Why Legacy?

We only have One Life - One Legacy that we can leave behind. We will live one life and by our actions provide the written material for our legacy. However, it will truly be written and interpreted by others after we have left this world.

So I ask myself, and I ask you, what is the legacy which you desire to leave behind?What did you write today in the chapter entitled "today"? Did you advance toward your desired legacy, or did you retreat? What you will become is who you were today.

As I write this blog I will be simultaneously challenging myself, and I trust challenging my readers to leave a legacy that matters. One that challenges and changes those you encounter daily and on your journey in life. You have One Life - One Legacy - make it count!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Miracle is in Your Hand

I am very excited about this post which is from the message I  preached last Sunday based on John 6:1-15.   The question that tugs deep within me is this, "Do you believe in miracles?"  Let me ask you,  "Do you believe God still interrupts the natural with the supernatural?"  Jump in with me to John 6 and discover anew the God of Miracles.

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberius.  And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.  Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.  John 6:1-4

Crowds were following Jesus by now.  They saw him heal and they wanted more.  Jesus went up in the mountains. Those of us from Colorado understand the joy of this moment.  On the mountain is where you get the big picture!  In the mountains is a place to clear your head,  refresh and renew your heart. On the mountain Jesus was about to throw down a teaching that would be talked about for 2000 years and counting.

Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him….  John 6:5a
* When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  Matt. 14:14

   Look what happens first, don't miss it, look back at the verse and reread it.  Jesus saw the large crowd.  Matthew expands on the John teaching, this is the only miracle talked about in the four gospels, Jesus saw their needs and met them.   Often times we look at people, but do we really see them? 

The motivation was simple, yet compelling. Jesus had compassion for the crowds and their needs. Compassion begins in the heart.   You see "The Miracle" must begin in your heart.  We must see those around us, really see!  We cannot simple look, we must see the need!  Our corresponding prayer must be, "Lord break my heart with the things that break your heart!"

When you see like Jesus, compassion will flood your heart! 

Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?"  He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.  John 6:5b,6

The test is quite simple, Jesus is asking you what will you do once you see the need.  So let me ask you, "what will you do?"

Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little."  John 6:7

The answer may not be quite what you think.  The first thing to do is to admit, "Lord, I don't have enough, I can not do this alone."  In doing so, you really are in much better position.  Your miracle has now gone from your heart cry - "Lord we need to take care of this need" to the head, "Lord, I can not do it - I need you!"

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,  "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?"  John 6:8,9

God's miracle came through a very unexpected resource.  Seriously, what would you have done?  Calculate the need, raise the funds, call in a few Big Macs?   Not God, he chose a little boy. 

God was not caught by surprise.  Jesus was not in a panic.  We need to realize God was at work setting up this miracle ahead of time.   God knew that the crowd would be following his son.   God could of sent the manna again.... (notice the similarities between this and Moses.)  

But God chose a small boy to bring a little lunch.  A few bread wafers and a few sardine-like fish.  Hardly enough to feed 5000 men.   I know when we have 5 of my son's friends over I hardly have enough to feed their teenage bellies much less 5000 men plus women and children... 10,000 people.... are you kidding me.... but God was at work!

The miracle was in the boys hand!  God had worked, the boy was available and ready.  When Jesus asked the boy, he surrendered what was in his hand to Jesus.  The same is true of you today.  "The Miracle is in Your Hand!"   It may be a hammer, it may be cooking or sewing skills, it may be the ability to write, it may be computer tech, it may be communication, marketing, it may be the gift of mercy or of service, it may be financial.  "It" is however God has uniquely equipped you.  

"The Miracle is in Your Hand."   So, what is in your hand?

Somewhere there’s a boy, a girl, a man, a woman who will shake up  this world.  He’s been sitting idly by, but God has been getting him ready.   Somewhere this morning is someone God has been preparing to do great things.  Somewhere this morning is a man or woman who God has been stirring and saying I’ve already planted a miracle in your hand…. Are you ready?… Are you willing?

If you have asked the Lord to break your heart then ask him to reveal what is in your hand.  

What is in your hand is not enough.  That's true... that's key.   But you must start!   

Start with what you have and surrender it to God.  Honestly, I love to see where I'm going, what is my destination. But God often doesn't show us the end, he just says "start"!  It was true for Abraham. 

