Follwership/Leadership

Follow Lead Buttons Show Leading The Way Or FollowingYesterday was a special day for me and my journey with the Lord.  I started serving as a young pastor in 1982 at a small church in Crab Orchard, Tennessee while a student at Johnson University. I served there a little over a year before accepting a position as youth minister in Maryville Tennessee. I spent the next 20 years as a staff member in ministry the bulk of my time in Carroll County, GA. I have been privileged to serve at Southern Hills for the past 10 years in different capacities. Yesterday I was ordained to serve as an Elder at Southern Hills. I believe church leadership to be a calling from the Lord. I feel like I’m serving the Lord in this capacity, because it’s HIS church. Just this morning (timing) I read a passage in 1 Timothy that speaks to this position. Check this out…

1This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not an excessive drinker, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy. He must manage his own household competently and have his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) (1 Timothy 3:1-5 CSB)

When the Lord is leading me, I feel confident and competent to lead others. I have multiple degrees and diplomas from “University of Hard Knocks”. I have lots of experience with failure and bad decisions. I’ve learned things that simply don’t work. Some of what I’ve learned is from observing others. Leading in any area of life or work is also about following. There is much to be learned from the people who came before us and the person or persons we are ultimately answering too. I am standing on the shoulders of some amazing men and women of faith who poured into me as a youngster, even as a grown man. I’m humbled and thankful as I reflect on my journey with the Lord at this point. I will continue to be a follower of the Lord who leads. I think the sequence is important.  I want to live my life with a heart abandoned to the King of my heart. I want to seek Him above wealth, fame or any other “success measurement tool” we can use.  To God be honor and glory in me and through me for all my days.

Heart Abandoned by Kristian Stanfill

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Trust The Lord

 

Trust with blue markerThere are people whom I trust without question. There are others whom I have trusted before, but they have broken my trust with their choices. I realize that we are all human beings with faults and failures. I have learned that there is not a person on this planet as faithful as The Lord. I can take what He says and live by it and absolutely count on it. He has never failed me or let me down and I don’t believe He ever will.

King David penned a beautiful Psalm that declares the faithfulness of God and I was reminded of why I trust the Lord. Check this out…

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them –
    he remains faithful forever. (Psalm 146:1-6 NIV)

This Psalm reminded me of a song that we used to sing in church over the years called “Those Who Trust”. It was simple song with a simple message. (I loved the blues type grove!)

Those who trust in the Lord
Are a strong mountain
They will not, not be moved

Those who trust in the Lord
Are as Mount Zion
They will not, not be moved

Christ the King, He sets my feet
On a firm foundation
They will not, not be moved

Though the world moves like mad
You alone are faithful
Jesus, You, You will not be changed

I want to follow the Lord today and every day. I want to put my trust completely in Him to direct my steps and help me navigate any challenge that comes my way. He is never late. He is never surprised by my circumstances. He can be trusted completely without exception.

I want to be known as a man who trusts the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simplehearted

 

Man praying with the BibleI came across this word this morning in my journey through the Word and I thought it sounded like me. It sounds to me like someone who is not super complex or complicated. To be simple-hearted, one must be free of deceit and sincere. That is noble and attainable. I am serious about simply seeking the heart of God in my daily life. I don’t need any fanfare or a spotlight, I just believe that seeking the heart of Creator God is at the center of the reason I’m alive on this planet. The Psalmist must have felt similar. Check this out…

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.

Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:1-2; 5-9 NIV)

I look back on my journey through suffering and I learned to lean upon the Lord and lean into Him to navigate some very dark places. I felt like life dealt me a pretty hard hand during those times, but I learned some eternal lessons in the middle of the struggle.  You may try to make a case that the Lord doesn’t exist or isn’t involved in the life of His kids, but you won’t convince me. I’m simplehearted for God because I’ve experienced first-hand His Presence and His Power to walk with through the valley of pain and suffering. I’ve also learned that He doesn’t miss any opportunity of struggle and suffering to teach me more about His heart.

