City Harvest Church celebrated Father’s Day with a heart-tugging short film and an encouraging message.
By Sandy Poon
As members of City Harvest Church made their way into the worship hall at Singapore Expo over the weekend of Jun. 16 and 17, they were greeted by a quirky competition which marked the start of the Father’s Day weekend service.
Dubbed “Iron Dad”, the competition saw three fathers fighting to be the champion in, not lifting iron but ironing clothes. After the host, Bernard Loh, explained the simple rules of the competition–to iron three long-sleeve shirts and two short-sleeve t-shirts within five minutes–the three competitors wasted no time in getting down to the task. The winner for each service walked away with S$250 worth of Harvey Norman vouchers while the runner-ups received vouchers worth S$150 and S$100 as well.
The rest of the service was dedicated to the fathers in the service as well. The various submission of the photo-and-caption competition “Who’s My Daddy?” was consolidated into a video montage, which featured an endearing compilation of photos and a dance put up by CHC’s Children Church and Drama Ministry. Worship singers Alison Yap, Carmen Ang, Renata Triani and Annabel Soh, took to the stage next with a heartwarming cover of Kari Jobe’s latest song “What Love Is This”. The mellifluous voices of the ladies captivated the congregants, reminding each one not only of God’s love, but also the sacrifice of their earthly fathers.
The CHC drama team presented a short film to commemorate the occasion. Entitled “A Father’s Day”, the short film showed a father going about a typical day, sending his daughter to school, going to work, attending meetings and paying his thick pile of bills during lunch break–only, this day was a little special. It was his daughter’s birthday. Wanting to fulfill his daughter’s wish of getting a Barbie doll for her birthday, Dad had to forgo his usual lunch, which was a deli-sandwich, for a cheaper lunch. And to fulfill his wife’s desire to go to Paris Disneyland for Christmas, Dad was willing to put aside his own desire of getting a bicycle. It portrayed how much sacrifice a father makes to give his family the desires of their hearts.
Senior pastor of CHC, Kong Hee shared about Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, in his Fathers’ Day message. A father figure in the Bible that is often overlooked, Joseph was a man picked out by God for a special mission–to raise His only begotten Son to manhood. Kong told a story of a young lady, Helen Lucile McFarland Fray, a mother of 10 who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 36. Knowing that her husband would not be capable of raising the children single-handedly when she is gone, Helen went around searching for homes for each and every single child. She eventually found homes for all of them before passing away two years later. In the same way, God went looking for parents to raise up His beloved, only begotten Son. He found a teenage girl Mary and the young man Joseph, and called them to become earthly parents of Jesus. “The child was conceived miraculously by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary,” he said. “There was no need for a man to be involved in the conception. Yet, Jesus needed an earthly dad to fulfill the role of fatherhood in His life!” And Joseph fulfilled his role well. Kong went on to share three reasons why Joseph was a good father.
1) Joseph was a loving father.
“The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. And we see that Joseph loved Mary greatly!” Kong said. They were betrothed to each other when Mary told him she was pregnant with a child from God, Joseph’s reaction to her incredulous claim was not to seek revenge and publicly humiliate her. Instead, he wanted to quietly break the engagement to spare her from public disgrace. Even to Jesus, who was not his own, Joseph showed a lot of love and kindness. When King Herod embarked on a nationwide massacre to kill all the male children, he risked his life to protect Jesus; he provided for Him and even passed on his own trade of carpentry to Him.
2) Joseph was a nurturing father.
Joseph did not live a long life, but he used whatever time he had been given to nurture his family and raise his children well. “We know that Jesus had at least four other brothers, and two of them were greatly used by God. James became the leader of the church in Jerusalem, and Jude wrote one of the books in the New Testament. Joseph raised his children in the ways of God, and nurtured them in the faith. In his short lifespan, he left behind a legacy that is still impacting the world today.” Based on research by Dr. Patrick Morley, founder of the popular Florida non-profit men-only ministry Man In The Mirror, Kong urged the fathers in the congregation not to focus on the outward performance and behavior of their children, but to go to the heart of the matter: beyond what their children do, they should ask why they do it. “Fathering for performance gets children to behave right, but this is only good for the short term, while fathering the heart helps children to believe right, and this will shape them for life,” Kong advised. Judges chapter two was an example of how a generation did not know or trusted God was handed over to raiders. If there is no proper fathering, children will fall easily to the temptations of the world. “But when we bring our children into the presence of Jesus, He will transform them from the inside out.”
3) Joseph was a faithful spiritual father.
When the Angel of God spoke to him about Mary, he obeyed the voice of God and took her as his wife; when the Angel spoke to him again, he obeyed, packed their bags and fled to Egypt. It takes great courage and faith for a man to do that! “Our faith speaks volumes to our children,” Kong remarked. “Joseph was not perfect, but he inspires me! Joseph was a person who went to the house of God regularly and attends the feast in the Temple. “Our kids are watching how we are faithful to God daily; Joseph set a good example for his family.” Kong ended the service by encouraging fathers to love and provide for their families, and set a good example to them by being spiritual and devoted to God. To the children, he urged them to be loving, patient and kind to their parents, especially if they are advanced in age.