Abraham had a promise but he did not know where he was headed.  You may not either, but START!   

Start with the compassion that breaks your heart.  Start with admitting you can't.  Start with surrendering whatever is in your hand.  Start NOW!

What you have may seem insignificant, but it's not about us, it's about Jesus and what he will do with what you give to Him.

Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.  Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated.  So also the fish, as much as they wanted.  John 6:10,11

Transferred to Transformed:   Jesus took the transferred fish and loaves and transformed them into a miracle.   You see what you have in your hands when transferred to Jesus becomes the miracle of transformation.   This is where it gets really exciting.  You couldn't do it by yourself!   But now in a transfer to transform partnership with Jesus what you have in your hand is multiplied and the overwhelming need is met. 

Note, "The Miracle is in Your Hand"

And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.   John 6:12,13

Ever feel unnoticed?   I doubt very much the boy thought he would be noticed that morning when his mom said, "Son, you are not leaving this house without your lunch bag."  Seems insignificant, right?

The boy might have been even a bit ashamed.  Can you hear his response, "Oh shucks mom, no one else is bringing anything.   Do I have to?  I will feel like a dork!"  

Yet that seemingly insignificant, unnoticed boy, becomes the one God uses to feed thousands.   And by the way, the only story retold throughout all 4 gospels!!  Why?  I imagine the disciples sat around a campfire and said which one was your favorite?  They all loved this one.  They all identified with this one.   They didn't have enough to change their world.  They were seemingly insignificant compared to the call to go into the whole world. 

I surely can relate.  There are times when I feel unnoticed & especially insignificant.   But like the disciples, this story encourages me.  It's not about what I have, it's about giving what's in my hand.  It's not about if I can, it's about knowing God can.  It is about joining God in his big picture to reach humanity with His love!  

Your little becomes His miracle.  What a grand thought.  What a release to feel others pain, to have your heart break, to pray, to move, to do, to surrender and to watch.  It's His miracle -  it's in your hand.

Surrender! You get to team up with Jesus.

When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!"  Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.  John 6:1-15
One final thought.  The miracle will always draw people to Jesus, not to you.  It is God's faithfulness we celebrate and when God gets the glory.... he's found a faithful person to funnel more miracles through, so be ready.... "The Miracle is in Your Hand"!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Let's be honest.  It is easier to start than to finish.  It is easier to begin by caring and stop short when the emotion and physical strength begin to fail.  Let me encourage you with a quick word today, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."   Galations 6:9

There are many of you who have done hard time in ministry.  It may be in the local church, it may be in a independent ministry, it may be in an international ministry.  The one thing you all have in common is your desire to help, to serve, to love others.  Sometimes you have served with out many resources, help, or thanks.  Well done - but it's not over! 

Read the verse again, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest..... if..... we do not give up."  

"If" - I am not to sure I like that word anyway!  But here is the main thing - you have been doing good, awesome, - you will reap,  fantastic,  -  "IF" you don't quit, "IF" you don't stop, "IF" you don't give up, "IF" you finish the last lap. 




Tired?   Go get a nap but finish!!

Worn out?  Take time off to refresh - but finish!

Out of ideas?   Go hear from the Lord, go to a conference - but finish!

Want to quit?  Of course you do.... but don't, finish!  

Here's a toast to finishing and a great harvest!  dw

Monday, January 3, 2011

Uganda - we are off!!

Uganda here we come.  I want to journal this missions trip to give you an idea of what is involved and the various activities and feelings as we go.  We sit now - with the call coming to board the plane - so I am writing quickly to let you know here we go. 

The team - made up of 13 of us... 8 from The River Church, Emma, Graham, Joshua, Sarah, Tiffany, Dwight, Patrick and Shawn, a mother - daughter team from Ill. - Ellen and Sarah, young lady from Ill. - Amber,  young mom from California - Allison and a young single lady from Wisc. - Abby 

Our trip to Uganda is a marathon trip... 5 hour drive to ABQ. overnight, flight to Houston, flight to Dubai - 14 to 15 hours, overnight, and then the last flight to Uganda.  Wow, it's a loooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time to get to Uganda this way.. but so worth it.

