Amazement!

Happy surprised manI am amazed at what great lengths people will go to for a free gift or money. In the past, I have endured a sales pitch in order to win a free TV or an overnight stay somewhere that always looks much nicer than it is. I do like to get something for nothing. I know better, but I will still try, much like the next person.

I’m also amazed at how people follow other people and give them celebrity status. If a guy or girl can play a sport really well, we give them special status. If someone is really wealthy we treat them quite differently than another person who doesn’t have as much wealth.

Jesus amazed people with His teaching – His Presence. He didn’t play a sport that I know of and He didn’t have a lot of wealth. His teaching was powerful and moved people. He did heal people from what was often a terminal disease – leprosy. He also healed other diseases and casts out evil spirits from people possessed. People were moved His teaching and His power to heal. Check this out…

27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee. (Mark 1:27-28 NLT)

I sometimes take the Lord’s Presence for granted. I read His Word almost every day. I talk with Him throughout the day. I participate in corporate worship each week with the church. I realize that not everyone in the world does this each week. I’m still following Him so closely that I’m not as amazed as I should be. When I stop for a minute and look carefully at Who He is and what He has done – I’m truly amazed.

I want to continue to be amazed at Him.

I want to continue to notice what He is doing in my life.

I want to continue to express my gratitude to Him for my life and loved one.

I love this old hymn: I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous) by Chris Tomlin

I want my life to bring glory to Him because I live in amazement at all that He has done and all that He is doing in me and around me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Inspiration

Grace AND Truth

I am inspired by the stories of people who have gone before me. I am reading a book called “The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965” It is about the long and storied history of Churchill’s leadership during the World War II era. The hardship that he and the people of England faced was very hard and very real, but they emerged in great strength through the hardships. Churchill was an inspirational leader. He was a motivator. He was a thinker. He had his weird moments. He inspired others by his speeches, writings, but most of all his leadership. Great leaders inspire others to follow their lead.

The Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy is encouraging his young protégé by writing to remind Timothy of his journey thus far. It is often helpful to reflect on where we’ve been to truly appreciate where we are today. Paul closes out one of the chapters by reminding Timothy that tough times are ahead. He reminds him that there will be opposition and persecution. He gives some strong counsel to Timothy in the face of trouble. These words inspired me many years ago and I was reminded of the significance of The Word as I read these words. Check this out…

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 CSB)

I think I was around 14 years of age when I gave my first message to the little church I grew up attending in Casey Creek, KY. I remember being encouraged by this passage of scripture that talks about its value to my life. I can’t say that I had a daily discipline of reading scripture every day, but I am thankful that the Lord spoke into my heart and used His Word to build me and equip me for whatever was ahead for me. My journey has most definitely had struggles and hardship, but God’s Word kept speaking into my life. The Word teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains me. I am inspired to keep reading The Word as I live out my life, because I feel Him speak directly into my heart. Reading His Word daily doesn’t make me anyone special, but I’m reminded and inspired to keep surrendering my heart to Him and the peace that only He can give settles into my soul.

I want to live my life inspired by God’s Word. I want to lead my family inspired by God’s Word. I want my career to continually be inspired by God’s Word – His character, His Wisdom for my life. The journey of my life has been profoundly influenced and directed by my daily discovery of God’s heart found in scripture

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Good Work & Word

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI believe that work is honorable. Those who work produce something and often the work product serves others and not just themselves. I think of serving professions: Law Enforcement, Firefighters, EMT’s, Physicians, Pastors, Teachers, REALTORS, etc.… This list could get very long. There is a joy that comes from serving others that is hard to explain. There is often a call to a certain profession or type of work. I used to watch a show called, “Dirty Jobs” where the host Mike Rowe interviewed and work alongside people who had dirty jobs. As I said earlier, I believe work is honorable because of the earnings as well as the service. I can take care of my family and serve them because I’m compensated for the service I provide for others. I love this blessing nugget that Paul shares with the church at Thessalonica in his second letter to them. Check this out…

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 CSB)

The second part of that last sentence is “word”. I love hearing a well-spoken word. I can grow when I hear a word of encouragement, teaching or blessing. Almost a year ago, I discovered Podcasts on my phone. I know that they’ve been around for a few years, but I had mainly used my phone to talk on when in the vehicle. Lately, I’ve used my truck as a training center and I’ve tuned into Podcasts that are teaching me and helping me grow.

I enjoy DarrenDaily in my text messages each day.

I am a big fan of the Brian Buffini Show through iTunes.

Dave Ramsey’s team does a podcast called Entreleadership that has blessed me and built me.

Andy Andrew’s “In The Loop” is an excellent podcast as well.

Nothing I could ever find on this planet will replace the Word of God. I find wisdom and truth dripping from the pages of scripture. I believe that the Words of Scripture are divinely inspired by God and put in written form so that I can know Him and grow in His likeness. The podcasts and “self-help” stuff I listen to could never replace the truths and teachings from the Word of God.

