DJ Gorena

Life as I see it

Side by Side

Saints and sinners, side by side,

Protecting and protesting, side by side,

Some meant for good while others meant for evil, side by side.

Police knew the facts of the perpetrator while the people knew little, side by side.

Some thought they knew the man who was killed when they knew him not, side by side.

Politeness started out well then punkiness ended it all, side by side.

Some went for peace while others went for violence, side by side.

What’s the solution? Is there a solution?

Politicians think that they know while pundits say they don’t, side by side.

Southerners say manners matter while northerners say money matters, side by side.

People out west say that Hollywood matters while Wall Street says Dow Jones does, side by side.

What truly matters is what Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)

God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, side by side, into the world that He might save us.

Now we can be saved and walk side by side with Him.

(To know how you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, connect here!)





A Friend of Mine…

Robert Damesworth

Robert G. Damesworth – December 28, 1948 – August 24, 2017

A friend of mine, Robert Damesworth, lost his life this past week. It has been a hard loss for his family and for many others who knew him. He was a tough man, a rugged individual who knew what he wanted out of life and pursued it relentlessly. And while pursuing his dreams, he always looked out for the best interests of his family, friends, and others in his community.

I remember driving down the country road in our little town of Leonard, Texas and getting behind him. He was never in a hurry. He was just in a hurry when he wanted to get something done for his family to ensure they had what they needed and wanted. But he taught all of his sons to work hard for what they have as he worked hard for all that he was able to accomplish. He was just that type of person. His hands showed his hard work and that determined look in his eyes showed that he was willing to do whatever it takes to make life happen.

I remember a time that I was pastoring the First Baptist Church of Leonard and I shared a vision to start the First Christian Academy of Leonard. People in town were against the idea. I remember a deacon coming to me after the independent school district superintendent asked him to speak to me about starting a school saying that it would hurt the district. I thought to myself that it probably wouldn’t. Robert came to see me personally about the academy. He was against the idea. He told me upfront that he was against it and did not see the need for it. We discussed it and we agreed to disagree. That was one thing that you could do with Robert and it didn’t change his view of you or his caring for you or even his love for you.

When the church voted to start the school, he made it known that he was against it and voted against the idea. Right after that business meeting, I walked right up to him and asked him to prayerfully consider being a part of the Executive Committee for the academy. He said, “Preacher, did you not see that I voted against it? We’ve agreed to disagree.” I said, “Yes, but the church voted for it and I know that you’ll support it now, so don’t say ‘no’ to me right now, just pray about being a part of the Committee.” A week later, Robert came to me at church and said, “Preacher, I know we don’t agree with the school, but God wants me to be a part of the Executive Committee.” I retorted, “I know He does!” With his sheepish grin, he nodded and shook my hand.

Later, after the academy was started, Robert ended up being one of the main supporters of it. He gave sacrificially to the academy, his grandchildren were part of the academy, and he wanted to see it succeed. He spoke about it to others around town and really built it up to those who were willing to listen to him. And believe me, when Robert spoke, you listened–everyone would. He was that type of person that wherever he was and with whomever he was with others wanted to be a part of his conversations and know him and hear him.

This evening, at the family visitation for Robert, I saw his three sons, Bubba, Bo, and Travis. I spoke with his wife, Peggy. Then I went up to the casket to see my friend, Robert Damesworth. Floods of memories came over me. I remember he and Ms. Peggy taking my wife and me to McKinney and around the country where he grew up. I met his aunt that he lived with for a while when he was growing up. He showed where he would ride his horse and told us of how he would camp out at night if he didn’t make it back by the late evening. I remember the way that he would hug my wife and let her know that he loved her and put up with me! Of course, he always had that smile of his and would chuckle. I remember him telling me about some chickens that Ms. Peggy ordered by mail and how the coyotes at just about every one of them–they were Ms. Peggy’s chickens, just like the llamas were Ms. Peggy’s!

But you could tell that he would do anything for his wife. To Robert, Ms. Peggy was everything for him to have joy in this life. He loved her and it showed. If there was an example of how a long-term marriage should be, Robert and Peggy are that great example. You could see it in their eyes–the love they shared together. He supported her and she supported him; they were partners in everything and everyone could see it. Their three sons had wonderful examples of what parents should be and how to be partners with their wives. Today, they exhibit much of the same characteristics of love for their spouses and children as they saw with their parents. Amazing!

I know that many other words could be said about my friend, Robert. I know that many people who I saw at the visitation time this evening have similar feelings about him. He was a good man. He loved life, his wife, his sons, his grandchildren, his church, and his community. He truly was a friend to many, many people. The line at the funeral home was out the doors and down the street. He wasn’t just well-known, he was well-liked, well-respected, and well-loved.

But there’s one more thing I want to tell you about my friend, Robert. He loved Jesus Christ and sought to love him all the more. He was willing to take a stand for Jesus Christ and tell others about Him and His love for them. He would pray for people. He wasn’t just someone who would say that he would pray for someone, he actually prayed for them if he said it. He was a man of his word, and his word was his bond. When he told me about when he trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I knew then that he truly did. He wouldn’t say something that wasn’t true about himself. He was confident enough to know and to say that he knew Jesus Christ. I could count on his words as solid truth.

