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

Selfish & Self-Centered

 

I like myself for the most part. If I could change some physical features to improve my appearance, I would take care of that. I like myself better some days rather than others. If all I cared about was me, I wouldn’t have my beautiful family. When I became a Dad over 30 years ago, I became less selfish at that time more than any other time. Children are born completely dependent on their parents for everything it seems. I have developed a love for children and I will sacrifice anything and everything I have for them. It’s almost automatic. I would give up my life to save any one of my children.  With all of that said, I am still selfish. I still like what I like when I like it. I like my routines. I like the last piece of cake. I like things to go my way. I want my kids to love me. I am a bit selfish and self-centered after all.

I came across this passage in Philippians right before Paul describes Jesus’ attitude so thoroughly and poetically. He speaks to humility and selfish ambition and I felt “smacked around” a bit. Check this out…

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4 CSB)

I saw a two “absolutes” in this passage…

Nothing – no exceptions

Everyone – that’s really everyone – not just people I know and like

I still struggle with selfish ambition and conceit. I am learning that when I serve others, I end up being blessed beyond words. Zig Ziglar used to say: “If you help enough people get what they want, then you’ll get what you want.” Serving others is thinking about them and honoring them. Serving others is putting their interests in front of my interests. Serving others is making them more important than me.

It’s easy to serve people I know and like. It’s the jerks that drive me nuts. I don’t like serving jerks, but if I’m not careful I can become one. If I learn to serve even the jerks and “smart-mouthed” people, I’m growing to be more like Jesus. He was the perfect example of humility. I recently confronted another person as gently as I knew about how they were talking to me and treating me – I was really frustrated. I felt like the Lord helped me make a friend out a person who was being a bit of a jerk. This is not easy and I still don’t have it down pat, but I do want to serve others because as a Christ follower, I’m called to do that. It’s not optional – it’s a command and a part of His DNA. If I want to be more like Jesus, it starts with humility and serving.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Work Ethic

 

Waiter with trayI work on purpose. I work to provide for my family and myself. I like food with my meals! I also see work as a service to others. I’ve worked all sorts of different jobs as I grew up. I learned first to work in the hay fields and tobacco fields of Kentucky. I learned what an hour’s worth of work was all about. I’ve made fast food hamburgers. I’ve worked in food service as a cook. My parents taught me to give honest work to whomever I worked for. When fast forward through my time in student ministry to my years now as a REALTOR – the principle is still the same. I need to give honest work to whomever I’m working for. I see the real estate profession as a service profession. I think it’s even more important to hold myself accountable to others in how I work and serve my clients and customers. My work can serve and minister to others. I came across this passage from Paul and it reminded me why I work. Check this out…

Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart. Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to people, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord. (Ephesians 6:6-8 CSB)

I try to serve with a good attitude even if others have a bad attitude. (This is not easy and I fail miserably at times.) When I serve as a REALTOR professional – I’m actually serving the Lord while helping others. I feel like I’ve been blessed by the Lord as I continue to look for ways to serve others as well as my community.

Physicians, nurses, and other health care professions serve others with knowledge and care for the sick.

Attorney’s, judges & law clerks serve others in need of the justice system and navigating the complexity of the law as to the Lord.

Police, Firefighters and EMT’s serve others desperately in need of protection or rescue – as to the Lord.

REALTORS, Property Managers, bookkeepers, support staff all can serve others who are seeking help with housing as to the Lord.

This list of professions could go on to include every profession on the planet. Everything I do and everywhere I go the Lord sees and knows – He holds me accountable and He can be served in any profession or career choice.

I believe that when we serve others, we can navigate more efficiently the nuances of relationship. If I’m there to be served, I have certain expectations and demands of others. If I come to my work relationships and situations with a serving perspective, the whole experience can honor the Lord.

I work at the pleasure of Creator God who built me and wired me to serve Him while serving others.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Pleasure

short noteI want to give a shout out to Chick Fil A (especially to the one in Carrollton, GA) for their excellent service when I go to their restaurant to grab a bite to eat. The people who run the registers and the people who greet you at the drive thru all have a good attitude about serving. Every time I say, “Thank You” upon them delivering service, they always respond “My Pleasure”. I am aware that they are trained to say that, but it sure does sound good. It sounds like they are there to give me a good experience in their restaurant. If one of the workers is called upon to clean up a spill and is thanked, he/she will say, “my pleasure”.  I think we all have the choice to serve others or to serve ourselves.

