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

Reverse Order

Multi-ethnic group of people standing in lineI will admit that I don’t like to stand in line. I’m not super patient about lines. When I’m at the grocery store and there are long lines, I will consider coming back later, even though it’s really only a few extra minutes to wait. I don’t like to go to Six Flags on a busy day for lots of reasons, but one of the reasons is, I don’t like standing in long lines for an hour for a 2-minute ride. What if when I got in the back of the line, I was all of a sudden put in front of everyone. First of all, that would tick a lot people off.  That’s just not how it’s done. I have just learned to look for the shortest line and I do enjoy the “self-check” places because there’s hardly ever a line.

Jesus over heard His disciples talking about who was the greatest among Jesus’ followers. I’m sure they were thinking only of themselves and the accolades that they would get one day because of their celebrity status being one of Jesus disciples. He shook up their structure of what defined greatness in His view. Check this out…

33 After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” 34 But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

36 Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” (Mark 9:33-37 NLT)

This teaching is still a bit of a struggle even today. People who lead don’t always lead from a serving position. It’s hard to imagine a humble, servant politician. There are people who serve in their church that relish in their positions of power rather than see their position as one of great service. I’m blown away when I see a strong leader seek to serve others in the room. I love seeing a strong and powerful leader treat their team with genuine respect and honor. I believe good leaders remember where they came from and how they got their start. Good leaders remember the people who helped them along the way. Good leaders are ALWAYS standing on the shoulders of others. This teaching of Jesus reveals how the Lord’s economy operates. I shouldn’t choose the best for me, I should think of what’s best for others. I should be a door holder for others. This servant leadership starts in my home, my workplace and especially my church family. Greatness in God’s economic system is defined by humility, gratitude, meekness, serving, patience, kindness, love, grace, mercy. Greatness in not always loud, sometimes it’s really quiet and almost unnoticed, but it’s profoundly powerful. Greatness is not about a person – it’s about a position of serving in God’s economy. This is a bit of reverse order compared to what I’m used to.  I want to serve the Lord by serving others and putting them first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Strategic

 

Time to PlanI admire others who analyze and plan strategically. I am learning more and more about how important planning is in every area of my life. Planning is important to my family as I put together a blueprint for my “empty nest years” and sunset years. I applaud young people who start planning their retirement during their first year or so of working. It’s great that there are many businesses who can contribute to employee retirement & profit sharing. I’ve been self-employed my whole career and it takes a bit more discipline and management to put together a wise retirement. I am so grateful for the investment that so many others have made in my life over the years to get me to this point. I’m learning that I must listen, learn and take action.

Jesus is teaching the crowds and His recently chosen disciple at what is known as “The Sermon On The Mount”.  He introduces some teaching that is still today “counter cultural” and “bizarre concepts” to the world. Check this out…

37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:37-38 NLT)

Don’t criticize others.

Don’t condemn others.

Forgive others and receive forgiveness.

Give and you will receive.

Jesus is alluding to the “Law Of The Harvest” – we reap what we sow. He is saying that when we are patient, we receive patience. When we are generous, we are recipients of generosity. When we forgive, we receive forgiveness. I have lived long enough to know that these concepts are actually true when tested in real life. I have learned to sow seeds of kindness and then watch as kindness to me is multiplied. I have sown seeds of forgiveness and it come to me many times over. Jesus’ teaching is weird to those hearing it for the first time, but my life is a real-life testimony that these concepts are true.

Jesus is teaching strategies that will not only serve me in this life but also make it more abundant for sure. These strategies also serve to show others the genuine love that the Lord has for them. By living these concepts out, my actions are speaking louder than my words. I have a lot of growing to do in these areas, but my life as profoundly been changed by The Lord. I want to live this out in my every day, “regular routine” sort of life.

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

My Best Self

Follow Lead Buttons Show Leading The Way Or FollowingA couple of years ago I was introduced to Darren Hardy who produces “Darren Daily” – a short motivational video that comes to my inbox every day of the week. He speaks about a daily habit or attitude that will help build me as a business leader and as a leader of my family. I enjoy these little video blogs and they help me grow. Yesterday’s challenge was about being my best self. This clip made me think and ponder my daily choices and ask the question: “Am I bringing my best self to work each day?”

I love starting my day listening to the Lord speak into my life through His Word. I feel like my heart gets rejuvenated and amped up for the day. This morning was no exception. I read in Colossians about more of what my “best self” could look like. Check this out…

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. 14 Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17 CSB)

I want to keep growing my “best self”. I want to continue to evaluate the direction of my daily life and my business. I want to keep growing as a follower of Jesus. I want to keep growing as a husband, Dad and Pop. I want to keep growing as REALTOR and Broker. I want to live my life in such a way that people are clearly aware that I’m a follower of Jesus because of the characteristics of my life.

My best self will always have Christ at the center of my life. I want to bring compassion, competence, consistency, skill, kindness, patience, service (this list could get long!) to every person I meet or work with. I want my best self to showcase my faith in the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Different Code of Conduct

Moving escalator stairs, love hate signI recently returned to work after a time of vacation. I must say that I did have a relaxing time with my family. My work can sometimes demand my immediate attention and at other times it rocks on smoothly. The biggest challenge in most of our lives are not necessarily with technology or certain products – our challenge is dealing with people and the different personality and perspective of others.

I must say that I was really ticked off the other day when another agent and I were really trying to work through a misunderstanding of our clients. I was really frustrated and my blood pressure was up. After getting off the phone, I remembered that I somehow must display genuine love and not speak the things that were going through my mind. That doesn’t mean I back down from my position on behalf of my client – it does mean that I stay in control of “output mechanism” (aka my mouth!) when engaging the other person.

This morning I came across a short two verses under the heading of “Final Exhortations” in Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. Check this out…

13 Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

(1 Corinthians 16:13-14 CSB)

I can be alert.

I can stand firm in the faith – most of the time.

I can be courageous.

I can be strong.

That part about “do everything in love” really pushed on me. I don’t want to love people who are being total jerks toward me or my client. I don’t want to love people who try to harm me in business. I don’t want to love people who talk negatively about me and don’t have the courage to speak with me personally. My flesh wants to take over my heart on this topic. There are some people who are hard to love and there are others who are so sweet, genuine and kind that are easy to love. Paul used that word “everything” which left no exceptions. I can’t “do everything in love” only to the people who are easy – I must learn to “do everything in love” to those who are hard to love as well.

Today is a new day! I’m thankful to recall a passage from the prophet Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations. Check this out…

22 Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:22-23 CSB)

I will love even when it’s hard because Jesus loves me even when I’m an idiot or jerk. I don’t deserve the love and kindness of the Lord, but He gives it. I really want to learn to love like Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne