“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” – Psalms 19:1 ESV An astrological phenomenon will occur over the next year as Jupiter and Saturn appear to almost merge. The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn takes place at roughly 20-year intervals. The last time these two planets aligned was May 21, 2000. However, a conjunction this close has not been seen since July 1623. In fact, on December 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will come to within 6 arc minutes, or 0.1 degrees, of each other and then will not be seen again until November 5, 2040. The night sky reminds us of just how small we are as we peer into a dark expanse that we cannot fathom. Billions of stars and galaxies overwhelm us with their magnitude. Astronomy is the oldest of the sciences, and navigating by the stars seems to be as old as humanity. Matthew 2:1-12 reminds us that heavens both declared and directed the wise men to Jesus. These foreign dignitaries gave themselves entirely to finding this King, and they were led by a star. What guides someone to King Jesus? What does it take to find King Jesus? How will we be changed when we worship King Jesus? Will Great Joy be the result?
Sermons in: Joy
C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven” (Letters to Malcolm, 1964, 299). What is joy? Is it a feeling, an action, or something else? Joy may prove difficult to define. It seems that sometimes we may confuse joy and happiness. Joy is not something that we must find or create on our own. Joy is a feeling of the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, and found in Jesus. Find joy in the Lord, not in yourself, your circumstances, or your possessions. During this Advent season, may you be filled with joy in Jesus.
The writer of Hebrews wants us to know that Jesus speaks to us. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1–2, ESV) Today, we listen to what Jesus said to the Father while moving through the heavens to humanity. The incredible journey from the glorious brightness of heaven to the darkness of a young woman’s womb. What did the creator say as he became like the creature? What words accompanied the transition from the purity of heaven to unsanitary conditions of a stable? A quote from a Psalm of David prophetically describes part of Jesus’ mission as he goes from the highest heaven to a lowly estate. Scripture tells us in Hebrews 10, so let’s eavesdrop as the Son’s joy can be overheard.
People who believe the Bible know that behind this visible, physical world there is another world that is real, unseen, and highly populated by supernatural beings. The Bible is filled with references to angels. When God led Israel out of Egypt in the Exodus there was an angel that led them. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness in the very beginning of His ministry, he needed strength to recuperate and the Bible says that an angel came to Him and strengthened Him. There are at least 300 places in the Bible where angels are mentioned. However, much of what we think about angels has more to do with Hollywood or Hallmark cards than Biblical truth. So today, Pastor Sam Shaw focuses on what the Bible says about angels.
Today we are looking at the earthly, adopted Father of Jesus, whose name was Joseph. Joseph has been called the forgotten man of Christmas. We don’t really know a lot about him. He never says a word in the Christmas story. And yet, God’s plan of redemption hangs one man’s willingness to raise a child that is not his own. No one reading this is ever going to be called to play the role of Joseph. No man is ever going to marry a virgin who is with child and raise that child of your own. But every dad and mom, every grandparent, every step-father and step-mother, every aunt and uncle is called by God to raise children for God, and to model a picture of God’s mercy and God’s love to our children. If you are a parent or have children in a family, you are called to help children to learn what it means to be a child of God. This simple man Joseph helps us a great deal. Because if there is one word we could use to describe this man, it's obedience.
Dr. J.I. Packer said, “Christianity isn’t a Joy ride, but a Joy Road.” Mary had every reason to feel anxious about Gabriel’s announcement. Her pregnancy placed her on a path of family shame and community scorn, and it certainly put her life in danger. When we understand what was at stake for Mary, her surrender to God’s will and complete trust show us that there is joy in surrender. Mary must have found great comfort in seeing Elizabeth pregnant and hearing the incredible prophecy about Jesus. There is joy in sharing with others. Mary sings from her heart, declaring her praise and thankfulness to God for His provision and the amazing privilege of bearing the Christ. There is joy in singing. The joy road is a road of surrender, sharing, and singing.