New Beginnings

A lot of emotions tonight as we prepare to leave in the morning to take our youngest son, Ryan, down to IMPACT 360. His 19th birthday is in 9 days so seems kind of fitting that he is about to begin a new chapter in his life.

Doesn’t seem possible that this time tomorrow night when Lisa and I return home, well, only the dogs will be waiting our arrival. Don’t get me wrong, Lisa and I are excited, as we too, begin a new chapter in our marriage but for almost all of our 24 years together, we are accustomed to having lots of noise in and around our house!!  From one bedroom apartments to town-homes and rental houses to homes of our own, we have always had activity in our home. I know we are not the first parents to have to deal with an empty nest but it is the first time we have had to adjust to a new home. Is it possible to restart a honeymoon? I think so, and look forward to diligently trying my best to do so!!

Kym and Andrea are both in the their last year at Georgia Southern and both are doing awesome. Meanwhile, Kyle, doing incredible himself, is now a Junior at Auburn University. Does God exist? How else can you explain 4 kids in college with this economy? As I am writing this, I am listening to oldies on Spotify while watching GT vs VT football game. And thinking back on all the Dorsey dance parties, air concerts, charades, and board game nights we have had over the years. As I think back there are 2 constants that were a part of each of those events – laughter and love. I know it’s cheesy to say but I truly am thankful for both! And I have to say there is one other fabric that is woven in to the Dorsey lives and that is music! We truly love all types of music.

I always get nostalgic and enjoy looking back on the memories that we have enjoyed but I never wish to go back. Life is always in front of us, never behind. A new chapter begins tomorrow for one Benjamin Ryan Chester Dorsey, one that only he can write and I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds. But in the meantime, Lisa and I also have new chapters to write and like with Ryan and the other kids, I can’t wait to see how our story unfolds!!

Peace and thanks for reading!!

To Persevere

There was a day that, athletically, I would put myself up against anybody and feel like I could hold my own – no matter the sport. I was gifted in all sports – baseball, basketball, football, ping-pong, even bowling. Back then, that was all life was to me. And although talented, I realized early that I was not, however, the best player in any of the sports I participated in..there was always someone just a little better but I knew that I could outwork everybody. So, depending on the season, I would spend hour after hour, day after day, preparing myself to be the best I could be.

I don’t know why but whatever the reason, I developed the habit of watching film of those who I thought were the best in their sport. In baseball, it was Johnny Bench, and in football, it was Tony Dorsett and Walter Payton. Additionally, I would read anything I could find about them and try to emulate them as much as I could.

Our Christian walk should be no different. We know the game and we know that the trials, tribulations, and troubles are going to come. What exactly we might face, we don’t necessarily know but we know that there will be obstacles each of us will have to endure. We are called to prepare ourselves for the struggles that lie ahead, so that we will be able to have the strength and endurance to overcome anything that may cause us to falter.

Although we may not have game-film to review, we do have a great training manual at our disposal to help us in being prepared along with the “perfect” coach to help us stay on track. And we have many lives that we can look back on to see “how they did it”; including the “Best” ever. And hopefully, we have each other? Hebrews 12:1-31 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 [a]fixing our eyes on Jesus, the [b]author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary [c]and lose heart.

Understand this, Jesus knows and understands that living in this world is not easy for us. It was not easy for Him, but because He loved us even when we were in direct opposition to Him, He was willing to endure all this world could throw at him, including dying on the cross so that through Him, we could be reconciled, restoring our relationship with God.

So yes, as followers (believers) of Christ, we are called to persevere, to stand strong and endure all that this life may throw our way – and through Christ, this can be achieved. So as you go from day to day I pray that you would be encouraged, as I am sure Timothy was when he read the following from Paul. In 2 Timothy 4:5-8, Paul writes: 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

A Study of Joseph – It’s Always God’s Timing

Today we wrap up my study of Joseph. For the two of you that read my posts, thank you and I hope you have enjoyed the study. As I was rereading the last couple of chapters in Genesis this morning, I was once again reminded how – 1) Everything happens for a reason and 2) everything happens in God’s timing – no sooner and no later! Obviously, there are so many lessons to be gleaned from looking at Joseph’s life but for me, these 2 I have mentioned, stand out to me the most.

I think Joseph not only knew this but understood it as he was able to endure thirteen years of being enslaved or imprisoned. How easy it would have been for Joseph to give into life’s circumstances and just give up! Joseph knew that his God could see him through anything and understood that it was up to himself to remain faithful to that truth. Each of us have had and will continue to have obstacles along our journey and with each, there comes decisions in regards to how we will respond? Will we be self-reliant and think “I got this!”? Or maybe ignore it altogether? shrink in our own self-despair with a woe is me attitude?

My prayer is that we will follow Joseph’s lead and seek to serve and please God no matter our circumstance!! That is, after all, our purpose of being here isn’t it? And yes, I know there is more to it than that but that is a fundamental call that all Christ followers have, is it not? Joseph may not have understood why all these seemingly bad things kept happening to him but he did not let his circumstances DEFINE who he was! No, just the opposite, we see that time and time again he was able to distinguish himself away from the others, as he excelled in everything he did. He was defined by what he demonstrated.

Joseph would later be able to look back on his life and see EXACTLY why the trials, tribulations and triumphs he experienced happened! The other thing Joseph came to understand, at least, in some manner, was the timing of all these different events. In short, Joseph, came to fully understand that God had chosen him to play a certain role, at a certain time, to fulfill God’s purpose!! And that is our challenge today. To first understand that God created and placed us here to play a role – serve a purpose. Second, we need to understand all things happen in God’s “perfect” timing, not ours! And as it goes, God’s purpose and plan will be fulfilled!

We may not get the answer as to why us? or why now? or ever fully understand the purpose for why things happen. Regardless of what happens or where we find ourselves, we, as followers of Christ, are called to LOVE and SERVE others!

Romans 8:28-29 – 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified;those he justified, he also glorified.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

A Study of Joseph – Dreams, dreams everywhere dreams

In Chapter 40 of Genesis from last week we read about the Cupbearer and Baker from the King’s court being thrown into the same jail as Joseph. And while they were there, they both had dreams on the same night which Joseph was able to interpret for them the next day. For the cupbearer, he learned that he would be restored to his position in the King’s court while the Baker learned that his life would soon be ending.

What amazes me about this passage is that after Joseph interpret’s the Cupbearer’s dream, he makes one simple request – Genesis 40:14 – 14But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. And yet, somehow, incredibly we read the cupbearer does not remember Joseph’s request, for in verse 23 we read – The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. Maybe he didn’t want to say anything to Pharaoh to rock the boat or possibly the right moment never presented itself but regardless the reason, HE FORGOT HIM. The real reason for this is simple – it wasn’t yet Joseph’s time.

For whatever reason and known only to God, Joseph would have to endure two more years of being in prison before being released. But oh what a release it would be as we see Joseph go from being in prison as the day begins to assuming all control of Egypt and everything in it short of Pharaoh and his throne!! Just let that sink in for a minute. From the depths of despair and imprisonment to not only freedom but control of an entire nation! I wonder at what point in the proceedings of the day did Joseph think back to his own dream that he had 13 years earlier!

If you haven’t before I would encourage you to read Genesis 41: 1-40 now and see for yourself how incredible Joseph’s deliverance truly was. The short story is that after 2 years had passed from the time the cup bearer was restored to his position in the King’s court. Pharaoh had a dream that when he woke from it, he was sorely troubled and sent for all the wise men and magicians of Egypt to help him understand what his dreams meant but none of them could do so.

