As we embark on a new year and a fresh decade, City News looks back on 2019 and the things that made it special.
When Pastor Aries Zulkarnain preached that the very first service of 2019 on January 7 and 8, the title of his sermon was “Selah”. It was a prophetic word, for 2019 did seem a pause to make room for God through prayer and devotion, grow a healthy relationship with Him, and wait for Him to show us the direction. As the year progressed, City Harvest Church watched as God developed new things and brought us to places we didn’t expect.
There have been many moment: events, people, things—that have left their indelible mark on 2019. Christian band Leeland brought us to a new level of worshipping God. Our social arm CHCSA entered its elderly fitness buffs into a national Crossfit event. Our Dialect Service organised a rocking carnival that young and old enjoyed. And we are always grateful for the presence of Dr AR Bernard and Pastor Phil Pringle at CHC. So many things to thank God for, but here are 10 that especially jump out:
THE CROWNING SESSIONS (Jan 14-18, 2019)
The year began with an innovative way to do church-wide prayer meetings. The Crowning Sessions was an online week-long prayer session that was held online every weekday morning. The leadership, pastoral staff, intercessors, prayer team and volunteers gathered very early each morning to pray and to receive prayer requests and send prayers back to the members. It was the first of its kind, and the members were greatly blessed by the prayers. There were reports of miracles, including sudden breakthroughs in business and bad health situations turned around within the week. By the end of the five days, 3,305 prayer requests had been answered, and a daily average of 2,734 people logged in to the sessions.
BILL JOHNSON (Feb 15-17, 2019)
Pastor Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding visited CHC to preach three sermons. He taught on hosting the presence of God, the renewal of the mind and the power of holy communion. His teaching not only brought revelation and understanding of why believers have holy communion, and how the presence of the God can be hosted and protected, but healing also took place during his meetings. His gentle wisdom blessed the congregation greatly and we look forward to having him back at CHC again.
DR JOSH MCDOWELL (March 16-17, 2019)
It was an honor to have one of the world’s most beloved Christian apologists preach at City Harvest Church. Dr McDowell was in Singapore as the keynote speaker at Cru Singapore’s youth conference Breaking Free, which tackled the thorny subject of pornography head-on. The conference was held at CHC. His confident and lively approach to defending the Christian faith was a powerful reminder to believers, especially parents, of the importance of fighting for our children’s destiny in Christ.
DR CHRISTOPHER YUAN (May 18-19, 2019)
Dr Yuan’s moving testimony of his journey from being a drug-addicted homosexual to an apologist determined to spend the rest of his life preaching Christ made for one of the most eye-opening services of the year. Accompanied by his parents, Dr Yuan shared the story of how his mother prayed daily for seven years for his salvation in her prayer closet, and how God came and turned his life around. Dr Yuan also spent his week speaking at the School of Theology and holding Q&A sessions with the pastoral staff.
THE RESURRECTION OF ERIC CHUA (June 8, 2019)
At the main service on September 1, Pastor Bobby Chaw related the amazing testimony of Chinese Church member Eric Chua, who died for a few minutes, but was brought back to life. Due to throat cancer, Eric had part of his throat and voice box removed and he breathes through a breathing tube. On 8 June, he was home when he suddenly choked and stopped breathing. His wife called for the ambulance and also for her cell group members De An and Judy, who had just visited Eric and his wife before this incident happened. He lost consciousness and began foaming at the mouth; his eyes had rolled back and his body had begun to turn purple from oxygen deprivation. He had stopped breathing for more than three minutes by then—brain damage occurs if there is no oxygen for three to five minutes. As they could not perform CPR due to Eric’s breathing tube, De An, Judy and Eric’s wife laid hands and began to pray fervently for him and cry out to the Holy Spirit to breathe life into Eric’s body. Eric suddenly began to gasp for air and start to breathe again. By the time the ambulance arrived 20 minutes later, Eric was conscious and calm. All this was captured on video by Eric’s home security system. The Holy Spirit is truly the giver and sustainer of life!
EMERGE CONFERENCE WITH ERWIN MCMANUS (July 12-14, 2019)
CHC’s Emerge Conference is always one of the most exciting events at CHC. This year it was made even more special with keynote speaker Erwin McManus, lead pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles. Pastor Erwin is the best-selling author of books like The Way Of The Warrior, The Last Arrow and The Artisan Soul. At Emerge he spoke frankly about dealing with the suicide of a young church member, growing up not knowing his real father and being seen as mediocre by his stepfather, yet God redeemed all he was, despite his psychological struggles. One of the most honest and authentic speakers to preach Jesus at CHC.
PASTOR KONG RETURNED (August 22, 2019)
A day before his 55th birthday, CHC’s senior pastor Kong Hee ended his prison term and returned home to his family. His first appearance back in church that weekend was met with warmth and welcome. Later, Pastor Kong told the church staff and the congregation that he was so moved by what he experienced that first weekend back in church, because all that God had called him to do had been accomplished—what a faithful God we serve! With this milestone, it felt like He had finally closed the door on the most challenging season the church has faced.
SOT TURNED 25 (September 28-29, 2019)
This year’s School of Theology graduation was extra special because it marked the 25th year of CHC’s Bible School. SOT has graduated over 7000 students from all over the world since it was started as a training programme for its pastoral staff. Today, SOT supports its alumni who have become affiliates of CHC through The Harvest Network, which extends spiritual covering and practical help to them. At this year’s graduation ceremony, in a special surprise item, the SOT alumni led in the traditional singing of “In Christ Alone”, with the graduating cohort joining in on stage before they tossed their mortar boards in the air. The batch of 2019 also received a specially-made “In Christ Alone” 25th anniversary T-shirt from the school.
CHC’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY (October 12-13, 2019)
To be able to celebrate 30 years of City Harvest Church is a blessing beyond words. It has been an exciting—and at points difficult—journey, but looking back, as a church, our walk with God has been one progressing in depth and maturity, in understanding and connection with the Lord. We say that at 30, we are “breaking into the new”—we only know it will be new, but we don’t yet know what new is. Here’s to another decade of growing in God together!
2019 was the year of Encounter events— when CHC members came together with no agenda and simply waited to encounter the Lord. Many encounter meetings happened, in the zones, even with The Harvest Network. Believers came to seek the presence of God and as they worshipped Him—in prayer, in song, in prophetic paintings, in flag-bearing, in dancing—the Holy Spirit moved: visions, healing, holy laughter, miracles of all kinds, deliverance. As a church, we experienced a new hunger for more of God—not His blessings, not His provision, but Him.
THE CHINESE SERVICE’S EVANGELISTIC SHORT-FILM, THE PROMISE (Nov 17, 2019)
八点钟的约定 (The Promise) was a production by City Harvest Chinese Service’s short-film ministry. The film, directed by Jack Neo and Ivan Ho, drew upon the talents and abilities of the untrained congregation members. The story of a single mother struggling to survive with her autistic son captured the powerful redemptive work of God in a light-hearted but poignant way. The Chinese Service members poured out their hearts, souls and strength into this effort because of their love for souls to be saved. The screening on Nov 17 was packed to the gills, and hundreds received Jesus as their Lord and Savior that day.