Oaks Church

      Our tall white steeple and red doors call out to the community that all are welcome to come and feel the love of Christ and the love of our church family. Our worship services are on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with adult Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. For our youth, we have #OAKZ. Our mission statements are Extending God’s Call – Empowering God’s People – Easing Human Need. We are located at 1576 Chantilly Lane, and our telephone number is 713-682-2556.

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       SOMETHING’S COMING!!!!! This is what the big red banner says in front of the church. Take a look at the picture. This is wood sculpturer Jimmy Phillips of Inshore Sculpture. He will be designing an anchor cross from the tree that fell on our property. If all goes according to plan, he will begin working on his piece sometime the week of May 24th. Stay tuned for more details!! fallen tree

        For May 31st and all the Sundays in June, Noelie will be tackling the difficult subject of Spiritual Transformation. Outside change is not enough. For spiritual change to be permanent, change must begin on the inside of a person and then travel outwardly. For the next five Sundays, Noelie will be explaining how that can be achieved through forming a partnership with God.



bell choir piano


       
Bell choir practice:
We will meet again beginning in September

MAY 2015

NOELIE’S NOTION
“DISCERNMENT 101”

       Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a chapter in the Bible entitled “How to Know God’s Will for Your Life”? Well, there is not one per se. The apostle Paul does not write “Five Ways to Discern God’s Will for You.” What we do see are statements like this: “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.” Or “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best.” God wants us to be excellent choosers. If we are facing a choice and we want to find God’s will for our answer, we do not begin by asking which choice is God’s will for our church. We need to begin by asking for wisdom. Wisdom in the Bible is the ability to make life-and-death choices. In his book All the Places to Go – How Will You Know, John Ortberg writes, “Discernment is the wisdom to recognize the difference between life and death – with the motivation to choose life.” Life choices are described as loving God and walking in obedience to God. Death choices involve turning our hearts away from God and being disobedient to God. As we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel for our New Beginnings’ house meetings, it is time for us to begin a discernment process. We need to discern what opened door God has placed before OPC. Here are some beginning steps that each of us can take to discern God’s opened door for us.
        First and foremost, we have to be willing to trust God and one another. Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in God, and the Lord will act.” Trust that God is present to us, speaks to us, is loving and merciful, and has work for us to do. We need to act on the conviction that all things work together for good for those who love God.
        Second, discernment involves listening. In Psalm 81:13 God says, “O that my people would listen to me, that my people would walk in my ways!” We must listen with open hearts and open minds, especially to what we do not want to hear. If discernment is to take place, we must let go of our preconceptions and expectations. We must be willing to hear the appealing and the unappealing, the familiar and the unfamiliar. If we become selective, we may turn a deaf ear to God. We must listen in silence, for stillness and silence enable us to hear. Elijah did not hear God in the mighty wind or in the earthquake or in the fire but in a still, small voice. Third, discernment involves a lot of prayer. Typically we think of prayer as what we say to God, unlike the boy Samuel who said, “Speak, Lord, for your servant listens.” We often pray, “Listen, Lord, for your servant speaks.” But prayer, especially prayer for discernment, involves listening. Through prayer we seek for ourselves total attentiveness to the all-embracing presence of Christ, for Christ is found in the circumstances, the people, and the things of daily life.
        Fourth, Scripture is essential to discerning calls to opened doors by God. The more familiar we are with Scripture, the more ready our access to the experience of God’s people in history. As the living Word of God, Scripture continues to communicate with us. John 8:31, 32 says, “If you continue in my word, you will know the truth.”
        Fifth, humility lays the foundation for discernment because to be humble in heart, as Jesus instructs us, means that we will accept the uniqueness of our experience and the limited nature of our knowledge. An attitude of humility allows us to accept dependence on God and one another and to be open to God’s turning us in a new or unexpected direction. Psalm 25:9 says, “God leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble God’s way.”
        Sixth, it is essential for us to set aside a time and place to be in solitude so that we can be receptive to God’s presence through Scripture, prayer, and silence. This requires perseverance, especially for those who are not inclined to spend some alone time with God. Seventh, we must be patient. Remember, it is God’s call, not our call. We need to be content to incline our ears with patience. In the meantime, let us offer up our prayers to God, asking God repeatedly to nurture our faith.
        Discerning open doors is never the same as finding guaranteed success. God actually called many people to walk through doors that would lead to enormous difficulty and not external reward. Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet for a reason. John the Baptist lost his head. God challenges us repeatedly throughout our lives. There is no retirement from God’s development process, no plateau on which God calls us to rest for the remainder of our lives. God continually calls us to take steps that are just one degree beyond our current ability. God continually desires for us to grow in our faith. God continually moves us out of our comfort zone into a courage zone.
        Jim Gill told a good joke at the pastors’ retreat. How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb? Change???? Change of any type – including positive growth – requires courage. But the good news is this, God only requires us to have the courage to take the next step. God does not ask us to have the courage for the full race before we start running it. As God promised Moses, God promises us, “I am with you. I am leading you to the place I have prepared for you and for God’s people at Oaks.” Our part is to trust God step-by-step. How do we find God’s opened door for us? We ask God for wisdom and discernment. As we seek the wisdom to recognize the difference between life and death – with the motivation to choose life – we commit ourselves to be lifelong learners. Let us listen intently to the gentle whisper of God. Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.

Something to think about and pray about.
In God’s love and joy,
Pastor Noelie

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