Perspective on Power

 

For God so loved the world... God holding world with crossI’ve witnessed the power of high winds and tornados. I’ve talked with those who’ve experienced earth quakes. I’ve seen powerful explosives that take down a stadium to rubble. I’ve seen mighty cranes, trucks, bulldozers.  I’ve seen the destructive power of weapons used to steal, kill and destroy.  Power put in the wrong hands brings about disruption and destruction.

The Lord is ALL POWERFUL. No one else measures up to His Power. I’m in small group of men who are reading in Isaiah this week and immediately, I saw a powerful perspective of the Lord.  He has no equal. Check this out…

12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
    Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth
    or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?
    Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
14 Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?
    Does he need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach him what is right
    or show him the path of justice? (Isaiah 40:12-14 NLT)

The prophet Isaiah is crystal clear on how powerful the Lord is. He explains that nothing or no one else can compare or measure up to Him. He is beyond my ability to fathom this power perspective. He made the heavens and the earth. He knows what the earth weighs? He never needs advice or wise counsel.

After this perspective, I came across one of my favorite passages in all of scripture. Check this out…

28 Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT)

He never gets tired or weak and He’s the Supplier of my strength, therefore, I can remain strong. He renews my strength. He rebuilds me when I’m broken. He restores me when I’m devastated. He specializes in renewing and rebuilding broken, hurting people. He makes a way where there seems to be no way.  He most definitely worthy of my trust and confidence. There is no One more powerful, yet gentle, patient, merciful and full of Grace. I’m so thankful to know Him and to be known by Him!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Not A Worship Leader

Praise at sunset

Blog by Kristen Hicks

I have decided something. Actually, I thought I had already made this decision. I guess that’s what happens with perspective. I’ve decided that I don’t want to be a worship leader. That may shock the crap out of some of you, some of you may even disagree or try to talk me out of it—that’s ok.

This may be hard to explain, you may not even get it, but lately I’ve been asking the Lord, specific questions about who I am and who I’m not. These questions are unmistakably paralleling my questions about who He is and who He is not. I guess that’s what happens when you look at your reflection in the eyes of the One whose image you’re created in— I’m learning to let His gaze define me.

Here is what I have so far:

1. I am a creative; the way that I think, the way I feel things, the way that I see people, the world, life in general— I see color, masterpieces, greatness, music, beauty, adventures, simplicity. I’ve realized I’ve always tried to make up for this, I’ve always tried to not be this way. I’ve beat myself up for not being more practical or logical. Why don’t I care about money, or a career, or all the other things that I see others caring about? Having this mindset, has made me feel like a failure at times, sometimes misplaced.

2. I’ve, also, realized that I love, love, LOVE writing. Never saw that one coming, from some reason. Although, all the signs were there. I mean, come on… coffee, journalling, deep thinking, processing that ends in God-revelation, epic Jesus talks—of course, I love this.

3. I’m not a worship leader. This one is still in the process of understanding.

I’ve been “leading worship” a lot lately, it seems. Not well, if you ask me. I’ve had many talks about it with the Lord, because there seems to be something missing. Maybe there is a wall, maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s just the season I’m in; that’s what I keep trying to chalk it up to, in my head, at least. But the interesting thing is, when it’s just me in my room before the Lord, it’s different. It’s awesome!

There is this quote I keep thinking about: “My prayer for you is that you would gain authority in the places that nobody sees, so when you stand up on stage you have something authentic to give the world.” Melissa Helser, once again, ladies and gentlemen.

The Lord says He’s in the process of flipping my mindset. You see, for the longest time, when I have worshiped in the secret place, I always, imagine myself on the stage. For starters, because I know I’m made for that, but also, because I wanted to practice getting in the Presence in front of people. Now, the Lord is wanting to take it a step further in saying, that at all times, I am to go to the secret place—whether that means when I am literally in the secret place or on a stage.

What I have learned lately, is that yes, I can be a worship leader, and I can be good at it. I can play the role, please the people, and not even hate it. But I’m not called to the role, I’m called to the Presence; and as much as I myself want argue with this thought, I believe that if I allow the Lord to take me into His Presence—He will change the people. He will lead them into worship. I’ve seen this, I’ve experienced it.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m NOT saying it is wrong to be a worship leader. Nope, I most definitely believe there are people that are called to that. I am saying that I am realizing that I am simply a worshipper. And that is enough. This doesn’t mean, I won’t lead songs at church, no I don’t believe the Lord is calling me off the stage at all, at least not physically.

I am stripping off the expectation that others have put on me and that I have put on myself. I don’t have to “wow” the crowd every time I open my mouth. I don’t have to sing all the hard notes. I don’t need to feel pressure to hear a new spontaneous song every time. I just need to simply come with the authenticity of my heart, letting the smile of Abba define me, allowing Love Himself to wash over me, and come out through me— and I believe if I do this, then He will come… in, over and through all those whose hearts are open to Him.

I’ve heard it said that different worship leaders carry different things, different anointing, and I have often asked the Lord what it is that I carry. But ya know, I just don’t care anymore. Because more than anything I just want to carry what people need. And people need Him, more than they need to hear me sing.

I’ve been thinking lately about true worship, and I think true worship creates space. Space for the Father to speak, breathe, move, heal, define. I want to carry Him, His Presence, His heart, His agenda. It does not and should not ever point to a person—only Jesus, only the Father.

So, this is who I am, please don’t expect anything more. I’ll only let you down. But if you must expect something, expect Him—in whatever, form He may choose to come. Expect that when you open your own mouth and bring an offering of praise, a brokenness in spirit, an authentic heart, that He will respond. Expect that there is a song within you that isn’t just the one on the screen. Expect that with one voice and as one body we are joining with the angels and saints and all of heaven. And expect that He is singing over you new songs of hope, of joy, of redemption, of purpose, of peace, of love, and ALL of life!

PS: And no, I’m not just talking about music.

 

Pursuit

follow your heart words holding by businessman's handI sometimes think of this word in negative terms. For example, when a car with blue lights is in pursuit of my car, I know I’m about to get a “safe driving award” for exceeding the speed limit. I’ve not been pursued like this in a good while and I’m thankful. I also try to think of this word in a positive way – pursuing hopes and dreams. I still have those for my life. I want to be in daily pursuit of my goals and ambitions.

I came across a story in the book of John that reminded me of the word “pursuit” even though it’s not in the scripture. Check this out…

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. (John 21:4-9 NLT)

I was immediately reminded of the event found in Matthew 14 when the disciples were in the boat in the middle of the night and a storm came up and they were struggling to keep moving. Jesus came up walking on the water and it freaked them out. When Peter realized it was Jesus, he said, “Lord if its really you, tell me to come walking on the water.” Jesus said, “Come”. Peter did just that, he got out of the safety of the boat and headed toward Jesus. In this story, Peter gets out of the boat and leaves his responsibility with the net and the huge catch of fish behind in pursuit of Jesus.

Peter is portrayed as a passionate follower of Jesus. He was used by the Lord to be a great leader in the early church. He seems impulsive and unpredictable. He was predictable when it came to Jesus – He wanted to be with Jesus wherever He was.

This simple passage stirred my heart to stay in a passionate pursuit of God with my life. I must make my pursuit the highest priority of my life. My pursuit of God begins in my heart and then is shown in my behavior. If I reverse this, it doesn’t work well. I grew up trying to “show” my faith with my behavior, while my heart wasn’t in it. I’m still learning that behavior follows the heart. The heart doesn’t follow behavior – it simply tolerates it. If I want to be in genuine pursuit of God, it begins with heart change.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Continue

what is next words written by 3d manThis word carries with a lot of meaning. As I investigated how the dictionary defined this word, it is definitely a verb – meaning action. Continue means: to last or endure; remain, abide, stay, persist, maintain, and keep going. To continue means I’m not going to stop. There have been many instances in my life where I wanted to quit or stop and go a different direction, but I felt compelled to continue. There have been seasons in my life when it was time to stop one thing and actually start something new.

This morning, I was reading the story of Jesus resurrection from the Gospel of John. I love his perspective of Jesus. John was steady. He was present. He was consistent in his actions, yet not as “loud” and “flamboyant” as his buddy Peter. He tells the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples twice. He specifically mentions the encounter with Thomas, which is where Thomas acquired the nickname: “Doubting Thomas”. He then gives the reason he penned this story of Jesus in the first place. Check this out…

30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. (John 20:30-31 NLT)

John gives perspective that connects with my heart. He reminds everyone that the central character in any story is Jesus. He reminds me that Jesus is the Messiah, the very Son of God. He reminds me of why Jesus came in the first place. I feel like these two short verses wrap up the story of Jesus, according to John, with a ribbon and bow.

