Pastor G continues his message series on how Waikoloa Community Church is “A Place To Belong.” This week his focus on how this is “A Place To Find Joy.” He shares three different things with the potential to destroy joy and three choices we can make to fight for maintaining joy in those situations.
While you MAY feel happy while experiencing Biblical joy, it is actually possible to be in very unhappy circumstances and still feel the joy of the Lord.
Happiness: The feeling you get when things are going well in life.
THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT BIBLICAL JOY
1) WE FIND JOY IN GOD’S PRESENCE!
In Your presence is fullness of joy. ~ Psalm 16:11b
2) WE ARE STRENGTHENED BY GOD’S JOY!
The joy of the Lord is your strength. ~ Nehemiah 8:10
3) OUR JOY CAN BE RESTORED!
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. ~ Psalm 51:12
Xará (GREEK) Grace, Favor, Joy (ENGLISH)
to extend favor, to lean towards,
to be favorably disposed towards something or someone.
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. ~ 1 Peter 1:6-9
Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS; again I will say, rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4
THREE DESTROYERS OF JOY/THREE CHOICES FOR JOY
FIRST DESTROYER OF JOY: ANXIETY!
FIRST CHOICE OF JOY: When Mary was ANXIOUS she CHOSE to TRUST GOD!
And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. ~ Luke 1:38
For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. ~ Luke 1:44
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. ~ Luke 1:47
SECOND DESTROYER OF JOY: RESENTMENT!
SECOND CHOICE OF JOY: When Joseph was HURT he CHOSE to OFFER GRACE!
And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. ~ Matthew 1:19
Resentment is the most worthless emotion on planet Earth!
THIRD DESTROYER OF JOY: CONFUSION!
THIRD CHOICE OF JOY: When the Wise Men were CONFUSED they CHOSE to FOLLOW GOD’S LIGHT, ONE STEP AT A TIME!
When they saw the star, they REJOICED EXCEEDINGLY with GREAT JOY. ~ Matthew 2:10
ALOHA GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
READ: Luke 1:26-38
1) Why does the angel tell Mary to not be afraid? Do you think this was enough to calm all of Mary’s fears? Why is fear often our first reaction to the unknown? Try to put yourself in Mary’s place. What kinds of thoughts and questions would you have had for this angel?
2) Has God ever asked you to do something that seemed impossible? Have you ever felt anxious about having to accomplish a task that seemed too big for you? How did you respond? Is there anything in your life right now that you feel anxious about? What is it?
3) Pastor Greg says trusting God is the way to retain joy in the face of anxiety. Do you agree or disagree? Why? What big thing will you trust God in today?
READ: Matthew 1:18-25
1) What is the first thing the angel says to Joseph? Does it remind you of how he first spoke to Mary? Joseph knew Mary was pregnant but had not yet heard from this angel. How do you think he was feeling before the angel arrived? Have you ever felt deeply hurt or betrayed by someone only to later find out it was a misunderstanding, that they had not betrayed you? How do you think Joseph felt after he learned the truth?
2) How might the Christmas story have been different if Joseph had reacted differently and had not waited on this guidance from God? Is it possible that we sometime jump the gun and rush to judgement of others, when we should be more patient and extend extra grace instead? Can you share a time when you did that or someone did that for you? What was the result?
READ: Matthew 2:1-15
1) If the Wise Men (or Joseph and Mary) had not immediately responded to these warnings by the angel, waiting for more information or more confirmation first, what might have happened differently?
2) Have you ever felt a strong leading or prompting from God to do something but felt confused about it and didn’t actually follow through with it? Have you ever missed out on an opportunity because you didn’t act quickly enough?
3) Why do we have a tendency to want God to show us the whole picture before we take a step forward? Why is it so hard for us to just move with the step-by-step light He wants to show us? In what way does that hesitation or confusion prevent us from experiencing God’s joy sometimes?