Summary: Sermon #4 in the Philippians series taken from the 4th chapter of Philippians, and giving a 3 step recipe for Joy involving emptying, filling, and doing.
JOY … the Recipe
CHCC: November 23, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Some of you probably have favorite recipes you’re going to be making this week --- for dressing or sweet potatoes or pies that you make every Thanksgiving. How many of you are planning to cook a Turkey?
Well, I’m going to help you out. Sometimes it’s hard to know when a big bird like a Turkey is cooked to perfection. I came across a recipe that might help. You’ll need ---
10-15 lb. turkey
2 cup melted butter
2 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is Good.)
2 cup uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER’S LOW FAT…..of course)
Salt/pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush turkey well with melted butter salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan, with the neck end toward the back of the oven.
Listen for the popping sounds and wait …
When the turkey’s rear end blows the oven door open … and the turkey flies across the room … you’ll know it’s done. There’s no way you can miss the magic moment.
Philippians chapter 4 the Apostle Paul’s gives his favorite recipe. He says: I’ve found the recipe for having joy, whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty.
Remember that Paul is in Prison when he say’s he’s found the RECIPE for JOY. The Philippian Christians had sent one of their members, Epaphroditis, with supplies to help Paul while he was chained in the Roman Prison. Paul wrote this letter to thank them for their prayers and help, and he tells them this: "I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for having joy, whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am." Philippians 4:12-13 (The Message)
Remember that Paul was in prison in Rome when he wrote this. But he told his friends in Philippi, "I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess …" Philippians 4:10
The secret to joy is a simple 3-step recipe.
First you need to empty your mind of worry…
1. Empty your mind of worry
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
The things we worry about have no existence outside of our own imagination. In fact, worry is imagining your future without any faith.
It can be like a virus that saps your strength and energy for getting through the day. As Christians, we don’t have to live in fear of the future.
But notice that Paul doesn’t just advise us to stop worrying. Turn your worry into prayer – this means doing your imagining of the future WITH faith. Ozwald Chambers said this: "Trusting is based on confidence in God, whose ways I do not understand; if I did, there would be no need for trust.”
Faith doesn’t mean pretending that everything will always turn out the way you want it to. We know we live in a fallen world where bad things can and do happen. But we also know that God hears and answers our prayers. We can’t know what He will do, but we do know that
* He will never leave us.
* We know that nothing can separate us from His love.
* We know that He works all things for our good. (Rom.8:28)
* We know that He has overcome the world!
And He has promised that if you will empty out the worry and pour in the prayer, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (vs.7)
We live in this world, but when we were born again, we started a simultaneous life in the Kingdom of God. Nothing that happens in our earthly lives needs to worry us. I like the story told about a Christian Professor named Howard Hendricks. He asked one of his students how he was doing and the student groaned and said, “I’m doing pretty well, I guess … under the circumstances.” Howard Hendricks demanded, “Well, what are you doing under there?” Being a Christian means you never have to live UNDER the circumstances of your life.
My wife works in a Middle School. The job can be … let’s say challenging … sometimes. But she got tired of complaining whenever people asked how school was going. (Maybe that scripture in Philippians 2 had something to do with it: Do everything without complaining or arguing.) Anyway, when people would ask how school was going, she started answering, “I’m not an undergoer, I’m an overcomer. I rise above!”