Joy Rising
"Joy is the serious business of heaven." - C.S. Lewis
"...and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart..." - Jeremiah15:16

Joy Rising

"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day." 
- Henry Nouwen.

Joy Rising is our theme for the 2017-18 church year. Join us as we look deeply at the seemingly simple idea of living with the joy of Christ in our lives.


When we

see every moment of joy as "Hello, I love you" from God (Zephaniah 3:17)

and receive the truth that God's second nature is joy (Galatians 5:22-23)

and give our best efforts as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23)

and rest in the presence of God (Psalm 51:12),

then we have been to the Source of joy, and

joy rises.


See. Receive. Give. Rest. This is the circle of joy!


What to Expect...

According to Eugene Peterson, "The story of our faith, our very existence, begins and ends with joy." This he says right after pointing out the passage in Job in which God says the heavenly beings shouted for joy as God did the work of creation (38:7) and how the great multitude shouts for joy at the culmination of all things according to Revelation 7:8-10.
But Peterson doesn't stop there. He also cites numerous passages in asserting that "between the beginning and the conclusion there is joy." So Peterson boldly proclaims: "Joy at the beginning, joy at the end, joy everywhere in between. Joy is God's creation and gift. No authentic biblical faith is conceivable that is not permeated with it."
Wow! That's quite a statement! Is it true that authentic biblical faith is permeated with joy? Does Peterson go too far?
This is what we are planning to do with our new annual theme: Joy Rising. Happy New Year, by the way. Our new church year began on September 1. As we, together, live out our irresistible life in Christ, we are going to focus on joy for the 2017-18 church year.
In exploring this theme we do not intend to paper over our grief or ignore the injustices of our world. We will mourn with those who mourn (Rom. 12:15) and struggle fiercely against evil (Eph. 6:12). Yet, amid the atrocities in the headlines, the disappointments we endure and the weight of stress we carry, is there nonetheless joy like a fountain in our souls as the old song says?
After all, Jesus knew all about the difficulties of this world and he knew that he was about to endure the pain and injustice of the cross when he said to his followers, "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:11, NRSV). It seems that the fruit of the Spirit that is joy (Gal. 5:22) remains a characteristic of the irresistible life in Christ no matter what is going on in our lives and in our world.
I certainly won't exhaust the implications of our new theme in this one, brief column. But it's worth noting that Jesus spoke the words above about our joy being complete right after he spoke of abiding in him and abiding in his love. As we nurture our relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords we can expect joy to rise in our lives.
Your brother,