"Discernment" (Guest Speaker Melinda Merz)

First things first -- thank you to all of you who prayed for our “Back to School Bonanza” that we hosted on Saturday.  It was a solid kick-off to our new Kids Club ministry (focusing on younger, elementary-school children), and both the children and the parents that we ministered to this weekend were genuinely blessed.  Please continue to pray for the development of this ministry -- the next quarterly installment will be just after the turn of the year, as we keep building toward a weekly ministry in the Fall of 2019.

Next, please be praying for our Women’s Ministries kick-off coming up on Saturday, October 6th.  We want to hit the ground running, beginning a new “3-4-1” prayer ministry opportunity (but you’ll have to come to the meeting or talk with Nena Gullette to find out more information about that), and planning out the schedule for the rest of the year.

For that matter, later on that same day, we’ll be locking the Youth Group into the church building overnight for some extended fun and fellowship time (actually, we might let them out at some point for a “scavenger hunt” sort of game around the neighborhood).  Please pray that this isn’t just a silly time that will leave all of our teenagers exhausted and unable to listen to the sermon the next morning, but rather a time that deepens their sense of overall community together as a group and draws them deeper in their relationships with the Lord.

In our sermon time this week, we welcomed visiting YWAM (Youth With a Mission) missionary Melinda Merz.  It’s always great to be able to interact with Melinda, and she shared about trying to decide where the Lord wants her to be once her current assignment concludes at the end of this year.

Actually, Melinda shared about decision-making and the discernment behind it quite a bit in her message as well.  Looking at Acts 4:36-5:5, Melinda took us on a journey through how she teaches her students to exposit a text -- to pick apart its constituent parts, context, and verse-by-verse flow to see what a Biblical story is all about.

So, for instance, she talked about characters Joseph (aka “Barnabas”) and Ananias, who each sold land to give money to help support the young church, growing in size and unity.  But where Barnabas gave all of the proceeds to the apostles, Ananias held some of it back for himself -- and thus lied to the apostles, to the church, and to God Himself.

As Melinda argued, we often make decisions based upon the influences of self-serving motives -- things like prestige, personal agenda, personal comforts, perceptions of what would constitute “productivity,” etc.  But what we really ought to be making decisions based upon is the leading of the Holy Spirit.  She pointed out that when Peter responded by drawing from God’s power, Ananias’ dis-unity stood out in stark contrast to the unity that the Holy Spirit was developing in the Body.

So how are you and I making decisions today?  What influences our own decisions?  Maybe that’s worth stopping and thinking about...