The Greatest Leaders

 

greatest muhammad aliI can still remember watching Muhammed Ali as he declared that he was the greatest. He was an incredible heavyweight fighter for sure. He didn’t lack for confidence, in fact, he may have been just a bit cocky. I remember as a kid, being a bit repulsed by his somewhat arrogant presence in front of the media. He did coin the phrase: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eye can’t see”. He was also quoted as saying: “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am”. He had a great career in boxing, but he wasn’t the greatest in my view. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, walked this earth as a human, lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death to defeat sin and death once and for all – He is the GREATEST!

Jesus was getting His disciples prepared for His trial and His death on the cross. They couldn’t grasp it, but they did want to know which one of them was the greatest. Check this out…

24 Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25 Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:4-27 NLT)

I wish our leaders in Washington, in state capitols across the nation as well as the world,  could grasp what a servant leader is about. It seems that we elect official with great intentions to positions of leadership at the highest levels of our government and then they are corrupted by the power they hold. I love how the Lord reminds us that the most powerful leaders serve others. It is very cool to see people who hold great power serving the least powerful around us. I understand that Jesus’ concept of leadership is a bit counter cultural to our world today, but it still works. People who lead are much more effective if they remember that their leadership position is really a serving position.

Every chance I get, I remind my fellow REALTORS that our job is a serving position. We serve buyers and sellers and NOT ourselves.  The late Zig Ziglar was famous for saying, “If you help enough other people get what they want, then you’ll get what you want.”  As I follow the Lord with my life, I find greater joy in serving others. I have been the recipient of people who serve others and my life has been forever changed. This servant leadership is how the Lord calls His followers to lead.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

What If?

Young pretty woman with question marksWhen I look back over some of the highlights of my life, I have a lot of “What if” moments. There are so many small and seemingly insignificant decisions that changed the entire course of my journey. If I look at my life through that lens, I must go back to my child hood. There are probably a lot of things that happened even to my parents and their parents that led to them being born in the first place. Throughout my childhood, I was molded and shaped by my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers and Sunday School teachers to name a few. They all poured a bit of knowledge, wisdom and experience into my life. What if some of them or even one of them had not been there. What if I had grown up without being around my grandparents? When I look back at my life, I realize that I often take my journey for granted. I’m so thankful for the people the Lord put in my path who invested a bit into me. It inspires me to pass that blessing on.

I can also look back at my journey and see times when I asked for help from the Lord and He delivered. He didn’t always “deliver” the way I thought He would, but He never left me alone. I never felt like He ignored my prayer.  The Psalmist challenged Israel to imagine what if the Lord had NOT been on their side. Check this out…

if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
    when their anger flared against us;

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:2-3,8 NIV)

What if Jesus had never come to earth?

What if He had not completed His mission of being the Ultimate Sacrifice for sin?

What if He had not risen from the grave?

I honestly can’t imagine my life with those “what if’s”. I have walked with the Lord trusting Him since before I was in 3rd Grade. I was baptized at Columbia Christian Church in Columbia, KY on a Sunday afternoon. It was too cold to be baptized in the creek. I have meandered my way trying to follow the Lord. When I look back now, I cannot imagine doing life any other way. I now love the Lord. I love His Word. I want to follow Him the rest of my days. What if I had not been introduced to Him along the way? I don’t know how to answer that. I’m so glad He came. I’m so glad my parents introduced me to the Lord. I’m so glad they followed Him and lived it out by example.

The Lord is certainly alive and well and He is for me. He is also with me- always.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Follow In Faith

Follow The LeaderThere have been times that I’ve not known the right path. I grew up in a small town in Kentucky and we worshipped at a small country church called Roley Christian Church. The Preacher was a pillar in the community. I learned at an early age that I had to be careful about blindly following a preacher. I remember one time there was division in our small church – some didn’t like the Preacher and wanted him gone, while others thought he was a good man and was doing a good job. I can’t remember the details, but he ended up leaving. There were lots of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

After Solomon died and his son Rehoboam took over the kingdom, Jereboam rebelled and became King over the Northern Kingdom – all the tribes except Judah & Benjamin. So Solomon’s son was King of Judah (aka the Southern Kingdom). After things shook out a bit, the ways of Jereboam started showing through. People of faith realized they needed a change in location. Check this out…

13 The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him. 14 The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the Lord 15 when he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made. 16 Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, following the ways of David and Solomon during this time. (2 Chronicles 11:13-17 NIV)

I respect these people who left everything to pursue the heart of God. I believe they realized that persecution was on the horizon as well. I loved that one line: “…who set their hearts on seeking the Lord…” My faith in God may call me to follow Him to some different and difficult places. My faith in God is the guiding force that moves me and keeps me close to His heart.

