Pastor's Desk - New Year, New Things

Jan 07, 2024
“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 NIV 
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Phil 3:13-14 NLT).

These two verses are very instructive for me as they are spoken by the prophet and the apostle Paul, respectively. They arose from different context and different circumstances, but are addressing a basic principle, looking at past and future and expressing an attitude to both. For the prophet, he advised the community coming out of exile that they were to forget, and not hold in their memory what was past. They were to let that experience go. They could learn from it, but they were not to allow it to detain or hold them back. The reason for this was that God was going to be doing something different and better than they had ever experienced in their lives. Yahweh was going to do a new thing. For the prophet this “New thing” anticipated the coming of the Messiah, and the eternal transformation of the circumstances and life of the Hebrew people and those who would embrace the Messiah as the son of God. 

Overwhelming Achievement, Ongoing Opportunities. 

In the epistle to the Phillipians, the writer was basically saying that, despite his overwhelming achievements, his missionary journeys, the opportunities to preach Christ to the gentiles and see many converted; the opportunities to speak with great leaders about the faith, none of these would be as great as receiving the “Well done” of God in Christ Jesus. So, Paul continued to work, continues to press on for there was much more to be done.

I am using these texts as reminders, friends, that as church, as families, as individuals and, as a nation, it does not matter how much we have achieved. We cannot be satisfied and rub our hands together and say ‘We’ve arrived‘ as in fact, we have only just begun. God has more for us and expects more from us.

Looking Back.

As a church, there were a few noteworthy achievements, perhaps not as many as we wanted, but we are grateful, nonetheless. Added to the activities such as worship, Sunday School, Bible Studies (especially the Emotionally Healthy relationship studies) and Mid-day Meditation , that we continue to do, we were also able to baptize three individuals. Through these ministries we believe persons have grown in their faith and are making an impact on the lives of others in the church, at home and in their communities.

The church established a cradle roll ministry and blessed over a dozen babies. The contact made with the parents of these children must be seen as a door to the lives of persons whom we otherwise would not have reached. We must pray for these children and their parents.

We thank God for the faithful leaders who continued in their positions without fail and were consistent and faithful in the execution of their duties. We think of the Deacons, the Sunday School teachers, Praise Team, musicians, technical team, Stewardship trainers, Evangelism and Mission team, Men and Women’s group, Youth group, Pastoral Care team, workers in the homework centre and the soup kitchen. Let me not forget the dedicated class leaders, secretariat and those who manage our property and handle our finances and administrative support. Thank you.

Looking Ahead in Faith and Hope.

But we cannot stop there. Let us forget the things which were done last year. Let us not pat ourselves on the back and become complacent; make excuses for what was not done, or blame anyone or anything for getting in our way. Let us all take responsibility for what we can do through the Grace of God. God will judge us for the choices we made with the resources we had at our disposal (our skills, our time, our money, and our will.), not for what we don’t have. We welcome the new Deacons and their new role in the life of the church. Let us also embrace the change of a new worship and Sunday School time and take advantage of the possibilities.

May I ask you, please, to walk with God and allow HIM to do the new thing He wants to do in and through the believing community. We walk in faith and hope that through the church, our Lord, by His power at work within us, is able to accomplish abundantly ,far more than all we can ask or imagine.

Happy New Year!

Your Pastor