Joy Even on Your Worst Days

The world the apostle Paul inhabited was dramatically different from our time. He knew nothing of capitalism, or physics, or Zoom, and more significantly, Paul was a regular in Caesar’s prison. For us, “Caesar” is a salad. But a constant in the human story is that every life faces suffering. Paul’s life was no different. And yet, on Paul’s worst days, he still exhibited a spirit of joy. In this spirit of joy, Paul offers us some inspiration. Joy is not a common reality in modern life. We are more acquainted with anxiety and fear, and on good days we can settle for happiness; but joy is less common. The worst days come to all of us. At some point the dreams die, the body fails, the spirit is crushed. Those days leave their mark on us. But an imprisoned apostle passed down 104 verses to an ancient congregation in Philippi, and they have passed it down to us. It is their testimony that when the worst days come—and they will—they do not have to be the end of joy. Indeed, they might be the beginning.
Manufacturer: Rev. Tom Are Jr.
$15.00

The world the apostle Paul inhabited was dramatically different from our time. He knew nothing of capitalism, or physics, or Zoom, and more significantly, Paul was a regular in Caesar’s prison. For us, “Caesar” is a salad. But a constant in the human story is that every life faces suffering. Paul’s life was no different. And yet, on Paul’s worst days, he still exhibited a spirit of joy. In this spirit of joy, Paul offers us some inspiration. Joy is not a common reality in modern life. We are more acquainted with anxiety and fear, and on good days we can settle for happiness; but joy is less common. The worst days come to all of us. At some point the dreams die, the body fails, the spirit is crushed. Those days leave their mark on us. But an imprisoned apostle passed down 104 verses to an ancient congregation in Philippi, and they have passed it down to us. It is their testimony that when the worst days come—and they will—they do not have to be the end of joy. Indeed, they might be the beginning.

Tom Are Jr. is a preacher who loves to tell a story. After serving congregations in South Caroline and Florida, for the past 17 years he has served as senior pastor of the Village Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. A graduate of Presbyterian College, Union Presbyterian Seminary, and Yale Divinity School, Tom has gathered the wisdom garnered from over 35 years of ministry and poured it into this book.

"This book began in the midst of a terrifying global pandemic. In it, Tom Are Jr.—a profound and effective preacher, pastor, writer, and theologian—dives deeply into Paul's Epistle to the Philippians to find evidence of a sense of joy in tragic times. What emerges is a strong word of encouragement for people of faith and those who search for it. Joy Even on Your Worship Days will challenge, encourage, and inspire."

— Theodore J. Wardlaw, president, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

"Tom Are skillfully guides his readers down a difficult path. He reminds us that to live is to struggle and, yes, to suffer. And then, standing alongside us in these hard places, Tom tells stories. Biblical stories. Church stories. Sacred, funny, wonderful stories that open readers' eyes and renew parched souls. This book is a straight up blessing."

—Scott Black Johnston, senior pastor, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church

"The discipline of joy might seem at first glance as oxymoron., but Tom Are pulls on Paul's ancient wisdom to teach us just that— that we have been given the gift to live in joy even in the most difficult moments. The endearing storytelling and deep theological insight will engage preachers, congregation members, and faith questioners alike, and encourage us all to life in joy."

—Jessica Tate, founding director, NEXT Church

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