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LIFE IS A MAZE(ing): A Holy Hunch     Acts 15:1-29

It’s a bit of irony that some of the greatest movements in the history of the church have been birthed out of some of the sharpest disagreements.  Some of the things we celebrate most started off as…..well, a fight.  They started off as people on two sides of the aisle unable to come to a conclusion and having very different opinions about the way that things should progress.  In Acts 15:1-2, we see one of those situations.  But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, {The brothers—the church in Antioch) “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”  And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the other were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.  What follows, in Acts 15, is what we will refer to as the Jerusalem Council.  It was one of the church’s first ever business meetings. You didn’t want to miss a business meeting in the early church though.  Some business meetings ended with your teachers being sent on the very first ever missionary journey.  You don’t want to miss that one.  This one you didn’t want to miss either.  This Jerusalem Council, this church business meeting, actually set the trajectory for the New Testament church.  I think what’s decided in Acts 15 is the biggest decision the church has ever made.

Can you just imagine what this 300 mile—probably fifteen to twenty day journey—was like?  What do you talk about on the way up to Jerusalem from Antioch?  Three hundred miles.  Paul.  Barnabas.  Some other people.  There might have been some men there that had a vested interest in what this council would decide.  Do I have to have a surgery to be part of the church or not?    That’s part of what’s being decided here.  But at the core of what they’re going to figure out at the Jerusalem Council is what does it really mean, at a very base level, to follow the way of Jesus?  What does Jesus ask of us?  Is it Jesus AND Moses?  Is it Jesus AND surgery?  Is it Jesus plus fill-in-the-blank, whatever law you want to fill in from the old covenant?  Is it Jesus plus or is it just Jesus?  That’s what they’re going to figure out.  A three hundred mile journey and they walk into this meeting where they’re going to make the biggest decision the church has ever made.  Here it is in verse 5:  But some believers who belonged to the part of the Pharisees rose up {Notice: These are believers who are part of the party of the Pharisees, so they got a little residual, okay?}  and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them {Gentile believers who have come to faith in the Jewish Messiah, his name is Jesus.}  and {This is a big ‘and.’} to order them to keep the law of Moses.  

Let that sink in on you for a moment.  This is a huge decision.  If you are grateful that you can eat ham sandwiches and enjoy bacon with your eggs, this decision matters.  If you’re grateful, as a man, that we do not need to perform surgeries in order for you to be part of the membership of this church, you should be grateful for this council.  If you’re grateful that you can wear clothes with more than one type of thread in them; that you can eat shellfish; that we don’t stone disobedient kids any longer, you should be really grateful for this council.  If you’re grateful that we don’t have animal sacrifices right up here, you have a vested interest in this.  This is a HUGE, HUGE decision.  It’s the most important decision the church collective, I believe, has ever made.  They were deciding what we’re going to do today, what we’ve done for the last 2000 years, how do we interact with the law of Moses?  Jesus plus?  Jesus and?  Jesus above?  What does it mean, at a very base level, to follow the way of Jesus?  This is an important decision, yes?

In a series where we’re talking about God’s will, what I’ve decided to do…..I may have mentioned this last week, but originally I said this was going to be a three week series and then I started getting into it more and I thought, “That’s stupid.”  It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and us, to extend this series.  Over the next few weeks, I’m going to do a few case studies about how did people discern God’s will?  It’s the most important decision the church collective ever made.  How’d they make it?  What did they do?  Because maybe there’s some things we can learn when we’re looking at important decisions that will shape our future, from how they made this decision.  So, Acts 15.  What we’re going to see is that the church is going to enter into a process.  What does not happen is that God does not, somehow, just speak a direct word to the church leaders.  They don’t go into a prayer closet, come out, and say, “God spoke to me and this is what we’re suppose to do.”  If that’s how this had played out, they certainly would have written that.  Let’s step back for a moment—When we are trying to make difficult decisions in our life, isn’t that usually how we expect that God’s going to speak to us?  He’s just going to give us a direct word and then we’re going to be able to make a decision and move forward.  The only problem with that is that doesn’t happen every time, does it?  I’ve met so many people who are paralyzed by their perceived silence from God that they just can’t move forward and make a decision.  What I want to say to you is oh, oh, if it FEELS like God isn’t giving you a direct word, a direct guiding word, for your situation, you’re in great company!  The church made the biggest decision it ever made without a direct word from heaven.  That should scare us a little bit also, but it’s simply true.  Discovering God’s will—what we’ll see in Acts 15—is often, not every time, sometimes there is that direct word, I don’t want to write that off.  But it’s often more of a process than it’s instantaneous.  It’s often more of a process of discovery, a journey of discovery.  It’s often like God takes our hand and starts to SHOW us rather than just tells us.  It’s often a journey.  A journey of discovery.  A journey that the Bible refers to simply as the life of faith.