I’ve learned a lot about serving over the years. Zig Ziglar says that “if you help enough people get what they want, then you will get what you want”.  I believe that the gospel is the answer to what the world needs and often wants. When tragedy strikes or suffering happens, we need hope – the gospel offers hope. When we experience joy, we look to celebrate with others – the Lord celebrates the great moments in our lives as well as walks with us in the darkest times too.

The Apostle Paul was called to preach the gospel. He accepted that call from Jesus and traveled all over teaching and preaching. Paul wanted the church to know that He will do anything to help people know the gospel of Jesus Christ. Check this out…

19 Although I am free from all and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people.

22 To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some. 23 Now I do all this because of the gospel, so that I may share in the blessings.

24 Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. 25 Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown. (1 Corinthians 9:19, 22-25 CSB)

I want to be known as someone who serves. I don’t want to be known as a self-centered person who only looks out for myself. I want to look out for the needs and concerns of others. I realize that some will take offense and try to twist my motives or my actions, but the Lord knows my heart. I’m here to serve at His call. It is His call upon my life that calls for service to others. It is His call upon my life that sometimes requires me to stand down and not defend myself. It is His call upon my life that calls me to serve people who are hateful, selfish and full of themselves. I am learning to say, “my pleasure” because He’s called me to serve others with a cheerful spirit.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Know It All

I really try to not come across as a “Know It All” on any subject. I believe that I can learn from just about everyone. I learn from some people to not hang around them after one conversation. But I’ve also learned that I can learn a lot from others who are much younger and less experienced that me. I’ve said before that I want to be a life-long learner. I don’t ever want my pride to keep me from learning.

I do want to keep learning the Word of God as it builds my confidence in the Lord. The Word of God gives perspective to my life and my daily decisions. I want to keep learning about the Lord’s heart and His plans for me.

Paul writes to the church at Corinth about eating food that has been sacrificed to idols. I remember when a man in the church I was tithed off his gambling winnings to give to the student ministry that I was leading. I first thought that this was not money I should use. The minister I worked with said: “The devil has had that money long enough!” I think some of these type subjects will land on the side of opinion. There is some great truth tucked inside this discussion. Check this out…

1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds upIf anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it. But if anyone loves God, he is known by him.

About eating food sacrificed to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father. All things are from him, and we exist for him. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things are through him, and we exist through him. (1 Corinthians 8:1-6 CSB)

I really want to increase my capacity to love and serve others. I’m learning in my day job to serve people’s needs and my needs get taken care of. I’ve learned to have humility always because the Lord loves a humble heart. After all I’m nothing without Him in my heart.

Today I will keep learning from others.

Today I will keep growing with others.

Today I will keep serving others.

Today I will keep loving others.

It’s all because of Jesus that I can learn, grow, serve or love. I’m continuing to let Him direct my path and my decisions every day. I don’t know everything, but I know the Lord and anything else I know pales in comparison to knowing Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Power

Lead By ExampleIt is sometimes interesting to see what happens when normal people get power. There are some who rise slowly through the promotion ranks to positions of powers. There are those who are elected to powerful positions. I believe that people are needed in positions of power to lead. Everyone can’t be “the” leader, but everyone can be “a” leader. There is a great temptation to those in powerful positions to lead with a clinched fist instead of an open hand. It’s easy to become a “know-it-all” when in a powerful position. I’m not advocating that all powerful leaders are bad, I’m just pointing out that I believe a powerful leader can become even more powerful when he or she realizes that leaders serve the people they are charged with leading. Asking good questions of the people I’m leading doesn’t make me weak, I believe it makes me wise.  Power can corrupt good people. Power can lie. Power can cheat. Power can steal. Power can kill.  Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

I believe that the Lord has all Power. I can’t begin to comprehend His Power. I can’t put my head around the Glory of God. He is not bound to our dimension of sight, sound, touch or taste. He came to earth in the person of Jesus and gave His life as a sacrifice for sin once and for all. He delivered to us the Power of God in surrender. Check this out…

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith. (Romans 1:16-17 CSB)

I believe in God. I have faith in Him. The gospel has changed my life and it’s still changing my life. The gospel goes directly to work on my heart. My choices and my behavior come directly from my heart. If the Lord has my heart, He has all of me. The gospel is powerful to transform a surrendered heart. I see Him at work in me through eyes of faith. His Word magnifies my ability to see Him and know Him.  I want to live by faith with the power of the gospel overflowing out of my life into others. There is great power in living out a surrendered life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne