ADVENT | JOY

ADVENT | JOY

NEXT Family,

Finals week for some. Break has started for others. Either way I want you guy’s to know I am praying for all of you. I hope the holiday’s are filled with grace and love for you. Remember Christmas is a time to focus on the reality of what Jesus brought to the world.

Something to chew on and think about:

“Every man, whatsoever his condition, desires to be happy. There is no man who does not desire this, and each one desires it with such earnestness that he prefers it to all other things; whoever, in fact desires other things, desires them for this end alone.” “[The human soul] tends towards what it loves, so that attaining it, it may find rest. … Just as the body gravitates according to its weight, so also the soul, in whatever direction its movement tends, is carried along by love.”

– Augustine 


Podcast 

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You can follow along with my teaching notes below.


Teaching Note’s

PEACE (HOPE | PEACE | JOY | LOVE)

Throughout December we are going to recognize advent each week.

What is Advent?

The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.

We are going to look at 4 different things that the arriving of Jesus has taught us.

HOPE | PEACE | JOY | LOVE

Lets talk about Joy:

The word Joy is everywhere in December. (Posters, signs, wrapping paper, movies, etc…)

Have you ever noticed how people modify their behavior this time of year Families work to get along. Why? “Because it is Christmas.”

Friends work to connect and communicate love and joy. Why? “Because it is Christmas.”

So…throughout the world, people are working to align with joy because of Christ.

It is what the Scriptures declared that Jesus would bring us in Luke 2v10

…“But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere!”

If we google the word Joy this is what we get: Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

If this is joy, then it is a reaction. It is an emotionIt is something we come into and out of. It just happensIf that is the case, then Jesus coming to the Earth brought a feeling of Joy…but that was over 2000 years ago…and that feeling has, without a doubt, faded.

But what if Joy isn’t actually a feeling? What if Joy is more than that? What if the Joy that Jesus brought was very different from the emotion of Joy?

We can all agree that everyone desires Joy/happiness: (Augustine quote)

“Every man, whatsoever his condition, desires to be happy. There is no man who does not desire this, and each one desires it with such earnestness that he prefers it to all other things; whoever, in fact desires other things, desires them for this end alone.” “[The human soul] tends towards what it loves, so that attaining it, it may find rest. … Just as the body gravitates according to its weight, so also the soul, in whatever direction its movement tends, is carried along by love.”

Lets open scripture:

Romans 5:3-5

3 But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. 

Pause. The Joy that Paul is talking about seems to be a different joy then what google is talking about.

4 And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. 

And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!

Galatians 5:22-23

22–23 But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:

joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness  in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.

Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

According to Paul, Joy is a byproduct of the Holy Spirit in us. And it’s LIMITLESS!

So let me ask the questions again… Is Joy a feeling?

If we look at the word here for “joy,” again, there is a secondary usage that is very interesting.

The secondary definition in the Greek for, ‘chara,’ means to stay connected

It was used as a science term for the way planets stay in alignment.

Could I submit that because of our human condition of our soul desiring Joy and happiness humanity (believer and un believer) will always have season of aligning with Joy. It is a natural God ordained order.

Paul will remind us that this Joy is actually limitless and its a bi-product of the Holy Spirit inside of us.

So how do you and I cultivate this Joy and “choose” to live in it?

In Nehemiah 8, we find a passage where the leaders of Israel were teaching a supernatural truth the people.

It is a moment in the lives of the Hebrew people when they were incredibly saddened by the state of events in their day. The Temple is being re- established, but what it reminds them of is how good it was before. The memory is overwhelming and the begin to weep.

Ezra and Nehemiah are going to give a tutorial on choosing Joy:

“Don’t weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” All the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the law. And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of choice foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!

I want to highlight 1 main verse in this passage:

the joy of the Lord is your strength!

There are two words here:

Strength – is literally rendered, “a fortified place, or place of protection.” It points to the idea of being secure, protected, and away from harm.

Joy – word in the Hebrew is, “chadah.’ It means to rejoice or to be glad.

Hebrew is a pictorial language.

The pictograph for this word, ‘joy,’ (chadah) is comprised of two symbols.

The first is a picture of a wall. The second a picture of a door.

Combined these symbols give the meaning wall door.

A wall separates the inside one area from another. A door is an access point. A door in a wall creates an access from the outside to the inside.

In this passage, Nehemiah teaches an incredible principle:

He is teaching them to make a, joy choice.”

Why? Because Joy is the doorway to supernatural strength.

To understand this we need to reconsider what Nehemiah said to do, because it defines how we choose joy.

He challenged them to:

1. Refuse to complain. (Don’t weep)

Do not allow it to come out of your mouth.

2. Refuse to focus on and fantasize over the circumstance.

That becomes idolatry. (They fantasized on the past)

3. Set your focus on His goodness. (Go and celebrate with a feast)

Actively celebrate His goodness.

4. Set your attention on others.

(share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared)

Refuse to fixate on self.

Remember Paul reminds us that Joy is only a bi-product of the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

Could I submit that the key to choosing Joy is staying connected and aligned to the Father?

In John 15v4, Jesus will communicate this same principle to us:

 So you must remain in life-union with me for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine.

The arrival of Jesus has brought us an unlimited access of Joy (regardless of life circumstance’s)

The invitation this morning is to align with him and its a FREE invite.


Announcement’s

NEXT will be having a Christmas party this Sunday, December 23rd @ 10AM in the office.

Bring your best UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER!

We will do a white elephant gift exchange ($3 MAX).

Can’t wait to see you guys.

Also, (fresh off the press) we will be doing winter camp for high school in 2019. February 1st (Friday night) we are doing an ALL NIGHTER up in Evergreen. It’s going to be amazing. Stay tuned for more details.

Travis Horner 

Student Ministries Pastor | Vintage City Church


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