I think that today, if Robert could, he would be telling you and me about all that he is seeing today in heaven. But most of all, I think he would be telling you and me about seeing Jesus Christ face-to-face. He would be telling you and me that it’s all true! That Jesus Christ really saves and that he is willing to save you today–at this very moment if only you’d believe Him like he did so many years ago. He would be telling you that the forgiveness of sins is a reality as much as heaven is a reality as much as hell is a reality. And none of us has to go to hell if only we’d believe in Jesus Christ. Robert would then say to us, Jesus Christ truly is only way, the only truth, and the only life, and there is no other way to get to heaven except through Him (cf. John 14:6). Then, finally, I think that my friend, Robert, would urge each of us to trust Jesus Christ–to believe that He died according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised again according to the Scriptures (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4), and if anyone believes in Him and calls out to Him, that he or she would be saved!

A friend of mine…Robert Damesworth…I owe much to him and to his family for the years of encouragement, belief, and good times we have had together. A friend of mine…Robert Damesworth…I thank God that I knew him and that I get to see him again one day in heaven.

Listening to the Right People

John C. Maxwell says that if you have no one following you, then you’re not a leader. I say that if you have people following you, you better make sure that you are listening to the right people to give the people who are following you the best words of wisdom you possibly can! Not everything you think is the best and there is always others who are much wiser than you–this I have learned in my 50+ years.

I asked my grandfather when he was 91 years old this question: “Grandpa, do you think that you’ve arrived now that you’re 91 years old?” I think the wisest way he would’ve answered that question was with the words that he gave me: “Son, I’m just scratching the surface!” Even my grandfather at 91 years old was still learning and still growing. He was a leader for many years. He had his own businesses and he worked for others in management positions. He was a leader in his church and even planted churches and led people. My grandfather taught me many lessons on how to lead and what to watch out for in my leadership. He taught me the snares of those who would try to cause me to fail and how they would set traps if I was walking unaware.

My dad is now 80 years old. I’ve watched him all of these years and the way that he has worked in various positions for others. He has been in management, owned his own businesses, and led people all of his life. He has led music, taught classes both secular and in churches, and helped my grandfather plant the churches that he planted. He learned from his dad how to lead and he has always been able to have people follow him. Between he and my grandfather–my two greatest professors in life–they taught me much about leadership: it’s all about building relationships with people. Always seek to reach out and touch someone and build relationships with them. My grandfather and father never met a stranger. To this day, I will receive texts from my dad when he’s in the Country and he will just send me words of wisdom to live by, something to think about, something to consider for the day, something about relationships.

My professors from college were exceptional. Many great men taught me how to lead. To this day I have kept up with many of my former professors and still glean from their studies both past and present. I seek them out because I want to know what they know now. I learned what they knew then! And they are still willing to teach me and give me the knowledge, understanding and wisdom that they have learned–and I’m not having to pay the course fees anymore (who’s using wisdom now?!?)! These men have taught me great lessons in life on leadership. They have people that they have taught–some of them now for over 40-50 years–and their pupils are literally all over the world teaching others what they learned from these men and they still communicate with these same professors as I do. Leadership with these men is evident as we still follow them.

Leadership advice should come from those we trust. People who have been there, who have led others–who have actually had followers. It is foolish for any of us to listen to those who have never led. If we’re listening to someone who has never had any followers and who have never led people, just because they’ve read a bunch of books about leadership, it doesn’t mean that they are leaders or know anything about leading. Just because they read or write the latest blogs on leadership, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are leaders. Remember what Maxwell said, if they don’t have anyone following them, they are not leaders!

Let me give you an example. Say that you are about to start your own business. You are planning to open up your own Coca-Cola Bottling Company. You decide to come to me for advice on how to begin your bottling company. Now I’ve never owned a Coca-Cola Bottling Company. I don’t even know the first thing you’d need to do to open up your own bottling company, so I tell you that what you need to do is first rent a large warehouse and then purchase a whole bunch equipment like forklifts, shelves, bottles, crates, and trucks. You also need to hire a bunch of employees and pay them really good wages with benefits so you don’t lose any of them to the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company down the street. You can do all of this with around $100,000 to start. Do you honestly think that I am going to be able to give you good advice to start your Coca-Cola Bottling Company? Of course not! Don’t listen to me when it comes to that! I’ll be the ruin of your bottling company dreams! If you listen to my advice and follow me, then you’re foolish. If you run away from me and seek out someone who has started their own Coca-Cola Bottling Company, has experience in running their bottling company, and is willing to work with you to give you the knowledge, understanding and wisdom to have your own bottling company, go with them! Seek them out! Follow them! Learn from them! Receive from them all you can!

So with whatever it is that you are doing, whether it be in work or ministry, seek advice from those who have been there. Find someone who will invest in you, spend time with you, give you words of knowledge, understanding and wisdom that will advance the tasks and goals that have been set before you. Listen to those who are going to help you, not hinder you. You will face opportunities and challenges, but you need to have those whom you trust to help you through those times. If you don’t have someone, you need someone–find someone–don’t do this thing called leadership on your own.

***For a good study on good and bad leadership qualities, read through 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles in the Bible. Through these books you’ll discover what good and bad kings did in life and leadership.***



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