As the church welcomed a new year, Pastor Kong Hee taught the church the importance of having vision and dreams and how to see them come to pass.
On the first weekend service of 2024 (6 and 7 Jan), Kong Hee, the senior pastor of City Harvest Church, preached a powerful word on visions and dreams. He started by explaining that visions and dreams are motivators and inspire growth and courage. They also cause a person to have an increase in resilience and faith.
With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, visions and dreams define the purpose of believers’ lives. Pastor Kong then went on to explain how one can receive them.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VISIONS AND DREAMS
Reading Acts 2:17, Pastor Kong explained the difference between visions and dreams. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a dream is a series of thoughts, images and sensations occurring in the mind during sleep. In dreams, one has no conscious control over what is happening; in dreams, one can do the impossible.
Another definition of a dream is a cherished aspiration, ambition or desire. “This is why ‘your old man will dream dreams’, because they are desires of a lifetime,” the pastor explained. The Holy Spirit wants to help His believers by giving them dreams they can live for.
A vision is unlike a dream. It is the ability to acquire the future with imagination and wisdom. A vision means one has sight of the things that lie ahead. “God may have given you a dream, but how can you be intentional in bringing it to pass? That is your vision,” Pastor Kong continued.
A vision must be realistic, and one must have a step-by-step plan for it. The Bible writes “Young men will see visions” because it takes energy and drive to achieve.
While a dream is big and may even take a whole lifetime to accomplish, a vision is realistic and immediate.
Pastor Kong reminded the congregation that whether it is a long-term dream or short-term vision, it is important that believers bring it to the Lord in prayer and ensure that what they want to do is God’s will. Just as Jesus had taught His disciples in the Lord’s prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.”
“You must make sure that what you are sensing and seeing is really from the Holy Spirit, not from your own ambition,” the pastor cautioned. He encouraged the church that in 2024, they should not only be intentional in seeing through their vision and dreams, but also pray over them.
THE POWER OF FAITH & PATIENCE
Pastor Kong shared that on 7 January, he would be bringing over 400 church members to Seoul for a prayer week. He went on to share the importance of prayer, reading from Mark 11: 20-26.
In the midst of a busy week, Jesus came across a fig tree that was not bearing fruit and He prayed against it. The next day, Peter noticed that it had withered away. Jesus used this to teach believers about the power of faith.
Focusing on Mark 11: 22 and Mark 11: 24, Pastor Kong taught the congregation that to have faith means to be convinced that whatever they have prayed for is already on its way so they must keep on believing it.
“Jesus is teaching this because it is very important to know that when you’re praying, you need to know when God wants to give you miracles, He doesn’t always do it immediately,” Pastor Kong explained.
He acknowledged that it is often easy for believers to become discouraged when their prayers are not answered immediately. Pastor Kong reminded the congregation the Bible teaches believers to wait patiently for the Lord.
“Just because you don’t see any changes does not mean that God isn’t working behind the scenes on your behalf,” the pastor encouraged the congregation. “As you keep on doing the right things, things will begin to shift. The miracle is a process, and it is already set in motion!”
To illustrate his point, Pastor Kong read Luke 17:11-19 where Jesus healed 10 lepers. He could have healed them immediately, but He did not. Instead, He told them to go and show themselves to the priests. The pastor noted that it was not easy for lepers to go to the temple before they had received their healing—they had to walk a long way in their weak bodies and face rejection. But true enough, with each step they took, they got a little better. By the time they reached the temple, they were fully healed.
Pastor Kong pointed out that Jesus had asked them to do something out of the ordinary. Instead of going to the high priest only after they were healed, Jesus wanted them to believe in their healing first. That is how faith works.
The pastor encouraged the church not to back away from God when there are no signs that things are happening. Instead, they must step forward like the lepers did. As they walk by faith, in obedience to God’s Word, they will grow bigger on the inside.
Pastor Kong then shared an anecdote from the late Dr Yonggi Cho, the founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church. When Dr Cho started his church in 1958, South Korea was impoverished following the Korean War. Dr Cho had little to eat and was living in a small bare room with no furniture. The pastor prayed fervently to God for three things he longed for and he was specific in his prayers: he asked for a desk big enough for his books and Bible, made of mahogany timber from the Philippines; a chair with a steel frame on smooth castor wheels, and a sturdy bicycle made in America. The late Dr Cho loved and was inspired by Romans 4:17 and was convinced that his prayers had already been answered. He started visualising where he would place the desk and chair and using the bicycle to visit his church members.
