“God is a restorer who restores things that are broken, lost and damaged. God has the power to bring back all that’s lost,” said Pastor Phil Pringle in his sermon on revival.
The weekend of Aug 24-25 was special for City Harvest Church: the church welcomed its senior pastor, Kong Hee, after his release from prison on Aug 22.
Addressing the members, Pastor Kong said, “Church, thank you so much for your love and your very warm welcome. Having been away since 2017, it feels really surreal to be reunited with my family, especially my parents, siblings, in-laws, and all of you again.”
He apologized and thank them for their faithfulness. “I have served my sentence, and today I find myself humbled. I want all of you to know that I am so sorry for any pain, anxiety, disappointment or grief that you have suffered because of me,” he said.
“Thank you for your resilience, your faithfulness, and your love towards God in spite of the pain, trauma, and disappointment you had to go through,” Pastor Kong added. “Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for staying back to rebuild the Church with the leadership. I am forever in your debt.”
THE RESTORATION WORK OF GOD
Pastor Kong then welcomed Pastor Phil Pringle, the preacher of the evening, and his wife Pastor Chris to the stage.
The senior leaders of C3 Global, Pastor Phil and Chris are CHC’s beloved friends. Taking to the pulpit, Pastor Phil preached a powerful message from Psalm 126, proclaiming God’s restoration power.
Psalm 126:1 reads, “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.”
Pastor Phil referred to what the Israelites experienced returning to Jerusalem as a restoration moment.
“One of the most beautiful aspects of God is that He is a restorer,” the pastor said. “He restores things that are broken, lost and damaged. God has the power to bring back all that’s lost.”
Job was one who had experienced the restoration of God. The wealthiest man of his time, Job lost everything at one point of his life. He lost his children, his business, reputation, even his health. But God, the Restorer, came into his world. In Job 42:10, God not only got him back to where he was but gave him twice as much as before.
“As a covenant child, you’re not going to be a loser,” Pastor Phil reminded the church. “God has designed you to be a winner right from the day you were born.”
He added, “One of the greatest things that happen when God restores your life is that you start dreaming again. Once that dream fills your soul, you have a direction, reason, and meaning in your life. Everyone needs to know that feeling of meaningfulness.”
Pastor Phil went on to tell the story of Naomi in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament. Her husband made the decision to leave Bethlehem, which means the House of Bread, when famine struck. “There may be a famine in your church or in your world, it doesn’t mean you leave,” said Pastor Phil. “It means you work through it.”
Naomi eventually lost everything in the land of Moab. But as soon as she decided to return to the house of God again, all that she had lost came back to her. Her daughter-in-law, Ruth, eventually married the richest man in town, Boaz.
Psalm 126:1 says that God “brought back his exiles”. The people of God were exiled to Babylon but the prophet Jeremiah saw into the future and said that they have to go through the pain, that the exile would last 70 years. In Daniel 9:2-3, the prophet Daniel said that he understood that 70 years as specified by prophet Jeremiah. At that time, 69 years have already passed since the exile but it did not look it was going to end.
“There was no delivery coming through the clouds. There was no sign of a sympathetic King on the throne. They were all settled in Babylon,” said Pastor Phil. “But he begins to pray. Just because something is the will of God does not mean it’s going to happen. God isn’t so sovereign that He manipulates you to do His will. Daniel understood this and he prayed.”
With Daniel’s prayer, the kingdom changed. King Cyrus ascended the throne. Although he was an idol-worshiping, pagan, Gentile king, he sent people to rebuild Jerusalem (Isaiah 44:28).
“This is why I’m excited!” exclaimed the preacher. “The Bible works! It’s going to happen in your life. When it says you’re healed, you’ll be healed. No matter how long it takes, His Word can’t be stopped!”
THE GREATEST WEAPON
Reading Psalm 126:2-3, Pastor Phil said, “Laughter is the most unique qualities of divinity stamped on our souls. But God has put in us a sense of humor, the ability to see the funny side.”
He added, “Our mouths are filled with laughter when the Lord turned around. When He turned the page and said, ‘Let’s start a new chapter’.”
