Joy comes from within


Written by Fiona Monaghan But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. Galatians 5:22-23

Karl_BarthMany think of joy as a happy emotion. An emotion one feels when something really, really good happens. When in all actuality, it is a deep sense of well-being and contentment no matter what the circumstances are around you.

James uses joy in this verse … Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

Joy is something that comes from within, not subject to circumstances being all lined up in your favor and looking good on the outside.

Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.   - S.D. Gordon

As I came to understand what joy is and what it is not, it became much clearer to me that it isn’t a character trait we can formulate. It seems to flow out of other things. Gratitude (as mentioned above); gratefulness, knowing that this life as we know it is not all there is; that there is something better coming. It is putting our faith and trust in God no matter what may be happening in our lives whether good or bad. Knowing He is still in control and it will work out in the end, even if not how we expected it. Then, from that choice of behavior joy flows.

This week’s challenge: Do your own word study on JOY. See how many quotes and verses you can come up with and see if your understanding of the word will change.

How to be ready for anything


Written by Chelsea Zappone When Pastor Tim first asked me to write the blog post this week, I was a little thrown off. I am not a writer, I often struggle over finding my words, and more often than not I have at least one pesky typo hiding in my final drafts. But under that hesitance I found that I was also excited. I have really been enjoying the “5 things…” sermon series. I have been challenged and forced to reevaluate my spiritual health.


It is so easy to fall into bad habits and keep putting off addressing saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow. Surely I’ll have more time then.” However, I find myself never finding that time unless I purposefully set it aside.

That is why I am so thankful that God doesn’t wait for us to get our act straight. He works through the circumstances in our lives. The surprising opportunities, the scary uncertainties, the tough times, even the mundane routines. He is not limited by us.

The times I have found myself most open to God’s guidance is when I am in the valleys, when there is crisis, when I am no longer in control. I turn to him because I know he loves unconditionally, his is omnipresent and omnipotent. No one and nothing can make your problems seem smaller than God can.

Crisis can be like a fire in our life, it can burn away the impurities that have slowly snuck into our daily routines. Pastor Tim has often quoted, “there are no atheist in the foxhole.” A foxholes can take the form of hospital rooms, depths of depression, isolation and loneliness, desperate hopelessness. We all have a time when there is nothing else we can do but turn to God.

God doesn’t bring us suffering but he is right beside us when we are going through it. I love the advice James, Jesus’ brother, gives us in James 1:2-4: “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.  For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance's fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

6595c77e9b282c9430436832259b83baTroubles seem to be a constant presence in our lives either they’re our own, a friend’s, or a stranger’s across the world. God knows our suffering; it is part of living in a broken world. But he gives us a unique opportunity to not give up or even to just endure through it, but to find joy! To grow! To become ready for ANYTHING! That to me is amazing!

When we suffer, we can strengthen our relationship with God, we can encourage others in building community, we can be God’s light in the world. Like I said before, no one and nothing can make your problems smaller than God can. So instead of stressing and worrying, because we know neither of those will do any good (Matthew 6:28-34), turn to God. Find joy. Find the opportunity to grow.

The best is yet to be if God has his way!

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Today is still Easter


Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish brought a new baby into the world.John 16:19-20-21 (NLT)

Written by Pastor Tim White

I love Easter. We had such a blessed time at Washington Cathedral this year. A turnaround church is a miracle and Easter marked the breaking of the barrier – building the core, envisioning the spiritual growth that we can all experience through the risen Lord.

Today is still Easter; not the holiday we celebrate once a year based on its relationship with Passover, but Christ the Lord is risen! He is indeed. Everyday!

As Jackie and I enjoyed our Easter family dinner and egg hunt with our precious little grandkids, who will be committed world changers, we basked in the chaos. They are all so cute! We love our extended family and in-laws so much. We could not help but dream in such a joy-filled setting.

TRejoice_Easterhat night I was reminded again of the gift of joy when I was watching an interview with John Travolta, one of my favorite actors, where he was defending the church of Scientology. He said, “Find me any other religion that has one of its main tenants as joy.” I yelled at the TV, “Following Jesus Christ! ‘Joy to the world’, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’, ‘Joy at the resurrection’, ‘Joy as a fruit of real spirituality’.” Of course it was a one way conversation but the sentiment rings true, especially as we celebrate Easter.

Now is the time to live with a new sense of joy and power from Easter. Joy to tackle each of our problems from the foundation of a loving grace-filled community of friends like Washington Cathedral.

I was reminded again of this community at Washington Cathedral when Jackie came and read to me from the hundreds of contact cards that had been filled out from this weekend’s services. Some said, “Where has this church been? I’ve been looking for a community like this.” Cards from many people in our church said, “I love my church family at Washington Cathedral.” As we read all the encouraging notes we both said, “It’s going to be fun to see what God has for us and those we love in the near future.” What we didn’t say aloud but felt deeply was that every day is Easter because Jesus is still risen – still alive and still being a revolution of love in this world.

Easter Message by Pastor Tim White: Why do you look for the living among the dead?

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Joy to the World! Smiling is my favorite! 

Christmas time is a time of joy, right? Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, yet this time of year is often the hardest for so many people. You or someone you know may find yourself reminded of loved ones lost, difficult childhood moments as a family, or maybe just some of life's disappointments. How can we be merry and bright with these challenges weighing over our hearts? tumblr_ld437wo7Ur1qay2gro1_500Joy in the midst of weighty situations can be seen even in our Christmas story:

Luke 1:26-29 NLT "In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, 'Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you!' Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.'" 

Mary was about to be given a weighty situation. A poor, politically marginalized, unmarried, teenager was about to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. In her Jewish community, she could be stoned to death for getting pregnant outside of marriage. When she received this news, do you think she immediately felt joy? Do you think she was smiling? No! She was disturbed and confused, BUT she tried to think what the angle could mean. She opened herself up to God's possibilities for her life.

Even on days you may be discouraged, remember God has a plan for your life. He wants to use you to bless other people. Open your heart up to the possibility of joy that defies reason this Christmas season. Even in this midst of discouragement there can be beautiful moments of faith, love, and community.

Action Step: Smile 

You may have a day or moment this week where you feel discouraged or down. In this moment, open yourself up to be used by God to bless someone. Smile at those around you. Pray for them. They may need it more than you realize. And who knows; embracing joy may even bless you too.

 Photo credit: Megan Davis

Joy Conspiracy

Joy to the world, the Lord has come! To save and rescue, redeem and heal, restore and repair, and give life.  This year we want the world to know the good news.  That's what the Joy Conspiracy is all about.


postcard-4inx6in-h-frontAnother year is nearly over and we wanted to thank you for being apart of Washington Cathedral. We hope you and your family have an Merry Christmas and wish you a very Happy New Year!


What - We are throwing Christmas parties throughout the community and  spreading the joy. Most parties will include caroling, Christmas stories, Christmas games, and yummy treats.  Each party will be different depending on the location. Some might include a visit from Santa Clause and cookie decorating or spreading Christmas joy through Christmas carols.

Where - We have selected a few places to go and serve from hospitals to shelters and even to the mall.

When - We are having these parties throughout the month of December.

Why - To share the good news of Christmas.  We want the families of our church to be ambassadors of the love of Christ all the world.


So check out the flyer and contact us for more information about a specific party.  Stop by the connection center in our foyer for all the details of Contact Rey at