I want to share with you a true story that has shaped me, and it took place almost a year ago.
My wife Alyssa and I moved to a new city - Charleston. We were (and still are) excited about this move and opportunity.
The Lord led me to become a Student & Connections Pastor at Restoration Community Church.
Because it’s just the way my life goes, we happened to move into my role at this church at the busiest time in the LIFE of the church. Come to find out, it would be one of the busiest seasons of our personal life too!
There was a major community event on the horizon, Alyssa and I were living with family, as a church we were still doing set up and tear down every Sunday (church plant life), Alyssa and I bought our first house, the student ministry started taking off, and the church was putting the finishing touches on a brand new building.
Oh and I forgot to mention, Alyssa was pregnant with Kollyns - our second little girl!
LIFE WAS MOVIN’!
On December 19th, the day before our first Sunday service in the building, we were there cleaning, hanging stuff, moving furniture, and so much more. We also ran a training for all our team members who serve on Sunday morning.
We did this so they could see the building empty, learn where everything was, and know where their stations were.
Now I remember this day vividly (which is impressive for me because I have a terrible memory). Most everything was swept, team members were slowly leaving, the last chairs were being set up, and I was exhausted.
Before we locked up the building in anticipation for our first service in the morning, Adam (lead pastor of Restoration) asked me, “Are you ok?”
Now, if you know me at all, you know that I have no problem in spilling my heart out to anyone who will listen. However, on this day, I said the infamous, “Yeah, I’m good. You?"
Adam replied, “Yep! I’m good! See you tomorrow morning!”
I left knowing the next day was going to be a great day of celebration and worship. After 8 years of meeting in an elementary school, this church would be having its first ever worship service in its own building.
I mean, come on!
Adam and I, at this point, hadn’t worked together that much. So if this happened now he would’ve said this directly to me and I would appreciate it.
However, later than night Adam sent me a long text message.
He began by thanking me for all my hard work, and for answering the call to come to Restoration.
He then spoke about how excited he was to see what God was going to do in me and through me.
But then he shared something with me that I’ve been working on ever since. He said he wanted to see me do great things here and lead well, but if joy wasn’t present in my life, all of those things would be way more difficult.
He continued by saying, salvation should provide a sense of joy no matter how tired, frustrated, angry, or sad someone is.
He ended the text with, just think about this and let's talk soon.
I looked back in my journals, and on December 20, 2020 until September 4, 2021 I studied the word joy.
I looked up the word joy and every time it was in the Bible. I took a day and studied the context, the meaning, and tried to find application for my life.
I want to share 3 things I’ve learned about joy.
Joy Is A Result Not A Desired Action
Happiness is based on what happens to you. Joy is based on what has been done for you.
Happiness comes and goes based on circumstances, but joy is present because of Jesus and what He had done on the cross.
So joy is a result of what Jesus has done, not an action I should try harder to have. Yes, being discipline in joy is one thing, but joy at its core is something that isn’t achieved by us, but something we walk in daily.
Joy Is Contagious & Attractive
I want to be around other people that are joyful.
Joy is contagious and attractive.
When I’m around people who are joyful, I tend to listen to them more, respect them more, and I’m usually willing to do more for them.
The opposite is true, and how I lived and led for so long. If someone is a follower of Jesus and isn’t walking in the joy provided to them by Jesus, I tend to not respect them as much, or listen to what they have to say, or to bend over backwards for them.
Joy causes those around us to see and experience Jesus.
Joy Is Always There
In the midst of life’s tragedies, joy is always there.
Because it’s not based upon what has happened to you, but what has been done for you, it doesn’t disappear when life gets difficult.
Joy doesn’t leave when the loved one dies, or the cancer diagnosis comes, or the finances are tight.
Joy is always there because Jesus is always there.
Joy isn’t something I’ve mastered by any means.
It is something I’m constantly working on in my life. Those closest to me know that joy has always be a struggle. Not because I haven’t had a good life, not because I didn’t have parents that loved me, not because I don’t have an amazing wife and kids.
It has been a struggle because I haven’t truly understood the depths and ramifications of my salvation from sin to Jesus.
When you truly encounter Jesus, and rest in who He is, joy is there.
What you say impacts people!
Maybe you’re a high level CEO, or a fellow pastor, or a mid-level employee in a company, or a stay at home mom - no matter the case - your words matter.
Adam’s simple text shaped how I spent my time with the Lord and what I studied for 8 months!
From those 8 months of study, my life is different.
So when you’re tempted to not say what you sense the Lord is telling you to say to your friend or co-worker, don’t hold back.
Do it with gentleness and love, like Adam, like Jesus, but don’t hold back.
Again the opposite is true! When you’re really frustrated and angry don’t say what you want to say because that doesn’t help the other person, and it only provides a release for you. Sit on it for 48 hours and then come back and address it if you’re ready.
What you and I say to others matters!