JOY: Grace Found in the Wilderness
I. A Story of EXILE and RETURN
A. From SLAVE to FAMILY Jer. 31:1, 9, 20, 22
B. From TORN DOWN to REBUILT v. 4, 12, 28
C. From SORROW to JOY v. 13, 25
II. The CONTEXT of Joy v. 10-14
A. It’s not mere HAPPINESS v. 8-9, 12; John 15:11, 2 Cor. 6:10
B. An IDENTITY Change v. 1, 4, 2 Cor. 5:17
C. A RELATIONAL Experience v. 2-3, 9, 20, 22
D. An Experience of the GOOD v. 12, 17, 25, Mt. 6:10
III. GOOD NEWS that Brings GREAT JOY Luke 2:10
A. God Comes to KNOW and be KNOWN John 1:14, 17:3
B. God Comes to CHANGE our STORY Col. 3:3, Gal. 2:20, Phil. 3:8-11
C. God Comes to BRING us HOME Jer. 31:8-9, 21-22, 24-25, Luke 15
Questions for Further Reflection:
- Kid’s Question: What is the happiest you have ever been?
- What would you say is the central story of the Bible?
- What experiences of Exile have you had in the last year?
- What are the differences between Joy and Happiness?
- Think about a time when you experienced fleeting happiness. Now think of a time when you experienced unexpected joy.
- What experiences in your life have changed you the most? Has there been any joy associated with those events?
- In your mind, what is “The Good Life”?
- What would “God coming” look like in your life right now?
In the Gospel of John, Jesus sums up pretty much everything by saying, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). He said it at the supper that he knew was the last one at which he’d have a mouth to eat with.
“Happiness turns up more or less where you’d expect it to-a good marriage, a rewarding job, a pleasant vacation. Joy, on the other hand, is as notoriously unpredictable as the one who bequeaths it.”
~ Frederick Buechner