Sing for JOY
Finding joy in suffering is an important discipline and teaches us to notice God in all things.
Morning. David Sorn. Pastor of Renovation Church.
Continuing our JOY series this morning.
This morning I want to talk about a topic that I am very passionate about
In fact, it’s related to one of our only 3 CORE Values here at RC
Our three Core Values: Community (HGs), Reaching People, and Encountering God
And we’re going to heavily talk about the third one today
One of the phrases we say all the time here is: We are not about a production on Sunday morning, we’re about encountering God.
We’re dead serious about creating an environment where you can encounter God, not only in House Groups, and on your own, but also right HERE on a Sunday morning
I want to come back to that in even more detail in a little bit, but let’s first recap where we were last week
TEMPORARY VS. REAL JOY
We’ve been talking in this series about what it means to have true Joy. Last week, if you weren’t here, or if this is your first week at RC, we talked about the Source of JOY
And that that source is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s Easter weekend.
It’s the fact that God came to earth and took our punishment and died on the cross for us because He loves us so much and wants to be with us.
That’s a crazy thought. And when you let it sink in, it should move you to JOY.
Not just a quick happiness, but a real, constant JOY.
Think of this JOY more as a subtle but noticeable change in your lifelong personality.
Rather than just something that makes you walk around with a ridiculous smile for a day
Because when people think of it like that, they write this off.
“This is ridiculous, this isn’t true”
But letting the good news that Jesus is incredibly in love with YOU and died for YOU will begin to change you and make you more joyful, if you let it sink in (seen it happen in my own life)
AND, (and we’ll keep talking about this point throughout the series), it has the power to change your joy the rest of your life…not just for a blip
(Philippians 4:4) – NIV
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
The Bible tells us to rejoice in the Lord always…next week by the way we’re talking about what it means to rejoice in suffering (that should be interesting), but God wants us to have a consistent attitude of joy.
That doesn’t mean don’t get sad, or don’t get mad, or anything, but overall, you should be a fairly joyful person. Because there’s Good News about Jesus!
And that should change us forever.
Other good things in our life tend to just have temporary effects. For instance:
I remember when I got a Nintendo for Christmas (So excited!)
But eventually, I got so sick of blowing on all my games to make them work, and all I wanted was a Sega Genesis and not this stupid Nintendo!
And it’s the same thing being an adult…My computer sophomore year of college had a 20 gig hard-drive. I thought it was the most powerful thing ever created. I was seriously JOYFUL about getting it.
Now, it’s a piece of junk that sits in a pile somewhere in my apt.
And how true is that for so many things in our lives. You got a new car! (and you even kept it clean for a whole month…and now…eh, it’s just another car)
You get a raise! You got your first house! And on and on…with these things…joy tends to fade, and we tend to say to them…eh…you’re not that special to me anymore…and they’re not.
But with God…joy is continual…because we shouldn’t have to say to Him…you’re not that special to me anymore.
That’s not to say that sometimes we don’t. Let’s be real.
But that’s a slippage on our part. When we stop, get back on track, and realize again what He really did for us and how much He loves us, JOY can often come quickly back
And that doesn’t really happen with material things.
My computer from sophomore year of college isn’t going to start mysteriously bringing my joy again, and I can guarantee that.
Well, unless I mysteriously discover my old Boyz II Men mp3 collection on there or something…did I just say that out loud?
BUT the good news of Jesus Christ can bring us constant and fulfilling joy.
Because He loves us everyday…He forgives us every day. And his promise of eternal life is not something of the past that has now grown old and accumulated dust…it’s a promise that grows closer to us every day
And that gives us JOY
THE OUTCOME OF JOY
BUT, that JOY then means something for us. And that’s what we need to focus on this morning.
When you are joyful about something…it tends to come out in a certain way right.
OK, let’s go non-spiritual joy…just normal stuff (not that all things aren’t spiritual in some sort of way…nevermind) normal stuff:
OK, let’s say, I come up to you and say, “HEY, someone wants to anonymously give you $100,000. This is going to change your life. Here you go!”
