Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You

Are You Caught in a Happiness Trap?

Are you chasing happiness only to find yourself wondering if it will ever be enough? Learn how to stop chasing the wind and instead figure out if there really is something more to life.


Announcer: Put your hands together for the host of Face The Truth – Seattle’s very own, Brother Barry Thompson!

[Audience clapping]

Brother Barry Thompson: Thank you, thank you. Thank you all! Thank you all for that very, very warm welcome, and we welcome you to this episode of “Face The Truth” being taped live here in Seattle, Washington! 


Brother Barry: Now hopefully you’ve had the chance to check out the different booths and meet some of the awesome people of Seattle. And today we have a relevant and important topic to discuss with you, and we want to begin with this quote: 

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

[Declaration of Independence, United States of America]

Brother Barry: Now, does anyone know where that quote comes from? That is part of the Declaration of Independence, and it is one of the founding principles upon which the United States of America is established. And it’s also the reason why, since its establishment, countless numbers of people including some of us here today, or our parents or our grandparents came to the United States–because of what it has to offer. 

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Brother Barry: Now I’m especially focusing on the last part of the quote: The Pursuit of Happiness…

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Brother Barry: …and this forms our topic today. Now is there any among our audience today who doesn’t want to achieve happiness? 

Brother Barry: Well I didn’t think so, because that desire is innate in all of us. The question is: “What is Happiness?” Now we went out into the streets of Seattle to learn what people felt would make them happy, and here is what some had to say:

[Video starts]

Judi, Seattle Resident: I would be happier if there was rent control.

Woman: What would make me happy is if one day I’m taking that bus from Tacoma and I come down this street and there are no people sleeping under a tent, or under a blanket on the side of the road. That everyone had a home or someplace to go.

Eduardo, Seattle Resident: Summer would make me happy, man…

Interviewee: That’s it, eh?)…Yeah, that’s the only reason to stay here. (It’s coming around.)

[Video ends]

Brother Barry: So as we could see, happiness has a different meaning for everyone–depending on their situation, and it’s constantly changing. Yet could the means by which we try to make ourselves happy ultimately lead to our unhappiness? Could we find ourselves caught in a happiness trap? Now is there someone in the Bible who pursued happiness? Let’s find out what he did to be happy, and what did he conclude? I’m going to begin by reading what is written in the book of Ecclesiastes, the chapter is 2 the verses are 9, 10, and 11…this is what is written:

Yes, I was great, greater than anyone else who had ever lived in Jerusalem, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I got. I did not deny myself any pleasure. I was proud of everything I had worked for, and all this was my reward. Then I Then I thought about all that I had done and how hard I had worked doing it, and I realized that it didn’t mean a thing. It was like chasing the wind – of no use at all.

[Ecclesiastes 2:9-11 Today’s English Version]

Brother Barry: King Solomon was the one who was speaking. He was one who literally had everything a person could want in life that people believe will make them happy. He was a King, so he had power. He had knowledge; in fact he was the wisest at that time. He was also very wealthy, he even said, “Anything I wanted, I got…I did not deny myself any pleasure.” This is the kind of life people today want so badly, and you know here in America you have a greater possibility of achieving this if you’re willing to work hard for it. And I suspect that many of you are doing just that, you are working hard to achieve the American dream—which people equate to happiness. There’s more to the story of Solomon. How did he feel about all he had accomplished? Did he find true happiness? Well he said, “Then I thought about all that I had done and how hard I had worked doing it, and I realized that it didn’t mean a thing. It was like chasing the wind—of no use at all.” Sound familiar? Let’s take a look at some famous and wealthy people today. 

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Jeff Bezos Richest man in the world just finalized the most expensive divorce.

Brother Barry: Maybe you recognize Jeff Bezos: the richest man in the world recently finalized his divorce, agreeing to a $35-billion settlement. 

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Kate Spade Fashion Designer & Business Woman worth $2.4 billion at the time of her death.