I want the team to experience God in ways they have never done before. I want their hearts to be broken when they see the overwhelming mass of humanity in need.  I want to see God, change them as he has changed me.  We know we can not change the whole world but we can change one life, then another and another. 

We go with anticipation.  We know the risks, yet we also know God's call.  So we go with expectancy, we go with passion, we go fully relying on God!

Bless you all, I will keep you updated on this my jumbled - uncut journal.  If you can track with me on this, or even if you can not, you will have more compassion for Linny as she tries to keep up with my spider web way of thinking!!!!  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I want to be like you, Dad!

Probably one of the greatest compliments our children can pay us men is when they announce, “I want to be like you, Dad!” Wow, our hearts swell with pride and almost burst with joy as we take in this outstanding compliment.

We know as Dads that we are not worthy of the compliment but it still feels really good – right? So enjoy it! Pack it in, tuck it away, live worthy of the compliment!

But what about a Dad who is really worthy? What about a Dad who never fails? What about a Dad who always loves, who always provides, who always protects? What about a Dad who is always there for his children?

Now that Dad deserves the kind of allegiance that proclaims, “I want to be like you, Dad!” Let’s be honest with ourselves men, there is only one Dad who deserves such praise and honor. He is God, our Heavenly Father. Now this Dad we will follow.

When we declare him to be Lord, we pledge an allegiance that makes up truly disciples. We are in effect saying, “I want to be like you, Dad! Whatever you do, I want to do too!”

So what does that mean, to “be like Dad” when we apply the concept to the orphan? Psalm 68:5 informs us that God is a, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.”

God has in effect said, “don’t mess with my kids – these are my boys and my girls. You mess with them – you mess with me. I will take care of these children because they are mine.”

Follow me please in a bit of simple logic. If God is a “Father to the Fatherless”, and if I want to be like my Dad, Father God, then I am also to be a ________________________. Yep, you did it! A “Father to the fatherless” is the correct answer.

You see if we truly want to be a disciple – a follower of Christ, and Christ did all He saw His Father doing, then we are to be Dad to those without Dad’s. They become our kids as well and we become the hands and feet of God.

Ouch! I didn’t say this was going to be an easy post! My hope is it stops us in our tracks of denial of responsibility.

What is your Heavenly Father asking of you?

If you have never done so will you do something for a Fatherless child? Could you financially support those intending to adopt? Will you pray? Can you make room for one more child? One more child who needs a Dad….will you be a Father to one more Fatherless child? Go ahead announce to the world, “I want to be just like you, Dad!” Go ahead, make your Dad proud!

Semper Fi men,


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Calling All Men - It's Time for War

I want to put a call out to men everywhere.
A call to respond! A call to step up! A call to action!
A call to war!
Where are we anyway? Where have we been? What have we been doing?
Why are we standing on the sidelines watching the game when we know that we are created to be fierce competitors?
Where have we been when it comes to the orphan? Take a look at most of the blogs, most of the non-profits, most of the strategies, most of those leading the battle on behalf of the orphan. You will discover woman after woman with a passion for these forgotten children.
This is a war for the health and soul of the orphan!
Yet where are the men? This the first war in the history of the world where the men are standing on the sidelines cheering… “you go girl… if that’s what you feel…. you go!” We’ve become cheerleaders on the sidelines instead of warriors in the battle.

There are exceptions, of course, but for the vast majority of men – we have remained mostly behind the scenes.
But when my perspective changes, I change. A woman, like Linny, has a mother’s heart that just will not quit. She will do whatever she can from a mother’s heart for these children. It’s just in her nature – the nurturer!
Now men, we aren’t by nature nurturers. We are protectors. We are warriors at heart. We protect those we love without hesitation. If it means laying down our lives we will do so without hesitation.
So here is the perspective change we need regarding the orphan. Men, the battle for the orphan is about providing protection from the enemy’s plans for their lives (starvation, abuse, no love, despair, hopelessness, and alone with no family) and introducing them to Jesus’ plan for their lives (food, clothed, protected, hope, nurtured, relationship with Christ, loved, and a forever family).
We need to be a “Father Warrior” for these children without moms, dads and families. We must become the voice, the protector, and the provider for these children.
Our battle cry must be: “Not On Our Watch!”
Will you pray with me?
Will you obey with me?
Will you be a warrior on the orphan’s behalf with me?
I am in this war for these children. Their lives are at stake, their souls hang in the balance. Men, let’s take off the gloves. The orphans around the world need our help, our protection, our sacrifice.
Ask God what that looks like for you. But in any event – get in the game – take off the cheerleading skirt – put down the pom poms.....

