Humans of CHC: Fostering a Caring Community That Dares to Be ‘Real’

Humans of CHC was featured on City News’ CHC 26th Anniversary issue. The human behind Humans of CHC tells it all.

Words by Reuel Eugene Tay. View the entire 26th Anniversary issue here.

Personally, it has been quite a journey for me since starting Humans of City Harvest Church (HOCHC) at the beginning of this year. I am extremely grateful to every individual who has shared their stories with me. Thank you for sharing with me (and everyone else in the HOCHC community) stories that are personal and dear to you. It’s unfathomable that anyone would share intimate accounts of their lives with a stranger, but you did. Know that this platform would not exist without your input.

I appreciate your trust in me as custodian of your story and photo. As a tribute piece to all who have contributed (or will be contributing) to the initiative, I would like to share with you how did HOCHC came about, my visions for HOCHC and all other matters related to HOCHC.

This article is also for those who has made HOCHC possible and for those who has encouraged me along the way.

PHOTO: Humans of CHC on City News CHC's 26 Anniversary Issue

PHOTO: Humans of CHC on City News CHC’s 26 Anniversary Issue

How did HOCHC came about?

Serving in ministries can literally impact your life and others around you. Prior to starting HOCHC, I have been serving (and working for a short period) in City News as a journalist and writer. Covering events and interviewing people to get my articles out laid the foundation for my interview skills which came in handy when I started interviewing people for HOCHC.

I was very blessed by Brandon Stantlon’s Humans of New York project. I thought that it was very brave of him to ask ordinary New Yorkers (hard-hitting) questions like “What is your saddest moment in life”, etc. I was and still am interested in anthropology (study of humans) and I love the stories so much that I even bought a copy of Humans of New York coffee table book off Book Depository.

That was when I decided to set up Humans of Singapore. However, someone has already started Humans of Singapore. I mentioned my intention to my cell group member, Elijah Tan who commented casually, “Then you do a Humans of CHC la.” At that time, I retorted him with a “Siao ah?” But the conversation stuck with me and I thought, why don’t I go ahead with Humans of CHC which was essentially combining two things I love; hearing people’s stories, and my church?

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Is HOCHC modeled after Humans of New York?

Yes it definitely is. Unlike some pages which pretend not to be influenced by HONY, I don’t deny getting the idea off HONY. In fact, I want to associate the ideals of HOCHC with HONY. I watched Brandon’s videos on how he conducted his interviews and understood what were his aspirations before I went out to conduct my own interviews.

I do hope that HOCHC will have similar impact in the lives of all who’ve seen the photos and have read the stories as that of HONY – to build a community of the ‘best peoples’ who looks out for one another.

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What kind of stories am I looking for?

Unlike The Straits Times, Today and The New Paper, I do not have a news angle in mind when I interview my interviewees. Every interviewee is free to express themselves without fear of being ‘censored’. HOCHC is and should remain as a platform for members to be ‘real’ with themselves, their family members and their peers.

In a day and age where everything is so superficial (see social media for example), I hope that we can be more open to share our burdens and matters of the heart with family and friends (not necessarily on HOCHC). Being an introvert who finds it hard to share his own thoughts and feelings even with his close friends, running HOCHC has been a journey of discovery even for myself – to be more open to people.

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What kind of question do I typically ask and why?

No two person is the same. Everyone is different and so are my questions to them. I ask questions like “What is your happiest moment in life?”, “What is your saddest moment in life?”, “Tell me about your passion”, “If you can give a piece of advice to a large group of people, what would you tell them?”, “What is your greatest struggle right now?” – to name a few. But the variety of questions are non-exhaustive really. Each question presents interviewees with the opportunity to share with me (and HOCHC community) snippets and glimpses into their lives.

I have had interviewees who told me “This question (happiest moment) is so difficult.” That really challenged and inspired me to keep speaking to these members. Sometimes we don’t think about questions like our happiest or saddest moments, but all these make us who we are – uniquely different individuals.

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What is my vision for HOCHC?

Many people thanked me for starting this initiative. Some also shared with me that HOCHC is a ‘good counter to CHC Confessions’, some ‘Untold stories of ordinary CHC members’, ‘Inspiring stories from our members’, so on and so forth. While I nod in agreement to everything that’s said of HOCHC, I do not have a single absolute objective, vision or direction for HOCHC.

Rather, members should form their own narrative on what HOCHC is to them. But if I can share a ‘vision’ for HOCHC, that would be to foster a community – that runs in tandem to the larger CHC community – where members care for one another and dare to be ‘real’.

I would like to see members helping, encouraging and praying for one another just like the community of HONY. As the church enters version 2.0, may our members also ‘upgrade’ ourselves in building a community that cares for one another. That members who are better off can extend jobs to interviewees who are jobless, encourage one another, or perhaps even find their other halves through HOCHC.

