Four Questions for a Better You - “Enduring Happiness”


This week we begin a new series, talking about “Four Questions for a Better You” – because questions are better for learning then just being told the “right answer.” Questions are better because they take us through a process of discovery as we seek not just the “what,” but the “why’ – which is why Jesus asked so many of them as he taught his students (307 of his questions are recorded in the gospels…).

1.  Unhappiness is a Sign (Mark 4:35-39)

  • In one of the most famous scenes in the New Testament, Jesus and his disciples are caught in a storm out on the Sea of Galilee. Fearing for their lives and thinking the boat is about to sink, the disciples panic and complain – yet Jesus keeps sleeping in the back of the boat, “with his head on a cushion.”
  • Our unhappiness is a sign that something is wrong in our lives – but it might not be the “something” we think it is. We think our unhappiness is because of the storm we’re going through. However, while our storm is absolutely a problem, it’s not really the problem – because if our happiness depends on all of our storms going away, we’re hardly ever going to be happy. The next storm is always coming…
  • If our lives depend on “calm seas” and “better days” to bring us happiness, they will be filled with disappointment and anxiety, and we’ll be trapped in an endless cycle of unhappy/happy/unhappy.

2.  What Are You Afraid Of? (Mark 4:38-41; Exodus 33:14-15)

  • In the midst of their unhappiness and fear, Jesus had a critical lesson he wanted the disciples (and us) to learn – and he used a simple question to get to the heart of it: “Why are you afraid?”
  • The question, “What are you afraid of?” is one we should ask ourselves when we’re “unhappy” – and it isn’t meant to be rhetorical. It’s a legitimate question that should be answered to help us to see the false circumstances (the “calm seas”) that we’re wrongly assuming will bring us happiness.
  • When we ask that question in a thoughtful way, we’ll likely discover two types of things as answers: things we can’t control, and things we catastrophize. The things we tend to fear (and allow to steal our happiness) are either things we have no control over, or they’re things we blow so far out of proportion that we allow them to seem so big that even God’s power itself can’t overcome them.
  • Asking good questions doesn’t fix our problems – but they do help us define our problems. That’s why Jesus asked the disciples “Why are you afraid?” – because the storm they were in wasn’t the real problem. Their real problem was their lack of faith – their lack of trust – in him. Because it turns out that the key to avoiding a life of fear and anxiety and endless cycles of unhappiness – is Jesus.
  • God has always comforted his people through his presence. It’s the person of Jesus, the power of God the Father, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives that allows us to overcome our fears, even in the worst of storms.  The best way to get beyond our fears and find true happiness (joy) in the middle of our storms is to remember his words: “I am with you always.”  So…what are you afraid of??


These passages may provide additional insights related to the subject of this week’s message. All verses are NLT unless otherwise noted.

Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 56:1-4; Matthew 28:18-20; John 16:33; Philippians 4:6-7; 2 Timothy 1:7

Video of the Week: Word Study: Chara/Joy by the Bible Project


  1. Do you consider yourself to be a “happy” person?  Why or why not?

  1. Think of the biggest “storm” you’re currently facing (or anticipating) in your life. Has that storm caused to you to be unhappy – to lose the joy in your life?  Explain your answer.  

  1. Read Mark 4:35-37 again. Jesus no doubt knew that a storm was coming that night, yet he allowed (and invited…) the disciples to get in a boat and go out into it.  With that in mind, how might we change the way we look at the “storms” in our own lives?

  1. Thinking again about the biggest “storm” you’re currently facing in your life, how would you answer the question, “What are you afraid of?”?  Is the answer something you can even control?

  1. If “the person of Jesus, the power of God (the Father), and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives” is the key to overcoming fear and enjoying happiness, how exactly do we tap into that on a daily basis?

  1. Do you think that followers of Jesus should always be outwardly happy people (i.e., “all smiles, all the time”)?  Why or why not?
October 1, 2023
Four Questions for a Better You - “Dating, Marriage and Getting Along”

This week we look at the last of the “Four Questions” – and it’s perhaps the hardest one. Lots of (most!) couples struggle with how to consistently get along in their relationship, and one question often helps the reframe their disagreements and distrust. But to start the discussion, we need to go back to God’s original, intended design for relationships between men and women.

Read MorePrintable PDF
September 24, 2023
Four Questions for a Better You - “Judgy and Offended”

“Judgy” may be a new word, but the problem of people being judgmental and offended about almost everything and everyone isn’t new. In fact, Jesus addressed the problem 2000 years ago in Luke 6: “Don’t judge…don’t condemn…forgive instead.” But Jesus wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t evaluate and discern what’s right and wrong, good and evil – he was warning against pre-judging people and deciding who is and isn’t worthy of grace. And one quick question can help prevent us from doing so… 

Read MorePrintable PDF
September 17, 2023
Four Questions for a Better You - “The Hardest Decisions”

We’re talking about “Four Questions for a Better You” – because questions are better for learning then just being told the “right answer.” This week’s question may be the most important and useful one, because asking it can help us make some of the hardest decisions we are faced with in life – almost all of which involve people. Hard decisions like “What do you do when your next-door neighbor has all the ‘wrong’ bumper stickers on his car – and wants to talk politics?” It turns out that these kind of questions are why almost everybody likes Jesus, even if they don’t like Christianity or Christians. 

Read MorePrintable PDF

Looking for a group to explore with?

Find your people.

Explore Small Groups