Guest posting by Fred Grendel
(This article can also we found on our website at
http://www.bethelkingston.comunder the tab called "Blog")
This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.
This week at Bethel, the fruit of the Spirit called Joy, was taught in our Punch Series. This should leave us with lots to talk about in our small groups and over coffee.
It seems like a strange deal, we all want joy from the Holy Spirit but in order to get it we have to give of ourselves to God. There is no “I” in “joy”. As I studied “joy” this week and met people in coffee shops, I personally made some new discoveries:
- The definition of the root Greek word “chara” (joy) says nothing about being able to feel joy. Pastor Mark and I were having coffee at Coffeeco by the church (our 2nd office!) this past week, and I used the word “joy” in describing how I felt in a given situation. Mark caught me and said I was using the wrong word, if I was talking about the fruit of the spirit called joy (thank you Lord that I still had more time to study the word before preaching!)
- One of the next coffee appointments I found myself in was with Tom Desloges, this time at Starbucks next to Chapters in the west end. I asked Tom what joy was, and I liked what he said too: “It’s a state of being.” This resonated with me because, no matter what situation Christ- followers find themselves in, they can be joyful!
- Then, I was at a prayer meeting called “City-wide prayer”. This is a group of Kingston ministry leaders who meet once a week to pray into kingdom issues. This week we had a representative from “Voice of the Martyrs”. This gentleman described situations that are beyond our sheltered Christian imaginations and one in particular stuck: there is a group now persecuting Christians by placing them in cargo storage containers in the middle of hot climates, where they essentially fry to death. I just had to pause from writing as the horror of this event happening began to hit my emotions. Can these martyrs experience joy in this situation? Yes, they can and we should pray that they do (if you would like to learn more about the persecution of Christians consider subscribing to “The Voice of the Martyrs” at http://www.persecution.net/).
- Lastly, I was in Tim Hortons this week at the corner of Sydenham Rd. and Princess, having coffee with my wife Amy and discussing plans for our Constance Lake Trip. We are both very passionate and excited about the trip, but there is stress in planning a trip for such a large group (32!) so I asked myself the question, am I going to allow this stress to take away my joy? Stress can take away good emotions and replace them with negative ones, but it does not need to take away our state of being, rooted in the Lordship of Christ.
But let’s admit it, we all have hard hours, days, and weeks, and we do lose our joy. Beth Moore states five things that can take away our joy, none of which will surprise you because you have experienced them all I am sure:
1. When our output exceeds our intake
2. When we have just come through a spiritual victory
3. When our talk and walk are out of alignment
4. When we are exhausted
5. When we feel alone
Discuss in your small groups this week or over coffee with a friend:
- Am I achieving balance between my output and my input?
- Have I experienced spiritual victory? If so, am I guarded against spiritual attack?
- Am I fulfilling my verbal commitments? Am I walking my talk?
- Am I getting enough rest and taking enough time off each week to rest?
- Do I feel lonely? Do I have the support I need in my spiritual walk?
I used to believe that my all strength came from my physical body, but although taking care of our bodies and getting enough rest is scriptural, our real strength must come from the joy of the Lord!
What are you facing this week that you need strength and joy for?
One of the many points of Sunday’s message was that Jesus wants Lordship (control) in our lives, and the more Lordship we give him, the more the fruit of joy will grow in our lives! But we all struggle with Lordship issues. In the list below circle the issue(s) that you have the most trouble giving Jesus Lordship and discuss with your group or over coffee why this is difficult for you:
- My mind, my attitudes and mental health
- My body and physical health
- My spirit and my worship
- My family and relationships
- My sexuality and its expression
- My work and service to God
- My material goods and needs
- My finances
- My emotions and reactions
- My will and decisions
- My manner and time of death
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