Fearless & Faithful

 

Brave Courage Overcoming Fear Bravery Vs AfraidNo long ago I read a book called “Fearless” by Eric Blem about the courage and sacrifice of Navy Seal Team Six Operator Adam Brown. I could hardly put the book down as I went on the journey with Adam, his seal team and his family. It was courage on steroids. He epitomized fearless and faithful in a physical sense.

I believe that Christ followers are called to be fearless and faithful too. I should not live in a state of worry and fear wondering what will happen next. I should be faithful to seek the Lord’s heart and His will for me. I believe that I hear from Him through my journey in His Word. When I’m faithful to Him, He seems to remove my fears. I do often wonder as I get older how my life will end. I learned of the death of a friend in a car accident and death was instant. I’ve also watched as a friend suffered and battled for long tough road to death. I also wonder about how things are after you die. I know that scripture promises that God has that, but I don’t know of any eye witnesses who have come back and reported on that. Everyone who dies stays there. I have less of an anxious heart about that than in the past only because I’m learning daily to trust the Lord with the unknown as well as the known. Check this out…

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 CSB)

I’m not going to leap tall buildings in a single bound or become reckless with my life. I do want to live on purpose and balanced. I simply don’t want to allow fear to creep into my spirit and stress me out about what is coming. I trust the Lord that whatever happens, He will help me through. When I reflect on my journey – this has been the case every time. He has not left me alone at all. He was with me in the darkness of divorce, cancer fight with my son, harrowing near death experience of my youngest son – He is with me through storms of this life and He will be with me in the sunset years as well as my departure from this life. I’m fearless because I’m faithful.

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. (1 John 4:18 CSB)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Prayer For City Station

Man praying with the BibleI am blessed to be part of Southern Hills Christian Church. Our church is in the process of building City Station (www.citystation.org) in Carrollton, GA. Our church is made up of millionaires, the poorest people, ex-convicts, attorneys, doctors, truck drivers, REALTORS, factory works – you name the demographic and we have them. We have white, black people, Hispanic among others. Our church has people from all sorts of spiritual backgrounds as well. We are quite a mix of our culture in general, which is what I think church should look like. Our community is made up of many different cultures and that is reflected in our church. (A 5 minute video about City Station)

The foundation of the building is being installed now. The building is set to open in May 2018. City Station will feature a gymnasium that will serve as our gathering room for worship on the weekend. It will also feature a restaurant (not sure what type of food yet) that will offer healthy food options. We will also have a pre-school during the week and the rooms will double as rooms for our children’s ministry during the weekend services. City Station features covenant student housing for University of West Georgia students (60 students). Our fitness center will feature a great work-out facility complete with fitness classes and training. We offer Biblical Counseling (aka Soul Care) and there will be meeting rooms available for that ministry. Our staff offices will be there as well. There will be lots of common space to meet and connect with others. Southern Hills Christian Church will be the church who meets at City Station.

I came across this prayer of Paul for the church at Thessalonica and it is my prayer for our church. Check this out…

12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you. 13 May he make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Amen. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 CSB)

I think this is an excellent prayer to pray on behalf of every church that introduces people to Jesus. I believe that church should be a place where misfits and idiots can meet Jesus and change the course of their lives. Before I met Him, I was on a crash course for hell. Because of what He did, I now have confidence of my eternal home in heaven. The gospel is simple – make Jesus Lord of my heart and He changes everything else. It may be simple, but it’s not necessarily easy to live out.

As you read this short blog – I pray that you might get interested in knowing Jesus and surrendering your heart to His way and His will for you. It’s a journey NOT a destination. There are many church who are biblically sound in teaching – find one and connect. The church is not meant to be a club of Christians, rather it’s to be a lab where we honestly live out our faith, helping one another along.

www.sohillscc.com

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Profound Compliment

gold apple on a white plate isolated on white backgroundI do love a genuine compliment. It can lift my spirits and bless my soul deep within. I especially enjoy the ones that have been well thought out and are specific.  I’m not desperate for a compliment, but I do enjoy them and they often embarrass me. I’m humbled by compliments that are genuine and very specific. I try to hand out genuine compliments to others as well. They can be so encouraging and deeply appreciated.

