At City Harvest Church’s 28th anniversary celebration, co-founder Sun Ho expounded on what God is calling His people to come away to.
Crowds packed the service hall at Suntec Level 6 on the weekend of Oct 14 and 15 as City Harvest Church celebrated it 28th year. The theme of the anniversary this year was “Come Away”, a call to enter into a time of communing with God.
The centrepiece of the celebrations was a performance that began with a contemporary dance item depicting how God formed man to have an intelligent partnership with Him. Expressing how the Creator called humanity to have dominion over all creation, performers, dressed in spectacular animal costumes, streamed into the hall and down the aisles. The performance ended with balloons and bubbles filling the hall in a celebratory finale.
Finally, the verse that built up this year’s anniversary theme, “Come Away”, flashed across the screen: “My beloved spoke, and said to me: ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away” (Songs 2:10). The worship team led the congregation into God’s secret place, once again, through the song “My Beloved”.
Executive pastor Sun Ho opened her message by explaining the difference between calling and coming.
“It’s not enough that God called us,” she said, “That calling gives us access, permission and even opportunity to respond to God, but we have to do the coming.”
Building on Songs 2:10, Ho told the church, “I really believe in my heart that God wants us to follow through every encounter that He has given to us,” she said.
She shared three things God wants His people to “come away” into.
A Deeper Hunger For God
“One of the most challenging parts of a Christian life is to be full and hungry at the same time,” said Ho.
She elaborated, “At City Harvest Church, we always enjoy the abundant presence of God, especially these last few months. [We’ve had] encounters upon encounters. Church, when we live in such an atmosphere of blessing, the only way to retain what Jesus has given to us is to stay and remain hungry.”
Sharing from Deuteronomy 8:3 (MSG), Ho preached, “God allowed us to go through hard times, that we can grow a deeper hunger for Him.” The verse also mentions that God fed Israel with manna—which, literally translated, means “what is it”—when they were hungry.
“When we meet with problems, we often ask God a lot of ‘what is it’s,” Ho said. “God wants us to trust Him with the mystery of the ‘what is it’.”
She ended the point by sharing an example of evangelist Smith Wigglesworth, who was able to convict strangers of their sin just by being around them. “Hunger pulls heaven’s atmosphere into our environment,” she said.
God Has A Higher Calling
In Matthew 4:18-20, Jesus called Simon Peter and Andrew to follow Him. Immediately, they left their nets to follow Him.
“The nets were their tool of the trade. By casting them away, Peter and Andrew showed they were willing to leave everything they knew to follow Jesus. Similarly, if you and I were to come away into our higher calling, we need to cast away our nets,” shared Ho.
By that, she meant that we must cast away our old lives: “The call of God is destructive to what we’re used to and what we’re comfortable with.”
She continued, “If you’re looking for a Jesus whom you can go to once a week, update for 30 minutes and go back to exactly what you were doing, you should leave Jesus alone… because the Jesus that I know, if He’s walking down your shore, He is going to mess up your plans. The Jesus that I know, if He’s walking down your shore, He’s going to rearrange your entire lives, because He has a greater and higher calling for you.”
Ho reiterated, “When God calls us into our higher calling, we must be willing to cast away our old lifestyles.”
Coming Away Into All Of God
John 21 starts with a recount of Jesus’ third appearance to His disciples after He raised from the dead. Ho noted that Peter was so discouraged after the Lord’s death that he went back to his old life, fishing. Even so, it was difficult as there were no fish.
Eventually, Jesus told Peter to cast his nets to the other side of the boat. Although Peter did not recognize Him, he obeyed and caught a multitude of fish.
Yet, when John told Peter that it was Jesus on the shore, Peter immediately “plunged into the sea”. He did not even give a thought to the 153 fishes that he finally caught after a long night.
Ho explained, “[The fishes were] nothing to Peter compared to having Jesus. It was as if Peter was saying, ‘I don’t need all these. Just give me Jesus. I only want Jesus.’”
The anniversary service ended with a call for those who have been far away to come back to God.