Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy Church, by Tim McConnell

Anyone remember David Meece's song "Rattle Me, Shake Me"?  The singer keeps getting in trouble because he seems way too happy--he must be up to something!  He says "the only reason I'm happy is because I got Jesus inside!"  That was one of my faves growing up, and it came to mind while reading pastor Tim McConnell's Happy Church: Pursuing Radical Joy as the People of God.

God wants us to be happy!  He wants his church to be a happy place!  "He's not just omniscient and omnipresent and omnipotent, he's omnicelebrant!"  What a great word to add to our list of characteristics of God.  McConnell complains that for too many of us, we settle for "joy" as if that is a separate category from "happy." In fact, the words happiness, joyful, and blessed can be used interchangeably.

We come to believe that pursuing happiness is wrong because we often pursue the wrong things in hopes of achieving happiness.  As Christians, we know, and if we don't know we are learning, that true happiness comes from being used by God for his glory, through pursuing him in his word and in prayer, through corporate worship, through obeying him and sacrificially living on mission for him.

And here's the kicker: don't go looking for a happy church!  "Rather than looking for a happy church, be ready to cultivate a happy church right where you are."  Every church is equipped to be happy, and every Christian has the new life that leads to happiness.  "We don't need to go far to find the happy church, we need to unleash the one we already know." When we gather for worship, prayer, service, and, of course, pot luck dinners, we are reflecting the hope we have of heaven and the celebration to come.

"Happy church, God intends to see you dance.  The blood has been spilled, the covenant has been ratified, the party will happen, and the Father's feast will not be frustrated.  It is coming!  Every party we hold is a rehearsal.  The true party is on the way."

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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2016 Reading Challenge: A book about joy or happiness

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