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If you’re Happy and You Know it Serve the Lord (clap,clap)             September 2017

Have you ever run into parents who think it is their sole job to make their kids happy? This can be quite a consuming mindset as they try to keep up with ever increasing worldly demands. I daresay it has the high potential to lead to a frustrated child (enough is never enough) and worn out, financially broke parents. I think some of us look at God that way and feel it is His job to make us happy. While God’s Word tells us that Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the full, (from John 10:10), that doesn’t mean God is waiting to grant us all our worldly desires. Those things won’t make us have lasting joy and happiness anyway. In the June Thrivent Magazine, results of a study were published about the correlation between happiness and volunteerism. The conclusion was that the more people volunteer, the happier they are compared to people who never volunteer. If we are like children, looking to God to give us “things” so that we will be happy, not only will be disappointed (He does not operate that way), but the selfish nature of such a mindset will draws us away from the purpose God has for our lives: to love God, to love others. However, if we willingly volunteer and our motivation for such kind acts is simply the desire to live out our faith and love others the way God has loved us, then the natural by-product of this is a sense of happiness. God wired us to feel joy when we serve and love others. In this case, volunteering actually becomes an act of discipleship (becoming more like Jesus). Recently, Pastor Margay gave time during a worship service for people to fill out Time and Talent forms. These forms are tools to help folks recognize ways to use their gifts in the life of the church so that people aren’t just filling jobs that need to be done at St. John’s, but are putting discipleship into practice. If you haven’t filled one out in the last few years I encourage you to get one from the white folder (to the right when you walk in the church office) and complete it. For those who are unsure of what their gifts are, I have a tool called a “Spiritual Gift Inventory” (SGI) a person can fill out and get an idea of what his/her gifts might be. (Please see me if you would like to take the SGI.) If you are already using many of your gifts, continue to pray for wisdom. Just because you have done a certain job for years, doesn’t mean you can’t do something different if you feel God pulling you in another direction. I also encourage participation in a small group (Christ Care Groups, Bible Studies, Men’s Ministry Groups, etc.) because this can be a wonderful source of support and strength in moving forward with discipleship practices such as using your gifts. (See me if you need ideas on what group might be right for you.) True lasting Christian joy, of course, is the assurance that God has already given us the biggest gift this world has ever seen, his saving grace through Jesus. Serving others is just a responsive expression of gratitude for this gift from God. Longing for the kingdom to come (life eternal with our Lord) and living in the kingdom here and now (discipleship) fills us with the joy of Jesus; the “way we have life and have it to the full.”
Jeanne Jones

(Director of Lay Ministry)