A Great Summer read: The Happy Christian
This book has come to my attention several times over these past weeks. Richard Lacey, a Pastor at Woodgreen Evangelical Church in Worcester gives a helpful summary:
'The concept of 'positive faith' is the key theme of the book. Murray shows how this is different from 'positive thinking' and is rooted in understanding and applying gospel truths into our lives. But this is not a dry theoretical treatise - on the contrary - with creativity, warmth and an engaging style Murray applies the gospel to the areas which often make us miserable Christians.
I must admit to being a bit cynical about the title of the book when I picked it up. I did so thinking it might give me some ideas for a sermon series! But I ended being won over by the clarity of Murray's diagnosis of the things that often negatively affect my own heart and the biblical antidotes he presents. Drawing on gospel truths, contemporary scientific research, and personal biography, he showed me how I could live in a more positive way.
Each chapter heading is presented as an equation, the result of which is 'Positive+'. So for example, chapter 1 - entitled 'Happy Facts' - is subtitled 'Facts > Feelings = Positive+'. His point in this chapter is that our feelings are often the most powerful force in our lives. However he goes on to show how negative feelings can often be the result of damaging and sometimes sinful thought patterns which we need to identify and address. He then goes on to show how we can train ourselves to have renewed minds by concentrating more intently on the facts and interpreting them with the eyes of faith. The whole chapter is immensely practical.
And this combination of gospel truth and practical wisdom is repeated in each of the following chapters:
2. Happy Media: Good News > Bad News = Positive+
3. Happy Salvation: Done > Do = Positive+
4. Happy Church: Christ > Christians = Positive+
5. Happy Future: Future > Past + Positive+
6. Happy World: Everywhere Grace > Everywhere Sin = Positive+
7. Happy Praise: Praise > Criticism = Positive+ 8. Happy Giving: Giving > Getting = Positive+
9. Happy Work: Work > Play + Positive+
10. Happy Differences : Diversity > Uniformity = Positive+
One of the books many eminent reviewers - J.I.Packer - said this:
'Happy is a cheap word nowadays, hardly strong enough to describe the realistic, joyful, triumphant Christian life into which David Murray labours to lead us. His book overflows with earthy, deep-rooted biblical wisdom that many miss but all of us need.'
The publisher's blurb is also an accurate reflection of the aim of the book: 'While the world is awash in negativity, Christians have the resources to live differently and this book helps the reader to better understand what that personally means for their life... The Happy Christian invites readers to shed negativity and become countercultural missionaries by demonstrating the positive power of the gospel in their lives.'
Above all, I found this book deeply REFRESHING. It's honest and engaging but above all it pointed me again and again to Jesus, and showed me how the good news about him should impact the way I think and feel'.
Now to put it into practice...
You can get the print version on our church e-bookstore HERE
For a free chapter of the book, the e-book, and even an app to go with it go HERE
Below is the trailer to give you a further flavour of the book: