Discernment and Decision making


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View lying prostrate before the cross at Kingsfold retreat

The weekend silent directed retreat gave me some startling insight. I went into it with some questions I hoped to pray through, mainly personal life direction and growth questions. Very very quickly, in and after the first guided prayer time that is part of the weekend, those question got set aside and I got a very strong sense of a need to abide with God and let God abide in and with me, and those future things would sort themselves out. Matt 6:25 and following, along with John 15:5 and following became both my answer and my discerned new theme, which I refer to in the shorthand phrase “to abide is to be guided.” The starting questions faded far into the background, and appropriately so. Today I am much more relaxed and comfortable with them resloving well so long as I maintain relationship with God.

But the outcome and experience is not what I wanted to focus on this week for the blog, not the substance of that, anyway, but the change of direction that happened. I firmly believe surprise turns like that are what discernment is all about. Or having space for them in our life. My post for this week is about discernment, what it means in a church leadership setting, and a bit about what it feels like.

Here’s the post: http://wp.me/P3etrg-fd

Today’s messages were:

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Luke 10:25-37   The Parable of the Good Samarian

I showed how the expert in the law asks a question we would like the answer to “What do I have to do to get into heaven?” and how Jesus moves the conversation from “Doing” to “Being” in a parable story where he shocks his listener by not putting him in the story where he expected to be, and instead put in a punch-line spiritually misguided Samaritan who feels compassion and acts on it, not using the law as an excuse not to help. My key teaching was that the expert in the law is unable and/or unwilling to acknowledge he is the half-dead helpless one in the story who need the help of the saviour standing in front of him, a saviour his own people called “A Samaritan and Demon Possessed” because the truth he taught was a threat to their carefully constructed religious system by which they thought they could earn a spot in Heaven. We all need to recognize our inability to save ourselves and allow Jesus to “neighbour” us first, before we can love our neighbour as ourselves.

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and lived among us”

What I tried to convey is that I believe the Word of God is to be accessible, not distant, and that is one of the reasons I don’t stay behind the barrier of a far away pulpit too well.