Did you know the God longs to bless you? He takes delight in prospering His people (Dt. 30:9). God doesn't dish out his blessings begrudgingly or miserly. He's not penny-pinching with his blessings. Moreover, He isn't just waiting for us to come and beg for blessings. He is eagerly and enthusiastically pursuing us to shower us with His blessings. This, in fact, is the literal translation of Psalm 23:6, "Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life." God is incredibly generous with his blessings. "Well, where are these blessings?" Many of us miss God's blessings, because we misunderstand true blessings.
This Sunday, we are excited to have Pastor Ivey Rhodes, Lead Pastor of Mosaic Boston Jamaica Plain, bring a powerful word from God about living a lifestyle of worship. We love Pastor Ivey and his family, and we're praying for the Holy Spirit to continue working powerfully through him and Mosaic JP to reach the tens of thousands of people living in JP without salvific knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we are meeting tomorrow, along with worshiping our great God together, and gathering with His saints, we'll open the Holy Scriptures to meditate on the Spiritual Rhythm of Community. When Scripture talks about community, it doesn't talk about a social club of peers or a Meetup interest group. Godly community is Gospel-centered community on Mission with God, for His glory! The early church committed (devoted) itself to gathering together corporately, and in small groups in homes for studying the Scriptures, prayer, and fellowship.
One of my absolute favorite Scripture passages is when Jesus and his disciples get "caught" in a storm. As the ferocious winds tossed them mercilessly to and fro, and water started filling the small boat, the disciples are freaking out. And what was Jesus doing? Taking a nap. (?!) They frantically wake him with pleas: "We're perishing" and "Don't you care?" Jesus, probably still a little groggy and somewhat annoyed that they disturbed his pleasant nap, gets up and calms the storm. The Gospel writers don't say what came next, other than the disciples being dumbstruck by what just happened, but I bet Jesus went straight back to sleep, because sometimes, the most spiritual thing we can do is take a nap.
Within a 10 minute walk radius from where I live, here's some of the food I have access to: Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Thai, 2 Mexican restaurants, 2 burger joints, a burrito place (often frequented by members of Mosaic), a Jewish bakery, a Jewish deli, a Jewish butchery, a French place, 2 Korean restaurants, a Russian market, 5 pizzas places, 3 Sushi places, 3 sandwich shops, a steak house, not to mention the 3 bars, 4 coffee shops, oh, and 3 grocery stores. I'm sure that list isn't exhaustive, just mentioned all the places I've been to. Food is all around us. If I can't walk there, Uber Eats comes through every time.
Have you heard of the term "Circadian Rhythms"? The idea behind the circadian rhythms is that we're designed to have 24-hour rhythms in our physiology and metabolism. This innate 24-hour cycle tells your body when to wake up, when to eat, and when to fall asleep. Studies show that chronically disrupting this rhythm could be a recipe for all kinds of health problems. A growing body of research suggests that our bodies function optimally when we align ourselves with our circadian rhythms.
The word peace in the Hebrew Scriptures is the word "Shalom." Shalom means infinitely more than just the absence of conflict. Shalom means "wholeness" or "completion." Shalom includes perfect justice. Shalom is the way things should be--the way everything should be. When Shalom reigns, you and I become the way we ought to be, the way we were created to be. Every single one of us knows we are not currently the best versions of ourselves, somehow incomplete. Wherever did we get the idea that we are meant to be better, more whole? Wherever did we get the idea that the world, as it now is, is not as it ought to be? Yet, the idea is indelibly imbedded on our hearts.
We all know this thing called joy exists. We're all actively or passively, consciously or subconsciously, seeking it. Not just pleasure, when it feels good. Not just happiness, when things are good. But joy, a transcendent bliss. No matter what, your mind is at peace and your heart is full. We've all experienced those glimmers of transcendent joy; the problem is, they fade. Thus, what we're really longing for isn't just joy, but an everlasting joy. This is actually how Scripture defines true joy -- everlasting. If it isn't everlasting, it isn't joy, but just a higher level of happiness.
What's your favorite thing about the Christmas season? Is it the sounds of tinkling bells or the scent of spices and Christmas trees? The Christmas music on the radio? Is it all the sales? Or perhaps it's the free pass to eat all the sugar ever? (diets starts January 1st). Is it the memories that are conjured up or the new ones made?
The season of Advent, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, is here. It’s a wonderful time when Christians reflect especially on the coming of Christ to earth and look forward to his return. If you’re looking for resources as you meditate on the meaning of the season, we have recommendations for the whole family.