Cultivating the Joy
Firefall '21 was amazing in its surprise, the release of power on Sunday night, connection with one another, worship (how about that Saturday night feast?), the teaching, and the release of corporate joy and love among us.
Janice and I trust that you have perceived the truth that the Lord has been near to you as you “re-enter” your daily normal!
I wanted to share with you something that happened while I was practicing “Gratitude/returning to joy”, from Narelle’s talk on Saturday AM during Firefall ’21. She stated that she would grab onto a good memory and ask the Lord where He was in the midst of it (Hers was scuba diving in 100 feet of crystal clear Fijian waters and all the sea life before her.)
Now, that is her memory and I wanted to exercise from something I had just experienced, so, I asked the Lord in the midst of my memory about this weekend. That is a place that I found true joy. At various times over the weekend, I felt His pleasure in a kaleidoscopic way. I watched many of you express love through your service. Others through your connection with each other. I watched some of the team members be hospitable to the stranger in our midst. I watched and heard the buzz in the room before the meetings and on Sunday, the absolute roar that took place. I watched husbands and wives draw near to each other through the Holy Spirit, and how lovingly he touched so many people, before and after the meetings. I watched the recalcitrance to leave the atmosphere of love, joy, and connection. I witnessed His healing, and encountered His love myself on the floor Saturday afternoon. They were healthy, kingdom sights and sounds.
This, being my “Fijian sea”, gave cause for me to invite the Lord to show me where He was over this weekend, and did He ever!
I have a weird response to emotions, they overwhelm me and I cry easily. When I am happy and when I am sad, it makes no difference, I cry. So it came as no surprise to me that I began to tear up over what Jesus showed me. Let me give you a window into that:
I saw Him in the back delighting over Ruth making things ready for people to connect over coffee and food. I saw Him joyfully touching each person that arrived through our greetings and being a bit giddy about it, smiling in pure transport over our greeters. I saw Him interacting with our painters, showing joy at each brush stroke, admiring what His creation was creating. I saw Him in the back with the tech guys and gals, laughing with them as they enjoyed humor and solving problems. I saw Him with each of us through communion, embracing us individually and putting His arms around us as we received the body and blood of Christ. I saw Him laughing and playing with the children and those who watched over them as they moved together like a united dance. I saw Him with those who blew horns and waved flags and exuberantly danced before the Lord. He clapped, and twirled and loved every second of it. I saw Him with the worship team, coaxing things from them that they had not yet experienced, but that He had planned for them. I saw Him when my sweet wife turned to me and asked me to pray for and over her on Saturday night. I watched Him embrace us and then I saw Him be with each of you as you connected with one another, praying for each other and laughing and conversing with each other.
This went on and on, and I felt His complete satisfaction. There is a word in Frisian, my wife's family language, that expresses this feeling I had so well. It is the word, "Gezellig". It can best be conveyed as the feeling of "home". It implies joy, order, loveliness, warmth, invitation, beauty and the enchantment of the idea of home. If you walked along the canals of the Northern Netherlands and looked through the lace curtains at the fire within this beautiful place, you would say it looked "gezellig". This is what I felt as He showed me these things - an invitation into the joy He felt as we were expressing our hearts to Him and one another, and you guessed it, I started crying, again.
I have been to many, many seminars, workshops, conferences and the like over my 40 plus years in ministry, but I have never walked away from one quite like this. It is now in my testimony arsenal, my joy box, and my gratitude parking spot. I will recall what He has showed me over and over. It was beautiful. It was "gezellig".
So, for this to be more than just a "conference", we have to keep building on what God has done and is doing. I want to help you with some resources for that, in addition to reminding you that some of the sessions are on our YouTube channel to revisit and rewatch.
So without any further ado, here are some recommended resources to build on what God gave us this weekend.
Cultivating a "Quick Return to Joy"
The Other Half of Church by Michael Hendricks
Living From Your Heart
Filing Your Marriage With Joy
Deeper Walk International's You Tube Page
Stirring Up The Gifts Given to You
A Documentary about the Brownsville Revival
A report on the Toronto Blessing
Bill Johnson's Testimony
John Wimber''s Testimony
An Interview with Some of the Pioneers of the Vineyard
The Jesus People Movement
The Last Reformation