Pathway, I am proud of you. You have risen to the challenge of being a joyful, hospitable, warm, friendly, informal congregation. In my first weeks with you, I watched you enter the worship center/gym with seriousness and quiet, solemnity. Now you enter with joy, warmth, and chattiness looking for someone to greet and converse with. You are sensitive to your guests and tender with your fellow church members. And there’s usually a peal of laughter in the auditorium every minute or so. After church there’s been a change too. You used to hustle out the door to your next engagement so that within 5 minutes of church concluding, the lobby was nearly empty. Within a couple months, maybe only a couple weeks, of challenging you, you began to stay for 20 - 30 minutes enjoying hospitality and fellowship. It’s a welcome, exciting, and needed change. Well done, Pathway. I believe you are ready for the Samaritan woman, her boyfriends, and anyone else they bring. May God be glorified in and through us. Joy is attractive. You’ve got it going!
I found this article on the importance of joy in the Christian life. It reminded me of you. Read this snippet. If you like, look up the rest.
Joy Changes EVERYTHING by Donald Macleod
“It’s often important to assure despondent Christians that Jesus Himself sometimes plumbed the emotional depths. But it’s equally important to guard against the opposite extreme, as if joy were a luxury we could well do without.
Being a man of sorrows was only one side of Jesus’ life. The Spirit dwelt in him without limit (John 3:34), and wherever the Spirit is there is joy (Galatians 5:22). Clearly, too, He found joy in His special relationship with His Father, in whose will He took delight (Psalm 40:8; Hebrews 10:7); and as He approached the end of His ministry, it was the prospect of the joy set before Him that strengthened Him to endure the cross (Hebrews 12:2). This was not merely the anticipation of joy; it was the joy of anticipation—and it was a key element in the psychology of His obedience.
Peter speaks of a similar joy when he describes believers as “greatly rejoicing” in anticipation of their final salvation (1 Peter 1:6). Indeed, joy is part of the spiritual profile of every Christian.
It has little to do, however, either with our natural temperament or with our personal circumstances. It is the fruit of the Spirit” *
May that fruit continue to be on display in you, Pathway.
It’s compelling and attractive.
*all itializied is a direct quote from Donald Macleod. See his article for more: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/280468-joy-changes-everything-desiring-god-donald-macleod.html. Donald Macleod was professor of systematic theology at the Free Church of Scotland College in Edinburgh for more than 30 years. He is author of The Person of Christ and most recently Christ Crucified.