Pastor Shane Ham : The Choices that Create Joy

Joyous · 48:09 · Recorded December 16, 2018

The Choices That Create Joy!

John 15:11 (NCV) I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.

Luke 2:10 (YLT) …I bring you good news of great joy, that shall be to all the people.


External circumstances
Is temporary
Based on what happens


Internal character
Is long-lasting
Based on my choice

1 Peter 1:8 (NIV) You believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

John 16:22 (NJB) Your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you.

Three challenges to joy:

1st challenge: Anxiety

When Mary was afraid, she chose to trust

God and accept his plan.

Luke 1:26-38, 46-47 (VOICE) 26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, in Nazareth, a city in the rural province of Galilee, the heavenly messenger Gabriel made another appearance. This time the messenger was sent by God 27to meet with a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David himself. 28The messenger entered her home and said, “Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! [Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.]” 29The heavenly messenger’s words baffled Mary, and she wondered what type of greeting this was. The messenger said, 30“Mary, don’t be afraid. You have found favor with God. 31Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him ‘Savior,’ or Jesus. 32Jesus will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God. God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, 33and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever.” 34Mary said, “But I have never been with a man. How can this be possible?” 35“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” said the messenger. “The Most High will overshadow you. That’s why this holy child will be known, as not just your son, but also as the Son of God. 36It sounds impossible but listen—you know your relative Elizabeth has been unable to bear children and is now far too old to be a mother. Yet she has become pregnant, as God willed it. Yes, in three months, she will have a son. 37So the impossible is possible with God”. 38Mary said, “Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.” Then the angel left her…46And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

2nd challenge: Resentment

When Joseph was hurt, he chose to offer grace and let it go.

Matthew 1:18-21 (VOICE) This is the story of the birth of Jesus the Anointed. Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, son of David. They hadn’t married. And yet, some time well before their wedding date, Mary learned that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, because he was kind and upstanding and honorable, wanted to spare Mary shame. He did not wish to cause her more embarrassment than necessary. Now when Joseph had decided, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream and said “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else—rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonderworking of the Holy Spirit. She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus, which means ‘the Lord saves,’ because this Jesus is the person who will save all of His people from sin.”

Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV) “…The joy of the LORD is your strength.”

3rd challenge: Confusion

When the wise men were confused, they

chose to follow God’s light one step at a time.

Matthew 2:1-3 (VOICE) Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, in the province of Judea, at the time when King Herod reigned. Not long after Jesus was born, magi, wise men or seers from the East, made their way from the East to Jerusalem. These wise men made inquiries. “Where is this newborn, who is the King of the Jews? When we were far away in the East we saw His star, and we have followed its glisten and gleam all this way to worship Him.” King Herod began to hear rumors of the wise men’s quest, and he, and all of his followers in Jerusalem, were worried.

Matthew 2:8-11 (VOICE) Then Herod sent them to Bethlehem. He said, “As soon as you know where He is, report it to me so that I may go and worship Him.” The wise men left Herod’s chambers and went on their way. The star they had first seen in the East reappeared—a miracle that, of course, overjoyed and enraptured the wise men. The star led them to the house where Jesus lay; and as soon as the wise men arrived, they saw Him with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. They unpacked their satchels and gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Psalm 51:12 (NIV) Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

How do you think Mary felt about giving birth to the Messiah? 1) scared, (2) honored, (3) burdened, (4) overjoyed, (5) lonely, or (6) clueless. How do you think you would feel?

If an angel showed up at your door today to reveal God’s plan for your life, would you be able to trust God? Why or why not?

Imagine being Joseph. What would be the first thing to come to your mind? a) There must be some other guy. b) That’s it, we’re through! c) She’s never lied to me before—maybe she’s telling the truth. or d) Surely God must know what he’s doing.

What has God’s grace meant to you in your life?

Notice the responses of the Magi upon seeing Jesus. How is it similar or different to the way you respond to Jesus?

Of the three ‘challenges’ to joy, which one is the most challenging for your life? How about in this season?

After hearing this message, what challenges stand in the way of your joy? What should you do about it? How can your group pray for or help you with this?

  • Joy To The World

  • Tremble

  • What A Beautiful Name/Agnus Dei medley

  • O Come All Ye Faithful

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