You would not be human if your reponse was, “ok”
NO…a JOYFUL truth requires some sort of emotional response. Right?
If I tell you, your friend who was sick was just told by the doctors that she’s going to be just fine, that JOYFUL truth necessitates a positive emotional response.
Now, let’s think through this… People respond in different ways right?
Like, let’s take a wedding for example… And let’s say it’s a wedding of someone you know really well…not like one of those you show up at just because you don’t want them to be mad at your for not coming and hey, it’s a free meal. Picture someone you really like
How do you react if it’s a powerful/touching wedding?
You have your criers. (Joy causes/demands a response)
You have your silent nodders.
You have your awkward yellers (uncle Jimmy woohoos in back)
But for uncle Jimmy, that’s how he responds.
And we all respond in some way…AND, if you’re not responding in some way (even subtle), you must not truly get the neat truth of what’s happening.
THE BIBLE: SING FOR JOY
And this is where it all hits home for churches.
Because the TRUTH is, God has done something amazing for us. Even though we didn’t deserve it AT ALL, he came and died for us because He’s that in love with us.
And that truth, will move you, and should cause you to respond.
To praise Him…somehow.
To hear someone say, “Jesus Christ came to earth and took your place on the cross because he loves you.”
And respond with, “ok” Means one of two things: 1) You don’t believe it or 2) The truth of it hasn’t really hit home yet
The Bible tells us that when the truth of WHO God is hits home in our hearts, that it should cause us to praise Him.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about this:
(Psalm 5:11) - NIV
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
The Bible says that when we realize that God can be our refuge (a shelter from danger), and when we realize that…that we should rejoice in him. Even SING for JOY because someone is protecting us!
AND We see that the result of JOY, the outcome/product of Joy is often singing…song of praise numerous times in the Bible
(Psalm 71:23) - NIV
23 My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you—
I, whom you have redeemed.
(Psalm 95:1) - NIV
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
And often, those reasons of JOY are tied to truth of WHO HE IS, and WHAT HE DID
(Psalm 126:1-3) – NIV
1 When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem
it was like a dream!
2 We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
“What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
The people of Judah were exiled for 70 years. Many of them had never seen their homeland, and a few of them hadn’t seen it since they were very small children…and when they returned, they were filled with JOY…
And when you’re filled w/ joy, you gotta let it out some how. And one of the ways they did was to SING! Sing praise back to God!
In recalling the same scene, the prophet Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 35 that the ransomed of the Lord will sing for Joy as they enter back into the city.
And really, that’s who we are too. We are ransomed people.
(1 Timothy 2:5-6) – NIV
5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time
Think about that. In a way, Jesus was the ransom payment for us. He offered his life to set us free.
And like the people who came back free from exile and rejoiced with song, so also should we rejoice as people who’ve been set free AND as people who will one day spend eternity with Him.
That’s worth rejoicing over!
RC – A PLACE TO REJOICE
And as I said at the beginning of this message, Renovation Church is deeply serious about this being a place where you can encounter God on a Sunday morning
A place where you can express your joy to Him!
And we’ve been serious about that since the beginning. When we started this church, by the way happy 6 month birthday last week to RC, we said, we wanted to be different
We wanted to be a place where the teaching was accessible, and a place where the worship was authentic and made you want to enter in…and the last thing we wanted people to do during worship is watch.
Because as soon as it’s a show to watch, then we’ve failed. What does that have to do with what we’ve just been reading in the Bible???
It’s like this: Imagine God is a king on earth, and He has people praising Him on his throne (bowing down, singing his praises)
And then all of a sudden a hardcore rock band comes out in front of him and starts rocking out…so the people start watching that.
That’s when worship fails. Worship (and obviously worship is much broader than just Sunday morning), but the speaker on Sunday morning or the worship team on Sunday morning should never STEP in front of God and thus get in the way and be distracting
It should merely be there to facilitate your praise, and enhance your praise
Let me give you an example.
I went to the Timberwolves game on Wednesday (yeah, I know, I’m dumb).
I was thinking when I was at the game that when I was little, and I would go to Timberwolves or Twins game, & they would play a lot of organ music.
