--By Jackie Campbell--
“God really has given us the ability to be happy, but that doesn’t mean we are going to be happy. We have to choose,” says Robert W. Boyd, the lay leader of Ingomar United Methodist Church, who survived polio as a child, episodes of cancer as an adult and at times focused less on God than on material things.
Boyd said he came to that conclusion after seeing and thinking about the award-winning 2011 documentary The Happy Movie. Produced by Roko Belic, it was the result of six years of research into what makes people happy.
The research showed that “50 percent of what makes us happy is genetic, 10 percent is the things that we accumulate and 40 percent is based on the community we choose to share our lives with and the relationships that we have with those closest to us,” Boyd writes in the preface of his new book Does God Want You to Be Happy? A Christian Perspective on Overcoming Obstacles to Joy.
Drawn from his own life experience and containing related Biblical references, Boyd’s book offers readers an opportunity to reflect on God’s guidelines for overcoming some of the most difficult problems individuals face.
Each chapter offers a story related to feelings or life situations – fear, envy, loneliness, illness, poverty, loss, etc. The referenced Bible verses help people see how God is there for them, regardless of the circumstances.
Boyd, a retired business owner, points out that in every community, in almost every house, there is something going on – some fear, worry or loss.
“People assume that the main reason (I wrote the book) was for me to offer the opportunity for people to hear and see how I related biblical reference to these stories and, in a way, give back, he said. But there’s more to it.
As a church lay leader, he feels a commitment to help people along in their spiritual journey.
“I really believe that your relationship with Jesus and your relationship with God can be paralleled to lifting weights. If you want to be a world-class athlete, you have to work at it every day,” he said.
“Praying, reading the Bible, being part of small groups are really important for your spiritual development. And all of these things are really important to my spiritual life, “he added. So, in a way, he also wrote the book for himself, he said.
Boyd’s pastor, the Rev. David Street, asked him if, after spending so much time writing the book, he’d be disappointed if no one read it. Boyd said no. “I told him I thought that the book will help someone. It helped me and if it only helps one other person…it’s worth it.”
Boyd also is a Stephen Minister, someone who is trained to provide one-on-one Christian care and support for someone going through rough times. “Stephen ministers share scripture with people going through problems,” Boyd said. “The situations Boyd describes in his book are things Stephen ministers deal with all the time, he said. “As a Stephen Minister,” he said, “I had it in my mind that this could be a sourcebook for us or for anyone that is functioning as a counselor.”
Boyd has created a free Small Group Study Guide designed for chapter by chapter study. He has visited local churches and also spoke to participants in the Happiness study at the 2015 Mission u at California University of PA.
The book is already being used by small groups in Calfornia, Seattle, Los Angeles, Maryland and Evansville, IN.
Does God Want You to Be Happy? is available on Amazon in paperback for $12.65 and for Kindle for $6.99. Boyd said he’s donating $4 for each paperback sold to his church. The study guide is free.
Books can also be ordered directly from Boyd. Visit his website or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.