Should I? What God has to say about the decision making process – Part II

disciplineAs a follow up to last weeks’ post on decision making, here are notes from Blake Holmes’ second message from the “Should I” series.  You can see points one through five in last week’s post here.  I’ve made many mistakes, and without good counsel, I’m prone to making many more.  God wants far better for us.

6) What is the collective counsel of my community? – “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is victory.  Proverbs 11:14″  (see also Proverbs 12:15, Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 15:22, Proverbs 18:1-2)
a) Understand that looking for counsel is different than looking for confirmation.
b) It takes everyone getting in the room. Avoid having many separate conversations.
c) Recognize the difference between sharing you idea and selling your idea.
d) Know when to open the circle.

7) Have I honestly considered the warning signs? – “He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he who forsakes reproof goes astray.  Proverbs 10:17″ (see also Proverbs 16:25, Proverbs 27:6)
a) Be mindful of the signs through His Word, the counsel of others, and the Holy Spirit
B) Don’t think you are the exception to the rule.
c) God’s way is always the best way.

8) Have I considered the possible outcomes for my course of action? – “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1″ (see also Proverbs 14:15, Proverbs 27:12)
a) Do the “long math”
b) Assess the potential risks
c) Have a contingency plan

9) Could this decision jeopardize my integrity or hinder my witness for the Lord? – “Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. Proverbs 25:26″ (see also Proverbs 10:9, Proverbs 20:7, Proverbs 22:1)
a) Work towards the center rather than flirt with the edge.
b) Would this pass the “newspaper” test? What if this decision was on the front page of the newspaper?  How would you feel about it?
c) Keep short accounts. When you blow it, it is okay to say you blew it.

10) Is there a better option that would allow me to make a better impact for God’s kingdom? – “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls Proverbs 11:30″
a) Don’t always take the easier option.
b) Ask “What story could God be writing?”
c) Don’t assume that because it is hard it is not God’s will.
d) Understand how God has uniquely gifted you.

Should I? What God has to say about the decision making process.

disciplineWe made lots of decisions every day.  Should I eat pizza for lunch?  Should I buy that new gadget?  Many of the decisions are small, but other decisions can have a huge impact on our lives.  Should I marry this person?  Should I buy this house?
What does the Bible say about making decisions?  A lot actually.  Today at Watermark, Blake Holmes shared how to apply Biblical wisdom to decision making in Part I of his series “Should I”.  Here are some quick take-aways. (NOTE:  You can listen to the entire message HERE)

1)  What biblical principals should inform my decision?

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 2:6″

a) What does the Bible say about that?
b) Who can help me better understand God’s word?
c) Make sure you’re not the only one who holds this opinion of what God’s word says.
2)  Do I have all the facts?
“He who gives as answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him. Proverbs18:13″
a)  Ask a lot of questions.
b)  Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.
3)  Is the pressure of time forcing me to make a premature decision?
“Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, and he who makes haste with his feet errs. Proverbs 19:2″
a)  Don’t let the fear of missing out drive you.
b)  When in doubt, leave it out.
c)  Have you made sure you have all the information?
4) What are the possible motives  driving my decision? 
“All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.  Proverbs 16:2″
a) Acknowledge that you have blind spots.
b) Honestly assess your motives both good and bad.
5) How should past experiences inform my decision?
“Like a dog that returns to it’s vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.  Proverbs 26:11″
a)  Look for patterns of behavior. Triggers.
b)  Understand how your family background informs your thinking.

“Things I’ve done wrong and things I’ve done right” – Lessons from Tommy Nelson

tommynelson

“Things I’ve done wrong and things I’ve done right”

This morning as we kick off our annual staff retreat, Tommy Nelson from Denton Bible Church came to bless us with lessons learned from decades of ministry.

The essence of ministry is your own personal quiet time. Do basic things well ALL of the time.

  • Tommy gets a new bible about every 18 months and begins marking it up. He sits down 3 times a day to spend time in the word. The Bible is the wisdom of God in your hand. The greatest advantage is having God’s truth. You can only be a parrot of others for a while. You need to know it.

Study in depth.

  • Read others. Read Schaffer, CS Lewis. Have a deep reading life.

Know your spiritual gifting.

  • God has made you to strike a certain key. Learn to strike it. Know what you do. Know who you are.

Protect.

  • Protect your nights. Protect your days off. Protect your weekends as best you can.
  • When you go home, rest and replenish. The American culture has turned night into day. We have no rest. As a result, Americans have invented burnout. God didn’t make you to be this way.

Play every day.

  • Look forward to what you delight in. What do you love? Ecclesiastes says 7 times to enjoy life.

Lay hands on no man too hastily.

  • Don’t put someone in leadership based on initial impressions. You are saved by grace, you progress by legalism. You earn it. You can’t be 4 out of 5. A bad leader will sink you. Make certain it is the real deal.

Be friendly with all men, but don’t make friends too quickly.

  • Certain people will hide who they are to use you. People earn the right to your council and trust. Be careful with the council of your friends.

Teach.

  • The reason you are in the ministry is because you delight in God, you delight in people, and you delight in bringing the two together. Do it. Don’t be too covered up in duties to do what you delight in. Invest your time in those who want to get after it.

Allow in your ministry for the stars to rise.