I was a backpacking guide for Young Life for four years (late1990’s-early 2000’s).  I absolutely loved my time in the outdoors.  One of the very first training they did with new guides was navigation training.  They would take us with these paper things they called maps—this was before GPS was a big thing—and we go into the wilderness and we would do something called triangulation.  You’d get to an open meadow where you could see a few peaks around you, and from where you were standing, you would shoot a bearing with a compass and figure out what angle, what degree you were at, and then physically draw a line on the map from that peak all the way down the map.  Then you would have another peak and shoot another bearing and you’d draw a line all the way back from that.  And you’d do it on a third peak and draw the line all the way back.  It would look similar to .  You know what it never gave you?  It never gave you your exact location.  It gave you a ballpark.  If you’re triangulating and you were right in the middle of a lake on your map, you knew you were off, right?  Unless you were on a boat.  But, it gave you sort of like a ballpark.  It was way more art than science.  At least it felt that way.

I want to give you, this morning, three bearings to shoot.  Three bearings that the early church shot.  Where they tried to discern God, what do you have for us here?  God, where are you leading?  Where do you want us to go?  When we’re making the biggest decision the church collective has ever made, what are some of the things we take into account?  What are some of the bearings that we shoot in order to figure out where we are, in order to figure out where we’re going?  Let me show you what they did.  Acts 15:6-12.  This is what we refer to as the Jerusalem Council.  The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. {So you get the picture—There’s believers that have traveled 300 miles from Antioch.  There’s believers from all over Jerusalem.  They’re all gathering in order to seek God to figure out what do we do with the law of Moses and circumcision?  Is it a part of what we believe as followers of Jesus and what we do or not?}  And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.  And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. {Now, if you want to read what Peter’s talking about, you can read about it in Acts 10 and 11.}  Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? {He’s talking about the Mosaic Law.}  But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”  And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

God gave them, the Gentiles, these non-Jewish people, the Spirit of God just like he gave to us.  He cleansed their hearts through faith, just like he did for us.  Only they didn’t have to go to the Temple.  They didn’t have to present some animal sacrifice.  They didn’t have to go through the Day of Atonement.  They didn’t need to slaughter the bull.  God just met them in their messiness exactly where they were at, no surgeries, and gave them the Spirit of God and cleansed their hearts.

Paul jumps in and goes, oh man, the signs and wonders God is doing amongst the Gentiles, because he’s just returned from a missionary journey where he saw all of this take place.  {If you want to read about it, it’s Acts 13 and 14.}  He goes, you guys, it’s unbelievable what God’s up to.  It’s really interesting, when they try to seek what God’s will is, what his path forward is, what’s the very first thing the church does?  They say well, God, what are you up to?  How are you moving?  You’re at work in people’s lives.  The Spirit’s being poured out in the lives of people that aren’t Jewish.  Essentially they go, well, who are we to argue with God?  This is a great line of thought.  If You think it’s a good idea, we think you’re pretty smart!  We want to get on board with what You are doing.  I think that’s the first bearing we’ve got to shoot:  God, where are you active?  God, where are you moving?  {Slide: Recognize the activity of God.}

