Here’s a conclusion we’ve come to as a leadership team- and one we want you to embrace as you begin 2017: whatever we do, it needs to be fun. If it’s not, we don’t want to give our weekends and evenings to it. We’re certain you agree. Life is too short.
Here's why: the Gospel of freedom is good news, and good news is fun!
Leonard Sweet writes, “Grace is what makes the Gospel ‘good news’ and not merely good sense, good deal, good deeds, good counsel, good things, good company, good works, good taste, good reason, good form, good policy, good politics...”
Get this: one third of the Kingdom of God is joy. Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is... righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (NIV). Get that. One third. Righteousness. Peace. Joy. A third of the Kingdom!
If we asked you the attributes of God, you would likely list things like Holy, Love, Just, Righteous... And you would be right. But the Bible tells us that God is equally Joy. We read verses like the following:
Benjamin Dunn reminds us that the word “blessed” in the Greek language is makarios- the same word used for “happy.” In 1 Timothy 1:11 we read “... that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed [makarios] God...” In other words, Paul writes of “The Happy God.”
John Crowder reminds us that “Eden means ‘pleasure.’ You were made for it. What separates the Christian from every man-made religion on earth is our acceptance that God came to us, to give us what we could not earn: access to bliss forevermore.” This is what it means to be free!
A friend repeatedly reminds us of this: “Seriousness is not one of the fruit of the Spirit!”
We dare you to try and say it without laughing- you can’t!
A pastor-friend in our state named Lamar used to always say, “God is in a good mood.” To be honest, it always made some people uncomfortable. Think about it, though. Why are we reasonably more comfortable thinking that He might not be in a joyful disposition?
Now we’re seeing that the weight of Scripture is on Lamar’s side- God is happy. He is joy. He has come to set us free!
Jesus said that we would even pray, asking of Heaven and seeing the answers manifest “So that your joy may be full.”
Here is what a few other well-known Christian leaders have said about God and happiness before:
Jesus even said that the reason He relayed some of His teachings to His disciples was for their happiness: “These things I have told you... that your joy may be full / overflowing” (see John 15:11).
If you read the surrounding context of this verse you’ll see that Jesus has been teaching them about the things that bring joy:
Jesus said that we would even pray, asking of Heaven and seeing the answers manifest “So that your joy may be full” (John 16:22-23). We leverage the resources of Heaven so that we will be happy.
Even in the parable of the talents, Jesus told those who stewarded the talents instead of squandering them to “Enter into the joy of your Master” (see Matthew 25:21).
This year, we invite you into a culture of joy and freedom! The journey of freedom is a path that’s full of joy!
Freedom Track empowers you to live a life of joy and freedom. Classes begin the first Sunday of every month- and, due to New Year's (the 1st), a snow day (the 8th), this month we'll start on the 15th!
Register here: https://www.WAIO.online/p/freedomtrack
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