Choices! Choices! Choices! So many options. So many places to go. So many things to do. So many possibilities. So many that at times it can be difficult making a decision especially when everyone has a different preference! It can be confusing or stressful! At times it may even cause conflict!

Where will we go for a swim? The beach. Which beach? Rabbit Island? Tahuna? The river? Which river? Lee Valley? Aniseed Valley? The Pool? Which pool? Nayland? Aquatic Centre?

What about shopping? Shopping at the Supermarket can be either an adventure or an ordeal depending on knowing what we want, what we need, how much time we have, or obviously how much money we have! Even when buying such simple items as bread or milk. Not to mention making a decision on which coffee to buy! Different blends. Roasted? Instant? Decaffeinated? Plunger? Long Black? Cappucino? Latte? And when it comes to cereal what used to be a choice between Weet Bix or Corn Flakes now is a choice between about a hundred varieties! When it becomes really stressful is when a decision has to be made based on what preservatives does it contain? How many calories? Fat content? How much sugar? Is it gluten-free?

What about dining out? It’s great to have so many fine restaurants in our region to go to but again it can be stressful having to decide! Chinese? Thai? Mexican? Turkish? Italian? Indian? Japanese? Traditional?

Maybe takeaways? McDonald’s? Kentucky Fried? Subway? Pizza? Sea Food? The next challenge is to make a quick decision when there are so many options available, especially when there is a queue of people waiting for you to decide!

This reminds me of a story about a man who took his wife out for a meal at a restaurant (not in Nelson!) and when he arrived he was asked “Would you like to sit by the window, upstairs or outside?” When the waiter appeared he asked, “Would you like your water with or without ice? Sparkling water? Or water with lemon?” The list of appetisers and entrees is four pages long and then when he had made his choice he was asked “Would you like your potato just plain or with chives, sour cream, butter, plain or with cheese?” By the time he had been forced to make several more choices on his meal, he was stressed out by all the questions and he almost reached breaking point. Finally, the waiter asked him on how he would like his coffee, he lost his cool and challenged the waiter to a fight – only to be asked if he would like to fight at the table or in the lobby or would he rather step outside?”

What about the churches in our region? Many options! How do you decide which one to attend? “What’s in this church for me?” “Will this church meet my needs?” Or more importantly “What’s in this church for God?” The churches here are alive and well, relevant, united and welcoming. Make a decision to check them out for yourself this year! You will be pleasantly surprised!