Brother Barry: The late Kate Spade built a $2.4-billion fashion empire, only to kill herself a year ago. Jim Carrey, an actor who has made millions making people laugh is famously quoted for saying:

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Jim Carrey “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

Brother Barry: And so at the height of his career, Jim has realized having it all did not equate to happiness he thought he would have when he was starting. And so it’s quite similar to what Solomon concluded. After Solomon thought deeply about all his achievements, he realized that all he had achieved didn’t mean a thing—it was like chasing the wind. This is one of the reasons why we are presenting this to you today, for you to take a moment in your life to think about what really matters. But how do you know if you’re “chasing the wind”? Let’s take a few minutes to do a little self-assessment: 

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What was the last thing that made you happy? 

How long did your happiness last? 

Did you find yourself asking, “what’s next?” 

Brother Barry: Well going back to Solomon, why did he come to such a drastic conclusion after chasing after happiness? Well there were certain truths that he realized about life—which he mentions also here in the book of Ecclesiastes, this time 16, 17, 22 and 23:

No one remembers wise men, and no one remembers fools. In days to come, we will all be forgotten. We must all die – wise and foolish alike. So life came to mean nothing to me, because everything in it had brought me nothing but trouble. It had all been useless; I had been chasing the wind. You work and worry your way through life, and what do you have to show for it? As long as you live, everything you do brings nothing but worry and heartache. Even at night your mind can’t rest. It is all useless.

[Ecclesiastes 2:16-17 & 22-23 Good News Bible]

Brother Barry: What Solomon mentioned is how man’s life is: whether rich or poor, wise or foolish—there is no true contentment or true happiness. Now I want to emphasize the word “true”, because we’re not saying that you won’t feel content or happy at times—you will. 


Brother Barry: But it won’t be lasting, [it] won’t be lasting happiness or true contentment. Why? Because according to Solomon, no matter what people do, we still experience worry and heartache. So the happiness that people seek in this life doesn’t last and we see it all around us. The things that people do to make themselves happy eventually come to nothing. It’s like taking drugs to numb the pain we feel. Once the drugs wear off, we feel the pain again. And no amount of money, wisdom, and power can make us immune to the pains of life. That’s why it’s not surprising to see so many people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs. This is true even among the rich and famous, because it’s an attempt to numb themselves from life’s difficulties. And ultimately, as Solomon stated, “we must all die – wise and foolish alike.” 

Now in addition to the fact that we’re running in place trying to chase happiness, let’s take a look at the current state of America. Considered the “Land of Freedom”, where you can make your dreams come true…

[Video starts – sources: various news broadcasts]

CBS Evening News: This deadly mass shooting happened in Parkland, Florida…

CNN: If all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers then it’s time for victims to be the change we need to see.

ABC Nightline: Seven people are being treated at hospitals after a deadly shooting at a high school in Kentucky…

ABC News: This image, one that has become all too familiar. Students evacuating with their hands up…

Vox: I was born only a year after Columbine….

Vox – KOVR13: Called one of the worst school shootings in our Nation…

Vox: Virginia Tech…

Vox – Fox News: New Town…

Vox: 29 dead…

Vox: 26 that were killed…

The Guardian: Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.


ABC Nightline: [Crowd] Never again! Never again! Never again!

Washington Post: They need some people to stand for righteousness and justice!

Washington Post: Keep our family together! […] Justice! […] I want my family together!

Fox: More outrage in St. Louis, police shot and killed a black man ten days after…

CBS This Morning News: Five officers were killed when they were ambushed by at least two snipers…

NBC News: Lots of troubling questions to be answered there Gabe, thank you.

CBS This Morning News: Olympic runner, Alisia Montaño, is calling out organized sports and sponsors, like Nike, for allegedly discriminating against pregnant athletes.

NBC News: Three former employees say Google discriminates against women by systematically…

CBS This Morning News – Nikki Battiste: 40% of female fast food employees say they were sexually harassed at work.

