Where do you think you're heading???

How can I know God's will?

I asked this question when...

*...I was living in Athens. I was constantly surrounded by adults who barked liked dogs on the weekends and students whose life-long obsession seemed to be, "Where's the next party?" With so many distractions, could I really discern what God wanted for my life?

*...it came time to move to a foreign land. In 2004 we found ourselves contemplating a move to a land flowing with bourbon, crazy hillbillies and blue grass. How would we pay for seminary in Kentucky? Was it really time to go? How could I be sure that this was what God wanted for our family?

*....God was prompting Shannon and me to start a new church. I knew that this would be a difficult adventure. I knew that most church plants didn't live to see their fifth birthday. I DIDN'T know how God was going to provide. How could I be sure that this was what God wanted and not just what I wanted?

Chances are, you've asked this question just as much as I have.

In Acts 15, we read about a major conflict that's threatening to divide the early church. It was a major crossroads in need of divine direction.

Let me give you three things the early church did that helped discern God's will in that situation (this will help us get the conversation started for our new series).

1.  Saints. "So the apostles and the elders met together to resolve this issue." Acts 15:6, NIV. The community got together for a major pow wow. The big players (saints) were Paul, The Rock (a.k.a. Peter) and James, the brother of Jesus. What an amazing group to help discern God's will! We were not made to walk through life alone. We were made for community. God has provided saints in your life to give guidance.

2.  Situations. "Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them..." Acts 15:12, NIV. Paul reminded everyone of God's miracles. God's past provision will often be a good indicator of future direction.

3.  Spirit. "God knows people's hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us." Acts 15:8, NIV. The presence of God's Holy Spirit gave guidance then ... and still guides today. The question is: Are we turning things off so we can really tune in and listen to his voice?

Do you have questions about what's next?

I believe that God wants to give you an answer!

Join us for our new series this Sunday (Destinations) as we discuss how to know and follow God's will.

BTW - Please send us your favorite family summer destination photos and we'll try to work it in to the new series. The funnier, the better! email: info@theridgecolumbus.com

Jimmy McIlrath