How are you starting your 2022? At City Harvest Church last weekend, Pastor Lin Jun Xian taught how to build a good foundation for the new year.
Hurricane Ike, which struck the US in September 2008, was classified the second most dangerous hurricane, destroying more than 200 houses as it blew across Gilchrist, Texas. The town was unrecognisable after the storm, yet one house was left standing. It was later discovered that the owners had built a foundation for the house that was deep enough to withstand the hurricane.
Telling this story at the opening of his message on the weekend of Jan 15 and 16, Lin Jun Xian, an associate pastor of City Harvest Church asked, “How many of you know that it is important for all of us to build the right foundation in our lives?”
He added that visions and goals are important because they keep one focused on the things God has called him to do—without a vision, one becomes easily distracted when life gets busy.
“More than just having a vision, we need to build a life out of a revelation of God and His Word,” Pastor Jun Xian preached. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” This “word” refers to a spoken word that is filled with the breath of God.
“I believe God wants to speak to us today,” the pastor asserted. “I believe God has given us a new vision for 2022.”
THE WISE MAN BUILT HIS HOUSE UPON A ROCK
Reading from Luke 6:46-49, the familiar parable of two men building their houses, Pastor Jun Xian elaborated on what it means to build one’s life on Jesus.
The pastor noted that both builders knew Jesus and proclaimed Him as Lord—however, one was a doer of the Word while the other only heard the word but did not do accordingly (Lk 6:49). “Jesus describes the doer of the Word as one who chose to dig deep and to lay a foundation on the Rock,” he said, explaining that the other builder built without a foundation.
How wise or foolish the builders were was only revealed after the storm. This passage put an emphasis on the way the builders chose to build their foundation. “It didn’t have to do with the skills, the experience or the ability—it had everything to do with their obedience to Jesus. That was the determining factor in the outcome of the story,” he explained. Obedience is the key to building the right foundation in God because one’s obedience reflects his relationship with God.
With that, the pastor shared three keys to building one’s foundation in God.
1. Build Before The Storm
Pastor Jun Xian noted that in Luke 6:48, Jesus said, “And when the flood arose…” Floods will no doubt arise, and one has to build before the storm to be ready to stand up to them. Pastor Jun Xian urged the church to keep practising their spiritual disciplines so that they can withstand any storms that come their way in 2022.
CHC has gone through a few storms in its church history. Jesus taught His disciples that the church should be built on the Word of God (Mt 16:18), and that is what CHC has been doing. Pastor Jun Xian recounted the many Bible study classes, prayer meetings and worship sessions the church has had over the years. Members of the church were also involved in serving God through fellowships, volunteering in church ministries and evangelistic efforts. CHC also emphasises the power of the Holy Spirit and thus, every member is baptised in the Holy Spirit.
This is the foundation that CHC is built on. “As we obey Him and as we build the foundation, our lives have been changed again and again. Because of this foundation, we have been able to weather the storms the last 33 years,” the pastor pointed out.
He encouraged church members to build own foundation as this new year begins. It could be reading the Bible, establishing meaningful fellowships and spending time with their families, or taking care of their health. “Friends, the time is now—start building today!” Pastor Jun Xian encouraged.
2. Build Below The Surface
Before building can begin, the ground must be dug free of dirt and rubble. “We need to allow God to dig out the dirt of our lives,” Pastor Jun Xian said. He shared his own testimony of how God healed his heart during a study trip to the US. The sudden passing of his father a decade before had caused deep grief in his heart, and he had been burying it.
On the study trip, he met a Christian intercessor who offered to pray for him. “Through her ministry, God began to dig out the dirt of grief and the dirt of pain. He eventually brought healing and restoration,” he said. That healing transformed the pastor’s life.
“Do you struggle with faith in your life, below the surface?” the pastor questioned. Below the surface is where dirt like negative thoughts, secret sins, insecurities and bitterness lie. Pastor Jun Xian urged the church to allow the Holy Spirit to do a purging work in their lives so that God can put in a new foundation.
3. Build Beyond The Present
“Sociologists believe that our modern society suffers from short-termism,” Pastor Jun Xian taught. “Short-termism refers to an excessive focus on short term results at the expense of long-term interest.”
The result is that modern society is often so exhausted from dealing with the present that it has no capacity to think about the future. This leads global leaders to shift to planning for “Cathedral thinking”—to build for generations.
Jesus, when he told his disciples to dig deep, was really teaching them to build beyond their present, to build with eternity in mind (Ecc 3:11). “If you know that the life that you’re building right now will prepare you for eternity, how would you change and re-choose your choices again?” the pastor asked.
Quoting Isaiah 28:16, Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:6, “Behold, I lay in Zion, a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
In some Bible translations, the word “cornerstone” translates as “capstone”. While a cornerstone holds the building structure together, a capstone is the last stone put into the building to hold the whole building together. “In other words, Jesus is not only the first foundation stone we lay, but He’s also the last keystone to complete our lives—He is the Alpha and Omega,” the pastor proclaimed.
In closing, Pastor Jun Xian shared something that CHC pastor Choong Tsih Ming told him once. “Don’t look at your Christian life as a linear walk,” he quoted Pastor Ming. “Look at your Christian life as a circular walk”
From day to day, year to year, Christians “walk” in a circle: they read the Bible, pray, worship, serve and fellowship with other believers. In doing so, the Christian is actually deepening his roots in God and building up his life with Him.
The set of values and beliefs God gave His people is a way of life, the pastor explained. As a Christian continues in this way of life, he will begin to understand the width, the length, the depth and the height of the love of God (Eph 3:18). Once he establishes his foundation in life, God will be able to do “exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think” in his life.