I am writing this article in a very memorable place for me – the Chapel in the Pines at Camp Susque. It is where I first spoke to the youth group of WBC before I was hired as Youth Pastor back in the fall of 2005. Sometimes it is nice to remember the past and good to do so. The English word ‘remember’ occurs 166 times in the Bible, so it is clear God wants us to remember things, especially His mighty deeds. But in our remembering, we must be careful not to dwell on the past. We don’t live there. We live in the here and now. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:13, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” For Paul, that meant forgetting his former life in Judaism, which was a prominent one. It meant forgetting his past as a persecutor of the church. It meant forgetting his former dreams. On a positive note, forgetting allowed Paul to strain toward what was ahead. He knew if he dwelled on his past he would linger in hurt and limit his effectiveness to live Today!
We are called to live Today! Hebrews 3:13 and 15 makes that abundantly clear it says, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. As it is said, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’” God is still at work among us. God still has work for us to do and He still has days of blessing ahead for us. Our past as a church family has been a series of mountains and valleys, good days and hard days, but God has been faithful through them all. Therefore, I am hopeful, because God is in control. My prayer for our church is that we would be straining toward what is ahead and as Paul said, “forgetting what is behind.” May the Lord God use us to reach this valley for His glory. May He make us more like His Son Jesus Christ, so that we can be a light to the world TODAY!
-Pastor Corey Mitchell