December 1, 1999
The gifts are available, they just need to be claimed, Jim Dawson told Oklahoma Baptist University students during the Wednesday chapel service, Dec. 1.
Dawson, associate pastor at First Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, and chairman of OBU's board of trustees, said he was not alluding to gift wrapped Christmas presents for the OBU students, but instead, three gifts in scripture that he wanted to offer to them.
Dawson is the retired president of Brunswick Outdoor Recreation Group, a company that was doing 750 million dollars worth of sales when he president. Zebco is a division of the company. He began his chapel message by sharing some of his experiences with the corporation.
"The last five years of my corporate life I spent battling God about going into the ministry," he said. "Go ahead and give up now. You can't win that kind of battle."
Dawson found significant ways to bring his Christianity into his business dealings. He told the chapel attendees how he had encouraged his employees to find new attitudes about work.
"If we can get our company to have the attitude that we are going to be servants of people, we can grow, and we did," he said.
Dawson told the students that he wanted to show them three of God's gifts in scriptures. God was ready to give, he said, and all they needed to do to receive God's gifts through scripture was to claim them.
Psalm 51 begins with David's urgent need for forgiveness, he said. "When David made his appeal," Dawson said, "he was focused on the power, love, and compassion of the almighty loving God, not on the fact that he was asking. He had a grasp of the seriousness of his transgressions."
This was necessary for David to do in order to receive the first gift from God, a clean heart. "David has asked for forgiveness," he said, "but he went beyond asking for forgiveness alone. He was desperate to start over in his life. He wanted a brand new heart."
Dawson directed students to Psalm 51:10 for David's request for a clean heart.
"God's looking at our heart and he's made the process so simple for us. David wanted to make sure that the next time God looked at his heart, he saw a heart that was cleansed."
Dawson said that because of the simplicity of this idea, people take for granted that they need to remember this on a daily basis.
"That's hogwash that you don't need to hear this everyday," he said. "I've been a Christian for over 30 years and I need it every day."
After discussing the clean heart, Dawson prayed with the students that they would claim this gift from God.
The second gift, the renewal of a steadfast spirit, was also found in verse 10, he said.
"David realized that if we obey God, we have to disobey ourselves, our own nature," Dawson said. "When we do, we create in ourselves the ability to obey him."
He said that David was crying out for God to sustain the new heart that he had received. "Renew my spirit, make it what it once was," he said. "God, replace what was bad with what is good, and replace it fast. Lord, do it for your glory, but for my benefit."
Again, Dawson prayed with the students that they might claim and receive this gift from God.
The third gift was found in verses 12-15. David asked for God to grant him a willing spirit to sustain him.
"Our days are filled constantly with small challenges," he said. Many times we allow these things to become acceptable parts of our lives. God set the standard, man did not. We have to depend on the Holy Spirit to do the same thing for us that he did for David. It will take him and his grace to hold us up.
"David wanted a willing spirit, not for himself, but so that he could be pleasing to God."
Dawson prayed a third prayer with students to claim the last gift, a willing spirit.