Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

September 10, 2017 Sermon

“Full of Joy:  God Wows Us!”
Isaiah 44:23, 24, 49:13, Psalm 92:1 – 5
Ted Jansen  September 10 2017  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        We are a church that “Joyfully Connects People to Christ and Community!”  As I have preached on how we can become full of joy I pray that you have gained some insights from scripture that can help us.  The themes have been focused on Joy when we know that God is with us, God is worthy, and God washes us.  Today I invite us to focus on Joy as God wows us.   
 
2.)        Let us sing the fourth and last verse of “Joy to the World.”  “He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness, and wonders of his love, and wonders of his love and wonders, wonders of his love.” 
            We gain joy with the confidence that the Lord rules the world and gives evidence of His wonderful love in many ways.  One way that I believe that God can wow us and give us joy is through creation.  Our scripture offers us insights into this. 
            Listen to our scripture and how it contains the word joy.
 
3.)        “I sing for joy at the works of your hands…Sing for joy, O heavens, for the Lord had done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath.  Burst into song, you mountains, your forests and all your trees…Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice O earth, burst into song, O mountains!  (Psalm 92:4, Isaiah 44:23, 49:13) 
            The scripture calls us to sing and shout with joy as we see God’s creation and we join with God’s creation in praising our Creator.  The mountains, the trees, the ocean, the streams, the leaves, all are giving thanks and praise and joy to their maker.  God is our maker and when we see and understand this we have joy. 
            As I was thinking of joyful shouting and singing it made me think of watching the Colts with my son.  When we would watch and the Colts would score a touchdown my son would be so excited that he used to run around the house each time the Colts would score a touchdown. 
I invite us to see, really see creation, see the mountains, see the beauty of the earth, see what God’s hand is doing, seeing how the lives of people are being touched by His wonderful love and give God praise.     
 
4.)        I was searching for some songs and discovered a video.  I had never heard of the song, “Joy,” by Vashawn Mitchell, but wanted to share it with you.  It lifted my spirits and even though I had never heard this song I was experiencing joy as I listened to the music saw the scene of creation and saw the singers expressing joy.  (Watch video.)
 
5.)        Why do we need joy in our lives?  Why do we need to be full of joy?  Why is it so important to be a congregation that “Joyfully Connects People to Christ and Community!?” 
I believe we are drawn to joy, and other people need joy, because of the focus on the negative.  There is more to my life than the bad stuff all around me.  My faith is grounded not in the happy things happening, but in God’s world, God’s love, and God’s rule on the earth. 
As we hold on to this teaching from the Psalms I want you to hear a quote I discovered this past week from Elton Trueblood that touched me. 
Elton Trueblood said, “I don’t trust the theology of any person who doesn’t laugh.”  That sentence struck me and challenged me. 
            My faith must be one that contains joy.  Others must see joy in me, and I must have an ability to laugh.  That is why the Psalms instruct us to sing and shout with joy.  We need to be active in our expression of joy that that the rest of our bodies believe it.  It is just like my son running around the house after a touchdown.  We all knew he was happy and what had just happened.  He expressed joy.  May the Lord help me to sing with joy!    
 
6.)        I want to share a story I discovered called, “Joy in Everyday Life,” on Values.com.  This is our invitation to see Joy in everyday life amidst our challenges and path. 
 
My name is Drew. I just happen to be a female who, as my parent's 5th child, was the destined one to be named after a great uncle.
I am 53 years old, married and the mother of an 18 year old daughter. I love the Lord, my family, friends, and am a free spirit. Four years ago following the deaths of my mother, my father-in-law, and my mother-in-law, it was my turn. I was diagnosed with cancer, but am pleased to say that now I am a cancer survivor. Although I cannot declare yet to be in total remission, I trust that I am.
Of all the things I have learned through this experience is that though I may have had cancer, it did not have me. I also learned that because of my wonderful widow's peak, wigs were hard to find so I chose to go head a la nude. My hair does not define who I am and neither did my lack thereof. I celebrated life as a photographer on the sidelines of local football games with my head decorated in school spirit by the high school art club. Also, my lack of hair gave me the delight of sharing with younger folks who would inevitably ask why I was hairless the necessity to tell all the adult females in their lives the importance of regular mammograms.
The point of this story is that a great amount of insight and inspiration derived from a not so great experience. I want to share what I have learned:
Treat each and every day, not like it is the last day of the rest of your life, but the last day of the rest of the lives of those around you. Say, every day, how much you appreciate each person with whom you come in contact, with love and honesty in case this is the last day you will ever see them.
Do not spend another minute running from your purpose in life. It has taken me all these years to realize a couple of things. One of which is my ability as a photographer. Because I see life differently than most, I tend to capture with my camera the beauty of our world in everyday ways.
Recognize your gifts. It took me a long time to recognize one of mine. Although my brother fondly referred to me as "magna vox" and I was told many times throughout life to "please control yourself"; I see now that the ability I have as a lay speaker, inspirational, and motivational speaker is a gift. It is not only a gift, but a passion as well.
Figure out how to use your gifts. I finally put together the pieces of the happenings, people, experiences, inspirations and talents and just recently (within the past month) have decided it was about time to share the fruits of my talents.
I started smilecat designs in an attempt to facilitate others to see the beauty in our world in everyday ways. In a time when negativity and the banal seem to abound, I definitely feel a calling to express otherwise.
 
7.)        Each of us have a story and a path that we are on.  I invite you to look at your life with a choice to see and know more joy.  Pray that God would fill you with more joy as you sing, as you look at creation, as you become more thankful, as you choose to give joy away.   
            I am thankful to Steve and Char Binkley for letting us borrow their JOY sign.  We all need reminders and this was very helpful.  To have a big red JOY sign in our sanctuary was not something we could miss.  I pray that it has spoken a message to you. 
Last Sunday Char was in worship and she sent me a note and gave me this little wooden JOY piece.  In her note to me she said that now you will never lose your joy!   What a great reminder.  I will keep that in my office to remind me. 
We all do lose our joy and need to find it, or allow God to bring it to us.    
 
“I sing for joy at the works of your hands…Sing for joy, O heavens, for the Lord had done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath.  Burst into song, you mountains, your forests and all your trees…Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice O earth, burst into song, O mountains!  (Psalm 92:4, Isaiah 44:23, 49:13)