Posted on Mon, Sep 8, 2014
New Sermon Series from Pastor Bob
All people seek happiness. The longing to be happy is a universal human experience, and it is good, not sinful. The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in God. The Bible affirms that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.
Let’s journey together in discovering the secret of true happiness. Our source book will be the Bible and our guide will be pastor and reformed author John Piper as he expounds in his landmark book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. I believe this book is a catalyst to the health, well-being, and fruitfulness of God’s people.
First of all, what is a Christian Hedonist? Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “hedonist” as “the self-indulgent pursuit of pleasure as a way of life”. The Christian hedonist believes the pursuit of pleasure is a necessary part of all worship and virtue. God created us for Himself and He is the author of genuine pleasure. Pleasure was God’s idea and it was intended to be experienced in the context of a love relationship with God Himself.
C. S. Lewis wrote, “There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious” (The Last Battle). We’re going to be joining in a serious discovery process of being happy in God. The Scriptures are filled with insights into living this way. “Delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 34:7). “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Paul speaks of being “sorrowful, but always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). The Prophet Habakkuk states that when life unravels “yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:18). And our Lord Jesus Himself puts life into perspective when He said, “These things I have told you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). The hero of our discovery process will be Jesus Himself who “endured the cross for the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:3).
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Vintage Piper. Joni Eareckson Tada discovered this truth and wrote of her experience:
“Not long after the 1967 accident in which I became paralyzed, I heartily embraced God’s plan for my life. But after the eighties, something new and ominous was added to the mix: I began to experience chronic pain. At times the pain overwhelmed me to the point of panic. I picked up Desiring God and, after reading it, something ‘clicked.’ I realized the stakes were far greater, far more immense and cosmic than merely my satisfaction with a wheelchair and its unpleasant baggage. I shifted my focus from chronic pain and onto God. His glory was at stake, and that made my satisfaction in Him (not satisfaction with ‘the way things were’) the real issue. It was no longer being a matter of being content with His plan for my life; it was a matter of finding Him utterly and supremely the source of all contentment. This, much to my delight, would give Him the greatest glory. To think that my pain problem could be the knob that could actually turn up the wattage on His glory was, to me, astounding.
So whether with pain or without, Christ is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him!”
Starting Sunday, September 7th, along with Small Group Discussions
This exciting new series will focus on the biblical answer to our yearning for happiness. The Bible will be our sourcebook and John Piper’s Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist will be our map for the journey. Each week Pastor Bob will be preaching on a theme in Desiring God and then people are encouraged to participate in one of our Neighborhood Groups which will be reading and discussing the corresponding chapter.
Reading books are available for $10 each at the church on Sundays (Fellowship Hall) or during the week at the Church Office. COR folks are encouraged to invite your not-yet-Christian friends and Operation Andrew friends to share in this journey. Desiring God is popping with intriguing insights into true joy and genuine pleasure. The following schedule will guide our discovery…
Sunday, September 7th
“The Happiness of God: Foundation for Christian Hedonism”
Sunday, September 14th
“Conversion: The Creation of a Christian Hedonist”
Sunday, September 21st
“Worship: The Feast of Christian Hedonism”
Sunday, September 28th
“Love: The Labor of Christian Hedonism”
Sunday, October 5th
“Scripture: Kindling for Christian Hedonism”
Sunday, October 12th
“Prayer: The Power of Christian Hedonism”
Sunday, October 19th
“Money: The Currency of Christian Hedonism”
Sunday, October 26th
“Marriage: A Matrix for Christian Hedonism”
Sunday, November 2nd
“Missions: The Battle Cry of Christian Hedonism”
Sunday, November 9th
“Suffering: The Sacrifice of Christian Hedonism”
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