MINISTRY CALLING–WHEN IT’S JUST NOT HAPPENING

When there is a call of God on your life–and we all have a call of God on our lives–and it’s not happening the way you thought it would, or as quickly, it may mean you’re just not ready yet.  There is, likely, something in your character or preparation that isn’t in place.  I believe it’s likely the former.  There are some character issues you need to address.  In the meantime, impatience can set in, and you try to make things happen on your own.

Is it a character issue?  In my case, a character issue is faced was a performance-based mindset.  I had, most of my adult life, been a shaker and a mover, using my own devices to make things happen.  And, I thought that my “getting it done” was the guide to my acceptance.  In the process, I became impatient.  But  a good friend, Bill Fitzer, shared two scriptures with me that I latched on to, and they became the words I held on to as the Lord prepared me for the pastoral call I was destined to fulfill.

The first was 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time (emphasis added).  It is His timing that matters, and only when my timing is His timing  (not the other way around!) that God’s plan is fulfilled.  His timing meant giving me time to deal with the character issues I faced.  And, the sooner I dealt with them, the more quickly His timing would be fulfilled.

The second was Proverbs 18:16, “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”  It wasn’t my works, but His gift that would take me where He wanted me to go.  Learning to use the gifts, and not my abilities, was a lesson I had to accept.  For, it’s He, not me, that really makes it happen.

I still, occasionally, have to remind myself of these two scriptural principles.  If you are wanting to fulfill the call on your life, and it’s not happening as quickly as you think it should, I encourage you to grasp these principles, and deal with your own character issues.  It’s a whole lot better when you let God move rather than try to do it on your own.

 

 

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Heart Attack! One Year Later…

A year ago today I was transported from the Mercy-Bella Vista ER to Mercy Medical Center, where I was immediately taken to the cath lab. Heart attack!!! Though I was in intense pain, I don’t recall having any fear. And, I knew that, at some point, I would wake up…but I didn’t know where–it would be either in heaven or the hospital.

Marsha Stire Dixon, meanwhile, was awaiting word on my condition. My cardiologist came to the waiting room after working on me for over 1 1/2 hrs., and said, “The procedure was unsuccessful; there’s nothing we could do.” My poor wife collapsed, believing the dr. was saying I’d died, when he explained that I was still alive, but my single blocked artery could not be penetrated to insert a stent. It remained blocked, and there had been some heart damage, but I had survived the ordeal.

It was after that I experienced some personal fear–fear that I would have another heart attack. The cardiologist said, “You’ve already had your heart attack. You’re not going to die from another one!” He said that with medication, diet and lifestyle change I’d live a normal life.

I began 12 week weeks of cardio therapy and worked my way back toward that normal life.

A year later, I take several meds. I eat better. I’ve lost weight (though I have a lot more of it to lose.) I’ve slowed down a little, though not as much as I hoped or expected to. And things are, for the most part, normal. Meanwhile, I stand in faith, knowing that healing is as much a part of the salvation package as eternity in heaven is.

So, a year later my heart is filled with gratitude to God for keeping me on this side of heaven. I can’t begin to express all the blessings of the past year, or the anticipation of the blessings to come in the future. I get to watch my grandkids grow up. I’m here for Marsha, who especially needs me right now as she recovers from her surgery.  And we’re in a ministry transition that excites me as much as the prospect of entering full time pastoral ministry did almost 30 years ago.‬.

Thank you, Lord, for leaving me here on earth for an extended season. I’ll do my best to fulfill that which remains for us to do. Amen.

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Gratitude for the Privilege of Serving the LEO Community

I’ve been indirectly involved in law enforcement all my life. My grandfather retired from the sheriff’s office in Wichita, KS, and was a major influence in my life. One of the careers in my adult years was as a broadcast journalist which connected me with law enforcement on a regular basis. But, it was in the mid 80’s I became personally involved in law enforcement, as a reserve deputy with a suburban Oklahoma City sheriff’s office.

