close
Sermon:
1. Intro (6:16)
2. The first way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful sacrifice. (6:17)
3. The second way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful service. (6:18-20)
4. The third way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful separation. (6:21-22a)
5. The fourth way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful strength. (6:22b)

EZRA 6:16

Several years ago, when we lived in Mississippi, we were members of a small church called Bel Aire Baptist Church. That little church was a blessing to our family. Thatís where I was ordained as a deacon. And thatís where our oldest daughter was baptized. Well, several years after weíd moved away, we got word that theyíd called a new pastor in 2003. God blessed his ministry tremendously. The church grew to the point where they had to go to two services and were starting a huge building program. Well, just about a month ago, toward the end of February, we got word that the pastor was diagnosed with cancer. Around three weeks later on March 14th, he was in the presence of Jesus. When I saw that, the first thing I thought was, why God? After all the years of struggling that church went through. After spending years without a pastor. After Katrina. After all the years of praying for growth. And then when it finally started to happenóYou take their pastor? Why? Oh me of little faith. His wife writes a weekly column for the local newspaper. Listen to what she wrote when they found out about his cancer. She wrote about the big C. ďThe big C is not cancer, but rather: Christ, Calvary, the Cross, Crucified, Curses broken. Spirits of infirmityóCast out, Captives freed, Covenant, Commandments. Commitment, Church, Confession, Clean. Communion, Conqueror, and Crown.Ē The big C isnít cancer. The big C is Christ. Kandi Anderson is a person who is dedicated to joy. Thatís real, true, unquenchable joy. Thatís not a kind of joy that is ginned up with fun entertainment. Thatís not the kind of joy that passes with the changing of seasons or the swinging of moods. Thatís the kind of joy that only comes from Jesus. A supernatural, never ending, unquenchable, unspeakable joy that only comes as a gift from God. And our remnant found that joy. After all the time they spent in exile. After all the time they spent in preparation. After all the time they spend delaying. And after all the time they spent building. After all that time, they finally found joy. How is your joy tonight? Is your joy tied to your mood swings? Is your joy tied to your circumstances? Is your joy tied to the things and people around you? Or is your joy tied to the Spirit that lives within you? I want us to be dedicated to joy tonight. I want us to be dedicated to striving for the joy that only comes from God. And there are four ways we can do that. The first way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful sacrifice. Look with me at verse 17:

EZRA