Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | September 12, 2014

September 12, 2014 “The Joy Church”

“Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

Good Morning Everyone!

Some years ago, I served a congregation in Kansas City, Missouri. Not very far from the church I served was another Presbyterian congregation named “St. Luke’s”. Now, as fine a name as this is for a church, many people in the area knew it by a different name. It was known as the “JOY” church. Those driving by who were otherwise unfamiliar with that church and its pastor knew it as the “JOY” church because, in huge letters on the front of the building was that single word “JOY”. Those who knew the church well called it that for other reasons. It’s pastor was a true man of God, a true prayer warrior filled with the love and joy of the Lord. The congregation he served exuded the love and joy of the Lord as well. How wonderful to be known as the “JOY” church.  Perhaps as much or more than any other word, joy is the very definition of what a life lived in Christ should resemble. The fact is, though, that many, including those in the Christian community, do not exhibit this characteristic in their daily lives. A sense of happiness or well-being is equated with joy, but isn’t really the same thing. Contentment and solemnity are at times regarded as expressions of joy, but they aren’t the same thing, either. There is really only one true source of joy, and that source is Jesus Christ. Twentieth-century theologian Karl Barth observed:

“Joy is the rarest and most infrequent thing in the world. We already have enough fanatical seriousness, enthusiasm, and humorless zeal in the world. But joy? This shows us that the perception of the living God is rare. When we have found God our Savior – or when he has found us – we will rejoice in him.”

Barth calls joy “the rarest and most infrequent thing in the world.” His reasoning for this conclusion is that in this world “the perception of the living God is rare.” What I gather from this is that we have eyes to see, but do not see. We have ears to hear, but do not hear. People can marvel at the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains or the magnificence of Niagara Falls, for example, and yet not comprehend the God Who spoke it into being. We can celebrate the birth of a child and be filled with emotion as we hold that small miracle for the first time, yet miss the true joy of understanding that it is the hand of God that fashioned this new living, breathing wonder. Genuine joy comes when the eyes of our understanding are opened to the perception of the living God who has redeemed us from sin and ignorance and has found us in our lost condition and called us to be His own. That’s what joy is. John Newton called it “Amazing Grace”, and how sweet, indeed, is its sound! Do you know the sound of it? If so, ““Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice!” If not, pray to the source of all joy that He would find you and bring his unending joy into your life. Don’t worry…He will hear you calling and will bring you home! Rejoice! Rejoice! Let’s pray!

Source of all Joy; I turn to you this day in joyful adoration, praising and thanking you for the matchless joy You have brought into my life. I thank You for every blessing You bring, day after day after day! May my life be a reflection of the joy of the Lord, I pray, in Jesus’ wonderful Name. Amen!

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