Sermon Series “Choose Joy”

Four week series traveling the joy-lined cobble stoned streets of Philippians.

Video MessageResources
Week 1:
Joy Under Arrest
Monday Memo notes

Working on Joy This Week
We’re not going to share a lot of online articles or videos during the first 3 weeks of this series on joy, and instead will focus on hands-on personal work you can do. (The online resources will come after the final sermon in the series.) 
a) Spend four weeks with the remarkable four chapter letter we call Philippians. You could do this one or two ways: read the entire four chapter letter at least once a week during the series, or read one chapter a week.  Phil 1-4 NRSVA
b) Intrigued by the riveting story of the last few years of the apostle Paul’s life? You can read it for yourself – and you can skip the long sermons/speeches if you want. Acts 20-28  
c) One online devotional this week – this one on the centrality of joy, it’s what Jesus was trying to do for His disciples…and us: For Joy – United Church of Christ
d) Do a little joy work this week, developing on your own some of what you heard in the sermon: 
– Do what’s called a “joy inventory,” make a list of everything in your life that brings you joy right now. (This makes for a great, positive spiritual habit to do every so often, by the way.) 
– Fill in the blank: Joy looks like ___________ for me. See what your definition of joy is, because it won’t be identical to everyone else’s.
– Reflect on what your family of origin or upbringing taught you about joy, good or bad, and how that might be influencing your experience of joy now. 
– Do a little journaling or talk with a trusted friend about your own emotional elasticity: how high are your highs, how low are your lows, and do you feel muted in your emotional life? 
 e) Pray to grow in your experience and practice of joy over the next four weeks. You can use John 16.24 to shape your prayer, if you like (it’s the verse Pastor Chris used at the end of the sermon): “Jesus continued, ‘Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.'”
Week 2:
Joy and What Matters Most

Monday Memo notes

For the Week
– Keep up your reading through Philippians, either doing all four chapters each week or just one chapter per week: Phil 1-4 NRSVA
– Want to read the full story of Paul and Silas being called to minister in Europe, and their persecution and imprisonment in Macedonia? Check out Acts 16 – Acts 16 NRSVA
– Spend some time journaling about the connection of what matters most in your life and joy. How have you seen that be true? Perhaps even reflect on how self-giving/sacrifice has been a source of joy in the past? 
– Make a list like Paul’s in Phil. 3.4-6: What are your identity groups?; Who is family of origin?; What’s your privilege?; What’s your religious background, zeal, study, and training?; What are your worst failures?; What’s your sense of your moral goodness and attentiveness? Once you’ve made your list, reread Phil. 3.7-11, maybe even rewrite those verses in your own words, and remind yourself that Jesus trumps everything on your list. 
– A great devotional on joy as “the intersection of deep pleasure and deep meaning,” which syncs up with the idea that joy is attached to what matters most to us: Joy is the Intersection of Pleasure and Meaning
– Another great devotional article on the connection between self-sacrifice, love, and joy: “Finding Joy in Sacrifice”
– Try it out…Find a way to sacrifice for the sake of someone else this week, or give of yourself to someone else, but before you do, ask for it to spawn joy both in you and the recipient. 
Week 3:
My Joy and Crown
Monday Memo notes

This Week
– Want to check out all the instances in Philippians where joy is directly tied to other people? What might you glean from these passages? Check out Phil. 1.4, 1.25, 2.2, 2.17-18, 2.28-29, 4.1, and 4.10: Phil 1-4 NRSVA
– Interested in Epaphroditus? You can read his story here – Phil 2.19-30 NRSVA  and Philippians 2:25–30
– Put both Phil. 4.1 and 2.18-29 into practice this week: 
1) be purposeful to give others the gift of your uplifting, heartfelt, demonstrative language…take the risk, and how both you and the hearer are positively affected.
2) be intentional to celebrate someone this week, take time to honor them with joy. 
– A devotional about one church’s simple, beautiful embodiment of joy together: This Joy! – United Church of Christ
– A short summary of the research on contagious emotions: Emotions are contagious: Learn what science and research has to say about it
– In order to talk as affirmingly as Paul in Philippians, we need to learn how to express our feelings in general…these two articles are full of pointers about how to do that better: How to Express Your Feelings: 7 Tips and  How to Express Your Feelings: Tips and Benefits
Week 4:
Your Joy Plan
Monday Memo notes

Your Joy Plan This Week
By way of reminder, we’ll send you a bunch of joy-related resources on Thursday so you can keep exploring and learning as you like. 
For today, we’d suggest spending some time this week working on your own personal joy plan: 
– What from the four weeks of the series do you want to remember and act on? 
– How can you pay more attention to “the butterflies” in your life (that is, small, daily, unexpected, or unowed joy)? 
– Spend some time with Dr. Pamela King’s list of the key ingredients of a joyful life (see point 2 in the sermon summary above) and figure out how you can prioritize or improve each in your own life going forward. 
– Use Philippians 4.8 as a focus for your reflection, journaling, and prayer for the immediate future: teach your eyes to find those pure, just, true, commendable, etc. things that you encounter each day: Phil 4.8 NRSVA 
– Spend the week asking God for how you can live more joyfully, and then pay attention for what God might say in reply. You can also have a conversation about being more joyful with a good friend, your significant other, or even your small group. 

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