Saturday, July 10, 2004

A Good Blog

A wonderful blog I check often is written by Pastor Craig S. Williams, who is now on a sabbatical. I've never met Craig, but he seems like a gracious, authethic person who tries to live each day for Christ. Check out the latest posting on his site.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Horrible Situation in Sudan...and What Can Be Done

This coming Sunday, I will be preaching on Jesus' beatitude: "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy" (Matthew 5:7).

One of the striking things I've been reminded of as I've studied and prepared this week, is that the Biblical notion of mercy entails sympathy for those who are afflicted in any way. But it moves beyond a feeling to action. God has shown sympathy for us by becoming one of us, dying on the cross for us, and offering new life to all who will turn from sin and receive Christ as Savior. But, Jesus seems to be saying, we build walls between ourselves and God when we harden our hearts and refuse to be merciful, actively compassionate for those in need.

This is hard for me to know and think about because I am so comfortable in my middle class American life style. It is so easy to live as self-contained creatures here.

For some time now, I have watched and read about the humanitarian crisis in Sudan and not done much. The crisis is huge and it's easy to say, "Well, I can't do anything anyway." But as a Christian, I follow a Savior Who has told all of His followers that they would be empowered by His Spirit to do greater works even than He accomplished while on earth.

I'm a communicator and so, I want to use this platform to do several things:

(1) Inform you about the crisis in the Sudan;

(2) Ask you for your prayers;

(3) Encourage you to do what you can at your personal and local level, possibly contributing to relief agencies.

Below are links to stories about the Sudan crisis, as well as agencies and organizations to which you might wish to contribute. God bless you!

This article provides basic information on Sudan. It comes from the Division for Global Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

This article, by a BBC reporter, gives her experiences traveling through Darfur province in Sudan.

This is a great Q-and-A about the roots and disastrous consequences of the terrors in Sudan. It also was produced by BBC News.

Information and the opportunity to contribute to relief efforts in Darfur, through Lutheran World Relief, the world's most cost-effectively operated charity, can be found here.

This link presents information and a chance to contribute to efforts by Doctors without Borders.

May we all learn the meaning of mercy. God bless you!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

A Biography of the Other Adams

Book Review:
John Quincy Adams by Robert V. Remini (New York: Henry Holt and Company)

The historian is to be more than a regurgitator of facts and figures. The historian’s art involves the interpretation of facts as well as the surfacing of patterns and connections between people, events, and trends. It’s a subtle art that demands that, even when the historian’s ideology, passions, or convictions are engaged, she or he make fair judgements about the truth and its meaning. Historians must do this without intruding on the events they record and interpret.

Some who write history can’t seem to get this right. They either veer off into the error of personal intrusion or they play it safe, producing works that recount facts without attempting to make sense of them.

One prominent historian/biographer for example, has recently torn off in each of these errant directions in two different best-selling biographical works. In one, he intruded on history by creating a fictional character who ostensibly was a life-long friend of his biography’s subject, thus manufacturing fake history and distorting the story. In another, he recounted the day-to-day life of his subject over an eight year period with virtually no interpretation of that life at all.

The historian must strive to interpret while being accurate and fair.

But even with that goal in mind, two historians can look at the same people and events---even the same primary sources (things like letters, diaries, memos)---and playing the role of fair interpreters, derive markedly different conclusions.

One of the most striking things about historian Robert V. Remini’s new biography of John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, is the interpretation he offers of Adams’ parents and upbringing. It presents a stark contrast to the portrait of John and Abigail Adams and their parenting style that we find in David McCullough’s masterful biography of John Q. Adams’ father and presidential antecedent, John. In John and Abigail Adams, McCullough found two loving parents, persons of deep faith, great intelligence, and extraordinary resourcefulness---and not a little prickliness---who presided happily over their family. But Remini sees John and Abigail as distant, demanding, and moralistic. He is particularly critical of Abigail. He even approvingly quotes biographer Paul Nagel’s conclusion that Abigail was “a calamity as a mother.”

Whether Remini or McCullough are correct about Abigail Adams, it’s clear that the former feels that Abigail’s alleged deficiencies as a parent explain much about the career of John Quincy Adams. And in fact, there is much that needs explaining. Like his father, John Quincy was a one-term president. That may be attributable in part it seems, to deficiencies as politicians shared by the father and the son: They lacked the ability to incite allegiance, but were facile in creating animosity. Both were highly principled, which made their occasional dalliances in hardball politics--it seems fairly clear that J.Q. Adams made a deal with Henry Clay in order to secure election in the U.S. House of Representatives following the inconclusive 1824 presidential election, for example--seem more deplorable.

Remini’s book makes it clear that John Quincy Adams as president was dogged not just by a cold, aloof personality and a tin-ear as a politician, but also by a rather unscrupulous demagogue for an opponent in Andrew Jackson. (In this, Jackson played the same role first played by the similarly unscrupulous and demagogic Thomas Jefferson vis-a-vis the elder Adams.) From the moment Jackson lost the presidency to J.Q. Adams, he set out to thwart the president at every turn and to stack the deck for his own ascendancy to the White House in the subsequent election.

But Remini’s book, part of the new American Presidents series, published by Henry Holt and Company, under the general editorship of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., does have something in common with McCullough’s book about his father: It demonstrates that the most interesting, consequential, and illustrious part of this Adams’ life, like John, occurred before and after his one unhappy term as president.

Before the account of the younger Adams’ presidency, Remini makes a stunning claim:

John Quincy Adams is arguably the greatest secretary of state to serve that office.

There are compelling reasons for that argument. First of all, there is Adams’ pedigree. His parents saw to it that he was groomed throughout his life for service to his country, particularly as a diplomat. He in fact, did serve as an effective and often, imaginative emissary for his country prior to being tapped as President Monroe’s chief diplomat.

Adding to Remini’s argument is Adams’ actual performance as secretary of state. It was he who formulated what came to be called the Monroe Doctrine, a strong foundational principle that has guided US diplomacy in the Western Hemisphere for two centuries.

In his post-presidential years, Adams’ political career was given a resurrection. Voters in Massachusetts saw fit to elect him to the House of Representatives. There, as an elder statesman who sometimes employed shrill rhetoric, sometimes soared beyond his natural gifts as an orator, he fought the institution of slavery. While he wasn’t necessarily all-out against the peculiar institution and may have been, as Remini suggests, politically motivated, seeking revenge against the southern Democrats who sabotaged his administration as president, he played an important role in the development of opposition to slavery.

I loved reading Remini’s biography of Henry Clay several years ago. His expertise in the history of the period of Clay’s, Jackson’s, and Adams’ life is clear. In spite of the brevity of this text, he successfully evokes the feeling of the period and his take on the life and character of John Quincy Adams is well-founded. While one may disagree or have reservations about his interpretation of events, this is a fine book written by a great practitioner of the historian's art.

Monday, July 05, 2004

My Cackling Metabolism Thingy (The Column Version)

[Below is the column version of my recent essay on my weight gain. I hope you enjoy it.]

It started shortly after my forty-ninth birthday. Until then, I’d been able to eat baked goods with impunity. I “breakfasted” each day on four slices of wheat toast, along with OJ and a banana. Sandwiches were a usual part of my diet. I loved occasionally stuffing slices of dry bread into my mouth. Cookies, sweet rolls, specialty breads, and other baked goodies have all been perennial favorites.

I was able to eat this stuff and keep my weight under control. I never even thought about how much I weighed. From age thirty, I stayed at about 159-pounds.

Then my brain issued orders to my metabolism thingy---that’s the technical term I use for it. The order: Get older; slow the process by which you break down and process all those baked items. My metabolism thingy obeyed.

At first, I didn’t notice because just as this order was issued, my wife came home from work with news. She and her fellow employees and their families had been offered a special deal for membership at a local gym. I was enthusiastic about the idea of joining. We checked the gym out and got a membership. Being a cheapskate, I decided not to pay the extra money for a few sessions with a personal trainer. Later, I realized that the sessions would have helped familiarize me with the torture devices there and ultimately, prevented problems. But I didn’t know that then. The music videos playing in the gym kept me from hearing my metabolism-thingy laughing at my ignorance. I’ve come to recognize its cackle since.

Because I’d never really worked out regularly, I knew that I needed to ramp my exercising up slowly. That’s why one month into hitting the gym for an average of four days a week, I was only doing 200 crunches a session.

“That’s Britney country!” my doctor’s assistant told me the day I went in for my appointment, complaining of some “mysterious” pain in my groin. It shouldn’t have been a mystery: I had herniated myself. That’s when I first noticed the cackling.

It was a mild hernia. The doctor said that I should lay off lower-body exercises for awhile. I focused on my upper body. But I would take it slow!

I thought I did. One night though, using weights, I felt a crunching in my neck and shoulder. I ignored it. I shouldn’t have; I was damaging my neck and rotator cuff. I’ve been in physical therapy ever since. For the first few months of that process, I wasn’t allowed any exercise.

That’s when the cackling got really loud. It came because my metabolism thingy saw an opening to full implementation of its orders. It came because another habit I’d developed in the months I’d been working out was devouring every baked good in sight after I returned, famished, from the gym. No longer engaging in the habit of exercise, I nonetheless kept on with the habit ot eating to excess. I ballooned. One morning, I weighed myself and found that I was now 179 pounds! Half my pants no longer fit and the other half are a stretch.

I’m still in physical therapy, improving. But I weigh too much. I walk a lot and I’m going to the gym about three times a week to work on the elliptical walker. I’m cutting down on the baked stuff. One week into this new regimen, I’ve lost a two-pounds-and-a-half.

I figure I owe it to God to get into better shape. The Bible says that our bodies are temples of God, not dumping grounds for cinnamon bread and Ho-Ho’s. I owe it to my family, too; I want them to be able to stand looking at me. And I owe it to my pants, straining under the added pressure from my midsection.

Those are good reasons for losing weight. But mostly, I want to stop that incessant cackling from my metabolism thingy.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

A Good Read for Pastors...Veterans or Rookies

During my recent trip to Disney World, I was able to read several books and start reading two others. In this post, I'll comment on one of the books I read. In my next one, I'll review the other. And I'll shut-up about the other two until I've actually finished reading them.

One of the books I read during the trip is one I'd already read, really.

Among the reasons I like to keep books is that, especially as I grow older, I don't always get as much out of them the first time through as I might were my mind a fresher slate. Second and third readings often hammer points home for me that I missed before.

Besides, I've always regarded good books as good friends. The thing about good friends is that no matter how much time passes between your visits with them, you can pick right up where you left off and still have those feelings of closeness you so value.

Back in 1986, I read a simple little book by two Lutheran pastors. It was called The Penguin Principles: A Survival Manual for Clergy Seeking Maturity in Ministry. At the time, I'd been a pastor for about a year-and-a-half, wrestling with the enormity of the task of leading a church and feeling some frustration that the reality didn't match my previous ideals. (And I had those feelings in spite of the fact that I still think my first congregation was and is among the very best churches I've ever experienced or known about!) The good humor and common sense of authors David Belasic and Paul M. Schmidt came as gusts of fresh air and reassurance for me. The Penguin Principles was a reality check and a confidence booster.

For some reason, my wife also read the book back then and told me, "You should read this little book once a year." Being a typical husband, I heard what she said, but didn't heed it.

Eighteen years later, I decided to re-read the book and I have to say what most husbands probably should get around to admitting eventually: My wife was right. Reading it as a seasoned pastor serving my second parish, I can says that The Penguin Principles, is still a reality check and a confidence booster.

Early on, Belasic and Schmidt say:

The Penguin Principles are the results of many failures and a great deal of "slow learning" to determine what actually works in the parish ministry as it is. Through the years the Penguin Principles became the means by which God gave us a new maturity and joy in the ministry.

I like the honesty in that statement and the implicit recognition that we learn and grow more from our failures than we ever do from what are regarded as successes.

The principles in this book--six in all--are rooted in the assurance that no matter how things look, God is still in control of the Church, God loves imperfect people (including pastors), and that over time, no matter the indications to the contrary, God's will is done. The two-thousand-plus year history of the Church seems to confirm Belasic's and Schmidt's notions.

The principles include the following.

(1) The Five Percent Principle:

Despite the pious things we say, at any given time, less than five percent of any group of people in the church is operating with purely Christian motivation. The other ninety-five percent is asking, "What's in it for me?"

Stifle your horror for a second. This principle is nothing more than a simple recognition of the Biblical doctrine of original sin. We are born in sin and those of us who receive Christ are never anything more than recovering sinners. Any honest pastor will acknowledge that they are sinners--forgiven sinners, but sinners nonetheless. So, it should never come as a surprise to pastors when their parishioners act from less than pure motives. (Nor should it surprise us when we act from less than pure motives.)

