Like a Fine Meal… [It’s All For the Joy]

Hey guys, after a long Christmas season and my brother’s new years eve wedding, I can say that I am glad to be back at it. I hope everyone had an awesome time with family the past few weeks! If you haven’t read my latest, You’re a Millionaire… Go check it out and get caught up before reading this post!

As usual, I have some housekeeping stuff before we get started. If you guys haven’t seen on social media, Victory and Illuminate the Nations is hosting an event on Penn State’s campus called IGNITE. Close friends and the incredibly talented Allan Scott Band will be there playing a show, as well as the incredibly dynamic speaker, Jim Bucci will be bringing a word about chasing your dreams. It’s going to be an incredible night of encouragement and a really awesome way to kick off your new year. So if you haven’t heard about that, go check out my new events page on this website or the Facebook event page that we’ve put together for more details and we’d love to see you guys out on the 12th of January. We have a 500 person auditorium so we need all the help we can get filling it up, so bring everybody you know for an awesome night!

Also, not posted on my events page yet is an event that we’re hosting the 18th-20th of January. Retired FBI director and friend, Randy Cohick, is coming to present his findings on apologetics and scientific evidence for Christ. It’s gonna be an incredible 3 day journey, and if you have any questions about how faith and science collide then you won’t want to miss this! Seriously, it’s going to be incredible. We’ll be giving away some gift cards and even flat screen TV. Admission is free and all you have to do to be entered to win is show up. So stay tuned for more details about that and be sure to come on out!

So, lots of stuff going on these upcoming weeks, but lets get to the meat of why you guys are here. Hope you enjoy:

The Gospel of Love is like a fine meal. Have you ever had a really nice dinner that you just know is going to be amazing. How do you prepare for it? I know that if I’m waiting expectantly for an incredible meal, then I save myself for that meal all day. Let’s use Thanksgiving for example; I won’t eat all day on Thanksgiving because I want to be good and hungry when one of my favorite meals of the year rolls around. I know it’s not healthy, but a solid tactic nonetheless.

My point is, I’m expectant. I know what is coming and I prepare myself to receive what I am certain of.

Something else about an awesome meal is that you leave the table completely fulfilled. If you’re just full, then it probably wasn’t an incredible meal. It might be good, but I can get “full” at McDonald’s. That doesn’t make it the most amazing meal I’ve ever had. It just means that they have a dollar menu, some of you know what I’m talking about. If the meal is incredible, your stomach isn’t just full, you’re emotionally satisfied too. You enjoy it to the point that it’s memorable.

Me and my fiancé have this restaurant that we love, Kelly’s Steakhouse, because the food is so amazing and I remember every meal that I have ever had there. Lauren has even cried at how good the food is there. I don’t remember every time I go to the olive garden, but I remember every single time I’ve eaten at Kelly’s steakhouse because it’s incredible food. It’s fulfilling and it leaves a mark! I walk away fulfilled which separates an amazing meal from all of the other ones.

As children of God, we need to prepare ourselves and wait expectantly to receive God’s goodness. We need to hold out from fulfilling ourselves with other things in order to be able to receive as much as we possibly can when we encounter God in worship. And I use the word “worship” in reference to a lifestyle, not just what a lot of people do on Sunday mornings.

Here’s the takeaway of this whole analogy: we have to eat. We have to feed ourselves with something or else we die; our souls are no different. We absolutely have to feed ourselves spiritually and if we’re just filling ourselves with whatever we can to feel full but we’re not trying to be fulfuilled by our meal then chances are, we’re settling for a big mac when we could be eating filet mignon. If we’re not seaking to be completely fulfilled by what we’re eating then chances are, we’re fulfilling ourselves with something that doesn’t line up with the heart of God. Because the heart of God is for his children to be fulfilled in their relationship with him. John Piper says it this way, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied [or fulfilled] in him.” We were created to be satisfied and fulfilled by our relationship with God.

Now, think of that same meal from the perspective of the chef. If you’ve ever cooked somebody dinner, you’ll know what I’m talking about, hopefully. Before Christmas, I cooked my fiancé a really nice dinner. She’s been working so hard and she was feeling a little under the weather, missing home back in Milwaukee and I wanted to do something nice for her, so I cooked her a nice meal. Roasted chicken thighs with a basil pesto ranch sauce, steamed carrots and snap peas, bacon cheddar cauliflower; it was fantastic. I was so excited to cook for her and the anticipation of what her face would look like as she took the first bite was an image that I had in my head as I cooked the entire meal.

If you’re a professional chef, chances are some of the inspiration that got you into the industry is that you enjoy cooking for people and bringing joy to people through the art and experience of food.

When you look at things this way, you get an insight into the heart of God.

God gets so excited about us coming to the table and partaking of the meal; it’s what He created us for. We were created for God’s great pleasure and joy that explodes from His heart when we come to the table and eat with Him the meal that He’s prepared for us. The image of us taking that first bite in ecstasy is what God clings to while He tirelessly pursues us.

The scripture says that Jesus endured the cross because of the joy that was set before him. I’ll say it this way, Jesus had a vision of joy, the vision was the joy that would be experienced as we sat at the table. Jesus put in the work of preparation because of the vision of joy that would be experienced as we sat at the table and partook of the meal. Jesus endured the most painful situation ever, a situation that was completely within his power to deliver himself from, but he didn’t because of the joy of us partaking of the meal with him. It’s a simple analogy but it paints a good picture.

God is overjoyed by us partaking in the meal of living in communion with him. And as His children we are simultaneously completely fulfilled in that lifestyle as well. It’s a win win, there’s no negative. God doesn’t even know what a relationship looks like where somebody gets the short end of the stick. So:

-Come to the table expectant

-Leave fulfilled

-Know that it’s all for joy

Much love guys, hope to see you out on the 12th as well as the 18th-20th. Be sure to like share and comment!

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