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Am I doing this alone?

HOCHC was a one-man show for a good 4 months. But as the stories became more intimate, personal and longer, it was becoming difficult to keep HOCHC as a one-man outfit. I am very thankful for my members and beloved friends; Jia Yen, Jia Xyn, Jeremy, Xue Li and Joey who has and is helping me in the transcribing of the stories. Currently, I am doing the interviewing, photography, editing, photo processing and scheduling of posts on Facebook and Instagram while my members are helping with transcribing. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank these dear friends for contributing to HOCHC. The stories will not be published without your help.

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Where do you see HOCHC 2 years from now?

I started HOCHC as a one year project. Depending on the response, I may or may not continue HOCHC. Quite frankly, HOCHC is a very time-consuming project. Besides the interviewing and photographing of interviewees before and after services on Saturday and Sunday, countless hours are also spent transcribing, photo-processing, editing and proofreading the stories. If you like the stories, do like them, tag your friends who may need to read that story, and share them on your own social media accounts.

If you like the stories and photos from HOCHC, give me a shout-out on social media or direct message, and I will know that I have your vote of support. RW

Humans of CHC

Humans of CHC documents the lives of City Harvesters, one story at a time. Find humourous, tragic, happy, sad and inspiring stories and intimate accounts from the members here. Humans of CHC seeks to foster a community that cares and dares to be real. Check out the stories on Facebook and Instagram.

CONQUERING THE GIANT – Dr Robi / Pst Leo (17/1/15)

There are giants in society that we need to conquer
God has commissioned us to conquer the giants of this world and the giants in our life.

1) Preparation

God spoke and evething was formed. But when it came to man, He personally use His hands to form us.

Jesus places all of us in this family, this juncture of history for us to conquer our giants.

What was David’s response to the king?
1 Samuel 17:34
You are already prepared.
David was already prepared to conquer the giant.
God has been preparing us through all our experiences to conquer the giants
Preparation is not about training. If you discover God’s economy, you would understand that you are already prepared.
V36

Preparation is all about position. Position is key.
Are you in the right position to conquer?
Understand your position that it is not your strength to bring down the giant
But that it is God’s strength through us that helps us to conquer the giant

It’s not just about the stone and sling you need to pick up
It’s also about what you need to take off
You are ready just the way you are.

2) Peseverence

“I see the goal”
It’s important to see the goal so that you won’t let ypur circumstances overtake its importance

Don’t look up and down
Just look in front of you and take the next step.
That’s how you conquer the mountain

James 1:2-4
Endurance is not the same as perseverence
Endurance is putting up with something, just sticking it out.
Perseverence is doing something to achieve something in mind.
Some people say that but at least I am faithful!
being faithful to whatever God has given you
To be faithful is to be obedient to the instructions that is given
To be faithful is to fulfill the engagement of what is given
God’s commandment: doing love, not feeling love

Sometimes the circumstances is not cool.
In the boring and routine days, God is forming and shaping us.
David killed the bear and lion because he has a clear future of what kind of leader he wants to be

What you do in secret is the definition of who you are
David conquered the lion and bear in secret
The definition of character and integrity is what you do behind closed doors when no one is doing.
You are operating on the inside, being true to who you are
What you do with small things.
Perseverence is being true to who you are

Don’t lower your standards.
David did not lowered his standards against Goliath
David never mock at Goliath the way Goliath mocked at Israel
Despite the giant, don’t make it an excuse
Perseverence is simply how you get the job done

If we stay true to the position of perseverence, then that is how we get the job done

3) Prevail

Theologians say that the five stones represent the five giants David has to conquer

Maybe David has to slay the five giants because maybe there is another giant to take his place

When there is no more energy, rely on the Holy Spirit

There will be more challenges, more giants to conquer
Don’t just conquer the giant, position yourself to be a conqueror, to be a winner, always

4) Perspective
When God presents the giants before us, He presents us a glimpse
So that we won’t give up even before we start

God could have cause the giant to drop dead, but He did not because He chose to work through this shepherd boy

Because the battle is less about conquering the giant, but about the process and the next step that God is with you at every moment

After the giant was slain, still the job wasn’t done
Wake up from your slumber!
It is time for the church of Jesus Christ to rise up as one body, and say it’s not okay for injustice

Go into the battle, a boy/girl.
Come out of it a man/woman.

THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE – Pst Tan (10/1/15)

Luke 20:17
Luke 19:45 – Luke 21:37-38
Today’s message is in relation to the temple of God.