CBS This Morning News: Trying to raise a two year old on a $67 paycheck a week is…is hard. 

NBC News: It doesn’t make sense, and we should’ve fixed it!

CNN News: We spend a lot of time in America trying to solve lots of problems, and we haven’t solved many of them.

[Video ends]

Brother Barry: Don’t those things make you feel sad? You know the Bible mentions all the injustice that goes on in this world. Allow me to read Ecclesiastes 4:1:

Then I looked again at all the injustice that goes on in this world. The oppressed were crying, and no one would help them. No one would help them because their oppressors had power on their side.

[Ecclesiastes 4:1 Good News Translation]

Brother Barry: Now isn’t it true that so many people are treated unfairly? When you’re trying to do better for yourself and your family, there are those who are intentionally trying to keep you down. Just look at the recent headlines about cases of discrimination here in America. 

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HEADLINE: Annapolis public housing residents sue, claiming racial discrimination and deplorable conditions. 

Brother Barry: There’s so many things.

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HEADLINE: Buffalo Wild Wings former cook claims racial discrimination against him and black customers. 

HEADLINE: 3 Amazon workers in Minnesota file discrimination complaint.

Brother Barry: You know when things like this happen, what can you do about it?

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HEADLINE: Pearland ISD faces accusations of racial, religious discrimination.

Brother Barry: Many times, nothing—why? 

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HEADLINE: Group files another lawsuit against UT over racial discrimination during admissions.

Brother Barry: Because as the verse stated, “The oppressed were crying, [because] no one would help them […] because their oppressors had power on their side.” 

Brother Barry: Now, what else makes life so difficult and painful? Ezekiel 7:26, this is stated:

One disaster will follow another, and a steady stream of bad news will pour in…

[Ezekiel 7:26 Good News Bible]

Brother Barry: The Bible says one disaster will follow another; a steady stream of bad news will pour in. 

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HEADLINE: Magnitude 8 earthquake strikes Amazon jungle in Peru, killing one.

HEADLINE: Record floods breach Arkansas levee, overtop 2 in Missouri.

HEADLINE: 5-Car Accident Halts Traffic On Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension.

HEADLINE: Severe Weather Outbreak – 70 million in the path of life-threatening storms.

Brother Barry: Isn’t this true? Yes, it is. Everyday, everyday—whether through the internet, TV, or radio – we hear of gruesome disasters such as earthquakes, floods, typhoons, tornados; 

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HEADLINE: One dead, several injured, homes and schools damaged as magnitude-8 earthquake strikes Amazon jungle in Peru

HEADLINE: Dangerous floods leave Plains, Midwest ‘at the mercy of Mother Nature’

HEADLINE: Severe Weather Outbreak – 70 million in the path of life-threatening storms.

HEADLINE: 5-Car Accident Halts Traffic On Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension.

Brother Barry: And everyday things such as car accidents and fires, that affect many lives and this brings sadness to all of us. Now, what else is occurring more and more today? Also in the book of Ezekiel 7, this time verse 23:

Everything is in confusion – the land is full of murders and the cities are full of violence.

[Ezekiel 7:23 Today’s English Version]

Brother Barry: The Bible gives us a vivid picture of our world today. It says, “the land is full of murders and the cities are full of violence” and we face things like this every day, wherever we go, it could be at work. Can you imagine?…just yesterday there was another shooting in the headlines. 

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HEADLINE: Twelve people killed in shooting at Virginia Beach municipal complex, police say.

Brother Barry: A gunman firing at random, inside a business complex and sadly twelve people lost their lives. That was here in America, the United States. And this could also happen while shopping at the mall, even at the school where our children are during the day.

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HEADLINE: Synagogue Shooting Keeps Religious Leaders on Edge: ‘No One Should Be Gunned Down in Worship’

Brother Barry: It could even happen at a religious gathering or building. 

