Alan Neale

Writer • Speaker

“Making Decisions – #3 Helping Others Make Decisions.” Sunday January 29 2017, 9am. Trinity Church, Newport, RI. The Reverend Alan Neale

#3 – The Progress
(Helping Others Make Decisions)
Sunday January 29 2017

  • Review from Class #1 – in one word?

“Perspective” – ourselves, others, circumstances and the God with whom we deal. Faith!

  1. Review from Class #2 – in one word?

“Humility” – readiness to learn, to listen and… to change a decision

  1. What makes decision making difficult? What are the besetting problems
  2. Fear of failure
  3. Shame
  4. Punishment
  5. Lack of experience
  1. Helping Others Make Decisions
  2. By Invitation
  3. By Listening (3-fold listening)
  4. By Suggestion
  5. By Support
  6. By Prayer
  1. Bible Passages
  1. Philip and the Man From Ethiopia (Acts 8)

(NB Philip’s guidance. Philip acts with circumspect courtesy. Philip accompanies the man without prejudice. Philip facilitates a decision)

6 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. “Go south to the desert road,” he said. “It’s the road

that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So Philip started out. On his way he met an Ethiopian official. The man had an important position in charge of all the wealth of the Kandake. Kandake means queen of Ethiopia. This official had gone to Jerusalem to worship. 28 On his way home he was sitting in his chariot. He was reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Holy Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot. Stay near it.”

30 So Philip ran up to the chariot. He heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you’re reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I?” he said. “I need someone to explain it to me.” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 Here is the part of Scripture the official was reading. It says,

“He was led like a sheep to be killed.
Just as lambs are silent while their wool is being cut off,
he did not open his mouth.
33 When he was treated badly, he was refused a fair trial.
Who can say anything about his children?
His life was cut off from the earth.” (Isaiah 53:7,8)

34 The official said to Philip, “Tell me, please. Who is the prophet talking about? Himself, or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that same part of Scripture. He told him the good news about Jesus.

36-37 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water. The official said, “Look! Here is water! What can stop me from being baptized?” 38 He gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the official went down into the water. Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away. The official did not see him again. He went on his way full of joy. 40 Philip was seen next at Azotus. From there he traveled all around. He preached the good news in all the towns. Finally he arrived in Caesarea.

  1. Paul’s Vision of the Man From Macedonia (Acts 16)

 (NB Guidance of the Holy Spirit. Importance of internal and external circumstances. Importance of community. Action.)

Paul and his companions traveled all through the area of Phrygia and Galatia. The Holy Spirit

had kept them from preaching the word in Asia Minor. They came to the border of Mysia. From there they tried to enter Bithynia. But the Spirit of Jesus would not let them. So they passed by Mysia. Then they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision. He saw a man from Macedonia standing and begging him. “Come over to Macedonia!” the man said. “Help us!” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia. We decided that God had called us to preach the good news there.

  • The Holy Spirit and Guidance (John 16)

12 “I have much more to say to you. It is more than you can handle right now. 13 But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own. He will speak only what he hears. And he will tell you what is still going to happen. 14 He will bring me glory. That’s because what he receives from me he will show to you. 15 Everything that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said what the Holy Spirit receives from me he will show to you.


Bible Verses about Guidance

Psalm 25:4-5

Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.

Psalm 31:3

For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.

Psalm 43:3

O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your dwelling places.

Proverbs 3:5-6

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 your paths straight.

Acts 10:19-20

While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. “But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.”

Acts 13:2

While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”


Prayers for Guidance

  1. For Guidance

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious

favor, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our

works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify

thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting

life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


  1. For Guidance

O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and

light riseth up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all

our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou

wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save

us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see

light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through

Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP Page 100)

Prayer for Guidance (BCP)

O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God, who from of old
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Celtic Prayers

I arise today
Through a mighty strength:
God’s power to guide me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s eyes to watch over me;
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to give me speech,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to shelter me,
God’s host to secure me.
first millenium – bridgid of gael

Good Shepherd, guide us
when the way is uncertain
and the path overgrown,
back onto higher ground
from where we might see,
behind us, the place from which
you have patiently brought us,
and ahead of us once more
glimpse your footsteps
leading forward, into which
we will try and place our own.