I’m sure we’re in for a great day with two opportunities to be together both this morning and tonight, as we gather for a very special ‘Refresh’ and welcome our very good friends Sasha, Sara and Lidija Vitakic from Serbia! Excited to hear what they have to share this evening!

Before we embark on our busy day, I have a thought to challenge us: is the joy of the Lord still your strength? Nehemiah used those words to challenge God’s post-exile people, who, despite being set free, were not feeling the joy. (See Nehemiah 8:8-12) The Lord’s joy is a difficult thing to explain to those who have never possessed it, because it isn’t about wealth or worldly experiences. It is a lightness of heart, as we give even the most difficult situations to the Lord. It’s found in the security of knowing His love and grace, even when we get it badly wrong. It’s found in the freedom and forgiveness through Christ, who gives us relational access to the Father; and joy is found in being filled with the Holy Spirit, who empowers us and illuminates us as we face all kinds of trials.

Joy is most definitely a strength and a choice, and it is ours for the taking!