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HEADLINE: School Shooting Leaves 1 Student Dead and 8 Injured

Brother Barry: Just like what happened to us here, just a few months ago. Right here

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HEADLINE: Arsonist strikes during church service in Seattle; Molotov cocktails used

Brother Barry: While we’re not letting that fear dictate the way we worship, you know it’s easy to feel like there is no safe place anymore. Now I know that’s a lot already, but we have one more thing to mention just to drive the point home about how elusive happiness really is. Here in Ezekiel 7:15, this is recorded:

There is fighting in the streets, and sickness and hunger in the houses. Anyone who is out in the country will die in the fighting, and anyone in the city will be a victim of sickness and hunger.

[Ezekiel 7:15 Good News Translation]

Brother Barry: The Bible mentions people being victims of sickness and hunger – is this not the case the world-over? I’m sure everyone here knows at least one person or more, who is either sick with a chronic illness or has died from one. Every one of us knows one. And all these things, the Bible mentions, affect all of us regardless of our age, ethnicity, or status in life. So it’s not surprising Solomon concluded that man, no matter what we do or how much we accomplish, there is still worry and heartache – so, it’s like chasing the wind. 

Though we seek happiness in this life, it still leads to sadness. Now, are people really experiencing sadness with all the knowledge that we have gained, and the modern technology that exists, and the numerous millionaires – and even billionaires – around the world? This was the headline of a recent article published by, which mentioned that The World [is] Still at Record Levels of Sadness and Anger, Survey Shows

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HEADLINE: The World [is] Still at Record Levels of Sadness and Anger, Survey Shows

Brother Barry: Here in the U.S. specifically, these are some examples of sadness:

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Nearly 1 in 12 American adults report having depression

39% of tech workers say they are depressed.

In Washington state, there was an increase of 21% in diagnosed cases of depression between 2014 and 2016.

Brother Barry: So today, we have many broken homes. More marriages ending in divorce. More drug addicts and alcoholics than ever before. Though people want to be happy, the world is in a sad state

Brother Barry: You know, this show is not about depressing you – the world is already doing a very good job at that. We’re also not telling you to stop seeking for success or trying to make your life better, or work hard. What we do want to point out is that it may be a happiness trap. You may get caught up in your desire for happiness and not realize this very important point: 

Brother Barry: that we have our limitations, and we humans are not able to make ourselves completely happy. I hope you understand that. Now we know that there are many people who have their theories on life, and how to be happy. You have so many gurus today who have their own philosophies on life, yet you know these gurus, motivational speakers, and philosophers – they go through many of the same things as everybody else, so why would we listen to them? They also need answers to the problems of life on Earth, as well for their own personal problems. Listening to them would be like the blind leading the blind – both will fall into a ditch. Or in other words, they are people with problems telling other people with problems how not to have any problems. Does that even make sense? 

Brother Barry: So, the answer cannot come from me, or any guru, or philosopher. We cannot solve all the problems of life, nor give ourselves true and complete happiness. People have access to more information now more than ever before, yet there are also more problems now than ever before. Therefore, the solution to the problems must come from someone else – doesn’t this make sense? The answers to life must come from someone who is above all mankind. Don’t you agree? That’s why Solomon had this to say in Ecclesiastes 2:25:

 No one can eat or enjoy life without God.

[Ecclesiastes 2:25 International Children’s Bible]

Brother Barry: We cannot truly enjoy life without God. Now, you are free to test this for yourself. However take note that man has been trying to do this since the beginning, and has failed miserably – so, it’s time that we listen to the Almighty God, our Creator. Fact: we will not be completely happy without God, and this is what Solomon realized. 

If you remember earlier we read Ecclesiastes 2:23, where Solomon said, “as long as you live, everything you do brings nothing but worry and heartache. Even at night your mind can’t rest. It is all useless.” You’ve heard what Solomon has said and he was a very wise man. Maybe you have your own thoughts about life, or you’ve even listened to the gurus and various philosophers, but let’s listen to what God has to say. This is what the word of God tells us in the book of Hosea 14:9:

May those who are wise understand what is written here, and may they take it to heart. The Lord’s ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them.

