6 June 2014 by Jason Law CM –
In 2012, a young man named Dez Duron took the reins of the hit US Talent show ‘The Voice’ by faith, and though he did not emerge as champion, left a marked impression on its viewers. On 5th of June 2014, Dez Duron and his brother-in-law Rev Philip Deas, the senior pastor of Northpoint Community Church in the US shared about the Christian journey in Praise City Church, Cheras.
Most of Dez’s fans will remember him from his rendition of the song ‘Sara Smile’ during the audition of ‘The Voice’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY_9ZXGf8Yw). It took the auditorium by storm and impressed all 4 judges of the show. During the run of Season 3, Dez trained under Christina Aguilera and was one of 8 finalists out of a group of 64 people who competed. Today, he has quite a strong base of followers (76,000+ strong on FaceBook), and is also a state-level quarterback in American Football who has a State Championship record of 58 touchdowns.
Underneath all these achievements, Dez recognizes the source from wherence they came. In the days of intense competition during ‘The Voice’ and when he felt unsure of himself, it was God who lent him strength and brought him so far. ‘When you get on TV, it’s funny how you open yourselves up and everyone has an opinion of you. Life is like that sometimes, everyone has an opinion of you and what you’re capable of, what you’re worth, but it’s so important to stay true to the Source and the Truth, and the Truth is in the Word of God. Your values must be found on the Cross.
There is a God who loves you so much and thought you were worth so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice for you. That is how much you’re worth. Let nobody else tell you anything else about that. It amazes me in my journey with Him how much He cares about what I care about, and how interested He is in what I am interested in. He cares about my dreams; that’s the most amazing thing to discover this whole time,’ he said.
Dez shared that part of his service to God is as worship leader in his dad’s church, leading people to sing love songs unto the Lord. ‘I love to worship the Lord. He is worthy of all praise, the honor and the glory. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. There is no problem that is too big for Him. You don’t have to be a pastor in order to serve Him. You can serve the Lord by doing what you do best, whether you’re an engineer or a doctor. Do it for His glory, and do it as if you’re doing it unto God so that He gets the glory.’
Just because bad things happen, and just because mistakes happen, it doesn’t mean that it’s time to quit. God still has a plan and purpose for our lives. We have to get back up and run harder than before. Dez related one time when he was asked, ‘Aren’t you the guy who failed in ‘The Voice’? Well, I suppose you gave your best. Probably it’s time for you to go back to school.’
‘The devil will sometimes do that to you. He will tell you; you gave your all, you gave this Christian thing a go, you gave this holiness thing a go, and you failed badly. Who are you kidding? Who do you think you are? Maybe it’s time to go back to your old life. But I am so glad that the Christian life is not because of who I am, but because of what He has done,’ he imparted. Dez Duron’s trip to Malaysia was his first in Asia, and he held a 45-minutes concert of worship songs and some of the songs he sang in ‘The Voice’, before Pr Phillip Deas shared the Word of God.
Dez’s brother-in-law, a senior pastor who is also a well-known American Football coach shared about a victorious identity with Christ. Pr Phillip took his passage from the account of the Crossing of the Red Sea found in Exodus 14. He used his experience as a Football coach to point out certain analogies about life. To set the context, the Israelites were in a classic dilemma; in front of them, a vast uncrossable sea, behind them, a furious pursuing army. Many of us have experienced this sort of situation in our life before. As in American Football, life is full of bumps and bruises, but within Exodus 14 itself, certain encouraging messages can be taken.
Whenever God asks us to move into something, He does not just lead and direct, He stands behind us. Just as God moved behind the Israelites in order to block the pursuing army of Pharoah (Exodus 14:19-20), He will not leave us to fight our battles alone. He is a personal God and He always has our backs. We don’t know how significant this is until we have experienced it personally in our lives. If God can make the water wet, He not only is able to part the sea but also make the seabed dry. Everything that is in existence has its character within the will of God. He only needs to speak in order for something to be so and for situations to change.
Just as the Israelites experienced, it is God that opens the pathways in our life so that we can cross over into victory. Exodus 14:14 reminds us even now that God fights our battles, and very often, we just need to be still in His presence. Just like Moses knew that the Israelites will never see the army of Pharoah again, there are times when we need to see our past, shame, hurts, pains and struggles dead. We need to be able to visualize the victory God has promised us. The Crossing of the Red Sea was not the last time God delivered the Israelites so powerfully. Throughout the Bible, we find so many other instances of this; in the capture of Jericho, in the lives of Gideon and Jehoshaphat, in David’s fight against Goliath, and so many others. The God the Bible tells us of in the Crossing of the Red Sea is the same God that comes through for us time after time.
Pr Phillip pointed out that as Christians, we know this, but every so often we need to remind and inspire ourselves. In American Football, it is not enough for the team to know the strategy and the weaknesses of the other team, they also need to be inspired and believe in their victory. We must not just depend on information and head-knowledge; this knowledge has to reach deep down into our spirits. We cannot be off-guard and let ourselves be overwhelmed by challenges in life. We must never let the things that are outside impact and swallow the Truth and the confidence in God that is inside all of us.
In times of trials, we need to keep reminding ourselves of God’s record, not just for the people of the Bible, but also in our personal lives. Remember the triumphs of God. Rehearse this record. Each of us has a unique journey with God, and each of us have experienced times when He has carried us through in the past. Remember how He has helped you out in that job situation, how He has delivered you out of every sickness in the past, how He has provided for you even right up to now. Just like God did for the Israelites, He will overcome what threatens to overcome us. God is always with us, caring for us on a personal level, and we need to realize that for ourselves with hearts full of gratitude.
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