Fast forward to 2000, following the deaths of three Rogers Police Department officers at their own hands, Police Chief Tim D. Keck met with Pastor Dave Hadsell and me to discuss establishing a chaplain program for that department. The program was launched, and I continued to serve that department under Keck, then Chief Steve Helms and, later, Steve Hamilton, who scuttled the chaplain program. Then, in 2012 newly elected Sheriff Kelley Cradduck asked me to develop a Chaplain Division modeled after the program we established at RPD and appointed me Chief Chaplain

Last year Shawn Holloway announced his candidacy for sheriff, and asked that if he were elected that I would continue serving as Chief Chaplain. And last night I prayed at the swearing in ceremony for our new Sheriff Shawn Holloway, the entire sheriff’s office.  Along with the deputies, the Chaplain Division members present were sworn in.

I shared the background to establish foundation for one of the most rewarding ministries in which I’ve been involved. I’m grateful to Tim Keck for trusting me to lead the RPD Chaplain Program, and to Steve Helms for continuing that trust. At BCSO Kelley Cradduck’s confidence in me during his tenure is deeply appreciated. And to Sheriff Shawn Holloway, thank you for your continued confidence. But my deepest gratitude goes to Jesus Christ who called me into His service.  I’ll do my best, under God’s guidance, to serve the men and women of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

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SOMETHING HAS TO DIE!

During our recent trip to Peru Marsha and I had many opportunities to share from our book, “God’s Blueprint for Marriage”.  Knowing that the trip was the launch of a new direction of ministry for us, we reviewed each of the seven times we  spoke of how God divinely restored our marriage, and what we learned about a godly marriage during the years that followed.  We found better ways to verbally express the principles God revealed to us in the restoration process.  Our biggest challenge is helping people see that it’s not how bad we were, but how good God is.   We’re still seeking God’s direction on how to present the message in such a way that people–especially couples–can learn from us.

This morning in my devotional time I sensed the Lord showing me that an important part of our testimony is that SOMETHING HAD TO DIE in order for me to live for Jesus.  I share in our testimony that my career was my god, even telling Marsha,at one point, that if she made me choose between her and my career she would lose.  But, on July 16, 1979, my god died, and some of me died with that.  It was through that death that I searched for the true and living God, and just over a year later, on August 28, I gave my life to Jesus Christ.  It was death to self and new life in Jesus that set the stage for Him to work in my life, preparing me for what was to come later when, through repentance and reconciliation, we both found new life in our marriage as well as in our lives individually.

Day to day something still has to die.  I have to die daily to myself to live for the Savior and remember that I’m not in the marriage relationship to be served by Marsha, but to serve her.  My god dying in 1979 so the God who died and rose from the dead to rule and reign forever could be my God was painful at the time, but worth every heartache and tear, and today I’m dead to self and alive to Jesus.  And when we tell our story in the future I’ll be sharing that something had to die in order for me to truly live.

Perhaps your church would like to host a marriage workshop.  While the workshop, if presented in its entirety, is five sessions, we can share a single session in a church service or couples meeting, or anywhere between the one and five sessions as your need permits.  Message me if you’re interested in having Marsha and me come.  Or go to http://www.godsblueprint.info and follow the link to contact us.  (The web site is undergoing reconstruction and some links aren’t working while others don’t look quite right. We’re working on it.)

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FAITH UNDER ATTACK!

(Note: before posting this email I received this morning, I did my “due diligence” and verified the story through several sources. Religious freedom is under attack, and it may only get worse. If you are not concerned about it, you should be.)October 26, 2016

Dear Pastor Dixon,

By most standards, Dr. Eric Walsh would be considered a standout job candidate. When he was in California, he was the director of the City of Pasadena’s Public Health Department and was appointed to President Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDs. His professional credentials showed he was going places. In 2014, he was hired by the State of Georgia’s Department of Public Health. But when some state officials learned that he was also a lay minister in his church, he was investigated and quickly let go.
Documents released by First Liberty Institute include emails showing that Georgia officials assigned employees to examine his sermons on YouTube — sermons dealing with common Christian themes including creation, compassion, spiritual growth, the family, and Christian living. He was fired after this examination.

Determined to stand for his (and others’) freedom to believe, Dr. Walsh filed a federal lawsuit against Georgia, alleging unlawful religious discrimination. As part of that lawsuit, the State of Georgia issued a subpoena demanding that Dr. Walsh hand over his sermons, sermon notes, and all pastoral documentation — including his Bible.
Apparently, not even the margin notes of a Christian’s Bible are off limits from the government’s intimidation machine.

Unless Georgia state officials are looking for devotional inspiration for how better to treat their fellow citizens, this type of intrusion is nothing more than an intimidation tactic. FRC stands with Dr. Walsh and any other pastor who is targeted by the government because of what is said in the pulpit…

Standing (Eph. 6:13),

Tony Perkins

President

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A CHANGE IS COMING!

Most of the time when God is moving in Marsha’s and my lives, we sense a shift in the spiritual atmosphere around us in advance. We’re sensing such a shift now, as we continue to prepare for our trip to Peru. The primary focus of this trip, as you know if you’ve read our posts, is marriage ministry. And, we believe this is in preparation for when we return. 

 Ever since entering into ministry our calling has been as local church pastors. Even in Peru, our ministry focus has been training and equipping local pastors and church leaders. But, now, we believe a shift to a broader ministry has come, and we’ll be looking beyond the local church and taking God’s Blueprint for Marriage to the field.

We will be seeking opportunities to share when we return in Mid-November, whether those opportunities be Sunday or mid-week services, or marriage workshops. I never expected, at 68 years old, to be making what seems to me to be a very bold move. But, it’s what God is directing us to do.  
Last time God gave us marching orders I dragged my feet before finally becoming obedient. This time I want to tackle the assignment boldly, without hesitation and without any fear of failure. It’s a God-called shift in ministry, and I’m excited to see what He has in store for us!  
Follow God’s Blueprint for Marriage on Facebook or at Godsblueprintformarriage.com. If you’d like to see God’s Blueprint for Marriage come to your church, please contact me. 

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WHOSE SIDE IS JESUS ON?

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “ Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” “Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.”‭‭Joshua‬‬ ‭5:13-15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Many theologians believe, as do I, that the commander of the Lord’s army was a “Christophany”, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. In essence, Joshua asked the question, “Whose side are you on?”, to which the reply was, I’m not here to take sides; I’m here to take charge!”  
We have the opportunity for relationship with the post-resurrection Jesus. On the basis of that relationship, what if, rather than listen to the voices of candidates, media and social network pundits, we would ask Jesus the same question Joshua asked, and then listened, and then did what He said. He still speaks today, but we have to listen for His voice rather than to the voices of the world in order to hear Him. If we did that, just maybe the walls of division would “come tumblin’ down”!
I have to admit I’ve done a lot of praying for the candidates, but very little about how I should vote. Now, I’m going to try to close out the other voices and listen ask I ask God to direct my voting decisions.  I don’t want Him to be on my side.  I want to be on His side!!!

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LIMA TRIP UPDATE

We are excited about bringing you this update about our fall mission trip to Lima.  Our focus has been on presenting conferences, as well as ministering in area churches, and our schedule is already almost full!

On Friday, November 4, we I will be presenting a Prayer Workshop, teaching participants how to use the Lord’s Prayer as a six point outline for prayer.

We’re going to do a one-evening marriage conference at the Evangelical Church of Christ of San Martin.  Pastor Juan de Dios and his wife, Cristina, have been dear friends of ours for over fifteen years, and being in their church is like being at home.

 Yesterday it was confirmed that Marsha will be a primary speaker at a women’s conference.  She had been scheduled to do one session, sharing her testimony.  However, one of the primary speakers has had to cancel due to illness.  It’s a three day conference beginning on November 10, and the theme is the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of believers. 

On Saturday, November 12, we will present our God’s Blueprint for Marriage Workshop at Emanuel Bible Church of San Miguel.  We preached at that church on a Sunday last year and were very well received, and we sold out of the Spanish version of our book.  We’re looking forward to being back with them this year for the marriage conference.

