Clinical psychologist Robi Sonderegger returned to City Harvest Church with ICF Zurich’s pastor, Leo Bigger, to share the experience of conquering a giant in the form of a mountain.
Explorers scale the heights of mountains for various reasons. For clinical psychologist Robi Sonderegger and pastor Leo Bigger, it was to overcome a giant. With the help of video footage of their journey up Mount Jungfrau, the highest peak of the Swiss Alps, the dual told the story of their quest to “conquer the giant” at City Harvest Church over the weekend of Jan 17 and 18, 2015.
“When I see the increasing amount of disaster on the news, I begin to sense that there is a giant that we need to overcome,” Sonderegger said. “But before I can overcome that giant, I first need to overcome my own giant. And that was when I decided to climb Mount Jungfrau.”
Sonderegger, who is also a humanitarian activist for child-soldiers and sex-slaves, then invited Bigger, the pastor of the International Christian Fellowship, Zurich, to join him on this quest. He likened their experience to David, who literally overcame the giant Goliath. Re-telling the story of how David saw Goliath cursing the army of God and was provoked to take him down, Sonderegger encouraged the congregation to get into position to overcome the giants in their lives.
To Bigger, climbing Mount Jungfrau was a quest to overcome his fear of heights. “The Word of God is powerful,” he said, “He [God] created the whole universe just by speaking. The only time God used His hands was to form Man. He formed Adam and Eve, and placed them in the Garden of Eden.
“Similarly, this is your place. He formed you with His hands and placed you here with a task to do.”
The words of man are equally powerful, but very often, instead of using their words creatively, they use it to tear people down, noted the pastor. Bigger shared how many people tried to discourage him when he told them his plan to scale Mount Jungfrau. They called him irresponsible for not training before scaling the mountain.
Sonderegger and Bigger listed three things that one needs to conquer a giant: preparation, perseverance and prevalence.
“Conquer your mountains,” Bigger encouraged the congregation. “No matter how much preparation we do, people will try to bring us down. But look at the attitude of David, he didn’t take time to prepare.”
Faced with opposition, David simply recounted how he had overcome bears and lions as a shepherd and stated that Goliath was no different.
“The thing is, we are already prepared. God has been preparing us for the giants that He knows we would face,” Sonderegger pointed out.
Preparation is about positioning oneself to be led by the Holy Spirit—look at the tools that God has placed in your hands. David had a sling and five stones–they were good enough to kill Goliath. Saul tried to lend David his armor but it was too big and David had to take it off.
“God is trying to tell us that we are ready as we are, we don’t have to try to be someone else,” Sonderegger said, encouragingly.
Besides preparation, one also needs perseverance to get the job done. “Many people think perseverance is sticking it out, but that’s endurance, not perseverance,” Sonderegger pointed out.
Perseverance is not an absence of something. Instead, it is the engaging in a task that one is commissioned with. Sonderegger gave the example of a marriage: God commissioned husbands to love their wife. So being faithful is not just not cheating on her, it is to actively commit to showing loving actions to her.
Yet, perseverance can be quite mundane. “Do you know what does a sheep sounds like on Monday? ‘Mehhh’. On Tuesday? ‘Mehhh’. On Wednesday? ‘Mehhh’,” Bigger said to a laughing congregation. “David’s job as a shepherd boy was very mundane. He could have been so bored that he could have just let the lions and bears eat the sheep so that he didn’t need to do his job anymore. But David knew who he wanted to be. He was an overcomer.”
“The battles that we fight in private are what define our character and integrity,” added Sonderegger.
Lastly, to get the job done, one needs to prevail.
Why did David take five stones? Was it because he was not confident of hitting Goliath with just one stone? Sonderegger explained that the five stones represented Goliath and four other giants David had to conquer. “We are not here to conquer just one giant; we are here to position ourselves to conquer every giant that comes our way.”
In closing, Sonderegger and Bigger encouraged the church to rise up, to face and to overcome the giants in their lives.