Know It All

i want to know moreI am not a fan of “know it all” people. I do enjoy being around smart people. I heard a quote recently that said: “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room”! If I know it all, how can I keep growing? I personally believe people who “know it all” are prideful and arrogant. We should never be too old to learn. We should never become so well educated that we can’t learn or refuse to learn anything new. The Apostle Paul was dealing with the freedoms of some people at church and the strong convictions of others. It is easy for me to tell others what to believe based on my convictions. The Pharisees and the Sadducees did this with great regularity. They enjoyed making other people feel inferior to their beliefs and teachings of scripture. When Jesus encountered them, He often made them look foolish in their prideful behavior. Check this out…

But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.

But for us,

There is one God, the Father,
    by whom all things were created,
    and for whom we live.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    through whom all things were created,
    and through whom we live. (1 Corinthians 8:1b-3,6 NLT)

I do have some convictions based on my knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and my journey with Him over the years. I am open to the teaching of His Word by others. I also don’t want to become prideful and arrogant based on what I know or believe about the Lord. Jesus modeled humility even though He was The One & Only Son of God. I want to know more about the Lord. I want to know more about God’s heart. I want my understanding and knowledge of Him to continue to expand and grow every day of my life. I do have convictions – belief that is set in concrete, but I’m open to the Lord’s teaching me new insight into His heart. I don’t want my freedoms to destroy other people’s convictions. I simply want to know more and more about the Lord in Whom I put my trust for this life and eternal life!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Accountability Conversation

ConversationI would rather hold someone else accountable than to be held accountable. Accountability works best as a “two-way street”. Accountability requires truth, courage and patience among other attributes. I think for accountability to work in my Christian journey, there must be love, kindness and gentleness.

The Apostle Paul writes two letters to the church at Corinth. He writes in a very personable way. I can feel his love for them, even when he’s “pouring it on”. He loves them too much to let them live however they please. He keeps reminding them of meeting Jesus and the change that the Lord brought about in their lives. Check this out…

18 Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. 19 But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21 Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit? (1 Corinthians 4:18-21 NLT)

I was speaking with a man a day or so ago, whom I believe to be a Christ follower. I’m not sure how our conversation got to this place, but I told him that I wanted anyone who saw something in me that wasn’t Christ-like, to please “call me out”. I can be blind to my own behavior and issues. Accountability is not optional for Christians. We sometimes act all “high and mighty”, when we should be “low and weak”. I don’t EVER want to come across to others as prideful and arrogant. If you are reading this and you know me and you’ve seen this in me – PLEASE connect with me and call me out.  I believe pride is at the heart of ALL sin. I believe pride is very self-destructive. It doesn’t matter how large my leadership platform, if I’m full of pride instead of gratitude and humility – I will fail as a leader.

I want to live like the Lord called me to live.

I want to love like the Lord loves.

I want to lead others, by following the Lord.

I want to be humble and kind just like the Lord.

I want to live out my faith daily with the Power of God overflowing from my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Soul Rest

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetI try to get to bed at a certain time range each evening. I believe that my morning begins the night before. I learned a long time ago that these two were intricately connected. There are some nights that rest comes so peacefully. There are other nights when for whatever reason, I don’t rest well. Sleep usually means rest, but rest doesn’t always mean sleep. I like my life to have a bit of rhythm. I don’t mean musically, although I love music. I like to have some routines and systems in place for my life. When I change up my routine, it takes a minute for the rhythm to return.

Jesus is teaching the people and He has just complimented John The Baptist for his work in preparing the way for Him. He also complimented people who simply follow Him completely. He then makes a statement that really settles my heart. He speaks of soul rest. Check this out….

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

I love the fact that Jesus has strong shoulders. He gives an open invitation for me to come.

He can carry any of my burdens.

He gives me strength when I’m weary.

He gives me calm in the midst of chaos.

He gives physical rest.

He teaches me from His humble & gentle heart.

He gives soul rest.

He replaces my struggles and burdens with a different calling. Instead of seeking success, He invites me to serve. Success comes after serving. Success comes after sitting at the feet of Jesus. Success comes after rest. I understand that is sounds backward, but the Lord want me to trust and lean on Him. This does not mean I’m lazy and sitting around “resting” all the time. If I never work, rest becomes boring.  I intend to keep trusting the Lord to lead and direct the activities of my life. I trust Him to help bring balance and rhythm to my journey. He gives me soul rest which also connects with physical rest. I’m thankful for His gift of soul rest.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

To Be A Child Again

ChildrenI sometimes think about what it might be like to return to my childhood and experience some of those events that are simply memories. I remember Christmas as a child, the anticipation and excitement. I remember birthdays. I remember toys. I remember building a tree house. I remember working in the garden. (Some memories are not as positive!) I remember going to my grandparents’ house to hang out and play. I didn’t have much to worry about as a child. I didn’t have responsibilities like I have now. I didn’t have other people counting on me. I could just enjoy my life within the guidelines of my parents. There is still a big place in my heart for children. I spent 20 years of my life in student ministry and I enjoyed pouring into students. Now that I’m old, I want to be young again!

