New Hope Notes
Pastor Aaron Cordeiro
We are going to continue our Life Hack series, and we’re going to talk about joy.
We cannot live without joy. We cannot go through this life without joy. It is a quality of God that sustains us,
What is a life hack? It is a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more effective way.
I needed a life hack the other day. I got hard-boiled eggs from a coffee shop that just would not open or peel right, where the egg just stuck to the shell and I just couldn’t eat anything. It was so frustrating! I went home to Google how to make eggs that peel easily.
What I used to do was put eggs in a pot and add water, then get it to boil and go from there. What you have to do is get the water to a full boil, and one by one, place your eggs in very carefully after it comes to a boil. Add a little pinch of salt, then set your timer for 13 minutes. After that, drain the water and put eggs in ice water, it seals it and pops the shell a little looser. You can stick them in the fridge and when you want to enjoy a hard-boiled egg, there you go. There’s your life hack for the day.
It was a joyful day when I could eat my eggs. Webster defines joy as: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.
To be honest, I know some successful people that are very depressed. I know people that have gotten everything they wanted in life, but they're very despondent. I know people who fell into a fortune but they feel like they've failed in their home and marriage.
When we look at joy, we have to define it correctly or we can make the mistake of thinking joy is something that happens to us externally. That is really a fallacy because things that happen externally will cause an emotion called happiness. But joy is different. Joy comes from the inside out. It doesn't matter what is happening on the outside. When you have joy in your heart, everything is okay.
Here is a biblical definition of joy. Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of every detail of my life. It is the quiet confidence that ultimately everything will be all right, and that we determine and choose to praise God in every situation.
Throughout scripture when you see the word "joy," you see people who are settled and assured that God is in control of everything in their life, all the details, even the things that they have no idea about or what is coming up around the corner. In the midst of trials, they praise God.
People that are joyful in the midst of trials are contagious. You just want to be around them. When you are having a bad day, you want to get as close as you can to them. For me, that person has always been my Mom. I can’t tell you how many times when I've been at my lowest, Momma can always talk me off the ledge.
You must have people in your life that are filled with the joy of God because there will be times when it feels like joy has leaked out of you. Joy is something powerful.
It's something precious, but if you are not in control or have a fear of losing control, you have something called agoraphobia.
We have a God that's always in control. If we understand that, there will be a joy that fills our lives. No matter what storm you are facing on the outside, everything is going to be okay. That's what joy is. We have a Heavenly Father whose intention is never to allow us to be embarrassed or out of control.
Joy is one particular area that the Father wants to do well in. John 15:1-3 says,
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener, He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word of God I've spoken to you."
In another translation, "gardener" is the "vine dresser" or "one who cares for the vineyards”. Another name for "vine dresser" is a "husband man" where we get the word “husband" which means "the master of the house."
To "gardeners and vine dressers," vines are very, very precious.
Vines remain with them decade after decade. The gardener who takes care of the Vineyard responds differently to all of the different vines because they all have a different personality. The vine dresser knows how to care for each one in a personal way much like a shepherd with a sheep.
John 15:5-11 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
That's really our prayer for you here at New Hope, that we will be people with the joy of the Lord filled to the brim and overflowing.
The Heavenly Father is the vine dresser. He knows every single one of us in an intimate way, and He knows just how to care for each of us and how to meet us right where we are. If we are going to go to anyone to find out what joy really is all about, we are going to go to God.
God's pruning shears in our life will be His word. Because there might be things in our life that might be hindering the joy of God, His love, kindness, patience, gentleness, self-control or faithfulness, He starts to prune us to match us up to His Word.
In order to gain joy, we have to be people that are willing to be pruned. We need joy to hack depression and misery, sadness and sorrow and constant seriousness. We need it to hack discouragement and dislike, and even when we are in mourning, we have the joy of the Lord.
Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide today. What is interesting is the age of suicide is dropping lower and lower. The highest suicide rate is between the ages of 15 and 29 and the leading cause is depression.
I just did a funeral today for one of my best buds in high school that I grew up with. He taught me how to surf, and we'd go to youth group together. He was like a big brother, a year older than me. Anytime we went surfing, he always had my back and always showed me the way.
A couple of weeks ago, he just came to the end of himself and took his life. It was one of the toughest things for me because I'm thinking, this is a good friend of mine and he knew God, what happened? There was a point in his life where he just couldn't hang on anymore or he couldn't remain anymore and he thought the only way out was to take his life.
We did a big paddle out to Sandy Beach, and I was praying, “God, what am I going to say?” Because at a funeral like this, when someone takes their life, there's so much confusion and questions and it's tough. I said, "God--more than anything, would you just be there in your presence because I know if you're there, then no matter what we're feeling or going through, you're going to fill the place with joy."
