"Don't worry. Be happy." This song was popular a few years back. Those four simple words became a sort of anthem in popular culture for a time. So much of our self-help babblings focus on making us happy. We are told to think "positive" thoughts, let go of "negative" energy, imagine our "success" and become the "best" person we can be---whatever that means. Did you know that Americans bought 13.5 million self-help books in 2008? Books that purported to help the buyer have more fulfilling relationships, bigger incomes, improved self-esteem, personal growth and coping skills. In a word, how to be happy. We can all agree that happiness is a good thing. But when we look around to popular culture for guidance on how to be happy, our culture fails us. From Oprah and Dr. Phil to Dr. Laura or Cosmopolitan magazine, we are fed a steady diet of bland platitudes about so-called happiness, when what we are really hungry for is truth.
God is all about happiness. Not the happiness the world talks about, like fame or fortune or empty pleasures, but true happiness or "blessedness" which is spiritual and moral fulfillment. The saints in heaven are supremely happy because they're with God, the source of all happiness. We call their happiness "beatitude" and we speak of the beatific vision of God, which the saints enjoy. For His children on earth, true happiness is relative to the happiness of heaven, but no less blessed by God. He wants us to be happy, here and now. In fact, happiness is at the very heart of Jesus' preaching. He gave us His "Eight Step Plan to Complete Happiness" in the Sermon on the Mount, in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10). It was a shock for his disciples to hear what Jesus said to them that day. They wanted an earthly kingdom and earthly happiness, but Christ offered them the very Kingdom of God and eternal happiness. To be truly happy, Christ calls us to re-imagine all our culturally-held beliefs about happiness. The Beatitudes are a radical manifesto of Godly happiness. To be like Christ, we have to embrace truth. And the Truth is that happiness is NOT riches, but poverty; happiness is NOT feeling proud, but sorrowing for sin; NOT prestige, but lowliness; NOT desiring pleasures, but desiring holiness; NOT winning, but showing mercy; NOT doing your own thing, but being single-minded in doing God's thing; NOT manipulating others, but making peace; and NOT popularity, but persecution for the sake of the Cross.
The "blessedness" promised by Christ in the Beatitudes is the true happiness found only in doing God's will. Living the Beatitudes each day is learning to be like Jesus. This kind of happiness challenges the self-centered, pleasure-driven values of our culture every step of the way. Earthly happiness begins and ends with "me." As Catholics, we know that true happiness begins and ends with Jesus Christ. Or as the old saying goes: there is a God and it isn't me. When we replace "self-help" with "Jesus, help me," we take the first step on a lifelong journey of learning to live in Christ and allowing Him to be the source and center of our happiness.
We invite Catholics in our area to worship Christ with us at St. Gerard Majella Catholic Church located at 3049 LaFayette Road in Ft. Oglethorpe. Confession is offered on Saturday at 4:30 pm with Vigil Mass at 5:30 pm. Sunday Masses are at 9:00 and 11:00 am. Do you have questions about Catholicism? Have you thought of joining the Catholic Church? We're having a Catholic Inquiry Evening on Saturday, July 25 at 7pm in our parish hall. If you're interested in learning what it means to be a Catholic, we invite you to attend this relaxed evening of fellowship and answers. For more information, please visit our website at: www.saintgerardmajella.net or call the parish office at 706-861-9410.
"How is it, then, that I seek You, Lord? Since in seeking You, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from You." ---St. Augustine (354-430 AD).
Norma Haisten, Pathway Baptist Church
We has wonderful services today. Bro. Mark preached the morning message. Bro. Bill Walls preached the evening service.
Bro. Mark spoke from Daniel 1:1-17. His topic was 'What It's All About.' Don't come to church to see friends or socialize, but to worship and be blessed with God's grace and goodness. The church is to have purpose; but we are to live for Jesus. What's your plan? God's plan was to create the world, create man and woman. He even sent His only son to die on the cross for our sins. One day, He will return; then we shall live with God forever. Accepting Christ won't make us perfect, but will provide us with an eternal home in heaven. Let your prayer be ; 'God I trust you with my life, family, job and all that I have.' Fact is all that we have comes from the Lord. Live you life with dedication to Him.
Phillip Rodgers, Author, Illustrator, Speaker and Teacher spoke briefly in our morning service about his call to teach children. He was the teacher/speaker for our Children's church service.
