Part 2 – JOY
Pastor Seth Trenda
How many people love to be happy? Come on! Raise your hand! Right?
We just love to be happy. We all love to be happy. Right! It’s kind of a dumb question. It’s like yeah, we love to be happy. I mean that’s what we’re told ever since we’re little is, you know do what makes you happy. Don’t worry, be happy. Don’t worry, be happy.
Yeah, right! That’s how we live our life is we get into relationships that make us happy and we love those relationships, until they stop making us happy and then we bounce. We only do what makes us feel good. If it makes you happy, it must be right. If you’re happy, it must be the will of God, it must be God leading us. Right! You heard this stuff, Right! You all have Facebook accounts. There are crazy people on Facebook, they say some ridiculous things. And, a lot of it is, you know just to do what makes you happy in life. If it doesn’t make you happy, it’s not the will of God. Happy happy happy happy happy happy happy!!!
But happiness, is a very tricky emoji, I mean emotion. It’s in a very very tricky emotion and that’s because, it’s just that. It’s an emotion, Right! Happiness is just an emotion! It is fleeting. It’s fleeting! Maybe it’s why we like being happy is because we got it back again. It’s like, “ah! This thing is making me so happy, I’m glad I’m happy again!” Right! It’s a temporary feeling. It can be here now but, could leave you in any moment. Happiness! Right! Can we just close our eyes, just for a second? And, just think of something that has made you happy! Can you see it? Right! Remember how happy you were, that you got it until the new one came out? You can open your eyes now. Don’t sleep on me! Right! We’re so excited, we’re happy until the new one came out. You’re happy, until you realize that it’s not quite as good as they made it look on the commercials. Can anybody relate to this? Anybody ever go to the car lot and buy a brand new car? Right! Nothing better than a brand new car, low miles, smells good, you drive it off the lot, put your hand out the window, you kind of lean the seat back You’re happy! You’re so happy! You wash it, you garage it and then 30 days later, the happiness fades away, when the money gets sucked out of your account; that’s paying for that happiness. What did I do? You went from happy to depressed, that quick! Right! Just like some of the videos there!
Anybody have kids? I’ve got some the most amazing kids. Sorry! But, Christmas morning is just, it’s always a fun time. And, what always blows my mind is all you parents will understand this, is that kids are so excited; they’re so happy on Christmas morning! But, two weeks later, they give a rip! Right! And, all the parents are going, “Why did I just spend hundreds of dollars and they don’t even play with it? They already broke it. They’re already whining about, you know Xbox one is old news. Now, they want the Xbox 1 plus X. Right! I’ve got my junior high begging for iPhones “Hey boy! I’d even get a cell phone until I was married.” And, that’s because she was pregnant and I needed to make sure she didn’t go into labor without me. But, happiness is it’s an emotion that is determined by our external circumstances. Right! We could be so happy about something and then, a single phone call can change us into a depressed state, instantly because our happiness is tied to external things. External words, that external possessions, you know we can get a job raise and be super excited; and the company closes down next month and your happiness is went bye-bye with the company or with the job! But, just like we talked about last week, anger is a counterfeit for passion; happiness is a counterfeit for joy.
So, I want to talk about joy this morning because our culture, we’re trained, we’re taught we’re to chase happiness. “Do they make you happy? No? Well! Then leave.” “Oh! You’re not happy in your marriage? Oh, you should go find another one!”
That is the stupidest advice! That’s just crazy! How about work on what you got and make it great! Happiness is a counterfeit for joy. See, now don’t get me wrong! Happiness is good. Happiness is good, it’s an emotion that we all have but, it will really get tiring if not found in and out of joy. Joy should be the foundation, where happiness sprouts up but joy is our constant, Right!J oy is what makes us feel like we don’t need meds because we’re up and down up and down up and down, being controlled by things that we really can’t control, Right! It’s the foundation. So, I say that it’s time that we stop chasing happiness and pursue joy.
So, what is joy? Joy is different than happiness. Right! Happy happy joy joy! Any Ren & Stimpy fans! Alright! There it is! You all know pastor JP, he was my youth pastor, back in the 90s or whatever, that Ren & Stimpy was it man, he would preach off of Ren & Stimpy. He would bring the Ren & Stimpy episode and then, we’d watch them, you know some episode about dirty socks and he’d preach off of it. I don’t happy happy joy joy but joy is different than happiness. Joy is not emotional. Joy is spiritual. Joy is spiritual, it is internal not external. Right! It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the external, when we have joy on the internal, we’re steady! And the crazy thing about joy is that, it is all it’s in you already. If you’re if you have given your life to Jesus and even born again, joy is already in you.
Let’s look at Galatians chapter 5, Galatians chapter 5 verse 19 through 23. It says, “When you follow to the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear; sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility blah blah blah blah blah… anger, selfish ambitions, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the kingdom of God but, the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; there is no law against these things. Right! When we know when we’re being led and living by the Holy Spirit because our fruit shows it. Right!
If we’re coming to church and then, we’re still out having wild parties, we’re just playing a game. If I can be honest, it’s not real because the Holy Spirit produces a different type of fruit, when we when we want to follow our sinful desires, they will produce another rotten fruit.
See, joy is a fruit of the Spirit and it’s already in us. Do you have that? I wanted to just use this simple illustration here and an apple and a seed. This seed of joy is already in us but we need to harvest it from the spirit into the physical. Does that make sense? See, this apple here, we love we love apples, Right! Hey keep doctors away I hear but, you have to eat at least one a day or it doesn’t work!
See, the Apple is already in the seed, this little tiny thing. See, the seed of joy is already inside of us and for and until we you plant the seed and you water it, you will never see or you’ll never taste the goodness of its fruit. Right! So much easier we just want to go by joy. No! That’s what happiness is, we want to go buy a new car, we want to go you know, buy a new wife on the internet, we want to go buy, you know can I buy your kids, your kids! That is we just want to buy happiness but we need joy. And, we’ve what the cool thing is we’ve already got the seed, it’s planted in us, in our spirit but until we water it, until we cultivate it, we will never see, we will never taste the goodness of joy. Right?
Yeah! shouldn’t have thrown it to my brother!
So, the cool thing about joy is that, it comes from our spirit and it’s already in us. We don’t have to go plead God for it. We just need to get in his presence, we need to we need to we need to cultivate it, we need to let his word water it. What do you do when you come to church on Sunday morning? Is your getting watered by the Word of God, so that when you leave this place, hopefully, you’re not leaving here with your head down to go, “oh! Man, I hope Jesus can’t come really soon. He was supposed to come a couple weeks ago and he missed the bus. Man, I’d really had all my hope and that I was going to get ugh great!” Now, when you leave church, we leave church excited and confident and it’s because there’s something that there’s a joy that comes up inside of us.
So, let’s take a look at, what joy looks like! In the book of Acts chapter 16 um you’ve heard of Paul and Silas before, Right! So, these guys are walking around, they’re preaching the gospel and they’ve got this really annoying chick that’s following them; screaming out, she’s got this demon in her, she is she tells fortunes. And so, they’ve got they got this this evil fortune-teller following them around for days saying, “Hey! These guys serve the God, the most high!” Finally, he got so sick and tired of this woman, that he yelled and cast the devil out of her. The spirit left and then the owners were so mad that now they’re there’s their girl doesn’t you know, that’s how they made their money; you give me money, she’ll tell you your future. Well! It took away their income so, they were so mad that they took them at and took him to prison and so right here, we kick in on verse 22, it says, “A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with rods. They were severely beaten and then they were thrown into prison, the jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So, the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. So, just so you know, back then they didn’t have cable TV, they didn’t have hot meals like if the inner prison was like the like a dungeon like rats and feces and dead people and all kinds of crazy stuff, Right!
Don’t let these people escape, we just beat the tar out of them, lock them the dungeon, that’s a bad day. Right! It says, verse 25, “So, they’ve been sitting there for a while and it says around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, just suddenly there was a massive earthquake and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All of the doors immediately flew open and the chains of every prisoner fell off.” This is stinking powerful! The chains of every prisoner fell off. See, what you see here in, verse 25, I guarantee you is not happiness. I guarantee that they were not happy because, just hours before they were stripped naked. That just make some people mad, Right! They were stripped naked, it says, “they were beaten with rods”, which is basically they take sticks and they beat the bottom of their feet until they’re bleeding and broken and be severely and then thrown in jail without cable TV. Ah! How mean! Right! They were not happy, they were chained walls with rodents and nastiness all around them and yet, they were singing hymns to God and praying, in the midst of what most of us would probably be cursing God, “Why me? I’m an American, call Donald Trump!”
