Let us pray our favorite prayer, our Novena to God’s Love:
Father in Heaven, thank You for every person here— whether virtual or actual… I pray that the word that You’re going to speak today will jump out from the pages of this Book and leap straight into the heart of Your children.
Speak, oh God. All of Your children are listening today, Your moment to shine— not mine, not any one of the preachers here onstage. But we are here to listen to You. So, bless us, in the mighty name of Jesus, we pray, and all of God’s people say, Amen.
Jesus Wants To Give You Overflowing Joy!
Our passage is from John 15: 10-12:
Let me just say this:
There is one word that is not allowed to be said in our home— my home. One word that cannot be spoken in every room and in any corner in my house is the word boring. Let me explain. We taught our son Ethan— he’s now four years old— never to say the word boring.
When he was two years old, my wife and I made this conscious decision that we were not allowed to say boring in Ethan’s presence— or even any time at home. It was not allowed.
Why? Because we noticed that some children, whenever they’re not doing anything, the first words that come out of their mouth are “I’m bored.”
How many parents can relate? Raise your hands.
And so, we said to Ethan: “If you hear the word boring, the first thing you’ll say, “That’s a bad word.”
Bad Word, Good Word
But you know what? I realized something—that a lot of us, you know, we think boring is not good. But I come from an age and a time when my generation— I know who you are if you snicker and you raise your hand, and you say “Amen.” We come from a time and age, and place, where you are not allowed to say boring. Otherwise, you will get screamed at by your parents. You remember that?
During my time, there was no Internet, no WI-FI. But there were so many activities that you could do. You could have a snack. You could take a nap. You could play a musical instrument. You could study ballet— or for the boys, karate. During my time, that was the thing: karate.
One of my fondest memories is what we did when I was growing up, when we had brownouts. How many of you can relate to this? Raise your hands.
There was no electricity. No WI-FI. No Internet. That meant we could bring out the candles and then we could play shadow figures on the wall, and we could do it for hours.
Today, we have a distracted generation, infected by a virus. What is the carrier of this virus? The dopamine dispenser that you call your phone, that you call your gadget. That you call your TV. That you call Netflix.
These are not bad. But here’s the problem: They become bad for you when you feel this symptom— when you know you’re already addicted to these distractions.
You are already addicted the moment you lose the ability to be present— to be present to people, to be present to your purpose, to be present to a higher self, and ultimately, to be present to God. That’s when you know that there is a problem with you.
Let me say this again: Boring is not a bad word. Especially if your boredom will let you disengage from the noise of the world— from the noise of everything around you— and instead let you re-engage with the voice of the Lord.
You see, here’s the truth, my friend— here’s what I really believe: Boredom can lead to potential portals for prayer to happen. Instead of reaching for your gadget when you get bored, reach for the hand of God. Sit with Him. Have a dialogue with Him.
Back in the day, you know, during the time of Jesus, when life got busier and demanding, you know what happened? Jesus withdrew to His quiet place.
But you know, sadly today, the opposite is true. That the busier you become, the more demanding life gets, you withdraw from your quiet place.
God becomes the last option.
You don’t sit with God anymore.
What if Year 2022 is the year that you actually sit with Him again?
Let me ask you this: How many of you want to find joy in 2022? Come on, raise your hands.
You know, if you’re raising your hand right now, it simply means one thing: that you have not found lasting joy. What do I mean by that? If you found lasting joy, you wouldn’t be raising your hand right now. You might had found joy in 2018 but a little bit of heartbreak and little bit of hopelessness made you lose it in 2019. And then you might had found joy again in 2020 but a little bit of sickness, a little bit of trials and tribulations made you lose it again.
What is my point here?
I know what I am talking about. I had experienced this. I thought that buying new stuff would give me joy, but you know what I found out? I found out that once the stuff got old, joy also got old. And so, I needed to buy new stuff to get new joy.
I thought that gaining a thousand likes for my Facebook post would give me the joy that I needed— until I gained those 1,000 likes and I realized that joy got old. Some here may have been living a life you don’t know if it’s real— because you live in a digital world. And so, the moment somebody bashes you, somebody trashes you online, you feel like your life is ruined— not realizing that you’re getting lost in a world that might not even be real.
Jesus says in Matthew 8:20: “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head on.”
You know what that’s saying? Jesus knew that this was not His home. It was just temporary place.
We, too, are not of this world. You’re not of this world. This is not your home. The place that you’re going to after this life, that’s your home. You are a Kingdom child. You’re from the Kingdom of God. You really are. Jesus says this.
Let’s go to the reading.
Yes, your joy will overflow. Everybody say, My joy.
My joy. My joy. My joy.
