Isaiah 43:18-19. 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!
The key theme for ROLC and verses were impressed upon me last year when we were at a difficult patch. Many of the leaders were tired and discouraged. We do not know what to do or how to go on. We felt like wandering in a desert or in the wilderness. But God has promised he will never leave us or forsake us. He will make a way for us.
What is “New beginning”? New beginnings need not necessarily be about something totally new coming along eg a new baby. New beginning should instead be looked on as the start of a new chapter rather than opening up an entirely different book. It can be a fresh start in our life. “A new beginning” can also be things long promised coming into reality. The fulfilment of a vision.
Habakkuk 2:3 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
1. Change our Focus — Start looking ahead v18
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
God is a God of new things. He wants to make all things new – for us! But so often, we don’t see it. All we can see are the former things. Those things in our past that sap our time, energy, focus and attention and keep us from seeing all that God has for us.
Focusing on the past will certainly limit the choices for the future. We need to change our focus and start looking ahead. Life is like driving a car. If you are continually looking behind you cannot see where you are going.
God is not asking us to erase the past from our memories…but He is asking us not to dwell on it. Dwell means to live, reside or stay as a permanent resident. We must not dwell or regard the past as more important than the work that He wants to do today.
In order to take hold of the future God has for you, we must be willing to let go of the past in order to make room for the future that God has planned for us.
This season of new beginning, it must start with ourselves. Before God can do a new thing in ROLC, He needs first to do a new thing with us. We need to repent. We need to realign with God’s plan and purpose. We must let go of the OLD for God to show up to do a NEW thing in our life. What are the things that you need to let go of?
2. Embrace God’s New Vision — Discover What God Wants to Do v19
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!
What do you see when you look at the present and future? Do you see opportunities or problems? God is making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert. Do you see the way and streams or the wilderness and wasteland? Do you see hope and a future? Do you see God’s new vision?
a. New Neighbourhood
For many years, ROLC was like in the wasteland or the wilderness. But now God has transformed the so-called wastelands and wilderness around us. New roads are built, HDB blocks, university campus, creative clusters for technology companies, café, food court and shopping mall, MRT station are coming within walking distance from the church.
The new residential estates, Punggol Northshore Residences I & II are already TOP and residents are beginning to move in. In addition to NorthShore Residences, other HDB housing projects under construction around ROLC include NorthShore Waterfront I, NorthShore Waterfront II, NorthShore Straits View, NorthShore Cove (view of the sea and Johore), NorthShore Trio. Across the road, closer to the Seafood Centre, we have another 3 new clusters of Punggol Point Crown, Punggol Point Woods and Punggol Point Cove.
Our name, River of Life Community Church defines who we are. We are a church established in Punggol to bless the community. God is faithful and has planted a new community all around us. He has now demarcated clearly our “Jerusalem”. We are to focus on Punggol NorthShore and Punggol Point. This is our harvest field.
John 5:19-20 The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.
In view of what God is doing in our midst, it is so important for us to align ourselves to the will and purpose of God. Embrace God’s new vision. Don’t you think God has us in mind in his vision and want ROLC to be part of his overall plan?
b. New English service
Last year, I was meditating on Book of Judges about how God raised Gideon up to be a mighty warrior (Judges 7:15-16). God then put into my heart to have 3 worship services in ROLC in this new season, that is to start a second English service on Saturdays.
The rationale for a second service is clear. In the next few years, we believe that God will bring in a harvest as we plant and sow faithfully in Punggol NorthShore and Punggol Point. We have a limited seating capacity in our sanctuary. We cannot grow if we don’t create additional seat capacity.
Our short-term vision and goals for ROLC are to have 2 English and 1 Chinese worship services growing healthily to 300 in the next few years. But we don’t limit God in what He is doing. New DG groups will be planted in this new neighbourhood as God open the doors for us.
First, change our focus — start looking ahead. Next, we need to see and embrace God’s new vision and discover what God wants to do.
3. Commit Yourself to God’s Plan
God’s vision should excite us and give us a sense of purpose or direction.
Deut 1:6-8 The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.
As Christians, we can find ourselves settling into a comfortable existence; enjoying our own Mount Horeb experience. But this is not the season to sit or wander around but to go forth. Our season of waiting and preparation is coming to an end. We must get ready to break camp. To ADVANCE and to POSSESS. It’s time to go and take possession of the land that God has ordained for us.
The River of Life needs to flow out to the community and must not stagnant. Stream of living water flowing out to bring life and refresh all who come to it. We cannot be too comfortable and stagnant. Stagnant river is smelly, can only breeds mosquitoes, diseases and death.
Some of us said we are not capable. Yet we are all given at least one spiritual gift. God looks for availability not just ability. Worry less about being able and focus more on being available.
Some are too busy to serve because of work and family. But the fact is that all of us have work, family and children. These should not stop us in serving God or burying our talents. We cannot serve God only when it is convenient for us.
Some think we are too old to do anything! Caleb was 85 yrs old when he asked Joshua for the mountain (Joshua 14:10-12). Moses was 80 years old when he encountered God in the burning bush and was commissioned to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. What excuses do we have?
God is making things new. God is calling all of us to partner him in what He is doing this season. God will transform the desert areas of your life and my life into fields of blessing and abundance.
Will you avail yourself to his CALL?
Tung Weng Him
10 Jan 2021