I don’t know if you’re aware, but we have an email address set up that’s just [email protected]  There’s two reasons we have that set up.  One is because, as a staff, there are moments where we will need to dig into that story box in order to remember why we do what we do.  You serve our souls when you do that, as a staff, as an elder team, as leaders.  It helps us to see that God’s doing something great here.  But here’s the other reason, we want to get on board with what God’s doing.  Our goal as a leadership team, our goal as elders, our goal as staff, is not to create a movement of God.  Our goal is to get on a surfboard and ride the wave that He has created.  And those are two very different things.  When we hear stories that God’s moving, God’s working, this is what God’s doing in my life, we go, well, that’s a wave that we want to surf.  How do we resource that?  How do we get on board with that?  Even if it’s not something that we came up with.

I love this—in Mark 9:38-41, the disciples come up to Jesus and they tell Jesus, “Hey, Jesus, you’re going to be really ticked off because there are people driving out demons and they’re not with us.”  Jesus is like, well, that sounds terrible.  Why would they be driving out demons?  He goes no, no, come on, you guys, if they’re not against us, then they’re with us.  They want it to just be there thing, but oftentimes God works in wider areas.

Think about it for a moment—the activity of God in YOUR life.  Think of how many things in your life you didn’t choose.  You didn’t choose when you’d be born.  You didn’t choose where you’d be born.  You didn’t choose the family you’d be born into, good or bad.  You didn’t choose your wiring.  You didn’t choose how smart you’d be.  You didn’t choose the first language that you’d speak.  You didn’t choose the things that would get you fired up.  Those are all sort of built into you.  So lean in for a moment….when we talk about the activity of God, we’re not just talking about the activity of God out there.  We certainly are.  But what about the activity of God in our own lives?  How do we become students of our own life, because we aren’t bound by our history and our stories, but we aren’t free to push it to the side either.  Every decision, or any decision, you make is simply the next chapter in your story.  It’s not a new story altogether.  Most of the time, God’s will in our lives, just like it did in the Jerusalem Council, moves along the contour lines of what God has been up to and what God has been doing.  Very rarely—I’m not saying never—is it a complete 180 turn.  Maybe you start to ask yourself this question, it’s a great diagnostic question—recognizing the activity of God in our life, what decision, which choice—out of the myriad of choices—this thing that I’m wrestling with, this thing that I want to discover God’s will in, which choice allows you to live most consistently with how God has been writing the story of your life?

I used to think it was just God’s divine comedic humor and it’s partially that, but when I was a senior in college, I had two jobs that I didn’t want to have.  One of them was I worked in an early learning daycare center at Colorado State.  The other was that I worked at a Starbucks as a barista.  Fast forward ten years and I am a lead pastor of a church that has an early learning center and owns a coffee shop!  Here’s the deal, guys, I’m not that smart.  I’m not!  I kicked against those as hard as I could.  God was writing the story.  It’s not that everything falls in line like that, but if God is the author of the story, none of the pieces are outliers.  Let me say that again:  If God is the author of the story, none of the pieces are outliers.

Flip over to the back of your insert in your bulletin.  I believe Aaron Bjorklund’s dad, Phil, who’s been a missionary and worked with college students for most of his career, came up with this really neat tool called “Stones, Wires, Fires.”  It’s a great way to try to figure out God, what have you been up to in my life?  God, how are you moving?  How are you working?  Stones are the milestones, the things that we’ve walked through in our life.  Those big moments.  Some of them are good and some of them are painful.  Like I said, we don’t get to ignore any parts of those.  These things shape us—the good things and the bad things.  Please hear me on this.  Those events SHAPE us, but they do not have to define us.

Wires are the way that you’re wired, the things that you’re naturally good at, that maybe came easy to you.  Don’t think just in academics, think in relationships too.  Some of you guys are very wired to be relational connectors.

