Finding Your Happiness in Jesus

This is from Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book Because He Loves Me

We’ve begun our discussion of gospel obligations, or negative imperatives, by thinking about how unbelief, idolatry, and the sins that flow from them occur in our hearts. What follows now are a few practical steps to take as you fight by faith for real happiness.

Pray that God would reveal your unbelief and idolatry to you. I know that it’s hard to see the sin within our hearts, but the Holy Spirit can bring us conviction and enlightenment. He can reveal the lies we’ve believed: If I don’t have this I’ll never be happy. He can open our eyes to our functional gods and the unbelief at their core.

Prayerfully meditate on Scripture and ask God to apply it to you. Only the Word of God is able to “discern” the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12). As you meditate on his word, ask him to apply it personally to you, to help you discern the very motives that compel your sin.

Confess any unbelief or idolatry that you’re aware of. Instead of trying to hide or deny idolatry or unbelief, flee to the cross! Your Savior has already borne these sins in your place. He has paid the penalty for them and his resurrection breaks their power in your life. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Ask God to make himself your chief joy. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). The more you contemplate him, his love, his mercy and patience, the greater will be your joy in him. You’ll discover true happiness because it’s his delight to give himself to you and end your endless search for satisfaction.

Think back to the last time you know you sinned and ask yourself:

  • What did I think would make me happier than what I had?
  • Why do I believe that there is happiness in attaining this?
  • What makes me most afraid, angry, worried, sad? Why?
  • What is the lie that I am believing about God, myself, my happiness?
  • What do you boast about?

Consider the topics of the stories you tell about yourself. As you consider your answers to these questions, you’ll begin to see your functional gods, those things that you believe will make you happy.

Preaching to the Sin Underneath the Sins

One of my assignments to complete the Acts 29 process was to listen to Tim Keller’s preaching series “Preaching to the Heart” and write some reflections. After listening to it, I was convicted about my own preaching and how to improve to be more gospel centered, but it will not be required listening to anyone who preaches at Revolution. Every preacher should listen to this.

One of the things that Keller points out that impacted me the most was how to preach to the sin underneath the sins. For Keller, he says that everytime we sin, we are sinning because of idolatry. An idol is anything or anyone that we look t besides Jesus Christ to be our heart’s functional trust, preoccupation, loyalty, service, fear and delight.

For example, this past week I preached on doubt. In the past, I would have talked strictly about doubt and then give some ways to not doubt. Instead, I asked questions like, “Why do we doubt? What is the sin underneath doubt? What sin do we have to commit or not trust in to doubt? What idol do we look to that leads us to doubt?” As I processed through it, I began to see that the reason we doubt, the sin underneath doubt is a lack of faith and trust in the sovereignty of God. James answers in James 1:5 – 8 that we should ask for wisdom. This pushed me to ask, “How is wisdom the answer to the doubt of the sovereignty of God? What does wisdom have to do with doubt and the sovereignty of God?” It led to a completely different sermon than I would have given 6 months ago. It also, I believed led to a sermon that was more gospel centered and aimed at the heart instead of making someone more moralistic or religious.

For me, this has been an eye opening discovery, one that I believe has more implications than just preaching. In life, when we gossip we can ask, “Why am I gossiping? What idol in my heart pushes me to gossip?” With debt, we can ask, “Why am I spending money I don’t have? What idol in my heart pushes me to spend money? Why am I not satisfied?”

The implications push us to look at our idols and see how the gospel transforms and replaces them.

Links of the Week

  1. 52 key sermons from John Piper. I am a big John Piper fan and if you are new or have listened to him before, this is a great list. It pulls 52 of his sermons from a variety of topics, a great introductory to John Piper and theology.
  2. J.D. Greear on What is the gospel.
  3. AT&T is acting just like a church. I have verizon and eventually will get an iPhone, but this is pretty interesting look at how AT&T is acting like a lot of churches.
  4. Mark Driscoll on What is idolatry. This is a great article.
  5. Thabiti Anyabwile on I’m a complementarian but women must be taught and they must teach.
  6. Where have all the leaders gone? This is right where I am being challenged right now:  how do we raise up leaders, train people to lead in the world’s they inhabit and be on mission everyday?
  7. Paul Tripp on Parenting is never an interruption.
  8. Matt Carter on Missional Communities. This is really challenging me right now as we think through how to take mission and community to a new level at Revolution.
  9. How and why to do daddy dates. I do these with our kids and Dads, I can’t stress how important this is.
  10. Books every leader should read. I’ve read a lot of these, but this list definitely added to my list.
  11. David Wooten on 10 ways you and your church can be involved in orphan care in 2011. This is definitely something on our hearts and these are some great ideas.
  12. This past week, Tucson was rocked by a tragedy. Here are some thoughts from Kevin DeYoung on The tragedy and God’s gift of moral language.
  13. What is the message of the Bible in one sentence?

