Service today was incredible, and I'm really glad that Pastor addressed what he addressed today. It was a little concern of mine and Jeremy's. As we continue to grow in numbers, our spiritual strength must not become weak, but that's what I felt was happening somehow.
Today Pastor talked about that. As he'll be revealing the location of our new church building next week, he felt that it was important that we knew that even as the church expands and the number of members increases rapidly, we must always continue to grow in our spiritual strength as well. As he said, sometimes we get so caught up in doing things for God that we find our love for Him decreasing. It's not as confusing as it sounds. In Revelations, the church members were doing a lot of things for God but, in the midst of it all, had lost their "first love" - the initial fiery passion for God.
Ever felt like the excitement you had for service and for God was beginning to die down? Ever felt like God had blessed you so much that you no longer thirsted for Him because He has "quenched your thirst"?
As Pastor said,
The more the Holy Spirit quenches your thirst, the thirstier for Him you become.
Pastor Kong also talked about his personal experiences - his encounters with God as a child. When he was 12, he sneaked into a Charismatic Meeting attended by pastors all over the world - that was an invitation-only thing - in shorts and slippers while everyone around him were in suits and ties. The speaker, an old man, asked "Who would like to receive the Holy Spirit?", and the 12-year-old Pastor Kong found himself raising his hand up. And then the speaker told everyone to receive the Holy Spirit and he felt something come like a huge wave and hit him, sent him trembling, his heart beating, his tears falling.
In secondary school, his parents strongly disallowed him to go to church but he kept feeling a strong longing to experience that encounter with the Holy Spirit again. When he was 16, just three months before the Os, he asked his dad if he could go to church and, surprisingly, he said yes.
(BTW, PASTOR KONG WAS FROM RI & RJC, LIKE MY DAD AND BROTHER!)
Okay wait I've just got to stop there because when I was in secondary school, my parents stopped me from going to church because they felt it was a waste of time, and when I was 15 and Xueling Laoshi invited J4M to City Harvest I asked my mum if I could go and surprisingly she said yes too! HAHA!
So he began attending church again and one day, a guest speaker came and talked about the Holy Spirit. And at the end of it, he said the very same words the speaker had said during the Charismatic Meeting - "Who would like to receive the Holy Spirit?" - and it sent a chill down Pastor Kong's spine. And for thirty minutes Pastor lay there on the floor, trembling and crying. Once again, the Holy Spirit had touched him.
The Holy Spirit is a Person, has a tangible Presence, and is full of Power. We in City Harvest know that. There's something in the atmosphere that makes me smile when I enter the hall, something that makes me lift my hands in praise, something that made everyone's tears fall as we prayed today.
Today I found myself shouting my prayer in Tongues. Shouting. I was loud, we all were, in the music and the noise. And as I shouted my prayer in the language God spoke, I found myself choking on a lump in my throat and felt a smile play on my face.
God is good.