Table of Contents: The Happy Christian

1 · Happy Facts Facts > Feelings = Positive+

Chapter 1 is on the sometimes uncontrollable sway of our emotions, and how we can gain mastery over them. It uses the Psalms as a guide for this.

2 · Happy Media  Good News > Bad News = Positive+

Chapter 2 speaks to issues of negative outlook, eagerness to criticize. Need to replace with Paul’s instruction in Philippians 4:8 and exhortation to meditate on the good, pure, and noble. The Gospel provides a new focal point.

3 · Happy Salvation Done > Do = Positive+

Chapter 3 focuses on the Law/Gospel distinction. In particular speaks of peace in conscience, to serve, and for life, and death.

4 · Happy Church Christ > Christians = Positive+

Chapter 4 is about overlooking faults in the local church (like hypocrisy, and the hypercritical) to see the importance of fellowship and community for happiness. In particular: talks about how to bear with the weaknesses of other Christians, and also the ‘inadequacy’ of virtual church to meet our community needs.

5 · Happy Future Future > Past = Positive+

Chapter 5 talks about the importance of remembering the past works of God (creation, redemptive-history, church history, world history, and personal history). But also talks about the problem of our past history of sin, and how to deal with it. Challenges us to contemplate the future God has for us. Discusses Christian hope. Also discusses the application and present benefits of hope.

6 · Happy World Everywhere Grace > Everywhere Sin = Positive+

Chapter 6 is about God’s common grace, and learning to find value in the world and in other people.

7 · Happy Praise Praise > Criticism = Positive+

Chapter 7 is about speaking words of affirmation, and being people who encourage. Also talks about right and wrong ways to give criticism.

8 · Happy Giving Giving > Getting = Positive+

Chapter 8 is about sacrificial giving and money. It’s also about giving thanks and gratitude. It applies principles of self-giving to marriage, leading, and following, as well.

9 · Happy Work Work > Play = Positive+

Chapter 9 is about vocation. Talks about God’s providential work through us. Talks about work as a form of worship to God. Also discusses rest and leisure, and danger of over emphasizing work

10 · Happy Differences Diversity > Uniformity = Positive+

Chapter 10 discusses multi-culturalism, racism, and how to reach out to those of a different ethnic background. Talks about pursuing diversity in the church.

Conclusion: Grand Total = Positive Faith = The Happy Christian

The “Conclusion” gets into the ‘yeah, buts…’ like: besetting sin, and suffering. Also points us ultimately to heaven.




It is Hard to Admit Our Prejudices

“None of us like to admit that we have sinful prejudices, and even fewer of us want to deal with them and drive them out of our lives. Part of that is not wanting to accept how sinful we are. But part of it is that it is really, really hard to believe we can be happier and our lives can actually be enhanced and improved by embracing and pursuing more diversity than uniformity. Can diversity really be a positive in our lives?” -David Murray, The Happy Christian

Why Can’t Everyone Be More Like Me?

“The seminary where I taught had a good number of international students from almost every continent, and their diverse learning and preaching styles began to challenge me and reveal a little of my barely hidden sense of cultural superiority. Why can’t everyone be more like me?” -David Murray, The Happy Christian

The ‘Highest’ Calling Is What God Has Called You To Do, Whatever That Is

“If we accept this biblical view of work, we will stop thinking that gospel ministry is the highest calling. The work that God has given you is the highest calling and is itself a God-given ministry. The ministry is the highest calling only for those whom God has called to ministry (and as Paul said, God usually calls the least of all saints to that work). But if God has called you to another kind of work, that is His highest calling for you.” -David Murray, The Happy Christian


There is no excuse for this, as Martin Seligman underlined:

You have to be blinded by ideology not to see that almost everything is better in every wealthy nation than it was fifty years ago: we now have about three times more actual purchasing power in the United States. The average house has doubled in size from 1,200 square feet to 2,500 square feet. In 1950 there was one car for every two drivers; now there are more cars than licensed drivers. One out of five children went on to post–high school education; now one out of two children does. Clothes—and even people—seem to look more physically attractive. Progress has not been limited to the material: there is more music, more women’s rights, less racism, more entertainment, and more books. If you had told my parents, living in a 1,200-square-foot house with me and Beth, my older sister, that all this would obtain in only fifty years, they would have said, “That will be paradise.”

And yet “the average American, Japanese, and Australian is no more satisfied with life than fifty years ago, and the average Brit and German is less satisfied.” -David Murray, The Happy Christian