This Holiday season was a glorious time. The saints gathered a week before Christmas to fellowship and share a scrumptious dinner. On Christmas day we had a dinner for people in the community that did not have a place to go. We had some 30 guests with about 10 helpers. A number of them were homeless, others were staying in local hotels (In fact, one of the hotel owners attended along with one of his workers and his son.) One person was walking by and came in and others arrived from seeing our flyers. God’s Word with the love of God and testimonies were shared. It was one of the finest giving times I have witnessed in a long time (Thank you servers!).

This New Year’s Eve we had the privilege of having Ken Petty share the Word of God and Scott Powell and Warren Seames perform a music program. It was streamed live on our “Acts Now Fellowship” facebook. (It is still there if you are interested). It too was one of those memorable times that God got the glory and many got immensely blessed.

Now, what is up for 2017?

Here is what has been put on my heart in light of praying for this New Year: The Joy of the Lord in Service! We have been emphasizing service within our fellowships the last several months. God has blessed us with many new people to love and serve.

One important aspect we never want to forget is the “Joy of Service.” Despite the rigors of getting out of our comfort zone and dealing with unusual situations, we must never forget the proper heart of service, in that we serve with joy. “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Happiness is a nice feeling that lasts for a little time, but joy is a happy feeling in the depth of one’s heart that stays for a long time. God wants us to experience joy when we serve with Him and pray.

Philippians 1:4:
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

When we have joy or we rejoice (have joy over and over again) in the things of God, it makes for a fulfilling lifestyle with our Heavenly Father. Enjoy these verses in light of this:

Philippians 2:16-18:
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.

What a lifestyle to develop in our hearts, to “rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Remember, “in Thy presence is fullness of joy,” Psalm 16:11. Our Heavenly Father living in us via the gift of holy spirit, via Christ in us, should not only excite us, but provide a joy of joys!

A practical example of someone who serves having the joy of the Lord evident in his life is Ken Petty. When Jeanie and I dropped him off at the airport to fly home after blessing us for two days of teaching, and joining us on our “Agape Now Outreach,” reflected the “joy of service” when he said, “Perhaps my most favorite thing I did this weekend, was when we reached out to the homeless people.” He had a beautiful sincere smile when he said that. I thought, “That is serving with the joy of the Lord.”