By serving the poor, Christians allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. In his message last weekend, Pastor Kong Hee highlighted a plethora of ways to help the needy as a church.
City Harvest Church is gearing up to reach out to Unreached People Groups (UPGs). Over the weekend of 7 and 8 Oct, City Harvest Church’s senior pastor Kong Hee shared his plan on how it will be done.
“When we preach the gospel to an unreached people group, what we want is to get enough people saved among them, and then we set up a physical church building, a school for kids and a medical post—those three things,” he spelled out.
The goal of this plan is to train up church workers and leaders in each of those locations, so that the church becomes self-sustaining in a few years. For that to happen, the members of CHC need to work together and grow strong spiritually.
“I’m talking about spiritually deep in the Word, more fervent in prayer, in discipleship, in modelling, love, holiness and power,” Pastor Kong elaborated.
For that reason, CHC needs more resources to train more pastors and church workers so that each of them can focus on the group they serve and disciple their members intentionally. Towards this end, there will be a collection of a special offering on the coming weekend (14 and 15 Oct). These resources will also go towards building infrastructures for congregations among these UPGs.
THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT FLOWS THROUGH THOSE WHO SERVE THE POOR
“Why do we help the poor and needy?” Pastor Kong asked rhetorically as he went on to the next part of his sermon. He stated that it was a command of Jesus Christ and a way to lovingly witness to the lost. The church will then be blessed by God in return (Prov 19:17).
“But what you don’t know is this,” he continued. “By helping the poor and the needy, the Holy Spirit changes us from within.” He added that these changes help the church become more Christlike and strong, spiritually. To illustrate this, Pastor Kong shared his own experience.
He recounted how, when he was incarcerated, he was the only Christian in the prison cell. In addition, all his cellmates came from broken families. Most of them lacked education and had been involved in gangs. The pastor heard God instructing him to serve his cellmates by washing the floor. He obeyed, cleaning the cell regularly, even volunteering to wash the toilets on weekends. As he did this consistently, the Holy Spirit began working in him.
“I found my heart being drained of any pride and arrogance, being drained of any sense of superiority,” shared Pastor Kong. As he served, allowing God’s love to fill his heart, it helped him to cultivate “zero anger”. Over the years, he grew to love his cellmates and would often pray for them. He remains friends with many of them today.
The pastor encouraged the congregation, saying that as they serve the poor and needy, God will work something beautiful in them. “That’s how you grow in the anointing of the Spirit,” he taught, quoting Luke 4:18-19.
“That’s why so many miracles happened when we were among the UPG,” Pastor Kong said, referring to his recent mission trips which saw healings take place. That same special grace from the Holy Spirit comes upon the believers and flow through them as they serve like Jesus.
He added that when the Holy flows through the believer, His power will change them from within.
THE GREATEST CHALLENGE OF SERVING
Throughout church history, serving the poor was considered a spiritual discipline—one as important as fasting and reading the Bible. “It’s even more important for those who are in positions of leadership and power and influence,” Pastor Kong added.
This is one of the greatest challenges for Christians. While leaders in the world today flaunt their power, Jesus showed the church a better way—leading by serving (Mt 20:25-28). “When you serve people, the Holy Spirit makes you like Jesus,” the pastor added, encouraging the church to deny themselves and be in total abandonment to God.
He gave the example of adapting to the cultures of the rural tribes he visited and fellowshipping with them on the mission trip, as well as praying for those who were sick. Those actions took faith and a form of abandonment.
Using illustrations from the Bible to talk about giving, Pastor Kong noted that Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac and the widow was willing to give her two mites—abandoning all to God. In the process of giving in this manner of faith, the Christian learns to trust in God and to be frugal, living within his means.
After a believer gives to God, he will find himself with less money to spend. He will have to learn to crucify his desire for luxuries or to make sacrifices. “Frugality is self-denial, and it helps you become a disciple, following Christ,” the pastor said.
John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist Church. He observed that when his members followed what was taught in the Scriptures, they began to prosper. Yet that prosperity also caused them to become too used to comfort, and they turned self-indulgent and proud. Pastor Kong used this example to caution the church against being led astray by success.
Pastor Kong points to James 1:27 as a solution to this: when Christians prosper, they can give time and energy to serve the poor and needy. “Be willing to associate with people of low position,” the pastor added, quoting Romans 12:16.
“You may think that you’re helping them, but the Holy Spirit is actually helping you through them,” he said. The effect is that one will rid himself of his pride and arrogance, as well as any sense of superiority over others.
“The heart of Jesus will be born in you; the anointing of the Spirit will fill you afresh,” said Pastor Kong. “Your faith in God will be purified. Your consecration to Him is kept intact.”
A CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS
One of the ways CHC reaches out to the poor and needy outside the four walls of the church is through its Church Without Walls initiatives (CWW). The church watched a moving video testimony of a single mother of three who benefitted from various CWW initiatives, and eventually experienced love and hope in God.
Eileen Toh and Lynn Tan, the pastors overseeing the CWW programme took to the stage to explain how CHC members can be involved in different CWW ministries, encouraging them to participate as a cell group or as individuals.
Pastor Kong also highlighted CHCSA’s ministry for the elderly as well as the Financial Assistance Programme the church has set up during the Covid-19 pandemic. He then lauded both pastors for their labour of love through CWW.
Pastor Kong encouraged the church to give an offering next week out of love and free will. This offering is meant to empower the church to reach out to the marginalised. “However, it must be done, marinated in a lot of love and joy,” he said, adding that no one should feel pressured to give.
As the service concluded, Pastor Kong led the congregation in prayer, exhorting each member to serve so that the Holy Spirit will help them to become more Christlike.
Visit CHC’s website to find out more about how you can help in CWW.