Debby Broom led the choir in many songs which was heart blessings. Special singers were Evelyn Nelson, Allen Maroon, Sue Grimes, the choir assisted for each one. Bro. Mark sang solo on ' Grace.' We have a wonderful choir. Debby is a wonderful director, as she has been singing all her life. I really don't know that as a fact, but with Barbara Goodman, as her Mother, who plays piano so great; I feel safe in making that statement. Barbara was playing for a choir as a young girl. June DeSmith plays our organ.
Were you visiting with us today? Thank you from our hearts and trust you were blessed. WE look forward to seeing you again.
Linda Hood is now at home after spending some time in the hospital. Linda has a slight stroke and has been diagnosed with diabetes. Barbara Lee Jones' blood clot has is dissolved and she is doing much better. Chad Skinner, son of Dianne Skinner has a auto accident. He was seriously injured but was hurt by the seat belt and airbag. Vernon Ware has knee surgery on Monday; then the other knee, on Thursday. He is doing OK, but has some weeks of recovery ahead of him. Mary White, a friend of our Ella Kilgore has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Doris Vawter was in our morning service. So pleased to see her; though she has lost a lot of weight; she was already slender. Martha Sisk got to make a trip to Florida; though she has battled cancer a long time. Valerie Mullins was to have her final chemo treatment last Friday. She is have surgery later this month. Kathy Clark is facing back surgery and in a lot of pain. Bro. Charles Blevins was in our morning service. He is improving also. Kathy Chattin is now at home and doing OK, since her second surgery. I finished by radiation treatments on Friday and am healing well from the three surgeries. To God be the glory and honor for improvement and healing of each, listed and continue to pray for us and for Tessa Blansit, Jim Chattin, Ellie Pitts, Julian Lively, other bulletin names. Pray for our military and our country.
July 13; Ladies Sewing Class at 6:30 PM in the Fellowship hall. July 31, Children's Church Lock-in; ages 6-12.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Vacation Bible School 'The Soul Trail.' Proverbs 22:6 will be July 20 thru July 24, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Debby Broom is directing. All children are welcome to share this week.
Happy Birthday Wishes to: Miranda Brock on July 13. Gavin Brock and Shae Chattin on July 16.
Good Thought: The cross of Christ reveals man's sin at its worst and God's love at its best.
Lillie Ware, Salem Baptist Church
We were happy to have Jack and Wilma Leigh back in church after their vacation last week. Jack also celebrated his birthday.
Bro. Glenn Cavin went to Reynolds, Georgia to preach the funeral of one of his members at the First Baptist there.
The family of Billy Whittemore wishes to thank everyone for their kindness, prayers and flowers. Everything was greatly appreciated.
I was so glad Liddy Huskey is doing so well after her recent stroke. Thanks to all who prayed for her.
Loyd Kittle remains very sick continue to pray for him. Bert Ward and William Lake are still very sick pray for them.
We had some good rain last week it really helped the gardens and the yards.
Our homecoming will be next Sunday, July 19 all day. Our church is 162-years- old and still stands proudly on the hill. The New Liberty quartet will be singing in the afternoon. We are really looking forward to having them. You will not find a better group and they love the Lord and are faithful to their church. You are invited to come spend the day at Salem. Rev. Glenn Cavin will preach at the 11 a.m. service.
Our sympathy to the family of Julia Wiggins who died last week. She was the wife of the late attorney John Wiggins.
Wednesday night was our business meeting.
Kristen Gillian Hooper and Raley Marie returned to Oklahoma City Friday after spending a week visiting Sandra and Raley Gillian and Marie Massengill in Atlanta.
Liddy and John Huskey would like to thank all the ladies of Salem who prepared food for them they really enjoyed it.
Happy birthday to Soucci and Trewsie Taylor they both have birthdays in July.
I haven’t heard from Bro. Hugh at Smith’s Chapel. He’s busy looking for that beautiful girl who is a millionaire and can cook. He will never find her. He can learn to cook his own vegetables from his garden.
The Lookout Mountain Council of the Blind had a meeting Saturday at noon at Wally’s in East Ridge. Donna Patillo and Jean Whitfield from the Ringgold First Baptist Church did a very good program everyone enjoyed it.
I got quite a nice surprise Friday evening R.V. Wells visited me and I never laughed so much in my life, he is so funny. We talked about old times and his relatives that I knew. I really enjoyed his visit and hopes he will come visit me again real soon.
Guess what?? I’ve got some good ole Eslinger tomatoes they are really good. That Eslinger family really knows how to grow tomatoes. I am enjoying them.
Correction from last week! The 1949 class reunion will celebrate their 60th class reunion July 25 from 12 Noon until 4 p.m. at the Ringgold depot.
