Jul 4 and 5 saw the youths of City Harvest Church take centre stage at the church’s annual Emerge weekend.
The Emerge weekend marked the exciting end of a month of youth camps and activities conducted by the Emerge zones. Emerge is a youth movement in City Harvest Church that involves members 25 and under.
The worship services of that weekend—Jul 4 and 5—saw the youth praise and worship band, with musicians and singers aged 20 to 27, leading the congregation into the presence of God. The younger members of the dance ministry put up an impressive item that had the congregation clapping and cheering. There was also a video featuring different school students past and present sharing their testimonies on how they shone for God by excelling academically.
THE SECRET PLACE
On Saturday night, Kong Hee, the senior pastor of CHC, delivered a message on the importance of finding one’s secret place with God. He started by illustrating how two people in love would spend quality time in their secret place—a place free from any interruption. Similarly, Jesus longs to spend uninterrupted time with His people in the secret place as well. When Christians yearn for God and come into the secret place, God can reveal His precious revelation to them because He knows they will treasure it.
1 John 4:16 says that God is love; Kong said that love can be seen in how often Jesus spent time with His Father. Each time He returned from the secret place, Jesus had the power to do mighty works. One example was when Jesus retreated to the mountains in Matthew 14—after that, He returned with the power to feed the 5,000, walked on water and healed everyone who came to Him (Matthew 15:20).
“God lives in a man to a degree a man lives in God,” Kong declared.
Kong also shared that the environment of the secret place is solitude. The Bible says Jesus would often retreat to the wilderness to seek God.
“How many youths would spend their holidays in the wilderness?” Kong asked. But the wilderness is the place where God would give His people the Spirit without measure. He encouraged the Church to get away from earthly distractions and enjoy being alone with God.
Lastly, Kong revealed that this secret place is in the hearts of God’s people. The Bible says that God’s people are the temple of the Holy Spirit and that anointing abides deep in them.
Why then are they not in the secret place yet? Kong stressed that the atmosphere of the secret place is love and solitude. If there is a lot of anger, bitterness and distractions in their lives, there is insufficient love and solitude to gain access to this desired destination.
Kong differentiated between the anointing that is upon the people and the anointing that is within them. Ultimately, the anointing upon them is supported by the anointing within them.
“The more developed we are on the inside, the more powerful we will become on the outside,” Kong said. He left the youth with a challenge to be carriers of God’s presence. This can only be done if they are willing to pay the price and be committed to seek God in His secret place.
The Sunday service saw another exciting line-up. Anticipation radiated from the congregation as it waited for the mini-concert featuring a number of local artistes. First up, entering to the loud cheers of the congregation, was Scarlet Avenue presenting their new single and music video, “Lighthouse”. Next, the cast from the movie Ah Boys To Man 3 took stage to perform the theme song of the movie, “Recruits’ Anthem”. One of the cast members Bunz also did a solo song item in Mandarin titled, “Cherish”.
Benjamin Kheng from the Sam Willows took the stage next with a rap, “Spoken Word–Rich”. His sister, Narelle joined him as they performed a mashup of songs. What was unexpected was how the presence of God touched Narelle when the pair sang a beautiful rendition of the hymn “As The Deer”, and the presence overflowed into the congregation and touched the hearts of many.
Kong gave a short word, leaving the people with a new revelation on a familiar Bible story. John 8:1-12 tells the story of how the Pharisees had brought an adulterous woman to Jesus and challenged Him to tell them what they should do with her. The Bible describes that Jesus simply said “stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.” When the Pharisees continued asking Him what should they do, he replied in verse 7, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
Some Bible scholars believe that what Jesus was writing was the Ten Commandments. Kong explained how one by one, the Pharisees walked away from the scene when their hearts were convicted by the commandments on the ground. In the end, none of them found themselves worthy to cast the first stone because they were all guilty of breaking at least one commandment.
“God is a holy God; sin has to be punished,” Kong said. However, was there really no one worthy to cast the first stone? he asked. Jesus was the only one without sin—he could have cast the first stone but He did not.
“Why did Jesus not punish her sins?” Kong asked, before explaining, “It is because He was already on the way to the Cross, to take the sin and be executed on her behalf.” The pastor reminded the congregation that Jesus wants everyone to be saved.
At the end of the service, Kong gave an altar call and more than 200 people gave their hearts to Jesus.
Low Yenyi, 20, a student, told City News, “Emerge is very relevant to us, the younger generation. It inspires me to do more with my life and within my campus. Seeing how people shine so brightly for God despite not being born into a perfect life, I feel empowered to excel for Him as well!”
Service ended with an “after party”: youths rushed to the front of the stage to praise and worship God with exuberance. It was, for all the youth, and the wider congregation, another fruitful Emerge weekend.
CARNIVAL AT EMERGE
By Beverly Ng
Bright, heavy lights, colorful decor and loud, pulsing music filled Halls 605 and 606 of Suntec Singapore on Emerge Weekend. People chomped popcorn and grooved to the sounds of the song and dance performances on stage. What was, on most weekends, the City Harvest Church theatre had been converted into ministry and games booths for the Emerge Carnival.
The game stalls promised lots of fun: “Hot Shot”, “Shake It Off”, “Very Angry Bird” and “Sweetness Overload” piqued the interest of the crowd; each game they played earned them a sticker and four stickers entitled them to free candyfloss or popcorn. The most popular game booth seemed to be “Nerf Shoot Out”, where participants shot down bowling pins using Nerf guns.
Amidst the music and noisy laughter, ministry members shared the perks of joining various ministries and serving the Lord with one’s talents. Members from the usher and choir were cheerfully handing out flyers, while the Cajon ministry drummed out lively beats to showcase their ministry.
Student Josiah, 16, loved the excitement of the carnival. “The games and ministry booths were all so interactive and fun.” The carnival indeed offered a great time for the young and young-at-heart.