stated that if people are unprepared for eternity, they will be lost for eternity. When Jesus came as man, He came into time and paid the penalty of sin for mankind; He has completed salvation, and gained victory over sin, sickness and disease, and death.
“Jesus identified completely with salvation, sanctification, healing, prosperity, and the kingdom of God. He ‘eternalized’ all these when He was resurrected so we must internalize Jesus to realize these blessings. When we come into Jesus, we come into eternity with Jesus. Nothing can change that,” Cho taught.
According to Cho, by sharing the Gospel, and building their character to be more and more like Jesus, Christians carry this merit to Heaven. Not everyone will stay in the same place in Heaven. The more one’s character is like Jesus, the better a place there will be for that person in Heaven. Cho then differentiated between personality and character: people are born with a personality, and it cannot be changed, but it can be refined; character is built up through prayer and the Word through Jesus Christ—it takes time and patience to build character.
He then exhorted the church to go to a higher level. “Everything passes away! Once we enter into eternity, there is no change available. Our fate is decided when we pass away. Before death comes, we must be ready. We may be living in a changing world, but the kingdom of God will not change in our hearts. People need the eternal kingdom of God, they are waiting for someone to meet their needs. We are called by Jesus to meet their needs. We have the knowledge, we must warn them before they pass away. We must have compassion in our hearts, to bring to the Gospel to the unsaved. ”
Proclaiming the mandate God has given to CHC, Cho believes that God will use this church to change and reach out to the world, to bring the knowledge that the Holy Spirit is unchanging, and that He is still moving in His power, signs and miracles. Cho ended the service by exhorting CHC to rise up and possess the unchanging blessing that Jesus has given to His followers, the blessing that He has eternalized, and to be bold to preach the Gospel of God.