Special Training

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthSeveral years ago, I used to work out regularly.  I would take my lunch hour and go to Sportsplex and lift weights, working out the different muscle groups, mostly in my upper body. I participated in a Boot Camp that was a high energy, cardio work out. I told someone the other day, as I gestured toward my upper body, that this is what happens when you quit working out. Muscle will deteriorate and fat will take over when workouts cease. Unfortunately, I can be the poster child for this season of my life.

Recently, my wife and I downloaded FitnessPal onto our smart phone. This is a “calorie counter” & fitness tracker app. The first step in diet and exercise is to discover what I’m doing. I’m trying to keep track of everything I put into my mouth. I’m also tracking my physical activity. Who knew that table tennis and jet ski riding could burn calories! I remember a friend of mine used to say that he was never going to take up jogging, because he never saw a runner with a smile on their face! He also used to say that being in great physical shape is overrated because you can still get hit by a truck and die.

I came across a passage this morning where Paul was speaking to the significance of a different type of workout regimen. Check this out…

But have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness. For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. 10 For this reason we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10 CSB)

I have been training in godliness for quite some time now. I’m not sure when I started this blogging/journaling of my journey in God’s Word, but it has made a HUGE difference in my life and in my perspective. I have felt the Lord speak into my life in powerful ways just by simply setting aside time each morning for my spiritual training/workout. I want to keep my eye on eternal life while I live out the abundant life here on earth. I don’t want to be so “heaven bound” that I’m no “earthly good” to anyone. I want to keep growing in my faith as I train in His Word daily and make application to my life.

I’m working at adding a physical element to my spiritual workout – a prayer walk. I walk a good bit throughout the day (thanks FitnessPal), but I want to be more intentional about walking with the Lord and seeking His Wisdom throughout the day.

All My Hope Is In Jesus  – Crowder

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Follwership/Leadership

Follow Lead Buttons Show Leading The Way Or FollowingYesterday was a special day for me and my journey with the Lord.  I started serving as a young pastor in 1982 at a small church in Crab Orchard, Tennessee while a student at Johnson University. I served there a little over a year before accepting a position as youth minister in Maryville Tennessee. I spent the next 20 years as a staff member in ministry the bulk of my time in Carroll County, GA. I have been privileged to serve at Southern Hills for the past 10 years in different capacities. Yesterday I was ordained to serve as an Elder at Southern Hills. I believe church leadership to be a calling from the Lord. I feel like I’m serving the Lord in this capacity, because it’s HIS church. Just this morning (timing) I read a passage in 1 Timothy that speaks to this position. Check this out…

1This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not an excessive drinker, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy. He must manage his own household competently and have his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?) (1 Timothy 3:1-5 CSB)

When the Lord is leading me, I feel confident and competent to lead others. I have multiple degrees and diplomas from “University of Hard Knocks”. I have lots of experience with failure and bad decisions. I’ve learned things that simply don’t work. Some of what I’ve learned is from observing others. Leading in any area of life or work is also about following. There is much to be learned from the people who came before us and the person or persons we are ultimately answering too. I am standing on the shoulders of some amazing men and women of faith who poured into me as a youngster, even as a grown man. I’m humbled and thankful as I reflect on my journey with the Lord at this point. I will continue to be a follower of the Lord who leads. I think the sequence is important.  I want to live my life with a heart abandoned to the King of my heart. I want to seek Him above wealth, fame or any other “success measurement tool” we can use.  To God be honor and glory in me and through me for all my days.

Heart Abandoned by Kristian Stanfill

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wishful & Hopeful

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetWishful involves want and desire. Hopeful also involves want or desire, but has the ingredient of expectation. Optimism involves both words. I am generally an optimistic person, but I also try to be a realist. I don’t have to be hopeful about doing something I already know how to do – I can be hopeful about improvement. I play guitar, for example – there is always room for improvement and I’m still growing with my instrument. Hopefully I can get better, but it’s wishful thinking if I don’t even attempt to improve.

