Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Decision Making #3

Have you noticed something strange in life sometimes?
Where you might feel that a decision has been made for you or maybe felt was even a little forced on you?
When it comes to making decisions, sometimes the decision is not as important as you might think. What is really important is looking at our lives as something we hold loosely and letting God guide and lead us in what we consider our circumstances.

Decision Making requires Circumstances.

I read passages like this one below and realise how much God can and would really like to orchestrate the best for me. How circumstances planned by God, create decisions by default, and all for my good!

Psalm 37:23 nlt
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.

Psalm 37:23 nkjv
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.

Psalm 37:23 niv
The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him

You probably get the idea!
And it is real simple...
Follow Jesus the best you can, trusting in Him each step of the way...and He will help you stay on course. He will change appointments, direct traffic, organise events, all to help you make the right decision. To the point you sometimes don't even have a decision to make!

When I look at the history of the Church you see this powerfully demonstrated. Check out the book of Acts and you see it all play out...
At a time of huge growth and favour something dramatic happens. At a time where you never see them worrying about vision or the next step, everything changes because of a change in circumstances.
The Church is suddenly persecuted.
People got scattered all over the surrounding area from where they had been.
And all of sudden the circumstances answered the 'what next' decision for them.
And...the Church grew and more lives were ultimately changed.
All because God changed the circumstances...

So if you have a decision to make this week that isn't coming naturally...can I suggest a change in tactic? Stop and pray. Ask God to order the circumstances of your life so that He gets you where He ultimately needs to get you.
You next move is to just keep following Jesus and do the good He asks you to do.
Chill and let God...

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Decision Making #2

I am being blatantly predicable with this part of this decision making series of simple thoughts. I can be I feel, because even though this key to good decisions may seem obvious, it none the less seems to be forgotten by some of us just when we need it the most.

Decision Making requires God.
Now if you aren't one of us Christian peeps please don't give up on this one. I think you will find this interesting.

To help explain this one as best I can I want to share with you two short stories..
The first is from the Bible and relates to a time over a thousand yours ago. Way way before our time in this world!
It goes along the lines of God is leading his people towards the 'promised land' which ironically is the land he promised...
It is recorded that they only moved when they saw God move and only stopped when God stopped. God lead them in a pillar of fire at night and then a pillar of cloud by day.
Imagine travelled around following I guess what we would think was a very tall and skinny tornado or fire or cloud. It was unmistakeable, undeniable and there for all to see.
When they needed a decision on which way their journey would take them they went where God was going.
Think about that for minute...
They only made a decision when they knew God was in it, God was leading them etc. It had to fit a very small window of criteria for them.

In yours and my life how big is our criteria for making the big decisions?
Are we willing to make moves even when we don't see God in at all?
You may think I am weird saying that to a predominately Christian audience, but trust me when I say many of us struggle to include God in decisions.

Here is story number 2.
A leader over me some years ago had an idea about me starting something in a different town, and no this not Taupo I am talking about...
So over a number of weeks I travelled there. Driving around praying about this idea and trying to hear God was strangely difficult for me. I could not say honestly I had any God sense about the move at all. When I thought about it, my motivation was more about not letting the leader down. In my heart I knew God was not speaking to me to go.
When we eventually talked some time later about it, I found out plans had changed and someone forgot to tell me.
You see, God didn't want me to go so he kept silent about it.
Maybe I wasn't asking the right question in the first place?

The lesson I learnt was powerful and I will never ever forget it...
If God isn't saying for you to do something  - then maybe he isn't saying for you to do something?
If you are praying about leaving your job and you have no God sense about...can I suggest God probably doesn't want you to change your job.
And even when someone offers you an opportunity that looks on paper great and you still have no God sense about it...can I suggest God probably doesn't want you to change your job.

Through history based on His word and through others experiences...making big decisions without God is dangerous!
Chill out a little more than maybe you think you need to.
Take to God in prayer. Ask Him to lead you like He has others over thousands of years. To make His plan and His direction clear.
No answer = no change in my book.

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Decision Making #1

I feel inspired to do a little series of Simple Thoughts around something many have issue with...

Decision Making.

This is not because I am always good at it and I think I have the decision making skill nailed in my life. I just think I have learnt some good ideas along the way that have helped me.
Plus I have met plenty of people over the years who have really struggled to make decisions.
Others have looked good at making them because they did so quickly, with time then showing that it was not the best decision they could make.

So here we go with the first one...

For the sake of our audience I am going to assume that when it comes to decision making, that we all want to include God in the equation?
While I have seen people make the craziest calls in life not caring how God would like us to do something, most followers of Jesus really want to do what is right.

A key I have learnt in regards to this thing is that Decision Making requires Peace.

That's right, it should in the end be a relief on some level to have made a decision.
And with that goal in front of us, that can motivate us to get there as sensibly and quickly as possible. Because a good decision feels good. It brings peace into your life.

The Bible teach us that the peace of God should rule in our hearts, that it should lead us in some way when we need to make a decision.

I have always tried to put this into practice.
Whether it be asking God to give me peace as a guide. Asking the "do I feel on some level this is the right thing to do?" questions.
Sometimes I use peace as a steadier of my soul while I work through the decision making process.
I also try and look past the decision to see how much peace I would have based on that decision. If I know in my heart I wouldn't have peace...then sometimes that is a great indicator not to make that call in my life.

Now I feel I must mention that there can be caution and nervousness, or similar emotions surrounding this. Sometimes we can feel nervous about a decision even when it is the right one that will lead us to peace.

As you will already know, decision making is never science, it is more of an art.
Maybe a key for you is to decide to look at differently?
Treat your next decision as part of your 'life learning process', and try and use the peace that only God can supply as your guide?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

It was a passing comment yesterday that inspired my thinking today...
Someone saw me on the mountain yesterday and made that old chestnut statement..."the life of a Pastor aye?" It is not the first or last time I will hear it.
It was a tuesday and I guess they guessed that being a pastor means that I have tons of free time to go skiing whenever I feel like it. Maybe they think I am wealthy and I can do anything I want? And maybe I should have had a good reply, but I just didn't.
I simply shrugged my shoulders and carried on with my day.
What they were most certainly unaware of was that I stupidly hardly ever take a day off (something I am trying to fix) and someone else's extreme generosity meant I had this amazing opportunity.

Now please don't think that this is a rant to justify myself!
I have a bigger meaning for sharing this little story.

It is this...

That most people have no idea what someone else's life is like!
They can't. It is not totally feasible because we are all unique and have our own challenges or circumstances we deal with. And I don't for a minute expect everyone to understand me or 'get me'.

What this event reminded me of was that as follower of Christ I should be doing things differently.
Scripture teaches us that God doesn't look only at the outside of someone, that He looks at the heart of a man or woman.
Scripture tells us to pray for each other and look for any reason to love one another.
Scripture explains that a wise person checks out their own issues before attempting to judge someone else's.
You probably get the idea...

So this week, can I encourage you with this?
That when you see someone else please don't assume anything about them?
Pray for them at the very lest. Maybe even get to know them better?
What about being happy for someones else's blessing that are getting to experience?
And what about making sure empathy rises in our hearts when we see someone else's struggles?

I think at least in part that is what Jesus would like us to do...

Something to think about...