God’s Will: Figuring Out Philly

Posted: August 31, 2011 in bible, christianity, personal, theology, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

PhillyskylineRight now we are preparing to go to Philadelphia and just like the t-shirt I got
from some friends at a Vineyard conference a few years ago people are asking “Why
Philly?” When presented with the question I just tell people it is a place that
we really fell in love with and it has been on my mind since we last visited.
Is this enough to suggest moving there? I personally think that it does. Now there
are other reasons:

  • A great college town. Yvette is a college instructor. I am
  • Cheesesteaks. I haven’t been eating red meat since January but
    this would definitely sway me
  • A larger African American population. The Los
    Angeles area is only 8% African American while Philadelphia is 43.4%. I need this kind of
    emotional and cultural retreat as I have been working deep in cross cultural
    ministry for a long time
  • A change of scenery. I have lived in Southern
    California all my life. I think a change of scenery would be good
    for my soul. Seeing the seasons change sounds exciting.
  • A smaller less suburban environment. LA is a city of suburbs
    and I am tired of the sprawl. It is definitely not my speed.

Now these are natural reasons. But are there any supernatural ones? A better question is Do we need to have supernatural ones? Last night we talked to Mike Flynn. He is an associate pastor at a Vineyard out here and a great teacher and speaker regarding Holy Spirit ministry. He talked to me and Yvette about guidance. He says there are four things that are needed when a follower of Christ makes decisions:

  • Scripture. Right now we have no definite scripture that says
    go to Philadelphia.While we have nothing that says don’t go we do not have anything that explicitly says go. Anything that we have would be indirect like “Have faith in God” “Go to a land I will show you”. Nothing that really stands out in framing this decision from a Biblical perspective.
  • Peace. To have an inner peace and calm about the decision
    and not a feeling of apprehension. Mike said that this is found in our heart or
    right under our breastbone. While I don’t subscribe to the breastbone theory I
    do think that our decisions as Christians can be guided by a subjective peace.
  •  Wise, godly counsel. This is where I am at a loss. The only
    godly counsel that I personally have received regarding this decision has said “Gofor it” but more in the sense of “You know what you are doing and this is what you want so…Go for it.” I went to my former counselor and he said this is a good decision for us since it involves risk and will grow our faith.
  • Circumstances. This is where I am really at a loss. We keep
    looking for jobs and cannot find anything except there are an abundance of
    entry level jobs or service jobs that would not get us to a better place
    financially. There are not even a lot of ministry jobs which is the one field
    that I have experience and education in.

Now those are the four areas that need to be covered. I
really would like to make a good decision right now and not just plow through
this time because I need somewhere to go to escape. I also do not want to make
a decision based on the eeny meeny miny moe theory that JHenry talks about in
his blog. I want this decision to line up with what I believe and the overall
picture of my life and not just this one section of chaos.

That being said. If there is anyone who has anything to say
regarding our situation besides “Go for it!” Then please chime in. I am
searching for answers and am willing to eat crow if we are headed the wrong

  1. JasonsBlogg says:

    Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing your personal endeavors with the world:) Its good to watch things like this unfold.

    I wont say for you to go or stay. (Not that you asked anyone to:) However I will render some more insight on decision making (more than I have already given in my blog) (thanks for the plug:), specifically from a Christian perspective:

    Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

    Once we examine ourselves making sure that our motives are not sinful in making a decision, we can count on the fact that GOD IS WORKING IN US TO WILL. So many times we can easily identify satan working in us through our flesh. We can just as easily do the same in regards to God working in us through our spirits.

    Make sure that you keep the fear and trembling for God as you “work out” your salvation. Submit yourself to him as much as you can.

    Also, remember that God gives us practical wisdom for every decision as well. I have seen God call some people to foreign places for no naturally logical reason. All they had was a clear word from the Lord. It doesnt sound like you have that kind of word so you have to wait for him to open doors to confirm whats in your heart. If jobs start opening up and homes become available, I think that would be confirmation from the Lord that He is for this decision. But if nothing opens up and moving means you have to subject your family to extreme circumstances, I think you need not go that route unless you had a divine visitation from Yahweh.