Your “Little Hell”

“The tricky thing about idolatry is that it is usually the pursuit of something that otherwise good…Idolatry is enslavement to something we love…it’s a good thing that is elevated to a god thing. [So, how can we figure out what our idols are?], define for yourself you ‘little hell.’ For you, hell is being poor, for your it’s being ugly; for you it’s being fat’ for you it’s being unloved; for you it’s being under appreciated; the fear of your hell compels you to choose for yourself a false savior god to save you from that hell…For those whose hell is loneliness, you will choose for yourself a friend or group of friends or a pet – you will do anything for them because they are your functioning saviors from your hell of loneliness.” – Mark Driscoll in Resisting Idolatry like Jesus


Links of the Week

  1. Never make fun of your spouse. My wife Katie has been doing a series of blog posts on our relationship rules and this one is broken by so many spouses. This one change would make a world of difference in your marriage.
  2. All you need to know about church planting in 3 minutes.
  3. Ron Edmondson on Addressing a porn generation.
  4. 4 lessons from Martin Luther on Marriage. This is a great article.
  5. Dave Bruskas on What I’ve learned from raising daughters. Dave is a pastor in New Mexico and has raised 4 daughters so I’d take that as being an expert on the topic.
  6. Gabe Lyons on A third way for the ‘Christian nation’ debate.
  7. How to leave a church well. Sometimes people leave for good reasons and leave well, but often they leave for poor reasons and leave the church by throwing rocks. Love the example from the book of Acts, maybe that is why churches today don’t see the effectives they did in the book of Acts.
  8. Pastors who suffering from relational anorexia. Pastoring is one of the loneliest jobs on the planet, but there are some things you can do to fight it.
  9. Tony Morgan on Signs you have a vision that inspires. These are right on, the clarity at Revolution has inspired people and repelled people. Vision divides and that is okay.
  10. Who needs porn when you have MTV? This is crucial for parents to keep in mind as they raise kids and what they allow on TV. (Note: there is a semi-explicit photo accompanying the article).
  11. 10 easy bible verses for kids to memorize. We have a verse of the week at our house and it has been awesome to see the kids start memorizing scripture.
  12. Loving our Muslim neighbors. This is a great video panel discussion with J.D. Greear and Thabiti Anyabwile.
  13. Christopher Wright on The biggest obstacle for world missions is idolatry. This is a convicting article.
  14. J. Oswald Sanders on Are you ready to be a leader? These are great questions to work through if you want to enter into leadership or have a desire to take on more leadership in your church or business.

Saturday Night Mind Dump… (Sunday Edition)

  • Normally I do my mind dump on Saturday night (hence the name), but I got home last night and was just beat
  • In a good way
  • So I ate dinner, laid on the couch and snuggled with Katie and watched a movie
  • So you get my mind dump a day late
  • Hopefully it will be better than normal
  • Last night was one of those nights that outwardly I don’t think was amazing, but underneath the surface might be one of those nights that a lot of people look back on as the night that things change
  • I talked about the sin the Bible warns against more than any other sin, but it is also the sin that no one thinks they commit
  • Idolatry
  • It was a hard topic to get through
  • I spent all week working through some of my idols, confessing my sins
  • My talk really came out of my own journey and what God has been showing me recently
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • I honestly had no idea how people would receive it, as I said, no one thinks this is a sin for them
  • But I had numerous conversations and have gotten a ton of emails and texts since last night about what God did and is doing in people’s hearts
  • I am blown away by how God works
  • Just finished a book that I wish I could get everyone at Revolution to read
  • It was one of the most convicting books I’ve ever read
  • We also had a baptism last night, which is easily one of the favorite parts of my job
  • Last night’s was more personal for me because I got to baptize someone (Brad) that I invited to Revolution
  • It was so cool having his brother, Rob (who introduced me to Brad) thank me for helping his brother find his way back to God
  • I told Rob, “Thanks for introducing me to your brother”
  • It reminds of how God is always working behind the scenes
  • Then I had a conversation today with someone on the east coast who used to attend Revolution when he lived here and he asked me, “How do you explain what is happening at Revolution?”
  • You can’t
  • That is why I love it, am humbled by it and so grateful to be a part of it
  • We started talking about our next partnership class at Revolution which is coming up in a few weeks
  • For more information, go here
  • Our partnership class is how you get more plugged in to leadership, serving, understanding the beliefs of Revolution, why we do what we do, why those things are important, understanding your spiritual gifts and how best to be a part of what God is doing at Revolution
  • Also, in case you missed it last night, our small groups are filling up for the summer
  • This is the next step from Saturday night
  • If you want to get plugged into the heartbeat of Revolution, you need to get into a group
  • It isn’t too late to sign up yet, to do so go here
  • Many of you have asked how the details of the move are going
  • If you don’t know what I am talking about, go here
  • They are going great, lots of things to do
  • Makes me grateful for the team God has assembled at Revolution because I am not in charge
  • This is another case of God working behind the scenes
  • Love it
  • On a sad note, Katie and the kids get on a plane tomorrow to visit family for the next 15 days
  • Katie’s mom is getting remarried next Saturday in Chicago and then from there they are going to visit my family in PA
  • It is going to be a long (and quiet) 15 days in my house
  • Hoping to get lots of reading done for The Perfect Kid series
  • And because of that
  • I need to go and spend some time with Katie and help finishing last minute details
  • Don’t miss next Saturday at Revolution
  • It is going to be awesome
  • I’m talking about what the Bible has to say about money
  • Here is a little sneak peak:  It isn’t what you think