Summary: Where is the joy in our church? There is so much frowning and silence in a place where there is so much reason to celebrate. This sermon explores the problem.
GRUMPY OLE CHURCH PEOPLE
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Through the many years that I have preached and taught from the Word of God I have made one very disturbing observation about the churches in our movement. I believe that most of the churches associated with the Christian Church, Church of Christ, are really lacking JOY. As a matter of fact I would go so far as to say that many of our churches are filled with Grumpy Ole Church People. I truly don’t know why, but I would have to say that this is the truth. Many times it is because we are not happy with something or someone in the church, we don’t like the way things are run, we don’t like the music, or the message, or the prayers, or the overall length of the service. The devil has come into the building and stole away all the joy that Jesus readily provides, and people sit in their seats and frown, as we praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now I know that many would say that we are a conservative church, there is no “raising of hands in our church” there is no shouts of “AMEN” and certainly you won’t hear our church clapping hands, but I say, “Excuse me? WHY NOT? Where does it say that God wants us to be less then exuberant in our worship service?
A story was told about eight men living in a small tent in the desert during the Israelites journey, led by Moses, from Egypt to the Promised Land. These eight irritable grouches cramped into their tent and daily complained to Moses of their miserable state. Three of them complained that their tent-mates snort and the others snore. In retaliation, the latter faction complained of foul-smelling feet. It perturbed their long-bearded leader. Moses, while stroking his long grey beard, told them, "Bring an aged ram and let it sleep with you in your tent for seven days, then come back to me".
After seven days, all of them came to Moses looking awfully grumpy and complained in unison about the aged ram in their tent. Moses said, "Starting tonight take the ram out of your tent, then come back to me after seven days", and that was exactly what the eight grumblers did. After seven days, they again appeared before Moses, now looking satisfied, and were asked if they still had any complaint. For fear of having the ram in their tent again, with smiles on their shabby faces they answered Moses in unison like a kindergarten class, "No sir, not at all!" And they dashed back to their tent as friends.
Sometimes we can only learn to appreciate the life that we have after going through a great trial and after experiencing grueling situations. There are so many reasons to thank God for the past year, however excruciatingly tough we went through. A Thankful Heart is a rock foundation of Life’s Fulfillment!
You came home cranky because a deadline got moved up. She came home grumpy because the day-care forgot to give your five-year-old her throat medicine. Each of you was wanting a little sympathy from the other, but neither got any. So there you sit at the dinner table—cranky and grumpy—with little Emily, your daughter. Emily folds her hands to pray (as she has been taught), and the two of you bow your heads (but not your hearts) and listen. From where this prayer comes, God only knows.
“God, it’s Emily. How are you? I’m fine, thank you. Mom and Dad are mad. I don’t know why. We’ve got birds and toys and mashed potatoes and each other. Maybe you can get them to stop being mad? Please do, or it’s just gonna be you and me having any fun tonight. Amen.”
The prayer is answered before it’s finished, you both look up in the middle and laugh at the end and shake your heads and say you’re sorry. And you both thank God for the little voice who reminded you about what really matters.
Paul was given wisdom from the Holy Spirit of God when he wrote these words in PHP 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
I. REJOICE ALWAYS!
We are told that we should Rejoice always, we are told to consider it PURE JOY, when we face trials, (James 1:2) and we are told: Ps 33:1-3 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. 2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. But folks, most of the time our worship service is very quite, very somber and with the exception of a young child letting loose, I am the only one who is heard.