Phil Pringle, City Harvest Church’s advisory pastor returns this weekend to bring a new message. Here is an interview he granted City News earlier this year on faith, our inheritance in Christ, and the looming conclusion of the trial.
Earlier this year you brought us a message about the power of the Holy Spirit. What was the significance of the timing of that message?
[It was] a message of hope and strength for the church, but also I thought the main reason I was here last time was to release the power of the Holy Spirit, to move in the power of healing and miracles, and to release that river of Life, especially since we (C3 Church) have our Presence conference coming up, I always feel that this starts to gather momentum as we move toward that conference. (Presence Conference took place April 14-17 in Sydney.)
Your message felt like a “return to basics”. As our advisory pastor, do you feel CHC might have loosened its grip on some basics? What are these and how should we rebuild?
No, I don’t think it’s losing its grip; you’re a great, praying church, and also a worshipping church; I just think there are times the Lord wants to refresh His people, and so He brings a move of the Holy Spirit to reinvigorate, and to bring fresh power into their lives and re-energize them.
I think you’re not losing your grip, but you’ve all been in a certain frame of mind with the trial and journeying through a difficult time for so long, that people can grow weary and discouraged, and start to lose their hope. So my message was for them to open their eyes to the hope, the calling, the riches of His inheritance and the exceeding greatness and power of God that’s in the Church.
How can Christians become more aware of what their inheritance in Christ is?
I think the riches of the inheritances are a wide variety of things—it’s forgiveness, justification, sanctification, acceptance with God. A hundred and forty times in the New Testament, the phrases “in Christ,” “by Christ,” “for Christ” or “through Christ” occurred; so the central point of the New Testament is Jesus Christ. When we receive Him, we enter into the new covenant that God has given us, so the ultimate “riches”, if you like, of the inheritance, is Jesus Himself. When He comes into our lives, the riches of that—the Bible says in Him are hidden all the riches of the wisdom of God and the blessings of heaven—these riches will also be manifest in our lives, in our physical circumstances so that we see blessings in our homes, our families, in our income, in what the Lord puts in our hands for us to steward. I think the Church very often lacks in these areas because it believes that to be poor is more pious than to be prosperous.
In your weekend sermon the last time, you said that a lot of people see the problem that surrounds them instead of seeing God surrounding them. On the other extreme, there are those who seem to be “in denial” of their problems …
No real faith is ever in denial. Real faith totally acknowledges the problem. The Bible says that Abraham looked at his wife’s womb and acknowledged that his wife’s womb was now dead, but he still believed. Denial is when you don’t look at the problem, when you don’t realise there’s a problem, or when you deny there’s a problem. That doesn’t make the problem go away. What makes it go away is acknowledging it—for example, “I’ve got a snakebite, I’m dying in the desert; I’m going to look away from it, though, and look to the answer.” That’s not denial, that’s looking for a solution.
Sometimes, when people have a problem, you’ve got to fill their mind with a positive vision that displaces their negativity. And if people want to be negative, and call this reality, I think they’re misguided. Because not all reality is negative. Looking at a beautiful sunset, climbing a wonderful mountain, singing in the wind … these are all beautiful things, and these are the realities. Sometimes, people think the word “reality” only applies to negative things, but more than that, it applies to beautiful and wonderful things.
The trial involving our leaders looks set to come to an end this year. What is your advice for the church and the leadership?
Stay strong, keep believing, stay committed. The church is not built around any individual leader. The only person the church is built around is Jesus Christ. And we’re His servants, I’m a servant of Jesus in my church, and Pastor Kong is a servant at his church. But at the same time, I fully am in prayer and faith that the trial will end up being positive for the kingdom of God and that Pastor Kong and Sun will experience deliverance and blessing on their lives. I think that we’ve got to believe, in the face of seemingly impossible odds, because our faith can have an impact on what seems like an impossible circumstance. And miracles are always terrible until they take place. Martha and Mary thought it was all over until Jesus came on that fourth day after Lazarus died. When they were carrying water to those water pots for the wine, it was still water. Only when they finally poured it out, it became wine. So miracles are great once they’re over, because on the way through, it feels like a disaster, like it’s never gonna work. But God is with us, and He will not let us down.
Catch Phil Pringle at City Harvest Church this weekend, April 25-26, 2015, Suntec Convention Centre Level 6.