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"What Are You Chasing?"
Our Declaration of Independence tells us that "the pursuit of happiness" is a fundamental human right. But if you don’t know what will really make you happy it’s futile to pursue it.
I read about an enterprising lady in New York City, where there are very few places to bury a deceased pet. The city authorities will take your pet off your hands for $50, but for a while there was a woman who advertised the same service for half the price. When she got a call, she showed up at the client’s apartment with a second-hand suitcase she had purchased at the Salvation Army for two dollars. She would gently place the deceased pet in the luggage and leave the apartment. Then she would take a ride on the subway, setting the suitcase down and acting like she wasn’t watching. Invariably a thief would steal her suitcase, and she would look up and say, "Wait. Stop. Thief."
Her problem got solved, but my guess is the people who stole those suitcases got a real surprise when they got home!
Some of us are like those New York thieves. We keep grabbing what we think will give us happiness, but we end up with something that doesn’t quite deliver. Maybe that’s why only 20% of the people in the U.S. claim to be happy according to one study. The right to pursue happiness is no guarantee that you will find it.
That’s why we’re going to look at Jesus’ definition of happiness the next four weeks at Hillcrest. In our study through the Gospel of Matthew, we’ve reached the famous Beatitudes. Eight times Jesus declared certain people "blessed" and explained why.
The Beatitudes stand alongside the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 as the most beloved passages of the Bible. But what do they really mean?
That’s what philosopher Dallas Willard asked in his award-winning book, The Divine Conspiracy. "The Beatitudes are acknowledged by almost everyone to be among the highest expressions of religious insight and moral inspiration," he said. "We can savor them, affirm them, meditate upon them, and engrave them on plaques to hang on our walls. But . . . how are we to live in response to them?"
For the next four Sundays we’ll figure out how to answer that question. Join us in our study called "The Pursuit of Happiness" (9:30am or 10:45am).
Baylor Alums, here’s a THEM event for any Austin-area Baylor Bears you know. On Tuesday, February 13, join Baylor football coaches and the Linebacker Club for lunch, 11:30am at Texas Land and Cattle. Cost is $14.00 (including tax) for a "smoked sirloin" or "outlaw chicken" meal, including garlic mashed potatoes, bread and a drink. Contact me and I’ll sign you up.
Attention Austin-Area College Students! Join me for a small-group study of The Anchor Course at the Baptist Student Ministries building on the UT campus. For the next couple of months we’ll meet with other students every Monday. The event is called "Matrix," and it includes a free meal at 6pm, with the small group studies starting at 7pm. Jennifer Adams from our church teaches one course called "Habitudes," and I teach "The Anchor Course." There is a small cost for the book. Find more information about the BSM and a map to get their building here.
Church Anniversary. Our 80th Anniversary will be celebrated
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