We are a group of imperfect people pursuing a perfect God. We exist to help each other find and follow Christ. These are some things we want to be true of our group:
- We create a safe and honest environment, staying transparent and authentic.
- We keep it inside the circle. Confidentiality is necessary for a healthy group.
- We look together to the Bible for help and guidance, and keep out our own politics, sales, or agendas.
- We do not try to fix each other, preach sermons, or give unsolicited advice. We instead encourage, listen to, and celebrate each other.
- We handle conflict between us quickly and honestly by going to the person, owning our part, and practicing forgiveness.
- We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
- We trust that it is God’s role to change people, not ours.
- We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
- Do you like knowing the end of the story before you start? Are you a last page reader?
It's so easy for us to let weeks and months turn into years without stopping to evaluate what we are really doing with our lives. But, we have the incredible opportunity to begin again. In this series we are looking to what God says matters in our everyday lives and discovering together how to leverage the way we live to make a lasting difference.
One of the wisest men in history arrived at the end of his life and summed up his pursuits with one word: meaningless. King Solomon tried to fill the God-sized hole in his heart with everything he could possibly chase after, but realized at the end that the only way to find happiness is to chase God, and let happiness, joy, and contentment find us.
- Would you consider yourself a happy person right now? When have you been happiest in life?
Read Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 together.
1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.”
3 What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.
Have you experienced the meaninglessness that Solomon talks about here? Can you relate to his difficulty finding purpose and contentment in life?
- Square Pegs in a God-Sized Hole
Breaux said that we all try to fill the hole inside us with many different things... and Solomon tried everything. Throughout your life, have you tried to find contentment or meaning with things like pleasure, fun, comfort, money, power, or fame? What has failed to give you the contentment or meaning that they promised?
- Square Pegs in a God-Sized Hole
- Helping Others Change
At the end of his life, Solomon wanted to make sure that those following him knew how meaningless his pursuit of happiness really was. Who has done that for you? Who has stood ahead of you and warned you about fruitless pursuits?
- >>> Follow-Up Question
Who in your life can you do that for? What are some practical ways that you could be that person for someone else?
- >>> Follow-Up Question
According to some current research, circumstances only account for less than 10% of our happiness. But still, we constantly try to change our circumstances to make ourselves happier. What circumstances do you find yourself trying to change in life right now so you can be happy?
- Chasing After God
Breaux said that happy people chase after God, and happiness follows after them. Have you seen that work out in your life? What is different about your life, or about you, when you chase after God?
- Competing Pursuits
We can only chase after so many things - so to chase after God, we often have to stop chasing other things that we think will make us happy. What pursuits for happiness are competing with the attention and energy that you need to follow God more closely?
READ. PRAY. DO.
Check in on how last week's READ / PRAY / DO went. What did everyone learn about themselves or God by reading, praying, or doing?
- The Book of Ecclesiastes
Read Solomon's entire "journal" about his pursuit of meaning and happiness!
- The Book of Ecclesiastes
Prayer is simply talking honestly to God, in your own words or sometimes words written by others. Try praying this prayer, or something like it, throughout your week:
God, help me seize every moment. Time is precious and we have a limited amount of it. Help us have the perspective you have, so that we can see what pursuits will leave us empty at the end. Teach us how to live for only the most important things, and not waste the hours of the lives you've given us.
“Fasting (cutting something out temporarily) is detaching yourself from the earth. Prayer is attaching yourself to God.” That's the idea! With so many things competing in our lives for our attention, and so many things offering to make us happy, it's hard give God the attention we should. So try cutting something out (called "fasting"). Let it serve as a reminder, a placeholder, to turn your attention to God and read the Bible, pray, or even just sit quietly.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV)
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of every human being.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 (NLT)
These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
"emptiness, futility, a vapor that which vanishes quickly and leaves nothing behind"
“Life is a blister on top of a tumor, and a boil on top of that."
- Sholom Aleichem
Ecclesiastes 2:1-2 (NLT)
I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?”
“Sometimes I feel I’m living a meaningless life. I know I’m one of the luckiest dudes in America right now. I have a great house. My parents don’t have to work. I’ve got money. I’m famous. But it could all change, man. It could go away. You never know…I don’t handle fame well. Most actors on most days don’t think they’re worthy. I have no idea where this insecurity comes from, but it’s a God-sized hole. If I knew, I’d fill it, and I’d be on my way.”
- Shia Lebeuff
Ecclesiastes 2:3 (NLT)
After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
Ecclesiastes 2:4-6 (NLT)
I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves.
Ecclesiastes 2:7-8 (NLT)
I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire!
“Everything I touched turned to gold. But inside, I was broken and totally defeated. I remember sitting at the back of the practice field one afternoon, away from everybody, and tears were running down my face. I was saying to myself, "This is so meaningless. I'm so unhappy. We're winning every week and I'm playing great, but I'm not happy." I tried everything. Parties, women, buying expensive jewelry and gadgets, and nothing helped. There was no peace. I had everything the world has to offer, but no peace, no joy, just emptiness inside. The Bible describes it in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes as chasing after the wind, and that's exactly what it was like.”
- Deion Sanders
Ecclesiastes 2:9-11 (NLT)
So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
“When we are pursuing the things that don’t have the power to make us happy, we are ignoring the ones that do.”
- Dr. Henry Cloud
- Happy people are givers
- Happy people are not lazy about happiness
- Happy people don’t wait for “someday”
- Happy people pursue goals
- Happy people fully engage
- Happy people connect
- “Better a Krispy Kreme with friends than a salad alone.” Broverbs 1:1
- Happy people don’t compare themselves
- Happy people think well
- Happy people are grateful
- Happy people forgive
- Happy people have a calling
- Happy people have faith