“So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!” Ecclesiastes 9:7, NLT.
Seriously. Somewhere it IS written, sister friends, and it IS right here in Ecclesiastes! I couldn’t make this up if I tried! I am grinning like the cat who just caught her sweet self a big ole, fat mouse! God wants us to enJOY life on this side of heaven (within the parameters of wise moderation, my sweet things – don’t take this out of context, please – I am NOT saying scripture condones gluttony or choices that are unGodly!)
However, this is the fun, giggle-inducing verse that my momma and I quote to each other on those all-too-infrequent visits we have with one another! Check out this picture of my fun-lovin’ mommy!
How cute is she?! Can you tell we have a great time together?! I’m missing that beautiful lady today! Cannot wait to see her this summer!
And do you want to know something even funner? (Yes, I know that isn’t a real word – please just have a little fun with me!) THAT crazy piece of scripture is the verse we will be living out with one another this summer – sharing meals and LIFE together over the table!
So. Here we are! At the “O”! Last week, we explained how we plan to experience the “J” (for Jesus) through scripture, book choices, and songs! Today, let’s tackle what is our FAVORITE piece of Pure Joy (here at Stringing Pearls with Wendie, anyway!) – the letter “O”!
“O” stands for being a participant in JOY with others! And there are SOOOOOOO many ways to experience and share the joy of the Holy Spirit with others! There’s worship and attending church services. There’s attending Bible study and being a part of prayer groups. AND…there is meeting together over a meal, across the table, to celebrate God’s blessings on our lives and ask for prayers that apprehend our hearts and our thoughts for Him on a regular basis.
We’re doing this together, girls! And we are doing it with our IRL friends! IRL stands for In Real Life! I’m talking about those sister friends you DO life with, with whom you walk through the good stuff and without whom you couldn’t make it through the bad. You know who I’m talking about – we’ve all got ‘em!
Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
A meeting of the minds, inviting God to dinner to show us how He works things for the good of those who love Him (see Romans 8:28) coupled with a bunch of yummy stuff for your tummy thrown in for good measure. ARE YOU AS EXCITED AS I AM RIGHT NOW?! I sure hope so!
Mark your calendars for the following dates: June 18th, July 16th, and August 13th. We are COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY blessed here in Glen Ellyn to have three amazing women opening their homes for this very thing! We will be gathering together to talk about what we are reading, how we see God working in our lives, and spending time talking – as in REALLY sharing – our thoughts, prayers, needs, and JOY. If you do not live here OR, you are thinking about how to do this in your own neighborhood/town, this post is for you, too! Mark those very dates and begin to plan your OWN get-togethers, with your IRL friends! Let us know what you’re doing here on the blog, I’ll post info on how to contact us for an opportunity to SKYPE into one of our dinners to see what we’re up to!
Now. Why are we doing this? What’s so important about gathering together to experience God and joy?
It’s because of THIS:
“When Jesus came to live on Earth in pursuit of our faraway hearts, he made a beeline for the kitchen table.” Joanne Thompson, Table Life.
Sharing a meal, expressing gratitude and thanksgiving for what we have been given (through His grace and mercy), giggling about our triumphs and good blessings, and celebrating the connection we have because of Him, make the table a place of refuge. A place where we can come together, lay it all out there, and expect nothing but support, love, encouragement, and hope within the confines of peace, Truth, and acceptance. THAT is what “O” is all about. Participating in JOY with others, no matter what the circumstances may be. This table is our opportunity to share, practice, and experience Jesus and Joy like He did 2000 years ago!
We are basing our dinners on the recipes and ideas in Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine, but you should feel free to create your own dinner/lunches/etc. on whatever ideas the Holy Spirit brings to YOUR mind! About a week before every dinner we are having here in our town, I will post the menu we will be serving along with discussion questions and overall JOYFUL stuff to make the night an amazing experience for everyone! I pray that you will either attend here with us, or create your own joyous night wherever you are for you and your IRL friends!
So now we are up to speed on “J” and “O”! On Thursday I will blog about the “Y” and get us all ready for next Monday’s kick off of Pure Joy! I hope you are as excited as I am. I am blown away by the response to this series! We have now officially delivered, mailed, and emailed 100 Pure Joy Kits! Check out how cute they are!!!
AND we are joyfully sending Pure Joy Kits to the following blog readers and contributors around the country: Sandy in Florida, Mumu in Colorado, Francie in Virginia, Ann in Illinois, and Kristin in Connecticut!
Clearly, God has touched many hearts for JOY this summer! By Thursday, most of the materials in the kits will be available here on the blog (click the Pure Joy Summer Series tab at the top of this page). (Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to get the car magnet or the gumballs online!) Feel free to copy, share, mail, email, etc. any and all info on that tab! It’s all about sharing God’s joy this summer and I am SO happy you are along for the ride!
Up Thursday: “Y” (pursuing Joy in YOUR life, aka – the Joy Dare!!!)
Peace, love, and JOY!