Fires—These are the things that get you fired up.  These are your passions.  You may have noticed that not everybody shares your passion.  If you’re a passionate evangelist for your passion, you want everybody to get on board with it.  Our ideal image of ourselves—hear me on this—is intricately connected to our deepest passion.  We will never know our true self, unless we can name that which we are most passionate about.   So some questions might be:  What moves me deeply—good or bad?  What do I enjoy doing?  Where do I find the greatest pleasure and the greatest joy?  Who or what do I love?  What breaks my heart?  Because God’s will goes along with God’s work.

The Jerusalem Council goes let’s ask some simple questions:  What’s God doing?  He’s pouring out his spirit and he doesn’t seem to care about whether or not you keep the law of Moses or don’t.  His spirit’s coming!  Here’s the way it continues in Acts 15:13-18 — After they finished speaking, James replied, {Most people think James was the leader of the Jerusalem church (the early church in Jerusalem), brother of Jesus, until he was killed in 62 AD.  But James, Jesus’s brother…..by the way, he wasn’t a believer until Jesus rose from the dead….which is probably what your brother would have to do to convince you he was God.}  “Brothers, listen to me.  Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.  And with this the words of the prophets agree,   {This is not going contrary to what God said he would do.  This is actually very much in line.}   just as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’   So, Simeon stands up and goes, hey, shouldn’t we have been sort of like expecting this?  Didn’t God say and he quotes some obscure passage from Amos (9:11-12) that there’s a ton of debate about what that actually means, whatever it means.  They are saying that it’s being fulfilled right there.  That’s the lens.  Regardless, of what it actually means, what he’s saying is happening, he’s going we should have been expecting this.  It says it right in our prophets.  It honors the promise and it honors the pattern of the Scriptures.  That’s the second bearing — We align with the teaching of the Scriptures.

The first bearing is God, where are you at work?  The second bearing is God, we know it’s not your will to do anything that’s against your way.  So does it align, does it fit, with what we know of your personality?  Does it fit with what we know of your character?  Does it fit with what it says in your Scriptures?  But if you’re an astute student of the Scriptures, you’re going…..which ones?  Can I give you my heart a little bit?  As a college pastor, I saw so many young believers get into a philosophy class, a religion class, at a secular school—maybe even Bible school—and they started to actually wrestle with the Bible.

The problem with believing the narrative “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” is what the Bible says.  Which parts do we align with?  That’s the question we should be asking.  It’s far to simplistic to say we just believe it all.  We believe that it is all true, but we don’t do it all.  YOU don’t do it all.   Let me just throw a few out there.  Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:17)   Anyone killed your kids because they disobeyed?  I’m guessing you don’t have perfect kids and most of them you didn’t kill.  That’s there, I can go chapter and verse.  The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.  What about…..this is one of my favorite ones — When men fight with one another and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand.  Your eye shall have no pity. (Deut. 25:11-12)   First of all, was that really an issue that needed solving?  Second of all….   Let’s just go to something that’s easier.  Okay, you can only wear clothes that have one type of thread, one type of fabric, in them. (Leviticus 19:19)   We’re all guilty.  Bacon. Shellfish.  Where do we stop, right?

If you’re going well, Paulson, you’re sort of eroding the foundation that I stand on…..you’re welcome!  Because you stand on faulty foundations.  Our students do too.  If you’re a student here, if you’re going off to college, if you are at college, you’re going to encounter this.  What’s your answer?  What do you do with it?  The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.  No, it doesn’t!  What they decided at this council was both in line with the big story that God was telling, but it was divergent, it was….this is the next chapter, this is the next phase, this is something that God promised that he would do that’s NEW.  What they decided means—-please, hear me on this, this is important—-that all of the Bible is true, but it doesn’t mean that it’s all applicable to us.  Which is why you can eat bacon.  Which is why you don’t stone your kids when they disobey.  Which is why you’re wearing the clothes you’re wearing.