[Hosea 14:9 Good News Translation]

Brother Barry: The Bible says the Lord’s ways are right, we live by following them. However we will stumble and fall if we ignore them. So man’s problems will not be solved unless he knows the root cause. It’s no wonder we can’t solve the world’s problems, nor find complete happiness – no matter how much knowledge man has gained, because we’ve been looking in the wrong place and listening to the wrong people. The one we should be listening to is God. 

Ever since the beginning, the problems of mankind have steadily increased until today, and it’s so alarming. Take a look at the world. You know the condition of the world correlates to what the Bible says? Allow me to read Malachi 3:7, God himself is speaking here. He says:

You, like your ancestors before you have turned away from my laws and have not kept them. Turn back to me, and I will turn to you. But you ask, ‘What must we do to turn back to you?’

[Malachi 3:7 Today’s English Version]

Brother Barry: From the beginning, man has turned away from God by not following or obeying His laws. The further away we get from God, the worse life gets – so how could we expect life to work right, or for us to be completely happy, when we don’t follow the instructions from God? It’s just not going to happen. And so God says, “Turn back to me, and I will turn to you.” 

Now, here is an argument which states…you know, others will say this: There are a lot of religions today, aren’t there? There are a lot of religious people. So why are things still getting worse? At this point I want you to really, really listen to the verses that I’m going to read to you. This is what the Apostle Paul says in the book of Romans 10, the verses are 2 and 3:

I can assure you that they are deeply devoted to God; but their devotion is not based on true knowledge. They have not known the way in which God puts people right with himself, and instead, they have tried to set up their own way; and so they did not submit themselves to God’s way of putting people right.

[Romans 10:2-3 Today’s English Version]

Brother Barry: Religion itself as a whole, adds to the existing problems of the world. Because Apostle Paul said, you know, that people “are deeply devoted to God; but their devotion is not based on true knowledge”. They do not know the way in which God puts people right with Himself. So what have people done? Apostle Paul said, “they have tried to set up their own way; and […] did not submit themselves to God’s way of putting people right.” So understand this: that’s one of the reasons why we see so many religions today. So many – different names, and all kinds of different things and practices. 

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Cut-n-Shoot Cowboy Church: Living In Bondage, We Have Bolt Cutters

The Cool Church Central – Tucson Community Church

The “Exciting” Singing Hills Baptist Church

Concordia Lutheran Church: Hipster Jesus Loved You Before You Were Cool

Little Hope Baptist Church

Brother Barry: So many, right? That’s just a tiny, tiny sample. There may be a church with your name on it. But here is the important point that right now I don’t want to pick on the names, but here is the important point that we all need to understand: with the increase of many religions, the world’s problems have also increased. That’s why wrong religion is as bad as no religion. 

Brother Barry: Following man-made religious teachings is as wrong as not obeying God at all. Now let’s be clear, there is only one way that people can return to God. It’s His way and no other. And so it is very important, it’s imperative, then, that people must sift through all the religions that exist and find that “one way” that God Himself has set up – that’s extremely important. 

Brother Barry: I’d like to ask the audience if you’re listening – are you listening? (Yes) Do you believe…He’s not listening.

Brother Barry: Do you believe that God has the ability to show us what that one way is that He wants us to serve Him? (Yes). 

Brother Barry: And would you like to know what that one way is? (Yes) Are you sure? (Yes

Brother Barry: Now we could just tell you…or we could prove it to you. We believe that you would rather it be proven to you, and we’ll do just that. Because we want you to discover what millions of people around the world have already discovered: the missing piece to life’s puzzle. I know that that was important to me when I found myself in your shoes, trying to figure out if there was more to life. So isn’t it time to face the truth and get out of that happiness trap?

[Show audience]

Brother Barry: Aren’t you tired of chasing that elusive happiness, not getting anywhere in life?