Parable of the vinedressers
V9-16 – What is this vineyard? Vineyard refers to The temple.
A place where God meets with men.
Who are the vine dressers?
Luke 20:1, 19

V17 – the builders
They are building the temple
The builders are the scribes and the pharisees
They were supposed to be educated and full of knowledge

But the builders (the scribes and Pharisees) rejects the keystone and throws the stone away.

Cornerstone
Jesus Christ is that keystone that keeps everything in place in our life

Could it be that we are so educated that we put our trust in many things and we look at the stone of Jesus Christ and throw it away?
Are there things more important in life than God that we throw it away in our cleverness just like the builders did?

Psalm 118:22 “head stone of the corner (Heb. Pinnah)

Example: bridge
But when the keystone is in place, it can even take heavy weights!

The one that is rejected has become.
God takes the base things of the world, the things People has rejected, and uses them.
The scribes, Pharisees and elders rejected Jesus because Jesus was not born a Levi, or trained in the best seminaries, and not a elder of His tribe.
But isn’t that the same for us, we were aliens out of Israel, but God calls us His royal priesthood.

Luke 19:35-39
V40 – even the stones know Jesus is more important
Realign your focus on what is the key focus in your life
The challenges will surely come.
But if you have the keystone in your life, trucks can go through. Even if you have challenges, the keystone will hold everything in place.

“Mini Gospel”
Jesus’ baptism – Luke 20:1-8
Jesus the Son rejected – Luke 20:9-19
Jesus rendered to God as an offering – Luke 20:20-26
Jesus’ Resurrection – Luke 20:27-40
jesus Ascension – Luke 20:41-44

Luke 20:42-45
Jesus is trying to tell them God has all along planned since the Messianic period

Luke 20:1

Luke 29:48

What are the fruits that should come out of this vineyard?
Luke 20:10-11
It could be that they have no fruit. They did not bear the fruit that The Lord originally intended for the temple.
It could be that they we’re not stewards of the vineyard!
Luke 19:45-46
Instead of managing the vineyard, they have been managing their own business of buying and selling.
Don’t turn the house of God into a place of transaction.
Transaction – willing buyer, willing seller.
Is our relationship with God like a transaction?
It shouldn’t be that “God if you do this for me, I will pray.”
Prayer shouldn’t be passive (I’m not going to pray because if God wants to give it to me, He will give it to me)
Prayer shouldn’t be willful (I’m going to be angry if You don’t give me what I want when I pray).
Prayer should be willing.
When things don’t work according to our way, we accept that and believe that He has something better.
Humility.
Not my will, but Your will be done.

Luke 18:9-14
Wrong fruit – becoming a believer and becoming very sensitive to other people’s sin!

Don’t treat God like a vending machine just because we pray, fast and tithe.
God wants to see us taking up the cross in humility and self-sacrifice
God will raise you up – whoever who humbles himself will be exalted

Ephesians 2:19-22
Every aspect in our life should be taken in relation and reference of Christ!
Redefine and re-understand everything in the light of Jesus Christ.
Gentile separated from Jews..
But Jesus was willing to cross every boundary to pray for the Centurion servant!

3 relationships Jesus talked about:

1. Husband and wife
2. Parent and children
3. Master and servant (boss and employee)
Ephesians 5:21-26, 28
Ephesians 6:1-4, 5-8
There is no partiality to Him. We are all under one Master; Jesus.
We are all the same status to God.

So Jesus becomes the keystone that the people has rejected.
Put Jesus as the keystone in our life, with Him holding everything up
His lifestyle, the way He speaks, His sacrificial life, let these be our example

Ephesians 4:13
Acts 4:10-12

Notes from Rev. Dominic Yeo’s Service 15/3/14

WHEN THE BROOK DRIES UP

What is faith?
Faith is God’s currency in heaven
Activate your faith – Example: the woman with the issue of blood
Faith in reality is putting one’s weight upon.
Example: the four brothers who lied on one another without any chair

1 Kings 17:1-24(NIV)
The story of Elijah – you are walking in abundant blessings and suddenly the brook dries up

1. When the brook dries up, the heart of faith needs to know that God is up to something great.

Look at the indication of God’s past.
The past indicator of what God has done in your life is what He is going to do in your future.
David relied on the track record of God
Faith is putting your entire weight on who God is, on God’s character, on what He has done in the past, present and the future!

God wants us to grow up.
So that when the brook dries up, Elijah has to get moving – God moment.
The heart of faith knows that God is up to something great because He is pushing us out of our comfort zone.

2. When the brook dries up, the ears of faith must hear from God for a miracle

For a breakthrough.
V8
When the brook dries up, the prophetic word of God comes
It is God’s nature to communicate with us regardless if we have sinned or not
The ability to hear God’s voice has to do with your proximity with God.

