So if you know me…you would know that I have anxiously been trying to find a church I can commit myself to here in Dallas. I’ve been consistently going to The Heights these days…which is an American Baptist church. It’s something new to me…and there are several things I still have to get used to. But I’ve always had the heart to go beyond my comfort zone and embrace different people. I still haven’t been able to bond with the people there. They’re very nice…I guess I just need to be able to really step out of my shell and introduce myself to others. I was discouraged by the lack of fellowship I had…and I also wanted to not attend church but serve in the church. Pastor Singleton (pastor of The Heights) spoke to us about being the salt and light of the world. And as I prayed about it, I kept reading Jonathan’s status about how his church folks were going to go to UTD and establish a Christian ministry (ACT) there. I thought, “Wow this may be the answer to my prayer!” and I have gone to two ACT meetings so far. I still don’t know how exactly God wants to use me in this ministry, but I hope that I can be a help any way I can. I think I tried to fit these ACT people into ACF people…and unfortunately that has made only left me with disappointment. Not that these ACT people aren’t nice…but the bonds ACF people and I share will always be cherished in my heart…nothing could compare to the fellowship we’ve shared. However…I’m hoping that I will be embraced in The Heights or in ACTS eventually…and that I will try to embrace and love them all the more.
The bible study and sermons at The Heights has been such a blessing. I want to share with you the lesson we had this past week. The main question of our Bible study was How can we discern God’s Will? Baptists sure know their Bible well…and the teacher this week was great about giving us practical lessons which were backed up with God’s Word. The memory verse that the teacher went over repeatedly was this verse, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to GOd because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice- the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12: 1-2 NLT version). This NLT translation isn’t the one I’m used to but it’s a good verse nevertheless. So here’s the list of the practical ways we can discern:
This list is in an order of most important means to discern God’s Will to the least.
1) Scripture: If it’s God’s will, it will definitely be backed up with scripture. You may think of a memory verse as you’re praying…or maybe while you are searching the Word you come to a conclusion about what God’s Will is. If any of the others below (#3-7) conflicts with the Scripture…these are obviously incorrect sources of God’s Will.
2) Holy Spirit: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard” (John 12-13). The Holy Spirit will guide us to God’s Will and He is also a spirit that intercedes for us in prayer.
3) Wise Counsel: Let’s emphasize the “wise” part. That’s why we are in a church or within a fellowship. Our friends can guide us or encourage us to God’s Will.
4) Authority: pastors, authors of Christian books, etc.
5) Cicumstances: this may a post-realization..such as realizing that God wanted you to break up with one guy only to give you a more fulfilling and loving relationship with someone else. Or perhaps God plops you into a “coincidental” circumstance and you have the conviction that it’s God’s Will.
6) Signs/ miracles: the Bible is filled with such examples…and it happens these days as well
7) Feelings: You get this “feeling” that God wants you to do something. Careful…make sure especially that this feeling is supported by Scripture.