and let’s go to battle for the orphans of the world.
You know God has put something of a fire in your heart for these kids. Let’s link up, let’s do battle, let’s go to war on their behalf! We will win!
Semper Fi Men, Dwight

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm in Awe

Behold The Lamb

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

I'm wondering today. Wondering how much do we, as American Christians, take for granted all that Jesus Christ did for us? Has Jesus become so familiar that we have replaced His majesty with our limited understanding? Have I done the same? How about you?

When we think about people that inspire us, is Jesus part of this conversation? When we talk with our friends about those things we have experienced that create awe within us, do they include Jesus? More likely we talk and share the spectacular scenes we have personally visited and observed. The Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the east coast beaches or the tropics top many people's lists of things that inspired awe. But does Jesus inspire awe in you or does He not even register on your awe radar?

It's not that we don't care.... we really do. But there is so much that preoccupies our lives that Jesus in some ways becomes the familiar, common and taken for granted. When we fail to "behold" we forfeit so much of our personal intimacy with God.

It's time to make a renewed choice to stop and "behold"!

Do you want more?


"Behold the Lamb"!

The word 'behold' has four meanings 1. to wonder 2. to scrutinize, 3. to consider 4. to look intently.

Applying this definition to Jesus, we are to wonder in amazement that Yahweh (God) would send Jesus, Yeshua, (meaning salvation of Yahweh) as a sacrifice for our lives. Wonder at the amazing love that would compel God to take such drastic action to rescue humanity.

Let's scrutinize the word of God to see the "blood of the Lamb" throughout scripture.

Consider the obedience of Jesus and His incredible love for each one of us.

Finally, look intently, once again, at your Lord Jesus Christ.

Take a moment....stop, and "Behold the Lamb"!!!

Behold the Lamb: Who paid the penalty for our sin! In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22

Behold the Lamb: Who takes away our sin! who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

Behold the Lamb: Who erases every bit of our guilt. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Ps. 103:12

Behold the Lamb: Who provides deliverance from any and all darkness. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:13,14

Behold the Lamb: Who overcomes the enemy of your soul! They overcame Him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Rev. 12:11

When I stop and recognize "The Lamb" as "My Lamb" for my sin, I can do no less than "Behold the Lamb"! I gaze in awe and bow my knee in complete humility and wonder at the love Jesus Christ has for me. My heart begins to overflow with JOY as I join with the angels of Revelation:

"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" Rev. 5:12,13

Begin today,

"Behold the Lamb of God"!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What if?

What if you decided not to be comfortable?

What if you decided to do something radical with your life?

What if you determined that mediocrity was no longer an option but that you would live a radical life for Christ?

What if you decided to sell everything and go to the mission field?

What if you concluded that you were to adopt and had to down-size to do so?

What if you practiced extreme evangelism - bringing a child into your home for a life-time?

Would you live with regret? I don't think so!

What if you decided to live safe, live comfortable, never risk anything?

What if you went along with the majority of humanity and lived a selfish life?

What if you stored away a great retirement and never gave a dime away to bless others?

At the end of life: would you have lived a life filled with regret? I think so!

Just sayin.....

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Home Town Hero

(This post was from an editorial I wrote to our hometown paper. Dr. Gram certainly qualifies to be in the "Difference of One" posts. He was living out his faith for other - it cost him his life.)

The Difference of One

"It was not a wasted life." So reads the front page of my hometown paper. Dr. Thomas Grams was a dentist in my home town of Durango, Colorado. He was mercilessly killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan a few weeks ago. Dr. Grams had retired from his practice in Durango to give his life away. He would go to the remotest parts of the world to give dental care to kids who needed it so desperately. Dr. Grams did not play it safe. Dr. Grams risked his life and paid with his life. So... was it a wasted life?

Dr. Grams could have retired in beautiful Durango. It really doesn't get much better than Durango. If he had chosen a different path, perhaps last week he would have gone out to eat with some friends, played a round of golf, went for a hike, played on the river, or went on vacation. But that was not the choice he would make for his life. He chose instead to give his life away. The children of the world had become his friends - he wanted to provide relief for those in pain, to show the children of the world someone cared.

Jesus said, "greater love has no man than this than he lay down his life for his friends." Dr. Grams laid down his life for children who never would be able to repay him. For children who desperately needed him. He paid for his decision with his life.

He is my hometown hero that I never met.

Wasted? No! Invested - yes!

He lived a life worth living. One with value, one with a legacy that will outlive any of us. Maybe it's time to take a deep look inside and see if you are willing to give your life away? People need what you have - give it away to the homeless, the fatherless, the poor.

Durango - is a good town, but we can go from a good town to a great town if we will live like Dr. Grams. A life worth living is life that gives our lives and possessions away for those in need.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Light Wins"

The Scarlet Thread

The Empty Throne: Part 2

(The Scarlet Thread is a message series on the gospel of John. Each week I will post the sermon notes with some interjections. I realize they may be a bit difficult to follow as they are really in an outline form and not a narrative. To really understand the notes I highly recommend you go to iriverchurch.com go to the media button and listen to the message along with reading the notes. In the near future I will be launching a web site to better display theses notes and help the Pastors in Africa in a more user friendly mode.)

“Light Wins”

We all enjoy winners. Many of you will recall who won the last World Series... that's right my team the NY Yankees. But how many remember the team who lost the Super Bowl four times in a row... hint - my team - no one remembers... no one except maybe a Buffalo Bill's fan like me! Winning is something in our DNA that everyone in the world loves to celebrate. Winners are applauded, held in high esteem and emulated and paraded down Main Street USA. Today we have the awesome opportunity to look at the ultimate victor, who has never lost not even once! Now that's a record to celebrate!

The second message in the series on John is called "Light Wins". Yes, "Light Wins" every time!

Let's see what "The Scarlet Thread" has to say about the Triumphant Light.

"In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:4,5

God Idea: Light means - everything you need to know about life is found in Jesus!

(Each week the God Idea - is the overriding principle for the message.)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12

Jesus quickly identified Himself as the light of the world. He did so during a feast when all of Jerusalem was illuminated to celebrate a feast. The white walls of Jerusalem would reflect this light to make this the most brilliant night of the year. In the midst of this setting Jesus declares, "I am the light of the world."

It would have been a huge statement to declare Himself the light of Jerusalem but what He said was of even greater significance. By stating "I am" He was declaring Himself to be God. Those listening would have immediately recognized this fact which would infuriate the religious leaders of the day.

To say He was the light of the world was to declare that He would bring illumination to the minds and hearts of mankind. He was essentially proclaiming, "Light Wins".

Four properties of light come quickly to mind.

1. Light creates life.

(Jesus as "The Light" will bring new life to mankind - the dead in spirit will be born again to new life.)

2. Light brings revelation. Ps. 119:105

(Jesus as "The Light" will reveal the deep secrets of man's heart.)

3. Light reveals hope.

(Jesus as "The Light" in the darkness is a rescuer reaching out with hope to those in darkness.)

4. Light opens perspective.

(Jesus as "The Light" opens our minds are hearts to God's perspective.)

"Light Wins" every time. Turn off all the lights, turn on just one... who wins - "The Light Wins". Jesus as the Light always wins - Even the Grave Lost! “and the darkness has not overcome it”.

Two meanings are served in the phrase, "darkness has not overcome it"...

1. The darkness cannot “Overpower” light! (Never)

2. The darkness cannot “Comprehend” light! (It is impossible for it to understand the light.)

Both meanings are excellent interpretations of this phrase.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him

This begs the question: ‘If light wins, why do people stay in darkness?”

I've come up with four over-riding reasons:

1. To live and stay in “Darkness” is a choice! This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. John 3:19, 20

2. Darkness causes a loss of purpose and direction! Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going . John 12:35

3. Darkness creates confusion. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” 4

4. Darkness is ruled by Satan. to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God…” Acts 26:18a

MAKE THE CHOICE: Choose light! Go out in the light!

