They Will Know Us By Our... Happiness!?
Sunday we continue our series They Will Know Us By Our Fruit, inspired by Jesus’ teaching in Luke 6:
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.
Likewise, in Matthew 7, he declares,
By their fruit you will recognize them.
Through this series we’re outlining the characteristics of biblical discipleship that we are aiming for as a church family. We’ve addressed Welcoming Warmly (as the Apostle Paul wrote, “practice hospitality”) and Sharing Openly (as Peter put it, “be prepared to give a reason for the hope we have”).
This Sunday, we’re engaging the fruit of Worshipping Joyfully. As we read in Psalm 100,
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
In the foreword to the book Happy Church: Pursuing Radical Joy as the People of God, John Ortberg writes,
If we were to look at the average Christian, and (reasonably) assume that we are trying to learn from God to be like God, we might assume that God is a relatively grumpy being. We are so grumpy ourselves that we would have to assume our God is miserable. Gandhi reportedly said, ‘I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.’
He later continues,
God is not a grumpy God. God created all things out of nothing by sheer love. God made everything good and beautiful just because he wanted it that way. God is a joy-loving and a joy-giving God.
And yet, in our world, less and less people attend worship gatherings each weekend. Each week in America, 200 churches close their doors for good.
To be sure, there are a lot of reasons for this, including the reality that Sunday morning is now just another day of the week. But, perhaps there’s another reason we’ve never thought of: Perhaps it’s because our churches aren’t all that happy! And so, as our world yearns for happiness or joy or blessing, maybe its easier to find elsewhere.
May Good Shepherd be a happy church.
A joyful church.
A blessed church.
Not because I said so, or because that might draw others into our family, but because of what God has done for us in and through Jesus Christ! May we worship joyfully!
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