Young and old came together for a timely message from Phil Pringle during City Harvest Church’s Family Weekend services.
By Michelle Heng
The weekend of Dec. 1 and 2 was a special one for City Harvest Church as members young and old gathered together for the Family Service. It was the one time in the year entire families got to sit and worship together in the same service.
Before service began, cartoon mascots paraded the hall, entertaining kids of all ages and taking photos with them. Children under the age of 12 were given a special Kid’s Activity Pack—containing an activity book, a 3D puzzle, color papers, and crayons—to keep them occupied during the service. A set of sermon notes was also included to help the older children follow the preaching of the sermon.
With exuberant praise and worship by a team of adult and Children’s Church singers, the service got off to a rousing start. It was heartwarming to see the three young singers, Joshua, Joie and Tricia, taking the stage with boldness, leading the crowd in a time of worship.
Young dramatists from the Children’s Church put up a short skit to encourage the church. A lively adaptation of the children’s fable The Enormous Turnip, the drama emphasized that a house united can achieve anything. The morale of the story, as declared by the little lead actor, was: “If we have many hands together, we can do anything. United we stand, divided we fall. Just like Psalms 133:1 says ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’”
A MESSAGE OF FREEDOM: FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT
Phil Pringle, CHC’s advisory pastor, shared a word that encouraged the congregation to stay close to God and to each other in difficult times.
Pringle is the founder and president of C3 Global Network of Churches, a thriving movement of more than 200 churches worldwide, and the senior pastor of C3 Church in Sydney, Australia.
In Colossians 1:12, Paul the apostle gave thanks “to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light”. Pringle reminded the church that Christians are qualified to be saints, not because of what they have done, but because of what Jesus did. “Nobody in this room is disqualified from getting what the saints are going to inherit,” he said.
It is thus important for Christians to appropriate this truth in their life, to see themselves as something before it actually happens.
“When you look at the Promised Land and think that the life is beyond you, you say ‘No, that is mine, I already have it in Jesus’ name.’ It’s already in your bank account; the way that you withdraw it is to appropriate truth: believe in your heart and confess it with your mouth.”
Paul had a revelation of the work of the cross that not only are the sins washed away through Christ’s crucifixion, but the sinner himself was crucified with Christ: “I have been crucified with Christ, but nevertheless I lived, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal 2:20) This means that Christians are set free from themselves—their attitudes and self-absorption—and they can now live their life in Christ.
In Colossians 1:13, when Paul said that God “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love the word.” The word “conveyed” also means “translated” or “converted”. This means believers have been translated from the old life to the new one.
“When we cry out to Jesus, He doesn’t come to us and ask if we have been good the whole week, or to tell us to work harder at the office,” Pringle said. “When a father hears his children cry, he simply comes, picks the child up and brings him into the light. That is what it means when Paul says God will convey us from the power of darkness.
“Jesus brought us into a new Kingdom, and we need new language and new currency,” Pringle explained. “The old language of negativity is not going to work—we need to speak the language of faith. As long as we walk in faith, our due season will come one day.”
God wants every family to enjoy His freedom: freedom from worry, debt, or anxiety. 2 Kings 4 speaks of a widow of a prophet, who who cried out to Elisha for help; her family was in heavy debt and her sons were to be taken away by creditors.
“If we have ever lived in a generation where families are under attack, it is right now, especially in the church. The devil wants to steal the sons of the house,” revealed Pringle.”Just because we serve God doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen.”
Yet in the midst of her misery, the widow did not run away from God but chose to seek the advice of a man of God.
“Although the man didn’t leave a legacy or an insurance policy, at least he left the greatest thing any man can leave for his wife and sons: an attitude that will cause them to run to God for strength, and not away from Him, when they are in trouble.”
The widow in this story was in a crisis not of her own doing: she inherited the debt from her husband. When she came to Elisha, he asked her what he could do for her. Elisha was a prophet who had performed many miracles, but he was never presumptuous. He would always stop, look up and ask God what to do.
“Because we are so alive, we often feel the need to do the things we need to do,” Pringle said. “What we need to do is to make Jesus the Lord over our lives. Many people say ‘God this is what I want to do, bless me please.’ They don’t come to God and say ‘What do you think, God?’ because what He’ll say might be too risky. But God is only the Lord of our lives when we bring our plans before Him and ask Him what He thinks about them.”
Elisha asked the woman what she had, and she replied that she had nothing except a little flask of oil.
“Many of us are like the woman; we feel that we do not have much, but a little in your hands is a lot in God’s hands. What you have in your house now is all you need for your miracle,” the pastor proclaimed to spirited applause from the congregation. “You have been brought out of darkness into light, out of bondage into freedom, out of poverty into abundance!”
The prophet wanted the widow to think big. He got her to bring in her largest vessels, and her sons were also involved in bringing in the biggest vessels.
“The children she thought she was going to lose became part of the miracle,” explained the preacher. “This is what CHC should do. The sons of this house should go into the neighboring cities and reach out to the Cambodians, the Vietnamese, the Taiwanese, the Indonesians and bring in the empty vessels.” These vessels are the people who do not know Christ. “As long as the empty vessels are being brought in, the oil—the anointing—will not stop flowing!”
The story ended with the widow having enough oil to sell off to pay her debts. In fact she had enough to survive the rest of her life. Her worst problem had become the greatest miracle in her life.
“Pastor Phil has said many times we make our own decisions and then ask God to bless them, but why not ask God what we should do?” said Kayla Chng, 22, a special education officer. “I feel that it is a timely reminder as we come to the end of 2012 that we need to surrender to God and die to ourselves.”
Pringle ended off the Family Weekend services with an altar call for salvation, and a visionary prayer for the salvation of families the upcoming Christmas services. Many left the service with much faith to see their family members coming to Christ this Christmas.