See you at the Homecoming at Salem.
Robbie Rogers, Boynton Baptist Church
Dr. Keith McLeod preached another good message entitled “Why Every Christian Should Tithe and Give Offerings” taken from Malachi 3:6-11. David Marshall directed the choir in “It Could Happen In a Moment”. The he sang a special “Until Then”. In the evening service our pastor preached “There Is A God Here,” taken from John 6:1-13.
Phillip Raikes Jr. is deacon of the week. Monday at 7 p.m. is FAITH riders meeting. Wednesday is Bible study at Rosewood and other usual meetings. Saturday at 8 a.m. is men’s prayer breakfast in the family center. At 9 a.m. Saturday is angel food distribution. July 19 at 11 a.m. will be celebration of the Lord’s Supper. July 19 at 7 p.m. Rev. John Eldridge of “Heartbound” ministries will be our guest speaker.
The youth summer mission trip to Texas is July 10-18. The Seekers class picnic at Fort Mountain is July 25. The children’s reading program awards will be Sunday, July 26 at 11 a.m.
Our sick are Myrtle Holcomb who is in the hospital. Glenda Nichols, Jimmy Lowery, Doc Solomon, Barbara Varnell, Albert and Dot Smith, Pat Headrick, Bob Boger, Vivian Hughes, Jim Boatman, Elwanda Poteet, Wanda Shrader, Keevin Bridges, Jesse Bell, Jean Harris, Imogene Hughes, Agnes Bruce, Alex Swafford, Harlan Pope, Renee Dover, Joyce New, Bob and Mary Belcher, Nadine Pursley, Greg Harris, Floyd Goins, Gwendolyn Boyles, Gladys Anderson, Hazel Arnold, J.O. McLeod, Jeanie Long, Billy Broom, Marcell Davis, Harry Hoover, Flora Lawrence, Glenda Painter, Paul Weaver, Polly Bookout, Dot Hall, Pete Stephens, Gene Case, Newell Epperson Jr., Sally Nance, Lucy O’Donald and many others.
The Bowman reunion was Sunday in the family center.
Happy birthday to Sue Bell, July 10; Gail Cooke, July 10; Marty Green, July 10; James Smothers, July 13; Gennifer Rogers, July 13; Suzanne Young, July 14; Robin Bates, July 15; Sheila Edwards, July 16; Sandi Case, July 20; and Jimmy Lou Wright, July 20.
The softball schedule is July 14 at 7:30, Covenant Life, field 6 and July 14 at 8:30 p.m., Knights of Columbus field 6. All games will be played at Jack Mattox Sports Complex located on Pine Grove Road.
Back to school fair is Saturday, Aug. 1 at 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Catoosa Baptist Association. Free book bags will be presented to the first 125 children.
I was shocked to learn of the death of Julia “Judy” Denman Wiggins on Monday, July 6. She was a 1942 graduate of Ringgold High School. She taught school before starting a family. She worked at Wiggins Law Office in Ringgold until 1998. She was a member of the Ringgold First Baptist Church. She was always smiling and greeting the people who came into her office. Funeral services were Wednesday morning in the funeral home chapel of Heritage Funeral Home. Interment followed in Anderson Cemetery. She will sadly be missed by all who knew her.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
We had a good day Sunday with a 164 in Sunday School and a good crowd for the worship service.
Bro. Stringer preached in both services and the Lord really blessed.
We appreciated all our visitors. It was good to have Mary and John Bartenfield. Mary is feeling better but she has to start taking chemo again on Thursday.
It was an honor to have Sybil Singleton in the service Sunday morning for the first time this year and longer. Her son, Tommy, brought her.
Vicki and Lamar Summers were with us Sunday Morning.
Pray for Jerry Cranmore who had a bad wreck on his motorcycle, he spent several days in I.C.U. by is in a room now.
Continue praying for Bro. Tommy Norman. Remember our sick, Dimple Clark, Ray Greeson, Francis Joplin, Kathryn and Charles Defore, Lucille Brinkley, Robert Puleo, Yolanda Reed, Gregg Headrick, Norma Headrick and so many more.
Belated birthday wishes to my brother, Bryan McAllister on July 9, he was 70 and he won’t mind me telling his age since he hasn’t changed a bit over the years. He is one of the best.
Douglas Whitener will celebrate his 20th birthday on the 20th of July; Miranda Hyatt Brock had a birthday on the 13th.
Our revival will begin on July 20th with Bro. Frankie Hunt from Ohio, and they say he will bless your heart.
