City Harvest Church’s advisory pastor Phil Pringle taught the congregation a powerful lesson on knowing Jesus as one’s Lord.
May 25 and 26 was a weekend to remember for City Harvest Church members. After six days of court hearing for six CHC leaders, members of the church came in droves and filled up Hall 1 of the Singapore Expo.
A highlight of the service was a video depicting One Heart, an initiative by members of the church to pray and confess positive verses for each of the six leaders. One group even used hand-held counters to record their verbal confessions, while another group wrote out confessions by hand, thousands of times, complied them into books and presented them to each leader. The books comprised of 20 different Bible verses and quotes specifically addressed to each recipient.
CHC zone supervisor and co-organizer behind the One Heart Initiative, Lee Yi Lun explained: “We learned that God’s Word in our mouth is as good as God’s word in His mouth. Faith is vocal, and that is why we speak out the Word of God believing that the spoken Word will not return to us void. There is power in the repetition of God’s Word. Every prayer confession we make is moving mountains.”
LESSONS FROM DOG-TRAINING
CHC’s advisory pastor Phil Pringle, the speaker that weekend, exhorted the congregation with a sermon entitled “The Parable of the Dog”. He started his sermon by establishing the contrast between “Jesus is Lord” as opposed to “Jesus is my Lord”. While it is known through Bible verses, like Acts 2:36 and Matthew 28:18, that Jesus is the Lord over the entire universe, all of that information is pointless unless God moves from being “the Lord” to being “my Lord”–the head knowledge of Christ must translate into a personal experience in every Christian.
To illustrate his point, Pringle shared the story of how his new West Highland terrier Piper was trained. Piper’s trainer started the dog-training session with feeding. Piper barked viciously at the bowl placed in front of her, but the trainer kept him on a leash till she calmed down. It took 35 minutes, but eventually the pup’s will was broken, and he quietened down and waited. Only upon the command of the trainer did he move forward and eat from the bowl.
Pringle’s animated mimicking of Piper’s barks and expressions brought down the house.
The dog-training session gave Pringle a revelation. “I thought of the times I was ‘barking’ because I couldn’t get what I wanted. God had me on a leash, and I had to wait for [His command]. I had to know that He is my Lord. He is the one who builds [my life].”
Many people rush into projects without stopping to invite Jesus to be a part of it because they cannot trust that God knows what is best for them. They end up in a mess and come back to their Savior asking to be saved. Such people are stuck at salvation (“Jesus is Lord”), but fail to realise that Jesus is also their Lord—the One who gets to make decisions for their lives.
God the artist, said Pringle, is most often expressed as the Potter. He moulds His believers into completion of the good work that was started in them. Every potter starts the moulding process by putting the clay on the wheel to press out all the little pebbles in the clay. Getting on the wheel, said the preacher, is akin to attending cell group meetings, church services and prayer meetings.
“If you don’t get on the wheel, the hand of God can’t come on your life. He has got to be Lord of the basics, if He is ever going to be the Lord of the specifics.”
Taking the Church through the process of pottery-making, Pringle explained that the Potter works in each stage of a Christian’s life: removing impurities, squeezing into the ideal shape, standing the “pot” on the shelf to settle, firing it in the furnace, and at least the final product is created. Unless a Christian is willing to be molded in the Potter’s hand, he cannot achieve the things God has prepared for him.
Going back to Piper, Pringle said that he now sits in the kitchen in front of the bowl of food until he is given the permission to eat. “He became something. We cannot become something until we learn obedience and we learn obedience not by studying it, but by going through tough experiences. They form us more than anything else.”
Pringle shared his own experience learning obedience toward God that took him from receiving his calling, losing his dream and becoming a postman, to a pastor of over 15 people, to founder and president of C3 Global Network of Churches movement and senior pastor of C3 Church.
“There may be some difficult moments in your life, but you got to understand that God is teaching you something in your character called obedience, so that He is not just Lord but He is your Lord,” he emphasized. “And you will do what He calls you to do no matter what that is, no matter how difficult or challenging.”
“We may not understand what is going on, but we need to know that God is doing far more behind our backs than in front of us.”
Phyllis Seah, 20, a university undergraduate said, “This entire week [of the trial proceedings] really showed how strong the bonds within this church are, especially the ‘One Heart’ video shown during service. Also, Pastor Phil’s session was nothing short of amazing. He portrayed God as the Potter and the process each of us has to go through to emerge as a beautiful masterpiece from dirty and impure mud. The theme of Lordship is something most people overlook but it is so important in our walk with Him.”
Many felt the tangible presence of God that weekend. The service ended with many newcomers giving their hearts to Christ and countless members responding to an altar call to obedience to God as their Lord.