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Archive for August, 2016

decision-making

“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22

Life can be hard to navigate and it seems to always be changing. What felt right yesterday is now disjointed. The plans we have been holding onto for years shift to new possibilities. Part of living this life is making decisions and trying to navigate some kind of unseen path in front of us.

The Bible tells us a simple but profound truth that is key to moving forward in success. Wise counsel can make all the difference a tomorrow that is full of freedom instead of pain.

At the same time, I see many people skipping this step and just trying to figure things out for themselves. We are raised to be mature adults and take care of ourselves but this often leads to us making life-changing moves with no more insight than our own.

Keep in mind, I’m talking wise counsel not people trying to control you or make your decisions for you. However, we all make better decisions in life with additional insight and knowledge.

With this established, I want to share a handful of people that may be in your life that you can go to for wise counsel. It can make all the difference.

Your parents – I realize that not all of us have caring and mature parents but many of us do. If you are blessed in this area, lean into the benefit of that gift.

Good parents have decades of life experience you do not have yet (especially if you are in your teens through your thirties). Good parents would happily die in the place of their children and want nothing but the best for them. Good parents would love to give you wise counsel for your next steps.

Licensed Counselors – While I do admit that finding a good counselor takes a little effort, I don’t understand why others fight this one so much (usually it’s a pride issue). We all go through times in our lives, marriages, families and the like where we just don’t know how to move forward. A trained counselor can help give new tools to add to your options.

When we have a physical need, we don’t hesitate calling in the doctor (if you want to be healthy). We shouldn’t be so resistant to getting professional help.

Your pastor – Speaking of professional help, I am amazed how many people come to me to share they have made a huge decision in their life (especially spiritually) but did not come at any point to discuss it during the process of coming to that point.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an ego filled, control freak but there have been many times someone is laying out a decision they have made and there are warning signs left and right in it. Then they add in the words “God has laid it on my heart to do this.”

The challenge is it is a tougher conversation at that point than if they said “Here’s where things seem to be pointing, what do you think?”. Sometimes the door is not open for any conversation at all. Often times the plans stumble and fall and I see good people get hurt.

Many pastors want God’s best for you. Many pastors have a couple decades of experiences not just from their life but the lives they work with. Many pastors know more than you do about some of the issues you are working with the impressions of. Many pastors know the Bible well and can advise as such. Pastors also don’t have the emotion in the situation that you do that sometimes clouds our judgment in life.

People you want to be like – If you are making a decision in a particular area of your life, find someone who you respect that are doing well in that area. If it’s financial, talk to someone who is doing well in their stewardship. If it’s physical, find someone who moved into a healthier lifestyle be making new decisions. If it’s spiritual, go to someone who is spiritually mature and following God.

The truth is that we (like teenagers) often go to peers who are at the same place in life as we are. Humans tend to have views on everything and happy to share them. However, that is not the same as wise counsel.

People who are in the same place of life that you are tend to make lousy leaders for you. Take the time to find someone a little further up the path.

The Bible – Wait! What? Why is this last on the list?

It’s not. It is the list.

You should start, stay in, and come back to the Bible for counsel. “Wise” counsel matches up with the Bible each and every time. You can get advice from Christians (and yes, non-Christians) but it all needs to be held up to the light of the Bible to see if it matches up.

There are those who will get ahead in this life with worldly wisdom for a season but a long-term blessed life comes from wisdom that matches the Word of God.

Emotions and shortcuts lead us to muck and mire. Wise counsel helps us to succeed. If I can help you in any way, let me know. It’s the least I can do with all the wise counsel others have given to me who are further down the road than I am.

Blessings!

Pastor Tom Hypes

tsflife.com

 

 

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walkingout

It’s August and this is the time of year that it seems I start hearing people saying they are thinking about leaving their church and going someplace else (from our church and other churches). They say things like “It doesn’t feel the way it used to” or “I don’t feel like I fit in anymore”.

Many times, it happens about this time of year because they have often been absent from church for the summer. They have disconnected from their local church family to travel or do activities and then feel it’s something in the church that caused this feeling of distance.

However, it’s not just the end of summer distance that cause people to feel this way. Sometimes it’s because they enjoy the feel of when things are fresh at a new church and then when things start getting a little more real, they want to run and get the high of being at a new church again.

This season when things are fresh and easy is called the honeymoon period.

In the honeymoon period, you have new relationships, love the music, enjoy the pastor, and start volunteering in exciting new ways in the ministry. However, after a couple years you find the other people are no more perfect than you are, the music isn’t quite your “style” anymore, the pastor’s preaching style is the new norm, and volunteering is just one more thing on your schedule (and if you were in charge, it would be better anyways).

This is the season when some start to wonder if it’s time to move on. There’s a new church across town with an exciting new jungle gym and their band just put out a CD. They wonder if maybe they should go visit there.

Then they leave. Often times, they leave without having a conversation with those in the church or looking for any Godly counsel. Often times they leave saying things like “God is leading me away….”.

Now, there are times people are led by God to a new church. There’s also times a church is getting off base and after addressing it in conversation; nothing changes so you have to leave. This is not what I’m talking about.

I am talking about when you go to a church because it’s new and then leave when it gets real. It’s a huge problem and more prevalent than some want to admit.

God has called us to be mature in our Christian community.

Paul has given us great instruction on how to be a church family including not giving up meeting with each other as some are in the habit of doing.

The books of Acts chronicles the early church (large body and local church bodies) to encourage and spur us on.

It’s more than a good feeling where you get all your needs and wants filled. It’s a family.

One of the metaphors that Paul uses to define the relationship between Christ and the Church is a marriage. When we look at this trend in light of that metaphor, we start to see the concern with skipping to a new church every time things don’t “feel the way they used to”.

When a couple gets married, the honeymoon period is wonderful. You laugh, you have deep talks, you go out together all the time, there’s natural intimacy, and everything you do is magical.

After a couple years, things start to change. You’re dealing with the bills, trying to raise a baby with different views on parenting, trying to get the housework done, and things don’t “feel the way they used to”.

This is when you have a choice. You can bail out and find someone new to get that feeling back for a season or you dig in for the work and effort of having a real and mature marriage. The joy that comes from a marriage you work on is greater and deeper than the honeymoon period.

Yet some jump from church to church like someone jumping from spouse to spouse. They are never fully satisfied because they have never sacrificed for something greater than their short term wants.

Now some reading this might think I’m being unfair comparing going to a church on Sunday mornings and a marriage. That’s because I’m not talking about going to a church on Sunday mornings.

I’m talking about Christian community through the local body church. I’m talking about the family of God. I’m talking about what we see in the Bible, not on Main Street. I’m talking about something bigger than you and I having something on our schedule that may or may not work out this weekend.

If you are at a point that you are thinking about leaving your church, take a breath and see if there is anything above that might apply to your situation. If so, have a conversation, let some things go, or plug back in for something deeper and more mature.

If there is another reason you are thinking about leaving your church, get into the Bible and have a good talk with a mature Christian friend who wants God’s best for you to find out what your next move should be. Do not go off of emotions or “it just feels like” as your best guide.

If you have given up on church because all you have experienced is the “Sunday morning schedule” brand, touch base. I’d love to share with you what God has shared that He desires for us in Christian community. It’s a mature community that is devoted, relational, generous, serving, and one that makes an impact!

Blessings,

Pastor Tom Hypes

tsflife.com

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