Is it okay to say that name in church? I’m just joking. Yeah! They were not happy they were not happy but they had the joy of the Lord. See, their external circumstances were not good but yet in the midst of it, they still had joy. They still saw God for who he was, they still were able to sing them to him, they were still able to pray and what’s crazy is, that they chose joy and it released the chains off of everybody around them. Christians, what would happen if we were joyful? If we walked into work every day, joyful; not happy and then depressed and happy then depressed! “I got a new car!! Ah the payment came out.” “Yeah! I got married!! Ah I got married!”
But, what if we just operated in joy? According to Scripture, the people that you work with, that you’re around, that are bound the chains fall off. Why are you so joyful? Why are you always so happy? I’m not always happy; I got the joy of the Lord! What’s that? Do you get it? See, the power of joy overshadows the temporary feeling of happiness. Joy is there no matter what the circumstances. You lose your job and you still have joy. You lose your stuff and you can still be joyful. You can be wrong and still be full of joy. Right?
When you are going to be wrong, when you are to be stolen from, when we need to be ripped off and you’re just like, “Praise the Lord! Thank you God, I worship you!” God! I just think here’s your stuff and that as I pursue your kingdom, that stuff will just be added back on to me. Some people have a hard time with that but, we can have that is because joy comes with an understanding that God is bigger and better than anything good or bad that this world has to offer us, that wants to throw at us; whether it’s a good something, a blessing, God’s better. Whether it’s something that we didn’t plan for, God’s bigger, It’s the truth! Go to a third world country, you know what people have nothing; living with ten little things like this big with ten people and they’re joyful. They’re happy, they’re kicking water bottles playing soccer and the kids love it. There’s a difference between having joy and having happiness.
Some are curious, how to activate joy in our life? How to activate the joy in our life? If we have it in us, the seeds are there, how do we activate it?
First way is that joy is activated when you’re in his presence. Listen to this in psalms chapter 16, this is David and he starts off saying, “Keep me safe, oh God!” It’s not usually a good you’re not in a good situation when that’s the first things that come out of your mouth is, “keep me safe Oh God, before I have come to you for refuge. I said to the Lord you are my master. Every good thing I come that I have, comes from you. The godly people in the land are my true heroes, I take pleasure in them, I don’t bash them on Facebook oh wait! That wasn’t in there. Troubles multiply for those who chase after other Gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices or of blood or even speak the names of their Gods. Lord you alone or my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine; the land you have given me is a pleasant land, what a wonderful inheritance! Exclamation mark, he’s excited. I will bless the Lord who guides me, not at night or even at night my heart instructs me, I know the… which means even in times of darkness, my heart instructs me, I know the Lord is always with me, I will I will not be shaken for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad and I rejoice my body rests in safety for you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
Verse 11; “You will show me the way of life granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you, forever.” That’s one that we could probably memorize and wake up to, every day because I don’t think that David is in a happy place when he was writing this. But, he is activating the joy that is in him. He’s he starts off, keep me safe Oh God, I have come to you for refuge. In other words, God! I’m losing it. I don’t know what’s going on but I’m going to remind myself of who you are. I’m going to remind myself of Who I am in you. You are my joy, you are my strength, everything I have, this good it’s from you. I won’t even talk about the other little geez. I won’t take I won’t take I won’t take any part in their sacrifices and their rituals and their stuff. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence.
I’ve never known one person that has experienced the presence of God and not left glowing. Moses went up on him on a hill, met with God he came back white, bleached. I want to be the light of the world, for honest presence. We can’t be a light, if we don’t have joy, Right! We can’t be the light, if we’re not in his presence being lit up. Joy is activated through your purpose. Joy is activated in your purpose and this is the big one because you know, I did youth minister here for a really long time. And, that was always a big thing with young people is, what’s my purpose what’s my purpose what’s my purpose! I’m useless, my you know, my family says I’m worthless, my you know situation say I’m worthless, I’m hopeless, I have and then now, I’m working with adults and it’s there’s a lot of adults that come to church and just sit because they don’t know what the purpose is. But, joy comes and is activated through your purpose. Nothing brings more joy than when you’re living out and doing what you’re purposed to do.
See, we all play a part of the same body, we all play a part of the same body. I believe that the different churches in the in the community played a different part in this same body. Right! And, it’s joyful when we’re playing our role. It’s not joyful when we’re ignoring it, it’s not joyful when we’re running from it and it’s even worse when we’re trying to act like someone else’s part because you feel God calling us one way. But, as this one looks more fun that one has more recognition or I really like that person, I’m going to act like they act and then get frustrated, when you fail because that’s not your part. But being what you’re… playing the part that you’re your purposed for, Right! How many of you guys lives have been changed by pastor Glenn playing his part? Right?
