Wow it’s been awhile! So sorry. No excuses, just an apology. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” These words of Jesus have echoed in the hearts and the actions of our folks from Center Hill in the past weeks. No public recognition in this post, just a general acknowledgment of the love of a people for their Lord as demonstrated by their love for each other. Also a Pastor’s heart felt thank you to all those who have taken of their time and resources to reach out to those inside and out of our church. It is sometimes difficult, as Pastor, to keep focused and not become discouraged in ministry. This has been very rare as your Pastor here at CHCC and recent months have been no different. You constantly reach out to show Christ. Nothing lifts the spirits of a Pastor more than to see the people of his congregation be changed by the preaching of the Word. The past 20 months we have walked through the book of John and have had our view of Jesus and His glory expanded dramatically. This has resulted in our teens nearly demanding a short term missions trip, work teams providing remodeling for folks, helpful dinners provided, 5 day clubs hosted and taught, funeral luncheons, and weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Ladies counseling one another and carrying one another’s burdens have become common place in our church in the past several months. New teachers, new musicians, new resolve. Insert a smile on a Pastor’s face right here. Thank you Center Hill for making it a joy to be a Pastor here. soli deo gloria
This past Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, our message was entitled ‘Rejoice!’ It culminated a month long series of messages from Luke 23-24 showing Jesus’ preparation of His disciples to suffer. They and we Rejoice! because He arose. Jesus’ resurrection is the assurance of our eternal joy. What an comfort we have as Christians, that even in the midst of sorrow and suffering, JOY comes in the morning. Joy is ours because the penalty and power of sin (death) is broken and someday we will be delivered from the presence of sin. What a wonderful confidence we have. In my message, I referred to a summation of verses from scripture, that gave us a glimpse of the importance that God places on His children to experience joy in it’s fullest. This list is not my own but one that John Piper compiled for a sermon (what better source for a biblical perspective on joy than the Christian Hedonist himself). I have been asked for that list of proof texts by several of our folks and for that reason I have listed them in the rest of this post. Read them with great enthusiasm and let them transform your view of God’s desire, nay His command, for you and your joy. soli deo gloria What the Bible Says About Joy Jesus’ aim in all he taught was the joy of his people. John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. Joy is what God fills us with when we trust in Christ. Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. The kingdom of God is joy. Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Joy is the fruit of God’s Spirit within us. Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. Joy is the aim of everything the apostles did and wrote. 2 Corinthians 1:24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy. Becoming a Christian is finding a joy that makes you willing to forsake everything. Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Joy is nourished and sustained by the word of God in the Bible Psalm 19:8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. Joy will overtake all sorrow for those who trust Christ. Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! Psalm 30:5b Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. God himself is our joy. Psalm 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy. Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Joy in God outstrips all earthly joy. Psalm 4:7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. If your joy is in God, no one can take your joy from you. John 16:22 You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. God calls all nations and peoples to join in the joy he offers to all who believe. No racism. No ethnocentrism. Psalm 67:4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy. Psalm 66:1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth. The whole Christian message from beginning to end is good news of great joy. Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.” Isaiah 51:11 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. When we meet Christ at his second coming we will enter into his indestructible joy. Matthew 25:23 His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. . . . Enter into the joy of your master.” This joy in God is commanded! Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 33:1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Psalm 32:11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!