The Context of the Life of Joseph

As we begin our series “The Life of Joseph: God’s Sovereignty in Our Suffering” from Genesis 37-50, I cannot emphasize how important it is for us to understand the context in which Joseph’s life takes place. Certainly, we must pay attention to both the historical context of Genesis and the relational/familial context of the generations of Abraham’s family. We also must not miss the covenantal context of God’s work to bring forth blessing to all the nations through Abraham’s seed. I appreciate the way that this video on the second half of Genesis from The Bible Project helps us grasp the context of all these aspects together.

What is the difference between joy and happiness?

As we launch into our series “Unshackled: Joy Beyond Circumstances” from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I want to encourage us to consider more deeply whether there is a difference between joy and happiness. There are a millions articles about the superficiality of happiness, but Scripture actually does reference happiness as an experience of life with God. That being said, our culture often simplifies happiness into a fleeting, emotional state that we are perpetually seeking without really finding it. Joy, on the other hand, involves a decision of the will to approach life in a certain way, with a certain mental state, regardless of circumstances. Scripturally, we see that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer in Christ (Galatians 5:22-23) and is from first to last a gift from God (Psalm 19:18; 21:6; 94:19; John 15:11Romans 14:17; 15:13; 1 John 1:4).

Here is a video excerpt from the Yale Center for Faith & Culture‘s consultation on the Theology of Joy wrestling with this very question: “What is the difference between joy and happiness?”

Psalm 134 by Robbie Seay Band

All throughout the Ascend series, I have been posting some musical renditions of the psalms we are preaching on each weekend. While I was Pastor of Collegiate Ministries at Elmbrook, I helped host an even with a number of national speakers and artists. One of those was a worship leader I didn’t know much about at the time named Robbie Seay. Well, I came to enjoy Robbie’s music quite a bit. Not too long ago, he put together a project on the psalms known appropriately as the Psalms LP.

Here is his arrangement of Psalm 134 from that project. Enjoy.

Bethlehem by Over the Rhine

Advent and Christmas always plunge me back into music and poetry, mostly, I believe, because the wonder and mystery of the incarnation cannot be expressed merely in the language of explanation and logic. Instead, this mystery stumbles beyond our words into the leaping artistry of words and melodies to help us enter into the deepest places of what the Apostle Paul described as “the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:4-5). 

Over the RhineThe other day, I was listening through the album Blood Oranges in the Snow by the Cincinnati duo Over the Rhine. This is the third Christmas album they assembled and it still catches my imagination. Here is a song entitled “Bethlehem” from that album.

 

They write this about the song:Read More »