Wednesday, November 08, 2006


As I travel around to local churches I am often struck by the difference I find in congregations. It has little to do with the order of worship, the condition of the church building, the size of the congregation or the geographic location.

When I enter a church and watch the interaction of its participants I look for signs of joy.

Is there laughter in the air? Do they seem to have fun? Do they take themselves too seriously? Do I find JOY breaking out among them.

Such a simple thing, yet so telling. John Wesley once said “Sour godliness is the devil’s religion.” I think he was right. We are people of the resurrection. What greater joy is there!

Joy is not flippant, unspiritual or disrespectful. It is a sign of the Spirit at work in our midst. God brings joy to our lives. God invites us to bring joy to others. One sign of someone who is deeply in love with Christ is the presence of joy in their lives. They bring it with them. It seeps out of them where ever they go.

Sometime, when you are in the midst of your congregation, close your eyes and listen. Do you detect signs of joy? If not, it is time to have some fun together, to laugh together, celebrate together, give thanks together. Often little children can help us because joy comes so naturally to them. Include them in your worship, in your gathering times, in your conversations and let them lead you into joy.

May the joy of the Lord be upon you!

Grace & Peace,