Faithlife Sermons

Life Decisions

Home Sweet Home  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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How to build goodness, peace, and joy in your home by making godly decisions.

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Intro Story

Good morning! Hey, I like the way that sounds! It’s the first time in the history of TRC that I’ve said that. But welcome everyone. Glad you could join us this morning.
I’m excited this morning because here at TRC, we’ve been learning how to build goodness, peace, and joy in our homes. We’re in a series titled, “Home Sweet Home.” And we’re sharing lessons God’s taught us through His word, His Spirit, and through life experiences, with one another.
Today, we have something a little different, but fun! Will my wife Janelle come back up here?
This morning, Janelle is going to help me share the lessons God’s taught regarding life decisions and how it’s built goodness, peace, and joy in our homes.
In this series, we’ve been using rooms in a home to correspond with the topic we’re discussing. So, for our next topic, let’s hop onto the staircase.
Now, a staircase isn’t really a room, but it is an important part of the house that transitions you from one room to another. Many times, the major life decisions do the same. Life decisions can transition our home. They require us to deal with change. Therefore, it’s crucial to know how to make godly life decisions, so we can move forward and continue building the Kingdom in our homes.
Before we dive in, remember, the intention of this series is not to have experts teach amateurs how to do this. None of us have this figured out. Janelle and I definitely are NOT experts in making life decisions. We’ve made a lot of dumb decisions. We still do. But I believe God has also taught us how to make godly decisions that build the Kingdom. So, we’d like to share some of those with you this morning (I like saying morning!).
So, we’re gonna start with a story that happened right before we moved to Connecticut. It was a huge season of change and decision-making for us. God taught us a lot during this season!
Proverbs 4:23 ESV
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
It was August 2014 and two years had passed since God initially called us to Connecticut. We were still in San Diego, I had just graduated with my bachelors. We were searching for a way to move to New England (strange to most of you).
It was August 2014 and two years had passed since God initially called us to Connecticut. We were still in San Diego, I had just graduated with my bachelors, and we were searching for a way to move our family to New England (strange to most of you).
I first went back to school at the age of 30 because I believe God told me “education was going to be part of my preparation.” I never thought I’d finish my bachelors, let alone go farther. But once I did, I knew my education wasn’t complete yet. God wanted me to go to Seminary.
I believed God wanted me to continue my preparation through seminary, and we wanted to move to New England, so I applied for Gordon-Conwell in Hamilton, Mass. When I was accepted, we flew out to visit the campus. We loved it! Sure, it wasn’t Connecticut, but our thinking was, “Why not spend a few years preparing for church planting in New England instead of California?” It made sense to us. Plus, God hadn’t given us the green light to church plant yet.
We were seeking the Lord in prayer, but there wasn’t a “yes” or “no,” just a silence. However, after our Gordon-Conwell visit, we made the two-hour drive to CT for a day and, while I don’t think feelings are a great guide when it comes to the Lord’s leading, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace but also a deep burden when we crossed over from Mass to CT. That sense of burden but excitement only grew as we landed in Glastonbury to spend some time getting coffee, walking around and praying. There was no doubt we’d one day end up here!
Plus, God hadn’t given us the green light to church plant yet. We were seeking the Lord in prayer, but there wasn’t a “yes” or “no,” just a silence. However, after our Gordon-Conwell visit, we made the two-hour drive to CT for a day and, while I dont think feelings are a great guide when it comes to the Lord’s leading, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace but also a deep burden when we crossed over from Mass to CT. That sense of burden but excitement only grew as we landed in Glastonbury to spend some time getting coffee, walking around and praying. There was no doubt we’d one day end up here!
When we got back, we were eager to move forward in our move to Gordon-Conwell. I mean, it was a practical and progressive step from GC to Glastonbury, both in relocating and in education. We even submitted a deposit for our campus family housing.
