On Feb. 8 and 9, CHC’s advisory pastor Phil Pringle revealed three things every believer needs for a fresh start.
City Harvest Church’s advisory pastor Phil Pringle brought another powerful message over the first weekend of Feb. 8 and 9. In CHC ministering for the second time this year, Pringle came with his wife Chris Pringle, as well as his son Joe Pringle, who led the church in a time of praise and worship.
Joe Pringle is an accomplished musician and singer–not only does he serve in the music ministry of the church; he also engages the music industry in the marketplace. His is the voice on the track ‘Footprints (All Over The World’ by Dutch deejay Tiesto, which debuted at the TomorrowWorld 2013 Festival and appears on Tiesto’s upcoming album.
Pringle started the service by getting the church to stand up and confess Isaiah 48:18-19 aloud. The verse exhorts believers to leave behind the former things and trust God who is able to make a way even in troubled times. This verse also served as an introduction to Pringle’s sermon for the weekend: “Fresh Start”.
“You’ve got to get out all the old stuff to get the new stuff in; new wine, new wineskin,” explained Pringle. In line with the sermon, every member was given a confession card, where they could write things they wanted to leave behind in 2013, and things they wanted to believe God for in 2014.
“When we write things down, there is a power to generate faith,” said Pringle, who got the church to pray over their penned-down dreams at the end of the service.
Leading the church through the book of Philemon, Pringle expounded on three things needed for a brand new start.
1. Face Your Fears; Forgive And Be Forgiven
The book of Philemon was a letter written by Paul to him, his family and his church. Slavery was common practice during Paul’s time; a poor man would have three or four slaves, while wealthy men could have up to a few thousand slaves. Typically, a slave would have no rights, and runaway slaves were branded and severely punished. Philemon was a wealthy man and Paul had used his place for church gatherings.
The background of the book of Philemon was that Philemon had a slave, Onesimus, who stole from him and ran away to Rome where he was caught and thrown into jail. Paul met Onesimus in jail and led him to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
In Philemon 1:12, Paul revealed that he was sending back Onesimus, now a believer, to Philemon.
“This is one of the most difficult things to do in life–to go back and face the music,” said Pringle. “We lose control over our lives when we run away from our responsibilities, putting it into the hands of our circumstances instead.”
For Onesimus to return to Philemon would take tremendous courage, given the background of how slaves were treated and the wrong that he had done.
Pringle reminded the church that victory is never won by running away from the problem. The only way to overcoming problems is to face the issue and address it.
“Face it full on and say that ‘you are not going to beat me anymore’, this thing is going to be buried under the blood of Jesus,” the preacher said. That is the pathway of transformation–no one can get a fresh start until they have faced their past.
“Jesus can rewrite your history,” said Pringle. “Too many people are stuck in the past. Paul wanted to send Onesimus back to Philemon so that he could face his mistake and then move into a brand new future,” explained Pringle.
“No one gets a fresh start until they face their past and let Jesus cleanse our past.”
FORGIVE AND BE FORGIVEN
While Paul was encouraging Onesimus to face his fears and receive forgiveness, he was also exhorting Philemon, his family and the church to be a family who is accepting and forgiving.
“Our job is not to judge but to love. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die,” taught Pringle. Unforgiveness opens a hole in a Christian’s spiritual covering and gives the enemy a chance to torment him; forgiveness, on the other hand, sets the forgiver’s heart free.
In Philemon 1:16-17, Paul beseeches Philemon not to receive Onesimus as a slave, but as a brother. A runaway slave should be branded on his forehead and receive punishment, but Paul asked Philemon to receive him as he would have received Paul himself. Paul went a step further, saying in Philemon 1:18 that if Onesimus owed Philemon anything, he would assume the debt.
“Paul is behaving like Jesus Christ here,” Pringle said. “He is making intercession for Philemon, just like how Jesus would intercede for us sinners; Through His death and sacrifice, He is now making intercession for us such that our standing with the Father is as His own. And Jesus had asked God not to charge us for our sins, just like how Paul said he would pay for Philemon, Jesus said He will pay the full price for our sins.” Even though mankind is fallen and undeserving, God’s heart is not for merciless judgment, but redemption.
“Believe in people, that they are more than they are. That is how God believes in us too. Express confidence in one another,” said Pringle.
Phil 1:10-11 reveals that Onesimus has become profitable after his conversion. To become a useful person is one of the most defining characteristics of a person who has received Jesus, Pringle taught.
He went on to share seven ways a person can become useful in life.
1. Be skillful at what we do
2. Be willing, eager, happy and enthusiastic
3. Be reliable
4. Excel; be ahead of the game
5. Prepare well and complete the job
6. Be wise and appropriate, discreet and prudent
7. Healthy, fit and strong.
3. Fresh Encounters With Jesus Christ
“The most transforming thing that can happen to anybody in this world is to meet Jesus Christ,” said Pringle. “From that point onwards, your entire life would be transformed.”
Philemon 1:6 exhorts the believer to acknowledge the good things in us in Christ. Believers have to learn to speak to their lives through confessing Scripture rather than acknowledging the bad things in life. Negativity blocks the believer’s faith and make life ineffective.
“The greatest power you can create is to speak the same Word that created the heavens and the earth. Your world is the sum total of the words you have been speaking; check your confession!” said Pringle, as he led the congregation to stand up and confess Scripture promises aloud, praying over the confession cards they had written.
Pringle ended the service with an altar call inviting non-believers to receive Jesus into their hearts.
Pringle gave the congregation the following power confessions from the Bible:
Philippians 4:19 “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
2 Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
John 14:14 “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
Matthew 7:7 ““Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you willask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”