In her sermon on Sep 9 and 10, Sun Ho emphasized the importance of pursuing an encounter with God, illustrating with lessons from faithful Bible heroes who encountered life-changing experiences.
Encounters are an integral part of a Christian’s walk with God. That was the focus of Sun Ho’s message on the weekend of Sep 9 and 10.
Ho shared openly about how she experienced God at the recent Emerge Conference. When she was preparing her message for the conference, she prayed that she would encounter God before the conference.
“I asked God to melt the hearts of the people. I wanted to partner with the Holy Spirit as I stood on stage,” she said. During the last service of Emerge, Ho had the encounter she asked for. She described the Holy Spirit entering her belly like fire, causing her to sob uncontrollably in the presence of God.
After Emerge, Ho was scheduled to preach at CHC US in Orange County, a church led by pastors Derek and Susan Dunn. During a visit to Bethel Church in Redding, Ho found herself coming to God with expectancy in her heart once again. She had a deep encounter with God as she experienced “moments of deep joy flowing out” after being unable to laugh for months.
Quoting Revelation 3, which says, “He will open the doors and gate that no man can shut”, Ho exhorted members to step out in faith and do what they think they cannot do.
“When God entrusts us with a revelation, He always starts small to see how we handle it,” she explains. “Come to God with expectancy in your heart. He won’t shortchange you!”
ENCOUNTERS ARE UNIQUE TO THE INDIVIDUAL
Ho highlighted that some characters in the Bible had very dramatic encounters with God. In Exodus 3, Moses met God in the form of a burning bush that was not consumed. Simon Peter received a supernatural vision that eventually led to world missions following his obedience to God.
In order to stop Jacob from clinging to Him (Genesis 32:22), God touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, causing it to be out of joint. Ho explained that Jacob is now “broken to God and no longer broken inside.” God renamed him Israel, which also means Prince. Jacob continued to press in to God and he received his first-hand encounter with God.
“When you come into God’s presence to encounter God, He wants to give you a new identity. We are all his sons and daughters; His princes and princesses,” said Ho. She noted that how towards the end of Jacob’s life, he was still “leaning onto His staff” (Hebrews 11:21). Ho said, “the greatest work God can do for us is when he works deeply in our heart to give us a new identity.”
She also compared these dramatic encounters to those simple encounters that characters such as Zacchaeus had. Luke 19 shows Jesus visiting Zacchaeus. It was nothing dramatic, just a simple visit. Yet, it was enough to turn Zacchaeus’ life around completely.
Quoting the late Edwin Louis Cole, who said, “If you look for the supernatural only in the spectacular, you will miss the Holy Spirit,” Ho emphasized that the Holy Spirit can visit an individual in different ways.
FOLLOWING UP ON AN ENCOUNTER
In Acts 9:3-6, Jesus appeared to Saul and asked why he was persecuting Him. Trembling and astonished, Saul asked the Lord what He wanted him to do. After that fateful encounter with God, Saul did not stop pursuing Him and eventually became the apostle Paul.
Using Saul as an example, Ho encouraged the congregation to remain faithful and not stop after one encounter. “It’s important not what happens when you fall under the power, but what happens when you get out of the power,” she declared.
She also emphasized the importance of building an altar of consecration. She explained how Paul had built a sanctuary exclusively for the Lord in his heart.
Teo Wen Min, 21, a School of Theology student, said that she understood the discipline required for Paul to build an altar for God. “Building an altar isn’t a one-off event—it’s something required daily. I struggle to keep up with it every day while balancing my other responsibilities in SOT. Yet, I am aware that only when we are fully broken unto God like Jacob that we can live out the life He intended for us. God is worth it.”
Ho concluded by stating how encounters have to be a regular part one’s Christian’s life. “Our faith is not one that is philosophical. God is alive!”
Lim Shi Ting, 17, a student from Kah Hong Secondary, was inspired by Ho’s message. “My greatest takeaway is how we should handle revelations given to us by God. Do we choose to do something even more, or just be happy at that moment but forget about it later? We definitely need to treasure God’s revelations to us. Encounters with the King will sustain us through our walk.”