What a great Summer Institute! There were so many great speakers, it was difficult to listen to them all in person- you were almost guaranteed to miss out on something. Thank God for the technology of the internet, so we who did not get to listen firsthand can still benefit from the talks!
I have noticed a few brothers and sisters in our fellowship seem to be somewhat joyless lately.
That is a real tragedy and I want to take a few minutes to build you up. I am going to share my own thoughts about joy and how I go about “feeling joyful.” I hope it helps you in some way.
I have found great joy in bearing the burdens of others. Whether a brother or sister is excited about sharing the Gospel for the first time, or really seems to be beaten down by some trials in their relationships, nothing brings me more joy than drawing alongside them to share in the excitement or in the sorrow. Some may remember a recent CT at which I asked Keith where we draw the line in “rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep,” and his response was merely to read what that particular verse said. I decided to throw out the window terms and definitions and any “technical” mode of thought- because that was so unloving and really I was hindering myself at reaching out to people. I have (I think) begun to be in more of a mindset of a risk-taker than a risk-avoider. I’ll never get anywhere in my relationships and I’ll never run any farther in this race if I’m always trying to be smart enough not to get in that situation! To paraphrase Joni, “Let’s get messy!”
I find that my relationship with Sarah brings me great joy. To see the way our God has transformed her from an unsure, shy and withdrawn person into this marvelous advocate for the heart-changing power of the Gospel of Christ brings me wonderful joy! To confess my sin to her and to experience such a gracious forgiveness that it can only be Spirit-led brings me joy!
To look at people in our home church who once were lost but now are found, that brings me joy! To see those same new Christians reaching out immediately to the lost in a real and powerful way brings me excessive joy!
To encourage my closest buddies to be bold in their strivations to build a new friendship- and then to see them exercise spirit-filled boldness- that brings me great joy!
I haven’t even begun to talk about all the things God has done himself yet without me anywhere involved!
God created me! That makes me joyful!
I can be friends with Ryan Leon, Dave Kyle, Michael Plahuta, Andy Doman, Dan Haney and all these people! My friendships bring me joy! I can be taught by Keith or advised by Mark and Neil! Oh how joyous I am that all these friends care for me!
God sent Christ! Boy is that an occasion for joy!
He did that because he loves me, and Christ came because he loves me! They both love me!? What an occasion for joy!
I can share this with other people! I have to share this with other people! I want them to experience this joy, too!
If you really consider the question “What is the best way to feel joy?” You will find the answer in a framework of gratitude.
No rational person could consider all that God has done for us and not be joyful!
I hope you experience a little bit of joy from my blog here!