2009-06: The Joy of the Lord


Question: In lieu of your questions this month, I would like to ask you a question: How do you experience the “Joy of the Lord?”

Answer: Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22), so being spirit-filled is one way to experience God’s joy... Nehemiah 8:10 says that, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So, keeping yourself in God’s presence may also help you experience the “Joy of the Lord”. So, let’s see – Pentecost is coming up on June 7th, and our parish feast day (All Saints) will be celebrated on June 14. Should these church festivals bring us into God’s presence and provide the fruit of Joy in our lives? Well, yes they should, if you are tuned in to them. So come to church, tune in to the service, and experience the Joy of the Lord...


            There is another way that should happen within our churches, but often happens outside of our typical Sunday worship – put yourself in the presence of others who are actively experiencing the Joy of the Lord. Sometimes we need to be reminded how great a God we have and how much He is doing in the world around us.


            We actually have such an opportunity that I touched on lightly in my “From the Desk of...” article earlier in this month’s Vineyard – the “Children of The World” concert at the Serbian-American Culture Center on Sunday, June 7th at 7:00 p.m. These children have truly experienced salvation in Christ and want to share their experience with the world. Many are orphans; some have been abandoned by their parents who were unable to attend to their needs. Through the generosity and sponsorship of people just like you and me, they have literally been “saved” from poverty, despair, and even death, and have seen God’s loving hands pour out many blessings on them.


            The concert is sponsored by World Help, a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian organization that was founded to meet the spiritual and physical needs of hurting people around the world. Today, World Help has touched over 60 countries through four pillars of ministry: Humanitarian (over $90 million to date), Child Advocacy (over 35,000 sponsorships at $30/month), Bible Distribution (over 8 million distributed), and Church Planting (over 45,000 to date - in the past 18 years).


In 2008, World Help touched over one million lives, some of which were through the following:


* 8,413 new child sponsors were recruited to support needy children monthly

* 150,000 children and needy families were fed every day in Guatemala

* 3,622 new churches were established (a total of 44,405 churches planted to date)

* Over 150,000 Bibles have been printed and distributed in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and China, reaching 750,000 people

* 30 additional Homes of Hope have been built to provide housing for 900 children orphaned by AIDS

* 300 former child abductees in Northern Uganda have graduated from our vocational school and can now support themselves

* 10 Forgotten Children Centers have been maintained in Northern Uganda, giving 500 children the care they need and a quality education


            Does your joy need a boost? Then join me at the concert to see God’s Joy in action. Maybe you will be inspired to help financially, or maybe not (the concert is free). But the fact that this Christian concert occurs on the Orthodox celebration of Pentecost leads me to believe that God’s Holy Spirit may have something extra special to share with all who participate. I invite you to come and see for yourself.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law... If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23, 25