Rather than horrifying me, this principle causes me to stand slack-jawed before the Lord when I realize how many wonderful things He accomplishes through imperfect pastors and church folks. That's clearly attributable to what we Christians call "grace," God's undeserved favor and acceptance.

(2) The Inverse Insight Principle

Most of the time, in the world of the church, things are not what they appear to be.

Belasic and Schmidt explain, "People don't always say what they mean! If you watch what they do, you will have a better idea of how they really feel."

Does that mean that people are liars? Not intentionally so, no. But people have good intentions and because of their humanity and the circumstances that can push all of us around, they don't always do what they intend to do.

Years ago, a couple came to our congregation, anxious to get involved. Their intentions were good and I was excited. They were capable people, full of enthusiasm and great ideas. They were with us for about six weeks. But right after their child was baptized, we never saw them again. They weren't liars, just human beings. My guess is that they'd really wanted to be involved with our congregation, that they were earnest in their desire to take part in its mission. But having missed a few weeks and then a few weeks more, the chances are they felt a sense of embarrassment about not returning. That's sad. But the worst thing I can do as a pastor is villify people struggling already with embarrassment and guilt. I can pray though, that the experience of grace and love that good-intentioned-but-poor-performing people experience in our congregation will incite them to want to know the God Who loves and accepts imperfect people. Maybe it will even incite them to find another congregation where they can confidently enact some of their good intentions.

(3) The Ecclesiastical Friction Principle

There is a friction in the church that burns up enormous energy, consumes endless hours, smothers creativity, impedes progress and often creates little heat.

The local church can be a cumbersome machine, a Rube Goldberg-concoction that seems devised to prevent the fulfillment of Christ's mission for the church. Church members are usually well-meaning. They have notions of what the church should be and shouldn't be. New ideas, however rooted in Scripture, throw them off. And Belasic and Schmidt imply that the more the church tries to organize itself, the more paralyzed it becomes.

Again, the wise pastor is the one who rejoices when good things do get done by the church.

Say Belasic and Schmidt:

Despite human efforts to impede it, the church seems to plod onward at God's own speed. It pays not to take human efforts too seriously. It's the "shove from above," not the "blow from the below" that makes God's churches go!

(4) The Creative Ignorance Principle

In the ministry it is better not to know some things, even if you have to forget them forcefully.

Recently, I was chatting with the volunteer youth minister of our congregation, a dedicated Christian who wants to serve Christ and the church. From my perspective of twenty years as a parish pastor, I lectured him---lovingly, I hope---about the importance of not doing everything in the church.

The fact is, just as surely as we can always find people who do things better than we can, there are also others who do things less ably than us. Just because people are not as capable as we are at certain tasks doesn't mean that we pastors shouldn't recruit them to do them. I love what Pastor Rick Warren says: "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly."

When pastors and other church leaders do everything, it leaves the rest of the church with nothing to do. We turn our congregations into spectators, rather than fellow servants of Christ. In spite of incessantly proclaiming that through Christ, God accepts us just as we are, we pastors seem to undermine that proclamation by playing omnicompetent super heroes (without the tights). We leave no room for others to exercise their gifts from God. We deny people the opprtunity to do the one thing that will most help them grow as followers of Christ: to fail.

Belasic and Schmidt say that it's particularly important for pastors to be less-than-good at things that aren't central to their duties. They write:

Being selectively dunce-like is important and very healthy in the long run. Parish Penguins stand tall. You were not called to your profession to know it all or to do it all!

(5) The Tweaking Principle

They'll only do it to you if you let 'em.

Pastors tend to be "pleasers," nice gals and guys. We confuse being Christian with being nice. We forget that the Bible counsels us with advice like, "Be angry...but do not sin." It tells us to "Speak the truth in love." Jesus assumed that people might disagree in the church. That was why He gave us, in the Gospel of Matthew, guidelines for handling disputes.

But we pastors usually bend over backwards to avoid conflict. Say Belasic and Schmidt:

Short as he is, the penguin stands straight with dignity. A courageous way pastors can stop others from treating them unfairly is to stand tall with dignity and "ask for what they want."

(6) The Pastor Principle

The ultimate principle for pastors is "tough love" that looks beyond the irritation of the moment and in the strength of Christ loves people as they are.

If there are times when pastors must tell their churches what they want, they mustn't be selfish and they must always remember that the people of their congregations are children of God who, above all, need love.

To achieve anything worthwhile, pastors must exercise patience. This has been the hardest thing for me to learn in my twenty years as a pastor. And I've learned also that the only way God can teach patience to us is to force us to be patient.

This is a wonderful book! But why Penguin Principles? Belasic and Schmidt explain:

The more we studied about penguins and their life in the Antarctic, the more apt the comparison seemed to be.

Penguins seem to have that unique dignity that many people expect of the pastor. Yet, as dignified as penguins seem to be, they look so ridiculous as they waddle around on the ice. Something of that same absurd dignity applies to the pastor's ministry as it really is. The task is so "glorious," but we are so laughable as we blunder through in the work of the kingdom!

Re-reading this book brought me back to my work with a renewed patience with myself and others, a renewed commitment to love others as I am loved by my Savior, and to do my work with humor and goodwill.

The Happiness Project: The Diet That Will Make You Happy

Matthew 5:1-2, 6

(shared with the people of Friendship Church, July4, 2004)

Keith Miller was successful in the oil exploration business in Texas. He was married and had two beautiful daughters. But in short succession, he was forced to deal with one terrible event after another: his father suddenly died of a heart attack; his brother was killed in a plane crash; his mother contracted cancer. While helping his mom through the final stages of her life, Keith, who'd seemed capable of handling everything with unflappability, suddenly found himself overcome by anxiety.

This really threw him for a loop. As a boy whose father had by and large ignored him, Keith had tried to prove himself, first to his dad and then to himself and lastly, to the world. He’d been a confident conqueror as a student, an athlete, and a businessperson. He thought that he really could handle anything. But now he doubted himself. He couldn’t face all that life had thrown his way. That was when something happened to Keith Miller. He writes about it in a book called, A Hunger for Healing:

...finally, on a roadside in the tall pine woods country in east Texas, between Tyler and Longview, I turned to God in a desperate moment and offered Him my life. As soon as I did, I was relieved of my sense of shame, fear, and failure and was given new meaning in life: to tell people that there is hope if one will surrender to God as revealed in Jesus Christ.

For the next few years, Keith Miller experienced the peace of Christ. He began to help others know Christ’s peace too. He left the business world and took on the direction of a conference center where ordinary Christians and those exploring Christian faith could come and open themselves to Christ the way Keith had done on that Texas roadside. He even became a best-selling author, helping others to experience God’s goodness. But slowly, without even knowing it, Keith Miller found the old habits and motivations taking over his life again, the old dependence on self instead of God. He was more of a workaholic than ever, still driven to conquer. As a result, he spent less and less time with his family. “I neglected my family,” he writes, “just as my father had neglected me. Because I was doing it for Jesus [or so he thought], it was hard to criticize.” Complimented constantly and enjoying success as an author and speaker, Keith began to suspect that he was “a special and gifted person.” He couldn’t understand why his wife and family weren’t as happy with his “success” as he was.

An afterthought in Keith’s life, his wife convinced him that their marriage must come to an end. Keith was devastated. What made things worse is that with the exception of a few people, church leaders from around the country who had, just a short time before endorsed and applauded him and been close to him, were now ignoring him. He realized the truth of one observer’s words: The church is the only army in the world that shoots its wounded. He began to become bitter until one day, during a time of prayer, he sensed that God was speaking to his heart:

“Keith, quit blaming the Church for your sins. You’re the one who behaved sinfully [ignoring your family and thus, breaking up your marriage]...You deal with your own sin, and I’ll take care of the Church!”

That became the trigger for Keith Miller to begin taking honest stock of himself. He realized that even while he’d been busy telling others about the God Who is big enough and loving enough to take all of our burdens—all our sins, all our hurts—and give us new lives, Keith had still been trying to be a conqueror. He’d been worshiping himself, trying to get the whole world to join in lifting him up as a master of the universe. He so hungered for a sense that his life mattered that, in spite of the faith in Christ he professed, he was still caught in the trap of trying to prove himself to the world, to God, and to himself.

We all hunger for what one pastor calls the cosmic okie-dokie. We all want to know that we’ve arrived, that we’ve achieved some sort of success in the game of life. Each of us is born with a hunger and a thirst to know that something about our lives has mattered. That appetite for significance can drive us to measure our lives by how much property we accumulate, how many sex partners we’ve had, how much knowledge we pile up. The possibilities are endless. And it should be said that there is nothing wrong with trying to achieve things in life. God gives us talents and abilities. And it is a sin not to use the abilities that God gives to us in the ways God leads us to use them. But, as Keith Miller’s experience demonstrates, nothing that you and I can achieve through the use of our talents can ever truly satisfy the hunger we all have to know that our lives matter, that we are valued, that our existences count for something.

Jesus says: “Blessed, happy, fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” The happy people are those who hunger for righteousness; they’re the ones who get the cosmic okie-dokie. But what is righteousness exactly? Righteous people are people who are right with God. They’re not perfect. They’re forgiven. They’re reconciled to God. They’re empowered to live the best versions of their lives possible. They live in confident anticipation of eternity.

Jesus once told the story of two men who went to the temple in Jerusalem to pray. Both of them were hungry to know their lives mattered. But each fed themselves in different ways, one on junk food and the other on God. The first was a member of the religious group called the Pharisees. They were spiritual workaholics. They believed that if they abided by certain rules, they would be right with God. They fed themselves on holier-than-thou spiritual pride. The Pharisee in Jesus’ story prays: “God, I thank You that I’m not like other people. I obey Your rules, make the right offerings, and really, in every way, I’m a holy guy. I especially thank You that I’m not like that sinner standing over there a few feet away.”

The interesting thing about the man the Pharisee pointed out is that he would have agreed. He’d come to see himself as a sinner who needed to change. He was a tax collector, which in those days was a profession for extortionists. They were like mobsters running a protection racket. The Romans gave them franchises to collect a designated amount of taxes in a certain area and the tax collectors would shake down the area residents for lots more, threatening them with foreclosure and imprisonment if they didn’t pay up. The tax collector had tried to feed his hunger with the junk foods materialism, power, and other sins. But he regretted it all. He cried out to heaven, simply, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

After laying out those two vignettes, Jesus says that it was the tax collector and not the Pharisee who left the temple justified. The first of two brief Greek lessons, because the New Testament portion of the Bible is written in Greek: That word, justified, is the verb form of another word, righteous. What’s the point? The tax collector who regretted sin and hungered to be right with God was right with God, at the very moment he asked for mercy. He had the cosmic okie-dokie. He could face life in the knowledge that he was right with God. Those who hunger and thirst to be right with God will be satisfied.

But what about the rest of his life? Did the tax collector ever sin again? Did God’s mercy so fill him that he didn’t ever need to confess another sin or worship God or read God’s Word? Was his hunger for rightness taken care of forever? There are times when I get a real hunger for junk food. There are other times when I want good things. I think that as long as I live on earth, I will have to choose which diet I’m going to use: the one that’s bad for me or the one that’s good for me. This is exactly what Jesus is telling this morning about being right with God and experiencing happiness. The verbs hunger and thirst that Jesus uses today, are in what the grammarians call the durative present tense. That means that “hungering and thirsting” for righteousness isn’t a one-time thing. Our appetite for the cosmic okie dokie, the sense that we are accepted and okay, is with us every day. Keith Miller’s roadside cry to God brought him peace. But it didn’t banish sin completely from his life. Nor did it spare him the temptation of filling that hunger up with spiritual junk food—the applause of others, success. Instead, he had to begin to learn to choose his diet.

If we’re to maintain a right relationship with God, we need to keep hungering and thirsting for it. Our relationship with the God we know through Jesus must be the central object of our lives. We must, in that phrase of Luther’s, live in daily repentance and renewal, feeding on Christ and His love and power every day!

It’s a funny thing about God. He is the Master of universe, its founder and the One Who one day will bring it to an end. But even with all that power, He never forces Himself on us. We must cry out to Him and invite Him to be in our lives for it to happen. And that brings up a funny thing about us: God will fill us with Himself; but the more He fills us, the more we want Him with us all day, every day, 24/7. Keep hungering for God and no matter what life brings your way, you will always be happy!