I simply want to follow the Lord all my days – whether hard or easy. I want to follow Him in sunshine and in the storm.  I am a simple man with a simple plan to follow the Lord the rest of my days on earth.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

In Charge & In Control

 

Follow The LeaderWhen I go places, and do things, I usually like to know who is in charge. I have been taught to respect authority. I may not like the person in charge, but they are in charge. When I’m put in charge of a project or situation, I also try to respect the people I’m charged with leading. If I am a leader at all it’s because I’m following The Leader – God of All Creation! Check this out…

The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;

    the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
    indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
Your throne was established long ago;
    you are from all eternity.

Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
    holiness adorns your house
    for endless days. (Psalm 93:1-2;5 NIV)

The Lord is ALWAYS in charge. The Lord lets me lead on His behalf. The Lord will never give up pursuing me– His love is like that. I am still blown away by that level of love and pursuit. I want to be holy like the Lord is holy. I want to strong like the Lord is strong.  I want to the Holy Spirit to clothe me, build me, protect me and shape me. I want the Lord to always be In Charge & In Control of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Quick

quickI grew up playing basketball every chance I had. In Kentucky, basketball was to preferred sport. It’s a fast-moving game and quickness really counts. Quickness counts in lots of sports – football, tennis, NASCAR, swimming, just to name a few. Golf on the other hand, doesn’t require quickness as much as it does accuracy and distance. Quickness even helps in baseball even though it’s a “slow-moving” game, the quickness of players and the bat speed when hitting matters. Quickness matters a good bit even in my everyday life.  I think it is in James where we are challenge with good quickness to listen. Check this out…

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (James 1:19 NIV)

I have much to learn about quickness. I have learned over the years that if I respond to situations too quick, I might make a mistake. However, if I move too slow, the decision is irrelevant. Asaph reminds the people of Israel to return to following the Lord because He responds quickly. Check this out….

13 “If my people would only listen to me,
    if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
    and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
    and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
    with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” (Psalm 81:13-16 NIV)

I want to start every day seeking counsel from the Lord. I want to give Him each day at the very beginning of the day. I want Him to direct my path each day. I want to follow His guidance each day. I want to hear from Him all throughout the day. I can’t begin to describe the peace that rules my heart, when my life is surrendered to Him. I have given up control, but He has everything under control because I trust Him. He is so quick to respond to my needs, my requests, my hurts and my joys!  I can’t imagine my life without the Lord leading.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Plans

Time to PlanI’ve heard of game plans for the football or basketball team to win the game. I’ve also heard of floor plans and house plans. I’ve been part of strategic planning. There is a one year plan, a three-year plan and the five-year plan.  I try very hard to plan my day in my calendar before it begins. Sometimes though, the best laid plans still go sideways or get pushed aside. I like to plan and dream, but I’ve learned that the Lord needs to be in the middle and in the front of all my hopes and dreams.

The Psalmist makes a statement that makes sense to those who know the Lord. Check this out…

1 Why do the nations conspire

    and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth rise up

    and the rulers band together

    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,

3 “Let us break their chains

    and throw off their shackles.”

4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;

    the Lord scoffs at them. (Psalm 2: 1-4 NIV)

This passage reminded me of a phrase in a song that says: “If you want to see God laugh tell Him your plans.” (Van Zant “Get Right With The Man”) I do believe it’s wise to plan. I think it’s wise to seek the Lord’s heart first before any plans. I like to ask Him what He wants me to do today. Oh I know I’ve got appointments and things already written down, but I’ve given Him “veto power” over my plans and my schedule. If I plan too much, I begin to think that I’m in charge of something; without Him – I am nothing.  I want to filter my life through the call and plan of God for me. I know He wants me to follow Him and serve Him wholeheartedly. I want the plans that I make to be directly from Him and honoring to Him. If I’m walking in the plan God has for me, I’ll be on time and arrive at the proper place every time.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

PS – as soon as I finished this page, an important scripture came to mind. Check this out…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)