Today I want you to look with me at a verse, 2 Corinthians 8.
2 Cor 8:10-12
10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
The context of this was that Paul was raising money in the Corinthian church for the work of God in Jerusalem and so the people made a faith pledge a year earlier and it has been a while right now. And Paul went back, and Paul says guys you did such a good thing last year. What you have started, you got to complete it and God is going to honour your faith. Now I thought when I look at this verse, it is so applicable for City Harvest because we are coming to the last few weeks of our Arise and Build Campaign. I want to encourage you just like Paul did in the bible to activate your faith and complete what you have started last year. Last year in November you made a faith promise — to finish it. Now sometimes we have this mindset: I have pledged this amount and I am trusting God to really bless me, but you know my bonus didn’t come, my commission didn’t come, my dividend didn’t come, I want to sell some stuff and sell my house and it didn’t come and so since I was not blessed by God, I cannot give back for His work. So if God did not keep His bargain, then I could not fulfil my building fund.
Now, there is a big difference between faith and bargaining. God blesses faith. Actually, God doesn’t do bargaining. Faith is, I give God in advance, I tighten my belt, by faith I sacrifice. In fact, some people say F-A-I-T-H. Faith is, Forsaking All I Trust Him. So I am willing to take a step of faith and forsake some of my funds, and I trust Him that when the time comes that I need certain help, Jehovah Jireh will honour my faith and provide for all my needs. Now, that is what faith is.
Bargaining is when I say to God: God, I will give to the church, but first you let me have the million dollar contract, then I will tithe back a 100 thousand back to you. It’s like saying, God you let me strike the lottery and I will give back some into your Kingdom. Now God doesn’t do that, God doesn’t do lottery stuff together with us. That is not faith.
Now during our first building fund, I will never forget in 1995 we have our first building fund. We are just on the brim of moving into Hollywood theatre. We are two years away from our big revival in 1997. We only have several hundred people. At that time my salary was three thousand dollars, and I felt by faith our first Arise and Build, our first building fund campaign, I pledged forty thousand dollars. Now you know, three thousand dollar salary, you pledge forty thousand, God has to perform a miracle, right? So throughout the whole building fund campaign I was waiting, I was praying, God, somehow let there be cheques in the mail, somehow let there be surprising gifts, somebody out of the blue will come and give forty thousand dollars and I can give to the building fund. I waited, waited, waited, all the way until the end of the building fund campaign, nothing happened. I was coming to the last few weeks and my heart was getting nervous. I said, God, I am the senior pastor, I got to lead by example. I pledged forty thousand, how is this miracle going to happen? I cannot fulfil it.
So one Sunday morning, just like this Sunday morning, at that time I was living at Tampines and so I took the car and waited at the void deck, at the — just below the flat, waiting for Sun to come down, because typical girls, you know, got to put on make-up, took a lot of time. So I waited, waited, so I was having a conversation with God. I said God I’m going to church, I cannot fulfil the building fund, I feel like so defeated, what am I going to do. And then the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said I already provided for you. I said God, where? You are sitting on your building fund. I said, what? This car — you want me to sell the car? God, this is the only car I have. How am I going to do pastoral visit? I can’t serve you without this car.
He said, sell this car and you’ll have the money to give to the building fund. And I said, I thought maybe I slept wrongly last night, you know, I am hearing things, I am going to wait for my wife to come because two is better than one and the place of agreement is the place of power. So I said if Sun agrees, then I sell. In my heart and in my flesh I was hoping, let her say that no, you are hearing wrong. So I waited for Sun to come down and I said, dear, you won’t believe what I just thought. I thought that maybe we sell the car and give it to the building fund. She was so excited. She smiled at me and said, “yah let’s do it!”
I almost said get thee behind me…
So we sold the car and I was able to give forty thousand dollars, and for the next — in fact for the next many years, I drove our beat up old church van that was used for ferrying children, elderly people, take people to hospital and so I became the church driver as well as senior pastor. As I was driving the van, let me tell you I became a very good van driver. I’m really good at driving vans and I enjoy it. So I drove the van and you know all throughout that period of time, I learnt what faith is.
I learnt that even when God did not perform the supernatural miracle, I was so happy because I felt that I was stretched in my faith. And then 2 years later I was able to scrape and pull enough money and buy a very small Mitsubishi Lancer, because the church needed the van obviously. I needed the car for my own family use.