Paul passes out a compliment to church at Thessalonica and it sounded like maybe I’d read it somewhere before. Check this out…

We always thank God for all of you, making mention of you constantly in our prayers. We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 CSB)

Faith produced work.

Love motivates labor.

Hope inspires endurance.

This passage reflects a very specific compliment. Paul noticed very specific traits. I thought about how he ended the “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians… 13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 CSB)

I want my life to reflect these three characteristics today. I want to work because of my faith in God. I want to be constantly motivated by love (for God, family, others) as I labor. I want to constantly keep focused on the hope I have and feel that inspiration to never give up.

Love and respect motivates genuine compliments. My mom used to remind me that if I can’t say something nice about someone then I shouldn’t say anything at all about them. I think that’s a pretty good rule. I do believe that every human being has some good in them. It’s harder to find in some people, but it’s there. Over used and shallow compliments mean little, but a well-placed, thought-out compliment can bless someone for years to come. I’m still basking in the glow of compliments I received years ago.

A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples in silver settings. (Proverbs 25:11 CSB)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Weak = Power

 

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthI feel like sometimes it’s taken me a very long time (like my whole life) to start to grasp how different God sees things versus how we see things. His Word reveals so many truths about Him and I’ve heard many of them, but it’s taken me several years to really understand.

It seems that Paul is a bit insecure about being an Apostle who was called to serve after all the others, yet he writes most of the New Testament and he is “a machine”, constantly preaching and teaching the good news of the gospel. He reveals some personal struggle or issue that opens my eyes a bit to his journey and the Lord’s heart. Check this out….

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 CSB)

This passage gives some more profound perspective on the struggles of my journey. I have made my life all about my happiness and my personal comfort. Paul was making his life about showing others the love of God and glorify the Lord with his life. I am blessed and oh so thankful to have avoided some hardships and suffering while hitting others spot on and navigating through. I am still learning that my hope and trust is in the Lord and not in my ability to accomplish or do anything.

When I’m weak – I’m strong.

When I’m tired – I’m useful to the Lord.

When I’m strong – I had better watch out.

He does His best work through my weaknesses and during my hardships and struggle. It’s not a fun ride, but a productive one.

I thought of this “old school sounding” song by Crowder…. All My Hope Is In Jesus.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

When Does This End?

 

Retro typewriter text the endI’ve watched movies before where I’m checking my watch to see when this dreadful experience will be over. I’ve been to church before and had the same experience – we are on a schedule and we must choose wisely where we spend the most valuable currency we have…our time. I just returned from vacation – several days by the lake enjoying the sunsets over the water. I am back in my more normal routines today.

As I read this passage in 1 Corinthians this morning, Paul was talking about how this all ends. He explained that this life is not the only life we live for or we are pitiful. He speaks frankly on the importance of eternal life and the significance of what Jesus did by His death on the cross. This life will end – but we have hope that the end of this life is not the end of it all – there’s more! Check this out…

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith.

20 But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:12-14,20-22,56-58 CSB)

I still have work to do while I’m here on earth. I must be consistent and faithful in my pursuit of God’s heart not so that I can be saved, but because I am saved. I want to know Him more. I want to live in the hope that there’s so much more.

I heard a guy recently say that “none of us makes it out of this life alive (unless the Lord comes back)”, so we need to start living larger than just our plans and our simple existence. The end of this life comes for all of us at some point in time, but because of Jesus did come to earth, He did live a sinless life, He did die a sacrificial death on the cross, He did come back to life on the third day to conquer death once and for all. There is no need to fear. There is certainly ample reason for hope. I want to live my life for Him to the end of this life and the transition to my new life will be seamless!

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