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.”
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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!)
Sunday Sermon Notes - @coe22 & pastor @ryanstone
We started a new series today called MESSENGERS, focusing on the angels who appeared to tell of the birth of Jesus. When the angel came to the shepherds in the field, they were filled with great fear. These were no cuddly cartoon character angels, but warrior messengers for God. Their presence, surrounded by the glory of the Lord shining around them, elicited fear. But, the first words of the angel were, “Fear not.”
So, how do we fear not when we are in a frightening situation and there is so much to fear engulfing us? Because the reality is, there are things to fear all around us. Health issues, broken relationships, financial hardships, loss, and more. How do we fear not?
The person of Jesus overcomes the power of fear.
Remember the story of Jesus and the disciples in the boat during the storm. The boat is taking on water and the disciples – many of whom were experienced fishermen and worthy navigators of stormy conditions – were terrified. Meanwhile, Jesus slept. Overwhelmed with fear, the disciples awaken Him. Jesus rebukes the wind and waves. All is calm. Jesus asks, “where is your faith?” Luke 8:25 continues, “And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’”
The disciples were afraid AND they marveled. Our fear can pale in comparison to the One we marvel at. Yes, there are things to be feared, but our faith can be placed in the One who has all of these things under His authority and control. Our response to fear is directly connected to our answer to the question, “Who is this man, Jesus?”
Pastor Ryan Stone closed with three ways we can respond in the face of fear:
Properly placed fear leads to passionately placed worship. The waves and wind still know His name. The storms of life still listen to His voice. Everything is under His control and authority. Let go your soul and trust in Him.
Happy Sabbath, friends.