  • Your inside track needs to be for the stars. 1 out of 5 people in your church won’t be obedient no matter what you say. But there are some who will lead no matter what. You can’t frustrate them no matter what. Open up the inside track for them. Otherwise they will find someone who will. Churches tend to be Kmart. We only teach at the lowest level. It shouldn’t be. Parachurch and seminaries exist because the church won’t teach deep truth to those stars that want it.

Do the work of an evangelist.

  • If you aren’t winning people to Christ, you and God aren’t on the same page. If you don’t focus on evangelism, you build big heads instead of burning hearts. Make fishers of men, make burning hearts. Seek and save the lost.

Know the difference between things that must not change and things that must.

  • Don’t change you doctrine, your purpose, your standards. There are things we don’t want to be “relevant” in. You are anchored to the rock. Does the audience change? Sure. Your methods must change.

Take the position of God and draw it out.

  • Don’t avoid sections of scripture. Bible exposition keeps you honest. You can’t avoid it and you can’t hide behind it. Then put your bible into compartments, don’t build your own and shove it into.

Christianity is deep magic.

  • It is the most amazing story ever. Because of that, you run your ministry on magic. You pray. God does amazing thing. Ministry is not just imposing morality. We are asking God to open hearts and set captives free. Do you feel like you have to “resort to prayer”. You should pray first. Be in touch with the magic of the story.

Do not sacrifice your family.

  • People go to church until someone puts on a better show. Don’t sacrifice your family to put on a better show. Don’t make your kids hate your church because it took their daddy. Keep your family together. When you are home, be home.

Beware of money.

  • Money will get you in trouble. Stay away from it. Money has screwed up a LOT of ministries. Don’t touch it. You are in an occupation that is not known for great wealth. Money is the last thing on the agenda. You have to be smarter than most. You may have more money in your family tree than most. You won’t make money like other smart guys like you can make. Can you live with that? Can you go to your 20 year reunion and be ok with that? Doing ministry for money is an abomination.

Beware of the “killer d’s”

  • Deception, disqualified, distracted, division, discouragement.
  • You have to get along with people, don’t get shipwrecked.

Beware of adultery.

  • We are an occupation that lends itself to adultery. Whatever part of our brain that responds to spiritual truth is what responds to romance. Encounter leads to enjoyment which leads to expediting, which leads to expression which leads to euphoria which leads to experience.
  • If you think you can’t do it, you are in trouble. Watch your heart.

Stay conservative in your theology and liberal in your outreach.

  • Don’t be quick to change things doctrinally, but in the area of ministry we want to throw our money away liberally in mission and evangelism.

We aren’t going to establish utopia while we are here.

  • Things are going to get worse and we are going to be combatting it.

Ascend to the ministry, don’t jockey for position.

  • Most of you are going to move around. Don’t be sitting around ready to jump to a new position. Don’t do that. Move because you are so good at what you are doing and because you can grow something else with what you know.

Don’t say anything ever that you are afraid of being repeated.

  • It’s scary when you are worried about something that you have said.

Never try to cover things up

  • Christians don’t tolerate scandal. Deal with it and make it public. Don’t hide it.

Gorilla Arm

silverback_gorillaThose who know me well have probably heard me talk about Microsoft’s gamble with Windows 8 and the touchscreen experience.  I think the new version of Windows does show a TON of innovation, but I’m not sure it’s the kind of innovation that everyone wants.  In a touchscreen environment, like the Surface, it may actually make sense.  But until the PC is really dead and we’ve given up on having monitors sitting in front of us (even touchscreen ones), the mouse and keyboard is a great experience that most of us really like… AND it’s intuitive enough that even kids grasp the concepts easily.

Of all of the articles I’ve read on the topic, this one from ScientificAmerican.com does a great job explaining the concept they call “gorilla arm.”

When Windows 7 came out, offering a touch mode for the first time, I spent a few weeks living with a couple of touch-screen PCs. It was a miserable experience. Part of the problem was that the targets—buttons, scroll bars and menus that were originally designed for a tiny arrow cursor—were too small for fat human fingers.

The other problem was the tingling ache that came from extending my right arm to manipulate that screen for hours, an affliction that has earned the nickname of gorilla arm. Some experts say gorilla arm is what killed touch computing during its first wave in the early 1980s.

Read the entire article here.

What do you think?  Do you believe that the mouse and keyboard are going away any time soon?  Can you do your job in a touchscreen-only environment?

 

Finally… Google Maps is back on the iPhone.

Google-Maps-iconYesterday, Google released Google Maps for the iPhone into the App Store.  It’s great to finally have an alternative to the Apple Maps fiasco that hit us last year.  I think this review of the new Google Maps app is spot on…

Map App for iPhone Steers Right

Google Maps for iPhone won’t be for everyone, although it’s pretty amazing what they’ve released with this version 1.0 app.  If you are shaky about using Google, I also highly recommend the Waze app.  If you are looking for really great social integration with a maps app, Waze is for you.  It is ESPECIALLY helpful in a traffic situation where cars are stopped and you want to know what’s going on… simply fire up Waze and it will not only reroute you around the snarl, but you can also report incidents, speed traps, or chat with someone further up the road to find out what’s up.  Amazing use of tech, and also fun because you can “level up” by collecting points as you drive.

So check out the Google Maps app and Waze as an alternative to Apple Maps!

Do you have a favorite map app?