- In what area of your life do you need wisdom or discernment?
- In what ways are you surrounding yourself with people who will help you to not only recognize wisdom, but have the courage to walk in it? Who, specifically, are the people continually pointing back to Jesus and are you spending enough time with them?
- Are you in a holding pattern right now? What is keeping you from making a decision?
Welcome/New Here: Good morning Hope City! I’m so excited that I get to spend my morning with some awesome people like you. My name’s Justin, I’m the Youth Pastor here. Do we have any teenagers in the house this AM? Make a little noise. Let us know you’re here! I love that you’re in here this morning. Hey, if you’re new here and have a teenager, I’d love to connect with you! I’d love to meet them! Come find me in the lobby after service.
Divine Direction: So, we are in week 4 of a series that we’ve titled Divine Direction. Last week, Pastor Peter talked all about how prayer moves the heart of God. When we pray on a regular basis, irregular things happen. If you missed it, you can find it on the podcast. It was so good. This week I want to talk to you guys about wisdom.
Food Story: Amanda and I have been having some marital issues lately and no matter how hard we’ve tried, we haven’t really been able to solve them. I mean, we have gotten into some heated discussions about this issue. And whenever we think that we’ve worked through it, it pops back up. In fact, it popped up after we left church last week. It was like as soon as we got into the car, BOOM, there it was. Here’s how it normally starts – one of us looks at the other and says, “I am so hungry!” and then the other responds with, “Where do you want to eat?”
“What about Five Guys?” “I don’t really want a burger!”
“Okay! You wanna go to Chipotle?” “We just had Chipotle!”
“That was like two weeks ago!” “Still! I don’t want Chipotle.
“Okay, what do you want then” “I’m not really sure!”
Check out this real life footage of Amanda and I trying to figure out where to get lunch after church last week.
What do you want? It’s not that simple! Yes it is. Just pick a place and that’s where we’ll go. At this point, we’re driving around aimlessly! Man, I wonder if some of us feel that way about life. We feel like we’re driving around aimlessly.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it can be so difficult for me to make decisions. Whether that’s something silly like trying to figure out where to eat or what to watch on Netflix or something big like taking a job offer in a different state. It’s hard to decide.
The decisions we make are important though! The reason is because the decisions we make today determine the stories we tell tomorrow. We make our decisions and then our decisions make us.
We all struggle with making decisions. I think we struggle with this so much because of two reasons. The first one is we have an unlimited number of options. Back in the day, you only a had a few channels to choose from on TV. Today, cable is practically extinct and we have 1000’s of options at our fingertips with things like Hulu and Netflix. We can’t make decisions because there are too many things to choose from.
The second reason is because of the illusion of perfection. There used to be a time when somebody went on vacation and you didn’t know about it. With social media, we know the moment they book it. But let’s be real, social media is the SportsCenter for life. It’s a bunch of highlights. The problem is, we compare other’s highlights to our behind the scenes. When your life doesn’t look like theirs, you start to wonder if you’ve made all of the wrong decisions.
It’s the illusion of perfection. It’s not only a social media thing, but it’s also true when it comes to God. We want the perfect will of God. I know God’s got the ONE out there for me and ONE day I’m going to meet the ONE and I’m going to marry the ONE and it’ll all be rainbows and unicorns. Okay! Well, what happens if you marry the wrong ONE? We can find ourselves driving around aimlessly in life.
We have hung this entire series on one little verse.
Proverbs 16:9 / We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Too often we’re like, “Okay God, this is what the next 5 years is going to look like” and God is like “Just focus on today!”
The fear of making an imperfect decision can be crippling. How do we know what god wants us to do? Should I take this job? Should I move my family to another state? Should we keep renting or should we buy? God, what do you want? Tell me what you want! “God, show me what to do! Just show me what to do and I’ll do it.”
We get this idea that when we choose to follow Jesus, he’s going to show us exactly what it is he wants us to do, but that’s not true. You’re not always going to have certainty. You’re not always going to know what’s to come!
Even the Apostle Paul, somebody who is arguably the greatest church planter to ever live, wasn’t always sure of what was to come.
1 Corinthians 16:6-9 / Perhaps I will stay with you for a while,
This is the Apostle Paul! Mr. Church Planter himself. Mr. I wrote most of the New Testament. Perhaps you’ll stay for a while? Come on man! Make a decision.
or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go.
Surely he knew where he wanted to go plant churches!
7 For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.
This is what you say to somebody you don’t actually want to hang out with. Just use Jesus as your scape goat. Come on, Paul.
8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.
We want God to show us the way, but God doesn’t do that. God gives us wisdom to discern. He says, “I won’t show you what to do, but I’ll give you wisdom to discern.”
King Solomon was somebody in the bible that understood the significance of wisdom. Back then, it was tradition to make a sacrifice of one bull to God. Solomon decided that one wasn’t enough and so he sacrificed ONE-THOUSAND bulls to God. His sacrifice moved the heart of God and God said to him, “I’ll give you anything you want! What would you like?” You know what Solomon didn’t ask for? He didn’t ask for wealth, for power, for fame or for the head of his enemies.