The next line of the verse reads, “Our tongues with songs of joy.” “Never let the devil steal your song,” the pastor said. “Your song is one of the most powerful weapons.”
When the Israelites were in exile, they “hung our harps” and stopped singing to the Lord (Psalm 137:2, 4,). Only when they were making their way back to Jerusalem did their song came back.
Pringle reminded the congregation to never underestimate the power of their song—constant praise that comes from within a believer. “It is defeating devils, raising up your emotions. God moves in your song!”
Reading the last two verses of Psalm 126, Pastor Phil described how revival will come “like streams in the Negev”.
“Just like those waters, pour down the mountains and fill the river beds again. That’s exactly what happened when Cyrus said, ‘Go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the city’. Thousands of them filled the streets of Jerusalem, singing and praising God. The Lord will bring the restoration of all things.”
The Psalm ended with verse 6 which reads, “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
He shared a healing testimony where a girl with a broken leg received healing. When Pastor Phil coming with her crutches and plaster, he threw her crutches away and encouraged her to first walk, and then run. Her initial steps were filled with pain but the pain started to fade away as she continued to walk.
The girl returned the next day with X-rays, showing that the crack in her bone was healed.
“Miracles are sometimes difficult, but keep walking because it’s on the other side of your faith,” encouraged Pastor Phil. It may seem like it’ll never come through but it will, even if it takes 70 years. Keep going.”
As Pringle closed with Habakkuk 2:3 and Galatians 6:9, saying, “Can you imagine what would’ve happened if that girl, or I, had lost heart?”
The service then ended with a call for salvation and many received Jesus into their hearts.
PASTOR KONG’S MESSAGE TO CHC ON AUGUST 25, 2019
“Church, thank you so much for your love and your very warm welcome. This is the only time you will hear from me for a while.
“Having been away since 2017, it feels really surreal to be reunited with my family, especially my parents, siblings, in-laws, and all of you again.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to stand before you today and to say, from the bottom of my heart, that I am very sorry for everything that has happened. I was convicted by the Court for criminal breach of trust. I have served my sentence, and today I find myself humbled. I want all of you to know that I am so sorry for any pain, anxiety, disappointment or grief that you have suffered because of me.
“The last few years have been very difficult and painful for me, and for everyone involved. But these years have also been really precious. I have learned to love and appreciate God, my family, my friends and the Church more than ever before. I am so grateful that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ has been abundantly sufficient and ever-present.
“I want to thank all of you for your unconditional love, and for the steadfast support shown towards those nearest and closest to me — always reaching out, helping, and praying for them.
“Thank you for your resilience, your faithfulness, and your love towards God in spite of the pain, trauma and disappointment you had to go through. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for staying back to rebuild the Church with the leadership. I am forever in your debt.
“Please allow me some time to re-adjust back to a normal life again. My immediate priority is to reconnect with those at home. I have missed out a significant part of my son’s growing-up years with the long-drawn Court trial and incarceration. My absence has also pained my parents deeply. Now that they are already in their 90s, I wish to be a filial son and take care of them, and catch up for all the time we have lost.
“I am, however, also really looking forward to renewing my friendship and fellowship with you soon. I thank you all for your very kind understanding and patience with me.
“Once again, thank you for making me feel so welcome today. I hope to serve together with you in this house of God in the many, many years to come.
“I want to say that I’m just overwhelmed. These 72 hours have been overwhelming. Standing here to worship…
“I prayed so much for you. Every single day, every single weekend. When you go through your service, I was going through with you, in my thoughts, in my prayers. I imagined what you are going to do at that moment: ‘Church must be worshipping, must be praying now. Pastor must be coming up to land the service. People must be watching the announcements. They must be collecting the offering. Lord, bless them right now because the speaker is going to preach. Open heaven, pour down Your glory. Lord, I pray many of them will get saved at altar call.’ Every weekend, every Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I was praying for you. I missed you so much.
“Thank you for being so faithful to the House. Thank you for loving me, and God bless you all.”