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December 7, 2008
“Are You Wired for Joy or Wired for Stress?”
Verse 10 “but the angel reassured them…don’t be afraid,” he said, “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!”
INTRODUCTION: [Show strings of tangled Christmas lights all in a heap on the floor. Pick them up and try to straighten them out. Show the building of stress at not being able to untangle them. Yell to someone in the congregation, “I’m absolutely stressed--BRING ME CHIPS!” Have someone from the audience bring you a BIG bag of Potato Chips.]
Then ask, “Are you wired for Joy or wired for Stress?”
At the frantic holiday season many of us have to say we are probably more “wired for stress” than “wired for joy” because there is not enough time to get everything done or not enough money to pay for everything. Many pressures press in from all directions. One thing after another comes our way to distract us from the real meaning of Christmas and tries to tear us down. Stress is something we all cope with in our 21st century lifestyle, but sometimes it becomes just too much and overwhelms us to the point where we give in to self-destructive habits like binging on junk food--a whole bag of chips or a half gallon of chocolate ice cream in one evening. Lack of sleep, overwork, juggling too many things all at once contribute to a downward spiral as well as even more devastating self-destructive habits.
Read Scripture here: Let’s take a look at a familiar scripture.
The verse I want you to focus on is Luke 2:10, “the angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of GREAT JOY FOR EVERYONE.”
1. Joy is for you: The long awaited birth of Jesus was to bring salvation to a world in turmoil and stress--good news, great joy--meant for everyone. Are we seeing this today in our world and in our individual lives? Sad to say, we only seem to get glimpses of his joy so much of the time, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you and for me. Jesus has come. He has already brought good news of great joy and it is for you and me. We have to believe this scripture that it is for ME personally.
It takes faith to believe that there are better days ahead--to believe that our situation will turn around when it looks bleak--when we are going through trying times. A scripture in I Peter 1:8 shows us that joy is connected to our faith when Peter says, “You love Him [Jesus] even though you haven’t seen Him. You trust Him and even NOW you are happy with a glorious and INEXPRESSIBLE JOY. Isaiah 12:3 speaks of joy in connection with our salvation when he says, “with JOY you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation.”
David prayed, “restore unto me again the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12.) Our joy can be restored if we have lost it. Joy is for you through your faith in Jesus.
2. Great Joy: When you ask some people how they are they will answer with a pitiful, “Oh, I’m hangin’ in there.” Joyful people don’t barely HANG IN THERE--they express evidence of great joy--overflowing in spite of their circumstances. Scriptures all point to GREAT joy--OVERFLOWING joy--ABUNDANT joy. Jesus told His disciples, “I have told you this so that you will be FILLED with my joy. Yes, your joy will OVERFLOW.”
Jesus in His prayer to the Father said, “I have told them many
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