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

EVERYTHING

Businesswoman drawing plan of AuditThis word doesn’t leave options on the table and it doesn’t have exceptions. Everything is the total with nothing else left – ALL. It’s hard for me to grasp this concept, because I live in a world of options, exceptions and exemptions. There are not asterisks (*) by the word everything; it all encompassing and complete. I’m sure I’ve described that something or someone is “everything to me” that is simply not true. There are people who say this in relationships, business situations and quite frankly it is not true. Life does move on after a broken relationship and another job or business opportunity comes along after one fails. Everything is such an all-encompassing word, I think I need to be careful how and when I use it.

Solomon has written some of the Psalms and I came across one that he wrote, evidently shortly after he was king. He prayed some bold and audacious prayers for God to lead and provide for him. He then ended with an “everything” statement that I can take hold of. Check this out…

18 Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
    who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Praise be to his glorious name forever;
    may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen. (Psalm 72:18-19 NIV)

I don’t see the word “everything” in this passage, but it certainly settled in my heart after reading the whole passage. Solomon wants to be a strong king and a great leader. He prays boldly and asked God to bless him. He wants to live longer than the sun and do these noble accomplishments, but he ends this passage with profound perspective. God alone, does marvelous deeds. Solomon is nothing without the Lord. Solomon can do nothing without the Lord. God oversees everything. Nothing escapes His notice.

I started taking this passage personal because I want to be a strong and capable leader. I want to bring blessings to others. I want to serve the Lord by serving others. I really want the Lord to be my EVERYTHING. I want to notice that He blessed me with my wife and children. He blessed me with amazing co-workers and partners. He blessed me with EVERYTHING I have, know, experienced or have seen. With Him, I have EVERYTHING, but without Him, I am nothing.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Who You Know

 

US President SealI look forward to meeting new people. I usually will give people the “benefit of the doubt” when I first meet them and get to know them. If after I’ve spent some time with them and I learn that their values are much different than mine, I move them into a different spot. Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to visit with US Senators and Congressmen on with the REALTORS on behalf of the private property rights of people I serve in Real Estate. I have also had the privilege to connect with our state officials from the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House and our State Senators and State Representatives. I’ve learned to not be impressed with the position they hold but to carefully look at their voting record, their work ethic and how engaging they are personally. Some of our elected officials are genuinely doing their best to make our country and our state a better place for our children and our children’s children. On the flip side of that, some people simply love power and it corrupts them. They learn quickly how to abuse power. I’m disgusted with those individuals. They have forgotten the people who they answer to and they’ve often sold their soul to the evil one.

David pens a Psalm that is beautiful in describing just what the Lord means to him and certainly to me. It is refreshing to know that David, even though he was Israel’s greatest king, he was so humble before God. He didn’t forget where he came from and Who put into leadership. Check this out…

Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
    to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
    to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
    you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose
    and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
    of your holy temple.

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy. (Psalm 65:1-4,8 NIV)

I don’t ever want to get so full of myself that I forget where I came from. I believe that PRIDE can destroy good people. I believe that HUMILITY is a characteristic that can build the best leaders. I do pray for the men and women who are in leadership of our country, our state and local government. I am not the least bit intimidated by any one of them, because they answer to God, just like everyone else. They also get dressed just like everyone else and they get colds, stomach aches, and their bodies function like everyone else. They are currently in a position of leadership and they are well known by a lot of people – but at the end of the day, they are human and they come under the authority of God.  I do like knowing people in leadership and power, but I’m not going to be over impressed with them because the Lord is the ULTIMATE LEADER of every living being. I want to know Him first and formost.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Go First

Follow Lead Buttons Show Leading The Way Or FollowingThere are times when leaders have to break new ground and be the first to step into uncharted territory. The people following often trust the leader enough to go with them into the unknown. When I come upon a scary situation and my family is with me – I always go first. I can also do that as a leader in the church where I serve or the industry that I work in. Leadership can sometimes be fearful and even lonely, but leaders lead with courage and boldness.

