Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ortberg and the Happiness Paradox: Leadership Weekly

Skye Jethani
Leadership managing editor

Last week I attended the Willow Creek Association's REVEAL conference. Bill Hybels was the opening speaker, and apart from discussing the impact of the REVEAL research, I was surprised by what he identified as the church's biggest challenge. Hybels says the largest gap exists not between seekers and believers, but between less mature Christians and "Christ-centered" Christians. The less mature, he says, believe that "God is for me, my plans, and my agenda in this world." But the truly Christ-centered have given up their lives and dreams in complete surrender to him. "A big honkin' thing has to happen for a Christian to move from self-centered to Christ-centered." This week's Leader's Insight from John Ortberg addresses the dilemma Bill Hybels identified. Ortberg, who happened to be the closing speaker at the REVEAL conference, says that our old definition of the gospel has failed to deliver us from the devastating and chronic selfishness that plagues this world. Evangelism that focuses on, "If you die tonight where will you go?" aims squarely at personal happiness. But, according to Ortberg, real happiness is rarely attained by direct pursuit.

This is a significant insight from Bill Hybels. I wonder what is this "big honkin' thing" that Bill refers to.


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