God is not going to compete with your distractions.
You have to get into the place of proximity.
The place of proximity is the place of intimacy and revelation

3. When the brook dries up, the walk of faith takes us to the blessing

Zarephath – the place of evil: requires a lot of faith!!
The walk of faith usually takes you to unlikely places
God’s track record is an indication of what He will do

Faith is putting your entire faith on who God is.
Faith operates on God’s economy (not subjected to the world’s economy)

4. When the brook dries up, the eyes of faith sees the accomplished before it happens

1 Kings 17:13
Elijah saw the cake even before it happens.
The eyes of faith sees the accomplished work of God before it happens.
V12
The eyes of faith see what you have, and not what you do not have.
The eyes of faith sees what you wish for.
The eyes of faith see what we have in God.

Notes from Prayer Meeting 7/3/14

IMG_20140308_000910Personal notes taken during Sun’s sharing at prayer meeting, March 7, 2014.

How many of you have prayer requests when you are praying to God? How many of you believe in your prayers being answered? Do you truly believe in your prayers being answered?

7 Steps to Answered Prayers

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:13

Even though His ways are higher than our ways, He wants us to have our prayers answered
When our prayers are answered, the Father is glorified in the Son

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.
John 16:23

When we received answered prayers, not only is the Father glorified, our joy will be full.
To be victorious in our Christian life, we need to know how to pray the way God wants us to pray.

Luke 11

Why are our prayers not answered while our friends’ is?

1. Be specific in your prayer

So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
Mark 10:51

Jesus asked What do you want Me to do for you?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7

That means you can’t be general in your prayer
You can’t seek for something if you don’t know what you are looking for
To Jesus, every prayer must be specific.
You must decide what you want from God.
Every time you pray, and do your quiet time, you must ask what you want from God.

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?
Matthew 7:8-10

When we pray specifically, God will grant our specific request.
Don’t be fearful.
Jesus says when you ask for bread, will I give you a stone? If you ask for a fish, would I give you a serpent? (Luke 11:11)
But you need to decide on what you want.

It is better to pray 2-3 minutes and know what you are praying for, than 2-3 hours when you don’t know what you are praying for.

Don’t pray to be religious or to fulfill a religious duty or obligation.
Don’t lock into passivity – ‘God’s will to be done’
Jesus will is to grant us specifically what we ask in His name.
So that our joy may be full.

For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Matthew 6:32

He wants us to ask specifically because He wants to see our faith.

2. To pray according to the Word

The names of God is very important – above every other Name

<Knowing the Names of God is important and allows us to pray according to God’s attribute – as Joehovah Rapha, Jehovah Nissi, etc>

I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
Psalm 138:2

Heaven and earth will pass away, but His word will never pass away.
In the beginning was the Word

John 15:7 – …… MY WORDS abide in you…

When the word of God abides in us, our prayer will never be selfish or carnal.

I have a tummy ache versus In Jesus Name, I command this tummy ache to be gone. By His stripes I am healed…
Complaint versus prayer that is asked according to the Word of God in faith.

The simplest way to know God’s will is through the bible.

Faith comes by knowing and knowing by the Word of God.
If you have the faith to pray according to the will of God, you can have your pray answered.

Today if you would to pray with the Word of God in your prayer, if you were to pray according to the will of God, you will have faith to know that your prayer will be answered.

Faith is nothing but the purpose of the will resting on God’s Word and saying I must have it. To believe truly is to will firmly.
Andrew Murray

Find scriptures that definitely promise what you desire
Isaiah 49:4, 18 – a scripture given to Sun
Mark 4:15 – a scripture given to PK

<Both Sun and PK has a different scripture that they meditate on>

Sun prayed the Word of God.
So how do you go through a hardship? Find the scriptures that speak of the will of God.

3. Meditate God’s Word in your heart

Firmly fix it in your heart.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Joshua 1:8 – meditation has to do with your mouth

Hagah (Hebrew) to mutter – to say something to yourself utterly
As you keep saying this to yourself, the Word will move from your head to your heart.

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
Hebrews 13:5 (AMP)

What do we feel when we feel confused or fear gripped?
We meditate on the Word day and night!
You WILL NOT, You WILL NOT, You WILL NOT relax Your hold on us
Meditate on it in your heart

4. Use the Sword of the Spirit against Satan

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Ephesians 6:17

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:3-4

IT IS WRITTEN.. IT IS WRITTEN.. IT IS WRITTEN..
Satan also knows the Word! (But) Jesus drew out the meditated sword of God from His heart (against Satan)

And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Matthew 4:9-10

What do you need from Jesus? Find your scripture, meditate on it, and use it in our warfare against Satan.

5. Fight the good fight of faith

6. Receive by faith

7. Continually thank God in advance for the answer

<To be continued on Sunday Prayer meeting>