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Rom. 13:12-14

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. John 1:10-13

Sunday, September 26, 2010

She is only 17 and kickin it!

"The Difference of One"

What difference can one life make? Is one life one legacy very important. Let's be really honest - I mean really honest, can one person make much of a difference in this world?

We often hear the exhortation at conferences, "Make a difference with your life"! Youth hear it very often coming at the end of a youth event with the challenge, "God has plans for your life so make a difference." But is this reality or is this just wishful thinking? If you have ever had that thought you are human!

However, I am pleased to tell you that there are many who are "making a difference" with their lives - some very close to me and in many different manners. "The Difference of One" column will highlight those I know, encounter, read about or hear about, who have decided they will radically follow Jesus. Some are in business, some in the military, some in sports, and others in ministry. What will set them apart is they have already sold out to Christ. The playing field of this world already holds less sway on them than many of their peers. They have counted the cost and given their lives to follow the call of God in their lives.

They are unashamed followers of Christ. I call them "Everyday Hero's" because they simply do it for the love of God not the applause of man.

While others play along in life, these "Everyday Hero's" live their lives, sometimes silently and not recognized, making a difference for mankind and eternity. They are ultimately eternity minded. They love God with all their hearts and have dedicated their lives to the second greatest commandment. They love others with great abandon. Loneliness is common. Not many are willing to travel this lonely road. Certainly it will sometimes be a lonely path but one day they will celebrate with many souls impacted for eternity.

The person that inspired this idea is one of my favorites. She kicks it when it comes to loving the orphan. Her legacy is already more than most accomplish in a lifetime and she's only 17 years old. She just so happens to be my daughter, Emma. OK, I am biased, but it's my blog and I am the only voter! :)

Emma is only 17 years of age - how could she make much of a difference at such an early age? Let me share a little of her story.

At a very early age, Emma heard a group of children from Uganda sing at our church. The Watoto Children's Choir traveled across the US from Uganda, Africa. We would have the privilege of having four of these adorable children stay in our home. She talked and laughed the night away with these darling children. From that moment she began praying that someday she would go to Africa to be a missionary and adopt twin girls from Africa. Night after night we prayed and night after night the same prayer would come forth. And she waited. And then.....

Fast forward to 3 years ago. Emma began leaving pictures around the house, in my bedroom, in the bathroom, and especially on my desk of pictures of children from Africa. The captions she wrote read something like, "if we don't go who will?" and "they need me" and "here am I send me". She was a very persistent young lady even at the age of 14. She had heard from God and she was doing her best to be sure I heard. As any stubborn dad might do, I wasn't being moved at first... "your not going without me" I announced! Well that's all the Lord needed.

It wasn't long before Steve Tracey a friend of mine, asked me to do a Pastor's conference (I know Emma and him conspired) - so I was off to Africa. His daughter was already a missionary to Africa and when I shared my doubts he said, "Dwight, I decided a long time ago, I would rather lose my daughter to the mission field and Africa than lose her to the American culture. Enough said, I knew God had spoken.

Each time a person obeys God and impacts a life, their is a ripple effect of that life that creates a huge harvest. It is like a series of links that all connect back to the original link. The Bible teaches us in John, "By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit."

Emma has been busy the last few years - going to Africa 4 times. Each time a team goes, a conference is held, a person adopts it all goes back to Emma and her desire to make a difference in the lives of children in Africa. As a result of Emma's commitment to the children of Africa, below is a list of "her fruit".