If I’m tracking with the tone in the room….I’m not saying that I am.  These are just the questions I had when I studied it.  Okay, well, Paulson, here’s the bearing we’re suppose to shoot.  Align with the Scriptures.  Which ones?  What do you mean?  Glad you asked that.  Here’s what the Apostle Paul writes.  He’s wrestling with these things.  Here’s what he writes in Romans 13:8-10 — Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  {Fulfilled the law! Presumably in its entirety.}  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word:  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  {They’re summed up.  If you pull that thread of “love your neighbor,” the entire law is going to be attached to that one.}  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.    Love God.  Love people.  This is the New Covenant, friends.  THIS is what we are called to align ourselves with.  The early disciples were convinced, they were all in—we’ll see in just a moment—that love was the intent of the entire Old Covenant.  So they didn’t point back to the Old Covenant to say, this is the way we need to organize our lives, these are the laws we need to keep.  They actually pointed to Jesus.  They went if we keep this one, we keep all of them.  That’s our goal.  Let’s keep that one!  In doing so, we keep them all.

Does this minimize the law of God?  I think it clarifies it.  It reveals the heart of what God intended to take place.  What do we align with?  {Look up at me for a second.}  We align with Jesus.  That’s who we align with.  I said this before and I’ll say it again:  Never, never, never break the first commandment in order to keep a secondary commandment.  That’s our lens.  Love God, love people.  These are primary.  If I have to break those in order to keep another one….DON’T!  Questions: Does is honor the dignity of people?  Can I love God and do this thing?  Is it spreading the net of God’s love wider?  These are the questions we should be wrestling with as New Covenant followers of Jesus.  This is what it means to bring our lives into alignment with the Scriptures.

Acts 15:6-7; 19-21.  This is the third bearing, okay?  The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. {What matter? Whether or not we should keep the law of Moses and be circumcised.}  And after there had been much debate….  {Scoot forward to verse 19.}  Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, {What a great line!} but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.  For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.

Here’s what starts to happen.  You have a debate.  You have judgment.  It’s my judgment, my logical brain says we should do this.  Eventually, verse 25, says they come to one accord.  Not all business meetings end like this, but here’s what they do.  The third bearing is:  What does the community of saints think?  We’re not going to make this decision on our own, with our head buried.  Certainly, we’re going to seek God, but also seek God’s people. What do they think?  {Slide: Seek out wise council.}   They debate.  Do you know what a debate requires?  It requires that people are on opposite sides of the aisle.  A debate requires that people have information, and based on that information, they have formed an opinion that differs from other people.  Debates demand—we haven’t seen this a whole lot—that those people that are informed and have come to different opinions actually start to talk to each other.  {I know, it’s crazy!}

There’s this really interesting movement.  I mentioned a few weeks ago I read a book called The Coddling of the American Mind.  In academic circles, there is this movement if somebody writes a paper that others don’t agree with, there’s massive energy put towards calling that person to redact the paper.  Take it back.  Say you didn’t mean it.  What use to happen, in academic circles, is there would be a rebuttal.  Here’s where you missed it.  Here’s what you got wrong.  Now it’s like where feelings are hurt, we need you to redact that.  We’ve lost the ability to debate.  It’s not just outside of the church, friends.  We’ve lost the ability to debate inside the church, to do it well.  Some of the times over the last few years that I’ve been most embarrassed to be a follower of Jesus is when one follower of Jesus writes a paper or a book and says here’s what I believe about this issue, and other followers of Jesus are like…..YOU’RE OUT!  Think of how easily that could have happened here.  You believe that?  You’re out!  We’ve done it this way for how long?  We believe this for how long?  When was the last time you changed your mind about something you believe?  I’m convinced that the future of the church rests on our ability to engage and debate differing opinions without demonizing people and without casting stones.  May the best, most biblical idea win!  Even if it’s not what you think is best.

