Just Because You’ve Found Happiness, Doesn’t Mean You’ve Found Truth

Americans are told that we have the RIGHT to pursue happiness. American citizens can do whatever makes them happy. It’s our right.

Oh sure, it’s entirely not true, but still, it makes us feel happy to say we have the RIGHT to pursue happiness.

My pursuit of happiness, if fully acted upon, would lead me to no longer pay taxes. Try it. See what happens to your “right to pursue happiness.”

You have the RIGHT to pursue happiness, unless your happiness breaks our laws, is what the Founders meant. They attempt to blame this right on our Creator, but there is no common-sensical reading of the Bible that would lead someone to believe that God made us to pursue our notions of happiness.

Happiness largely depends on lust. Our body wants to feed one appetite or another, and is not happy until that lust is met. Happiness then, can be one of the most destructive forces in your life.

Your body will pursue its happiness until it kills itself. When fleshly cravings go unchecked–when happiness is never set aside–your body will narcissistically destroy itself.

It’s a five-year old after Trick-or-Treating. If there’s no mom or dad around, that candy will be gone, only to make a disgusting reappearance a few minutes later.

I have heard many Christians explain to me that their new theological views have transformed their lives. “I’ve never been happier since seeing this truth.” I’ve heard this phrase from many people in relation to many theological camps.

These theological camps don’t agree with each other, which more than likely means at least one of them are wrong, yet both reportedly make people happy.

–I’ve never been happier since coming to believe the doctrines of Calvinism.
–I’ve never been happier since believing Arminianism.

–Being saved from legalism has made me so happy.
–Being saved from hyper-grace license has made me so happy.

–My life is so much happier now that I’ve left ritualistic religion.
–My life is so much happier now that I’ve found the safety of ages old ritual.

On and on it goes. I’ve heard it all. It all leads me to this conclusion:

Happiness is an unstable foundation for doctrine.

Happiness may be a result of finding true doctrine, but true biblical doctrine has a cost. When Truth enters, the flesh gets pruned and it hurts. The end of the chastening pruning is joy, no doubt about it. The joy will come.

And, yes, there is joy from having come to the truth after living with it clouded over for so long, I’m not denying that.

My point is that happiness better not be your main instigator of doctrinal truth. Just because it “makes you happy,” doesn’t mean it’s true.

It very well could be that you are happier with your new theology because your flesh gets away with more stuff. Your conscience is eased because what were issues before, are no longer issues now.

It’s like the youth who grows up in stodgy Christianity going off to college and becoming an atheist! There is no happier man on the earth than this guy! His flesh can run free! Free as a bird now!

Of course he’s happier.

Happiness is not a bad thing, please don’t take me there. My question is: why does it make you happy?

Is your happiness based on your flesh spreading its wings? Is your happiness based on finding a group your flesh now feels safe in? Is your happiness based on the break your brain can now take from thinking? Is your happiness based on the liberating Truth of Jesus Christ?

Happiness is a poor judge of whether you have found truth. At the same time, if there is no happiness, you probably haven’t found the truth. But just because you are happy, doesn’t mean you’ve found the truth! Just examine the happy is all.

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty

If Jesus Were a Slumping Major League Hitter. . .

Baseball playoffs are about to begin. It should be an interesting playoff season with some new teams involved and traditional contenders eliminated.

One of the peculiarities of baseball is interpreting batting statistics. Announcers will talk about hitters being in slumps. “He’s 0 for his last 18 at bats.” This is then spun, depending on who the announcers are cheering for, in one of two ways

  1. He’s 0 for his last 18, so you definitely want to pitch to this struggling batter, or
  2. He’s 0 for his last 18, so he’s due for a hit.

So, which is it? Is 0 for your last 18 a predictor of what he’ll do this time or not?

The problem with predictions is that none of us knows the future, therefore, past performance is no indicator of future results.


Peter talks about scoffers in the last days mocking the Bible’s teaching about the return of the Lord.

Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

The scoffer’s logic looks like this

A. The Bible says the Lord will return to judge the earth
B. The Lord has not returned, nor judged
C. Therefore, the Bible is wrong in saying the Lord will return to judge the earth.

It’s simple logic, and somewhat self-refuting. If the Lord has returned to judge the earth we would not be here to wonder if the Lord is returning. The only person who can wonder if the Lord will return, is a person who is living prior to the Lord’s return.

Someone else can use similar logic yet come to a different conclusion:

A. The Bible says the Lord will return to judge the earth
B. The Lord has not returned, nor judged
C. Therefore, the Lord must be coming back sooner now than ever before!

