City Harvest Church celebrated Father’s Day with a song, a skit and a sermon on Father’s Love.
The churchgoers of CHC celebrated Father’s Day on Jun 18 and 19 with a special duet and a hilarious drama performance.
Seventeen-year-old Nathania Ong wowed the congregation when she took the stage with a performance of the Andrea Bocelli hit, “The Prayer”. The crowd was further astounded when her dad, Dr Kevin Ong, a dentist, joined her in the duet. Their rendition was so beautiful that it moved the crowd to give them a standing ovation at the end.
Thereafter, CHC drama ministry put up an entertaining short play in honor of fathers. Titled “Superheroes, Superdads”, the story revolved around three fathers who decided to dress up as superheroes to petrol their neighborhood after a case of robbery. The drama reached a climax when a spoof of a scene between ‘Big Boss’ Yoo Si Jin and Kang Mo Yeon from the very popular Korean drama Descendants of The Sun sent the congregation into fits of laughter.
THE LOVE OF ABBA FATHER
Kong Hee, the senior pastor of City Harvest Church, took the stage to share a special message. Reading from John 17:25-26, Kong said that for thousands of years, the names that people knew God by were “Elohim”, “Jehovah” and “Adonai”. Their idea of God was that He was that He is a strict and unforgiving Judge.
“Jesus Christ came to show us a God who longs for intimacy with us, Someone we can fully trust and depend on. Without this relationship and revelation, our dealings with God will be distant, cold, superficial and incomplete,” Kong explained.
God wants His people to know him as Father, just as Jesus called God “Abba”, an intimate term akin to “Daddy”. Yet, because of tragedies in life, people tend to think God is unconcerned about their problems and they cannot count on Him to prevent bad things from happening. Kong explained that bad things happen because God gave people a freedom of choice.
“God could make us into robots that He can control and prevent us from doing bad things to each other, but that means we lose the freedom to be ourselves,” said Kong. “Freedom gives us the ability to make choices and that includes wrong choices, which causes bad things to happen to good people. God could have stopped it but He didn’t, because He wants us to make a conscious choice to do the right things.”
Receiving unbalanced teaching, over-emphasizing God’s anger against sins and His decision to bring judgment also cause people to think that it is difficult to please Him. They have the idea that they will never be good or righteous enough for God.
A person’s personal negative experience with his earthly father is also projected onto God, causing that person to think that God is unreasonable. It could be a critical and harsh father who cannot show affection, an unavailable father who often neglects the needs of the family, a disabled father who can’t provide for the family, or one who is always drunk or has extramarital affairs.
“With all these disappointments, we project our idea of what a father is on our heavenly Father, and we think He makes unreasonable demands that we can’t live up to,” said the senior pastor.
“But Jesus came to show us a God who is patient, gentle, who loves and cares for us,” Kong continued. “God wants to mend our broken hearts, heal our sicknesses and diseases. He knows us by our names and He calls us His friends. We are beautiful, valuable and precious in His eyes.
“God is angry at the evil and wickedness that destroy our lives, but He is not angry with us His children. That is why God poured all His judgment and anger towards our sin onto Jesus at the cross, so that we can receive eternal life and not be condemned. We are that important to God.”
Just how much does God love us?
Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
According to Kong, there are four ways we can see God’s love in this verse–the width, length, height and depth of His love.
God’s compassionate character is proclaimed in Exodus 34:6, where it says, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.”
“Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve, such as punishment and retribution for things we have done wrong. Grace means God giving us what we don’t deserve, such as happiness, blessings and eternal life, because we have all fallen short of the glory. So God longs to withhold the bad and gives us only the good things,” Kong explained.
Exodus 34:7 shows God as a gentle and forgiving father. “Love and forgiveness are synonymous. People cannot love without knowing how to forgive.” Kong expounded.
He said that God the heavenly Father would never shut the door at his children, so earthly fathers must do likewise. They need to show mercy and love their kids even when they are rebellious. Their children need to know that they have a father at home who is rooting and praying for them, and they would not be rejected no matter what they have done.
Kong shared that it takes 93 billion years at the speed of light to reach from one end to the other end of the universe, yet not only is God bigger than the universe, His love is unending. God says in Jeremiah 31:3 that “I have loved you with an everlasting love”.
The senior pastor encouraged all the fathers in the congregation to be kind, sensitive and tactful when speaking to their children, as their words carry authority that can potentially crush the spirits of their children.
In The Living Bible, 2 Timothy 2:13 reads, “Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, He remains faithful to us and will help us, for He cannot disown us who are part of Himself, and He will always carry out His promises to us.”
Kong encouraged fathers in the congregation to be faithful in seeing their children through their lives, in the same way that God is committed towards His children.
“Children willingly give their dads authority over them. They want their dads to be strong and wise superheroes who will love and protect them.” said Kong.
Kong shared how his father courageously stood up for him when he wasbeaten up by a much bigger boy in primary school. His father went to his school and told the bully in his face never to touch his son again.
“Heroic fathers don’t allow setbacks to stop them from doing what is right and they will fight to be the leader of their kids,” Kong says. “That’s how God designed them to be.” A good father is committed to his family and marriage. He is courageous in leading, and is faithful, reliable and loving.
Matthew 6:31-32 says, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”
“God longs to provide and give good things to us.” Kong said. “You may feel that your life is nothing but filthy dishwater, but God can make it into beautiful wine!”
The first miracle that Jesus did was to turn water into wine at a wedding. Kong explained that six water pots of dirty dishwater were used, and each water pot is filled with about 30 gallons of water. This translated to more than 900 bottles of wines. It was more than enough for the guest and the couple would probably sell the leftovers. Assuming each bottle of fine wine cost $200, this meant Jesus blessed the couple with a gift of fine wine that was worth $180,000.
“God is a God of abundance. He doesn’t just meet our needs, but will always go above and beyond what we can ask or expect, so that we can move up the next level in life,” said Kong.
Quoting John 16:23, Kong encouraged the fathers in the congregation to be generous and giving in their provision for their children, because God will do likewise.
God cares very deeply for His people and He feels the pain that we feel. In John 11, Lazarus was sick and he eventually died. Kong pointed that in verse 35, “Jesus wept”. Jesus wept even though He knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead. This is because He wanted to be a part of their sorrows and pain. He wanted to show that God weeps with His people when they weep, and He laughs when they laugh.
In Zechariah 2:8, God say, “…he who touches you touches the apple of His eye” and in Isaiah 49:16, it says God “inscribed you on the palms of My hands”.
“God has given us a graphic image to show that He thinks about us all the time. If we think of God as a supercomputer, He would be thinking of every human being 4,000 times per second!” exclaimed Kong.
Kong elaborated that for every son, his father is the first person he looks up to. Everyone who follows after will always be compared to his father, be it his boss, army officer, even God. For every daughter, her father will always be her first love or “superhero”. Every man who enters her life will be compared to her father forever, and she will either choose a boyfriend who treats her well just like her father, or she may be unable to find love in a healthy relationship if her father was cold and unaffectionate.
Kong ended by exhorting the fathers in the congregation to express love to their kids by using affectionate words, to spend quality time with their kids and give them hugs frequently.
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