And then after that, shortly after that, Evangel family church Dr Robert Lim and his wife Mariel Lim gave me a call and said you know we were praying and we shared with our church, we shared with our board, and they are so excited, God spoke to us to buy you a car. I mean, how often you have another church buying you a car? I never heard of this. So they bought me a Nissan Sunny. So now I have 2 cars. I drive the Mitsubishi Lancer and Sun drives the Nissan Sunny.
And then by the end of our 7 year building fund campaign, all of a sudden, there was a boom in the market. I sold my Tampines flat for 3 times the cost — that I paid for. I bought it for 150 and I sold it for 400 over thousand. With that I was able to buy a new brand that was coming out in the market that nobody heard of at that point in time. It’s called Audi. So I bought an Audi, everybody said why you go and buy an Audi, what kind of car is that.
So I bought it and now I got 3 cars, so I gave my Mitsubishi Lancer to my dad who needed to have a car.
Now the beautiful thing was this: right, I sold my car and then I was blessed with 3 cars. But the point here is I went through 7 year period — God did not really perform any big miracle for me, but by faith, I trusted in him. Forsaking all, I trust him. I know many of you pledged in November, I want to give three thousand, I want to give five thousand, I want to give ten thousand, but God, the miracle hasn’t happened. The miracle is already in your house. The miracle is in your life, waiting for you to release it so that the breakthrough can come.
You know let me say this, that these last few years have been very excruciatingly challengingly for me financially. Many of you know that that my financial commitment in the these few years were astronomical, it was crazy, it was inhuman, [hehehe] but God never stopped providing. And even this last Arise and Build, it was a stretch of faith for Sun and I and we fulfilled it at the beginning of last month. And we just trust God that God is going to breakthrough for us. So let me read for you 2 Corinthians 8 and verse 10 to 12 in the Message Bible. It says over here in verse 10, and this is the same passage but from the Message Bible, it is kind of a different perspective.
So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale.
I want to challenge you, all of you that pledged, you have, you had good intentions, don’t let it grow stale.
Your heart’s been in the right place all along.
You wanted to build this church. Listen, God is giving us signals that He is well pleased with us. I mean last year Suntec Convention Center was awarded the number one convention center in the whole world. That means better than those in Vegas, better than those in New York, better than those in London, better than those in Japan. I mean, this is God honouring our faith. Oh come on, let’s give the Lord a big hand. Hallelujah. Amen.
Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes, just like me, I got what it takes, I thought I didn’t have it but I was sitting on the car. I was sitting on my building fund fulfilment.
You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t.
You can’t make people give you bonuses, you can’t make people give you contracts and commission, but what you can do is to give your best, even you need to make certain sacrifices. And the bible says it’s your heart that regulates the hands. It’s your heart, where your heart is, or where your treasure is, your heart will be also. Your heart regulates your hand. So let’s pray today. I want everybody to take out your offering envelope. If you are not a tither I want to challenge you to tithe. 10% belongs to God.
[Kong gives instructions on how to give]
But I want to challenge you, we are coming to the final weeks. Don’t let your good intentions go stale. You are sitting on your miracle, right.
The principle of seed time and harvest, you sow your seed, give it some time. Do not grow weary in well-doing, in due season your harvest will come.
Father I just want to thank you today that we have a church filled with people whose heart is in the right place. Lord I just ask that you do not let our good intentions grow stale. Father let us fulfil what we have committed a year ago. And today I pray, be Jehovah Jireh to us. Help our faith. Father there are some here that want to try but their faith is weak. So we invite the spirit of faith, come upon us. Help our unbelief. And we want to fulfil our building fund commitment in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ, bless every tither and giver. In Jesus’ name and everyone said, amen.
[Mrs Light’s comment:
Listen to Kong Hee’s offering message on 28 Feb – 1 Mar 2015 again. Did he say he drove the church’s van for many years? I also heard that he said 2 years later he bought a Mitsubishi Lancer?
I hope when you give to the church, don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment. God is the Lord who provides (Jehovah-Jireh). You don’t have to pay for your salvation neither do you need to pay for His provision. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t ask you not to give, it’s important to give to God.
The bible says “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7).
If you need someone to convince you to give, or make you feel guilty to give, or impress to have greater returns in your giving, then your giving is not from your heart and you are not a cheerful giver.
Please understand your motivation to give.]