And the organ music, while incredibly cheesy, never got in the way of the game, it just enhanced the fan experience.
Because believe it or not, the organ music was usually interactive
(Charge example) (clap along)
And not only was the old school stadium music interactive, but it actually enhanced your praise, your cheering
Now, what I’m about to say is going to make me sound like I’m 90 years old, but follow my logic:
If you go to a Timberwolves game today, there’s no organ music anymore, but they play modern music, and they play it a lot.
Every time the Timberwolves come down the court, another Jay Z song comes on, or some Kesha song that I’m embarrassed exists in the world of music…
And while I’m happy that she wakes up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy, that does nothing to enhance my praise of the game. In fact, it’s distracting.
While I’m trying to cheer for my pathetic Timberwolves, all I can think about is what a terrible song this is.
It gets in the way of what you’re trying to cheer for, of what you’re trying to praise, it doesn’t enhance it
And worship, in churches, if not done right, can do the exact same thing.
It can become the focus. Just like at sporting events, the music has often become the focus. But the worship team should never be the focus…just the facilitators.
THE OUTCOME OF JOY AT CHURCH
And thus, we strive to be a place where your joy for what God has done can be let out here on a Sunday morning.
God has done too much for us in our lives for us to come to church and watch music.
What we pathetically do at church all too often is like if someone saved me from drowning and instead of me thanking and praising them personally, I went and observed a concert where people sang songs about how great it was to be rescued.
We want this to be a place of joyous interaction between you and God
Listen, churches spend a lot of time singing. No matter where you go. Every week, there’s worship.
We hardly ever talk about it, but churches do A LOT of it every week.
But singing/worship is merely a product/an outcome of JOY
We get this, if we think about it. At so many joyous occasions and milestones in our life…we sing:
Christmas (endless amount of songs…many of you hate)
New Years (hum auld lang syne)
Sporting events (teams have their own fight songs)
Weddings (we sing and dance)
And listen, God trumps every one of those examples I just gave, so why would we come here and stand lifeless for 25 minutes every Sunday? (pause)
Maybe it’s because joy hasn’t sunk in (maybe); and maybe it’s also because that’s just what we’ve been doing for so long that we’ve gotten used to it.
It’s like, when it’s my niece or nephew’s b-day, I sing for JOY
In contrast, picture a teenage boy working at a restaurant where they sing a happy birthday song
That’s kind of like what we often do with worship at church. It’s become SO routine that we’ve forgot what it’s about.
We’ve made it like it’s no different than singing to random strangers 3 times a night. BUT IT IS DIFFERENT. We come here to sing to our God and our Savior.
So it’s time for us to WAKE UP, and begin to create change. May even a movement of change start right here at RC. .
In many churches, music is just the warm-up act to the sermon. At Renovation Church, we don’t just give lip-service to this, we truly believe it… The worship part of our service is equally important to the message.
We need time to express our love to God. We need a method for doing it, which is worship.
Church isn’t just about learning; It’s about a relationship.
It’s not just a classroom.
It’s a place to come and thank and praise your God with JOY
And we want to be a church where worship is incredibly JOYFUL and full of HEART
This should be a place where if someone were to visit, but let’s say they came late and came in during the worship, that they would walk in, take a look around, and say, “Wow, these people really love God.”
So I challenge you to see worship, see music differently at church from now on.
Not just a time of watching or mindlessly observing
Enter into worshipping your God, your King, however you need to do, but enter in with all of your heart.
For some of you, that means singing with all of your soul, for others, it’s raising your hands, for some it’s sitting down/closing eyes, for some, it’s just gripping the chair in front of you and reflecting.
But whatever you do, do not waste this time each week! For our God is worthy of praise! He is worthy of JOY!
And we want to take some time this morning to practice that as a church to grow in this area as a church.
Let me just close with a verse this morning. A verse from one of the prophets who is writing about not only the people one day returning from exile, but us one day realizing God’s love and one day meeting him in person.
(Zephaniah 3:17) – NIV
17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
And if He can love us like that, and delight in us like that, and if He can rejoice over US with singing…let’s do the same for Him, who has done SO much more for us.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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