RECAP: HOW GREAT OUR JOY based on John 3:25-36
It seems this year, more than ever, as a nation we have lost our joy. People attack one another. Everything is a platform to find a flaw in another and shame them. Even in light of this weekend’s tornado, politicians used it as a platform to attack each other and push agendas. We don’t see much in the way of give and take, generosity, or paying things forward. If the Grinch were to come today and steal everything we have, we would not be singing for joy like the Whos; rather, we would become more like Scrooge, saying “bah humbug!”
If there was anyone in the Bible that had no reason for joy, it was John the Baptist. He lived in the desert, wore camel’s hair for garments, and ate locusts. He was in and out of prison and ultimately beheaded for the sport of Queen Herodias which wanted his head on a platter. Even though he was a big star in Israel, it diminished once Jesus arrived on the scene. John had every reason to not have joy; yet, he was the prime example of one who had joy! What did John know that we miss today? What are those things that steal our joy?
1) What voice do you listen to? Too often we listen to the voice of comparison. We as humanity have a tendency to compare one over against the other to show who is better and who is less. Unfortunately, this has created a society that people change and strive to become someone else. “You are not good enough,” “you are ugly,” “you are stupid,” “you are less qualified than,” are just a few of these comparative sayings that bring us down. We have a mental health crisis in our land, and it has at its core a loathing of self. Remember, Satan wants us to hate who we are and to destroy us!
So what is the remedy? Know who you are. The crowd tried the comparison game with John. Yes, Jesus’ disciples were now baptizing; but instead of giving in to the comparison, John knew exactly who he was and what he was called to do. He was called to pave the way for Jesus. His job was to lay the groundwork–and he did. He was not the Messiah, and he was ok with that! He was true to who he was. Not all of us are called to be mirror images of each other. When we try to be someone we are not, we become miserable. Be who God created you to be and take comfort in that calling. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.
2) Where do you invest? This world wants us to invest in getting ahead and material possessions. But John had the right perspective: a person can only receive what they have been given from heaven. In other words, if you want more of Jesus in your life, that you will see Jesus in your life. If you want more of God, you will see the handiwork of God. But if we want to keep God out and pursue our own agendas, God will leave us to our devices. The average teenager spends 35 hours a week on their phones. People are addicted to entertainment and social media. But for John, the investment is in the Lord, like a groom is invested in his bride and the friend in the bridegroom. There is great joy in a wedding. We are Jesus’ bride. Are we enjoying the wedding and looking forward to the wedding feast of the Lamb?
The remedy? Invest time in God. What if, for just one hour a week, we spent intentional time with God? What would happen to our mood, our outlook on life? Would our joy be restored? The joy of the Lord is our strength, and in His presence is fullness of joy. We do not have joy in our society because we have stopped spending quality time with the joy-filled one!
3) Who do we live for? Our world’s tendency is to make a name for itself. We seek prestige and honor, to be important. John’s attitude? “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). When we take our joy not in ourselves or our own accomplishments, we start to see joy flow because it is no longer about us!
Our society is miserable because we strive to become someone else, invest all our resources into it and live for us. But if we follow John’s example, be who we were created to be, invest our time in God and live for his honor, we will have a deep strength and joy that no one can take away. Can we find that joy?
Questions for Reflection
1) How much joy are you experiencing in your life at this moment?
2) Do you find yourself falling into the comparison trap? If so, in what areas?
3) How much regular time do you invest in God a week? How much time do you invest in entertainment? Can you divert some of that time?
4) Why is it difficult to surrender control?
This Sunday we will light the candle of Peace. Pastor Ryan will share the sermon titled, “Peace on Earth”, based on Isaiah 11:1-9. What is the true peace that Christ brings? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for December 14- 20
December 14: Luke 11:38-42 How did Mary come to find joy?
December 15: Luke 19:1-10 How did Zacchaeus come to find joy?
December 16: Luke 18:15-17 How did children come to find joy?
December 17: Luke 18:35-43 How did a blind man come to find joy?
December 18: Luke 19:28-40 How did the crowd express their joy for God?
December 19: Luke 1:8-25 How did Elizabeth come to find peace?
December 20: Luke 1:26-38 How did Mary come to find peace?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, December 19–InstaChoir & Advent Music Minute perform in service
Sunday, December 19–Caroling @ 4 pm
Friday, December 24–Christmas Eve Service @ 11 pm
Sunday, January 2–Bread & Cup Communion
Sunday, January 2–First Sunday Breakfast & Offering (God’s Pit Crew–tornado relief/recovery)
Advent Food Baskets
Please do not forget to collect your food items for the pantries found on the backside of the Hanging of the Greens insert. If you would like to reacquire the list, please let the church office know.
We will gather at the church on Sunday, December 19 at 4 pm. After caroling to some friends, we will return for soup, sandwiches, and desserts. Please bring an item to share! If you are planning to attend, please call the office and let us know!
We will take a pause from question/answer and listening sessions for the Advent Season. In January, we will schedule several different listening sessions as we continue to discern.
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer & Discernment
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
Misti Wheelbarger is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Norman Clark (COVID)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Gene (?) LaPrade (health)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Abbie Shiflet (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Paul Shirk family (Reba’s brother)–in the passing of his wife Jessie this past week.
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Tom Wilfong (health)
Charles Wright (recovery from surgery)
Joyce Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB