Wisdom Brings Peace

 

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetI have been known to talk when I should be listening. I have also been known to be quiet when I should have spoken. This can be tricky – knowing when to speak or not to speak. I also try to edit carefully what comes out of my mouth. When I relax a bit among friends, or around my family, I might say too much. There is much to be said about thinking before speaking. It is way too often that my mouth starts speaking before my brain catches up with what I’m saying – this can be disastrous and hurtful. I’m so thankful that the Lord sees my heart. I think the people who know be best also know my heart. I’m not generally a hateful or insensitive person, but I confess that I have been before. When I surrendered my heart to the Lord, I began dismantling some of these harmful habits. Guarding my speech takes wisdom and tremendous restraint. I think as I get older, I’m learning the value of restraint and timing.

The book of James devotes the bulk of chapter 3 to control of the tongue and then he finishes up speaking of wisdom. I believe control of my tongue is directly connected to seeking and cultivating wisdom deep inside my soul. Check this out…

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. (James 3:17-18 CSB)

The wisdom that is described here is profoundly simple, deep, thorough, and heaven-sent. I can’t find this wisdom apart from the Lord Himself. He is the Source of Godly Wisdom. There is a wisdom of this world that is self-centered, self-promoting, arrogant and prideful. It is destructive instead of constructive. I want the Lord’s wisdom so that my “radar” can detect worldly wisdom. James says in chapter 1 that the Lord gives wisdom freely. Check this out…

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 CSB)

This peace-loving, gentle, compliant (reasonable), full of mercies – it is real not fake. I love that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who are wise enough to cultivate peace. Wisdom speaks with purity and peace. Wisdom is open to inspection and a thorough “vetting process”. The more you drill down into wisdom, the more insightful it becomes.  The Lord has given me incredible insight and wisdom in my marriage relationship, my parenting role, my friendship, my colleagues, my customers, clients and even strangers. God’s wisdom is timeless and beyond description, but He gives it in parcels that I can manage and handle. I believe He disperses it in my journey in His Word, in worship and in prayer – among other ways. I would love to be known as wise and understanding and a cultivator of peace – If I’m known for that, then I’ll know that He broke through this earthly vessel known as Dwayne.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Prayer For City Station

Man praying with the BibleI am blessed to be part of Southern Hills Christian Church. Our church is in the process of building City Station (www.citystation.org) in Carrollton, GA. Our church is made up of millionaires, the poorest people, ex-convicts, attorneys, doctors, truck drivers, REALTORS, factory works – you name the demographic and we have them. We have white, black people, Hispanic among others. Our church has people from all sorts of spiritual backgrounds as well. We are quite a mix of our culture in general, which is what I think church should look like. Our community is made up of many different cultures and that is reflected in our church. (A 5 minute video about City Station)

The foundation of the building is being installed now. The building is set to open in May 2018. City Station will feature a gymnasium that will serve as our gathering room for worship on the weekend. It will also feature a restaurant (not sure what type of food yet) that will offer healthy food options. We will also have a pre-school during the week and the rooms will double as rooms for our children’s ministry during the weekend services. City Station features covenant student housing for University of West Georgia students (60 students). Our fitness center will feature a great work-out facility complete with fitness classes and training. We offer Biblical Counseling (aka Soul Care) and there will be meeting rooms available for that ministry. Our staff offices will be there as well. There will be lots of common space to meet and connect with others. Southern Hills Christian Church will be the church who meets at City Station.

I came across this prayer of Paul for the church at Thessalonica and it is my prayer for our church. Check this out…

12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you. 13 May he make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. Amen. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 CSB)

I think this is an excellent prayer to pray on behalf of every church that introduces people to Jesus. I believe that church should be a place where misfits and idiots can meet Jesus and change the course of their lives. Before I met Him, I was on a crash course for hell. Because of what He did, I now have confidence of my eternal home in heaven. The gospel is simple – make Jesus Lord of my heart and He changes everything else. It may be simple, but it’s not necessarily easy to live out.

As you read this short blog – I pray that you might get interested in knowing Jesus and surrendering your heart to His way and His will for you. It’s a journey NOT a destination. There are many church who are biblically sound in teaching – find one and connect. The church is not meant to be a club of Christians, rather it’s to be a lab where we honestly live out our faith, helping one another along.

www.sohillscc.com

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Lift Up Your Hands

Worship to GodI remember the first time I saw someone raise their hands in worship. I was a bit freaked out by that. After I moved past the sarcastic thoughts about them having a question or thinking that they were drawing attention to themselves – I then ignored them.  I can remember where I was when I heard a worship leader challenge us to lift our hands to our Heavenly Dad like a toddler asking to be picked up by his parent. I began to grow a little bit in my understanding about posture in worship and physical presence as well as spiritual presence. I grew up in a church where the lifting of hands never happened. You might even have been asked to leave if you did that. As a student minister, I went to a lot of youth conferences and the kids were not bothered by feeling weird by lifting their hands in worship. The music was incredibly moving for me in my heart. It took a few years of my journey to get comfortable in raising my hands in worship. Now I see the Lord as my Heavenly Dad and I love honoring Him and submitting to Him with my hands held high and open before Him.  I’m not sure if this is what the Psalmist meant when he spoke of lifting hands, but I enjoy the freedom that comes when I surrender my heart before the Lord in worship. Check this out…

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
    who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
    and praise the Lord.

May the Lord bless you from Zion,
    he who is the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 134:1-3 NIV)

I do believe my outward posture should reflect my heart posture. I don’t think I should lift my hands just because others are. I realize that I get a little animated when I go to a baseball game or a college basketball – I cheer for people I don’t even know because I’ve chosen to root for them. I cheer at concerts because the music moves me. I have come to a place in my journey with the Lord where He moves my heart in all sorts of ways. My God loves me and He loves it when I lay down my pride and come before Him in worship. There are songs that make me want to sing loud. There are other songs that I feel prompted to bow down. There are other songs where I want to empty my soul before Him in surrender. When I sing “Here’s My Heart Lord”, I lift my hands in surrender and worship. I am not trying to draw attention to me, I simply get lost in His Presence and I try to focus only on Him and not others around me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Creative

creativeI used to think that I wasn’t creative. Don’t mishear that comment as I’m not super creative, but I can come up with ideas or suggestions that might work in each situation. I also have an opinion on most everything, but I try hard not to share without invitation. I love to be around creative people, they are fun and crazy. They seem so full of life. Creative people see how things could be not necessarily how they are. They seem to have different views of boundaries too.

This morning I read a Psalm that speaks to the creative nature of God. These few verses really blew me away as I thought about all the God has done on this earth to sustain life here. Check this out…

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
    and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey
    and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
    they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go out to their work,
    to their labor until evening.

24 How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord. (Psalm 104:19-24; 31-34 NIV)

As I think about the science, chemistry and math involved in God’s creation – my mind is blown. I love how He created. I love what He created. I love how He sustains and maintains His creation. I am humbled to know Him. I am humbled that He created me. I humbled that He loves it when I talk or sing to Him. God’s creative nature is everywhere in everything. There is nothing that I have or know about that doesn’t trace back to His creation. I want to continue to pursue His heart with my everyday activities and bring honor to Him with all of me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Music Then & Now

 

169 Vk0gMDA1XzIwMTIgLSAwMTAuanBnI think music has been a part of my life since I was very young. I remember bringing my grandmother out to our house with her guitar. Our neighbor up the road played the fiddle. I was just learning to play and we sat in the living room and played Appalachian music until late in the evening. I believe music moves the heart and soul of a person like no other medium. It evokes passion, memory and all sorts of emotion. I can remember the season of my life when I hear a certain song from the 70’s or 80’s! Certain music used to reveal a person’s age, but it’s cool that young people today are rediscovering music from years ago.

Church music has changed a lot in the past 30 years for sure. I remember singing from an old red hymnal and my heart was moved. Fast forward today and I hear a song like “You Are Worthy” that was just recently written and performed and it moves my soul now more than singing that same hymn again today. There are exceptions though – I love the remakes of the old hymns. I remember moved to near tears as Karrie Underwood and Vince Gill played “How Great Thou Art”. I believe music can move my heart toward God or away from Him. I need to be very aware of the songs I sing.  Check this out…

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:4-9 NIV)

The creation of God makes beautiful music to His ears. He loves it when my life makes music to Him. I believe the Lord is fair and equitable in all His actions. He has made the brokenness of my life into a beautiful mosaic that brings honor to Him. He is beyond describing or possibly giving proper thanks too. I want the activity of my life to bring honor to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Worship

God's mercy at the CrossI believe that worship is all around me. People worship fame. People worship fortune. People worship success. People worship other gods besides the Lord God. I also believe that this grieves His heart. He has made a way for us to get to him, yet we ignore his overtures and His pursuit of our hearts. “Worship is the activity of the human soul.” (Louie Giglio) I believe that everyone worships someone or something. I believe if you spent the day with me, you could figure out if I really worship God or not.

I believe worship is defined more by my walk than my words. I can talk a lot – “talk is cheap”, but to live out what I believe looks like worship.  Worship is much more than a song or Psalm, it is deep desire of my soul that is hidden from view of everyone but the Lord. Check this out…

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care. (Psalm 95:1-7a NIV)

Our worship of self gets us into a big huge mess. Our worship of self leads us far away from the God Who made us. The Lord loves it when I put Him first. My Pastor said last week, “we worship our way into sin and we worship our way out of sin”.  We worship self which leads into sin and we worship the King of Kings to get out of sin. I believe if I come before the Lord with a grateful heart that He draws me close to Himself. This position doesn’t keep me from sin, but it certainly keeps me further away than normal. I want to worship the Lord God, Creator of the world and the One Who saved my soul. I want to keep everything else and everyone else in their proper place and that include myself.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Here I Am To Worship by Tim Hughes