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

Recession Proof

 

House and money on scalesI’m still having conversations with people regarding the recession that started in 2007 and ended in 2010 for a lot of people. There are people today, 7 years later still suffering from the “fall out” of that downturn in the market. There were some good people who lost their retirement savings or their fortune. I learned a lot during that time and I made some decisions about being in that place of fear and struggle. I started reading, researching and learning how to avoid the decisions that caused such harm to so many people. I studied the teaching of Dave Ramsey about dumping debt and how Romans 13:8 is good counsel. Check this out….

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8 CSB)

I don’t know a lot of people who were not affected profoundly by the recession. I have seen many start to repeat some of the same behaviors that cost them severely during that time. I have also seen wisdom in others determined to not ever be that vulnerable financially again.

Paul gives Timothy some excellent instruction regarding wealth management. I’m trying to look at my money different than I ever have before. Check this out…

17 Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share, 19 storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of what is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 CSB)

According to research done by Forbes magazine, the poor in America live better than 95 percent of the world’s population. (June 1, 2013) I believe that with our wealth, comes responsibility.  I think it’s critical to bring our money management under the authority of The Lord. Check this out…

But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 CSB)

Money is not evil. Money is a medium – it does the work of people in possession of it. I can use it to evil or I can use it to do good. I would be wise to grow in my management of money. It’s way too easy to spend and harder to earn and keep.  Becoming aware of my money management skills (or lack thereof) is critical to handling it wisely and with a godly spirit. I do enjoy having extra money. I feel blessed to have learned some valuable lessons during the recession that I plan on implementing into my life for the rest of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Imitator

 

I grew up imitating others in tons of ways. I remember as a kid trying to figure out my laugh, probably because someone made fun of how I laughed. I adjusted a lot of things to be like others. I imitated my Dad when I was young until I “got smarter than Him” – around 13 years old. (Total sarcasm.) When I was in my early to late teens, I became a bit of a chameleon. I would act like whoever I was with. If I were with Christians, I could play the part. If I were with some of my wild and crazy friends, I could hang with them too. Chameleons are that little lizard that changes his color to blend in to whatever environment he’s in. I also imitated great singers and musicians. I look back at seasons of my life and I always wanted to be someone else or something that I wasn’t. I finally got comfortable in my own skin several years ago and I’m thankful for who I am and Whose I am. I don’t try to keep up with others and impress them with my possessions or knowledge. I simply want to be who God called me to be. I want to honor Him with my life and my daily choices.  I love how Paul urged the Ephesians to live out their faith. Check this out…

1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 testing what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-10 CSB)

I want to love like God.

I want to give like God.

I want to think like God.

I want to counsel like God.

I want to imitate God in my daily life.

I want to learn from others, but I want to imitate the Lord. I want to finish my journey here on earth walking, talking, loving & living like God, Who made me. He gives me life. He gives me purpose. He is patient. He is loving. He is kind. He is full of grace and mercy. I so want to imitate Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Additional Offerings

 

MoreAs I’ve read through the books of the law in the Old Testament, I’ve gotten a bit weary trying to understand all the offering requirements of God’s people. They were moving a million plus people around the desert for 40 years and they had some very detailed rituals that they were to be part of each day. It’s been hard for me to wrap my head around all of this. Most of the requirements were upon the priests and the Levite family. This morning I came across a passage that described the daily offerings, the Sabbath offerings as well as a few annual gatherings. The Lord was very specific in what He expected during the daily offerings as well as special events. The Passover was a big event commemorating the departure from Egypt as the Lord issued the final plague onto the Egyptians. The Israelites were “passed over” and the feast of the Passover was a reminder of God rescuing them from the Egyptians. Check this out…

23 Offer these in addition to the regular morning burnt offering. 24 In this way present the food offering every day for seven days as an aroma pleasing to the Lord; it is to be offered in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 25 On the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do not do any ordinary work. (Numbers 28:23-25 NIV)

Although I read this account and get weary thinking about all the work they participated in for these special events, I do realize that the people had to have a heart a deep gratitude as the Lord saved them. He also dwelled among them. As I reflect on the Lord’s Presence in me, I don’t get tired of thanking Him or worshipping Him. My gratitude is deep and profound to the Lord for saving me from sin that can destroy me.

These special offerings like the Passover were always in addition to their regular offerings. I think it’s worth noting that the Lord instituted daily rituals as well as special occasion rituals for His people. This tells me that my daily journey is great, but sometimes I need to do things or be part of things “in addition” to my daily commitments.

At the end of the day, I could never give God too much. I could never out give Him. I could never do enough for Him to compare with what He’s done for me. It’s a true privilege to give to Him and serve Him. I should never get comfortable and complacent with my offerings. I owe Him all of me – my whole life belongs to Him. The Lord is living vicariously through me because I’ve given Him total access to my life. That’s not just an additional offering – it’s all I have and all I’ve got. It’s all His – I’m just the manager of His resources.

Pressing On!

Dwayne