God renews us day by day. God does not want us to be bound by the past. Of course, we cannot ignore our past that we have lived. It is no exaggeration to say that our present appearance is the fruit of the seed that has been planted in the past. Some of our pasts are not only bad but also good. There are also good pasts which we want to keep in our mind as good memories. However, God wants to move forward to the new future leaving behind the past no matter how good it was.
While I was meditating on the Bible, I realized that God wants us to start afresh day by day. In the Bible, there are words such as new work, new spirit, new heart, new covenant, new song, new creation, new self, new life, new commandment, new strength, new wine, and new wineskin, etc. God is still doing something new and creating a new history. God is still appointing a new person and building a new church. God is still inspiring us to write a new song, to draw a new picture, to write a new book, to create a new masterpiece, to design a new fashion and color, and to dance a new dance.
At the moment of believing in Jesus, we became a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17). God, who made us into new creation in Christ, wants to continue to renew us. How, then, does God renew us?
First, God renews us through pain. We see that a mother has to go through unspeakable pain in order to conceive and give birth to a new life. God allows us to dream a new dream through pain. He makes us to create a new future. Pain is like a blessing in disguise that enables us to dream a new dream. Our church was newly born in November 15, 2009 in the midst of pain. New Life Vision Church wouldn’t have been born without pain.
Second, God renews us through encounter. New change is given through new encounter. New encounter creates newness. The most precious encounter is encountering God. When we encounter God, we are given a new life. The life that is from God is different from the life of nature and that of flesh. It is eternal life. The life of God is the power to continue to create newness in us. At the moment that we receive Jesus, the Holy Spirit abides in us. Soon after that, the renewing power of the Holy Spirit abides in us as well. That is why we should not be discouraged in any circumstance. When God helps us, our life can be renewed at any time in any circumstance. An excellent artist creates a beautiful mosaic from a broken mirror. He creates a new vase from broken pieces.
Third, God renews us through the word. Paul says, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2). The way to be renewed day by day is to renew our mind. The way of renewing our mind is possible through the word. When we read and meditate on the word, it enables us to live a changed life by renewing our mind. The way to be renewed day by day is possible when we are exposed to the word day by day. Jeremiah could not help but be discouraged in the tragic reality. But he was strengthened while he was meditating on the lovingkindness and compassion of God (Lam. 3:22). He was able to overcome the discouragement as the lovingkindness and compassion of God came new every morning. “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam. 3:23).
Fourth, God renews us through dreams. He renews us through the holy goal. Paul forgot what was behind and ran to the goal in order to reach forward what is ahead (Phil 3:13-14). A dreamer, the one who dreams beyond dreaming, leaves the past behind and presses on toward the bright future. God says, “Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isa 43:18-19). God started New Life Vision Church on this earth seven years ago. During the last seven years, God has poured out grace that words cannot express. We give all the glory to God! Now God is still dreaming a new dream for New Life Vision Church. God wants us not to dwell on the past but to press on toward. I wish that our church dreams more new dreams and presses on toward the new future as we celebrate our seventh anniversary. I deeply appreciate you, the saints, for dedicating yourselves to the church for last seven years.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.