I read the Word of God daily because I believe in God. I want to know more of Him. I want His character to settle inside my heart. I have also read the Word of God when I was struggling with my faith and what I believe.  As I walk out my faith, the word “continue” is critical. I’m building on my simple, child-like faith that is “all grown up”, but still growing. There are situations in my journey that can only be explained to me as the Lord’s hand being involved.

My life plan is to continue to believe for the rest of my life span! I plan to daily talk and walk with the Lord. I want my work and my words to continue to give honor and glory to God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Death

 

death Grunge TextI am not a fan of death. I recently experienced the death of a dear aunt and then two weeks later, her son died. Death is so permanent relative to my life here and now. In relationship to eternity, it more like a new chapter. I see eternity as “the long game” or “the big picture”. While death is the end of this life, it moves us squarely into eternity. The way I understand scripture, this life determines the destination in eternity.

This morning I read about the death of Jesus from John’s perspective. John was probably the closest of the 12 disciples to Jesus. He was standing at the foot of the cross when Jesus breathed His last. The death of Jesus “felt like” the end, but it certainly wasn’t. Jesus came to earth to fulfill His mission to conquer sin and death. His death on the cross accomplished both. He died for the sins of the world. His death was made even more significant because of how He lived, His teaching and His ministry here on earth. He was the promised Messiah and many missed that. Check this out…

25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on, this disciple took her into his home. 28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:25-30 NLT)

I’ve read the other accounts of Jesus’ death and they are a bit more dramatic. John’s version is pretty simple. I think John’s is feeling a lot of the weight of the earthly family of Jesus. His death was very public and at this point probably pretty humiliating. It’s hard to have the perspective that He is the Savior of the World during this dark afternoon.

I honestly dread death. I’ve been trying to prepare myself for that eventual “ending” to my life here on earth. I decided years ago that my best response to death was to connect with the Creator of Life and live inside His Plan for my life. He has given me opportunity to invest in others. I am blessed with 5 amazing kids who also desire to know the Lord deeply and understand His plan for their lives. I also know that my life here can “live on” through my relationships and my “investments” into eternal things rather than just temporary things. Not one human being on the planet can escape death, so I’m taking the route of planning for it and leaning into it. I want my life and influence to count for years to come through my investment into my children; their children and anyone who will listen. The Word of God is true and He gives a clear plan for “retirement” from this life – total trust in Jesus. I’m putting my hope in Him!

All My Hope Is In Jesus – Crowder

Pressing On!

Dwayne

King

 

PrinceI don’t always understand royalty. I could probably get used to it, if I were made a king. In most cultures and countries, the king comes from a whole lineage of kings or royalty. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around what it might be like to be a king. I think in some ways it would be cool, but it other ways it would be annoying. I could never simply go to my favorite restaurant without an entourage. I think I would love the “high-end” living that came with it, but not the inconvenience of fame and fortune.

I was reading this morning about Jesus’ arrest and “mock trial” before the Jews. He is then taken to Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus if He’s a king. Check this out…

36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” (John 18:36-37 NLT)

Jesus is definitely a King. He is a different type of King. He doesn’t want the castle, the royalty, the wealth, the fame that comes from being a King. He is of the royal lineage of King David. The fact that He’s the Son of God, trumps any other characteristic of any type of king. He walked the streets teaching about God’s love and mercy. He had no house to call His castle. He didn’t wear fancy clothing. It is really obvious that He was different than what we know kings to be.

Jesus calmly explains to Pilate, the Roman governor, that His Kingdom is not in competition with the Roman government or any other government. He came to bring salvation to the world. He came to introduce access to Creator God. He came to introduce the Truth about God and His Kingdom. God’s Kingdom had been so distorted from what it looked like years before. We humans tend to amend things and “tweak” things to the way we like and it often changes something that is pivotal to the Word of God.

Jesus is King of my heart.

Jesus taught humility.

Jesus taught serving.

Jesus taught giving.

Jesus taught forgiving.

Jesus taught truth.

Jesus became King of my heart because of Who He is and the message that He brought to the world. He is the One & Only Son of God. He willingly went to the cross and became the Ultimate sacrifice for sin. He became King differently than any other king. He is the King who I’ve committed to following all the rest of my days. I want to live, serve, give and forgive like the King of all Kings.

Pressing On!

Dwayne