Episode 3
|
13 December 2022

Advent | Joy

Joy has arrived! Through Jesus, we can have joy despite our current circumstances.

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you two how are we yeah my name is Tony one of the pastors around here is just so thrilled uh that
you are with us as we continue our series we're calling Advent uh if you don't remember Advent is that season uh
that we prepare for Christmas not just to celebrate the birth of Jesus but also to prepare ourselves for his return when
he when he comes again uh today we we lead into this topic called joy and we're going to begin to
discover that Joy may or may not be an emotion that we feel uh during Christmas
how many of you have taken time in your life to tell someone else how they should feel
maybe you get online you troll some people here and there you just like have a child you want to tell how to feel a
few years ago um I was in a church softball league and it was Father's Day and I was playing in
a ball game and my wife and kids came and they were playing on the playground after the game and I was doing what all pastors do after a game we just talked
because that's all we do we just talk and uh so I finally made my wife my way
to the playground and only to find out that my daughter had just fallen off of the monkey bars
and hurt her arm so my wife does a great job as a great mother and and tries to
calm her down and she still kind of sniffling still kind of crying a little bit now one of the things I pride myself
in as a father especially when my kids were younger is that was I was pretty good at calming them down like when they
were just kind of worked up and say like look on the eye and breathe take a breath if it'll be okay
all that stuff so I thought I'll just calm her down so I started working with her and she kept crying and
fathers you know he sometimes you get frustrated so then you say things like hey just suck it up rub some dirt on it like it'll be all
right stop crying and even though I said those things like she actually stopped she stopped crying she got her seat we got her buckled in
everything's good I get in the car I'm driving home like I feel good I'm a good dad I fixed the problem so we get home
we have our Thanksgiving dinner like she's fine she's not crying she's not doing anything she's just she's playing doing her thing kind of knows she's not
really using that arm all that much that's fine by just a little sore whatever let's fast forward
a couple hours a few hours into the night I'm sitting at home my phone rings I answered it's my wife
she's calling from the hospital the ER when she took our daughter because now she has a broken arm great father moment
so I'm sitting there like almost there I got tears away like oh my gosh here I am I told my daughter to suck it up rub
some dirt on it get over it stop crying and she had a broken arm the whole the whole time
like sometimes we just we think we know how people should feel so we tell them this is how you should
feel this is what you should experience guys gentlemen how many times to be honest how many
times have you told your wife or your girlfriend to just calm down yeah it doesn't work out very well does
it because you're telling someone else how to feel like this is how you should respond this is how you should feel this is what you should do and
it just doesn't work that way I think one of the one of the times in our lives that we all kind of subconsciously do
this is during Christmas is we just kind of begin to tell people what we think they should feel and and
how they should respond and the things that they should say and I think Christmas time is one of those Seasons
that we just look at we're like hey it's Christmas right it's a time for warm cozy fires and and family and fun and
happiness and joy so like everyone should experience that same joy and we see this all over the place whether it's
our commercials our movies whatever it may be like there's always this this certain feeling that we associate with
Christmas and we we even get this in a lot of our music oh Tidings of Comfort and Joy comfort
and joy o Tidings of Comfort and Joy and we see those words we're like of course we've seen those words because that's
like that's Christmas the Christmas and joy just kind of go together
I want to challenge the Maybe just maybe we need to rethink how we approach joy
and I think the song is going to help us but also more specifically the Bible is going to help us begin to see like what do we actually what are we actually
talking about when we talk about about Joy you see our Bibles have two different
birth stories about Jesus one's in the gospel of Matthew one's in the Gospel of Luke and they kind of tell the story
differently it's the same story but just told through a different lens if you will if you have a nativity set at home
that nativity set is the smooshing together of both of those stories because everyone's there right you got
Mary and Joseph and Jesus you got the Shepherds you got the wise men who aren't going to be there for three years but they come anyway there's an angel
there and there's animals like everything is there but it's really the compilation of Matthew and Luke that we
bring together into one nativity scene but we actually take the stories
and we actually separate them out what we begin to see is is both authors kind of give us a different narrative if you
will about the birth of Jesus Take Luke for instance Luke is the one that if you sit down
with your kids on Christmas morning and you read uh the birth story of Jesus this is probably the one you turn to
