Faith Is Big

 

faith messageI remember digging into this word faith many years ago. I have faith in many areas of my life. It takes faith to ride an elevator. It takes faith to ride an airplane. It takes faith to drive across a bridge that was built in half the time originally projected – or any bridge for that matter. Faith is a part of the fabric of my life. I choose to cultivate my faith in God. I see Him in my everyday life. I’m looking for His activity in my every day, regular life. My faith in the Lord has grown over the years because I seek Him daily in His Word. I don’t dig in His Word to earn my way to Him, I get to see Him more clearly through His Word. I don’t believe that I earn “points” because I study His Word – I’m just hungry and thirsty to know Him deeper. My faith in Him grows as I seek Him. I could NEVER earn my way to Him. Check this out…

13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 If those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made empty and the promise nullified, 15 because the law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression.

16 This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all. (Romans 4:13-16 CSB)

I am stunned by His Grace.

He made a way to save me without me.

He made a way to the Lord that only requires my faith in Him.

I believe in God the Father. I believe in His Son Jesus. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in eternal life. I believe I am saved NOT because of what I’ve done, but because of what He has done. Jesus made a way for me. My faith in Him grows deeper the more I investigate His heart. My faith seems small at times, but it’s getting bigger the more I know Him.

I recently heard this song by Elevation Worship out of Charlotte, NC.

O Come To The Altar

Are you hurting and broken within,
Overwhelmed by the weight of the sin,
Jesus is calling.
Have you come to the end of yourself,
do you thirst for a drink from the well,
Jesus is calling.

O come to,
the altar,
the fathers arms are open wide,
forgiveness,
was bought with,
the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes,
come today there’s no reason to wait,
Jesus is calling.
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy,
from the ashes a new life is born,
Jesus is calling.

Oh what a savior,
isn’t he wonderful,
sing hallelujah Christ is risen,
bow down before him,
for he is lord of all,
sing hallelujah Christ is risen.
__________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

What If?

Young pretty woman with question marksWhen I look back over some of the highlights of my life, I have a lot of “What if” moments. There are so many small and seemingly insignificant decisions that changed the entire course of my journey. If I look at my life through that lens, I must go back to my child hood. There are probably a lot of things that happened even to my parents and their parents that led to them being born in the first place. Throughout my childhood, I was molded and shaped by my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers and Sunday School teachers to name a few. They all poured a bit of knowledge, wisdom and experience into my life. What if some of them or even one of them had not been there. What if I had grown up without being around my grandparents? When I look back at my life, I realize that I often take my journey for granted. I’m so thankful for the people the Lord put in my path who invested a bit into me. It inspires me to pass that blessing on.

I can also look back at my journey and see times when I asked for help from the Lord and He delivered. He didn’t always “deliver” the way I thought He would, but He never left me alone. I never felt like He ignored my prayer.  The Psalmist challenged Israel to imagine what if the Lord had NOT been on their side. Check this out…

if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
    when their anger flared against us;

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:2-3,8 NIV)

What if Jesus had never come to earth?

What if He had not completed His mission of being the Ultimate Sacrifice for sin?

What if He had not risen from the grave?

I honestly can’t imagine my life with those “what if’s”. I have walked with the Lord trusting Him since before I was in 3rd Grade. I was baptized at Columbia Christian Church in Columbia, KY on a Sunday afternoon. It was too cold to be baptized in the creek. I have meandered my way trying to follow the Lord. When I look back now, I cannot imagine doing life any other way. I now love the Lord. I love His Word. I want to follow Him the rest of my days. What if I had not been introduced to Him along the way? I don’t know how to answer that. I’m so glad He came. I’m so glad my parents introduced me to the Lord. I’m so glad they followed Him and lived it out by example.

The Lord is certainly alive and well and He is for me. He is also with me- always.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Pilgrimage

 

old life new lifeI have been on trips before, but I always return home. I don’t mind a little bit of travel, but it’s not nearly as fun without my family along. If I am gone more than 3 days, I start getting anxious to get home. I love my wife, my family, my simple home, my simple life. I really enjoy my work of serving people in one of the largest decisions of their lifetime – purchasing or selling their real estate. I tend to see my life more of a marathon than a sprint.

I was reading this beautiful Psalm written by the sons of Korah. It speaks for the dwelling place of God. It reads more like His dwelling place in a literal place, but because of Jesus, we know that God no longer dwells in temples made with human hands – He dwells inside the hearts of the people, He made, who welcome Him inside their heart. Check this out…

How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.

Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

10 Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.

12 Lord Almighty,

    blessed is the one who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:1-2, 3b-5, 10-12 NIV)

I remember singing a song years ago in worship that declared “one day in the house of God was better than a thousand elsewhere”. I’d rather be a greeter in God’s house than sitting at the largest board rooms advising CEO’s and Owners. I’d rather be a door holder in God’s house than the wealthiest guy on the planet.  This pilgrimage/journey with God changed the direction of my life years ago and the course has only gotten clearer as the days fly by on this earth. He offers hope and promise of eternal life. He also makes my life here more abundant and on purpose. My pilgrimage/journey with the Lord continues.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Here is the song I was speaking of: Better Is One Day

Perspective & Perception

 

Man praying with the BibleI believe that perspective shapes perception. To take it a step further, perception for most people is their reality. There have been times, I confess, that I have formed an opinion based on my perception rather than the facts of the matter. King David seems a bit stressed, but he manages to give me a solid perspective about God from his personal journey. Check this out…

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds;
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.

