A Pastor's Heartbeat


Being a resident of Joy City is as the Apostle Paul says, “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as having nothing yet possessing all things.” You see God’s purposes are bigger than our own lives or our own communities. Now I know we don’t like to hear that, but we know God cares, matter of fact He cares so deeply He sent Jesus to the cross. I mean Christ is called the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. It is through that level of love that He is able to draw us so close in order to comfort and strengthen us.

In Joy City, it’s about FAITH – even in adversity or with scarcity of resources, we can pursue God with daily communion and in His presence is a fullness of JOY.

Friends, true Christian worship is a MYSTERY, yes, a MYSTERY! I say that because when we give our lives completely over to the King, our worship does not rise and fall on our circumstances or situations or even our humanistic inclination or instinct. NO, not at all, the focus remains on God and who He is.

Now I get it and I am growing every day as many of you are. But, we can get so caught up in what I call “Santa Claus” Christians. A what…ha ha ha, yes a Santa Claus Christian eagerly looks for God to put up a Christmas tree with all their gifts under it. Now, that Christian is grateful and praise Him for that, that is right and proper to be thankful for all God does for us and all the good; large and small, that He gives us. However beloved, that is the lower level or first floor kind of love God requires us to grow out of.

We are instructed to worship God, but we will skip that to worship a man or a woman, a job or that money. Many worship celebrities, I mean look at how many reality shows glamorize bad behavior of the rich, famous and aimless – even a sporting event. I can’t worship God right now the GAME is coming on. I mean we will scream, shout and jump up and down, clap our hands and if it’s a concert, even sing along-not one bit concerned with who is around us or what others think of us.

But lift my hands, open my mouth and say hallelujah, I don’t dare clap or bow my knees. NO, I just couldn’t do that!

I mean I tried this past Sunday, but I cannot even adequately articulate the glory of the God we are called to worship. I mean if I could explain these thousands of attributes and His dwelling in an unapproachable light – then we may be humbled. I mean we just aren’t as humble as we ought to be, and to me, this is why we fall short outside the gates of Joy City.

The prophets who did not have an easy life at all or even Job who says naked I came into the world and naked I shall depart, the Lord gives and the Lord has taken away, I’m still going to bless His name. But his wife, like many of us, sees the good things gone, her kids gone, their livelihood gone and her husband covered in boils – curse God and die. Cause God can’t still be good can he? That’s a question you my friends have to answer. The prophets describe Him as radiantly beautiful, that he is fair and royal, gracious and majestic, true and righteous, loving and romantic. Human language was exhausted in trying to describe Him. So after awhile, even the prophets gave up on trying to describe Him.

So when God opens our eyes in Joy City we can clearly celebrate others for our differences, we can support one another in our efforts and we can cheer one another on in the spirit of unity and when One wins we all win.

No one can come face to face with what God is like and ever be the same. Welcome to Joy City. Seeing His true image, touches the depths of our soul and beholding His glory will renew our minds, transform us and give us strength to live this life for Him. Come on in, where the table is spread and the feast of the Lord is going on. I want to invite you to be a part, a resident of Joy City. A place where the Body becomes stronger and our love for others only increases.

I’ve enjoyed being your host and you can comment below, or email me at pastorstuart@lifeconnection4christ.org or call me at (209) 522-3583.