Sunday, 6th January 2019
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
“Renew and Emerge” is our church’s vision for 2019. The most important thing in our life is to renew. In Jewish culture, on the first day of the new year, Jews need to do 3 things: repent, give thanks, and renew. This will help them face all the challenges in the coming year. A challenge may not be something we want but it’s good for us, because if we want to gain something valuable we need to pay the price. It’s common and easy for us to renew our outward appearance, but it’s hard for us to renew our heart. To have a new life, is not really about having a new hairstyle or a new outfit, but more about having a new heart and a new mind. We can learn how to renew ourselves from the parable of that Jesus told us.
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Mathew 9:16-17)
Just like what these verses say, if you want new blessings in your life, you must have a new heart, a new mindset and a new spirit. It’s not wrong to play computer games after a day’s hard work, but if you want your life to improve, you must invest in the right things. God asks us to never stop fellowship because He wants us to learn, encourage and grow together with others of similar age group.
Jewish people made an old wineskin into a new one by soaking it in water for days and then rubbing it with olive oil, so it will become softer. If we want to renew ourselves, we need to read the Bible every day, eat the Bread of Life, so that the Word of God will be embedded “inside” us, and we will know whether God’s Word is inside us from our fruits – our emotions, behaviours, decisions, etc.
God wants us to bear good fruits. And in order to renew ourselves, we need to have a soft heart first, to obey the authorities God has give to us, and to let the Holy Spirit – the “olive oil” – comfort our heart. A new heart will help us welcome the new year.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
God is doing a new thing, not for Him, but for us. He knows that we need to be constantly renewed, to get rid of our old self and have a new hope. We should not stop God doing new things in our lives. There are many past experiences frozen inside our heart, we stop believing and we stop hoping. But Jesus comes to renew us and to give us a new life.
Are we willing to give ourselves a chance, to give God a chance, to make 2019 a year for us? To say, “2019 is the year for me”!
What is our goals for 2019? God has prepared a colourful year for us, but it’s up to us to decide if we want to put on this colourful robe, or keep our black and white robe. It’s time for us to be equipped, to be a disciple, to have a team spirit, and to let our couch to train us and enlarge us. We should look beyond 2019, and see ourselves to be renewed and emerged in 2020!
It’s time for us to RENEW OUR MIND AND CHANGE OUR LIFE!