If Jesus never came, we would never clearly understand God’s love as a Father, nor the expression of His holiness or the person and power of the Holy Spirit. On City Harvest Church’s 30th anniversary, City Harvest Church’s Senior Pastor Kong Hee shares a message about his personal pursuit and growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The lights dimmed and the crowd started cheering. It was City Harvest Church’s 30th birthday and everyone was excited to celebrate. The Disciples, CHC’s dance ministry kicked off the service with a hip-hop number before the worship team took over leading the church with songs written by their own members. The joy of the Lord was exceptionally tangible that weekend of Oct 12 and 13, 2019. The atmosphere of carefree celebration was marked by “buskers” distributing treats—candy, popcorn, nuts—throughout the auditorium before service; mid-way through the service, the anniversary gift of a rubber tote and the specially-produced Harvest Magazine featuring stories of church members over 30 years.
The theme for this year’s anniversary was “Breaking Into The New: God’s Glory, Our Delight”. The creative team prepared an animation with an accompanying book on every seat to tell the story of Christ and how He called a group of people to build a church that is CHC.
It hit home for many of the members as the animation told the story of the various seasons CHC went through, from the exciting early spring years of revival to the cold, difficult winter of the past decade, to a victorious summer. This animated display and vivid reminder of God’s love and faithfulness in the church through the various seasons touched many hearts.
The production ended with several members giving live testimonies of their journey with God in CHC. Some of them had been in the church for a long time, others had only joined a few months ago, but they have all experienced Jesus in His house. Each shared of his or her different struggles on the journey with the Lord but there was one common thread: their love for the church and how it shaped them to be the people they are today.
GOD’S GLORY, OUR DELIGHT
Pastor Kong made his way to the stage with the biggest smile on his face as the congregation welcomed him back to the pulpit after two and a half years.
He began his message with the first declaration of The Westminster Shorter Catechism: “The chief end of every man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The founder of CHC shares that this statement is central to every believer—to glory God in all of one’s life, and to enjoy Him in the process, for everything in His creation is for the praise of His glory (Eph 1:6, 12, 14 NIV).
“The glory of God is the majestic display of His presence, power and character,” explained the senior pastor. That means, carrying the presence of God into every conversation and activity, demonstrating His power in and through one’s life, and daily exemplifying His moral excellence of holiness, love and truth.
Pastor Kong shared honestly that he had, in the past, been struggling with an inner, spiritual dissatisfaction that he did not know Jesus as deeply as he felt he should. The pastor explained that while he had preached Christ and His finished work on the Cross as the Savior of all mankind, he desired to understand the centrality of Jesus as Lord and King in every aspect of a Christian’s life.
That began Pastor Kong’s passionate quest to grow deeper in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. While serving time, he read the four Gospels many times over, and eventually, after a year of studying, medicating and praying, illumination started flowing.
WHAT JESUS CAME TO DO AND IS STILL DOING
Apart from coming to be our Redeemer by suffering the penalty for mankind’s sins, Jesus came to fully reveal God to us. If Jesus did not come, we would never know God as the Trinity, that He is God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, taught Pastor Kong. Jesus showed us clearly how a believer’s relationship should be like with their heavenly Father. “Until Jesus came, God’s love was just a religious concept,” he said. “But with Jesus, we see a love that is totally unconditional, sacrificial and forgiving.”
On that note, he told the congregation that he has constantly prayed Ephesians 3:16-19 over his family and the church. God’s desire, he said, is that His people may “be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Pastor Kong explained that this clearly means that the fullness of God comes only when His people are filled with the understanding and experience of the love of the Son of God.
“You can never be firmly rooted and established in God’s love until you fully grasp—have a revelation—of the love of Jesus,” continued the pastor. Holiness is truly expressed by the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), which is the character profile of Christ. To be holy is to be loving—in the same way Jesus loved Judas even when He knew that Judas would betray Him (John 13:3). To be holy is to be full of joy, to walk in peace, to be forbearing, kind, pure, faithful, gentle and consciously exercising self-control. “We, His children, ought to live out these divine moral traits daily, just like Jesus,” said the pastor.
In closing, Pastor Kong urged the church to seek to know Jesus more deeply, and to learn from Him how to always submit willingly to God’s will and higher purpose.
Romans 8:28 was a verse quoted by many who wrote to Pastor Kong while he was in prison. The pastor shared that the eternal good for which God is working, through all things in life, is not something earthly and temporal. Rather, it is precisely what the next verse in the context says—”that we may be conformed into the image of His likeness.”
“Therefore, the ‘good’ that God is ultimately working out,” explained Pastor Kong, “is that we will develop Christlikeness and we become more and more like Jesus in His purity, devotion, love, obedience, etc.”
The service ended with the congregation singing happy birthday to the church and one another, and members held hands as they sang “We’re A Family That Loves”.
CHC’s 30th anniversary celebrated the goodness of God through 30 years of ups and downs. Through it all, God’s glory was manifested and the church is ready for what He has in store for them.