I’m curious, what would you ask God for? If you knew that he would give you anything you asked for. Would you ask for money? I think we’d all agree we could use a little more money. Would you ask for influence? Man, I know I would. Idk. If you were king maybe you’d want to build a big wall around your land. What would you ask for?
Solomon asked God to help him make good and faithful decisions as a King. He asked for wisdom and because of that, God gave him wisdom, but he also gave him all of those other things as well. That’s one reason why Solomon said this about wisdom
Proverbs 4:7 NLT / Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
Get good wisdom, develop good judgement. I’ve heard this said so many times, maybe you’ve said it before, “Man, if I knew then what I know now?” Why? Because you’ve gained some wisdom along the way. Above anything else, seek wisdom.
We say “God, show me what to do!” and God says, “I’ll give you wisdom to discern.”
How do we avoid driving through life aimlessly? Or How do we discern God’s divine direction?
I’m going to give you three thoughts on how you can discern God’s divine direction for your life. It’s simple! Chances are you’ve heard this and you know this, but we could all use a reminder every now and again.
The first one is: You need to WALK.
Proverbs 13:20 / Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
If you walk with the wise, you become like them. If you hang out with a bunch of fools, you become like them. When I look back on the things that got me in the most trouble, I wasn’t alone when I was doing them! I was with my boys. I got in trouble because I was hanging out with trouble.
We all know those people that when they get together we think, “There goes trouble!”
Peter: For me, that was my buddy Peter. Whenever him and I got together, you knew something was about to go down. And I’ll never forget one weekend in particular. Him and I walked up to the corner store to grab some sodas and snacks and when we came out, there was a group of grown men waiting for Peter because of an altercation he had gotten into a few days prior. I want to be clear, they weren’t there to talk. In a panic, I said to Peter, “Call Champ!” I should have said, “Call your parents, bro!” But instead I told him to call Champ, who was a member of the Crips gang. Moments later, Champ and another guy pull up in a pick-up truck, the other guy hops out with this huge steel pipe and tells us to get into the back of the truck and lay down.
PAUSE Now listen, everybody in this room knows that the last thing we should do in this moment is get into the back of this truck. So, we get in the back and they begin to take us home when all of a sudden we hear. Apparently an undercover cop watched all of this go down and was super sketched out by the whole thing. He walks up to the back of the truck and shines his flash light in. And there we are like a bunch of dumbos laying there as if maybe the cops weren’t going to see us. Long story short, the cops searched the truck and find drugs and a loaded gun in the glovebox. Champ made some decisions that day that landed him in the back of a cop car. They released Peter and I once they found out the full story, but man that could have been ugly. Imagine if they decided to run from the cops! With us in the back! We could have died!
Proverbs 13:20 / Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
That’s just one story from my teenage years. I have many. And the reason is because I surrounded myself with the wrong people. This is one of the reasons why I’ve given my life to teenagers. I want them to make better decisions. God honoring decisions! Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Some of us desperately want to grow in our faith – we have hurts, habits and hang ups that we want to break away from – but we’re not surrounding ourselves with people that are chasing after God. We’re not connected to people that are actively giving their hurts, habits and hang ups to God. You keep finding yourself stuck because of the people that you’ve surrounded yourself with.
Teenagers in the room, I want to talk to you for a moment. I know you’ve heard me say this a million times by now, but I want to say it again because it’s so true. Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future! WALK WITH THE WISE, BECOME WISE. (I didn’t make this up, Solomon did!)
Here at Hope City Church, we believe that the most meaningful moments in life are when we are meaningfully connected to God and others. Get into a connect group! Find people to do life with! And don’t just find good people, find God people. Find people chasing after Jesus! Walk with the wise and become wise.
The second thing you need to do is: ASK.
You want a promise for a prayer God will always answer? Ask for wisdom!
James 1:5 / If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
When you ask God for wisdom, he says yes! Anytime you ask God for wisdom, he gives it.
How does God give wisdom? You can get wisdom from God everyday through his word. He’ll give you wisdom through your connect group. When you’re walking with the wise, you’ll become wise. He’ll give you wisdom through the circumstances of life.
NOAH STORY: The other day I was having a conversation with our teens about the difference between guilt and conviction. I said guilt leads to shame and shame causes us to hide and cover up our mistakes. It pulls us farther from God. Conviction leads us to action – instead up covering up our mistakes, we reveal them and that draws us closer to God. One of our teenagers leaned in and asked, “When you say reveal them – does that mean to my parents?” My response to him was, “what do you do with a splinter? Do you leave it in?” And he said, “No, you pull it out!” Can you believe that a 13 year old went asking for wisdom? Imagine if he keeps asking for wisdom throughout his teens. Here’s what I love even more than that! He acted on the wisdom he received. He went to his parents and told them about something he kept secret from them and because of that, they were able to have an incredible conversation about it.
