The multiple services weekend on May 27 to 28 saw three City Harvest Church pastors exhorting the congregation to strengthen their spiritual life.
WU YUZHUANG: GO A LITTLE FURTHER
“We will receive more than what we came for if we just go a little further,” preached CHC pastor Wu Yuzhuang on that multiple service weekend. He was speaking at the first of four services on the weekend of May 27 and 28.
Wu began his message by reading from Matthew 26:36-39, highlighting verse 39, which says, “Jesus went a little farther and fell on His face and prayed…” Wu explained that Jesus always goes a little further and is ever willing to go further for His believers.
“God will always go a little further for us, in His, grace, His power and His love.”
The pastor read from Mark 2:5, which tells the story of a paralytic man who was lowered from the roof by his four friends into the house where Jesus was. He noted that because his friends went a little further to get him to Jesus, the paralytic man was healed.
What the paralytic man wanted from Jesus was healing, not forgiveness, Wu pointed out, but Jesus went a little further to forgive his sins.
“Jesus always goes a little further; the man got more than what he came for.” Wu proclaimed, encouraging the congregation with the good news that they will always get more than what they expect because Jesus always goes a little further.
Wu went on to share that there are four areas in which Christians can go a little further and be more like Jesus.
Firstly, Christians can go a little further to seek His presence. “We need to be careful to guard our hearts to pursue His presence,” he stressed. He encouraged the church to go a little further by perhaps arriving at church earlier (to settle in and pray) or raising their hands higher; not to be too comfortable with where they are at but to want more of God’s presence.
Secondly, go a little further to see His purpose. In Mark 8:22-26, Jesus healed a blind man completely after He touched him a second time. Wu told the members that God not only has a vision for them, He wants to give them a second touch. “We need to be careful not to be so contented with what God has blessed you in the past. Go a little further for the second touch and that will help us to see our vision even more clearly.”
Thirdly, go a little further to seek permanent change. In Genesis 32:24, Jacob wrestled with God for His blessing. When God finally blessed Jacob and changed his name to Israel, his life turned 180 degrees around. Wu urged the church to seek that permanent change in their life just like Jacob had.
Lastly, go a little further to save the lost. “God is looking for desperate believers, hungry believers, people that will go a little further,” Wu said. He is looking for someone who is not satisfied with a laid-back lifestyle. He is looking for roof-rippers, tree climbers, crowd breakers, water walkers, exhorted the pastor.
“Let’s go a little further to seek His presence, let’s go a little further to see His purpose, let’s seek permanent change and let’s see people saved in our generation,” he concluded.
ARIES ZULKARNAIN: DON’T DO WHAT FEELS GOOD, BUT WHAT DOES YOU GOOD
In the second service, executive pastor Aries Zulkarnain encouraged the church to desire for a breakthrough. Sharing from John 5:1-8, he expounded the story of an invalid who had been paralyzed for 38 years.
Zulkarnain challenged the congregation, “Today, God wants to ask each and every one of you: do you want to see a change?
“When bad things happen to us, it makes us invalid. It causes us to be paralyzed. But let me tell you one thing: being an invalid and remaining in the same condition has no correlation.”
The issue, preached the pastor, is not in the paralytic’s invalidity, but the fact that he had been in the same condition for 38 years.
John 5:6, Jesus identified and understood the paralytic’s problem. However, what the man needed was not sympathy. He needed a transformation.
In the same Bible story, “an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had” (John 5:4).
“If the angel comes and the paralytic missed his opportunity, what can he do? Crawl nearer!” Zulkarnain preached. “Even though it’s not time for me to have breakthrough, I can still keep on praying, fasting, reading the Bible and getting closer to Jesus.”
He also encouraged the church not to be too comfortable with their present situation. “Getting too comfortable in waiting means accepting your condition without even trying,” he said.
He continued: “You can be comfortable, but still unchanged. Don’t go after comfort, go for real positive change.”
Matthew 7:13-14 (MSG) warns believers not to look for shortcuts to God, but to pay total attention to Him.
“Real change is both uncomfortable and inconvenient.”