    God sent an angel to Joseph because he knew that if Joseph followed Gods wisdom from proverbs, he would have put mary away because of the extremity of the situation.

    So my opinion is that if doors open, walk through them, because God knows what in your heart and could have put it there (and opened doors to confirm it). But if no doors open and this decision seems less and less like a good one, then ask God for more direction.

    • mayotron says:

      Thanks for the encouragement. Today before I wrote this I decided that I was going to submit to the Lord and go wherever he wanted us to go or stay put as long as he wanted us to stay put. I was reading Mark 1 where John was sent to prepare the way of the Lord and it struck me that John as well as many of the people expected God to move. They had certain assumptions that were proved wrong but the important thing was that they had an expectation and this expectation was the impetus for them to confess, be baptize, and repent. They prepared themselves for what God was going to do. That’s the only sure thing that I know right now. So thanks for that encouragement to submit.

  2. first a little poetic inspiration:

    “Two roads diverged in the wood, and I
    I took the road less travelled by
    And that has made all the difference.”

    I’ve actually studied and practiced discernment, so I have to run and get a few things done, but I’ll comment again along the lines of the practice of discernment…

    peace bro

  3. There are a variety of ways to scripture that we read about people discerning God’s will and intent. I’ll give you the two polar opposites: I call them the ‘Gideon Perspective’ and the ‘Davidic Perspective’. The Gideon Perspective seeks a sign. Gideon has a choice to make (and either/or choice, and yes/no choice), and he seeks a sign and gets it. Lots of people discern this way.

    The other is the ‘Davidic Perspective’ which is primarily based on the exchange in 2 Samuel 7 between David and the prophet Nathan. David has this very good idea. He goes to discern it with Nathan. Nathan basically replies: “Go for it. You’re filled with the Spirit of God, do what your heart beckons you to do.” Notice two things in this: Nathan believes in the motivating power of the Spirit, and David seeks counsel from people he trusts. This is usually my default mode, if my idea is off somewhat or if God has a particular issue or needs to nuance or re-direct what I’m doing, He’ll do the “divinus interruptus” that He did with David and Nathan, right? But I do seek trusted peoples input.

    so what Nathan said to David: you’re full of the Holy Spirit, do what’s in your heart.

    also…and one comment about what Mike outlined above – I don’t particularly like the “Peace” one. I think a holy contentment with the decision is good, but some things God wants us to do are un-easy and tension-filled, and while God can give us a sense of settled-ness that this is the right path, I think “peace” is a mis-leading way to phrase this, because most people don’t feel “peaceful” about many of the things God is leading them to do.

    OK, so about discernment part 1 (I’m actually wiriting a paper on the practice of discernment for the 2012 SVS conference):

    significantly for those of us in the Vineyard (part of our roots are via the Quaker church), the Quakers have developed a communal way of discernment, calling these kids of gatherings “clearness committees” or “cirlces of discernment” or “circles of trust”. Parker Palmer has this to say about these circles of trust: ”
    the kind of community I learned about at Pendle Hill does not presume to do that discernment for us, as communities sometimes do: “You tell us your version of truth, and we will tell you whether you are right or wrong!” Instead, a circle of trust holds us in a space where we can make our own discernments, in our own way and time, in the encouraging and challenging presence of other people.”

    …I’ll post more…

  4. …one of the key things about circles of trust are that you gather people whom you trust, you present your issue, and the people are ONLY allowed to ask good questions (not give their opinions or tell you what to do!). I think asking good questions is such a good way forward to discernment. It’s really the strength of the whole thing, besides the communal reliance that the Spirit will lead you (and us) into good discernment together.

    I have more on discernment processes if you are interested…I can e-mail you some stuff…

    peace to you and the family!

  5. mayotron says:

    Thanks Steven. What you are saying is really helpful especially laying out the different types of discernment. If you could email some stuff that would be great.

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