Yet, deep down, I didn’t have a peace about it. I sought counsel from my friends, mentors, and pastors - all who said, “You should go! It’s an open door. Sometimes, God gives us a choice. He’ll bless whatever you choose.” And while I trusted these people, still, something didn’t sit right.
Then, I was at Rubios Fish Tacos with one of my professors and he told me something different. He was my favorite professor because he was a straight shooter. I was talking to him about the decision and about the counsel I was receiving.
I also told him about a verse that was on my heart that was making the decision hard:
John 15:13 ESV
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
You see, as much as we wanted to move to New England (the place we were called to), this verse kept popping up. Everything was telling us to move, but this verse seemed to be telling us to stay.
At the time, we led this flourishing Life Group (like 50 people) and real community and discipleship was flowing out of it. And God seemed to be asking us put church planting on the shelf, wait, and do the ministry right in front of us. This was so hard! Don’t get me wrong. We loved our Life Group, but we LONGED to move to New England - to Glastonbury, where our heart was!
But that day, my professor gave me a knock out punch. He said, “Wait. On one hand, you have friends telling you to make your “own” choice. On the other hand, God’s given you His word. What’s the problem? Seems like God already told you what to do.”
I didn’t like it. It bothered me! But I knew he was right. Then, God confirmed it. In my devotional time, I read this verse:
Jeremiah 10:23 ESV
I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
At that moment, I knew what God wanted me to do. God was making it clear: If you’re going to follow Me, then I get to make the decisions.
So, we listened. We laid down our desires and dreams. I turned down my acceptance to Gordon-Conwell. And we stayed in San Diego. It was a one of the hardest decisions of our lives.
But it was also in that time that God grew us a lot. He humbled us. He strengthened our faith. He taught us how to disciple people, and how to connect with our neighbors and co-workers. We learned godly submission.
What was amazing was within this time, we also developed a contentment with where God had us, what He wanted and His timeline.
A huge lesson!
Then, on the last Sunday of May 2015, God took church planting back off the shelf. At the morning service, God hit me with this verse:
Philippians 3:13–14 ESV
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I knew God was saying, “George, it’s time to do what I called you to do.” It was so clear (not that I recommend this) I told the Pastor after service that I was stepping down from worship leading because it’s time for me to do what God’s called me to do.
When Janelle and I got home, I asked Janelle, “Are you ready to move to Connecticut?”
I said, “I’ve been ready, homie.” And my response wasn’t out of discontentment, but a genuine, “I’m ready” and filled with an overwhelming peace and confidence.
And then God truly opened a door. GOD FLUNG OPEN THE DOOR. Actually, before we publicly announced anything, we got a random text from our friend Rachel who said “God gave me this verse for you. I think I need to share it.”
Revelation 3:8 ESV
“ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
We were blown away. And all of sudden, it was like every door was open. The year before, it took forever to find a job in San Diego! But I started applying for jobs in CT and immediately got two job offers! So, we sold everything we had. At the same time, God gave us everything we needed. We’re not the fundraising type, but ONE PERSON asked us to send out an email of our needs. We stepped out in faith and from that email, people gave us $11,000 within two weeks!!!!! And God was like, “I aint done yet.”
In planning our cross-country trip, we wanted to make family memories. I mean, when is this going to happen again? But even with all that money, we were barely going to make it.
Then, two days before we headed to Connecticut, we received an unexpected letter from my old job at the school distract. Apparently, there had been a 2% salary increase negotiated for employees after I left that was retroacted a year and since I had worked 1/2 of the fiscal year, they gave me the backpay. In the letter was a check for $1200!
It was like God was saying, “I see you! I love you. I want to bless you. I’m going to take care of you.” With it, we got to stop and have fun as we made our way across the country.
It was this season, that taught us so many lessons on life decisions that continue to build goodness, peace, and joy into our home. And it’s this season, we want to share from.
Like before, let’s use the natural outline gives.
Romans 14:17 NLT
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Let’s start with goodness… or righteousness.

