Despite the challenges of 2012, the year ends on a spiritual high for City Harvest Church.
By The City News Team
“Faith is accepting as truth what God has revealed in His Word. You exercise faith when you accept what someone says as truth; if you don’t accept it, there is no faith.” So said Dr AR Bernard at a recent service at City Harvest Church.
The events of June 2012 this year challenged the strength of the Church, and most certainly its faith. Yet, as the weeks and months passed, after the initial flurry of media reports about the progress of the case against six of the church’s leaders, CHC began to rise up to a new level of faith.
In September, senior pastor of the Church Kong Hee, together with his wife Sun, visited Dr David Yonggi Cho, the emeritus senior pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church. Cho, the man Kong calls his pastor, received them warmly and spent time encouraging them through this time of crisis.
Kong shared with his congregation later that Cho had reminded him of Psalm 91:2, which calls God “my refuge and my fortress.” Refuge is a place of defense, and fortress is a place of offense. Instead of simply protecting itself, the Church was to rise up and fight with the weapons God had given it. These weapons are the Word of God, the Name of Jesus and the Blood of Christ, and CHC was to unleash them through prayer, praise, preaching, prophecy and profession.
The weeks that followed only fortified this revelation. CHC’s advisory pastor Phil Pringle preached two encouraging messages on faith and truly understanding “who we are and what we have” as Christians. That was followed by the Arise & Build series of sermons by Kong about the character of CHC as a house of glory by faith and one that enters the rest of faith. By the end of the seven weeks, the Church had reached a point of unity and strength that it pledged an unexpected faith amount of S$18.3 million to the building fund.
By the time Dr AR Bernard, CHC’s advisory chairman, came at the end of November, the church was well ready for his message on having aggressive faith. From a position of uncertainty at the start of this year, CHC has grown to a position of strength and hope as well, one that Kong emphasizes must be kept up through three practices: Fighting the good fight over God’s promises, exercising one’s authority over satan, and leaning on God’s righteousness.
And as the year drew to a close, Kong led the Church to remember and hold as truth the promises God had given it over the last 23 years, through a coffee table book, Irrevocable. One of His promises is that the Church will have a place “in the marketplace, for the marketplace, to serve the marketplace.” (See box story). As it enters into 2013, CHC is reminded to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12 ESV)
In September this year, City Harvest Church moved temporarily to Singapore Expo Hall 1 for its worship services while Suntec Convention Centre is being renovated in an AEI (asset enhancement initiative).
According to Marc Bakker, Suntec Singapore’s assistant director for marketing and communications, “Phase 1 of the AEI is progressing well and is expected to be completed before the end of Q2 2013. As for the new retail units in Phase 1, to date, Suntec REIT has indicated that 71.2 percent (as of Q3 2012) of Suntec City’s Phase 1 AEI space has been pre-committed (up from 58 percent as of Q2 2012). Phase 2 of the AEI should commence in Q1 2013. The Suntec Convention Centre and the retail units at Suntec City Mall are also on track to reopen by May 2013.”
This is good news for CHC, which looks forward to a beautiful venue with great shopping and dining choices. Bakker elaborates, “The design of the venue pays particular attention to flexibility, functionality and convertibility while integrating a high degree of advanced technology, which will include an impressive three-storey interactive video wall and a modernized façade. The most visible change will be the new entrance, accessed by express escalators from the current ground-level entrance to the reception at Level 3. Levels 1 and 2 will become retail and dining areas as a further integration with the adjacent Suntec City Mall.”
The aim of the Suntec AEI is to provide “more control to our clients over their events and budget,” says Bakker. By meeting the needs and demands of clients, Suntec Singapore aims to “be a positive influence of change for the convention business of the future and to become the preferred place to meet in Singapore and Asia.”