Brother Barry: Wouldn’t you like to finally, FINALLY, discover that peace that God has in store for you? 

Brother Barry: We’d like to thank you for joining us for this live taping of Face The Truth. And we have a series of Bible Study sessions available for you to attend, to help you explore this life-changing subject even further; and learn what God has to say about YOUR life. Topics such as: 

How can I truly get to know God? 

How can I know God’s purpose for my life? and, 

What do I need to do to make sure God will listen to my prayers, and bless my family?

and so much more.

But first, here’s a quick video from individuals who have been able to find the biblical answers they have been looking for after years of searching. Let’s take a look.

[Video package]

“A long time in my life I had lots of questions…”

“So I kept looking into all the churches, all the religions. And I still got questions, but not answers. And sooner or later I just left because I was disappointed.”

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Voiceover: This might sound familiar to you. In fact, chances are you’ve walked out of your own religion for the very same reasons. 

Sol Velasquez, Orosi, CA: I didn’t go to a church for so long, because they were all the same.

Voiceover: It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all want answers. Real ones. Ones that are backed up with more than just someone’s story. But what would it mean to you if you actually got answers to your question? Like, really got the answers.

Fred Reed, Bloomingdale, IL: You don’t have to wonder or imagine and all that type of deal, a lot of hocus pocus stuff goes on in some churches.

Nicholas Victorio, Former Mormon: And I think once you get to bible study and you hear the lessons – that’s the biggest hurdle. And once you can get to a bible lesson, you want to learn more.

Brother Bob Pellien, Minister of the Gospel: Well, uh here in 1 Corinthians, chapter 6: Apostle Paul is the one who makes mention of that here in…

Voiceover: You see, this place does exist…a place where questions about the Bible are answered, well, by the Bible. 

Nicholas Victorio, Former Mormon: Any question I had was answered. They explained it to me using the Bible, not using their own interpretation of it. So, coming from a Mormon church, it wasn’t like that. You…when you ask questions, you got different answers all the time.

Fred Reed, Bloomingdale, IL: And all of a sudden, there’s actually the church that actually teaches us what’s in the Bible.

Brother Donald Pinnock, Minister of the Gospel: At one time you were far away from God, and were His enemies because of the evil things you did and thought. How does the Lord our God regard…

Voiceover: And the good thing is: you don’t have to look for it anymore. You just have to take a few minutes to set up a time to sit down with one of the ministers of the Church of Christ, and ask your questions.

Nicholas Victorio, Former Mormon: You know, once I started hearing the gospel and um the way we teach the Bible, it was a no brainer for me to really know either this was the true church.

Voiceover: They did it. They found their answers. Isn’t it time to find yours?

[On-screen text graphics]


Sol Velasquez, Orosi, CA: So I went to the bible study and they treated me like part of the family. I said ok, I’ll sit in…and I learned. I learned a lot during that bible study.

Fred Reed, Bloomingdale, IL: I always gain something from every minister. I’ve not seen anything like this in my entire life, where you can walk up to any one of them and they can answer any questions you have. But they’re not going to give you their opinion. They’ll never give you their opinion. All they’ll do is reach over, pull out the word of God, “Well let’s see what it says in the word of God”, and they’ll find a scripture. Yes, it does answer the questions.

Nicholas Victorio, Former Mormon: And the unity of Iglesia Ni Cristo is what I love. Cause you truly see the same answer that you ask from one minister to the other. Seeing that we just use the Bible and we just believe what the Bible says, is truly the only truth I can believe in.

VO: So, ask yourself: What do you want to do next? What are the Bible questions you’ve waited so long to ask? When you’re ready, we’ll be right here waiting for you.

[Video ends]

Brother Barry: Again thank you so much for joining us today on this live taping of “Face The Truth.” I’ll be here, along with other ministers of the Church of Christ, ready to answer any questions that you may have or even just to talk. I’m Barry Thompson. Thanks for watching, God Bless.


Available downloads

Are You Caught in a Happiness Trap?