About the Chief Outkicker

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Dayton, Ohio, United States
I've accused my friends, Jeff and Jonathan, of reaping more out of life's harvest than they deserve. I joke about this with them, but in reality, I am actually the one who has been blessed way beyond what I deserve. I have a wonderful wife who loves the Lord and who loves me. I have three great kids. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is my great provider. I have done nothing to deserve the good and wonderful gifts I have been given in this life. I am the one who is "outkicking my coverage" daily. Life is good. I am a teacher (18 years and counting), a husband, and a proud father. Most of all, I am a Christ follower. My desire is to follow Him so closely I am covered in the dirt of his sandals. Follow along as I work on allowing the Spirit of God to help me navigate this blessed life He has given to me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Decisions... Decisions... Decisions...

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western-Union internal memo, 1876. Alexander Bell offered the patent for the Telephone to Western-Union in 1876 for $100,000. They declined. The telephone patent has been estimated as the most valuable patent of all time. Bell's Company, AT&T, later aquired Western-Union.

Modern history is marked by bad decisions. In addition to the one above, I can think of three other well-known big failures in decision-making. First, there were the potential investors Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to be the first to drill for oil in 1859. The investors were quoted as saying, "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try to find oil? You're crazy." Then there was the Decca Recording Co. that refused to sign the Beatles in 1962 because "guitar music is on its way out." Another notorious decison was made by was actor, Gary Cooper, who rejected the role of Rhett Butler in the Academy Award Winner Gone With the Wind. He was quoted as saying, "I'm just glad it will be Clark Gable falling on his face and not Gary Cooper".

Is anyone immune to making poor decisions? I know I am not. How do I make sure to make good decisions about my family, my finances, my marriage, and my career? Should I rely on information? Should I rely on my experience to guide me? Should I rely on the opinions of others?
In an earlier post, I quoted Proverbs 27:12-- "The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." How can I go from being that guy who continues to go on and suffers from my unwise decisions to being a wise decison-maker that is blessed by God.

I believe the answer lies in a familiar passage of scripture that is often quoted, but rarely examined for the sage advice that it gives to the believer. It is found in Proverbs 3:5-7a:
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

7Do not be wise in your own eyes...

These are the words of King Solomon, the wisest man to live on the earth. When he was crowned as King, the Lord offered to give him anything he wanted, and Solomon asked for wisdom. God granted that wisdom to him, but Solomon's advice was to NOT trust your own understanding. If anyone could trust in his own intuition and reasoning, it would be Solomon, but this young king knew something that you and I don't readily recognize... The key to wise decision-making is not found in ME, it is found in the person of GOD.

Let's go back to the passage again:
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
I am called to lean on God, not my own wisdom or or intellect. The Hebrew word for "lean" in this verse means to prop something up against something else. I am being called to put my full decision-making weight on Him and the precepts of His Word. Pastor Andy Stanley is quoted as saying, "Direction doesn't begin with a search for knowledge or direction... It begins with submission to God."

6a in all your ways acknowledge Him,
I am also called to acknowledge Him in every area of my life. The word "acknowledge" means to literally make him the head or Lord of it. This means establishing a humble attitude before God with a decision to submit to His ways in every area of your life.

6b and He will make your paths straight.
This is one of those IF-THEN statements. If I acknowledge Him in all areas of my life, then he will make it clear for me which path (decision) to take (make).


God knows the future. I need to acknowledge my need for Him in all areas, and He will give me the decision-making ability I need.

7Do not be wise in your own eyes...
My pride, arrogance, and self-importance often get in the way of the good and perfect gifts God has for me. I oftentimes go it alone and rely on self in making life's decisions. God's wisdom is far, far, far superior to that of his creation, yet I rely on my own intellect to help me make my decisions. Information, wisdom, insight, and common sense are not enough. I need a Savior... I need to allow God to lead me.

It is easy to trust God and lean on Him in areas over which I have little or no control, such as my salvation, safety, health, etc. However, it is difficult to drop my pride in areas where I have experience and knowledge. It is especially hard to drop my pride in areas in which others see me as a seasoned veteran or expert. I am called to acknowledge Him in "all my ways". This includes my marriage, parenting, education, profession, etc. It is most difficult to acknowledge God in areas where I think I am in control.

I need God to guide me in making wise decisions that result in blessing, rather than curse. To get there, I need to develop an attitude of dependence on God. I need to acknowledge Him in every area of my life. THEN... He will show me what to do.

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