God is seeking to raise up mighty men of valor in the Church, said Tan Ye Peng at City Harvest Church’s Men’s Meeting earlier this month.
It was a testosterone-charged evening as 1,570 men of City Harvest Church gathered on May 9. Tan Ye Peng, one of the pastors in CHC, opened the meeting by reiterating what Dr. A.R. Bernard shared in his sermon to the church the weekend before: that God looks for three things in a man—decisiveness, consistency, and strength. Tan said that God can and will bless a man; but unfortunately, the modern day society lacks the framework for men to understand the notion that manhood and Christlike-ness are synonymous. Thus, without a proper framework, the blessings of God cannot flow.
Tan also shared that the purpose of life is to increase the Master’s asset, and this is done primarily through shepherding others. He went on to challenge the men to adopt the mindset of a servant instead of a hoarder, “Don’t come here thinking how you can benefit; instead, think about how you can contribute.”
Tan shared from Luke 2:52 (MSG), a verse depicting how Jesus was blessed by both God and people. He explained that the following four factors are crucial in leading a balanced life, and that harmony among these factors should be achieved.
1. Social Circle
Tan emphasized that a man’s social circle is very important because people grow to become the group of people they hang out with the most. He quoted from 1 Cor. 15:33, saying: “Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character.”
Tan posted these questions to the men: Are your best friends from church? Are you putting in effort to build meaningful connections in your Cell Group and ministry group?
2. Bodily Health
Tan explained that stress causes sleep deprivation, which is a precursor to many other health related problems including depression. Many pastors are so busy serving and ministering to their flock that they tend to neglect their own health. As a result, pastors are quitting the ministry at an alarming rate because they are burnt out. Most cases stems from the simple fact that they do not get enough rest.
Tan offered a practical solution in striving for better health: get more sleep and sun exposure. Moderate sunlight can help kill bacteria, and it benefits the skin. In addition, exposure to sunlight can lower the risk of depression.
“This has to deal with our outlook in life,” Tan taught. He quoted 2 Tim. 1:7, which says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of a sound mind. “What prevents us from having a sound mind?” asked Tan.
He concluded that many people dwell on the past, fear the future, and thus, they cannot live in the present. Tan urged the crowd to focus on the present and not to be bogged down by failures. He went on to say that, failure is a better teacher than success as people only grow through the failures in through life.
4. Spiritual Life
Tan shared from James 1:12, which says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
He said that the greatest tragedy of a man is the inability to endure temptation. The failure to endure hardship is the greatest hindrance to a man’s decisiveness, consistency and strength; it is one of the greatest attacks on a man’s self-esteem and confidence, creating doubt in a man toward his ministry and leadership.
Tan taught that there are four things a man can focus on to endure temptation:
1. God’s Promise Of Life
Tan explains that the crown is not the ultimate reward in James 1:12; instead, life is the reward, and that is the crown man will receive. He quoted what Jesus said in John 10:10, that His promise is life and life more abundantly.
“Trials are opportunities that can either lead you forward, or they can be temptations that draw you backwards,” said Tan. He encouraged the attendees to persevere in the midst of temptations.
“If we are able to do so, Christ will bring us into a whole new kind of life that we have never experienced before.”
It is the process of life that shapes a person, said Tan, and he went on to explain that when God tests a person, it is not to tempt, but to foster endurance in life. Quoting from Prov. 17:3, Tan emphasized that when God tests the hearts of men, the test is not to induce sin or destroy a person’s faith—because God is not evil.
3. God’s Nature
Continuing from the previous point, Tan brought the congregation through James 1:17 and gave the assurance that it is God’s nature to be good. Hence, when Christians go through difficult periods, they can deal with the stress by focusing on God’s Word and His presence. Instead of measuring God’s love based on external circumstances, Christians can measure God’s love based on the fact that He sent His only Son to die for the sins of all mankind.
4. God’s power
Sharing from James 1:19-21, Tan emphasized that Christians should be swift to hear the Word of God as the Word has the power to save the soul.
Tan concluded with the proposition that he who endures temptation is blessed as he will receive the crown of life.
Caleb Chee, 27, remarked, “I was impacted by the four factors that determine if we can be blessed by God. I now know which area of my life I need to work on to achieve balance and harmony.”
Oh Zhen Guo, 24, an undergraduate, shared, “When we start changing our perspective in seeing the positives, we can build resilience in our lives to endure failures and setbacks.”