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Chasing Happy

We all want to be happy, but what makes us happy? And why is happiness easy to find, but hard to keep? True happiness (also known as joy) is often found in the most unlikely places. Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi is almost a handbook for joy – what it really looks like and where it’s really found.

Where It All Began

May 28, 2017 by Mark Stuenzi Message 1 of 10

When Paul and Silas first came to Philippi were simply doing what God had called them to do. They were proclaiming the Good News about a living Savior. They encountered a demon-possessed woman and they set her free from her oppression. This angered the woman's owner he incited a riot, which led to Paul and Silas' imprisonment. In the midst of their pain, they chose to look beyond their chains and worship the God who was still in control.

Fixer Upper

June 4, 2017 by Mark Stuenzi Message 2 of 10

After an initial greeting, Paul goes on to express his gratitude for the church in Philippi and his confidence that God will continue His work in their lives. He goes on to pray for them: that they would love the right things and, consequently, live the right way. Basically, Paul was saying to these believers, “God loves you the way you are – but He loves you too much to let you stay that way.”

Flip The Script

June 11, 2017 by Mark Stuenzi Message 3 of 10

Here, at the beginning of this letter, Paul gives his friends an update on his personal situation. At the same time, he uses his own situation as a “teachable moment” to help the Philippians understand how to respond to unjust circumstances. Although he is imprisoned and his future is very uncertain, Paul is able to see the hand of God in his current challenges. Happiness is not found in having perfect circumstances, but in knowing we follow a perfect God.

Put Yourself Last

June 18, 2017 by Dan White Message 4 of 10

If anyone had reason to not be happy, it was the Apostle Paul. And yet, four times in one verse, he reminds them of the blessings that come from knowing Christ. He encourages be “like-minded,” have the “same love,” and be “one in spirit and purpose.” He then points to the pattern of Jesus, describing His willing humiliation and sacrifice on our behalf. We must value relationships more than our rights. If you live for yourself, you will end up by yourself.

Return On Investment

June 25, 2017 by Mark Stuenzi Message 5 of 10

So often, our hearts are held captive by our circumstances. For the follower of Christ, this does not need to be the case. Following Christ involves the life-long pursuit of transformation. We must “continue to work out our salvation,” even as “God works within us.” As our transformation happens, we will grow in our happiness – there will be less “grumbling and complaining.” I must change my attitude instead of waiting for my circumstances to change.

True Greatness

July 2, 2017 by Dan White Message 6 of 10

When we think about greatness we often picture successful athletes, historical leaders, or Nobel Prize winners. If you listen to our culture long enough you get the impression that one of the greatest mistakes you can make is to fail to live up to your potential. The overriding message: Everyone should be great. But what if we’re not? Should we regret it? Have we failed our calling to greatness? Jesus exhibited a different measure of greatness: service.

Answer The Call

July 9, 2017 by Dan White Message 7 of 10

No one had a longer resume of achievements than Paul. No one worked harder to please or even just appease God. Eventually, he realized that all his past accomplishments were keeping him farther from God. When we add anything to Jesus for salvation we mess up the gospel. Everything that he once considered positive, he now had to discard. Only then could he please God and know Christ.

Eat Up

July 16, 2017 by Dan White Message 8 of 10

Every human is full of desire. We spend our days trying to satisfy those desires. If our immediate appetites rule our lives, then our lives will be ruined. Paul teaches us that eternity puts our appetites into perspective. C.S. Lewis was right when he said, “Our appetites are not too strong, they are too weak.” What if we led our desires to what truly satisfies? Instead of being hungry for more, we would be happy.

When Anxiety Attacks

July 23, 2017 by Mark Stuenzi Message 9 of 10

We live in a world that steals our peace. Fox News, CNN, Facebook and Twitter bombard us with negativity every day. In a world of peace-less people, a person of peace will really stand out. Philippians 4:2-9 gives us a prescription for dealing with stress and worry. The promise is not that our problems will go away, but that there will be an incomprehensible peace in the midst of those problems.

Joyful Generosity

July 30, 2017 by Mark Stuenzi Message 10 of 10

As Paul brings his letter to the Philippians to a close, he finally gets around to thanking them for their financial support – the gift that was sent to him via Epaphroditus. Paul learned to be content in any and all situations. He then describes the stellar example of the Philippians' generosity – they gave even out of their poverty. Happiness is what you gain when you give something away.

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