because it's just it's good there's joy there's happiness there's peace there's Harmony and Tranquility
it's kind of how we picture the birth narrative to go and and it all culminates with this this announcement
by the angels to the Shepherds and the way it's announced is but the angel said to them do not be afraid I bring you
good news that will cause what great joy for all the people
right this is the story and we read this and we're like of course that's Christmas is a time of joy and happiness
because that's what you've experienced like you grow up in your house and you you were anticipating Christmas for
weeks on end just couldn't wait to open the presents and have that fun day and if if you thought for many of you if you
just kind of thought about Christmas as a child there's certain feelings and emotions that go with that maybe there's
certain smells that come to mind or sounds that come to mind because it was a joyful time for you
then as you got older you you actually engaged in a real authentic relationship with Jesus like he came into your life
he became your lord and savior and and your life changed was transformed so now when Christmas comes up you have the
same type of Joy it's just different now because because now it's not about the gifts and all that it's about what Jesus
has done for us so we celebrate the birth of Jesus because of what he's done in my life and it's it's joyful
and that's been your experience Christmas and Joy are just they're just
synonymous they just go together man but maybe maybe you're sitting here and
you're like that's not the word I would use that you are thinking when I think about
Christmas Joy isn't what comes to mind
because your experience has been different so let me look at just a part of
Matthew's telling of the story and how Matthew talks about this just kind of listen to the kind of the
undertones of what's Happening he says when they had gone an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream get up he
said take the child and his mother and Escape look there's some escaping happening to Egypt stay there until I tell you for
Herod is going to search for the child to kill him like instantly already we're
beginning there's kind of a different tone to taking place here like this isn't happiness this isn't like great
days like you don't wake up one day said hey we have to escape to Egypt like this is awesome like it's not that's not what
you think and then you find out oh yeah the king actually wants to kill your son like this isn't like the kind of picture
of joy that we think about the author continues so we got up took the child and his mother during the night and left for
Egypt where he stayed until the death of Herod and so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet out of
Egypt I called my son when Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi he was Furious and
he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem in its vicinity who were two
years old and under in accordance with the time he had learned from the magic Now understand so now not only does is
Herod trying to kill Jesus but he's actually bringing about the murder the
death of all boys under two years old in Bethlehem
then what was said to the Prophet Jeremiah Was fulfilled a voice is heard in Rama weeping in great morning Rachel
weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more
this is part of the birth Narrative of Jesus now we read this and we're like well that's not the picture of joy that we
got for Luke but some of you some of you read this and you're like
there it is that's Christmas for me
a time of pain Time Of Heartache a time of loss
because maybe for you when you entered into a relationship with Jesus your family didn't Rejoice with you
maybe when you started a relationship with Jesus this person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your
life with well they chose a different path maybe you have friends that are no
longer friends because of your decision maybe are you interested in the relationship with Jesus you thought my life was going to be full of pure joy
and it just hasn't felt like pure joy for you maybe saying yes to Jesus said no to a
lot of a lot of stuff he really liked and was really important to you before
or maybe like in your life you just experienced loss and people close to you
are no longer here and every time Christmas comes along because you have these memories of what Christmas used to be
well it just brings about pain because they're not here to experience it with you because the reality is like for maybe
for you for Christmas just isn't like happiness and joy for you maybe for you Christmas is pain and and
trial and suffering I'll let you know of a service we have
specifically for you it's called Blue Christmas on December 20th at seven o'clock right here uh we're doing what
we call Blue Christmas and what it is is a service specifically for you we want to meet you right where you are
if this is a holiday that you walk into and you have pain and grief and sorrow and heartache and and you you see all
the the happiness and the joy and the glitz all around Christmas and you're like I just don't I don't feel that I
don't resonate with that we want to meet you where you are in no way shape or form are we telling
you not to feel the way that you feel we're acknowledging your grief or knowledge and your pain or acknowledging
your loss and we just we simply want to enter into a holiday season that respects Where You Are
and allows you to experience Jesus Right Where You Are you can find all the information on that
on our app on our website December 20th seven o'clock if that's for you would you just put that in your calendar
