Come and Eat
by John C. Westervelt
Parents of young children often wish they had some time alone. Parents in the Joy Community wish their time alone was replaced with the laughter of their children and grandchildren. For you see, these parents raised their children, helped them get an education, and watched them pack up to move away. About one-third of their children live in Texas, one-third are spread across the rest of the country, and one-third reside in the Tulsa area.
When JOY was selected as the name of this community over a generation ago, the class stated that “J” was for Jesus, “O” was for others, and “Y” was for yourself. The emphasis was to be in that order.
After Bill Mason retired as Senior Pastor in 1993, he accepted a request to teach the Joy Community at 9:30. Not long afterwards, the class was asked to move to 8:15 to give their classroom to another class with greater needs. Later, Bill was asked to teach another class at 9:30. Since moving to the Mingo location, the Joy Community has met at 8:00 with Bill Mason as the teacher.
Bill Mason serves as an example of “J” for Jesus for the Joy class. Bill is up at four in the morning to talk to Jesus, to read his Bible and devotions, and to pray. If anyone ever needed Bill’s prayers, his of her name was added to Bill’s prayer journal. Once in the journal, a name never goes away, so Bill still prays for each person every morning.
The “O” is for others. Each class member, as Jesus requested, reaches out to others. The community as a whole supports Restore Hope Ministries, Meals on Wheels, Little Light House, Teen Challenge, and Heartlight Ministries.
The “Y” is for yourself. With families away, those in the Joy Community depend on family-like nurturing at eight o’clock on Sunday mornings. Kerry Freeman, sensing that the seven day wait was long, began “Tuesday Night Out.” Kerry and Sue check out a restaurant in advance then invite the Joy Community to eat out with them at five o’clock on Tuesday. To date, “Tuesday Night Out” has visited fifty restaurants.
I recently asked Bill Mason what “Tuesday Night Out” meant to him. He said, “I get to be with people I enjoy and incidentally get a meal.” Jesus set the example by building a fire and cooking fish and bread for His disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. As the cold, tired fishermen approached the shore after fishing all night, Jesus called out, “Come and have breakfast!” John 21:12.
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