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

Love More!

 

White Box with the Word Love on the Sides Isolated on a White Background.My wife and I have a little contest to see who can love the other more. It is not just about words, but actions for sure. It’s a fun competition where we both win! I have also always wanted my kids to know that I love them deeply. I am never afraid to say, “I love you” to them. I can never hug them enough or provide for them enough. It is hard when they start becoming adults and they need to figure some of life’s lessons out. I simply can’t be the solution to their every struggle as they become grown-ups. I still can’t just stop loving and wanting to do for them.

Love is probably the most profound topic of our lives. Love is gentle. Love is tough. Love is warm. The Apostle Paul penned a beautiful passage that is used in weddings but really needs to be used in our everyday life. Check this out…

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant,is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 CSB)

Love is the essence of the Character of God. He epitomizes love every day. He loved first. He loves the best. He is relentless in His pursuit of loving His people and having them love Him in return. His love made a way for us to have eternal life with Him.

I was listening to this song by Needtobreathe called: Let Us Love. Here’s the chorus.

Let us love
Like we were children
Make us feel
Like we’re still living
In a world I know that’s burning to the ground
Give us time
To beat the system
Make us find
What we’ve been missing
In a world I know that’s burning to the ground

I can be the best husband….

I can be the best Dad….

I can be the best friend….

I can be the best REALTOR….

I can be the best boss…

I can be the best singer….

I can be the best prayer warrior….

I can be the best at EVERYTHING – but without love I am a failure.

I want love deeply the ones closest to me for sure, but I also want to love others and care deeply for them. I want the love that God has shown me to be shown in every facet of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Loud & Quiet

 

Women said, woman listening to gossipAs I get older, I’ve realized that my hearing has dropped off a bit. There are certain frequencies that I haven’t been able to hear since I was 21 years old. I took the Mosquito Ring Tone test and failed pretty bad. My Dad had hearing damage when he was a young man and he can’t hear very well at all, even with his hearing aids installed.

I have been doing a different kind of listening for many years as well. I like to start my day reading God’s Word simple for me. I listen to Him speak into my heart through His Word. I’ve noticed that as I sit and listen for Him to speak into my life, He uses all sorts of ways to speak. My spiritual hearing has improved dramatically by reading His Word nearly every day.

This morning I came across another event in the life of Elijah. After learning all that he had done on Mt. Carmel defeating the idol Baal in an altar contest, Jezebel, the wicked queen of Ahab sent him a death threat. He fled right away and came to a place where the Lord ministered to him and Elijah went to Mt. Sinai where Moses had received the 10 Commandments. Check this out…

11 The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ (1 Kings 19:11-13 NIV)

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the Lord speak to me in a loud way such as a storm. I’m also confident that He has spoken to me in a quiet gentle whisper. I can’t always predict His timing, but I can’t predict His Presence. He is never late. He never abandons or leaves me. I’ve learned that being in His Presence is a difference maker even when He doesn’t say a word or do anything. Spending time with the Lord in the morning is the most valuable use of my time. As I start my day with Him, I have sharpened my hearing because I don’t want to miss His gentle whispers.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

New Chapter Charge

baccalaureateIt’s currently graduation week at my house. I have a 2016 Graduate and he’s excited and probably a bit nervous about what lies ahead. I remember sometime back when he was in elementary school someone saying that he was in the class of 2016 – it seemed like forever away at the time – Now it’s here.

We attended the Baccalaureate service last evening. As the speaker was giving the message, I realized what an opportunity to reflect and speak into the upcoming chapter in his life that is about to unfold.

This morning I read where Solomon is about to become King over Israel and his Dad, King David gives him a charge for this new chapter in his life. Check this out…

1 When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.

2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ (1 Kings 2:1-4 NIV)

I can’t think of a better challenge to give my son and his 2016 graduating class. Walk in obedience to the Lord in every area of your life.

Walk in obedience to Him at home.

Walk in obedience to him at school (now it’s college).

Walk in obedience to Him at work.

Walk in obedience to Him in your play.

In other words, Walk in obedience to Him in every area of your life and in every moment of your life. He will notice your obedience. He will notice your faithfulness more than your words of praise. Your walk of obedience reveals a heart of obedience that is speaking out. Don’t quit – just show up before Him every day and ask for His direction and His will for you.

I graduated high school in 1979 – that is 37 years ago! (I had to get the calculator out! LOL) I wish I knew 37 years ago what I know now about walking with the Lord. He is so patient and faithful to me. In the last 10 years or so, I’ve grown to love the Lord deeply and sit at His feet daily. This doesn’t make me great – it has made Him great to me! I wish for you to know the Power and the Presence of God in your life and I believe He’s more real to me today because of the time spent seeking His face through His Word. His Word is gentle, powerful and inspirational. Don’t neglect His Word.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Lord God

 

For God so loved the world... God holding world with crossThere are times when I try to describe my relationship with God. He speaks into my heart and gives me words, but still the words I have do not do Him justice. He is beyond describing. He is above and beyond anything I could possibly say to describe Him. I came across a verse in Amos that does a decent job describing God. Check this out…

13 He who forms the mountains,

    who creates the wind,

    and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,

who turns dawn to darkness,

    and treads on the heights of the earth –

    the Lord God Almighty is his name. (Amos 4:14)

I have no desire to run from Him – in fact I find myself running to Him.

He has everything I can see, touch, know or feel clearly under His command.

He is oh so Powerful – but likewise so very Gentle and Kind.

He wants my obedience and faithfulness over anything I could say about Him or to Him.

He wants to be Lord of All I am, all I hope to be and all I have.

I surrender all to Him. He has the Power to make me who He wants me to be. He speaks words into my heart that come out of my keyboard and out of my mouth. I am humbled and awed by the Power and Presence of The Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne