[Beyond Sunday] Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto

After a few days, Jesus went back to Capernaum, and people heard that he was at home. So many gathered that there was no longer space, not even near the door. Jesus was speaking the word to them.Some people arrived, and four of them were bringing to him a man who was paralyzed. They couldn’t carry him through the crowd, so they tore off part of the roof above where Jesus was. When they had made an opening, they lowered the mat on which the paralyzed man was lying.When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven!”

Mark 2:1-5

Who are the people that can and will take you to the feet of Jesus when you are too tired, or hurt, or broken or distracted to go yourself?  We all need people.  More than that, we need people who will encourage, motivate, and hold us accountable.  Without real connections, we will find ourselves adrift and miserable.  God made us for community. [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to go deeper.  Use these scriptures and questions to reflect how you are seeking happiness through Christ.

Texts to read:

Questions to ponder:

  • What relationship has had the most significant impact on your faith?
  • When you are unhappy, how do you let people help you?
  • Do you find it easy or difficult to invest in other people?  If difficult, what makes it hard?

Do and share:

  • Write a note to someone you are grateful to have in your life.
  • Share a poem or quote about relationships on our Facebook or tweet @dpumc with #happiness2018

 

[Beyond Sunday] Living Distracted

The tragedy is that we are indeed caught in a web of false expectations and contrived needs. Our occupations and preoccupations fill our external and internal lives to the brim. They prevent the Spirit of God from breathing freely in us and thus renewing our lives.

Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Making All Things New (Kindle Locations 109-111). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The modern era brought a host of solutions and devices to not only make work easier but also give us more to do in our free time than ever.  So why are rates of depression, anxiety, and dissatisfaction on the rise?  Why are mental health issues among children and teens skyrocketing? Being busy does not lead to happiness.  But focusing on meaningful work does.  Rest, and quiet do.  God did not intend for us to live our lives distracted  [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to go deeper.  Use these scriptures and questions to reflect how you are seeking happiness through Christ.

Texts to read:

Questions to ponder:

  • When are you in silence? (not even background noise)
  • How do you respond to being still?
  • What is your favorite distraction?  Does it always make you happy?

Do and share:

  • Notice the moments you are tempted to fill up.  Make a note every time you reach for your phone, or social media or other distraction.  At the end of the week tally how much time you spend on these things.
  • Make a list of your questions about happiness.  Share one on the Resolution: Happiness Event on our Facebook or tweet @dpumc with #happiness2018

 

[Beyond Sunday] Resisitance is Expected

 But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.

-Exodus: 14:13-14

Seeking happiness often requires change and no change happens without resistance.  But even when we feel like giving up, when we don’t know the way forward, God is always there.  God is prepared to fight the battle when we cannot.  And the end of the story has already been written. (spoiler alert: God wins) [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to go deeper.  Use these scriptures and questions to reflect how you are seeking happiness through Christ.

Texts to read:

Questions to ponder:

  • How do you feel when things around you change?
  • Have you ever found yourself resisting a change, even though it was a good thing?
  • Where do you see God working for change in your community?

Do and share:

  • Make a list of your questions about happiness.  Share one on the Resolution: Happiness Event on our Facebook or tweet @dpumc with #happiness2018

 

[Beyond Sunday] Happiness and Expectations

 On the seventh day they rose early, at dawn, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.  And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.  …  So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets, they raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat; so the people charged straight ahead into the city and captured it.

-Joshua 6

Happiness does not come from immediate gratification.  It is the satisfaction that comes only with long effort and accomplishment.  Becoming happy requires us to learn to love working the plan, even when we are unsure of our purpose or how God will finally work things out. [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to go deeper.  Use these scriptures and questions to reflect how you are seeking happiness through Christ.

Texts to read:

Questions to ponder:

  • How did Rahab become apart of God’s plan for the Israelites?
  • Imagine waiting in Rahab’s house as the Israelites marched around the wall.  What do you think she and her family felt in those 7 days?
  • How might God be calling you to be a part of God’s work in your community?
  • What is difficult about strategic waiting?

Do and share:

  • Identify something you feel called to do, a goal you want to work towards, and make a plan.  Pray about each step and as you accomplish things, journal about your feelings and how you see God at work.
  • Make a list of your questions about happiness.  Share one on the Resolution: Happiness Event on our Facebook or tweet @dpumc with #happiness2018

 

[Beyond Sunday] Happiness and Expectations

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money! You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and the chains of wickedness.” Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may happen to me.”

-Acts 8:14-24

Happiness is more than a passing feeling.  It is a core desire; the sense of security that comes when our psychological needs are met.  Often people talk about God wanting us to be happy.  But do we understand what that means? True happiness cannot be bought or made or earned.  As Wesley put it: “In this alone can you find the happiness you seek; in the union of your spirit with the Father of spirits; in the knowledge and love of Him who is the fountain of happiness, sufficient for all the souls he has made.”  (John Wesley. Sermon 77 “Spiritual Worship”) [hear sermon audio]

This week, take some time to go deeper.  Use these scriptures and questions to reflect how you are seeking happiness through Christ.

Texts to read:

Questions to ponder:

  • When was the last time you felt truly happy?
  • Looking back, how do you see God active in that moment?
  • Have you ever tried to earn or bargain for happiness?  How?

Do and share:

  • Go out of your way this week to do one small thing to make someone else happy.
  • Make a list of your questions about happiness.  Share one on the Resolution: Happiness Event on our Facebook or tweet @dpumc with #happiness2018