Archives For happiness

Happy, Happy, Happy

Meredith Flynn —  October 14, 2013

dv0301212HEARTLAND | Justin Kinder

I recently started a sermon series at my church in the Beatitudes. I first asked my congregation this question: “How many of you want to be happy?” Most of them raised their hands but a few did not. I repeated the question again, just to make sure everyone had heard me. Again, there were still some who did not raise their hands. I was flabbergasted by their response. Doesn’t every person want to have joy and happiness in their life?

Maybe some of them didn’t raise their hands because they were afraid to do so. Others might have been embarrassed by my question. Or maybe there were some who didn’t want others to see that they weren’t truly happy Christians at this point in their lives.

I can understand how they feel.

Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I was not a very happy or joyful Christian.  When I was in college, I was a grump.  I knew I was born again by the Spirit of God but I didn’t have the happiness I saw in other Christians’ lives. My roommate Luke, for example, was a very happy-go-lucky person. He would often “torture” me by asking me over and over again, “Are you a happy person?” What was his secret to happiness?

I sought the answer in God’s Word, through prayer, and through a book titled, “Happiness is a Choice.” What I discovered was that my happiness was actually quite shallow. My happiness was based on obtaining material possessions, achieving academic status, relationships with people, and the circumstances of life. But those things were constantly changing!  I needed something that could give me happiness consistently. I discovered the joy of the Lord could help me to be happy even in life’s ever changing circumstances.

You see, Jesus preached a happy, happy, happy, message in the Beatitudes. Over and over again Jesus used the word “blessed,” which has as one definition, “happy.” Happy are the poor in spirit. Happy are they that mourn. What a great message to the world and to Christians who are very unhappy!

But the happiness and blessedness Jesus talks about in the Beatitudes isn’t shallow. It has a deeper mean than we usually give the word, according the Reformation Study Bible. “It includes spiritual well-being, having the approval of God, and thus a happier destiny.”

We will never get anywhere in our search for happiness until we give up trying to find it by our own efforts.  The secret to true happiness is found in loving Jesus and following Him all the days of your life. We will not find true joy and happiness until we find it in Him.

Justin Kinder is pastor of Main Street Baptist Church in Braidwood, Ill.

Tuesday_BriefingTHE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Uptown Baptist Church in Chicago held a prayer vigil last Wednesday evening after a drive-by shooting at the corner of Sheridan Rd. and Wilson Ave. rocked their neighborhood two days before. The church was in the middle of a prayer service when the shots were fired from a passing car, seriously wounding five men. One victim has since died.

Police believe the violence is gang-related.

“Just left the prayer vigil @ ubc tonight,” Pastor Michael Allen tweeted last Wednesday. “Great night. Proud of the Chicago Bride of Christ. We cried, sang, quoted Bible, prayed, hugged…”

Allen also shared through social media that six people were baptized Sunday at Wilson Ave. beach: “‘Out of the ashes we rise…there’s non like You’ Oh God!”

The Chicago Tribune interviewed Allen about his neighborhood shortly after the shooting. Read it here.

Other news:

Christian photographers fined for refusing to photograph same-sex ceremonyA New Mexico court ruled against Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, photographers who declined an assignment to shoot a same-sex commitment ceremony in 2006. Fox News reports the Huguenins turned down the “because their Christian beliefs were in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony.” New Mexico has no statute for or against same-sex marriage; the court ruled the photographers were in violation of the state’s Human Rights Act. Read Fox News reporter Todd Starnes’ full story here.

Florida pastors take message of racial reconciliation on the road
The pastors who helped keep the peace in Sanford, Fl., during George Zimmerman’s trial and following his acquittal are on a multi-city tour to help other leaders deal with race issues in their communities. (Zimmerman was on trial for the murder of African American teen Trayvon Martin.) Christianity Today reports the pastors, who took turns sitting through Zimmerman’s trial in a show of unity with one another, were in Detroit last week and will soon visit Toledo, Charlotte, New York, Denver and Minneapolis. Read more at ChristianityToday.com.

Abedini denied reprieve from Iranian court
Pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran since 2012, still faces the remainder of his eight year sentence, even as Abedini’s attorneys and others from the international community fought on his behalf. “The decision is deeply troubling and underscores Iran’s continued violation of principles of freedom of religion, association, peaceful assembly, and expression,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice. The Christian Post reports prayer vigils are planned for Abedini around the world on September 26. The pastor, an Iranian-American, is charged with threatening national security, but his representatives believe his imprisonment is more a result of his Christian faith. Read the The Christian Post’s full story here.

Survey measures American norms a decade after 9/11Americans report being less committed to getting ahead in life, more concerned about the future, lonelier and more stressed out in the years since September 11, 2001. Barna’s fascinating survey looks at how the last decade has changed us.