Nehemiah and the leaders of Jerusalem were deciding who was going to stay in Jerusalem now that the walls were rebuilt and the temple rebuilt. There were plenty of enemies on all sides who wanted to undo what they had just completed. Check this out…

1 Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem. The rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten of them to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. 2 The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 11:1-2 NIV)

I commend our leaders who aren’t afraid to lead. I’m not always in agreement with where they lead, but they are our leaders. I’m thankful to live in a government by the people and for the people. The people who are our leaders are not without imperfections like the rest of us. I do think that leaders have a lot of pressure to gather information and make decisions according to the info gathered. I also see leaders who form laws and regulations that change our lives on a daily basis. These are often good laws that protect us. There are occasions though when “it seemed like a good idea at the time” and mistakes are made. I think a good sign of a leader is to own it and move on. I do believe all leaders are to be held accountable for choices that they make. This accountability makes for better leaders.

I like to see myself as a leader who first follows the Lord. I’m not afraid of breaking new ground as long as the Lord is leading me and directing my steps. If I’m walking in step with the Lord, then I’m never alone in leading.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Repentant Leadership

 

work hard stay humbleI have come to the conclusion that those who never repent must never attempt to do anything. I know what failure feels like. I’ve learned that failure isn’t fatal unless I let it be. I learned a long time ago that there are at least three actions to take when I fail:

  1. Take ownership of my actions.
  2. Make amends (do my very best to make things right).
  3. Move on.

Failure can teach me volumes about others and myself. I have learned more from my failures and mistakes than my successes.

Ezra served the exiles that were given permission from King Darius of Persia to return to their homeland after 70 years in exile away from their homeland. They were in the process of rebuilding the temple when Ezra learned of the blatant sin of some of his fellow exiles. He was absolutely broken and stunned. He leads the exiles in profound repentance. Check this out…

‘I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.

15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.’ (Ezra 9:6b-7; 15 NIV)

I believe that leaders should lead us through success. I also believe that leaders should lead us through repentance. It takes a lot longer to get through a hurtful situation when no one is willing to own his or her actions. I think it takes a bigger person to own their mistakes than to act like they are perfect and without fault. I believe that everyone makes mistakes – some have way bigger consequences than others. I believe that marriages can be saved from the brink of divorce if both spouses own their own failures and mistakes.

I remember hearing from a wise and trusted friend years ago in response to public sin and failure. The conversation was about helping restore the person from the public failure. He said to this man: “When your repentance cries out louder than your sin, you are on your way to restoration”.

I have to check my pride at the door if I’m ever going to own my mistakes and failures. I can’t act as if I’m perfect and without fault. The Lord knows me like no one else – how can I pretend that my sin didn’t happen?

I’m thinking that I should begin every day with a repentant heart and continue that theme throughout my day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Charge

leadership text cloudI believe that there is leadership in all of us. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen two-year olds leading their parents, even though it shouldn’t be that way. I’ve also seen many unlikely leaders who lead – some who have no clue what it means to lead. I believe leadership is a great responsibility and should be taken very seriously. I also believe that some “self-appointed” leaders aren’t really leading anyone. I think I first heard this old proverb from John Maxwell…”He who thinks he leads with no followers is simply taking a walk”.

David was a fantastic leader. He started his leadership training as a shepherd protecting, providing for and leading sheep. He strength was his military leadership and prowess. He knew how to take care of business when it came to fighting. He was also strong in his walk with God. He stumbled for sure, but he repented and rose to lead with great strength. His repentance cried out greater than his sin and he was restored.

David makes a charge to his son Solomon who will succeed him as king. David really wanted to build the Temple for God, but the Lord wouldn’t let him because he had shed so much blood. David starts being proactive by getting the materials list and the supplies together so that everything will be ready. He then really gives Solomon an excellent leadership charge. Check this out….

11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. (1 Chronicles 22:11-13 NIV)

David had given his son quite an example of leadership. Solomon experienced peace on every side because King David had paid the price for peace by going to war.

There are times I look back over my life and yes I have some regrets. There were times I wasn’t following the Lord whole-heartedly. There were many times as a student pastor that I was leading out of my giftedness instead of leading with the Holy Spirit of God working through me. It’s pretty easy to look back on my life and see things I could have done differently. Who was it that said we all have 20/20 vision looking back. I do want to maximize the time that I have ahead of me – no matter how much it is. I want to lead my family from a deep commitment to following the Lord – seeking His heart through prayer and the study of His Word. I want my family to lead from the Presence of God inside their heart for sure. I want any who would follow me to notice the Presence of God in me and then want that inside their own heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne