The church provides the environment where believers grow. In last weekend’s message, Pastor Choong Tsih-Ming explained the different components of the church and why Christians should embrace each of them.
The prophet Habakkuk lived in dark times. His nation lived in sin and God judged it with His silence. Yet in spite of difficulties, Habakkuk often rejoiced in God’s salvation. Reading Habakkuk 3:17-18, City Harvest Church’s pastor, Choong Tsih-Ming reminded the church to show gratitude even when they do not get what they want.
He was preaching over the weekend of Nov 31 and Dec 1. “We need to prioritize what God is doing in a situation over our personal desires and wants,” he emphasized.
Pastor Ming recalled that in the last 10 years, CHC had gone through a dark time full of challenges, much like the book of Habakkuk. However, many church members had chosen to trust God and be thankful for the things He was still doing in the midst of crisis.
“You cannot let what’s going on in your life determine the level of thanksgiving in your life,” he said. “As we move into the new that God has prepared for us in 2020, we have to thank God for His faithfulness looking over City Harvest Church in the last 30 years.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) reminds believers that if they keep rejoicing, praying and giving thanks, God always leads them back to His will for them.
WHAT TO GIVE THANKS FOR
Pastor Ming talks about four things the congregation should thank God for: His goodness, His lovingkindness, the church and everything else.
He read Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV) where Paul reminds believers to thank God for the church—church is where believers should act in peace towards one another. After the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:42-47 records the birth of the New Testament Church which was an environment ordained by God for believers to live and grow in Christ while on earth.
These verses in Acts 2 listed 10 things that the early church did: the congregation continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, in prayer, in miracles signs and wonders, in giving, church services, home cell groups, praise and worship, and lastly, evangelism.
Fellowship is not just about talking to one another or eating together, Pastor Ming reminded the church. The word “fellowship” in Greek talks about having things in common. In the church, there are different kinds of people from all walks of life in the church. Sometimes, people think about switching to a different cell group because they do not like a certain person in the group, said Pastor Ming, eliciting laughter from the congregation.
What should this person do if he finds that he does not like a cell group member? The pastor urged the church members to live in forbearance because that is the essence of fellowship. While people are different, there are still certain things they have in common as believers, such as worshiping the same Jesus, the same Father, the same hope of Heaven, having the same hatred of sin and the devil etc. There is tremendous life when there is variety in fellowship.
The breaking of bread indicates communion. During communion, people spend time together and share challenges. With prayer, the study of the Word leads to a life of victory. Pastor Ming then prayed for people who were struggling with fear, trauma, depression and were thinking of taking their own lives. He reminded them that the Holy Spirit is always there to heal them.
“We all have challenges,” noted Pastor Ming, “we can choose to rejoice in God and embrace life in spite of them.” With prayer, miracles, signs, and wonders will happen, he added. In Mark 5, a man who was possessed with thousands of demons was set free because of Jesus’ touch.
THE POWER OF GIVING
A study revealed that giving can boost one’s well-being. The pastor revealed that one’s giving relates back to his soul. By connecting with others and being compassionate, one will give. Giving does not just refer to monetary provision. It includes giving advice, food and any other forms of support.
Pastor Ming then thanked those who opened up their homes for cell group meetings, recounting his conversation with a church member whose house was used for church activities six days a week.
“These 10 things have to done in sequence,” the pastor emphasized. “Only when you have done all the first nine things, then evangelism can happen and people will get saved.”
As Pastor Ming closed the service, he reminded the congregation of Ephesians 5:19-20 and told them to always give thanks to God for everything. The meeting ended with a mighty move of God where many were filled with the Spirit, with some breaking out in holy laughter.