19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
    who daily bears our burdens.
20 Our God is a God who saves;
    from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

28 Summon your power, God;
    show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
    sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
    who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
    whose majesty is over Israel,
    whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
    the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God! (Psalm 68:4-5,19-20,28,32-35 NIV)

God brings Presence to those who are lonely and afraid.

God bears our burdens so that our load is much lighter.

God brings the Ultimate Power to a situation that it totally beyond my ability or my power.

God’s strength and power are beyond my understanding, but I’ve experienced both and I often need both.

My perception and perspective of God comes through my journey in His Word.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Genealogy

Family tree, relatives, people silhouettesIt’s probably not a bad thing to take a look at the family tree to see all the connections of people who’ve gone before me. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about my grand parents and great grand parents. I don’t know much about my family beyond that except that life was pretty hard.

I’ve finally finished the first 8 chapters of 1 Chronicles and it was “tough sledding” for a bit. It was cool to connect the grandkids or great grandkids back through the family to one of Jacobs’s sons. I was cool to see how Saul the first King of Israel connected back to the youngest son of Jacob. It was also cool to see how the great X4 sons of Saul were young warriors too. Check this out…

29 Jeiel the father of Gibeon lived in Gibeon.

His wife’s name was Maakah, 30 and his firstborn son was Abdon, followed by Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab, 31 Gedor, Ahio, Zeker 32 and Mikloth, who was the father of Shimeah. They too lived near their relatives in Jerusalem.

33 Ner was the father of Kish, Kish the father of Saul, and Saul the father of Jonathan, Malki-Shua, Abinadab and Esh-Baal.

39 The sons of his brother Eshek:

Ulam his firstborn, Jeush the second son and Eliphelet the third. 40 The sons of Ulam were brave warriors who could handle the bow. They had many sons and grandsons—150 in all.

All these were the descendants of Benjamin. (1 Chronicles 8:29-33; 39-40 NIV)

As I take a moment to reflect on my grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, brothers – I am kin to a lot of people. Some of them I know really well. Others have settled in other states or even countries. They have lived their life out where they are. As we grow older and wiser (hopefully) we learn the value of our family and our roots.

I can’t help but reflect on my spiritual family tree. I remember those along the way in my life who poured into me and taught me much about the Lord. Sometimes I was taught with words, but more often than not it was their actions that confirmed what they were saying about their faith. My spiritual family is way bigger than the genealogy of my physical family for sure. I grew up in Kentucky going to Roley Christian Church (the church closed and a different church meets in the same building). I went to Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University), I had my first ministry at Crab Orchard Christian Church. My first full-time ministry was as a youth minister at First Christian Church in Maryville, TN. I moved from there to Whitesburg, GA and became their first full time youth minister. I then landed at First Christian Church in Carrollton as the youth minister. That ministry evolved into music and college ministry. After that my family started connecting to Southern Hills Christian Church where I am today. It’s sometimes helpful to look back where I’ve been and notice how the Lord was connecting me with so many different people along the way to bless me and pour into my heart and life. I am a product of my physical and spiritual genealogical journey.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Big Family

IMG_4701It’s interesting to research the family tree. Here in the Deep South we have despairing jokes about how some peoples family tree don’t fork. It’s interesting to trace my roots back for several generations. I grew up in Kentucky with deep roots there on my mother’s side. My Dad’s family was from North Carolina. I remember as a kid visiting our relatives in Boone, NC. It was memorable to see where my Dad’s family grew up and did life. At family reunions in Kentucky, we used to get together and all the aunts, uncles and cousins would show up to my grand parents. They were the patriarchs of our family. My mom and dad both came from big families.

As I read this morning in 1 Chronicles, I came across the family tree of David, who later became King of Israel. He was from the tribe of Judah and his dad was 7 generations down from Judah. Check this out….

13 Jesse was the father of

Eliab his firstborn; the second son was Abinadab, the third Shimea, 14 the fourth Nethanel, the fifth Raddai, 15 the sixth Ozem and the seventh David. 16 Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. Zeruiah’s three sons were Abishai, Joab and Asahel. 17 Abigail was the mother of Amasa, whose father was Jether the Ishmaelite. (1 Chronicles 2:13-17 NIV)

David was the seventh (youngest) son of Jesse, yet he became the greatest because of his walk with God. He figured out just how uncomplicated following the Lord is. He sang songs to God while watching the sheep. He trusted in the Lord when he faced an animal that threatened the sheep under his care. David evidently learned at a young age the importance of trusting God. He grew from obscurity to significance because the Lord was with him.

I’m good with being the son of a Kentucky man with North Carolina roots who follows the Lord. I learned about the Lord at a young age, but it took a minute for me to trust Him completely. I want my life to be significant and have a positive impact on others. I don’t have to become a king or president. I simply need to live a life of significance from where I am and the Lord will work through me to accomplish His significant plans.

Pressing On!

Dwayne