Here’s the good news, my friends: Jesus wants to give you His joy.
Is that good news for you? Jesus wants to give you His joy. Why don’t you clap your hands for the joy of Jesus— if you’re ready to really receive the joy of Jesus.
What kind of joy is this? It’s an overflowing joy.
How do you know if you already have the joy of Jesus within you?
First, it’s permanent. This is the kind of joy that doesn’t just last for one season, but it comes with you. It remains with you in every season of your life. Whether good or bad, whether winter, spring, summer, or fall. The joy comes with you.
Second way, it’s pervasive. It’s the joy that just doesn’t stick with you but it’s a joy for everybody else. See, that’s what Jesus wants. Jesus wants to bless you with joy so that you can infect other people with joy too. Jesus wants to bless generations that would come after you. He wants to bless your children and your children’s children with joy.
How many of you want that kind of joy? Come on, make God see that you want that joy— because that’s the kind of joy that will never run out. Even if things and people leave you, the joy will never run out. It’s a joy that will not dry. It’s a joy that will never be depleted, never, never drain. It never, never ends.
What if the year 2022 again, my dear friends, is the year that you really sit down and remain in the love of God? I promise you, you will experience the joy like no other. Only the joy of Jesus will be able to sustain you in this world.
Can we give Him clap offering? Hallelujah!
I am now going to pray for you: Lord, we want to receive the blessing that you just want to bestow on us. And so, we open our heart to receive that blessing. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Now, I know there are some strange people who want to be unhappy. Have you met them? Yeah, there are. I don’t know why but there are people who want to be unhappy.
Now, the problem with that is this: If you make it your goal to be unhappy and then you actually become unhappy, does that mean that you will be happy because you reached your goal?
Before you get a migraine, I want to shift to my second question:
Yes, I also believe that God is happy. Joy is His idea. He invented joy and so, yeah, I believe God is happy.
Look at somebody beside you and look at how wonderful that person is.
I know that person has a mask on. But does that person give you an idea that God was so happy when He made that person?
By the way, I’m an artist, in a sense. I’m not a painter, but when I craft my essay, when I write, I’m an artist. And I have a smile on my face when I’m writing. And I say, “Oh, this is so good. Oh, gosh, this is so good.”
You know, God is an artist. When He was creating you, He had a smile on His face.
This is what I believe: I believe Christianity is a religion of joy.
A Carmelite nun in the 16th century, Saint Teresa of Avila, said: Of course, she said that in jest. Yet behind the laughter and behind the chuckles, there is truth in what she’s speaking about.
Pope Francis said this in the same vein:
He said true joy is contagious…
You know, who is this God whom St. Teresa of Avila followed? Who is this God that Pope Francis follows?
Audee was talking about boring. I remember this conversation I had with this 13-year-old very cool dude with shades and BTS hairstyle and he told me that he didn’t want to go to church. I asked why?
He said, “It’s boring.”
And so, I asked him, “Do you have a crush?” He said, “Many.”
I asked him, “Is it like with levels? Crush No. 1, Crush No. 3, Crush No. 8, and Crush No. 27.
He smiled, and said, “Yeah, I guess so.”
So, I asked him, “If you are with Crush No. 1 beside you, are you bored?” He shook his head and said, “Of course not.”
Then I said, “May I have your full attention? When you’re in church you may be bored but God is not– because He really, really likes you.”
I want to say that everyone who’s here is God’s joy. That’s our reading.
Jesus is saying, “Love one another as I have loved you. I say this because I want you to have my joy.”
And what is God’s joy?
You are God’s joy.
The moment He thought of you– you were not yet born, you were not yet created– you were already His joy.
And then when He was creating you, He had a smile on His face.
Christianity for a lot of people is a set of regulations and a bunch of rituals. But I am here to tell you, Christianity is a relationship. And it’s first of all a relationship between God and you. And then it’s a relationship with you and the other person.
And so, Jesus is telling you, “I want you to have My joy. And the way to do it is this: Love one another as I have loved you.”
I have goals. I have lots. I wrote them for 2022.
How many of you want to just shave off a few pounds in 2022? How many of you want
to increase your income in 2022 by 20 %, 30%, 50%?
We’ve got goals. I’ve got goals. We’ve all got goals and it’s good. But you should have one primary goal.
You should have No.1 goal. You should have a purpose in 2022. Your greatest and most intense prayer for 2022 is not just about your health. It’s not just about your money. It’s not just about this or that thing.
I pray that your No. 1 prayer is this: That you will love the way Jesus loves. Because that’s how you get God’s joy. And I know it’s difficult. I was thinking, you know, the message today has to be very simple because, you know, there might be a lot of distractions
“Love one another as I have loved you.” That’s what Jesus says. “You want My joy? You do that. You love. You love the people around you.”
