Heaven has a culture and that is the kind of culture City Harvest Church needs to build.
“What kind of culture should we build here in City Harvest Church? What is our DNA? Don’t tell me it’s ‘go cell group, lor!'”
As she was preparing for last weekend’s (Sep 22-23) sermon, Sun Ho, executive pastor of City Harvest Church, had asked various members what they considered the DNA of the church.
As she was working on her message, the Holy Spirit prompted her to look at the church’s mission statement, which reads: “To build a church with a strong spiritual atmosphere of faith and purity, where every member is released into ministry, disciplined in the Great Commandment to obey the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate.”
It was revealed to Pastor Sun that the mission statement yielded four core values of City Harvest Church: Encounter God, Cultivate Purpose, Experience Family, and Make A Difference.
WHAT IS THE DNA OF CHC?
Pastor Sun brought the congregation back to early 2017, when CHC’s senior pastor Kong Hee had started a series of messages about the Kingdom of God and declared it a key theme for the church.
The topics of the Kingdom of God and Heaven’s culture has dominated the pulpit these past three months, after the leadership trip to the churches in the US.
“Establishing the Kingdom of God on earth means that the presence of God must permeate and change our world,” said Pastor Sun. It was this point that led her to think about what CHC’s DNA really was.
“Our mission statement consists of four parts,” she pointed out. “‘To build a church with a strong spiritual atmosphere of faith and purity’ is to encounter God. ‘Every member released into ministry’ is so that members can discover their calling in life–that is, to cultivate purpose.
Although she had joked about cell groups at the start of her message, the pastor was firm about the importance of cell groups in CHC’s structure. She pointed out that the way to being a disciple of the Great Commandment is through the cell group: “It is through the cell group structure where we do life together, where we experience family,” she said.
Finally, to obey the Great Commission to preach the good news to all the world and the Cultural Mandate of bringing Christ to culture is to make a difference in society.
BUILDING A CULTURE OF ENCOUNTERING GOD
Building a culture takes time. Pastor Sun explained that an action is not a culture; only when it becomes part of how one thinks and part of one’s inner motivations, does it become a culture.
“What we do with our thoughts, our words, our attitudes, in our hearts, when no one is watching, reveals the true culture that is within us,” she explained.
Culture is the conviction that shapes the way one lives and behaves. It is not a question of whether there is a culture within a person, but rather, what type of culture a person has within him.
The litmus test of whether one has Heaven’s culture in him is the thoughts he has and the way he responds, when going through stressful situations.
Pastor Sun used Elijah as an example. God told him that He would send rain and Elijah trusted God (1 Kings 18:1). Despite the cloudless sky, Elijah continued to pray and contend for rain. He even made his servant go out and check for rainclouds seven times, because he had faith that God would fulfil His promise, and provide an abundance of rain (1 Kings 18:41,44), which God did.
“If God says so, it is so,” said Pastor Sun. “It is considered done.”
HEAVEN’S CULTURE OF SEEING GOD’S FACE
Heaven has a culture and it is impossible to discover that culture without the presence of God, the pastor pointed out.
She added, “The culture we want to build is Heaven’s culture of seeing God’s face. And to see God’s face is to be in His presence.”
Many Christians today go all over the place looking for the latest sermon and the latest revelation, but this was not how God’s people lived in the Old Testament. In Numbers 9: 17 and 18, the children of God followed and encamped around the presence of God.
Pastor Sun read out Numbers 6:24-26: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”
“Some people have the impression that God is constantly looking at them sternly, or that He has His face turned away from them because they think they are so insignificant. Yet verse 25 and 26 of the Message Bible says, ‘God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face’,” she said.
“God loves us so much that He doesn’t even need a reason to smile at us,” she continued. “God delights in us, and loves being face to face, forehead to forehead with us.”
She ended the service praying for the members to encounter God in their lives.