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

In Charge & In Control

 

Follow The LeaderWhen I go places, and do things, I usually like to know who is in charge. I have been taught to respect authority. I may not like the person in charge, but they are in charge. When I’m put in charge of a project or situation, I also try to respect the people I’m charged with leading. If I am a leader at all it’s because I’m following The Leader – God of All Creation! Check this out…

The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;

    the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
    indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
Your throne was established long ago;
    you are from all eternity.

Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
    holiness adorns your house
    for endless days. (Psalm 93:1-2;5 NIV)

The Lord is ALWAYS in charge. The Lord lets me lead on His behalf. The Lord will never give up pursuing me– His love is like that. I am still blown away by that level of love and pursuit. I want to be holy like the Lord is holy. I want to strong like the Lord is strong.  I want to the Holy Spirit to clothe me, build me, protect me and shape me. I want the Lord to always be In Charge & In Control of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wisdom & Understanding

Senior Man - WisdomI’m not certain that I would consider myself a wise man. I have become wise in certain areas, but in other areas I’m confident that I would not be described as wise. Wisdom and understanding have always fascinated me. It seems that if I have a decent understanding of a certain situation then I might just make a wise decision when it’s called for. I remember the epistle of James speaking of two kinds of wisdom. Check this out….17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17 NIV)

Wisdom is not necessarily elusive. I do think I have to seek it out. I don’t think wisdom comes naturally to any of us on earth. I’m convinced if I follow the Lord my depth of wisdom will grow immeasurably. Job speaks to finding wisdom and understanding in one of his discourses to his friends. Check this out…

12 But where can wisdom be found?

    Where does understanding dwell?

13 No mortal comprehends its worth;

    it cannot be found in the land of the living.

23 God understands the way to it

    and he alone knows where it dwells,

24 for he views the ends of the earth

    and sees everything under the heavens.

25 When he established the force of the wind

    and measured out the waters,

26 when he made a decree for the rain

    and a path for the thunderstorm,

27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;

    he confirmed it and tested it.

28 And he said to the human race,

    ‘The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom,

    and to shun evil is understanding.’ (Job 28:12-13; 23-28 NIV)

When I open the Word of God, I can discover the very heart beat of God. He is loaded with wisdom and understanding. He is generous with wisdom when He’s asked for it. He also speaks of wisdom and understanding from my journey through the Word. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the audible voice of God, but I’ve sure felt Him leading me and prompting me. I look wise when I listen to God’s Spirit leading me and prompting my every activity. On the flip side, I can look really foolish when I ignore His Counsel.

Today I welcome wisdom and understanding into my heart. I don’t ever want to leave home without both.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Eye Of God

 

Blue woman eye macro shotI always described God as having regular human attributes. I thought that God has a head complete with eyes, ears, nose and mouth like me. I often think of being able to put my head on His chest while He comforts me. I definitely think of God as my Dad, in the most respectful and reverent way.

The people of Judah had been given permission from one king to rebuild the temple and the city, but the next king told them to stand down. The people who were their neighbors tried to scare the king describing them as rebellious and troublemakers. He told them to stop. The prophets realized that they actually had permission to be there and rebuild. The current king would be changing a ruling by the previous king and that was pretty big deal. The leaders and the prophets went back to building. Check this out…

3 At that time Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates went to them and asked, ‘Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?’ 4 They also asked, ‘What are the names of those who are constructing this building?’ 5 But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received. (Ezra 5:3-5 NIV)

The one line encouraged me: “the eye of their God was upon them.” I want the eye of God all over me today.

I want Him to protect me.

I want Him to provide for me.

I want Him to lead me.

I want Him to help me make good choices.

I want the eye of God upon my family.

I want the eye of God upon my church family.

I want the eye of God upon my business.

I want the eye of God upon my friends.

I may be up against impossible odds, but if the Lord is leading me then I want to have the courage to go where He leads – wherever that place is. Even if I’m in a comfortable place, not stirring things up, I want to be right where He leads me to be. I want to be doing what He leads me to do.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Ahead

 

Person symbol run time race against clockThis is one of those English words that have multiple meanings. As my youngest son has learned, processed and translated the English language from Spanish, he has been constantly frustrated that our language has so many words that are pronounced the same, but has different meanings. The word “ahead” can mean “further forward motion in time or space”. It can also mean “onward” or “in the lead”.

As I’m journeying through the book of Exodus, the people of Israel are beginning a journey of their own. They are finally leaving Egypt and the life of slavery behind. The Lord is speaking into Moses and Aaron about how they will remember and celebrate this historic event. The Lord leads them in a unique way. Check this out…

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ 18 So God led the people around by the desert road towards the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. (Exodus 13:17-18; 20-22 NIV)

The word “AHEAD” jumped in my lap as I was reading this. I love the fact that God is going first and the people of Israel are following Him. That is a picture of how I should live out every day. He should lead me. I shouldn’t invite Him into my schedule of events, He should lead me into His schedule of events. I want His plans for me to be clearly implemented. I want to be about what He is doing or wants to do through me.

This pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night has it all covered. I can’t imagine being among this large group of people. The men numbered over 600,000 and when I add 1 woman and 1 child for each man as average, there were at least 1.8 million people plus their livestock. This was a HUGE undertaking. God went ahead so that they not only knew when to move, but they also knew where to go. I need the Lord to lead me today and I’m going to look for the “pillar of fire” so that He can direct my path. When He moves, I want to move. Where He moves I want to be found following.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Leader

Jesus writing with his fingerI’ve had the privilege of leading others pretty recent as well as for many years. In my first “career” I was a student pastor. I had the chance to lead a lot of students. I pointed them to The Lord Who is my Leader. I am humbled when I reflect on my journey and just how my Leader used me to lead. He did things through me that still blows my mind. He has said things through me that I can’t even recall, but spoke right to the heart of another and helped change the trajectory of their entire life. My Leader is the Lord Who made heaven and earth and created human beings in His likeness.

He spoke through the prophet Isaiah and really spoke into His people. He is always looking for people to follow Him. He does some of His best work through regular people who are willing to let Him lead. Check this out….

10 Make your battle plans! But you won’t succeed.
    Give your orders! But they won’t be carried out.
    That’s because God is with us.
11 The Lord put his powerful hand on me and spoke to me. He warned me not to live the way these people live.
17 I will wait for the Lord,
    who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him. (Isaiah 8:10-11;17 NIV)

 

I am under the authority of other leaders, but my Ultimate Leader is the Lord God. He decides if the other leaders are legitimate. He decides if the other leaders plans succeed or fail. He leads me as I lead my family. He leads me as I lead my company. He leads me as I live, breathe and anything else I do. My plans and ideas without Him are useless and worthless. He sees things I can’t see therefore I need His insight as I lead.

“I can do all thing through Christ Who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV) – I can do nothing without Him; I am nothing without Him.

He is my Leader.

He is my Friend.

He is my Confidant.

He is my Wise Counsel.

I will follow Him.

I will listen to Him.Jesus

I will walk in His Way.

My Leader will never let me down.

My Leader will never mis-lead me.

My Leader will never stop being my Leader.

Pressing On!
Dwayne