Back to the story in John 5, Jesus asked the paralytic, “Do you want to get well?” Zulkarnain shared that instead of an immediate “yes”, the paralytic blamed others for his condition.
“Don’t depend on others for your breakthrough,” he said. “Depend only on Jesus.”
How then should believers receive their breakthrough?
“Know how to differentiate between what feels good and what does you good,” Zulkarnain advised. He shared from Mark 10:21 about the story of the rich young ruler who was not willing to give up his possessions to follow Jesus.
“To change the world, you need to first change yourself,” the pastor said. “Stop blaming society, take up your cross and follow Jesus.” He said that while it was tempting to focus on the “feel good factors”, which was having one’s weakness validated and sympathized, believers to fix their eyes on the things that do them good instead.
He ended with a story in Haggai 2:1-9. In verse 4, God told Zerubbabel, Joshua and all the people of the land to be strong, and work.
“Feeling good is not going to change us,” Zulkarnain said. “You know what needs to be done in order for us to change? Work. Work with Jesus. Speak the covenanted Word of God upon our lives. Work with the power of the Holy Spirit, and do not fear, because ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’”
LIN JUNXIAN: REBUILD, GOD REMEMBERS
The third service saw Pastor Lin Junxian encouraging the congregation to continue rebuilding the church. Sharing from the books of Ezra, Haggai and Zechariah, Lin shared some history of what the Jews went through trying to rebuild Solomon’s temple.
When the Jews were forced into exile under the Babylonian rule, the temple was destroyed. 40 years on, the accession of Cyrus the Great of the Persian Empire made the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple possible. Zerubbabel took on the task of rebuilding the temple and after two years, they finished the foundation.
“The height of a building is always dependent on the strength of its foundation,” Lin shared. “In this season of rebuilding the church, we must remember the foundations of the church: prayer and worship, ministry, evangelism, relationship and discipleship.”
However, those who had seen Solomon’s first temple wept at the sight of the foundation. With the lack of resources and manpower, rebuilding the temple seemed like an insurmountable task. Zerubbabel soon gave up in the face of much resistance and for the next 16 years, no work was done on the temple. God later sent His word to encourage Zerubbabel and the Jews. Using God’s words as reference, Lin encouraged the church to remember five things as they rebuild CHC.
Firstly, remember that God remembers. God wanted to encourage Zerubbabel and the Jews, so He sent Zechariah to bring His words. Lin noted that Zechariah meant, “Yahweh remembers” in Hebrew. God wanted His people to know that God remembered them.
Secondly, remember that it is the work of the Holy Spirit. Zechariah 4:6 says, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
“Not by might means that the rebuilding of the temple was not dependent on the work of Zerubbabel alone or by the Jews, it was dependent on the Holy Spirit,” Lim explained.
Thirdly, remember to devote oneself to prayer. Zechariah 4:6 says, “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!’”
The pastor explained that when the people shouted “grace, grace”, they were telling God that they needed His grace, they were invoking God’s intervention. He encouraged the church to seek God in prayers continually while they rebuild CHC.
“The temple is built for prayers. God does not just want an outward rebuilding of the physical temple; He also wants the inward rebuilding of the people’s prayer life.”
Fourthly, remember to celebrate small victories. Reading Zechariah 4:8-10, Lim encouraged the church not to despise the little breakthroughs.
“Celebrate the small victories. Celebrate the one friend that came for service. Don’t say, we used to get 10 people saved at one time, celebrate the one soul that got saved. We need to remember to celebrate small victories and little breakthroughs.”
Lastly, remember we are building for beyond the now. Ezra 6:14 recorded that after all the struggles, they finally finished building the temple four years later.
In Haggai 2:3-9, God spoke to the people and encouraged them not to be discouraged when they compared the temple with its former glory.
“Sometimes, we are like the Jews and we compare what we have now with its former glory,” Lim said. God, however, said in verse 9 that “the glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former”.
“How is it greater? Because 500 years later, Jesus our Savior walked into the latter temple in the flesh. His presence filled the entire temple,” Lim explained.
“As we rebuild the church, who knows one day, we may be welcome the return of the King,” he said.
“Don’t give up, CHC,” Lin said in encouragement. “God remembers.”