and just be here with us I hope you come to Christmas Eve as well but like if this is where you're at this is where we
want to meet you but here's the other thing I know I know that you know people who are in this boat you know people in
your circle we all know people who are suffering who have pain who just have grief during the season maybe they lost
someone this year maybe it was last year maybe it's just a Perpetual thing for them we want you to invite them just
make a personal invitation that they can come and be a part of this because we again want to meet them right where they
are because the truth of the matter is what we discover in the gospel of Matthew and
the Gospel of Luke and we bring them together and in our own lives is the Joy and Pain
they kind of come together like they're they're both present in the
story and they're both present in the human story they're both present for us so we can experience pain and and we can
experience joy and honestly being able to experience joy in the midst of our pain is is actually really good news
I want you to think for a moment about all the the pain in the story right you've got Mary who's trying to figure
out what in the world is going on that she's pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit you wrap your mind around that one for a moment
you got Joseph who found out that his soon-to-be wife is pregnant it's not his
kid and he's like what in the world is going to divorce her quietly and then the angel says no no you need to stay
with her and he's like fine like I'm angry I'm frustrated I don't
really know what's going on and everyone's going to treat us differently now
you've got the Magi who had to hide they had to like sneak out of town for fear of losing their life
the holy family had to leave and flee to Egypt and then they had basically had to sneak back when they come back I mean
there's a lot of there's a lot of pain in the story and a lot of things happening but it all had to happen
because of the prophecies so Isaiah 7 14 says therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign the Virgin
will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Emmanuel so even though there's pain in it for
Mary and Joseph they're they're wrestling through the pain of this situation trying to figure out what in the world is going on there is great joy
because this is a joy that has been celebrated and anticipated for a very very long time
we see this over and over in the prophets Hosea 11 wants us out of Egypt I called my son
so we see a family that escapes to Egypt and has to come back has to sneak their way back into town they fled to a place
where they did not have family they were not from that place there's pain but there's joy because we see the
prophecies coming to fruition even the the killing of the children the
book of Jeremiah tells us this is what the Lord says a voice is heard in Rama a Mourning and great weeping Rachel
weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more
great levels of pain but at the same time
levels of joy Joy because the prophecies are are being
fulfilled because the hope that everyone had held on to that everyone had longed for is actually coming to fruition
see none of the difficulty that Mary and Joseph went for was went through was was for not it was it was actually to help
resonate and connect with you to help you understand that there is actually joy in the midst of our pain and I would
say biblically pain and Joy are actually meant to coexist
like we are meant to have joy in the midst of our pain so if you're okay with that I want to
back out of the Christmas story for a moment like we're going to come back to it I promise but joy and happiness are different
things like happiness think of it as this this outward expression of our emotions and
our feelings I mean we can be happy about a lot of different things like you can be really happy right now
and then go home and find out that your kid wrote all over the wall and then you're not happy anymore right there's
Ebbs and flows it comes and goes and you can be happy about all kinds of different stuff
Joy is is more of an internal state of being Joy is a disposition of our heart
Joy is what God promised you and it's long lasting
friends I need you to know this like God didn't promise that you would be happy all the time
he did however promise you Joy and if joy and happiness are different
things then you can actually have joy without being happy if joy and happiness are
different things you can actually have joy and grieve you can have joy and be in pain you can have joy and experience
loss you can have joy in the midst of it all in fact I would say the intention for God was that you would have joy in
the midst of your pain I mean the people of God all throughout the Old Testament we see them just choose Joy
we think about Moses Moses gets the people out of Egypt I understand thousands of people leaving Egypt yes
they were slaves but they were fed they had a roof over their head they had the things that they needed in life
and now they're entering into the Wilderness where they do not know where their next meal is coming from they all know where the next drink of
water is coming from they don't know where they're going to end up they don't know how long they're going to be in the wilderness there's a lot of questions
yet the Bible tells us they left Egypt singing for joy
why because here's what they knew that you have to understand our joy is not found
in our present circumstances our joy is found on our future destiny
the joy of God's people is not in the current circumstances but rather in the future Destiny the promise that God has