But, the crazy thing is that a lot of people don’t recognize and understand is that, for pastor Glenn to come up here on stage, every Sunday morning and deliver a word from God that helps you change your life, it wouldn’t happen unless there was a hundred people behind the scenes; playing their part of the machine, if you want to call it that from part, helping you part – opening the doors to making you feel welcome – setting up the coffee and you know making sure there’s not garbage all over and they the urines all wiped off the walls and the men’s bathrooms; I don’t think the girls had that problem, definitely the men’s! There’s so much that goes into it but it’s because there’s so many people that are playing their part; whether it’s behind the scenes or not it brings a joy. Man! I’m a I’m playing a part of the body. Do you see it?
See, I believe that purpose is found in our serving. Doing nothing in church should not be tolerated as a Christian. It shouldn’t be tolerated, you shouldn’t allow yourself to do nothing because, we’ve got an amazing church, we’ve got an awesome campus up north we’ve got dreams and visions for more but there’s parts of the machine that aren’t working. Your joy could be activated. “Wow pastor! I don’t really know I don’t really know I don’t I don’t I don’t know! God hasn’t…”
“Joe! You’re supposed to work the parking lot crew!”
“Ah! Thank you Lord!” [Applause]
No! It’s man where do you need help? I have no idea. I just want to I want to do something and through that it will lead you to where eventually you’ll end up right where you’re passionate about. Just start! Right! Serve where needed and you will eventually end up right where you fit. If you love kids, don’t be working in the parking lot; get involved with the amazing children’s church, Right! Number three; ultimately, even though joy is the fruit of the Spirit, even though the seed is already in you, ultimately, joy is a choice. I can choose to not be joyful. I can choose to be joyful. Without God is speaking to me, without opening up my Bible every morning, I can choose joy. Do you get it? God is a very um he didn’t he didn’t make you choose salvation, he first loved you. So, he gave his son so, that you could choose to make a choice. It’s a fruit of the spirit, the seed is there but, he’s not going to make you have joy. That’s not God’s character. See, we’re way more powerful than we believe. God has given us so much and given us opportunity to choose it or not choose it. We got to choose it. He won’t make you have joy but he will allow you to choose it, in any circumstance in any circumstance.
James 1; it tells us that, it’s a really great section of the Bible, it tells us that troubles will come. Is that exciting? What??? I thought I gave my life to Jesus and life was just easy peasy, Right! Rainbows and unicorns! Cute little kittens with rocket packs! I don’t know. It’d be cool but James tells us that troubles will come, but then he goes he gets even crazier and he says, to consider it an opportunity for a great joy. “Hey Church! Just so you know, at any time in your life, crap is going to hit the fan and it’s going to be a great opportunity to choose to walk in great joy.” That doesn’t make sense. It’s an opportunity baby. Right! Acts chapter 16, we just read about it Paul and Silas. See, they weren’t happy about being in prison but they activated joy. They were there was probably some things that were that didn’t they couldn’t put it in the Bible because; their attitudes probably for a little bit stunk, they’re probably mad, they were hurting crying, bleeding, chained to a wall naked. They had a perfect scenario to be mad, upset, just want to die, God took me, come back but they activated joy instead. They chose joy and they chose to worship in spite of the situation and it led to their freedom and those around them.
Isn’t that crazy? One decision, that we all get the great opportunity to make on a daily basis sometimes, some seasons, to choose great joy over anger, over depression, over sorrow, over all the fruits of the flesh, “Oh! I tried it. I’m going to go wild party it up.” “Oh! I gave God a week, I’m just going to go and…” Right! Both a choice, they’re both your choice, they’re both my choice. Just because I’m a pastor, doesn’t mean I have no choices. What? I have to make a choice. Am I going to follow my purpose or I’m going to follow a flesh? So, this morning closing guys, I just want to encourage you as a church, I don’t know if the worship team is still here, now right now. With all that said, I want to encourage us as a church to activate to activate in choose joy in our life. It’s your choice. I urge you to go for it. Try it. It’s so less tiring than the up and down or just trusting our emotions, that are being controlled by things that we can’t control; they’re all external. We can’t we can’t control what our spouse does or what they say! We can’t control what our kids do! We can’t control if our company fires us or but we can’t control that we are going to have joy.
If we choose joy, the blessing and the breakthrough and the freedom is right around the corner, where the enemy thinks he’s about ready to squash you, God swoops in and destroys it.