At the start of this year, executive pastor Bobby Chaw shared a timely reminder on the power of the Creator.
The beginning of the year is a time where people plan to make changes in their life. “Begin the change by changing the belief in your heart,” was the advice Bobby Chaw, the executive pastor of City Harvest Church and Dean of the School of Theology, had for the Church.
Chaw was preaching the weekend service of Jan 21 and 22. He taught from Genesis 1:1-3—”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.”
“We are the created and God is the Creator,” Chaw said. “He has the power and capacity to change our every circumstance.”
Chaw pointed out that human beings tend to draw conclusions from their own natural observations and often forget that there is a Higher Power at work.
“But if we can see what God is doing, we will know that His Spirit was hovering above the emptiness,” Chaw reminded the congregation. “Your situation may be very real, the void and darkness is very real, but the visible submits to the invisible.”
Psalm 33:9 is clear about the Creator’s power: “For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Chaw drew from the Mandarin translation this verse, which expresses the power of God better: “因为他说有， 就有； 命立，就立。” In English: “Because He said there was, there was. Because He commanded it to stand, it stood.”
Chaw illustrated the power of the Creator through the story of Abraham and Sarah. The couple was past natural childbearing age, and Sarah even laughed when she had that she was going to conceive. However, God said: “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:13-14)
“Nothing,” Chaw declared. “Nothing is too difficult for Him.”
Reading from Exodus 20:9-11, Chaw explained the purpose of the Sabbath: to appreciate Creation and remember that God is the Creator of all.
Why is it important to remember this? As people labor in their work, they face obstacles and become fearful of the future, Chaw explained. On the Sabbath, one turns his eyes from such physical limitations to remember there is a transcendent power–the Creator.
The 10 Israelite spies focused only on natural limitations when they reported that Canaan was unconquerable (Numbers 13:30-33). Although Joshua and Caleb saw the same circumstances, Caleb “brought back word to him as it was in (his) heart” (Joshua 14:7), not from his sight. This word stayed in his heart for 45 years, even when they had yet to reach the Promised Land.
Chaw told the congregation about his first preaching experience. As a young Christian, he had dreamed of becoming a preacher. He would visualize himself preaching in a church, with people on each side of a long aisle, and his wife on the front row. He held on to the Word in Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.”
When Chaw was 17, he stepped out in faith and preached in his cell group for the first time although his language was weak. However, a member said it was the “worst sermon they had ever heard”.
Crushed, Chaw faced a crossroad between his limitations and God’s word in his heart. He chose to continue preaching.
In 1999, Chaw was on a mission trip in Jakarta. Midway through his preaching, the Holy Spirit told him to look around. What he saw was exactly what he had visualised years ago: he was preaching to people sitting on each side of a long aisle, with his wife Cindy Ng was seated in the front row. God’s Word had indeed come to pass!
Chaw’s testimony resonated with the congregants. Nicholas Wong, 26, a first-year university student, shared, “We are living in a time where we give up easily, but we ought to learn such persistence and faith.”
ASKING GOD TO SHOW HIS WILL
Chaw also reminded the congregation to be aware of what the Creator is doing in every situation. Proverbs 29:18 (MSG) says, “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves.”
At Jesus’ peak in ministry, He often “withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16). Likewise, in times of success, Chaw explained, one must remember that it is fully by the hand of God, and none of it by human strength.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was in great agony and he prayed that the Father’s will be done. An angel came to strengthen Him (Luke 22:42-43).
“Similarly, when we face dark times, we need to ask God to show us His will,” Chaw reminded the congregation.
Chaw then shared how School of Theology (SOT) graduate Guo Peng overcame Marfan Syndrome. The disease caused his blood pressure to spike and his arteries to swell. In 2013, Guo fainted at work and was rushed to the hospital. All his main arteries had cracked and doctors said he was on the verge of death.
As the nurses wheeled Guo into the operating theater for a high-risk operation, the surgeons emphasized to Guo’s wife, Li Xia, seven times that he would not come out of surgery alive. Li replied confidently that Guo would survive.
Halfway through the surgery, the anesthesia wore off and Guo woke up. In this unusual situation, he saw the cardiac monitor going flat—he was technically dead. But at that crucial point in time, Guo closed his eyes and prayed, “Jesus, I believe. You are my Creator.”
The next time he opened his eyes, he was in the recovery ward. Doctors told him with amazement that during the surgery, he had actually “died” many times. Each time they were going to give up, his heart would miraculously start beating again.
In a video screened during the sermon, Guo told the CHC congregation that he was recovering well after the surgery and he had miraculously gained weight. This is uncommon with Marfan Syndrome patients.
Chaw concluded with Job 14:7-9, “For there is hope for a tree, If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground, Yet at the scent of water it will bud, And bring forth branches like a plant”.
“Remember your living water, the Holy Spirit,” Chaw exhorted, “The Creator is always hovering near.”
At the end of the service, Chaw prayed that every church member would make room for the Spirit to do His work, even in difficult natural circumstances.
“The Word put in my heart the expectancy to see greater things God is about to do in our church and our lives,” shared Shayne Ng, 26, a teacher, “The Holy Spirit is always hovering, we just need to open our spiritual eyes to see and move in obedience.”