I have no way to predict when the Lord will return. I do, however, have confidence that the Bible knows what it’s talking about when it comes to prophecy. Since the Bible has been right before in predicting the future, I’m confident to stick with it again.

Therefore, the Lord’s seeming delay, to me, just means He’s due!

Sharing Your Opinions May Keep You Stupid

The internet has about fried me.

I had so many dreams when I first hooked up to the World Wide Web back in 1995. I had web pages on GeoCities and blogs and all sorts of stuff. I was going to win the world in the relative comfort of my desk chair!

Then along came 1996 when I got my first internet troll. People are the same on the internet as they are in real life. Except worse, since there is relative anonymity.

The internet has now become a place to badger people and tell everyone every single thought that enters your head. The internet, rather than becoming a place of infinite resources to discover knowledge, has become a place of offended, knee-jerk diatribing.

I must pause. My knee is jerking me into an anti-internet diatribe.

I apologize.

Anyway, people have been expressing opinions for a long time. I imagine the first cave painting was actually a diagram in an argument about the best way to kill a woolly mammoth.

mammoth“See you keep sticking the spear in his rear end. That won’t work, you have to go on the side.”

One of the things I’ve noticed about people who share umpteen opinions a day is that they rarely make sense.

In fact, there seems to be a connection between not knowing what you’re talking about and sharing your opinions.

The less you know; the more opinions you share. The more opinions you share; the less you will know.

This happens because, once you’ve shared your opinion, you don’t really care about facts. All you care about is defending your opinion. Learning facts will only get in the way. When you’re talking; you’re not listening.

Perhaps you think I am showing my own ignorance by expressing my opinion on opinion-sharing fools. But alas, this is not my opinion, this is God’s Word:

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
    but only in expressing his opinion.

Next time you have the urge to share an opinion, make sure you know what you’re talking about. Is being more stupid an OK result for having shared your opinion? Are you more interested in defending your opinion than knowing the facts?

It’s OK to keep a thought to yourself. Try it some time. You might find it to be very freeing.

The Mechanical Turk and God

Back in the late 18th century, a magical machine traveled the world, beating people at chess. It was called The Mechanical Turk. It was able to beat such people as Napoleon and Benjamin Franklin over the course of about 100 years.

But due to the sleuthing of such people as Edgar Allen Poe, it was discovered that the Mechanical Turk was a hoax.

turkInside the box under the chess board, was hiding one of a number of chess masters. By pushing levers, they were able to manipulate pieces on the board to win.

It was not a machine; it was a person making the decisions, much to the chagrin of an admiring public.

Mechanical Turks are now a reality. Deep Blue, the chess computer, famously knocked of chess Master Kasparov and everything changed. I can’t even beat the free Kindle chess app that often.

Mechanical Turks also have a home in Christian theology. Many people view the chess board as their life. They are seated with the turban on their head, doling out loss after loss to the world.

But, in the end, we know it’s God who is really pulling the levers. Although, to all appearances, I am making the choices, God is really the genius behind the scenes making me do everything I do.

This Mechanical Turk is the God of Calvinism/Fatalism/Predeterminism.

Others see God in the chair, making the moves, yet behind the scenes it’s just a person. We make the calls down here, behind the scenes, and God does our bidding.

This Mechanical Turk God takes many forms: from those who see God as a figment of our imagination, to Name it and Claim it Charismatics, to God owes me because of what I do legalists.

In reality, life isn’t at all like a Mechanical Turk. You are making the calls in your life, while God does what God said He would do. We are to listen to Him and make our choices.

You are responsible for what you do. The Bible says every person will be judged by their works. It says this a lot, it’s only a matter of looking it up in the Bible and accepting it.

If we are all judged for our works, this means we are the ones who did them and we are the ones responsible for them. God does not judge Himself for your works. God judges us for our works and He will do this.

As much as people would like to eliminate personal responsibility and blame God for everything we do, or assume God approves of all we do and makes it all work for our material benefit, neither approach will cut it on Judgment Day.

You will give an account for every deed done in the body. I’m pretty sure this means we should be careful what our bodies do. Don’t blame God. Don’t blame Satan. Don’t blame your parents. Deal with reality. Take responsibility.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Sermon: 2 Peter 3

For some reason, the program I use to change my file to an MP3 for listening to it on the internet, has decided not to cooperate today. Therefore, you will have to use your own savvy to figure out how to listen to this! Hopefully the program will go back to normalcy next week.

You can subscribe to the Rhinelander Bible Church podcast on iTunes here.