I just started to pray, to ask God to be there with us and started to quote Galatians 5, the fruit of the Spirit, and God, give us more of that. I said, "Amen." There were hundreds of people in a circle, and it just erupted with the joy of God. And I thought, “Man, Lord, you are so amazing. You meet us right where we are.”
We need joy. Some of us have acquired joy along the way, but we've lost it. I don't know if that's you. I've been there. I'm a Christian, I am a pastor and at times I've lost my joy.
Some of us are here today because God wants to teach or increase our "stick-to-it-iveness."
It means just stick to it. Let this summer be of soul cleaning and pruning and allow the shears of God's Word help us to bear fruit and fill us with joy. How do we gain joy and remain in it? How do we gain joy and keep it? How do we gain joy and stick with it?
John 15 teaches us to remain connected to a healthy relationship with God. The word "relationship" or "fellowship" is Greek meaning a two-way street where there is a give and take. Where we allow God to fill us with the things we need from Him, and we now can give because God has given to us. That is what the Bible would call a healthy relationship, where there is communication and there's contact. If not, you'll lose touch after a while. I realize it's at funerals where we connect and we spend time together and find and share some joy. The truth is relationship and joy cannot thrive if we only meet God and others at funerals or when things are going bad or spiraling out of control. If we want to acquire joy we must have a healthy connected relationship with God.
John 15:4 says, "Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me."
In other words, you cannot cut your toe off and throw it someplace and expect it to be healthy. No. It's got to be connected. Relationship, life must be connected, especially if we're looking at acquiring joy. It can only happen in a relationship with God.
What I have found is my relationship with God is how I treat my relationships with people. When I'm treating people pretty bad, it's probably because I'm not hanging out with God and I'm not a joyful person.
If I can encourage us and we're to hack away the despondency of life, let’s fill our life with joy with a connected personal relationship with God. Transformation happens when we are connected in a healthy way.
I think about the very beginning of the Bible. God spoke and it happened. He spoke and there was light. He spoke and there were stars. The stars have never been off course since and God just speaks to make it so. So the staying power of God's Word is amazing.
There's going to be times when life just isn't going well. Your kids aren't listening, you feel drained and joy is leaking out of you, and you feel like you're messing up over and over. You need the joy of the Lord.
Psalms 119:11 says, "I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against
You." The word "sin" simply means to drift or distance oneself from God.
I often wonder if we are people that are joyless because we haven't hidden the word of
God in our hearts, and we are not standing before Him allowing Him to speak into our lives, our marriages, our circumstances, our futures. If we don't, it's easy to listen to other things in the world, all the lies, and things that are out there. God's Word keeps us anchored to joy.
There's a story about the people of God in the book of Nehemiah. They had drifted because they had left the staying power of God's Word. They had lost everything. They lost their home. They were in oppression, under Babylonian rule and it was a despondent time.
So God calls Nehemiah to help his people. He sits them all down in a congregation and brings Ezra the priest to read the word of God to the people because they haven't heard His Word in years.
Ezra gets up and the first thing he does is praise God. Then he reads the word.
The Bible says, "Ezra read the word from sun up to sun down." The people would start nodding off and the priests or pastors around the room would get them to listen.
It took them a while but they started to understand the Word of God. They heard the Word of God and they all started to cry and weep in sadness.
“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and send some to those who have nothing prepared. For this day is holy to the Lord. Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’" (Nehemiah 8:10)
What God has done is revealed the standard of truth in your life, and now you can follow Him. God is going to fill you with His joy. Now you know the way, the truth and the life. A joyful day is when you come to the realization that we were once lost, once hopeless but there is hope in Jesus and that is the joy of the Lord.
C. Remain in love with God, it keeps life filled with joy.
John 15:10-11, "If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
There are certain things that will remunerate joy and things like love and kindness
We have to put our trust and faith in the right things. If we do so, the Bible says there will be a remuneration of joy. If we remain connected in a healthy relationship with God, and in the staying power of His Word, He will constantly and continually fill us with joy.
If we can be a people in life where there's an acquisition of joy and we come face to face with God, it does something to us. If somewhere along the way, the storms or the things we face depress us and we've allowed the devil to steal our joy, it's because we haven't stayed connected to a healthy relationship with God.
Maybe we haven't been hearing His words for us, words of love and affection and hope. It might be hard to obey God or follow Him because it's just been tough. Today the word for you is "Jesus" and may the blessings of God flood your life, your marriage, your future, and all that God has for you. Amen!