Just a few tips for calling on wise council.  In order to get people to speak into your life, you need to invite them to.  In order to consistently invite people into your life, to speak into your life and have them do it, you need to receive what they tell you, humbly.  Seek it and receive it well.  Here’s what I’m not saying though, because number two is just as important as number one.  Not all advice is created equal.  You could receive something humbly, think about it honestly, and go, “I’m not sure I agree with that.”  Here’s my lens of whether or not I trust what somebody’s telling me — I decide based on their love for me.  Does this person care about me?  If I disagree with them will they be gone?  Is our relationship based on me accepting their advice?  If so, no thanks.  I base it based on their lifestyle.  Do you want the kind of life that person is living?  Here’s the deal: People typically give advice that’s in line with who they are.  Do you want your life to look like theirs?  If not, I wouldn’t take their advice, or maybe tell them to take it first.  Here’s what I don’t try to do.  This is so hard, you guys.  I try not to make my decision based on whether or not I like what they say.  That’s not a part of it.  If we’re asking for collective wisdom, we might find out we’re wrong.

Here’s what we have:  We have these three streams — God’s activity out there and in our lives; the teachings of the Scriptures, primarily the way of Jesus; and wise council.  When you draw all of those back, after you sought those things out, eventually you’re going to go, I think, I think, that I’m sort of in this area and what it looks like to move forward in God’s will means moving in this direction.  Do you know what the most interesting thing to me is?  What the church leaders say BACK to the church at Antioch, verse 22 — Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, {Quick insert here.  This term ‘seemed good’ is going to end up three times in the discussion.} with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.  They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings.  Since we have hears that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, {He’s referring to saying you need to keep the law of Moses and be circumcised.} it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth.  For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements.   {The most important decision the collective church has ever made, they made based on what ‘seemed good’ to them and to the Spirit.  That’s what they’re saying.  We’ve triangulated.  This is what seems good.  What seemed good?}  that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.  If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.  Farewell.” 

They didn’t say hey, here’s the Mosaic Law, do it.  They picked out a few commands that were central to keeping the unity of the church.  That’s what they did.  They said do these.  You’ll do well if you do them.  Farewell.  There was no clear word spoken from heaven, you guys.  But there was a clear leading.  There was a clear leading, and that’s how they discerned the will of God in the most important decision the church has ever made.  It seemed good to the Holy Spirit…..and us.  Let’s roll.

I don’t know what decisions you’re facing in your life right now, but can I propose—this is way more art than science—that you run them through this grid:  God, where do I see you working?  Where are you at work?  God, what does it look like to live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus?  How do I align with where you’ve been leading us in the Scriptures, that trajectory that continues to go forward today?  What does it look like to ground my life in that?  Finally, God, you’ve brought some people around me…..the church is typically called the spiritual direction.  You’ve brought some people around me to speak into my life, to sort of point me in a way, to ask great questions, to try to help me discern where you are moving.  God, what are those people telling me?  And well, God, it looks like I might be here and it looks like you might be leading me forward there.  What decisions are you looking at?  I’m just going to give you a moment to think on that.  What might it look like for you to run it through this grid?

I want to just carve out a moment here for you because my guess is you’re going to go running out of here, and you might have these notes, but you’re going to go on with your day.  What’s that decision that you’re going, God, I so long to know what you want me to do?  Maybe you’ve even been asking for a long time and it seems like heaven’s silent.  I just want to tell you, heaven isn’t silent.  There are invitations all around you.  Shoot these bearings.  See where God might lead you.

I’m going to end with two things:  Number one, I’m going to invite you….throughout this series, we’ve had people ask some really, really good questions.  This Tuesday, Aaron and I are going to do a live Q&A on Facebook; it’ll be posted afterwards on our website.  If you have questions that you’d like me to try to answer, I would love to do that.  You can send your questions to [email protected]  I would genuinely be very grateful if you’d send those in.  Secondly, if you were here last week, you know that we did a survey and we’re going to hand that out if you didn’t have the chance to complete it last week.  Our leaders, our elders, our staff would be so grateful if you’d take the time to fill that out, because, like I said, seeing where God’s moving right now, will help us chart the course forward…..it seems good to the Holy Spirit AND us to do this.

Jesus, give us wisdom.  Help us hear you and each other clearly.  Lead and guide.  Maybe in ways we didn’t think you’d lead and guide.  Lord, help us be faithful to follow.  It’s in your name that we pray.  And all God’s people said…..Amen.