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By Ms Lilian Poon

What a joy it is to be able to fulfil our destiny together and be a disciple-maker this year. I am excited with how the Lord will use the book of Joshua to unfold His divine destiny roadmap for The Bible Church. However, I have a concern that has been gnawing within me for quite some time: “Will we miss the boat?” Is it possible after hearing all the sermons and CARE group discussions that we might still miss the seasons of change and transformation?

As I was praying through this one morning, Matthew 9:14-17 happened to be my devotional reading. Through the analogy of new wine and old wineskins, Jesus alluded to the upcoming seasons of change that the Jews had to grapple with as the Messiah ushered in a new era of justification by faith through His sacrificial atonement. We know from hindsight and the book of Acts that incredible changes took place with the visitation of the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and the birth of the early Church comprising Jews who were saved and renewed with the new sense of eschatological purpose. However, the most radical change would be the diaspora that was instrumental to the spread of the gospel out of the Jewish communities to the Gentiles. The chasm that separated the Jews and the Gentiles suddenly dissipated, causing confusion and dissension amongst the Jews. This led to the Council of Jerusalem and many letters from Apostle Paul to address some of these issues.

Jesus had probably foreseen this when he talked about the parable of the new wine in old wineskins. When grapes are crushed, the yeast on the outside of the grapes comes in contact with the sugar in the grape juice, causing fermentation to start almost immediately. This process releases a lot of alcohol and carbon dioxide. New wine is extremely volatile and explosive during the first few days, so the container must be extremely pliable in order not to break.[1]

The issue at hand is not the new wine but the wineskins. Harvest of grapes will come when wine must be made, it is just part of the rhythm of seasons of change. Apart from ensuring a constant stock of new wineskins, my question is: “Can old wineskins be renewed to be like new wineskins?” The answer is an affirmative yes, through submerging it in water for a protracted period of time, followed by an application of oil into the leather skin.

Past seasons of burdens and hurts can cause us to develop an “old wineskin” type of mentality over time, with fixed mindsets that may result in passive-aggressive resistance, fear and anxieties in the face of changes. However, we also discern that this is a season of clarion call to renew our wineskins through listening to the word of God, submitting ourselves to the deep conviction work of the Holy Spirit and renewing our first love for God. This will give us an unflinching assurance and courage to step out in obedience into our destiny regardless of age or generational typology. To the young, the call to David and Samuel to serve God was given at a  tender age. To the seniors (young and old), we remember the beloved Apostle John receiving profound revelations when he was 99 years old, and Caleb declaring his strength for war at 85 (Joshua 14:11)!

This year could well be a turning point and even a change of trajectory in our life directions. For young people, God may be calling some to fulfil His full-time call to serve Him in His house. For others, it could be a call to taper back from our busy work and life schedules to provide space for God and the ministry. For many, it is time to let go of “idols” that we have been holding on to for so long and letting God in. For a few, it might be promotions at the marketplace because God is expanding your sphere of influence to be His witness, salt and light. God has designated a destiny that is uniquely us and the church to fulfil.

Whatever shape or form the destiny in Christ may look like, may I encourage us to heed the voice of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to renew and rejuvenate us to be new wineskins again. I pray that in the days to come, we will be able to receive His “new wine” call and anointing to fulfil our destiny together in Christ joyfully and wholeheartedly.

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