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To buy into the shtick of advertisers, living the "good life" is marked by luxury, a big house, far-flung vacations, an ageless physique, and a superfluity of cash.

A new booklet from Project Connect, An Ingrate's Guide to Contentment: Five Practices for a More Content Life—No Matter Who You Are, sheds light on those irksome dissatisfactions we may have with our lives, even, oddly enough, when all is going quite well. Written by Pastor Dion Garrett, this booklet is the admission of a guy who—by most any standard—is enjoying a pretty good life.

Garrett writes, "I am the husband to a beautiful wife, and together we have three healthy, talented, good-looking, and good-hearted kids. We live in a community often touted as one of the best places to live in America ... We live in a great house that has more than enough space for our family of five. My kids are able to play out in the cul-de-sac in front of our house, ride their bikes up and down the street, and just be kids ... We have two great cars ... We get to take vacations I never dreamed of doing as a kid. ... We have enough expendable income to eat out ... In short, we have a wonderful life!"

So what's the problem?

Garrett continues, "When I pause and think about these things, I'm embarrassed at how great my life is. I'm overwhelmed by my blessings, but I'm still not content. No, I'm far from it. For whatever reason, it doesn't translate."

Now if Garrett's struggle was merely one of finding happiness in the things he has, one might suggest he count his blessing and let it go. But that won't do. He wants more—a lot more than family or the things money can buy. He wants contentment—deep down, completely saturated, everlasting—contentment. And he thinks he knows how to find it. Citing the apostle Paul's landmark words in Philippians 4, "For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances," Garrett gives "five practices" that, based on his experience, third-party research, and Scripture, will "take anyone closer to contentment, even an ingrate like me."

Garrett's practices are the fruit of years of outreach experience and in-depth communication with members of his parish. He maintains that there's a place for "constructive dissatisfaction" with the status quo, if the status quo is less than what you want out of life. From that, a healthy ambition can emerge. Material possessions, while part of life, need not dominate to make one happy. Experiences, on the other hand—deep, full, rich experiences—enrich one's life on many levels and can't be gauged by a price tag. Generosity, too—sharing our money, material goods and, most of all, our time—makes an enormous difference in one's sense of contentment. Not surprising, too, is Garrett's reminder that an attitude of thankfulness for all the things we have goes a long way toward an abiding sense of contentment.

Crowning Garrett's list of practices is the necessity of "finding satisfaction with God." Here he again cites the New Testament's itinerant missionary from Tarsus. This time it's from the third chapter of Paul's letter to the Philippians: "But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."

Urging readers to move forward in seeking lives of contentment, Garrett keeps his focus sharp: "But whatever you do in your journey ahead, don't forget that for Paul the secret was Jesus." With this he reminds us that true contentment is possible, even when all the stuff of life—good and bad—gets in the way.

To get five FREE copies of Contentment when you order 20, go to and plug in the code MUContent15. The cost is $10 plus S&H, and the offer runs from September 1 to November 30, 2015. Otherwise, for single copies you can find this booklet and all the other titles available through Project Connect at its website:

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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