I want to be a life-long learner. I want to take the principles found in the Word of God and weave them tightly into my life and my being. I want my life to produce both good work and good words.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Life Verse

My StoryI have learned to love many passages in scripture that really speak to my heart and encourage me in my life journey. When I was a junior in college at Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University Tennessee), I began a student ministry in Crab Orchard Tennessee. It was a small church and my wife and I started meeting with the young people on Sunday afternoons. I really enjoyed this part of my weekend ministry and I was given the opportunity to start full time upon graduation at First Christian Church in Maryville, TN as their youth minister. I loved students and enjoyed hanging out with them and helping them grow in their faith. Somewhere along the way in my youth ministry I came across what became my life verse for my student ministry – I still am moved by this verse today. Check this out…

27 God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me. (Colossians 1:27-29 CSB)

I felt like my calling was to teach and counsel students to know who Jesus was and why He came to earth in the first place. Paul articulates that very well. I wanted students in my ministry to mature in Christ. I look back at my journey and realize just how immature I was back then. I sometimes wish I knew then what I know now about life and my journey with the Lord. He has been faithful with me even when I was unfaithful to Him. He has never given up on me even where there were times I had given up on Him.

I’m a bet more mature that I was back in 1982 – my first year in ministry. I was in ministry for 20 years before becoming a REALTOR in 2003. In this profession, I feel like my life verse hasn’t changed all that much. I want my faith to be obvious without even having to speak of it. I’m always happy to talk about my faith, but I would rather others notice my faith before I ever speak a word. I’m still praying for maturity. I’m still growing in my faith. I still enjoy teaching about Him and sharing from my journey with Him. I want to live my life for His call and His purpose for me. I feel like I’m right where He wants me to be. I still lean into Colossians 1:28 to keep me on purpose and on track!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Commitment

Scheduling A Meeting In A DiaryI make lots of commitments each day. I put appointments down on my calendar several days or weeks in advance. I need to write my commitments down to keep track of them. If I put a meeting with someone on my schedule, then I have a commitment with them at that time. I have made many commitments over the years, but none more significant as the time when I committed my life to the Lord. I have renewed that commitment to Him many times over the years because quite frankly, I’ve broken that commitment a few times as well. As I read Psalm 37 this morning, I was reminded of how important my commitment to the Lord is. Check this out….

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
he will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun. (Psalm 37:1-6 NIV)

I also made a commitment to my wife and family. They are a close second to God in the priority scale of my life. I love my family dearly and I’m so thankful that they know the Lord too. My commitment to my family comes before any other human beings on the planet. I love and respect the people I work with profoundly, but they know of my commitment to family and I totally respect their commitment to family. I’ve learned that everything I have and everything I am is committed to the Lord. Everything I know comes from Him. Everything I’ve learned, and everything I’ve earned is because of my commitment to the Lord. He motivates me and inspires me in so many ways through so many people.  My understanding of commitment grows in breadth and depth each day. I’m thankful for all that the Lord is teaching me and has taught me about commitment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mountains

 

Mountain landscapeOne of my favorite places to go is to the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. I spent four years there getting my under graduate education and then lived in Maryville (aka Murraville) another two and a half years. I loved being out driving to a store or going somewhere and looking up and seeing the mountains in the distance. There is something so majestic about the mountains. They are beautiful. They are big. They don’t move. I have climbed a mountain. I have driven up the mountain. I’ve ridden a tram up the mountain. I enjoy visiting Stone Mountain here in Georgia. This morning Micah reminded of a most important mountain. Check this out….

1 In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established

    as the highest of the mountains;

it will be exalted above the hills,

    and peoples will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come and say,

‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

    to the temple of the God of Jacob.

He will teach us his ways,

    so that we may walk in his paths.’ (Micah 4:1-2a NIV)

I love the picture of the Lord teaching me on His Mountain. Being on the mountain with the Lord gives me incredible perspective to the valley below. I’d love to live on the mountain, but most of life is lived out in the valley. The mountain is visible from the valley, but sometimes the valley gets dark and the mountain is hard to see even if it’s there. There are times the fog comes in and covers the mountain, but it’s still there. I don’t ever want to get stuck in the valley and miss out on going up to the mountain with the Lord. I need His teaching. I need His instruction. I need His direction for life in the valley.

I remember Abraham worshipping God on the mountain and being willing to surrender his own son but God provided a sacrifice. I remember that Moses met God on the mountain and there received the Ten Commandments. I remember that Jesus often went to the mountain to pray. I want to make frequent visits to the “mountain of the Lord” and hear Him speak into my heart about the direction of my life. I want to continue to learn the ways of the Lord and have the courage to walk in His paths.

Pressing On!

Dwayne