Emma's fruit

  • 2008 Pastor's Conference Uganda (125 attend)
  • 2008 African Hearts partnership with The River Church begins
  • 2008 Dwight "Adopts" the leadership men of African Hearts
  • 2008 Orphans loved on at Sanyu Babies Home in Uganda
  • 2008 Several accept Christ at church service
  • 2008 Elijah and Elizabeth leave Sanyu and become part of the Saunders forever family
  • 2008 Linn ministers at a church in Senge Village seeing deliverance and healing
  • 2009 Pastor's Conference Uganda (135 attend)
  • 2009 19 people go on Uganda missions trip to have their lives changed forever
  • 2009 Emma holds first VBS in Ssenge village - over 200 kids attend (20 accpt Christ)
  • 2009 Isaiah leaves Sanyu Babies Home and become a part of the Vaughn's forever family.
  • 2009 A kitchen/ guest house is built for Ssenge Village home of African Hearts orphans
  • 2009 Living fence planted around Ssenge Village Home
  • 2009 Kaysia and Zeke begin the process of coming home to the Schalk forever family
  • 2009 5 accept Christ at church service
  • 2009 Crusade at village near Kampala - approximately 75 express desire to receive Christ
  • 2010 Informed over 500 churches are now teaching the Legacy Conference Material
  • 2010 Pastor's Conference (175 attend)
  • 2010 VBS 300 children attend - 40 accept Christ
  • 2010 Pastor's inform us that over 500 churches are now teaching the Legacy Pastor's Conference notes across Uganda
  • 2010 First Crusade in Ssenge Village - approximately 25 people receive Christ
  • 2010 Betty begins the process of coming to the Steiner forever family
  • 2010 Finley begins the process of coming home to Abby and Ryan and Aunt Emma
  • 2010 Ssenge Village complex finished
  • 2010 Justin Vaughn takes a team from his church, he came the first time the year before...
  • 2010 8 cows purchased to help my "adopted son" Luttuya, pay the bridal price so he can marry his sweet heart.
  • 2010 13 people go to Africa to have their hearts changed forever.

Now that's One life making a difference!

(Thanks Emma for being my first "Everyday Hero". For not living for this life but living for eternity. You inspire me and I know inspire so many others. Keep your focus girl. This is one proud Daddy. You know when we arrive at the village in Ssenge all the children come running yelling Emma - Emma - Emma! Why? Because they know you love them with the love of God and do so for the applause of heaven! You rock!)

Let her example inspire you to live your life to make a difference!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Scarlet Thread - The E

This week at The River Church we began a new message series on the book of John. Each week I will post the notes until we launch my new web-site which will be more interactive and make the messages available in a variety of ways. I have added a few transition notes to help you understand how the message progressed. Set forth below is only the notes not a written transcript so listening to the message would be very helpful.

I suggest that if you are using the notes to teach first listen to the message and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you to form your own message. My prayer is that these notes will both teach you and allow you, especially those in Africa, to teach others as well. May God bless you and multiply your fruit!

The Scarlet Thread

September 12, 2010

The Empty Throne: Part 1

John begins with these wonderful words, perhaps some of the most profound words ever written.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John1:1-5

(These words ring with Majesty! Jesus is God! God is always working his plan and John details this strategic plan to invade humanity . These amazing verses draw us to the heart of this great book. God's plan as developed throughout this book is set below.)

GOD’S PLAN: The Empty Throne permitted Jesus to reign in the Throne of your Heart!

But first, I would like you to know the author of the Scarlet Thread. Please meet the author of “The Scarlet Thread”, the gospel according to John!

John the disciple is the son of Zebadee. Mk. 3:17 (one of many)
➢ John, James and Peter formed Jesus inner circle. (one of three)
➢ John the beloved disciple. 13:23/19:26/20:2/21:7,20 (one of one)
➢ John stood by the church in terrible persecution.
➢ John an eyewitness to Jesus.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 1 John1:1

(Can you picture how important it is to hear from an eyewitness. Imagine being able to hear from an eyewitness to Abraham Lincoln, George Mueller, or Billy Graham. It would be invaluable to hear these eyewitness accounts. You would have greater depth of insight, stronger accounts, and it would be like a video being played in your mind. That's what we get in John! An invaluable eyewitness known as the one Jesus loved. He knew Jesus so well in his humanity, yet, he knew that Jesus was not merely a man but God himself!

The Empty Throne: 4 Foundational Messages

1. The Message of Pre-existence
: “In the beginning was the Word…”
Before Creation – Jesus existed!
At Creation – God spoke! Gen. 1
Re-Creation – this gospel tells us how to be recreated
OT: Life through Adam NT: Life now through Jesus

(Jesus pre-existed his earthly form. He was in the beginning, yet he pre-existed the beginning. To put it another way, there has never been a time that Jesus was not! Praise you Lord!)

2. The Message of Incarnation: “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
Jesus is God & Jesus invades the world! The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. J. 1:14

(Jesus invaded the world with His divinity as he became man. God made the first move to re-unite his original desire for relationship with humanity. This parts the curtain of our sometimes limited view of Christ to the Majestic Christ!)

3. The Message of Creation: Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
➢ Jesus the Creator: The Logos is the creator not a created being for everything came into being through him.
The creative capacity of God is Logos. What God does Logos does

(That's my God. Always creating! Making something new from the old. Calling the dead things to life! Yea, that's my God!)

4. The Message of Revelation: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."
➢ Jesus brings the message of Hope! ➢ The words of Jesus are words of revelation.

( The message of Revelation parts the curtains of heaven. Revelation is a pulling back that which has formerly been hidden. My next message will develop this further but for now, bend a knee to praise the Lord who is light and who brings light into our lives to reveal His will and desire for each one of us! Praise you Lord!)

Bottom Line: John wants us to read this as every deed and word of Jesus is a deed or word of God. That is how we should read the whole gospel.

To listen to this message:
1. Type in your browser iriverchurch.com
2. click on media
3. launch media player or download podcast

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Waiting and Wondering

How do you handle life's uncertainties?

For me, waiting and wondering are a pair of words which create either great anticipation or the twists and turns of anxiety.

For instance, when Linny was pregnant and having our first child I was filled with expectation and anticipation at just who the Lord had planned for our first child. Waiting and wondering was filled with joy, guessing, and dreaming of whom the Lord had planned for our first child. We didn't take the easy way out, we didn't want to know, we just waited and wondered with anticipation. Abigail would enter our world in one moment with a sweet cry and the waiting and wondering was over. I'm good with that type of waiting and wondering. You, too, I imagine!

What I am not so good at is the other side of waiting and wondering. When you are waiting for news that could be change your whole world and wondering what the next season of life might look like! I admit I'm just not very good at this type of waiting and wondering.

We are currently waiting and wondering what the diagnosis is and plan of action is for Linny. Does she have cancer? We don't know, I am scared and we are left waiting and wondering.

By way of background Linny already has five auto-immune diseases. She has known her share of chronic illness for the greater part of her adult life. Most people do not see it because she refuses to let her illnesses get the better of her and she is certainly not a complainer.

However, recently she has been diagnosed with a thyroid disease, Hashimoto's Disease. This would be her fourth of the five autoimmune diseases. Then they found out she also has rheumatoid arthritis. I'm feeling, "OK, Lord, that's enough, cut the girl a break!" (We talk like that - and because He loves me He cuts me a break!)

That wasn't all! There was also a nodule in the thyroid which needed a biopsy. As the doctor did the biopsy he told her, "You have a very sick thyroid, it has been sick for a long time". If that wasn't enough, the biopsy came back inconclusive. The cells were abnormal and words like lymphoma and carcinoma were part of the possible diagnosis. But even still the pathologists just could not tell.

Does she have cancer? The doctors do not know. I do not know, I am left wondering and waiting. This is where I have trouble on how to respond.

It must be a man thing. My first tendency is to get quiet, pull inside myself, clam up. I place the situation in a drawer in the filing cabinet of my mind, then maybe, just maybe, I won't have to deal with it. There is a problem with this however, I've learned over the years this type of thinking leaves Linny on the sidelines to deal with her situation all alone. Worse yet, thinking I don't care.

So I've tried to change. It's not easy waiting and wondering if your wife has cancer. I certainly have the wide range of emotions. Some days, okay, maybe it's just really moments, I am filled with great faith with thoughts like, "there is no way the Lord will allow this Godly woman of mine, mentor to thousands, have cancer."

Other moments,however, I am filled with fear, anxiety, or 'what if' questions. I have learned I can not trust my emotions. They are false indicators and not trustworthy.

But I also do know that I can trust God. I trust His word; "the Word was with God and the Word was God". I can trust His faithfulness! I trust His plans for Linny and my life. I trust that He never fails. So I pray, I seek to hear a promise from His word, and then I set my heart to trust. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths".

I realize that when I am left waiting and wondering, He is knowing and certain.

I realize that when I am left waiting and wondering He is already at work.

I realize that when I have trouble sleeping while waiting and wondering, He is working the night shift.

Today we will go see the surgeon for Linny, and while we are there, still waiting and wondering, God is at work!