September 18, 2016: What Makes a Good Life?

Posted on : Sep 15th, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“What Makes a Good Life?” That is the question from the Longest Study on Happiness. The study began 75 years ago at Harvard University. The Harvard Study may be the longest study of adult life that has ever been done – and therefore offers us some of the most valuable information. Any social study that covers 75 years offers remarkable data and insight!

The study began in 1938 with a group of men (Harvard was a male-only school at the time) who were sophomores at Harvard. All of them finished college during World War II. A second group of boys was included in the Harvard Study these boys were from one of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. Most of them lived in tenements, many without running water. Every two years, this diverse group of men are interviewed, sent questionnaires and have health records from doctors submitted for clinical review. Some interviews are videotaped. About a decade ago they started including women and wives of those in the study group.

What was learned?

When current millennials – 20 to 30 year olds – were asked “What are your most important life goals?” both Harvard students and graduates, and low income young adults had surprising similar responses:

80% of the Millennials surveyed said “to get rich” or “be rich”

50% of these same young adults responded “to become famous.”

Amazingly, these same two responses have been the top two responses from young adults throughout the entire survey. The percentages change a little, but “to get rich” or “be rich” and to become famous are the top responses over the 75 year history of the study!

However, as people grow older, their answers are remarkably different. There are about 60 of the original 724 participants in this study still alive today. Most of those 60 people are in their 90’s.

Long before social surveys were used, Jesus asked this same question:   What Makes A Life Good?” He phrased it a little differently, but it is essentially the same question: “What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?”

Sunday we’ll share some of the lessons learned from the Harvard Study on Happiness and the Spiritual insights of Jesus.




  What's the purpose of gaining the whole world and losing your soul?










 ~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Luke 9:23-25

(from The Message – a contemporary paraphrase of the Bible)


Then Jesus told them what they could expect for themselves:

“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.

You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am.

Don’t run from suffering; embrace it.

Follow me and I’ll show you how.

Self-help is no help at all.

Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.


What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?


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