As an adult, I’ve been part of a few churches and almost every one had some disagreements about all sorts of things. I think that leaders of churches often forget Who church belongs to. I decided a long time ago that I would follow Jesus. I will follow where He leads. I don’t have any intentions of following a Preacher/Pastor blindly. I also wont’ follow church leaders blindly. I will follow Jesus and Him alone. I will continue to pursue His heart through His Word. No matter what circumstances I find myself in, I want to be a follower of The Lord. One day my faith will become sight!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Obedience

Obedience Respect Responsibility Words Honor AuthorityI still remember some of my teen years when I thought I was smarter than everyone else. Looking back now I can see how foolish I was to think that. I remember once while in college I got my Grandpa (aka Pappy) a card that said: “the older I get Grandpa, the smarter you get”! He loved the card because I think he realized that I had finally come through the fog of a “know it all” teenager.

As I reflect on my journey the Lord, I realize that I have so much to learn from the heart of God. He could teach me volumes of insight each day for the rest of my life and I still would not exhaust His Wisdom or His Knowledge.

I love the story of Naaman, the military leader for Aram “but” he had leprosy. A young servant girl who had been captured from Israel and made a slave to Naaman’s wife, told her of the prophet in Samaria. So Naaman and his entourage head out for Israel with a letter from the King of Aram in hand. He is sent to Elisha. Check this out….

9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.’

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, “Wash and be cleansed”!’ 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. (2 Kings 5:9-14 NIV)

This guy had high expectations for what the prophet would do and was so disillusioned at such simple instructions as dip in the Jordan river for 7 times. There is a strong lesson for me to learn in this story. Sometimes the Lord doesn’t need me to do something big and complicated to honor Him. He really wants simple obedience to His call or His command. He calls me to be faithful, honorable, honest, teachable, kind and generous among other things. None of these are complicated or expensive financially – they are quite simple and can be accomplished by “simply” doing them.

I was reminded this morning that my walk with the Lord is not super complicated – it’s a daily walk….hour by hour; minute by minute walk with Him. I want to tune my hearing so that I hear His reminders to simply obey and walk in His way. I want my heart to be clean and restored daily as I walk in simple obedience before the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Lord’s Side

Discipline is the bridge from WEAK to STRONG. Concept 3D illustration.I know what it is like to win some and loose some. I know what it’s like to be around someone who likes to win at everything – all the time. Some people who win a lot, tend to think of themselves as the only key to their success. They are often arrogant and full of themselves. I really don’t like being around people who are arrogant, haughty and proud. Please don’t misunderstand – I love being around successful people who realize that the road to their success had a lot of people cheering them on and helping along the way. These type of successful people realize and tribute their success to others along the way.

Moses and Joshua were spiritual leaders who became military strategists. They really weren’t military strategists at all – they were obedient leaders who were listening to the Lord and following His instructions. There were a lot of nations and kings that they defeated in the conquest of The Promised Land. Check this out…

7 Here is a list of the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises towards Seir. Joshua gave their lands as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions. (Joshua 12:7 NIV) [33 kings in all]

This was an incredible military campaign that was totally directed by the Lord. Joshua was a leader who trusted the Lord’s Presence and Instruction. He made mistakes, but he owned them and repented of them. The Lord really kept His Promise to His people.

I’m learning to trust the Lord with every minute detail of my life. I sometimes even ask Him if it’s time for me to get a haircut. I will ask Him about buying certain items at the store. I know that this might not make sense to lots of people, but I believe that the Lord cares about me winning the race of Life with His Presence inside me. I need His help to win the battles against the evil one. I need His help to win the battles of pride and arrogance. I need His help to surrender my heart to His on a daily basis. I want to live my life completely on the Lord’s side because I know His Team wins the war. I want to follow His strategic plan for my life because I know that eternal life is waiting for me – it’s my “Promised Land!”

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Structure

3D Leadership CrosswordThere are times when businesses or big organizations are stuck with a leadership structure that is a bit out of date. There are times when these leaders do things because we’ve always done them that way before. I believe Leaders should continue to grow and learn even when their position is “topped out”. Leaders, in my view, should be perceived as a leader by other leaders. I think leadership is a skill to be learned but there are some people who appear to be “naturally born leaders”.

As Moses and the people of Israel were on the cusp of going into The Promise Land, God is still doing prep work through Moses. The leadership “hand-off” is starting to unfold as these instructions are given. Check this out….

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 ‘These are the names of the men who are to assign the land for you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun. 18 And appoint one leader from each tribe to help assign the land. (Numbers 34:16-18 NIV)

Joshua, the son of Nun was heir apparent to Moses. His leadership goes back to the first spy mission some 40+ years earlier. He is appointed by the Lord to succeed Moses, but it appears to start with a process. I also found it interesting that as the Lord appointed leaders from each family to help with the boundary assignment, the first guy on the list is Caleb who stood with Joshua after the first spy trip-the only two remaining leaders from the generation before.

I believe leadership hand-offs can go very smooth if ego and power are set aside. I believe Leaders don’t need titles to lead. I also don’t believe that every person with the title “leader” is in fact leading.

I see this transition time where Joshua is working closely with Moses as an intensive training ground on the day-to-day leadership. I see Joshua as having some natural qualities already in place.

When I come across a simple verse like this I’m challenged to take a good hard look at who I am as a leader in my family, in the church, in my business and any other areas where I’m asked or tasked with leading. I’m not afraid of leadership when I feel the Lord is leading me. My success as a leader is in direct proportion of my ability to follow Him first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne