These days you are never far away from the latest news or trends – whether it’s on a billboard as you are driving to work, flashing on the screen as you are catching the weather report, or checking out your favourite social media site – you are exposed to bad news. A personal tragedy of a public figure. Countries at war. A people desperate for food or medicine. It is easy to become burdened or anxious. Not to mention the conflicts that may arise in our own lives. What was God thinking when He said through the apostle Paul – “Do not be anxious about anything”? He also encouraged us to keep our minds focused on things that are true, right, pure, lovely… Is this a God who is disconnected with reality…or does He know something about the human condition and how to make it in this world? It’s worth exploring.
“Because I’m HAPPY!”
So the lyrics go to the catchy and worldwide hit song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell that has everyone dancing and singing. Who doesn’t want to be happy and content? We all do. Yet there is a distinct difference between finding happiness and true joy in life. The one is fleeting and dependent on circumstances being just right. The other is more steady and can produce a deep contentment within us even despite some of life’s hardships. FINDING JOY is what we’ll be looking at throughout August, and specifically, the different and sometimes surprising places we can discover true joy.
Join us Sunday as we begin a new series that will take us on a 5 week journey through the book of Philippians, a book all about finding joy in the midst of life.
Given the choice, and if price and quality were identical, would you choose a no-name brand or a designer brand? Have you ever been influenced by a claim that you would look or feel better or be more popular if you had a particular item? What about traveling long distances just to get the right kind of toy for your child? Or doing your best to emulate or beat the success of a brother or sister? The desire to measure up to a standard that we view as acceptable or better is the root of many struggles today. The pressure to conform to certain images can even cause serious damage to one’s self esteem. This Sunday we’ll look at what the Bible says about these societal pressures and see if there is another way to live our lives.
In our mobile world where information is as close as a click away, there are some headlines that immediately get our attention. Eat this and get slim is probably one of them. Ten days to a stress free life is probably another. We are all looking for answers to our most pressing problems. There are any number of sources offering the solution to resolve all our cares. Doctors tell us that the root of many illnesses, both physical and emotional, can be traced back to stress. It’s fair to say that we all have pressure points – things in our lives that cause us to get upset, to become worried, or angry – in a word – stressed out. In the next few weeks, we will be taking a hard look at our Pressure Points, and going to the Bible for answers, starting with a Biblical view of dealing with s t r e s s.
We’ve all been there – we run for the bus and just as we reach the door, the driver shuts it and pulls away from the curb. Or we’re late for a meeting and just as we reach the elevator door, it closes on us. Or we’ve been waiting patiently in line to be let in for a show, and just as they let one more person in, they announce they are at capacity and close the door. It’s safe to say that no one likes the feeling of a closed door. We’re prevented from getting somewhere that we want to be. When Jesus described himself as the door – it raises a few questions: Will the door be open? For how long? Will we be welcomed? If we walk through, where will it lead? We’ll address these, and other questions, as we continue our “I AM” series.
At one time or another, we have experienced a blackout – whether at home or in a subway or elevator – those first few moments of sudden darkness where everything seems to come to a standstill, except perhaps for our heartrates that rise as we search for the flashlight or wonder what happened and how long it will be. Let’s fast forward to the moment the lights went back on. You heard the sudden surge of power. And if you were with others, there were probably shouts of gladness and sighs of relief. Jesus gave us a reason to shout when he said “I AM the light of the world.” We’ll learn more why when we meet on Sunday.