It’s a Win-Win Situation | Gig Harbor | Chapel Hill Online

It’s a Win-Win Situation | Gig Harbor | Chapel Hill Online

#winwin #godsvoice #discernment

Where do I go from here? What is God telling me to do? It can be hard choosing your next step when God’s voice isn’t coming through clearly. Uncertainty is very stressful! In this sermon, Pastor Mark Toone shares about a time Paul struggled with a decision, and how we can learn from his experience how to apply that to our own lives.

Study Questions
1. What was a time you can recall having a hard time discerning God’s voice?
2. Read Phillippians 1:19-30. For Paul, what were the possibilities for his future and how did he wrestle through his emotions about those options through the lens of faith?
3. Can you honestly declare “for me to live is Christ”? Pastor Mark put it this way: “Jesus is not peripheral to my life… he is my life”. What is one area of your life where Jesus is not as central as he could be? How does this affect your behavior? Bring this area to the Lord in prayer.

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My phone stopped talking to me! It used to be, I could plug in a destination before I set out on a journey and my phone would talk to me, guiding me every step of the way until I arrived where I wanted to go. But for some reason recently, when I turned on my car, suddenly my phone was mute. I could SEE on the screen that it was trying to talk to me….but the whole point is that you NOT have to look down at a little screen; that you can keep your eyes safely on the road. I did not know where I was going, I needed clear directions on how to get there…and the voice I ordinarily counted on had gone silent.

Have you ever been confused about where you were going? Had no idea of the direction you should take? No matter how hard you tried to discern your path, it remained unclear? Well…you are in good company. Because the apostle Paul shared that same experience. Despite his close relationship with God…despite a vibrant prayer life… he was STILL uncertain about the course he was on. And in HIS case, the destination could not have been much more critical: life…or death? Was he going to live…or was he going to die?

I’m Pastor Mark Toone and “Joy…No Matter What” is the theme of our journey through Paul’s letter to his beloved Philippian church. Philippi was the first church he planted in Europe and it’s obvious that they were dear to Paul. In fact, this letter was in part a “thank you note” that Paul wrote to them, expressing his gratitude for their financial support during a very difficult time. Do you remember what that difficulty was? Paul is on death row. He is in prison in Rome, awaiting trial and possibly, his own execution.

How is it possible that a letter written from death row can be so filled with joy? But it is! 16 times that word appears in three short pages. Paul is teaching us how to live in resilient joy…how to RE-JOICE…how to “JOY” again and again…no matter what! Even when you aren’t certain of the direction you are to take. Even when you find yourself flip-flopping back and forth between one path or another. Listen to these few verses…and see if YOU can pick up on Paul’s uncertainty about his future (1: 18-26):

“… I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

A few years ago we took a memorable family vacation: a fishing trip through the waters of southeast Alaska. When you pulled in a salmon or a halibut, it would flip-flop, flip-flop on the deck until you dispatched it with your trusty Billy club.

If you listened carefully to our text, you might have heard a little flip-flopping from Paul; the flip-flopping that came because he just wasn’t sure what his future held. Would he be released from prison…would he be executed…it’s clear that he wasn’t clear!..

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