Friday, August 21, 2015

September 2015

So, I am writing this month's column while in the midst of one of the biggest decisions of my life: should I go to In-N-Out for dinner or Panda Express? I don't know why it is so hard to decide, but it is killing me! Perhaps it's because my family and I are in the midst of another major life decision. As you well know by now, I have received a call to serve as the campus pastor at Concordia University in Austin, TX. Please know that we are seeking the Lord's will in all of this trusting God's will is what is best for our family and our church.

Discerning God's will isn't easy. It could be, if God opened up heaven every time we have a significant decision to make and told us what to do. But He doesn't. The only certain Word we have from Him is that written in the Bible and attached to the sacraments. That certain Word is that Jesus forgives our sins and that He will never leave nor forsake us. Though it doesn't provide us with a clear answer to our decisions, there is a tremendous amount of freedom that comes from receiving God's gracious promises to be for us in all we do. For, unless the decision we make is a sinful one, we make our choices beneath the sure and certain hope that God is for us. You are free to make whatever decision you think is best because there is no condemnation for you in Christ Jesus! So, God leads us, not with answers, but with promises of grace and presence. We walk by faith trusting that He is with us.

That being said, we still ought to seek wisdom in our decisions. My buddy, Rev. Matt Popovits, has a wonderful video online called "The Spiritual Howcast" in which he presents three tips on how to discern God's will. If you want to watch the video, go to YouTube and type in "Spiritual Howcast" (or just click here if you get this online). I am finding these to be tremendously helpful and so I pass them along to you in hopes that they offer you some help.

1. Assess - What is your gut telling you to do? Is it something that will lead you to sin? If the answer is yes, then you don't go down that path. If not, then ask yourself: Do I have the resources to do this? How will it impact my family? Do you have the ability or merely the desire to faithfully walk down this path?

2. Ask - There are two places you need to go for guidance First, as always, is to God in prayer. The Father promises to hear our prayers for Jesus' sake and to give us good things in response. One thing he uses to answer our prayers is our brothers and sisters in the faith. So, secondly, go to trusted friends and family for council. Seek wisdom from people outside of the process who love you and are concerned for your well-being (by the way, as your pastor, I am one of those people who loves you and is concerned for your well-being... let's talk!)

3. Act - If after assessing your situation, praying, and asking for wisdom you believe that this option is one you should take, go for it! If not, don't! But, do something. Indecision is far more frustrating than moving for- ward. God's will will continually get clearer as you move forward.

Assess, Ask, and Act. This method will assist (another A!) you in discerning the best course of action. And, you can do these things freely and confidently, for when you were baptized God promised to never leave nor forsake you, regardless of whether you get In-N-Out or Panda Express! Finally, if I may ask, please keep our church, Concordia, Austin, and my family in your prayers while we all seek God's will during this time! Brothers and sisters, thank you!

Pastor Bob

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