"Most of the problems that arise in the world comes out of a low-joy environment," according to E. James Wilder, one of the co-authors of the books "Joy Starts Here" and "Joyful Journey." Wilder and his co-authors Anna Kang, John and Sungshim Loppnow, and Sheila Sutton, will be hosting a conference drawing from these books from June 6 to 7.
Numerous resources and books are available for Christians on the topic of joy, but one of the unique aspects of the conference and Wilder's books is that it combines spiritual as well as physical aspects of a person to help him or her live joyfully.
"Our approach starts with two understandings that are going to be true for all people across all ages and cultures," Wilder explained. "First, we have an understanding of what God says is true -- the biblical truths. Second, everyone has the human brain. We can put those two things together, and apply the spiritual truths in a way that matches the way our brain functions."
Wilder and his co-authors found that neurologically and theologically, joy arises from "being glad to be with people," and knowing that people are glad to be with you; and they hope the conference will equip people to be able to exercise and live out that joy in their daily lives.
Theologically, their approach finds its basis in John 15, in which Jesus tells his disciples,
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (verses 9-11).
The conference will feature interactive exercises that tie in these theological truths with biological aspects of the body to build practical skills in the lives of the attendees to maintain joy, such as "checking in" with God throughout the day; "resetting the nervous system normal" to a joyful one; and practicing "interactive gratitude" with God.
Wilder has hosted conferences on this topic numerous times previously within the U.S. as well as internationally, including in Seoul, South Korea, and in Chiang-Mai, Thailand. People of various age groups, from teens to adults, have attended the conference, and Wilder added that he still receives letters and feedback months afterward about the positive effects that the conference has had in individuals' lives.
"Unlike some events, where you walk away and say, 'Wow, that was powerful,' and you only hope it lasts, this conference will equip people with tools to keep using as they move forward."
The conference will be taking place at LIFEhouse Church in Northridge, CA. For more information, visit www.joystartshere.com/LosAngeles/.