“The pursuit of happiness” appears in the Preamble to our Declaration of Independence. Americans have been pursuing happiness ever since, in every realm of our lives. Yet for many of us, the pursuit remains elusive. Biblical wisdom teaches us to live deeper than our circumstances, wider than our thoughts, and higher than our feelings. This series looks beyond superficial sensations that come and go in the moment to explore a biblical foundation for the ingredients of lasting happiness. Running Sundays through the month of June, “The Pursuit of Happiness” draws inspiration from the popular book Happy? by Matt Miofsky, Lead Pastor of The Gathering United Methodist Church in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Part 1. June 4, Pentecost Sunday: “Nothing Will Make You Happy”
Using the book of Ecclesiastes, this sermon exposes common fantasies about what makes one happy: work, accumulation, and pleasure. The author of Ecclesiastes, however, claims life is futile, familiar, and fleeting. Therefore, nothing makes you happy. After much study about what makes one happy, we eventually learn that good relationships – with God, others, and ourselves – are essential to staying healthy and happy.
Part 2. June 11: “The Art of Forgiveness”
Happiness from good relationships, not just from any relationship. Good relationships with God, others, and self all require the art of forgiveness. No matter how difficult forgiveness is, and no matter how illogical it may seem at times, it is a path to our own healing, to the healing of relationships, and ultimately to our own happiness. Obstacles to forgiveness include anger and fear. Scriptural references the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5-7).
Part 3. June 18, Father’s Day: “Beyond Circumstances”
Enduring happiness involves the ability to cultivate contentment, regardless of circumstances. This sermon is based on Philippians 4:4-7, 11-13. Despite the difficult circumstances, St. Paul writes from prison and offers hope and joy because of God’s nearness, strength, and peace. Two of the greatest obstacles to lasting happiness are regrets about the past and anxiety about the future. Both make it difficult to see what the present is already offering us. The message closes with an invitation to a life of gratitude and serenity because of the promise…” Whatever life brings us to, God can bring us through.”
Part 4. June 25: “A Way of Being”
The more we focus on our own happiness, the more it can frustrate us. But when we back off from pursuing happiness and focus on someone or something else, happiness tends to result. Jesus teaches this principle in Luke 9:23-24. In Scripture, happiness isn’t primarily a feeling or a temporary state of cheerfulness. Happiness is a condition, a state of living, a way of being in the world that honors God and blesses people. It consists of finding wholeness, peace, and contentment, as we find our place in this world. Happiness is living the Zoë life. (John 10:10)
Chapel Hill is a welcoming, inclusive congregation. These services are open to anyone with an interest in religious matters, regardless of faith tradition. We particularly encourage Christian and faith skeptics to attend this series.
Worship services are Sundays at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. Nursery, child care and children, youth and adult classes are available. Services are live streamed on our website and subsequently published on YouTube. Sermons are also available as a podcast from the website and on ITunes. All services are held at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 1550 N. Chapel Hill Drive, Wichita, Kansas, 67206. Located off 13th Street near K96, across the road from Warren East Theater. Chapelhillwichita.org. 316-684-1117.