Goodness

To build righteousness means I gotta be “right with God.” The way I’m “right with God” is by understanding “God is right.” He’s in charge. I’m not. My life belongs to Him.
That mindset starts with the gospel. How it changes me.

How the gospel impacts what I decide:

The gospel is the good news about Jesus. That He saves sinners like me. People who did wrong against Him all our lives. I was born this way. The only thing I’ve ever deserved is hell.
But, because of God’s great love, Jesus died for me. He took my place. Took my sin upon Himself on the Cross and paid the price for it. Then He rose 3 days later showing our debt was fully paid. Sin and death was defeated. And when I put my faith in Him, He saves me. Rescues me! And now, I no longer live for myself! I live for Him! He’s in charge! Paul said:
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
That’s my life now. I owe him everything!
Jesus saved my life. I owe him everything. Therefore, every major life decision requires this question...
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 NLT
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1 NLT
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.
Does this glorify God?
Does this glorify God? It’s like when Pauls says...
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I’m not talking about picking out what flavor Pop Tart I’m going to eat. Although, if you want to take it that far… have at it. But I’m especially talking about life decisions that lead to major changes in our home.
When I went back and forth between moving to Gordon-Conwell and San Diego, people mocked me. I had a pastor call me double-minded. But my answer to all of those was, “I’d rather look like a fool and be obedient to God.” This is not about our glory, it’s about God’s.
How has God taught us to build goodness in our home? By asking the question: Does this bring God glory?
Is this what God is asking me to do? (Leads to peace…)
Colossians 3:15 NLT
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Peace

Peace in our homes starts with the answer to this question: Who decides what happens in our homes? Are we like Israel in the time of the Judges?
Judges 21:25 ESV
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Do we decide? Or do we let the peace of Christ govern our decisions? This is important! Whoever is in charge determines if there is peace in our hearts and homes.
Proverbs 4:23 ESV
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
I don’t know about you, but I want God in charge. I’ve never created real peace in my life. Just a mess. God’s brought supernatural peace!
And for Janelle and I, God made it clear. If you follow me, I get to lead (makes sense, right)? I shared this verse...
Jeremiah 10:23 ESV
I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
But over time, God added this verse… it was actually a verse that was prayed over me during the first time I visited CT...
Isaiah 30:21 ESV
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
I believe the Word of God is instrumental if we want to make life decisions that result in goodness, peace, and joy in our homes.
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Tim 3:16-17
Let me point this out… I’ve found that confirmation in the Word has to come from my daily devotional time. I can make the Scriptures say what I want it to in order to justify living selfishly. But its in these divine moments, in my daily readings, when the Word of God comes alive on its own, that I receive His wisdom.
But don’t miss this either! Whether it’s someone praying over me, or a brother or sister in the Lord counseling me, or if it’s through the teaching of the Word at our worship services, godly life decisions are also made in community.
Proverbs 15:22 ESV
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 11:14 ESV
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
And for married people, one of the best place to get godly counsel for life decisions, that leads to peace in the home, is through your spouse! If you’re married, you must talk to you spouse.
Janelle and I learned during this season, when it comes to life decisions, we take literally...
Genesis 2:24 ESV
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
If God made us one, then we don’t make life decisions until both of us are on-board. We don’t have to like the decision. But we both need to hear from God, pray about it, and agree to move forward.
Peace in marriage: Janelle? Trusting me?
How do we build peace in our home? By trusting God’s word and making decisions in community.
Finally, let’s end with joy...

Joy

I’m gonna let Janelle speak on this one because as we were working on this, I feel like God really formed it nicely in her head.
How do we build joy in our home? By being content with what God has given us and by understanding true joy is only found in being in the presence of God. In fact, eternal life is being with Jesus:
Philippians 4:10–13 ESV
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
John 17:3 ESV
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Phil 4:10-

Response:

Is this what I want or is this what God wants? Have I even asked Him? Does this bring Him glory?
A good secondary question is, “Does this require me to trust God?”
Spend time in God’s word - every day. You need it. Man shall not live by bread alone. In order to follow God’s word, you have to hear God’s word.
Read or listen to it often. Prioritize worship service. Talk about the word with your church family. Let them help you with the decision.
Are you content with God? Is He enough? Do you believe He knows what’s best for you?

Practice:

All of these this boils down to two phrases: 1) Simple obedience and 2) Radical Dependency. In our home, that’s how God’s taught us to build goodness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit. Doing what God says to do and trusting God with everything.
Here’s another thing: We didn’t learn that on our own. Yes, we learned this through personal experience and through God’s word, but we also learned this through community. Actually, those phrases aren’t even ours. We stole them from the people who discipled us. We learned simple obedience and radical dependency by watching those we loved go before us. And then, when it was our turn, they walked alongside us. The best life decision are made in community -don’t let the American dream tell you differently. God made us for intimate community.

How does this fit into vision and mission?

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