Now it was Joseph’s time to come forward. For some reason, the cup bearer’s memory was suddenly restored and relayed all that had happened to him two years earlier to Pharaoh. Obviously, Pharaoh sent for Joseph right away. Pharaoh told Joseph his 2 dreams, both of which, meant the same thing: Egypt would soon experience 7 years of great abundance for their crops but then, however, 7 years of famine would follow. What I find interesting as the story continues to unfold and take great encouragement from is how God first blesses Joseph with the ability of interpreting Pharaoh’s dream and then follows that by giving Joseph a detailed plan of how the famine can be avoided, which he relays to Pharaoh.

As we read the following passage, notice how Joseph shows humility to Pharaoh as he presents the plan. Genesis 41:33-36 – 33 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” 

Joseph did not say to Pharaoh, “I got this and if you listen to me, I can take care of everything! Joseph understood his position and presented his plan from a servant’s heart. With two simple words – Let Pharaoh, he demonstrated great humility and showed respect for who Pharaoh was, which, was King of Egypt. And to back track a second, Joseph led into this passage by reminding Pharaoh that the dream was given to him by God and the reason he received it in two forms was so that he would understand that “this was going to happen”.

As we end this post, let’s look at verse 38 a little more closely. In verse 37 we read that Pharaoh and all his officials thought the plan Joseph presented was good and in Genesis 41:38  – So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God[a]Notice the qualifier that Pharaoh puts on the end of his question. Pharaoh recognizes that what separates Joseph from everyone else is that the spirit of God is within him! And because of this Pharaoh decides on the spot that Joseph is the man to guide Egypt forward to the days ahead and puts Joseph in charge of ALL EGYPT, short of the throne it’s self.

Joseph’s deliverance was thirteen years in the making and yet, during all that time he remained faithful to God! He served others with diligence no matter his circumstance and God was with him through it all. The one constant we have seen in the life of Joseph through all of this is that all who knew Joseph recognized that God was with him. What about us today? The same God that was with Joseph desires to be with us today! The “spirit” is available to us today through the One, who was the ultimate servant, Jesus, who paid the price for our sins and died on the cross for us!

Peace and thanks for reading.

Knowing God – we begin

Chapter 1 – The Study of God

Why bother with the study of God? As C.H. Spurgeon outlined in his opening remarks of a particular sermon, there is no subject of contemplation that will humble the mind, more than thoughts of God. And while that is true, I also agree with his assessment that nothing will expand the mind more than thoughts of God. Spurgeon also said “I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.” He was 20 when he presented this to his congregation.

Who needs theology you ask? Surely lay people don’t need to enter into this exercise. This should be more for those in ministry. For the sake of argument, I will agree with you…..but, aren’t we all called to the ministry? A more practical answer possibly is this – why would you not want to study about the God whose world it is and from whom you were created? We are being cruel to ourselves if we attempt to live this life without knowing about God.

How do we start this endeavor? We start from where we are of course. Chances are pretty good, by doing so, we begin this journey in some type of storm going on in our lives. Just the mention of God today in our society will cause strife for believers, so we are apprehensive in even beginning the process. Do not be discouraged. Begin the journey. We can do it together.  Let’s start by plotting a course.

Packer outlines 5 basic truths, foundational principles of the knowledge of God which Christians have. These will direct our course. They are:

  1. God has spoken to man, and the Bible is his Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.
  2. God is Lord and King over his world; he rules all things for his own glory, displaying his perfections in all that he does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore him.
  3. God is Savior, active in sovereign love through the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as his children and to bless them accordingly.
  4. God is triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it and the Spirit applying it.
  5. Godliness means responding to God;s revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word. This, and nothing else, is true religion.
With these general and basic truths we will examine in detail what the Bible shows us of the nature and character of the God of whom we are speaking. Next, Packer wants us to consider the themes in which we will explore during our study.
First we have to deal with the Godhead of God. The qualities of deity which set God apart from humans. Some of these qualities are: his self-existence, his infinity, his eternity, his unchangeableness. 2nd, we need to look at the powers of God: his almightiness, his omniscience, his omnipresence. Next is the perfections of God which include his moral character which are manifested in his words and deeds, his holiness, his love and mercy, his truthfulness, his faithfulness, his goodness, his patience, his justice. And finally we will need to look at what pleases him, what offends him, what awakens his wrath, what affords him satisfaction and joy.
There was time when these basic principles and themes were common place within the church but not so true today. How would you answer the following question – What is God? honestly, it took me a couple of minutes before I was able to start answering this question. The answer given in the book is this: “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”
My thought is that this a pretty good start for our journey through Knowing God. I hesitate to tell you that this doesn’t even get us through the first chapter. Take some time as I did and reread through the 5 basic truths along with the themes outlined. I was overwhelmed at the amount of time, content and truths that were unveiled to me just going through these 2 things. I am several chapters ahead now and taking time with this really helped me prepare for the chapters ahead.
I would love to hear any feedback you may have. Suggestions for presenting the material. Or questions you may have, please feel free to let  me know.
Peace and thanks for reading!!

Peace

I have been captivated by a single word over this past week. Peace. What is Peace? Yea, I know that peace is basically the absence of conflict. Much like darkness is the absence of light. But is it really – with light, you either have it or it’s dark. If you have no conflict does that mean you have peace?

It struck me last week as I was saying goodbye to someone I ended with Peace. As I got in my car and drove away, I was thinking Peace, what does that even mean. Christians, we seem to throw that word around a lot. I haven’t looked but I have probably signed off on all of my posts to this blog with Peace. So, am I hoping that you all have no conflict? Yea, I mean, I wouldn’t wish conflict on anybody…well, maybe that one guy…sorry, I digress. But seriously, when someone says to you – “peace”; what do you think when you hear that?

Ok, so instead of boring you with my research on this, here is what I have concluded. As I look at my life in it’s current state in reference to things that could possibly cause me conflict, I realize that generally, I have pretty good peace in my life right now. I have peace within my marriage, my kids, my job, extended family, friends, etc. I am, however, in constant conflict with my finances! And even though there is general peace, there is still some troubles from time to time in at least one or a couple of those areas as I go day to day.

And general peace is ok, but seriously, not since the Garden of Eden has there been true peace on earth. Right?

But that is not a true statement. Our Father, who was in the Garden, makes His peace available to all of us, even today. Through His son, Jesus, we can know a TRUE PEACE! John 14:27 – Peace, I leave with you; My Peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

I think we tend to forget that we have this Peace available to us 24/7. Trials and tribulations will come and go but the Peace of Jesus will carry on, always! And He, Jesus, left His peace with us. What a great verse!!

For me now, that means if I am troubled, then my focus is not where it should be! My prayer today is that in all trials, and conflicts that may arise in my life, that I would seek His will, and let His grace and peace overflow me!

Thanks for reading! And Peace be to you!

Doing Church

I had the opportunity to sit in on a Bible study tonight and listen to an old lesson that I have heard several times before. But tonight was really cool. Although an old lesson, I found it to be both exciting and new. I’ve thought about why this was so new and fresh. And the short answer was my expectation level, meaning that as the lesson started I found myself relaxing and looking forward to what was about to be taught. I didn’t know what the lesson would be on but I had an expectation that I was going to learn something new and allowed myself to be open to listen with new ears.

The lesson was from Acts, chapter 3 – the story of Peter and John stopping outside of the gate called beautiful to listen to a crippled beggar. As I said, I have heard this story several times before but tonight, I guess, was the first time I have really listened to the lessons contained in this short story.

First, Peter and John were on their way to “do” church. They were on their way to take part in prayer at the temple when they encounter the beggar, who has been crippled since birth. Everyday, this beggar has been in this spot, asking everyone who entered the temple courts for money. Peter and John’s response at this intrusion? First of all, they stopped. Secondly they acknowledged him. Peter responds with “Look at us”. It would be easy to imagine the way he might have said this: a smartalec tone perhaps or maybe with an air of contempt possibly. The reason I say it would be easy is that I would probably be given to respond like this on more occassions than not.