for us like even when they're under oppression the people of God choose Joy this is
when they're they're being oppressed and they're under the rule and control of other nations Isaiah says those the Lord
has rescued will return they will enter Zion was singing Everlasting what Joy will Crown their
hearts gladness and joy will overtake them and sorrow and sign will flee away
what like they're grabbing a hold of joy not because of their present circumstance because they are basically
ruled by another Nation they're spread all over the place they're they're not a unified people of God right now yet they
are choosing Joy why because there is a hope that God offers
beyond our present circumstances beyond what we're going through there is a hope that God gives us
and the people of God have longed for this Joy they held a hole onto this Joy because they knew that it wasn't about
right now it was about a future destiny that God had laid out for them so when Jesus is born and the angels show up to
the Shepherds and says I bring you great news of great joy they resonate with that because they've
been hoping for this Joy they've been longing for this Joy they've been holding on to this Joy
in Jesus and understand that the proclamation of
good news of great joy is not that a baby was born like I know parents like you've looked
at your child for the first time you've been like man this is this is a joyful feeling feeling
and it absolutely is but the the kind of Joy we're talking about is not the fact that the baby is born the kind of Joy
we're talking about is the baby he's born who is the hope of the world who was the one that will redeem you of your
sins for get off of your forgiveness and everlasting life
the great joy in this child is that he is the Messiah he is the savior he will
die for your sins and he'll raise again so that you can be set free this is the great joy
the great joy that the Angels talked about with the Shepherds was not about the right now the fact that this baby is
born but because of what he will do for you because he will redeem you and he will
set you free he is the the culmination of all the joy that they have longed for
later on in Jesus life he actually tells us how we're supposed to show Joy Matthew 5 12 he says Rejoice now this is
the action of having Joy okay this is the outward expression of our joy and be glad because great is your reward in
heaven for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you so first of all we have to understand
Jesus is saying we Rejoice but Rejoice over what
it's our future destiny he's not telling you to have joy in the right now
you suddenly have have joy in the fact that this is your future destiny that when you post place your hope and
your faith in him then then your reward is in heaven
this is why we have joy but no matter what your circumstance or situation is we have joy because of this
because there is a reward for you in heaven laid up for by Christ
but his life and his death and his resurrection he's offered you this but we also have to note something else
he says for in the same way they were persecuted the prophets who were before you
this is Jesus's way of saying hey you're not always going to be happy
it's not always going to be great there's going to be times of grieving
times of Sorrow I mean there's an entire book in the Old Testament called Lamentations of lamenting right there's going to be
seasons in our life where we just lament but even in the midst of it we can't have joy
I understand this isn't Jesus like telling us to suppress our sorrow and pain that's not what he's doing Jesus
would never say hey turn that frown upside down he wouldn't say suck it up and rub some
dirt on it he'd be a much better compassionate father than I am
like we we have to deal with those things in a health emotionally healthy way like like if you're grieving and you
have pain and you have sorrow and you have loss in your life like we have to deal with those things Jesus wants you
to deal with those things and work through those in a healthy way but in the midst of it all like we can Rejoice we can have joy in
the Lord because of who he is and who we are in him
I mean this this is the call that God has for us I want to revisit this song
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen let nothing you dismay remember Christ Our Savior was born on Christmas day to
save us all from Satan's power when we had gone astray o Tidings of Comfort and Joy here's what I love about this this
is all about remembering remember Christ Our Savior
when your life goes sideways when things are nuts and crazy when things aren't working out the way that you wanted them
to work out like remember Christ was born on Christmas day why to save us
from Satan's power
save you this is where we find joy
and he comes down and says oh Tidings of Comfort and Joy and then we begin to realize oh the song Tiny I don't feel
like me you just sing songs you don't think too much about the lyrics sometimes oh Tidings of Comfort and Joy
is actually talking about some really kind of rough stuff that we're under Satan's power and we've
gone astray that's kind of the reality and but Jesus has died for us we remember that that's where we find our
joy you know I learned something about music this week I don't know a lick about music but will our worship leader
is very kind to me and he knows um that I don't and he really dumbs things down for me
so here's what I know like this song God rest ye merry gentleman is written in a minor key
I was like great is it like young I don't know it was a bad joke okay
a minor key he explained to me for someone who
