We left Jonah not knowing whether he was able to overcome his anger and bitterness over God’s mercy to the Ninevites. It’s easy to get discouraged on the Jesus Adventure. It’s easy to lose hope and give up in frustration. In Joy on the Journey we discover the way to live through the brokenness of this sin-sick and dying world. Paul had become a follower of Jesus and boldly proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom of God throughout the known world. His experience in the city of Philippi was exciting and challenging (Read Acts 16). Some years later he was now living under house arrest in Rome awaiting trial for preaching the Gospel! Confined, unable to move about freely and facing the possibility of a death sentence, he wrote this letter to Philippians teaching them and us to find joy in every circumstance of life. In the midst of COVID and a myriad of national, social, and personal struggles Joy on the Journey will lead us to find the joy that is ours in Jesus right where we are.
The Community of Joy
Sunday, September 13 – Finding joy right where we are begins in the Community of Joy, the church. Paul opens his letter to the Philippians with a greeting and prayer that establishes the foundation of that joy. Here we receive an incomparable identity: we are “saints in Christ Jesus” (v. 1); we are being transformed personally—”he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (v. 6); and we are an integral part of the transformation of the world itself – partners in the gospel (v. 5). The Journey of Joy begins here in the Community of Joy.
The Secret of Joy
Sunday, September 20 – Under house arrest Paul is literally chained to a Roman guard 24 hours a day. He has no privacy, no freedom to move about as he pleases. On the other hand he has a captive audience to whom he can preach Jesus! Imagine a hardened Roman soldier given the duty of being chained to the most powerful evangelist in the history of Christianity! Paul reveals the Secret of Joy: for to live is Christ. How would you complete the sentence: for me to live is ________? If someone was watching you this past week how would they complete that sentence for you based on your words, your actions, and your attitudes?