As Emerge 2012 comes to an end, the youth are reminded to build their faith and commitment in God alone.
By Theodora Ho
As the Olympic torch burns bright in London, an even brighter flame was ignited in the hearts of the youth at City Harvest Church last weekend as the three-day Emerge 2012 youth conference came to an end the morning of July 29. But it was not so much an end as it was the beginning of a new chapter in their lives, as lives were dedicated afresh to God.
The service kick-started with a heart-pumping performance by a group of dancers from O-School before the Emerge band took to the stage in praise and worship.
Chris Tan, 21, student, says, “I feel so encouraged to see many young leaders rising up to lead praise and worship and also to pray in front of the large congregation. Even as youth, we should dare to dream big and go all the way for it, even when we meet with failures and stumbling blocks, because we are motivated by the vision Pastor Kong and Sun has for the church.”
Rena Koh, 54, a part-time administration assistant, said, “I am incredibly proud of how the CHC youth have grown and how Emerge has become a platform for the youth to reach out to their peers. All glory be to God for this opportunity to help our upcoming generation make such a huge impact in society in their creative ways.”
Kong Hee, senior pastor of CHC, built on his message from the previous day on building an altar to God.
Drawing from the verses in the book of Joshua, Kong explained the importance of building an altar before God. He gave a background on how two and a half tribes out of the twelve tribes of Israel had requested to possess the land on the east side of the Jordan River while the rest settled on the west. When the two and a half tribes had settled down, they built an altar on their side of the river, upsetting the rest of the tribes.
Before getting into a war, the tribes explained that they built the altar not because they were rebelling against the Lord, but it was for their own worship. Just in case the nine and a half tribes decided not to worship God or follow the Bible, at least they will still have their own altar, the senior pastor explained.
“You build your own altar just in case your ex-cell group leader backslides, or your old church mate, those you attend Bible Study with, decide to leave God; when that happens, you will still have your own altar to worship God.”
Kong shared that at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, before He made major decisions, when He was emotionally broken, when He was under severe pressure and when He needed to cope with daily demands, He always went away to that altar in His heart, to seek God and draw strength from Him. Jesus built His own altar; His faith and commitment was not dependent on people or circumstances. Kong challenged the congregation to do the same–to build an altar reserved exclusively for God.
“The altar is not just a place of prayer; it is a place of worship, maybe weeping quietly before the Lord, or just enjoying the awareness of His presence. Whenever we are faced with challenges, we need to go back to the altar to seek God and draw strength from Him.”
The finale would not be complete without a final special item. 23 youth took it upon themselves to write a song and produce a music video, “The Greatest Place” in tribute to a surprised Kong to express their faith in him and their gratitude for his vision and leadership at CHC, which has been a place of love, acceptance and inspiration—a home—to many of them.
After the playing of the music video, the young people came up on stage, with songwriter Amos Ang in the lead, to give their heartfelt thanks to their senior pastor and his wife Sun for leading lives that in turn inspired them to shine for God. Their testimonies touched not just the couple but many others in the congregation. Tears flowed as Kong and Sun hugged each of the youth and the rest of the pastors joined them on stage in a chorus of “You Know We Are Brothers.”
Kendrick Kum, 24, student, shared that his favorite part was the video which truly showed how Kong’s God given vision has transformed the lives of many. He said, “Having boldness in our life is extremely important. It was not easy for Pastor Kong to embark on the vision that was given to him when he was only a youth; but through obedience, he brought the church to where it is today and in turn inspired youth to act in boldness to pursue the dreams and visions given to them, because God uses imperfect vessels like you and me to do His perfect will.”
Lim Chaiying, 25, a consultant, states, “Like what Pastor Kong has shared, having an experience does not mean we are going to stay consecrated. We need to have an altar moment with God. Jesus needs to take preeminence in our lives. From the Salt and Light competition, we can see how the youth are able to think out of the box and be a blessing to the community. We can serve God while excelling in our schools and career.”
On this last day of Emerge 2012, the youth found themselves to be fueled with a bigger purpose to do more for Christ. One of the young participants, Chris Tan put it nicely. “All good things come to an end; however, it will be the start of something greater that is yet to come. We serve a God of miracles and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. After hearing the testimonies by these youth, I feel the need to pray for a renewal of mind and a new vision on my life because I will not despise my youth. I will build an altar for Him alone and lead a life that has Jesus at the center of it all.”
Read other reports on Emerge 2012 at www.citynews.sg.