The Joy of a Long Time

This week we asked the people of Fellowship Church to share pictures with us over social media to use in our 15 year celebration this Sunday.  Those pictures have made me smile and laugh.  Seeing the smiling face of people who we have lost made me sad.  Seeing people who have moved away made me nostalgic.  There are a lot of emotions and feelings one deals with when they look back at life.   It helps you gain some perspective about your journey.

As we head into our 15 year celebration weekend the emotion I feel is joy.  Over the years I have heard pastors sound bitter and jaded about the church and I have heard churches sound jaded and bitter about their pastors and their mission.  That always saddens me to hear and to see.

We are celebrating a milestone this weekend.  This is not a destination.  We are simply pulling over at a historic milestone and taking a picture.  I cannot tell you right now if we are stopping at a beautiful overlook or whether we are in valley as a church right now.  We will only be able to answer that question accurately when we look back at this vantage point from the one further down the road.  I know this much, though, I am glad I am on this journey.

The joy of a long time is found when you stop seeing the time it takes and you see the treasure invested.  The Kingdom of God is like a treasure buried in a field and when found it is worth selling all you have and buying that field so you can own that treasure.  It is priceless.

They joy of a long time is found in being able to enjoy many different types of times along the journey.  We have experienced highs and lows, successes and failures, embarrassment and encouragement.

The reason so many people lose the joy of long journeys is their unrealistic desire to enjoy every second.  Long journeys are not always enjoyable.  They are exhausting at times, yet exhilarating at others.  If you are not enjoying a long journey among the people of God, I encourage you to stop trying to make every moment better than the one before.  Stop living that way in your marriage or with your kids.

Live in the moments not for them.

This principle has allowed me, and Fellowship, to ride out tough seasons and celebrate the best seasons.  The best of moments and the worst of moments all come and go.

Take time to remember the moments along the way.

Stopping and celebrating and remembering is a great discipline.  Look back and see what God has done.  It is interesting how some of the most difficult things are celebrated later as the most meaningful.  As Fellowship shared pictures, I was encouraged by how many favorite memories are pictures of hard work in the Kingdom of God.

Never get stuck trying to relive a moment of the past or you will miss the moments of the present and future.

Many Christians lose their passion for the Lord and His Church, not because of the Church or because of change, but because they decided they wanted to experience something again instead of experiencing something new.  When they were not able to experience again what they had loved in the past it robbed them of the ability to love what they were experiencing in the present.  Quit asking God to do what He has already done again and ask him to do whatever He wills.

My last piece of advice is simple but important.

Have fun.

Enjoy people and projects.  Let your emotions be embedded in what you do.  Smile with people.  Laugh with people.  Cry with people.  Have fun when you work and when you play.

The joy of a long time is not found in the big moments but in the small ones.  It is not the result of one’s greatest successes but in the totality of all the moments.

We would love for you to celebrate our 15 Year Anniversary with us at either of our locations this Sunday at 9 or 10:45 AM.

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