Youth power was on full display throughout the last Emerge service on 16 July, as many young people took a bold step of faith to serve so as to impact lives.
The ground shook as hundreds of youths leapt up and down jubilantly, singing and praising God at the top of their lungs. Around them, colourful lights illuminated the hall, flashing in sync with the beat of the loud bass reverberating around the four walls. Gathering at the mosh pits at the stage front is something every youth looks forward to at City Harvest Church’s Emerge services.
The most recent Emerge service was held on 16 July. It is a monthly affair where the youths gather to experience God in a powerful way. This service was themed “Camp Reunion”, marking the recent conclusion of the June youth camps. The hall was decorated with excited youths donning their camp T-shirts, thrilled to be reuniting with their fellow campers.
GOD CAN MOVE THROUGH ANYTHING AND ANYONE
The service started with an energetic, yet emotional dance showcase by the dance crew. Following that was the highly anticipated rave session led by the well-loved DJ Ash (Tan Jin Yi from ET Zone) on the decks. With his infectious energy and melodic tunes, the entire hall was transformed into an electrifying praise party. The youths sang their hearts out to praise hits like, “Turn It Up,” “Prophesy”, and “Kamsahamnida”.
Following that exhilarating time of praise and worship came Emerge’s Bible-reading challenge, “Chew the Word”. In this edition, the youths were tasked with memorising John 15:5. They were given four minutes to pen down the full verse on a piece of paper, before exchanging their answer sheets with their neighbours for cross-marking. Each youth who wrote down the verse accurately was rewarded with a set of limited-edition pins.
The youth went on to watch a drama production put up by the pastoral zone led by Pastor Edmund Tay. Titled “Even If… Still I Love You”, the drama dealt with one of the greatest temptations youths face: keeping their sexual purity. The story centres on Leia, as she grapples with her overwhelming desire to be loved and accepted. A polytechnic freshman, she prefers hanging out with her friends to being with her “uncool” parents. She falls in love with Cameron, and soon is swept up in emotions and agrees to compromise her sexual purity. But she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend. At the lowest point of her life, her parents come running to her. Despite her mistakes, they welcome her back with open arms, loving her with the unconditional love of Christ.
Following that, Ellen Soh, 21 took to the stage to share a powerful testimony about how God has transformed her life. Having grown up in a broken family, she watched her parents quarrel every day. One day, she overheard her parents talking and discovered that her father had had an affair, and her mother felt disdain towards her. That hurt her deeply and she developed a deep hatred towards her parents. Ellen’s parents had high expectations of her and would punish her physically and verbally if she failed to meet them. She learned that she had to earn validation by pursuing many skills, and over-exerted herself when it came to her studies. Despite growing up in church since she was 5, Ellen found it hard to open up to people and to God. Before long, Ellen fell into depression, started to harm herself, and even developed anorexia. One day, she vomited blood and was sent to the hospital, where the doctors found that her organs were shutting down.
In the midst of her health crisis, her breakthrough came. Going in and out of consciousness, Ellen saw a vision of a Man moulding a block of clay into the shape of a human. Although cracks started to appear in the mould over time, the Man used His tears to mend and soften the cracks. God reminded her of how loved and precious she was, and that gave her the courage to break free of her eating disorder, her fears and low self-esteem.
Today, Ellen serves as a connect group leader in her cell group. She is an undergraduate pursuing a degree in economics at the National University of Singapore. She is eternally grateful for how God has brought hope into her life, as well as a joy that the world can never offer.
IF ONE BELIEVES, GOD CAN MOVE MIGHTILY
Kong Hee, the senior pastor of CHC shared a word in season for the youths. He read Mark 16:13-20, where Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith and proclaimed that whoever believes in Him shall be saved and receive the power to do miracles. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and radically changed their mindset. From doubters, they became believers.
Acts 2:1-3 records, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.”
“My faith in God’s word is unchanging. It doesn’t matter if I’m feeling good or bad, happy or empty—God’s word is always true,” Pastor Kong declared. He also explained to the youth that it is not just about one’s emotions or feelings, but about God’s voice and what He wants to say. God will never fail to keep the promises of His Word, but one will only witness His glory if they choose to believe and have faith in the Word.
Pastor Kong exhorted the youth to keep their consecration, despite what feelings they may have. This generation faces temptations and confusion that would be difficult to overcome without keeping the fire of the Holy Spirit aflame in their hearts and minds.
Citing the church’s evangelistic Crossover Project many years ago, the pastor recounted how important it was to believe in God’s word and that revival only happens through prayer. As the Crossover team travelled from city to city to share the gospel, thousands upon thousands of people responded to the altar call after being touched by what was being preached.
Pastor Kong emphasised that God does the heavy lifting—such as sending the Holy Spirit to them—but one must be willing to do his part and put faith in His word. Believers can lean on the same power from God that the disciples had, as it is made available to them as well. This power is the key to an effective ministry.
The pastor recounted how, at the start of his ministry, 60 students came forward when he gave an altar call at Anglican High Secondary many years ago. That included his to-be wife Sun. In one week, his cell group grew from three members to 63 members, which was a powerful testament to how God can move in ways one cannot imagine.
Referring to the recently concluded June camps as a “burning bush encounter”, Pastor Kong encouraged the youths to play their part and build on the work that God has already done. “God will send the fire and power, but you must keep the fire going,” he shared.
After stirring the spirits of the youth, Pastor Kong gave an altar call specifically for the young women who wished to make their lives count for Jesus. Despite the service stretching late into the evening, the youths stayed and continued worshipping and basking in the Lord’s presence.
Joshua John Yeo, 22, thoroughly enjoyed this Emerge service. “All the way from the rave session to the altar call, I could feel the evident presence and joy of the Lord! As long as we are willing to keep the fire of the Holy Spirit burning, God can use us mightily,” he stated.
DJ Ash aka Tan Jin Yi shared that he was grateful for this opportunity to lead the people in this powerful moment of praise. Prior to performing, he received a vision from the Lord where all the different zones came together as one Emerge with a new standard of praise. “I wanted to bring ‘Praise Rave’ to the church, where praising God is fun, electrifying and unifying. The experience was literally mind-blowing for me when I felt the ground shake in unison—it really showed the power of revival when all our youths are united as one!”