How an Annual Gathering Changed My Life

I can’t wait to see you at Annual Gathering 2015!

The first time I went to Annual Gathering was about 10 years ago. I got an e-mail blast from Jim Wilder inviting me to attend and I was intrigued.
Back then it was called Thrive Track IV and it was at the same time as Thrive Training. It was my first-time meeting Ed and Maritza Khouri and Karl and Charlotte Lehman. The topic was applying relational skills in organizations. I was there representing business; Shelia Sutton was there representing education, others represented mission organizations and churches.
It was amazing being surrounded by so many like-minded people. Many of the people I met almost ten years ago are close friends and prayer partners still today.
All of us had those moments when things changed for us. One of those moments for me was when I first began practicing the Immanuel approach. The little booklet, Share Immanuel: the Healing Lifestyle, transformed the way I pray.
For the first time, I had a means for regularly practicing the presence of God. I set time aside to remember moments in life where I had experienced appreciation, as well as remembering times when I felt God’s interactive presence. In these moments, I was able to interact with Him more frequently and in ways that filled me with the joy and peace of His presence.
Another one of those moments that changed me forever took place during third week 3 of our Joy Starts Here group. Even with what I had learned in Share Immanuel, my goal in prayer was still often for God to help me with something that was troubling me.
After learning the approach from Share Immanuel, I often used prayer to ask God “where were you in this bad part of my life?” Week three of Joy Starts Here changed this. That week we came to the group with ten “appreciation moments” and we spent time reflecting on them. Then the stunner – we were asked to ask Jesus where He was in that appreciation moment.
A light bulb came on for me.
In all my years of praying, I had never thought to ask Jesus where he was in the good things!
Was I catching on to the Immanuel Life? Would my experiences of joy with Jesus last for a lifetime?
I noticed an interesting thing at our Thrive training last July. I gazed out on the crowd while they were practicing joy glances. The young couples had no trouble sustaining these joy glances during the duration of the practice session. But the older couples were a different story. Many of them struggled to maintain joy glances with their spouses even for a few seconds.
Skills that build joy, such as Immanuel Prayer or the relational skills we teach at Thrive, can be grasped quickly. With a little guidance, many people can start experiencing and spreading joy.
Looking at the struggling older couples something became clear:
It is easier to start joy than to sustain it for a lifetime.
We are thrilled that how God has used Life Model Works to provide so many people with moments of joyful interaction with God and others. However, we also believe God wants a joyfully interactive relationship that lasts a lifetime.
That’s why we’re hosting Annual Gathering 2015. This year’s topic is The Immanuel Life: Sustaining Joyful Relationships for a Lifetime. We’re bringing together Dr. Jim Wilder, Dr. Karl Lehman, Ed Khouri and Chris Coursey to share what they’ve learned about sustaining joy. We also need to hear from you, women and men who are practicing joy and spreading it in your communities.
Join us at Annual Gathering 2015. Let’s learn together how to sustain joyful relationships for a lifetime.
Hurry! Early Bird Registration Ends February 25th, 2015.


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