Do Something Now!

Get Things Done handwritingI can’t count the number of times I’m thought about doing something, but didn’t do it for one reason or another. The action that I “thought” about was never done – it was only in my mind. I recently heard a guy say that intention is similar to ignoring. I remember my Grandma telling me that the “road to hell was paved with good intentions”. I’m learning as I get older that people with good intentions are no different than people who don’t care. Their actions are the same. I realize that the Lord will judge us based upon our heart, but our actions reveal our heart.

Jesus was describing the final judgement for His disciples and He spelled it out clearly that when we serve the down and out, we’re actually serving Him. Check this out….

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:31-40 NLT)

This passage of scripture really troubles me at times, because over the years I’ve helped others and felt like they were often simply too lazy to work. I remember one instance when I was in my early 20’s and a guy showed up asking for money so I gave him my last bit of cash, which was $5. I learned later that he was the town drunk. He probably spent that money on alcohol. I have been a bit jaded in trying to discern people who were simply taking advantage of me or people who really needed my help. It’s not an easy decision. I’ve started trying to give items that are needed instead of money. Often people who are in deep need are there because they simply can’t manage money. If I keep giving them money, I’m actually not helping – I can work on their needs instead of their wants. God loves a cheerful giver and He calls His people to give. We are never more like God than when we give – He gave His One and ONLY Son for us. Giving is not just about money and resources – it’s also about our time.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Net Worth

Whats Your Net Worth Question Total Wealth Value AccountingI remember a time several years ago when I was planning to borrow money for a business venture. I sat down with the lender and he gave me an extensive loan application. The application was used to determine my net worth including any assets and liabilities that I had financially. The lender was a personal friend, but he also needed to assess the financial facts from me to determine whether or not the bank would back me financially. I was pretty new to the business world at the time and really learned lots about my financial picture by going through this process.  I watched a lot of good people suffer profound financial loss through the recession that started around 2007.  I remember lots of conversations with the Lord about how to navigate such a financially difficult time.

I learned during financial duress, just how blessed I am as a husband, dad, son and friend to others. No matter how much a struggle or how much suffering I encountered, I could find someone who was suffering deeper and harder than me. I believe so much of my life is about maintaining perspective. I’m living for someone and something way more valuable than the wealthiest person on earth. Check this out….

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 NLT)

When the Lord looks at my net worth, He doesn’t look at the financial picture. He looks at my heart. He looks at the fruit of my life. He looks at my actions because they reveal my heart. I can fake people out about my faith, but I can’t fake the Lord out. He knows the deepest crevasses of my heart. He wants me to surrender all of me to Him. He wants my life to be subject to Him leading me. God’s economy is quite different than the US economy. When I give and give up – I have huge gains. When I surrender and give up my life, my value increases exponentially in eternal net worth.  I do watch my financial picture and I look at things a lot differently since struggling through the recession. I am a huge fan of Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. I see my financial resources as belonging to the Lord – I am a manager of all that I have. It’s all His. I want to be wise with the all that I have been blessed with. I want to be a wise manager of His resources. At the end of my life, I will not be worried about taking anything gained here on the earth with me, but I want my family and friends to know about investing in eternity. I want others to know that this life is not all there is. This life is preparation for eternity and I’m building an eternal net worth that is way more valuable than anything I could do or attain here on earth.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Straight Obedience

Teenage girl in trouble with parentsI will obey, but I might not like it. I remember letting my parents know if I didn’t like it. I have learned in my journey with the Lord that He really likes obedience. He wants me to obey without question. I can hardly imagine the obedience that Joseph was called too. His fiancé turns up pregnant prior to their marriage. She swears that she has remained pure. He has a dream. Check this out…

19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:19-21,24-25 NLT)

I believe that the Lord had rather have my obedience than any offerings or gifts I give. He would rather have my obedience than my worship. My worship is empty and meaningless, if I’m not walking in obedience. (I have been guilty of this for sure.) The Lord wants my obedience above anything I could offer or do.

I love Joseph’s obedience to the angel’s command. The world is different because of Joseph’s obedience. I’m sure that God would have found another way, but He didn’t have to. Joseph obeyed and honored the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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

Human Effort

 

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI believe in hard work. I may not be the most “connected guy” in the room, but I will work harder and longer to get the job done. I was raised on a farm in Kentucky. Recently, I was asked what my first job was. I put down that I was a “farm hand” for my Grandpa. I remember loading hay bales onto the wagon and then taking them to barn. I remember lots of hard labor getting the crops in as well. I was taught at an early age the value of hard work.

In God’s economy, physical labor doesn’t count the same. The Lord is more concerned with my heart than my “work ethic”. He does call me to action, but the action is NOT what saves me. I wish I had learned this growing up. The only action required on my part is surrender of my heart. My will is surrendered to His Will. This felt weird the first time I really wrestled with the concept. Check this out…

63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. 67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” 68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:63-64; 66-69 NLT)

These are the words of Jesus himself. Human effort accomplishes nothing. He has done the work for salvation when He surrendered to the cross for the ultimate and final sacrifice needed for sin. I do not work FOR my salvation, but I do work OUT my salvation. He doesn’t save me so that I can sit. He saved me so that I can serve. Serving is giving to others. Serving is loving God by giving to others. My human effort doesn’t save me, but it can serve Him by loving and serving others.

I serve at the pleasure of the Lord. He has called me. He has saved me. He compels me to love and served just like He loves and serves. Serving the in the Kingdom of God still starts with the Spirit of God in me before any human effort comes into play.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Love Like That

Colorful typographic motivational poster to raise faith in yourself and your strength. The series of business concepts on a textured background of an old love. VectorIt blesses my soul to see an elderly couple who are still in love with one another after years of life together. I see something in them that I want. I think what I see is genuine love and respect for the other.  I must confess that I’ve got some ways to go in cultivating love that lasts a lifetime. I believe that love is a choice. I can choose to love whomever I want. I can also choose to hate. I believe that hate does way more harm to the one hating than the object of their scorn. I believe that as a follower of Jesus, the only hatred that should be in me is hatred for sin. Jesus teaches me to love others.  John reiterates this in his first epistle. Check this out…

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God’s love reside in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 CSB)

When my children were young, I read a quote that said: “Love is spelled T-I-M-E”. The message was clear that my time was spent investing in my children – just being with them is very important. As I read this simple passage this morning, I realize that Love is spelled G-I-V-E. The Lord calls me to put my money and resources where my mouth is.  One of my life goals is to live a life of significance. I want to invest in the lives of others to pay if forward on behalf of the people who have invested in me.

I love the parallel here with John 3:16:

 16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (Spoken by Jesus)

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (Spoken by John)

If Jesus did anything while He was here on earth, He loved and taught us to love. If I’m called by His name, love must be obvious in me. I want to love like He loves. He loves me profoundly despite my sin and His love compels me to leave sin behind and pursue love with all that I have.

How He Loves by Jesus Culture

Pressing On!

Dwayne