"Don't get swept away by things God never said," reads a warning tied to the promo of a new four-part sermon series by LifeChurch.tv founder and senior pastor Craig Groeschel. The megachurch pastor warns that some "words of wisdom" offered in popular culture, and sometimes co-opted by Christians, will lead to wrong ideas about God.
"We're gonna talk about four different cultural belief systems that people have for years attributed to God. But the reality is, God never said these things," explains Groeschel in a video of part one of the series.
Some of these misquotes are, according to Groeschel: "God will never give you more than you can handle; It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you don't hurt anyone; It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere."
The first misattribution to God that Groeschel tackles in the sermon series, and which the megachurch pastor describes as perhaps "the most popular misbelief about God in our Western version of Christianity," is the idea that "God wants you happy."
"I would love with all my heart that above all else, God wants you happy. Above all else, God wants you to enjoy your life. Above all else, God only wants good things to happen in your life, and God never wants anything bad to happen in your life. Because for you, the bottom line is God wants you to be happy," Groeschel says.
But those things are not true, according to Groeschel. In fact, believing that God only wants one to be happy could lead one down a dangerous road paved with faulty logic.
"If you believe that God's supreme goal for you is your happiness," you might start to reason that "whatever makes me happy must be right" and "whatever makes me unhappy must be wrong," according to Groeschel.
However, the LifeChurch.tv pastor adds, "I do believe that God delights in your happiness. That when you're happy I believe it brings Him joy. Just as any parent is delighted when a child has joy or happiness."
The bottom line: "God does not want us to pursue happiness. God wants us to pursue Him."
"And we don't pursue Him for the byproduct of happiness," Groeschel explains. "We're not pursuing Him so therefore He'll give us what we want. We're pursuing Him for who He is and that alone."
Watch Pastor Groeschel's Feb. 9 sermon "God Wants You Happy" in the video player below:
The "God Never Said That" sermon series was being promoted with short and lighthearted videos poking fun at some of the "words of wisdom" Groeschel believes popular culture and some Christians get dangerously wrong. Here is one of those promotional videos, featuring an apparent winged, and unamused, angel:
LifeChurch.tv was founded in 1996 and is based in Edmond, Oklahoma. The tech-forward megachurch has nearly two dozen locations around the nation (most of them in LifeChurch's home state). More than 50,000 people worship weekly at LifeChurch.tv, which is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church, described as "a rapidly growing multi-ethnic denomination." LifeChurch.tv is also known for its YouVersion Bible App and the widely-accessed Church Online Platform.