Pastor Bob Norton
The OVERFLOWING LIFE
Life is better with Christ! The Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world shouts this good news from the housetops! We live it day by day and the world is hungry for a life that overflows. Let your witness for the living Christ touch the lives of spiritually hungry people every day of our lives. Truly, Jesus is our joy! This is a truth that deserves to be told and lived to the glory of the living God.
In David’s shepherd Psalm (Ps 23) he affirms “my cup overflows” for “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.” Nehemiah restored the protective walls of Jerusalem building the walls under great duress, but all the while affirming to the people “for the joy of the Lord is your strength” and “they celebrated with great joy.” (Nehemiah 8:10, 12, 17) The prophet Habakkuk pondered the danger and ravage of an invading foe and then proclaimed “yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Hab 3:16-18) The Psalmist calls the people of God to worship with “Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs” (Psalm 100:1-2). Out of a life of worship comes this overflowing life.
Jesus was the Man of Joy. In the Upper Room he prepared his disciples for life in a hostile world. He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5) and “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (15:11) He also said, “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (John 16:20). Those who follow Jesus will know his joy, his overflowing life.
Saul of Tarsus encountered the risen, reigning Christ on the road to Damascus and became the Apostle Paul. Paul knew Jesus as his joy. The sovereign Lord used Paul to plant the church in Philippi (Acts 16:11-40). They led Lydia, a wealthy business woman, to faith in Jesus Christ and the fledgling church started meeting in her home. They delivered a slave girl from a spirit of fortune-telling and divination. Her owners threw Paul and Silas in jail in retaliation. Did Paul and Silas mope about their misfortune? No. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…” God delivered them from prison and they ended up leading the Philippian jailer and his family to faith in Jesus Christ. The church in Philippi was established by ordinary people who became extraordinary living overflowing lives by the grace and power of God.
In August and September Church of the Resurrection will be discovering the overflowing life as we study together Paul’s Letter to the Church at Philippi, known as “The Epistle of Joy”. Paul wrote this marvelous letter to his dear friends in Philippi as an encouragement to their faith. He wrote it on death row in a prison in Rome, but note that in four short chapters he mentions “joy” or “rejoicing” sixteen times. Truly, Paul had discovered the secret of living the overflowing life. We can too. Invite your spiritually-hungry friends and neighbors to journey with us. Our cups will overflow!