doesn't understand music he says it basically is to make it sound sad
you write it in a minor key to kind of have that sad feeling to it
which I think is a powerful thing to understand because we see these words we're like oh comfort and joy it's all
happiness actually no that's not what the writer of the song was trying to communicate it's like look sometimes
life is rough sometimes we have moments in our lives that are painful and they hurt and they
make us weep but in the midst of it in the midst of
your pain in the midst of your turmoil we can Rejoice we can have joy because why because our final destiny
is with him and this is what Jesus does for us
Emma green wrote this in the Atlantic in 2015 she says it made cups of cocoa and romantic snowfalls
and sparkly pine trees it's easy to forget the Christmas is a little dark
the merriment is really existential relief Humanity will after all be saved from
evil and from ourselves why do we have joy
we have joy because of this right here
Humanity will after all be saved from Evil and from ourselves I know we live in a world where that
evil still exists I know we live in a world where we still harm ourselves I know we live in a world
that sometimes is just It's just tough can we just acknowledge for a minute
that some of you sitting here in the room right now you're just it's just been hard
and it's been tough and you've heard this word joy and you're like I just don't feel Joy
can I challenge the maybe what you're trying to say is you don't feel happiness
but you can actually have joy in the midst of your pain because you know the pain you're experiencing right now is
not the end of the story the end of the story is that you have a
a destination set up for you that you know the end of the story that we will be saved from Evil and from
ourselves that we will be redeemed and we will be set free why because Jesus came
and when Jesus arrived not only did he bring hope he brought love he he brought Joy
and that's what he offers you my prayer for your friends my prayer is that you're happy
but my deep prayer for you is that you have joy real Everlasting abiding Joy because of
what Jesus has done for you because that child that we celebrate lying in a
Manger he's going to redeem you
'll set you free [Music] he's going to offer you forgiveness for your sins
he's going to rescue you and because of that he brings you Joy
foreign I'm going to pray and then the worship team is going to
continue to lead us in song and I'm I think we have a baptism or two that we're going to celebrate together
I want this to be a time for you that you just lean into whatever God has for you
I want you to lean into that Joy I know I don't know where I don't know what your life is like in this very moment but what I do know is that there
is Joy deep abiding god-given joy that you can have in your life right now in
this very moment regardless of what's going on because our joy is not found in our current circumstances our joy is
found and our destiny
so as we enter into this time I want to share some of the ways that we're here for you and would love to help you take
your next steps along the side walls you'll see some people with some light up lanyards they're turning those on
right now they're there for you for multiple reasons number one is they want to pray for you they've dedicated their morning
to be there for you and to pray with you however you need prayer
they're also there to have a conversation about what your next step might be but maybe maybe your next step is like
hey I just need to I just need to commit to coming back next week so I can I can just really start leaning into this Joy
maybe your commitment is I need to get in a community of people whatever your next step is like they want to have that conversation with you
but maybe your next step maybe your next step is actually for the first time in your life step into that Joy
actually allowed Jesus to give you the joy that he wants to give you the
regardless of your circumstances you can rejoice in him
because not only has he come Joy has come
so I'm going to pray in a moment and if if the holy spirit is nudging you to do anything at all we just encourage you to
do that thing take your next step with us you also receive communion elements when you came in I do not have one on me
right now um invite you to take that when you are ready to not only remember but also
receive the grace the hope the love and the joy of Jesus would you pray with me
Lord God we're so very thankful for um for your love
we're so very thankful that um even when our lives seem to not be good
and we don't find happiness that we still have joy
but I thank you that even when we are happy and everything seems to be clicking along we have joy in you
and one is not dependent upon the other
so Lord this Christmas may we just may we receive the joy that you have for us
like find real deep abiding Joy in you
in fact God In This Moment I just want to pause for a moment we're just gonna God we're going to sit in silence for a
moment in front of you we're going to allow your Holy Spirit to speak to us if there's a Next Step that you're
calling us to take would you scream that into our ears
but there's a way that we can knock down a wall or two to help actually receive your joy deeper
Lord you help us to do that now
[Music]
foreign Lord you are good
[Music] Lord you are good
[Music] Lord help us to experience your joy
but help us not only experience it help us to share it but the world around us because we know
that we are all in desperate need of that it's in Christ's name we pray I'm in
[Music]

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