We live in a world of immediacy. Instant food. Instant feedback. Instant communications. Instant gratification. And we expect the same from God. But that isn’t how He works at all, and it frustrates us.
God gives us hopes, dreams, and passions, but He rarely gives us a glimpse at His timing. @pastorrickwarren says, “when you get a dream from God and make the decision to go for it but then are forced into God’s waiting room, you start to try to figure out ways of doing God’s dream on your own.”
In the waiting, we begin to question our calling. We question God’s goodness even. We begin to look to others instead of God, both for advice and comparison. We start to orchestrate things on our own. And before we know it we are on a path waaaaay off course, faced with a painful and long journey to find our way back.
We when live under our timing, we are not living under the authority of Christ. When we seek to execute our calling from God according to worldly wisdom and culture’s ideas of how to get there, we get caught in a cycle of selfishness and materialism, rather than Godliness.
God’s timing is perfect and purposeful. The waiting tests us. The waiting prepares us. The waiting grows us. The waiting humbles us. We need our wilderness time to fulfill our calling. The wait helps us to face what is coming that only God can now see. The sooner we come to peace with this truth, the sooner we will have peace. We don’t stop dreaming, rather we lean into the places and roles God puts us in, and instead of grumbling, we make sure we learn everything we can in them. We don’t waste one minute of our precious God-ordained waiting time.
My Sunday sermon notes @coe22 and @jobypmartin …
The angel to the shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of GREAT JOY…”
Great Joy. The coming of the Jesus, the Messiah, brings with it great joy. Our attempt at joy on our own looks more like the pursuit of the elusive happiness. The problem with seeking happiness is that happiness is temporary. It is based on happenings and is contingent on our ability to control circumstances all around us. And it is exhausting. It is a myth that we have any ability to be in control of many of the things that contribute to our happiness.
We typically chase happiness in one of the “If I could just….” categories. Searching for it in self improvement (physical, vocational, hobbies, religious activity, etc.), or in others (relationships, marriage, children, a better boss, etc.), or in the things the world has to offer (instant gratification, experiences, money, power, stuff, etc.). The things we thought would make us happy at one point get tossed aside in the pursuit of the next thing that surely will be the thing at last. Joby calls it the cul-de-sac of stupidity, and we keep taking laps…over an over again.
While these things we chase may provide some temporary happiness, they don’t provide lasting joy. Created things can’t fully and finally satisfy what only the Creator can do. Jesus is the only one that fulfills all that we are actually looking for. He is the only source of true joy. He is the only way to get to a point to say what Paul says in Philippians 4:4-13…things like, “rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS….do not be anxious about anything…I have leaned in whatever situation I am to be content…I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Paul can say these things because the secret to peace and joy is found in Jesus. In knowing “the Lord is at hand.” In “everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God.” In recognizing that our life follows were we focus our attention, so “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever if lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
There is Joy in trusting that Jesus is better. The God of peace will be with us. He will guard our hearts and minds and give us a peace that surpasses understanding. Because it won’t make sense…we can’t muster this peace on our own. There is rest for our souls in recognizing we don’t have to try to control everything because Jesus is in control of everything.
When the angel told the shepherds about the Christ who was born, they went. They saw Jesus. And as they journeyed home, their outward circumstances didn’t change --- they were still lowly shepherds looked down on by society --- but they were changed. They returned home glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Meeting Jesus brings joy that nothing else can.
“The pursuit of happiness is the insatiable attempt to control your circumstances because happiness is dependent on ever changing happenings. Joy is found in the everlasting Jesus.”
Click here to watch the sermon.
Who else is exhausted trying to do things on their own?
Who else is tired of little goals?
Who else gets fired up about the idea of watching God blow your mind?
Who else wants to see God do immeasurably more than you could ever even dream up?
I am raising my hand and simultaneously shaking my head at what holds me back...desire for control, trying to pave my own path, lack of belief, weak faith, thinking the worldly experts know more than the mighty, perfect, powerful Creator of all things.
God, help me get myself out of Your way! I genuinely want to be where You want me to be, doing what You want me to do. I truly believe Your ways and Your plans are better than anything else. Help me to live this out in my actions. Increase my faith and ability to surrender.
My Sunday sermon notes - @coe22 and @jobypmartin
Continuing with the MESSENGERS series, though we are not angels, we are called to be messengers who deliver Good News. If we truly believe all that Jesus is and says…if we truly want to live out loving God and loving others, we will become passionate about telling others the good news of Jesus. It can be a scary thing, no doubt. Our instinct is to think things like, “I don’t know enough…I’m not a good enough example myself…what if they ask me questions…what if they think I am crazy…what am I supposed to say?...I'll just leave that to someone more qualified”
Joby shared four ways we can be MESSENGERS with examples of how Jesus did it…
(The full Church of Eleven22 sermon will be available this week on their app and website. It’s a good one!)