Billy's Blog
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February 12, 2019, 9:08 AM

If you lose your life you will gain it

Zig Ziglar once said, "If you help people get what they want they will help you get whatever you need." 

Ziglar was a leadership and sales guru and was a Christian. He was trying to help people understand that if you serve others and add value to other people's lives you will achieve your own personal goals along the way. 

Everything is about serving people. 

If you want to be successful at whatever you want to be successful at you must learn this lesson. It's all about people. This kind of backwards thinking that Jesus introduced in Matthew 10 actually works. 

Jesus said, "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." Matthew 10:39 NLT

Some may say this almost sounds like the great Yoda from Star Wars. It's pretty backwards. Just imagine telling this to someone about their car keys. "If you cling to your car keys you will lose them, but if you give up your car keys you will find them." Well, that doesn't make any sense. It might not make sense with trying to find your car keys, but it makes sense when it comes to serving others. 

So let's say that you are trying to lead a group of people. You have a goal to reach with these people. If every meeting and every training is all about you telling them how they can make you successful how motivated do you think they'll be? Ultimately, you might be right, but it's not very good leadership. But let's say you bring them in and you establish methods to make them successful and to help them meet their goals. You help them see ways that they can make more money and be more successful in your company. You reach out and try to serve them. Their motivation level goes up, because you are talking about adding value to their lives. Now they will go out and be more successful in your company and will ultimately add value to your life...but you had to serve first. You had to give up your life to find it. 

When Jesus said that the second greatest commandment was to love your neighbor, to serve anyone who needed served, he wasn't kidding. Jesus knew what he was talking about. If his church was going to grow and spread and get the truth out, people had to feel valued and loved. When you see the early church growing by thousands in the book of Acts one of the biggest causes of growth was people loving and serving others. People gave up houses and lands to make sure people had what they needed to live. People sold things and brought money to the apostles so that people could be taken care of and be successful. People were giving up their lives so that they could find it. 

This might sound a little backwards but it works. If it's not broken lets not fix it. 

February 5, 2019, 9:49 AM

Love Is A Verb

If you listen to Christian music at all you have probably heard of Toby Mac. You've also probably heard of the Newsboys. Their lead singer is Michael Tait. These two guys were part of a very successful group called, DC Talk. They sang a song called, Luv Is A Verb. The song basically said that love is not just some emotional feeling but it's something that you do. 

I was looking at church websites yesterday and I came across something I found interesting. Different churches have different focuses or ways they communicate what they do. One particular church said that they were about making church into a verb. In other words, they were not just a group that met together but they were active. They were trying to do what God wanted them to do...not just talk about it. 

Something that you hear a lot in politics is rhetoric. It's defined as "the art of persuasive speaking or writing." It's what politicans say to to get elected. They might mean it or they might not. As citizens we are more interested in what they are going to DO not just SAY they are going to do. 

Isn't the same true of us as the church? 

We might have good rhetoric. We stand for this. We are for this. Here's our mission statement, our purpose statement and our values. These things are important to have down, but what's more important is what we do. Love is a verb. It's something that we do not just something that we talk about or plan. 

Jesus made a powerful yet simple statement in John 14:15, "if you love me obey my commands." If you love me DO what I say. Don't just talk about how much you love me act like you love me. This is the great challenge isn't it? If we are going to talk the talk then we must walk the walk. So maybe that's your mission this week. Walk the walk. Today as you read this I want you to be encouraged and challenged to do what's right not just talk about it. 

Unlike most politicans let's have our rhetoric match our actions. 

January 29, 2019, 2:27 PM

Love God=Do Right

According to a 2016 Gallup poll 89% of Americans claim to believe in God. In the same year two-thirds of American men were found to be obese and an even higher percentage of women were found to be obese. 

Why do I list these two statistics? We can say we believe in God, and we can say that we believe that we are overweight. The unfortunate thing is that neither belief necessarily drives us to action. How many of us who struggle with weight are really doing anything about it? How many of us who say we believe in God are doing anything about it? 

When Jesus defined love for him he said, "If you love me keep my commandments." John 14:15. That's pretty simple. If you really believe in God and love him then do what he says. Do right. 

James writes something that really makes me think. He writes in James 2:19, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." James 2:19

The demons, the angels of Satan, believe so much in the reality of Almighty God that they shudder in fear when his name is spoken. They know exactly who he is. When you and I merely believe without any action to change our lives and be obedient then we are on the same level as demons. I know that sounds bad, but isn't it true? 

And I'm really writing to people who profess to be Christians. In 1 Corinthians 5:12 Paul says that it's none of his business to judge those outside the church. Christians should not be surprised that people that don't claim to be followers of Christ don't act like it. People who are not Christians are not supposed to act like Christians. Stop waiting for this to happen. What Paul is saying is that we should judge those inside the church. People who claim to be Christians ought to act like Christians. 

