Riverside Community Church

Getting help along the way

One of the most sobering things in life is to know that you don’t know.

You’re walking along your life’s pathway when you hit a fork in the road, a difficulty pops up, it could be an emotional problem, a relational difficulty, a mental struggle, a spiritual battle or even a physical trouble. And you don’t know what to do, plus you know you don’t know.


I’ll give you a couple of examples of this from my own life.

Our first home was a Viceroy Home that you bought in a kit and then put the pieces together by following the instructions and the numbers on each item in the kit. It can’t be that difficult I thought. Like a jig saw puzzle but only bigger.

The day came and 2 huge trucks came and just dumped 2 piles of puzzle pieces on the front lawn. Piles of studs, windows, doors, 2x4s, 2x6s and 2x10s and one huge 40 foot center beam.

And there were a few items I didn’t know what they were, that was my first clue that I didn’t know something and I knew I didn’t know.

After a day of separating everything we began to build the subfloor. As soon as we started to build we started to scratch our heads, we asked each other, “How far apart to do we put the 2x10s from each other. We looked at the blueprints (which were our only instructions) but they didn’t say. I had a problem and I didn’t know. I knew for sure I didn’t know. So I called the building inspector and asked him. 16” centers he replied.


One of the most sobering things in life is to know that you don’t know.


You’ve probably had a few of these yourself.

I remember when our first child was born, I’m holding Jeremy and looking at him I have this sinking feeling inside at one point. Man, I don’t know and I knew I didn’t know. There wasn’t a manual, just 2 young people who didn’t know. If you’re a parent, how could you have known that you knew nothing about parenting until the day your first child was born?

Knowing that you don’t know is one thing, but we can find ourselves oblivious that there is a problem at all. We don’t even know sometimes that we don’t know.


We are learning these days about a very simple formula for getting from where we are to where we want to be, it involves a path. We are learning that our

Direction determines destination.


That getting from point A to point B involves more than hopes and dreams.

Direction, not intentions, that determines our destination.


And we’ve learned that life is a series of mid-course corrections, that when we, see danger, it wouldn’t be prudent to ignore it. We want to take refuge and avoid the danger.


And last week we learned that one of the most common mistakes in determining which fork to take is trusting our hearts, because our hearts often lie to us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, that’s how your paths are straight

And, today, I want to help us learn an essential lesson for success along the path.

It’s actually in 2 parts. How do you know what to do when you don’t know what to do! And knowing what to do when you think you know what to do!

You are on your pathway and you come to a major fork in the road, and you don’t know what to do or worse yet you don’t even know you’re at a fork. How do you handle that?

There are three ways and all three need to be used at every fork in the road. I want to talk about just 1 of these but let me mention the other 2 first.

How do you know what to do when you don’t know what to do!


Let the Bible be your guide and the Holy Spirit in you be your prompter (not your heart). When you come to a fork in your life, what does the Bible say about each path, each choice. And does the Spirit give you peace about one of the paths? No peace, don’t choose that path.

Solomon, the author of Proverbs and purportedly the wisest man who ever lived, gives us some help with a third thing to do when facing a fork in the road.

In Prov. 15:22, he wrote:

Plans fail for lack of counsel,

but with many advisers they succeed.

So, how can you know what to do when you don’t know what to do? – You seek advice from “advisers.” Specifically, you seek the right advice from the right advisers.


Why we don’t seek advice:

1. We think we already know what we need to know. (Ignorance)

2. It feels better to have people think we know where we’re going than to let them know we don’t have a clue. (Pride)

3. It’s too much work to figure out how to get advice. (Laziness)


So sometimes we make plans without counsel, and those often fail or at least wind up being less effective than they could have been. At other times we get counsel, but we get inferior counsel because we take it from the wrong people.

Why we don’t seek advice from wise counselors:

  1. It’s easier to get advice from our friends,

Some with the same difficulties we’re facing. Blind leading the blind.

  1. It’s easier to follow the herd,

Everybody is doing it this way, safety in numbers, can’t be all wrong

    3. It’s easier to copy what our parents did.

         If we do what our parents did (the familiar) expect the same results


So, how do we get good advice along our paths?

What’s the secret to good counsel, and where do you find it?

Solomon says, (Proverbs 1:5).

…let the wise listen and add to their learning,

and let the discerning get guidance

Wise people listen to counsel and get wiser. Discerning people listen to guidance and get further along their path.

The Secret to Getting Good Counsel:

1. Knowing that you will always need good counsel.

No one gets to the place where he no longer needs wise counsel.

The first secret to getting good counsel is to be open to it. Wise people listen and add to their learning.

2. Asking more than one person’s advice.

For lack of guidance a nation falls,

but many advisers make victory sure (Proverbs 11:14).

Notice the word Solomon inserts before advisors in this Proverb? “Many.” Not one, “many.”

Here’s something that’s going to sound really obvious to you: most of the really important decisions in your life… seem really important to you. Isn’t that so?

And most important decisions seem to have a sense of urgency to them. They’re so important they dominate our thinking. They’re with us all the time, so we want to make those decisions as quickly as possible.


Solomon’s advice: Many advisers make victory sure (Proverbs 11:14).

When I was trying to figure out how to plant a church, I consulted many experienced people, the church planting director from the Fellowship office, Pastors who had planted a church, I spent a week at a church planting training retreat. I read every book on church planting and watched every video there was on the subject. They gave me advice and I listened. I knew I didn’t know, I knew I was at a fork in my path. God used those people to help me discern how. We have far too great of an independent mindset rather than an interdependent mindset. “Many advisers make victory sure.” When the decision is important, ask more than one person for advice.


3. Not letting pride keep you from admitting what you don’t know.

Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice (Proverbs 13:10).


Pride may be the number one enemy of The Path. Successful people are open to the fact that they don’t know everything they need to know and are quick to go to people who do.


Solomon describes this in terms of The Path in Proverbs 12:15 when he says:

The way of a fool seems right to him,but a wise man listens to advice.

See what he’s saying? “The way” of a fool. Another way to say that would be, “The Path” of a fool seems right to him. So a friend comes and says, “I’m worried about the direction you’re headed.” And the fool says, “You don’t need to worry about me.” What does the wise man say when a friend says, “I’m worried about you?”

He says, “Really? I’m so grateful you care. Tell me what you’re seeing.”


4. Taking counsel from those who have been where you want to go.

Your life and mine are on paths. Paths that either lead us toward where we want to go or away from where we want to go.


The secret to getting good counsel is first knowing that you need it, then seeking it from multiple reliable sources, and truly listening to those sources to learn what you didn’t know, and most importantly, taking counsel from the right people. From people we respect, who have arrived where we want to go with their character and reputations intact.

There is a real difference between the right road and the easy road. The easy road is the ignorant road. It doesn’t seek counsel. Or ignores the counsel it gets. Or seeks counsel only from those who are easy to get to.

The wise man and wise woman seek counsel from wise people, listen to it, heed it, and walk a path that leads to where they want to go.


Imagine for a minute what your life would be like if you developed the habit, not of being impulsive in your decision making, and not of being indecisive either, but of consulting older, wiser, more successful people than you?

  • Parents, imagine what we could learn, and what heartaches we could save our children if we counseled with successful seasoned parents?
  • Students, imagine how much better you will enter the work world if you link up from time to time with someone older, someone you admire and ask them their advice on things like how to study, how to approach homework, which classes to take, and what college or graduate school to attend?
  • Employees, imagine the steps you could save if you sought advice from people of character and success in your field and asked for guidance once in a while.


This week it’s been Bell –Let’s Talk week. It is about raising the issue of mental health. Not only talking about mental health and sharing but also about getting ‘council, wise advisers’ whom we can receive help from.

For Christians we have the Bible for council, the Holy Spirit for council and we have each other for council, good counsellors.

But there is an elephant in the room when Christians touch on the topic of mental health among Christians. We’re new people in Christ, we shouldn’t have mental health issues! Phooey, we do have issues, and we all can see them.


Did you know that there were 160 opioid overdoses in Peterborough in 2018?

Did you know that opioid overdoses are up 300% this month compared to last year?

What is the cause of this –mental health issues. Our lives are so stressed out, our lives are so crammed in, filled up, harassed, worried, strained, tense, hassled, anxious and frazzled.


This is, in many cases, one of the paths we’re on, and we can drift mentally from healthy to stressed out, to burned out, to deep mental illness. You can go from sleeping well, to mild insomnia, to moderate insomnia to constant sleeping.


On the last page is a pamphlet entitled ‘My Mental Dashboard’. And on it you are to evaluate yourself in the different areas of, physical health, mental health, emotional health and then there are some strategies in each area.


Take this and evaluate yourself, ask yourself do I need counsel, do I need good advice, do I even see that there is a problem?


(Proverbs 1:5).

…let the wise listen and add to their learning,

and let the discerning get guidance


Some of us wonder why our plans fail so often. God’s word says,

Plans fail for lack of counsel,

but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).


What will you do with this advice today?

My Counsel:

1. Come back next week. (We’re growing in wisdom every week, but we’re not through yet. Solomon has just a few more lessons to teach us. Come back next week.)

2. Read the book of Proverbs.

3. Join a life group. ‘Doing life together’

4. Ask God to show you the counselors He has for you. Holy Spirit and others.

5. Seek advice this week from someone who is where you want to be.

6. Follow Jesus.