Night of Joy

on 9/28/2010

On Friday September 10 I went to the Night of Joy at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Being from Tampa, I've attended the event many times, even since my childhood. But this was the best year I can remember, so I thought to write a short post about it.

Night of Joy occurs every year, I believe about the same time. It features a number of popular Christian artists on several stages throughout the park. The rides are nearly all running, and you can even get there early to ride them before the concerts start.

For a while it seemed that Night of Joy had fallen off a bit. Last year they moved it to Disney's Hollywood Studios, a smaller theme park. The turnout was weak and the overall experience not nearly the same. But this year they brought it back to Disney World proper in style, with a sellout crowd, Chris Tomlin and (my personal favorite) The David Crowder Band. I also watched Barlow Girl, which put on a great 45 minute show to end the night.

I really want to encourage you to attend some Christian events or concerts in your area. I find them so refreshing. I saw many people, all ages, all ethnicities, worshiping our God. Sometimes we go through our days and feel so alone. Sometimes I feel like we Christians are so few against the masses. But no matter our numbers, we worship the One True God.

When you find yourself among thousands of other Christians you will feel encouraged and comforted. I feel that way especially at Christian concerts. Psalm 22 verse 3 says God inhabits the praises of His people. And Jesus said that where two or more are gathered in His Name, He is there. God was at the Night of Joy, right there with us as we sang His praises.

I don't know Disney's motives for having the Night of Joy. Maybe it's just a money making device. But so what? They provide a place for many thousands to gather and worship. I thank God for Night of Joy, and all the bands and people who make it happen. I thank God that we still have a country where we can join and worship in huge public places. We have so much we don't even think to thank Him for.

I left encouraged. I left excited. The Bible says we shouldn't forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). I know many people use this as God's Word commanding Church attendance, and I'm not saying I disagree. But my point is that God knows we need each other. God knows that coming together and fellowshipping encourages us and builds us up spiritually. I'm sure gathering with other Christians has many other benefits, and I'm sure it's something we shouldn't neglect.

So attend church regularly. And whenever you can, attend a large Christian event in your area. Feel free to email me if you need help finding such an event. May God bless you, and thank you for reading.

Check out the short video below of The David Crowder Band's awesome show, right on the steps of the castle in the middle of the park. No comment on the voice you hear singing.  The video quality is weak, but it's worth watching just so you can see that it was an impressive show.


Get Over It

on 9/02/2010

Today two negative things happened that made me think about how important it is to get over something offensive immediately. Remember that Jesus told us to agree with our adversary quickly. I'm sure He had multiple reasons for that statement, but I'm sure one is that offense actually hurts us deeply and blocks us from moving forward. I believe you can't truly move on from a bad experience until you forgive, and the place you get offended is the play you remain.

When you get in strife and offense you are spiritually stuck in a rut. Yes you may keep praying and pressing forward, but you can probably feel the difference in your heart when it's free of hurt and strife. We need to be free of offense and irritation at our brother when we draw near to God. Remember that Jesus said don’t even offer God gifts if you have something against someone. What a powerful statement! Now ask yourself if you've ever given a gift while being truly free of all offense in your heart.

Let's talk about getting over the small slights immediately. I know some offenses are huge, with drastic consequences for everyone involved. Those can take time and spiritual warfare to truly free yourself of them. For example, if someone physically hurts you, you're probably not going to be able to shrug it off immediately, physically or spiritually.

So let me tell you about today's two opportunities for offense. First I noticed a large scratch on my car. Now I know that's not something I could necessarily get offended at a particular person about, but it's still a great example. You know how it is, if something breaks you can get mad and then take it out on everyone around you. You start thinking about costs and imagining who is at fault, it can ruin your day.

But let's think about my car for a second. I have no idea who scraped it (maybe I did). It doesn't interfere with the car's basic functions. I really don't care if the vehicle has a mark. And I'm not going to pay to fix it anyway. How many situations like that do you encounter? These are small annoyances. You can't blame anyone and there's nothing you will do about them. We should start letting them go immediately.

Of course I was disappointed to have something like that happen, but I was glad that I've moved on from getting irritated about such trivial things. It's over and done. So keep that in mind the next time you notice some issue that, while annoying, you won't fix and doesn't matter anyway. The key is to not let it bog you down and mess with your spirit. You are essentially forgiving yourself and the entire world, even God, for such a thing. You are getting over it and moving on.

Now for the other issue. We recently bought some furniture for our coming child. Of course it came out damaged. I don't say of course because I expect problems, but it doesn't surprise me because I'm now looking for God to test me in this area. If I can't handle a damaged crib, I'm going to have a serious problem when I start encountering opposition to my taking the nations for Christ.

That went fine and I even sowed a seed by paying in full and trusting God they would fix it. Well today they showed up with a replacement part, but they didn't call to warn us before they came. Usually they give some lengthy notice. My wife is alone and 9 months pregnant. I'm 45 minutes away. This is irritating.

But while I thought about giving it to the guy for not calling me, I realized it wouldn't do any good. We're not going to tell him to come back later. He's only going to get mad and do a bad job if I'm rude. And really, if I had let him have it (as lawyers are wont to do) then I wouldn't be writing now. I would be repenting and feeling convicted.

So I let it go, they did a fine job, and all is well. Praise the Lord. What minor offenses are you allowing to seriously disrupt your day? Did someone steal your parking spot? Get over it and bless them. Did someone not RSVP to your function and then show up with two guests, hug them all as they enter and then give them great seats.

You see, and please try to understand this, when you begin blessing those that curse you, and forgiving and doing good for those who would irritate you, then you are truly acting like God. God sends the rain on the just and the unjust (my how we’ve misunderstood that verse, in the Bible RAIN IS A GOOD THING).

So don't sweat the small stuff, and be righteously proud of yourself when you correctly deal with life’s negatives. Then wait for others as God takes you from glory to glory. You can't forget, many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers us out of them all. Just like the crib is fine, God will perfect everything that concerns you (Psalm 138:8). We must trust God and in our steadfastness possess our souls, especially when these light afflictions try to disrupt our connection with the Spirit of Christ.