Let me ask you this morning – what do you need wisdom for? Maybe you have a relationship with a friend or family member that’s on the rocks. Ask God for wisdom. Maybe you have a big financial decision that you need to make. Ask God for wisdom.
When I applied to be the Youth Pastor for Hope City Church, there were a lot of unknowns. There were a lot of questions we had that we needed wisdom for. Should we uproot our family from our current community and start over in a part of Florida we’d never been to? Would we be a good fit with Hope City? After 5 months of going through the interview process, 5 months of walking with Peter and other close friends, 5 months of praying and asking God for wisdom, I was officially offered the job. I asked Peter if I could have some more time to pray through it and of course, he said yes. I was torn because we loved the community God had us in. I’ll never forget, I was sitting in my office mulling over this thing. The Associate Pastor came in my office, sat down and was like, “What’s up man? Why do you look so stressed?” And I wanted to be like, “Are you crazy? I have to decide whether I’m staying here in Detroit or moving back to Florida.” And he was like, “Justin, do you want to stay in Detroit to serve God?” Of course! “Do you want to go to Florida to serve God?” “YES!” “Well, then just make a decision and go serve God.” Spoiler alert, we accepted the position and moved back to Florida!
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
In order to get wisdom from God, you have to spend time with God. That’s why we’re told to seek him first every single day. Wake up and pray this prayer!
Ask God to align your heart. Ask God to help you see what he wants you to see. Ask God to help you hear what he wants you to hear. Ask God to help you say what he wants you to say.
If you want wisdom from God, you have to spend time with God. Ask him and he’ll give it to you.
Some of you are new here, kicking the tires of faith. Maybe you’re not so sure about this whole God thing. Maybe your parents forced you to go to church growing up and it left a stale taste in your mouth towards God. Can I tell you what scripture tells us about who God is and the way he responds?
Psalm 32:8 NLT / The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.
Rowan Steps Story: I have a little girl. Her name is Rowan and she’s two going on 22. Let me tell you, this girl is larger than life. Our place is a second story condo and right now, she’s all about walking up the steps. Have you seen her? She’s tiny! Yet, she still insists on walking up the stairs. Some of y’all may think I’m crazy, but I let her. She looks at me like, “Okay, are we going up now?” Aren’t you worried she’s going to fall? No I’m not! I’m her Daddy. I’d never let anything happen to her. If she falls, I’m going to catch her before she ever hits the ground. Whether she knows it or not, I am behind her every step of the way guiding her, advising her and watching over her.
Sometimes in life we get so worried that we’re gonna fall that we never even climb the stairs. What if I make the wrong decision? What if I do the wrong thing?
Don’t you know that God is a Heavenly Father? He’s not going to let you fall. He is guiding you, advising you and watching over you!
Have to make a decision? Walk with the wise. Ask God for wisdom. He’ll guide you, advise you and watch over you. Finally, make a decision!
You simply need to: DECIDE.
We’re so afraid of an imperfect decision, we make no decision. No decision is much worse than an imperfect decision. Oh man, how do I know? Is it God opening a door? Or is it the devil opening an elevator shaft and when I walk through I’m gonna break my neck. Is this God’s will or is this my will? I don’t know! You have to decide. This is what’s so amazing about God. He gave you the freedom to decide. He could have made you a robot, but then you’d do exactly what he wants you to do and you wouldn’t have the freedom to choose to love and worship him. He wanted to be loved and worship, so he gave you the freedom to choose.
God, I sought you and I asked for advice. Now, make a decision. And I don’t mean to sound unspiritual, but it doesn’t have to always be, “and heaven opened up and a light shined down.” Just make a decision.
The Apostle Paul did this! One time he was trying to make a decision and he said this:
1 Thessalonians 3:1 / So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens.
I’m not sure. God didn’t say. We prayed. We walked with the wise. We made a decision. We thought it best. Well, what if we make a mistake? Well, guess what you get when you make a mistake! WISDOM. You get wisdom. You may also get an extra bill in the mail or even a kid. But you get wisdom and wisdom makes you better.
[START PADS] God, show me what to do. I’ll give you wisdom to discern.
What do you need to make a decision on that you need wisdom for?
Some of you here this morning, you need to find people to walk with! It’s not too late for you to jump into a connect group. You need to get yourself surrounded by God loving people. Walk with the wise and become wise.
Others of you need to start asking God for wisdom. You’ve gotta start using your drive time in the car as prayer time. To get wisdom from God, you have to spend time with God. Ask God for wisdom, and he gives it generously.
Maybe you just need to pull the trigger. You’ve been mulling this thing over for weeks now and your next step is making a decision. You’ve walked with the wise. You’ve asked God for wisdom. Now. Decide.
What is that thing for you? Take a step towards a decision this week. Walk with the wise. Ask God for wisdom. Make a decision!
God, show me what to do! & God says, I’ll give you wisdom to discern.