“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11
What conversations stick out as most memorable and pivotal in your life? The time a person told you about Jesus; someone who shared invaluable life-lessons; the final moments you had with a loved one before they passed away; the first date with your now spouse; the job interview that changed the trajectory of your career; a moment where God used you to support someone going through a tough stretch. To this day I still recall the time over 25 years ago, when Joanie and I talked about moving our relationship from the dating phase to courtship while enjoying French Fries at the Northridge Mall Food Court. Side bar: Why do so many great conversations happen over a good meal?
With our current teaching series being on God’s favor, I have been applying a new approach to my talk with folks in the hope of being real and building relationship! I am centering the conversation on asking people to identify their one JOY, one NEED, and one DREAM in this season. I believe this accomplishes three important outcomes in our faith and fellowship:
1) It gets to the heart. With the last season being marked by separation, today’s communication dominated by social media, and our present culture content with self-centered, surface-level engagement, this discussion helps to bring out what’s really beating and ticking within. In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” It is from this place that clarity, compassion, and true connection can be fostered.
2) It gets us thinking and moving forward. When we focus on “this season” it keeps us from romanticizing about the past or being stuck in painful memories and events. There is something in happening right now that is worth giving thanks over (one joy), asking God’s help with (one need), and looking with hope about (one dream). In Philippians 3:13 Paul states, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”
3) It gets us living in fullness. Each area is connected and can be transformed by God. Our needs turn to joy when they are answered. Our dreams turn to joy when they come to pass. Our joy comes from the One who grants our needs and gives us dreams. I want a faith that goes beyond mere words, thought processes, and ritual observations. Let’s reach the possibility of a personal and powerful faith David conveyed in Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”
Take time to discuss the one joy, one need, and one dream with others. As you dive into this great discussion, may your faith go deeper and your relationships grow closer.