I wish everyone could know the Lord and walk their life out with Him. I want others to know the peace that His Presence brings. I know that there are some who’ve “written me off” for my faith. I’m ok with that. But I hope that they will one day see that this is not just some goofy idea that I or someone else came up with. There is a Creator and He loves His creation (all of us) and He longs for a relationship with us.

Paul makes a passionate plea in his second letter to the church in Corinth. Check this out…

14 For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If one died for all, then all died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.” 21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 20-21 CSB)

While I wish, everyone knew the Lord, it doesn’t work to push my faith “in their face”. I’m always happy to discuss why I believe in the Lord. I am not ashamed of knowing the Lord and I don’t make apologies for my belief. My code of behavior comes from Him. My kindness comes from Him. My integrity comes from Him. My love for people comes from Him. My journey in His Word has helped put my convictions in concrete. I put these words from my journey because I’m hopeful that others will investigate this Love that God has for all of us.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Blog History

 

Man praying with the Bible
This Picture captures how I want to approach God’s Word – humbly listening, seeking, reading.

I looked back on the history of this blog that I mostly call “my journey” that is housed here at www.dhicksonline.com. I began posting this blog/journal around 2009. I didn’t post things I had written right away. I started journaling about what I read in the Bible each morning. It really helped me to remember what He said throughout the day.  I don’t always understand the prompting of God’s Spirit, but I’ve learned to listen and tune in. I felt like He told me to share what He was saying to me with others.

This morning as I came across this chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinth church, he describes how I often feel in my blog.  Check this out…

1When I came to you, brothers and sisters, announcing the mystery of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 CSB)

I do not consider myself a theologian or a deep thinker – I’m just a grown man (55 and counting) seeking to know God more fully each day that I live.

I do not consider myself a prolific writer – I simply put down here in digital form what God is saying to me each chapter I read. (I’m super thankful for “spell check” and Microsoft Word!)

I know me. I know my thoughts. I know my words. I know my actions – I am profoundly grateful for grace. I am humbled that the Lord continues to forgive my stupidity and recklessness. I am so thankful that Jesus came to earth to become the Ultimate and Final sacrifice needed for all sin – including mine. I pray that any words I write from my journey introduces others to Jesus. I can’t imagine navigating the struggles and suffering that come along in this life if I didn’t have Him with me.

My daily journey begins with a quick shower, fresh (often freshly ground) Columbia coffee. I just started reading through a relatively new translation of the Bible called Christian Standard Bible (CSB) I began to really love the Word of God again many years ago by reading “The Message” by Eugene Peterson – it is the Bible in today’s language. I still love hearing how he states certain passages. After I’m awake, I ask the Lord to speak to my through His Word and I read one chapter and simple let Him speak – some would call it meditation. It’s not super complicated. I highlight/underline anything in that chapter that speaks to me. I then write a few words about how that spoke to me. There are a few themes that occur in my journey: Grace, Love, Mercy, Presence, Power, Prayer….I could go on and on, but some of these reoccur.

I’m thankful that my blog has encouraged and even inspired others when they read. I’m a bit concerned that some use this as their spiritual devotion with the Lord – I hope He’s tugging on your heart to know Him more. I promise that this is not super hard or complicated. The Lord longs to meet with me and all His children. He loves fellowship with His kids much like I love connecting with my kids daily.  I believe the thing that changed my perspective and has drawn my heart to the Lord’s heart, is making this a daily practice. I am determined to follow the Lord with my whole heart. I don’t check email or anything before I listen to Him speak. If you are still reading this installment of my blog – I wish for you to know the Lord and hear Him speak. He has given me great clarity for my life journey.

If you have no idea where to start, pick up a copy of The Message and ready the Gospel of John and notice Jesus. I also love reading the Psalms in The Message too. I’m so thankful that I’m loved by God and that He and I talk regularly. I try to listen way more than I talk to Him. Please discover Him for yourself – let Him say what He wishes into your heart. I wish everyone who ever reads or stumble across my little blog sees Jesus. I want them to know the joy of knowing Him and living for Him above all else.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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