“In our pursuit of happiness, it isn’t happiness alone we pursue but the God of happiness, the only one who can make us happy.” (Mike Mason)
“If God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, then we must make it our aim to be as happy as we possibly can be in God.” (John Piper)
Our Church Wide Study is just around the corner!
How long does it take to acquire a healthy habit? 21 Days? 40 Days? 90 Days? I’ve heard all of the above. Our church family will be journeying together to pursue, chase, hunt, track, seek, and run after joy for 50 Days.
We will pursue joy with reckless abandon. Doesn’t this sound fun?
What’s more, I believe this journey will be good for your soul. And healthy for your relationships. And life-giving to your relationship with God. I am hopeful that joy will give itself over to us, like squeezing every last drop of juice out of a grapefruit.
I recently read a question that stopped me in my tracks: “When was the last time you prayed for God to give you more joy?”
“God, increase my joy.”
“God, forgive me for my lack of joy.”
“God, help my life to radiate with the joy of the Lord.”
I want to pray those prayers, and I want to live that kind of life.
There will be several components of our Church Wide Study:
(1) From Sept 30 – Nov 18, I will be preaching messages around JOY.
(2) We are encouraging our Life Groups to organize 7 or 10 weeks of Study around John Piper’s book Desiring God. The seven weeks will take you 50 Days. Then, there are 3 “Bonus Weeks” which will finish the study. [There are really two options here: (1) Organize your Life Group for the entire 10 weeks to complete the study. Or, (2) Organize your Life Group for 7 weeks and encourage members to work through the 3 “Bonus Weeks” on their own because of the busyness of Thanksgiving and December.]
(3) We are working on a STUDY GUIDE which will give you questions to work through Desiring God. The Study Guide will include a JOY JOURNAL for 50 Days (Sept 18-Nov. 18) as we all attempt to “fight” for joy. We will be encouraged to notice aspects of JOY in our everyday life. We want to be praising God for all the little (and big) joys in life!!! It should be a great exercise to develop a Godly outlook of joy in all of life.
(4) Desiring God is about “the pursuit of joy in God”, a concept Piper calls “Christian Hedonism.” I believe the truths in Desiring God have a paradigm-shaping potential to change the way we view the entire Christian life and lead us into a rich, satisfying God-centered joy. I believe you will be blessed and challenged by Desiring God which is already considered a modern classic. Even if you’ve already read the book before, I think digging deeper into its message will be good for your soul (especially as you do so in community).
(5) Now is the time to take the plunge and join a Life Group. There IS a place for YOU to plug in!! (If you can’t join a LIFE GROUP, then I do encourage you to read Desiring God by yourself and participate in the JOY JOURNAL in the Study Guide.)
I can’t wait for our church to be radiating JOY, JOY, JOY in the upcoming weeks ahead!!
Pastor Jason Carter