Do you have a family member beside you or a good friend? Can you turn to that person and tell that person, “I’m supposed to love you the way God loves me.”
That’s a tall order. OMG, can you do that?
May I be honest with you? I’ve been trying to do that for 40 years as a Christian. I’ve failed so many times. I’m selfish. I’m self-centered. I’m proud. I think of myself before I think of other people.
And then, you know, Jesus says, “Love one another…”
As I was praying this morning. As I was praying yesterday. As I was praying the other day, Jesus kept repeating Himself–He was telling me the same thing.
He was telling me, “Bo, you’ve gotta love the way I love.” I said, “Oh, so difficult.”
But then I’m so happy that this verse – John 15:12– that we just read, comes from John Chapter 15 where we read the famous analogy of Jesus, the most memorable one, where He says, “I am the vine and you are the branches.”
And so, that’s the secret. He tells you the secret. If you cut the branch from the vine, it’s dead. If you cut the vine, it bears no fruit. You cannot love the way God loves. It’s impossible.
Look at somebody– that person to whom you said, “I’m supposed to love you.” Tell that person “I can’t do it. I’m sorry, I can’t.”
But you see, you’re just the branch. There’s Someone else who is the Vine
I have this camera. Small, right?
But I use this camera for making my inspirational podcast Full Tank, letter Soulfood, and seminars. I give online seminars often and they last the whole day.
Now you might say, “Brother Bo, it looks funny.” Yeah, it looks funny. It really does. What’s so funny?
Well, this wire. Cameras don’t have wires but mine has. You see, I removed the battery. Why? Well, batteries last only for an hour, sometimes two hours. But my seminars go on for a whole day. So, what I did was I put an adaptor, put a wire, so that I can plug it into a source of power. Plug in. This is what you need to do.
Now, with a camera, that’s like this, I’ve got advantages and disadvantages. The advantage? I will never run out of power—as long as I’m plugged in.
Do you know what’s the disadvantage? It’s cumbersome. It’s inconvenient. It’s useless if it’s not plugged. I could press a button here. And you will see the lens come out. It’s really nifty. It’s nice. I can’t do that because it’s useless– if it’s not plugged. I can’t go anywhere and use this. You know if there’s battery you can go out and you can take pictures far away. Am I making sense?
It’s bad news for the camera– if there is a wire and a plug that you need to put into the source of power. But it’s perfect for my life.
Because I’ve got news for you. I have no plans of separating myself even one second from the source of power. The source of my joy. And the source of my love. I have no plans any single day in 2022 that I will unplug myself from Jesus. No plans. I want to always be plugged into Jesus in 2022. That’s my plan. I don’t know about you, I’m okay with inconvenient. I’m okay with cumbersome. I’m okay that I will part from doing anything apart from Jesus. I’m okay that I will always have this wire that connects me with Jesus.
I’m telling you about this wire. You know what? This wire symbolizes God’s love for me. God wants me, desires me, pines for me, longs for me.
God desires you and you are His joy. That’s your wire. But your wire also symbolizes your response to that love. Will you love Him?
In 2022 will you say, “I’m going to be plugged into Jesus. And I know it’s inconvenient. And I know burdensome. It’s okay.”
Are there days when you run out of power? Are there days when you run out of joy? Are there days when you run out of love? And you’re supposed to love the way God loves you but unforgiveness comes into your heart? Selfishness comes to your heart?
That’s what happens to me. And whenever I’m running out of power, I close my eyes and I reach out to God and I plug in.
And I say, “Jesus, I want to obey you. I want to follow you. I want your love to overflow my heart.” Now, I want to lead you in a prayer. For some of you, it might be the first time you’re going to pray this prayer– to actually give yourself to Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior.
For most of us, you’ve been praying this prayer a thousand times already. I want you to forget that you had prayed this prayer a thousand times already. I want you to pray this prayer as though it’s your very first time to do it. What better way to do it– what better time but the start of the year.
To actually say, “Jesus I’m plugging in.
And I’m never going to plug out. I will always be connected to you.’
Are you ready?
May I invite you to lift up your hands as a symbol that you are opening your life to this God who is crazy about you?
And just say this prayer:
In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy spirit. Amen.
Jesus, I receive Your love. I receive Your eternal love. I receive Your infinite love. Teach me to love the way you love. Help me. I want to have Your joy in 2022 and for the rest of my life.
And so, come into my heart. Be my King. Be my Lord.
Be my Savior. Forgive me for all my sins. I receive Your mercy. I receive You.
And I receive new life in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Give the Lord a big hand,