By preaching at Beautiful Church last night, I was able to finish my ministry in motherland, Korea, well. Today, I am writing this letter after waking up early in the morning to read and meditate on the Word. Travel is a little hard for me. But I travel because there are blessings that travel provides. The blessings that I enjoy through travel are the blessings of encounters. For this reason, I pray to God that I will have a good encounter whenever I travel.
An encounter with someone is a mystery. Also an encounter is an event of grace. Our lives are enriched through encounters. A new encounter opens up a new world. Having a new encounter with a new person means a new encounter with everything the person has. A new encounter means going into an encounter with everyone that the person knows. New encounters help us to gain new expectations. New encounters open up a new future. New encounters offer new opportunities. It creates a chapter of new ministry. There have been new encounters during this visit of mine to the motherland.
In fact, a new encounter is a strange encounter. We are a little scared of strange encounters. This is because we do not know each other well when we first meet. But God blesses us through strange encounters. When Joseph was hated by his brothers and went down to Egypt, he met Potiphar. The meeting of Joseph and Potiphar was a strange encounter. But through the strange encounter, Joseph eventually met the King Pharaoh. The encounter between Joseph and Pharaoh was also a strange encounter. But that strange encounter made Joseph a prime minister. Therefore, do not be too afraid to meet strangers. Rather open the door of your heart toward a strange encounter. God opens new doors through strange encounters.
It is valuable to cultivate good encounters continuously while having new encounters. Good encounters enrich our lives. Not all encounters enrich our lives. Some encounters are bad. A bad encounter can ruin our lives. It makes us miserable. Therefore, you should be careful when choosing an encounter. We must remember that good encounters have good results, and bad encounters have bad results. Good encounters should be kept well continuously. On the other hand, you need to know how to undo the knots of bad encounters well.
What kind of encounter is a good encounter? It is an encounter that helps us become better people. A good encounter is an encounter that leads us to transformation and maturity. A good encounter is an encounter that helps us get closer to God. A good encounter is an encounter that helps us gain deeper understanding. A good encounter is an encounter that helps us to understand ourselves more deeply. A good encounter is an event of grace. But it is wise to cultivate good encounters. We need diligent endeavor in order to cultivate a good encounter. Life is to reap what it sown. Most of the churches that I have preached this time were the churches where pastors, whom I have encountered before, are serving. So I reap what I sowed. A good encounter is like a seed, so when you plant and cultivate it carefully, it will produce abundant fruits.
A good way to cultivate a good encounter is to respect each other. It is to love each other. It is to have deep interests in each other. Everything that exists in this world is born anew when someone looks at it with deep interest. The poet Kim, Kwang-gyu, who found a stone in a deep valley that no one has ever been, records the stone in “The Birth of a Stone” as follows.
No/ Not true/ unless, until now, no one has/ ever seen this stone/ from now/ here / it is.
The first time I saw/ this stone finally/ is born. (Kim, Kwang-gyu; “The Birth of a Stone”)
When a lonely stone meets a poet, he is born again. A good encounter means to be born anew. If a lonely stone is born anew through a good encounter, it is needless to say so about humans. Jesus tells us “to be born again”. He tells “to be born anew.” How can we be born again? How can we be born anew? It is through an encounter with Jesus. The moment we meet Jesus, we are born anew. We become a new creation. We will have a new character. Through our encounter with Jesus, we enjoy all that Jesus possesses. Therefore, rebirth is the best blessing. The most beautiful thing is to arrange a good encounter. Happy Night is just a few days away. Please invite those who need to meet with Jesus around you. May the blessings of God be abundant.
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.