“Celebrate the Wow” Philippians 4:4-9

Celebrate God all day, every day, I mean revel in him!”

Philippians 4:4 (The Message)

 

We have been given permission to celebrate!  No matter the challenges, no matter the weather, no matter the season, celebrate God’s presence.  What if we put the “wow of God” into our journey, or how about making every journey an adventure that opens our eyes to God’s presence and God’s blessings we have received in abundance? There are days when celebration is tough, either because we have done something stupid or life just takes an unexpected turn. When we turn our attention to the grace of God through our praise and prayers, even our darkest day becomes brighter. Look around and see what God has given you and realize God’s blessings never stop coming. It is by faith that our weary eyes become bright again, seeing and celebrating new beginnings along the way.  God, through Jesus the Christ is reaching out to you, whoever you are whether your life is going along just fine or if you are tired and drained, wounded, marginalized, frustrated, anxious or just sad about life in general. There is always a “wow” to celebrate if your eyes are open to the reality of God’s eternal love for you.  God will never stop loving you and sees you, especially you, as an amazing person with incredible gifts. Celebrate God through your love of God and neighbor. Set in motion a new way of looking at life, celebrating the “best, not the worst; things to praise, not things to curse.” This faith we share does not happen in a vacuum, nor does it just happen; it needs to be lived and celebrated in every relationship we have and especially in our relationship with God. Never stop praising, never stop celebrating, never stop praying, never stop seeing the amazing grace of God at work all around you and inside of you. You are incredibly blessed, as you are a blessing. Wow, God is good, really, really good. Thank you Jesus.

Rev. Tom Joyce, pastor

Fields United Methodist Church

 



Casting Light on Christmas John 1:1-5,14

 
“What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”       John 1:4
 
Christmas is a time of profound traditions, family and friend gatherings, shopping, and cookies. It is a time of great joy and for some a time of loneliness. As we begin to wind down our preparations, it is a good time to step back and see Christmas for what it is; a piece of the big picture of our salvation, which is the light available to all people. The wonder of Christmas is in the big story that includes the cross and empty tomb of Jesus. The birth of Jesus affirms that the grace of God enters our lives and gives light where we live, where we breathe, where we doubt, laugh and cry. God enters our lives when our hearts ache from loss and life’s disappointments. The gift of Christmas rises above our traditions and preparations; it is bigger than we could ever imagine or describe. Christmas is knowing that we matter to God and God will find us whether we want to be found or not; finding us in our ordinary everyday lives. God Comes to the lonely, the hurting, the indifferent and the marginalized offering hope and the joy of knowing God loves especially those who feel unloved or misunderstood. The light, Jesus, sheds light on even our darkest days. Bottom line is you matter to God, no matter who you are or who others think you are. Christmas is part of the biggest and most wondrous love story that the world has ever witnessed. The birth of Jesus, the Christmas celebration, is the supreme gift that we proclaim, “bringing good news of a great joy for all the people…” and that includes you, especially you. Merry and Blessed Christmas.
Rev. Tom Joyce, pastor


“Why Do Bad Things Happen?”

  “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all the other Galileans?” Luke 13:2   So God, why do bad things happen if you are supposed to love us?  There are times when we just have to ask God why things happen as they do, especially the bad stuff. Is tragedy payback time for all that we have done wrong?  Jesus offers a passionate “no” to the idea that God punishes through allowing bad things happen. Sometimes stuff just happens and since we are not God immunity from such things is not an option. There are times when the poor choices of others or our choices cause bad things to happen and many times things happen just due to the frailty of life. We are surrounded by examples of how fragile life can be and perhaps the greatest challenge, and witness of faith, is how we respond to those challenges. God is trustworthy and true; Jesus said, “I will be with you, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus did not qualify when he will be with you, just that he will be with you no matter where the road of life takes you. There are no guarantees in life other than the promise that Jesus made to you. God does not punish with tragedy but does lead us through those times, “through the valley of the shadow of death.”  God is with all those who seek God, no matter who they are since “your Father in Heaven makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” In other words, God’s love rises above how we perceive another and our opinions of just how sinful someone else may be. God’s grace is sufficient to lead us through difficult times; the gift of grace just needs to be accepted. Bad things happen to good people, bad things happened to bad people, bad things just seem to happen. God, through our Savior Jesus Christ, is with you in the midst of those “bad” things in life and all you need to do is trust in that fact. And maybe, just maybe God will use those times to draw you even closer to the eternal love that surrounds you, even in the worst of times; St. Paul writes, “that all things work together for good for those who love God.” (Romans 8:28) It may at times be hard to see in the midst of the battle, but by God’s grace you are not alone on the journey.  Thank you Jesus.