Let’s Get Together

I love connecting with my family and friends. I generally like people, for the most part. I have met some people that were difficult to get along with. I struggle with people who are rude and have a condescending attitude toward me or others. I struggle with people who are arrogant and “snooty”. I am drawn to people who are humble and full of kindness. I also like people who are unselfish and interested in others instead of only talking about themselves.

Jesus spoke to His disciples plainly about relationships inside the church. He gave them instructions about dealing with disputes and broken relationships. He had just advised them that the greatest in the kingdom is like a humble little child. He then gives one more additional thought that I really needed. Check this out…

19 “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:19-20 NLT)

I have a few friends that I like to connect with on a regular basis. We often gather over coffee and catch up with one another. I find it relaxing to enjoy some coffee and conversation. It’s crucial to be open and vulnerable with the truth. I’m not trying to protect my image, I’m really wanting to continue building a deeper relationship where The Lord is at the center.  Jesus takes it a step farther and says that when two or three gather together, He is among us. He also says that if we pray about something in agreement, our Father in heaven will do it for us. I want to make sure that I’m asking others to join me in prayer. It’s way more powerful when lots of us pray.

I think our gatherings on Sunday at church are really important for prayer, praise, & preaching and teaching. I want to know more about the Lord. Others perspective about a passage of the Bible that we read together can be very insightful. Life is much better if we make connections with others and join together in prayer and Bible study.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Growing In Love – Still

2017 GGO
I am still learning the heights and depths of love. This is an incredibly complicated concept, yet it is simple. I was first married over 35 years ago and learned to love a spouse. I became a Dad over 31 years ago and I learned to love my children. I now have grandchildren and my heart has expanded again. Before I was married and on my own, I loved my parents and siblings. I deeply loved my grandparents and still miss them to this day. I remember friends that I had years back in high school, but time and geography has separated us.

This past week I had the privilege of hanging out with seven of my closest friends from college. We meet every year in late September for a few days of fellowship that we call the GGO (Greater Greek Open – yes it has inside meaning that’s a long story). I call it my goof off trip, because the way I play golf is really an insult to the game of golf and those who really play the sport. We catch up with each other and always pick up right where we left off from last year. These guys were there with me through divorce and cancer and many other times of struggle over the years. I can say for sure that our lives are not free from suffering and pain, but we figure out a way to help one another through it.

I love reading the Word of God each day and letting His Word settle in my heart. The first day of our GGO this year, I awoke in time to read my regular daily reading and I was in 1 John and it is refreshing to hear from the disciple that was very close to Jesus. He was an eye-witness to Jesus’ daily journey here on earth. He saw first-hand how He loved. Check this out….

12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God— God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. (1 John 4:12-16 CSB)

I’ve read this chapter in 1 John each morning this week and I’m deeply moved by this concept of love. In fact, the last morning of golf, we shared in this passage and we were reminded of what a difference love has made in all our lives. We probably would not know each other except for our paths crossing over 30 years ago at Bible College where the love of God lead us for one reason or another.

As I pack up in the quietness of the morning and prepare to head home to more people I love, my heart is full and so thankful for the blessing of God upon my life. I could die today and I could say I’m a happy man. I am blessed way beyond what I deserve. I’m working hard at cultivating a grateful heart each day that I live that is simply a response to the amazing, relentless love of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Called Out

 

Why MeI’ve been “called out” because I’ve done something wrong or stupid. It’s another example of accountability. It’s not pleasant being called out, but it is sometimes necessary. I can’t always see my actions from the proper perspective. I’ve given several people in my life permission to “call me out” if I do something stupid or wrong. My wife has called me out on many occasions for sure. I have close friends who do the same. I seek counsel in areas that my knowledge and experience are lacking so that I won’t be “called out” later. I see law enforcement as “calling me out” if I’m speeding or pushing the limits of the law.

I am a follower of the Lord and I have made a commitment to follow Him. I want my life to honor Him. I am trying to live by the call of the Lord on my life. I want him to prompt the little decisions in my life as well as monumental decisions that I face.

I started reading 1st Peter this morning and I love his perspective because He walked with Jesus and saw His life and ministry up close and personal. Check this out…

Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. (1 Peter 1:8-9,13-16 CSB)

I’m facing everyday decisions with Him directing me and prompting me. I have ignored Him at times and regretted it. I have pushed back or ignored being called out and held accountable. I have been humbled and convicted of my sin. I want to walk humbly before the Lord every day asking for His counsel on the smallest daily decisions. I want His help as a Christian. I want His help as a husband. I want His help as a Dad. I want His help as friend. I want His help as a REALTOR.  I am open to be called out by people who know me and love me deeply. If you feel like you need to ask me about decisions that I make I want to always be willing to explain why I do what I do or say what I say. The Word of God often calls me out- I’m open to others close to me calling me out as well.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Friendship

??????????????????Some of my closest friends I’ve known for years. We seem to pick up right where we left off when we get together. I can share anything and everything with them and they listen and give counsel where needed. They also give comfort where needed. They’ve also given financial support when needed. Friends are a huge blessing to my life for sure. I am blessed beyond my ability to repay the friends in my life. I remember my Mom telling me when I was a young boy: “if you want to find a good friend, be one.” I’m so thankful for friends near and far over the years. Some of our technology like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Facetime have made the world seem much smaller than it is. I’ve connected with people who were dear friends at different seasons in my life. I don’t have many “fair weather” friends. I’ve been in Carroll County, Georgia since early 1986 and I’m thankful for so many friends and neighbors near my home.

Paul speaks of his relationship with the people in Thessalonica and I can feel the joy that comes from his friendships there. Check this out…

We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

11 As you know, like a father with his own children, 12 we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to live worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:8,11-12 CSB)

Friendships are a “two-way street”. I can’t do all the taking nor can I do all the giving in a friendship. Some relationships develop into friendship, while others simply don’t go deeper. My journey with the Lord has gone deeper the longer I walk with Him and dig into His Word. My friendship with God can’t just be me taking all the time from Him and not investing as well. I used to use God anytime I got into trouble or life got hard. I didn’t realize the joy that comes from investing my life into Him as well as have His help growing as I grow older. I’m fully aware that He brings the “lions share” to our friendship, but He loves my contribution as well. I’m giving Him my heart each day and that’s really all He wants as He’s given me His heart as well. He is a FRIEND above all friends.  I simply can’t imagine my life without my friendship with the Lord and His Presence in me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Deep Friendship

 

I am blessed with lots of friends. There are deep friends and casual friends. My close friends are friends whom I could call no matter where I’m at in the world and they would figure out a way to get to me if I needed them. My casual friends are friends who would help me in a moment’s notice – if it were convenient to them. I believe friendship is an amazing blessing to most everyone. I’ve noticed that even people who are difficult to love and understand have friends. I’ve witnessed friendships that form out of location – some of my best deepest friendships were formed in college when my thought processes about life were forming and taking shape.

David and Jonathan (son of King Saul) had a very deep friendship. David felt like that Saul was out to kill him. Saul’s son Jonathan didn’t agree, but they determined a test of sorts. It turns out that Saul really was trying to kill David so Jonathan warned him. They parted ways and it was an emotional moment because they my not see each other ever again. Check this out…

42 Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, “The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants for ever.”’ Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town. (1 Samuel 20:42)

As I get older I realize how significant and important each moment of life is with friends. My closest friends always pick up where we left off. We also retell some of the best stories.

I’m still learning that my closest friend ever is the Lord. He wants to be part of all that I am. He wants to be part of all that I’m doing and the places I’m going. I’ve learned to talk with Him about everything. He has never left and I don’t believe He ever will. He keeps my confidence. He shares in my joys and walks with me through sorrow and suffering.

I want to be the kind of friend to others that the Lord is toward me. I want to be trusted. I want to be available. I want to celebrate the joy and walk through the struggles. I believe God wired us for friendship with Himself and friendship with others.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Friends Forever

Friends enjoying coffee togetherI have the best of friends. I can count on them through good times and hard times. I have the opportunity once a year to connect with seven of my closest friends for an event that we call the GGO (Greater Greek Open). One of my friends is nicknamed “The Greek” because he studied the Greek language in college.  The event started as a golf outing in the beginning.  We’ve been getting together for 26 years now and as we’ve gotten older, it’s way more about the conversation and hanging out together than the golf. (I say this, but we played 36 holes of golf yesterday!) This morning I read some great council in Proverbs that speak into friendship. Check this out…

1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
5 Better is open rebuke
than hidden love
6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.
17 As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.
19 As water reflects the face,
so one’s life reflects the heart. (Proverbs 27:1,5,6,17,19 NIV)

 

Friends are a blessing that is absolutely priceless. I love my friends and I’m so thankful that God wired me for friendship. I’m so thankful that my journey went through Johnson Bible College so many years ago and I connected with some of the finest Christian men on the planet. There is genuine love, respect and honor to one another and we are definitely better because of each other. I’m blessed to call these men “Friends Forever” because the Lord brought us together and He keeps us together since 1979 to eternity!

Pressing On!
Dwayne