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There is a rising concern about the level of relational disconnection in American society. It was happening before the pandemic, but the events over the last 2 years have only served to reenforce it and strengthen its grip upon our society. This relational disconnection has also reenforced the negative emotions of isolation: loneliness, fear, despair, and depression. Unfortunately, there seems to be no compelling reason for people to reach out beyond themselves, but our disconnect is robbing us of a sense of joy!  In our sermon series The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength, the sermon is Rejuvenation.  We need a rejuvenation of relationships, compassion, mercy, and love in our society and most importantly in our lives.  What can give us such transformation? In John 15:7-17, Jesus speaks to his disciples, preparing them to negotiate a change which was coming. Even though he will leave them physically after the cross and the resurrection, they will still be connected to him through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus uses the image of the vine and the branches.  He tells these disciples and all believers who would follow after them that when we are connected to him, it provides a source of joy that is dynamic and powerful. It enables us to find a transformation from despair to hope, from hatred to love, and from pessimism to purpose. These words can help every believer realize that the joy of the Lord is our strength. As you read John 15:7-17, it is our prayer that the Holy Spirit will help you connect to the joy of the Lord and it will fill your heart to overflowing!  John 15:7-17: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit– fruit that will last– and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. (NIV)