Sure enough, months later, he was blessed with all three items—in exact specifications—that he had prayed for.
THE WAR AGAINST SATAN HAS ALREADY BEEN WON
“Most of the miracles don’t happen instantly,” Pastor Kong said. “But step by step, they will unfold if each time you pray, you receive it by faith, and you’re convinced that they’re already on the way.”
He went on to note that the lepers were healed when they heard the instructions from Jesus. The faith of every miracle has to be grounded in the Word. The pastor shared that he always went to his Bible whenever he needed a miracle and allowed the Holy Spirit to give him a Word. He believes that as he obeys the instructions from the Bible, his miracles are on the way.
Pastor Kong reiterated the need to be patient when praying, and he encouraged the church to be confident that each time they prayed, they were inching towards their goal.
General Jonathan Wainwright was a three-star general in the American Army during the Second World war. He commanded American and Filipino forces during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and surrendered in 1942. At the time of his capture, Wainwright was the highest-ranking American prisoner of war.
He spent three years in Japanese prison camps where he suffered from malnutrition and mistreatment. When the war was finally over in 1945, the Japanese POW commanders were told to surrender themselves to the highest-ranking POW in their camp, but the commander in General Wainwright’s camp did not do so.
One day, an American officer came to the camp and told the general that Japan had surrendered. Once he heard that, the weak and frail general walked up the hill to the Japanese commandant’s office and told him, “My commander-in-chief has defeated your commander-in-chief and I am taking over right now.”
Pastor Kong said to the congregation, “Church, as your senior pastor, I stand before you at the fences of your situation. I am declaring to you this morning that your Commander-in-chief, Jesus Christ has defeated Satan!” Believers can now have life in abundance, he added.
OBEDIENCE THAT BRINGS ABOUT DELIVERANCE
“If you don’t have any information on what the Word of God says, how are you going to know what has been won for you at Calvary?” Pastor Kong asked. That is why every dream and vision one has must be supported by the Word of God. With that, the pastor urged the church to renew their love for God and His Word.
More than the provision and blessings, God wants to transform His believers into the image of Jesus. Pastor Kong noted that in all four Gospels, almost all of Jesus’ miracles required obedience.
During his first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding, Jesus told the servants to fill the large pots with water—something that did not make sense. Yet, their obedience to His Word brought forth a miracle.
Similarly, God may be nudging those who need a breakthrough to obey Him to do something that does not make sense. “Don’t overthink it. Don’t talk yourself out of doing what God is nudging you to do,” the pastor advised. Sometimes, God’s guidance is simple and ordinary, but when the believer decides to trust God and act on it, the miracle is set in motion.
“Remember, the darkest hour is always just before dawn. The devil is always the noisiest just before your breakthrough,” the pastor said as he encouraged the church to keep moving closer to God, assuring them that healing and provision will come.
Before the service ended, Pastor Kong shared the testimony of Jourdan Kamal, a young man who grew up in CHC. He is only in his 30s but leads a successful IT business. However, Jourdan went through a dark season in his life when he lost his father and another close relative within a few months. He plunged into depression and almost committed suicide. Jesus’s light not only saved him but also helped him to be successful in life. In a recent Instagram post he wrote to mark the new year, he shared how he manifested his dream.
He did four things in the year he “disappeared”. One, he wrote down his vision and the things he wanted most. Two, he prayed earnestly about these visions and desires. Three, he believed with all his heart that these dreams would one day be his reality. Fourth, he started living as if his dreams had already come true.
Emphasising the last step, Pastor Kong highlighted that Jourdan‘s dream did not come true overnight. Yet, he started living as if he had already fulfilled his dream. After a decade of working towards his goals and trusting in God, Jourdan’s dream came to pass. The entrepreneur’s journey was not about achieving goals, but about transformation. In the process, he learned resilience and the power of consistent effort.
“To me, discipline was more than a practice. It was a bridge from dreams to reality and patience and this is the key to manifestations,” Pastor Kong read. “Are you ready for 2024?”
Sun Ho, City Harvest Church’s executive pastor, ended the service with a testimony. She shared on stage about her knee surgery that happened two months ago. Instead of taking eight weeks to find her footing, she only took two weeks before she could start climbing stairs with the aid of a walking stick. Her miraculous recovery was a testament to Pastor Kong’s sermon.