Additionally, we are preaching in several churches, and visiting old friends and making new ones.

Please continue to pray for us, that the anointing of God would be with us.  And, be praying also for provision for the trip.  Thank you so much for being a part of our work in Peru.  God bless you all.

In His Love,

Jim and Marsha Dixon

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WISH YOU HAD FRIENDS LIKE THAT?

I’ve been reflecting on some of the relationships I’ve had over the years, and I’ve been reminded what true friendship can mean.  Over 30 years ago I shared, in a meeting of business associates, that I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that if I picked up the phone and called the leader of that organization, Jerry, and said, “I don’t have time to explain, but I need you to be in Los Angeles by morning.  It’s a matter of life and death,” that if it were at all possible he would have been there.  I also have a former boss that, though we haven’t worked together in nearly 20 years, I believe would still do the same for me today.  

What makes for those kinds of relationships?  The first word that comes to my mind is LOYALTY.  If you want to expect loyalty you need to give loyalty.  I told that meeting over 30 years ago that the reason I knew Jerry would be there for me is because he knew I would do the same for him.  I also know that my former boss of nearly 20 years ago knows that, still today, I would be there for him if he ever needed me.   That boss from nearly 20 years ago was my pastor, but when we met he said he would be my friend, first, and my pastor second. And, he proved true to his word, and so earned my loyalty.  So, how do you get friends like that? It’s simple. BE A FRIEND LIKE THAT!

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PERU TRIP 2016!

September, 2016

Greetings in Jesus’ Name!

In about two months we will be returning to Peru!    Many short term mission trips vary their destinations, going to a different country each year.  However, we have found that returning to Peru each trip has several benefits.  One of those is that we can see the fruits of our labors, as those for whom we minister grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Another is the relationships we have established over the years.  We have become spiritual parents to so many pastors and their families, and we have become an integral part of each other’s lives.  A third is that, through those relationships, we have so much more control over our schedules and can better manage our time.

This year we have planned our schedule so that we can be in Peru for three Sundays instead of our usual two, giving us more opportunities to pour into people. In the past, our focus has been on training pastors and church leaders.  But, more and more, we are finding ourselves being drawn to the church body, equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11, 12) Our book, “Los Planes de Dios Para el Matrimonio” (God’s Blueprint for Marriage), has been printed in and is available on Kindle in Spanish.  We anticipate doing a lot of ministry to marriages while on the trip.  So far, we have one Marriage Workshop on our schedule.   We also have a Lord’s Prayer Workshop on our schedule.  That event is part of the anniversary celebration of Emanuel Bible Church of Zarate’, which is led by our Peruvian son and daughter, Jose and Raquel Vicente’.  We anticipate at least one Women’s Conference during our trip, also.  And a Marketplace Evangelism Workshop is also a possibility.

We have one team member committed to joining our team so far.  Diana Velasquez was with us last year and plans to return with us.  There is also a possibility that Sandy Fowler, who has been with us many times, will also join us.  Others have expressed interest, and we’d love to take a bigger team with us than last year.  Maybe you’d like to go?

An improving Peruvian economy has meant our American dollars don’t go as far as they once did, so lodging and meals have become more expensive.  Airfare, as you may know, has also gone up.  The hotel we have stayed in for over twenty of trips has doubled the rates over the last several years.  It’s safe, secure and convenient, but we are looking into other options for lodging to save money.  Right now it looks like expenses for the trip will be about $2000 each, which is more than we had hoped.  But we trust God to meet our needs on our trips, and in all our lives.

We’re asking you to do three things.  First, consider going with us.  It would be a life-changing experience.   Second, please partner with us in prayer, which is absolutely the most important thing you can do for us.  Third, please consider partnering with us financially.  Please send your gift of support to Word of Life Fellowship, 808 SW 14th Street, Bentonville, AR 72712.

Thank you so much for teaming up with us through your prayers and support.  We’ll be updating our friends through social media as well as email for those who aren’t on Facebook or Twittter.

In His Love,

 

Jim and Marsha

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