Jesus was always teaching and speaking with purpose with His disciples. They were all celebrities because they were part of Jesus entourage. They felt important – they were important. Sometimes, they got a little “out of bounds”.  Check this out…

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. (Mark 10:14-16 NLT)

Children are all in.

Children are filled with wonder.

Children are light-hearted.

Children are pure-hearted.

Children are innocent.

Children love to be loved.

Children are humble.

Jesus made it crystal clear that I must receive His Kingdom as a child. I need to let Him love me. I need to love Him with an “all in” spirit of gratitude. I need to trust Him. I need to live within the guidelines of His Protection. I need to love like He loves. I need to be humble before Him and everyone else as well. I need to be pure hearted. I need to be filled with wonder.

As I celebrate Christmas with my family, it’s a joy to see how my children have grown into adults. It’s still a joy to see their faces when giving and receiving gifts. It’s a joy to see the innocence of my grandchildren. I want to be a child again today before the Lord. I want to see His Kingdom through child-like wonder.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Humble vs. Prideful

Business Leadership Attributes and Features in LiteratureThese two descriptive words are on opposite ends of the spectrum. They are often obvious, but sometimes hidden just beneath the surface. I was raised by parents of humble means and I was taught humility at an early age. I think that pride is the root of all sin. I believe that it raises its head when I least expect it. In fact, if I’m not careful, I can be “prideful” of my humility. How wacked out is that?

I have heard this story that Jesus told while teaching His disciples about humility. The story was very possibly one that was similar to a real-life situation. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were very proud of their education, their heritage and their position. They were devout followers of the law, at lease the part people could see. Jesus called them “white-washed tombs” at one point – “pretty on the outside, but full of dead men’s bones on the inside.” Check this out…

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:8-14 NLT)

The Lord cares way more about what is happening inside my heart rather than the “show” that everyone else sees. I do try my best to navigate each day without becoming “full of myself” when I accomplish something good. I must give the credit where it’s due – the Lord can do amazing things through me. The minute that think “it’s about me”, then I’ve become prideful and useless in God’s economy. I am thankful that the Lord uses regular people like me to serve in His Kingdom. It’s not about a title or position. He cares more about my “serving heart” than He cares about my accomplishments, accolades or my bank account balance. I’m convinced that if He can use me, He can, and will use anyone.

When I reflect on the giants in the faith, whose shoulders I’m standing upon, a theme runs through it – they were all humble and gentle in spirit. They were simply followers of the Lord who wanted to know Him more. They were disciplined in their study of His Word and disciplined to pray about everything.  I want to pray more and worry less. I want to know Him more and worry less. I want to trust Him more and live less stressed. I want to be humble and kind – serving others because He calls me to do just that.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Changed Life – Wisdom

Life changesThis world we live in is constantly changing. People are changing. Jobs are changing. Relationships are changing. Change is an everyday event in our world. Heraclitis said: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”. I have learned that I must embrace change that happens. I’ve learned new and amazing technology that has made my life easier, but in some ways, the pace of life became faster. Not all change is good and healthy. There are some things that have not changed for example, the laughter of a child still melts me. The innocence of a child, the beauty of a bride on her wedding day or the beauty of a baby born. I want to be keenly aware of the things in my life that have changed for good and things that have changed oh so slowly that I hardly noticed.

I came across a verse that is a quote from Jesus this morning that I didn’t remember ever hearing because it was from the New Living Translation and it spoke right to my heart. Check this out…

35 But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” (Luke 7:35 NLT) –Jesus

I want to be a seeker or wisdom. I love the Word of God and I believe that my life has grown in wisdom and discernment because of the daily discipline of seeking the Lord’s heart through His Word. I’m definitely NOT the smartest guy, but I am hungry to know the Lord more today than I knew yesterday. It’s hard to argue about a changed life. I want to follow the wisdom that comes from the Lord. Check this out…

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. (1 Corinthians 1:30 NLT)

13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18 NLT)

“There is a wisdom of the Head, … there is a wisdom of the Heart” – Charles Dickens

I want to continue to grow in wisdom and understanding of the Author of Wisdom. I can find hundreds of quotes on wisdom, but none more significant that what Jesus is saying. I want the choices that I make today and every day to display wisdom that comes directly from the Lord. I am forever changed because I know the Author of Wisdom and THE Creator of the World.

Pressing On!

Dwayne