Continue praying for our boys, Eddie is doing better, Dale is not doing well at all, he may be going to a hospital in Atlanta for some diagnosis and treatment. Just pray about this.
Shelby Hasty is doing so much better since his heart surgery, he is walking three or four miles a day.
Betty Witt was in the hospital last week. She is having some heart problems.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
We were honored on Wednesday Night to have two of our Missionaries with us in the service. Tom and Dottie Lancaster that are working with the Armed Forces in Europe. They try to see that every Armed Force Base has a Bible Preaching Church near by. They are home now because Bro. Lancaster has to have surgery on his shoulder. Pray for him and the work there in Germany. Also with us was Harold and Bridgette Holdbrook, Missionaries in Ghana, West Africa.Bro. Harold has had Leukemia for about 10 years but Thank the Lord he is doing good with the treatments he is having. He said they did look to America for Spiritual help but now they feel the need to pray for America.Continue to pray for our Missionaries.
We were pleased to have our visitors in the service Sunday Night. It was good to see Doris Parker her husband, Bro. Lamar Parker was the Pastor of Pleasant Valley years ago.
On July 19th, we will have Bro. Kendall McCracken who is with the Rock of Ages Prison Ministry in the Sunday Evening Service. Come hear about the work they are doing in the prisons.
This month our Nursing Home Service will be July 21 at 10:30 a.m. at Standifer Place. Come out for this if possible. It is always a blessing.
Then Sunday Night, August 2nd at 6:30 p.m. and Monday-Wednesday Night at 7:00 p.m. we will be in Revival with Bro. Mike Bagwell as our speaker each night. You will be blessed to hear this man of God preach the Word.
We were glad Ken and Denise Pitts got away for a few days vacation last week. They do so much with their jobs and all they do for the church. I hope they were able to relax and get a well deserved rest.
The Silvey Reunion was well attended. Of course there are always some that can't make it and we miss them. There was plenty of food and everyone enjoyed getting to see family members that we don't see very often.
Some have been wondering about where Gene Yates is now. He is at Life Care of East Ridge.He is doing good there and would love for his friends to visit him when they can.
Dr. Kerry Bunn, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Ringgold is having some health problems and I'm sure would appreciate your prayers for him.So remember him when you pray.
We send Condolences to the Wiggins Family in the death of their loved one, Judy Wiggins.
Others on our prayer list this week are: Jeanette Young, Ellie Pitts, Lula Petty, Betty Pitts, Louise Clark, Bro. Cliff and Faye Robinson, James Robinson, Norma Headrick, Greg Headrick, James Teems and Family, Gage Roberson, Lloyd Kittle, Ruby Logan, Ruby Stafford, Virginia Cox, Nell Land, Billy Partin,Our Servicemen and Women and Our Country.
Happy Birthday Wishes go to Heather Flood, July 15. Dorothy Holdiman and Judy Headrick, July 18. Carolyn Denton and Jason Pitts, July 19. Carly Diver, July 21.
Chris Petty, Poplar Springs Baptist Church
Last Friday was John Calvin's 500th birthday. He was born July 10, 1509, in Noyon, France. Martin Luther was twenty-five years old and had just begun to teach the Bible in Wittenberg. Calvin's legacy, often misunderstood and misrepresented, is worthy of our reflection. It is perhaps best captured in his own words written in a letter to the Italian Cardinal Sadolet in 1538: he desired to "set before [man], as the prime motive of his existence, zeal to illustrate the glory of God." In other words, Calvin devoted his life and work to magnifying the reality and majesty of God.
In the midst of exile, life-threatening persecution, and chronic illness, Calvin relentlessly preached and wrote about the glory of God as revealed in the scriptures. In addition to preaching an average of five sermons per week, he gave biblical lectures as a professor. He published the first edition of his most famous work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, in March of 1536, revising and enlarging it five times over the next 23 years. It remains one of the top classics that all Christians should read. Moreover, he wrote numerous tracts and commentaries (on all the New Testament books except Revelation, plus the Pentateuch, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Joshua). He truly had a burning "zeal to illustrate the glory of God."
He was not a perfect man. No one ever has been, save Jesus Christ -- Calvin would be the first to admit it (one of the effects of his devotion to the majesty of God was a deep and utter sense of humility). However, I believe his imperfect life exalted the glory of God. I commend his writings to you as worthy of reflection. He has much to say to our self-exalting generation.
Chris Petty is the senior pastor of Poplar Springs Baptist Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.