For Peter, I think the answer is in his next statement Acts 3: 6 – Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” . I think he answered humbly knowing that physically, he had nothing to offer this man but spiritually he had life to offer. And his faith was so strong in Jesus, that he had no hesitation in doing so. He didn’t need time to huddle with John and pray about whether or not Jesus would want this beggar to be healed. He didn’t conduct a survey to see if the guy was worth all the trouble. He just did what we are all called to do – he did Church. He was the hands and feet of Christ to someone who couldn’t use his own.

Please read Acts 3 and see how it speaks to you. For me, my prayer is to be more like Peter and just start doing Church.

Peace!

Pursuit of Excellence – Step 1

Ok, so for the last week or so, I have been on this kick or whatever you want to call it, about the idea of pursuing excellence. What does that really mean? What does it look like? Is it really achievable? so on and so on. I have also been thinking about some way to collabratively have an on-line study group or discussion. So I thought I would try these 2 endeavors together and just see how it goes. Obviously everybody is posting these days and usually there are at least a couple of comments made on the good blog posts.

I thought we would just start with the first question I posed above – What does pursuing excellence mean? In regards to athletics, I think it’s easy to identify excellence in the athletes as they perform. No one questions whether or not Michael Jordan was an excellent player. It was evident when you watched him play. And he pursued making himself better every year! Michael was driven by one thing – he wanted to be best player to have ever played the game. Tiger Woods, earlier in his career was driven by the same thing – he wanted to be the best who ever played the game.

What about us regular Joe’s? What are we pursuing to be excellent in? Are we pursuing excellence in anything?

The definition of pursuit is:
1. to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill or defeat
2. to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish.

Let’s take number 2 for the purposes of our discussion. Let’s reframe the questions with 2 different questions.

1. What things in your life are you looking to obtain or accomplish?
2. What measures are you using to help you obtain or accomplish?

Take some time and consider these opening questions. And I would love to see any thoughts/comments you guys have on this opening step.

Peace, and thanks for reading!

Looking Foolish

Thinking about how we are called to make a difference in the world I wondered why I wasn’t doing more. Then this morning while studying I realized one of the reasons I am not looking to do more is this – I am afraid of Looking Foolish.

I don’t think any of us want to look foolish in anything we do and as a result we develop this attitude of safety. We only do those things which we know we will be successful in attempting. Taking risks is not part of who we are, sure we think about taking risks but all too often we talk ourselves out of it. What happens if we fail, will people make fun of us? We will lose our standing with our friends, acquantices? Will we look foolish?

This morning I have decided I want to be more like Zacchaues. You remember him don’t you? the tax collector who, at the risk of looking foolish, wanted to see Jesus so badly he decided that he would climb into a Sycamore tree to hopefully catch a glimpse of Him as he passed by.

First, understand we are talking about a man, not a child, who climbed up a tree. I can’t remember the last time I climbed up a tree. Second, his profession was a chief tax collector and finally he was also rich. He was risking looking foolish and possibly total embarrassment if he fell out of the tree.

If I am Zacchaues, I probably would have rationalized myself right out of a life changing event. Well, at least I was close to seeing him. Maybe I will see him another time. I can’t climb that tree, what will the others think. That’s all I need, to get up in that tree and fall out. What a mess that would be – I wouldn’t be able to show my face around here for awhile.

Zacchaeus didn’t wait – he saw an opportunity and took it. And don’t miss this – “when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, because today I must stay at your house.”

Jesus saw Zacchaeus and He will see us as well – anytime that we take risk for His sake. So that’s why today I want to be more like Zacchaeus and be willing to take a risk for Christ – even if I look foolish doing so!