When we start to do right and live right and start being obedient this is when we can be the light of the world. 

Did you notice that Jesus uses the word, light, to describe his followers? This means that we are a contrast. The dark world needs to see hope in the middle of despair. They need to see some light in the middle of the darkness. Ultimately we want to bring people to THE light of the world, Jesus Christ, but first they must see our light. They must see a contrast in this world of tragedy and despair. 

This week I had a conversation with a young man who had some terrible tragedy in his life. His wife of 16 years had died of cancer leaving him a single dad of two boys. His brother had killed himself, and his new girlfriend had overdosed on painkillers. This all happened within a three year span. He was a very nice man, and we had a good conversation. I asked him if he had a church, because he had grown up going, but he said he struggled to believe after all of this. He was immersed in darkness and hopelessness. This young man needs some hope. I hope to help him find a church and some people that can give him some hope. 

If I can guide him to you someday will he find hope in your life? He's not looking for perfection, but he might just be looking for someone that takes God serious. He might just be looking for a stark contrast to the darkness he's currently living in. Could you be that person that gives him a glimmer of hope? 

Be that glimmer of hope by not just saying you believe but actually living like you do. 

January 22, 2019, 9:51 AM

Simple truth, powerful message

I love simple truths that have a powerful message. 

Carpe Diem...seize the day. Isn't it a powerful message? 

Semper Fi...always faithful. 

Just Do It...well, just do it. 

There's one of these powerful but short statements in the Bible. 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

This passage is short but powerful. You ever noticed that we can be our own worst enemy? We can lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that we are doing great when we are not. We can believe our own doom and gloom predictions and quit something before anything negative has ever happened. We have convince ourselves that whatever we are doing is too hard and we just give it up. We need someone to sharpen us. 

I love the story of Moses in Exodus 17. I'm just going to put a part of the story here and let you read it. 

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Exodus 17:10-13

God could have defeated this army in many ways, but he chose to do it this way. It was a teachable moment for Moses and for everyone there. We can't do it alone. We need others to help us. 

When's the last time your arms got tired so to speak? I have moments like this all the time. Maybe I've had a particularly tough week and nothing seems to be going right. I may be working harder than I've ever worked and trying so hard but nothing is working. I just want to give up and go do something else. But I have people in my life who help hold up my arms. They are there for me when I just get tired and want to quit. They are my iron sharpening iron. 

You and I were never meant to be taking this battle on we call life  by ourselves. One of the great things about the church is that we are an army. We aren't one guy taking on the world we are an army. We are an army of people working together to take on our greatest enemy, the devil. We are here to pick each up and have each other's backs. 

This is a simple message, to sharpen one another, but when you commit to this it will give you the strength you need to win. 

January 17, 2019, 9:03 AM

What Really Changes

We see a sun rise and we see a sun set. We see it high in the sky at noon and low in the sky in the evening. The sun appears to come up and then go away. Although this is what appears to be happening we know that it's not really what happens. The sun never moves. The Earth is rotating giving the appearance that the sun is moving. It's all about perspective. 

In life it seems that God is moving. Sometimes he seems very close to us and sometimes it appears that he's far away. Sometimes it feels that he's completely gone and has forgotten about us. Although it appears this way we need to be reminded of real truth not just our perspective. 

In Malachi 3:6 God said, "I. the Lord, do not change." 

In James 1:17 it is said of God, "with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." 

Psalm 33:1 says, "The counsel the Lord stands forever..."

Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ i the same yesterday, today and forever. 

The truth is that God doesn't change or move...we do. 

We are fickle people. One day we are happy the next day we are sad. One day we are content the next day we are dissatisfied. One day we are full of faith the next we are in doubt. We change all the time, but God doesn't change. 

Jesus promised his disciples that he would never leave them or forsake them. We must hold onto this promise. This promise has nothing to do with our circumstances. You may FEEL like the promises of God aren't being fulfilled in your life, but feelings betray us all the time. Feelings aren't based upon truth. We must hold onto truth. This is why we must be reading our Bibles. We must fill our minds the truth about God, because Satan is a great liar. 

The Bible tells us in John 8:44 that lying is the native language of Satan. He wants you to believe that God has moved away from you. He wants you to believe that God has forgotten about you. He desperately wants you to believe that God no longer cares about you so that you will seek love and acceptance somewhere else. It's a place you'll never find. 

Hang in there. God is for you. He is always there. Do not trust your feelings...they will misguide you. Stay in God's Word. Be reminded daily of the promises of God that are true and do not change. 

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