This video segment is one of five presentations in the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making” seminar. There will be four more seminars in this series covering the subjects: foundations, communication, finances, and intimacy. As those presentations are ready they will be posted on this blog.

NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).

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Evaluation One: GCMevaluation_Personal Decision Making

Overview Sheet One: Approach to Individual Decision Making

Plumb Lines: These are the “sticky” statements that capture the core messages of this chapter.

  • Our decision making process cannot be more linear than life allows.
  • God’s will fits within God’s provision.
  • Wisdom won’t reduce to pragmatics. Holiness won’t reduce to character. Wisdom and holiness are interdependent.
  • Our confidence is in God’s faithfulness and ability to redeem more than our ability to master a process.

Memorize: Proverbs 3:5-10 (ESV), “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:

  • “All your heart” – God’s personal guidance begins with a personal relationship that is our first priority.
  • “He will make straight” – Simple obedience and living on mission makes most decisions either clear or secondary.
  • “Turn from evil” – Sin complicates life. If a hard decision does not involve sin, then you’re in a safe, good place.
  • “With your wealth” – Personal decision making requires wise management of resources like time and money.
  • “Plenty” – With contentment there is “plenty” whereas a life seeking abundance will always feel like “not enough.”

Teaching Notes

“The focus of the Bible is God. The essence of sin is a shift from God-centered to a self-centered life. The essence of salvation is a denial of self… When this happens, God can accomplish through us the purposes He had before He created the world (p. 63).” Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God

“Both wisdom and foolishness are self-replicating and self-reinforcing (p. 177)… We need advice if we are confident of a decision because most foolish decisions are ‘clear’ to the fool (p. 223).” James Petty in Step by Step

“The path of wisdom is a lifestyle of repentance from serving functional gods like security, safety, control of situations, pleasure, power, ease, avoidance of pain, and approval. God will systematically expose any such rivals in our hearts that divert us from loving and worshiping him (p. 179).” James Petty in Step by Step

“If God opens the door for you to do something you know is good or necessary, be thankful for the opportunity. But other than that, don’t assume that the relative ease or difficulty of a new situation is God’s way of telling you to do one thing or the other (p. 78)… We cannot infallibly judge the rightness or wrongness of our plans based on the feelings we have about them after prayer (p. 85).” Kevin DeYoung in Just Do Something

“Most of us (particularly men) do not put ourselves in a position to receive that kind of feedback. Yet the ‘one-anothering’ ministry of the New Testament and Proverbs is basic to the ability to reflect God in our lives (p. 183).” James Petty in Step by Step

“The way you pray for guidance forces you to decide if God is just a vending machine to give you what you want within your time frame, or whether you are God’s servant, seeking to do his will within his time frame (p. 216).” James Petty in Step by Step

“Sometimes God grants us abundant time to decide, sometimes only a split second. But the season of decision making is under God’s control, and so when it comes, it comes by his plan (p. 239).” James Petty in Step by Step