• Matt Beaney

#454 (7/10/21) THE JOY OF THE LORD



INTRODUCTION

Over the next three weeks, our devotionals will be based on our vision at CCP. If you are not a part of our church, I trust that you will still find these reflections helpful.


Our vision is to be a church community that is,


“Bringing people to Jesus - myself, one another and my community”




This week we are focussing on what it means to bring ‘myself’ to Jesus.




Recently I experienced a moment of discouragement. I felt deflated because things weren’t going as I would have wanted. We all experience discouragement. Daily, we have to fight for joy. Joy is is the promise for those who know God and walk with Him. Joy is not based upon what happens or what you do, but is based on who you know - you know the love of the Father! I love what we read in Zephaniah,

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.’” (Zephaniah 3:17)

Without the joy of the Lord we will lose motivation to serve, give, sacrifice, lead etc. We can only give out of what God is putting into us! Carey Nieuwhof once said,

“Time off won’t heal you when the problem is how you spend your time on.” (Read that again, it’s profound!)

In other words, don’t wait for some mythical future when you can experience the joy of God; Joy in God is to be pursued and experienced right now, no matter what hole you may be in.


All who become passive, cynical, who fall into sin or even leave the faith at some point stop seeking the joy of God. We are commanded,

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

The joy of the Lord is our strength. When was the last time that you felt God’s joy over you? God is our Father who delights in us. Without personal devotion, our confidence and experience of God’s love will be weak. We will become discouraged and susceptible to temptation and unfaithfulness. Your first priority each day is to express your joy in God and to receive the joy of the Lord over you. Your joy and His joy are facts. They are not based upon your experience. Experience will follow, but it’s God’s will that know His delight over you today. John Owen wrote,

‘The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you.’ (John Owen, Communion with God)

PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

In keeping with this aim of developing a personal relationship with God through prayer and worship out of the Bible, we’ll be developing our skill in meditation and prayer using the structure that we are taught in The Lord’s Prayer.


If you look at The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), you’ll see that it can be broken into 4 major themes of Praise (6:9) , Petitions (6:10-11), Peace-making (Matthew 6:12) and Protection (Matthew 6:13).


Using Zephaniah 3:17, use the Lord’s prayer structure (below) to help you to pray.

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.’” (Zephaniah 3:17)

1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?

THIS WEEK IS SIV (SERVE INVEST AND INVITE) WEEK.

Let's spend this time sharing, thinking and praying about how God wants to work through us to help our communities to come to Jesus. Let's never forget the Great Commission that Jesus has given to us,


“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)


SIV is our main strategy for reaching our communities for Jesus. It has three elements:

I) SERVE - SERVING REAL NEEDS.

People who see our love in action - our ‘good deeds’- will be much more open to our message.


II) INVEST - INVESTING IN RELATIONSHIPS

Investment is about time and faithfulness. It's praying faithfully. It’s going to the club faithfully. It’s phoning the friend regularly. It’s sacrificing for the good of others. Many Christians speak of love and of wanting to reach the ‘lost’ but are not prepared to be like that 'good shepherd' and make time for people!


iii) INVITING

This is Inviting people into our church community and closer to Jesus, particularly through Alpha. This might even be a moment when you lead someone to receive Jesus through the gospel message. If we have been investing in our friends, this step will often happen naturally.


VIDEO

Please watch the video together (Click the image below)



In response to this inspiring video, let's talk about how we might respond to God's call to reach our communities for Jesus:


i) Firstly, do you have any encouraging stories since our last SIV week?

ii) Do you have any plans for how you plan to serve, invest and invite in the people and places that God has put? Why not make a note so that you can pray and hold yourself accountable?

iii) Are you planning to do anything together as a group?

iv) Who are you planning to invite to our carol service on the 5th December?

v) How do you want to pray in regard to our mission?




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