Billy's Blog
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October 30, 2018, 10:32 AM

To Love Is To Remember

A lot of the love we have for people is in memories. I do a lot of funerals and one thing I typically say is that death cannot take away memories. The love that we have for our loved ones doesn't decrease one bit when they pass away. Our love is connected to our memories. We remember the dinners. We remember the vacations. We remember the lessons learned. We remember the conversations and the smell of their home. We love because we remember. 

The same is true of God. 

All throughout the Old Testament you will see the people building monuments to remember what God had done. Their love for God was inspired partly by remembering all the good things he had done for them. 

When I was a kid growing up in church we used to sing a song called, Count Your Blessing. One of the lines was, "Count your blessings name the one by one. Count your blessings see what God has done." It's important for us to remember what God has done. I know that currently you may be struggling or going through a difficult time in your life. When we are tempted to think that God doesn't care anymore we must remember. We must go back and remember how God delivered us. We must remember how God provided for us. 

Part of my love for God and my loyalty to him is tied to what he has done for me in the past and what he continues to do. I'm just like you. I am tempted to run away from God. I am tempted to think he doesn't care about me. I am tempted to just do what I want because it just doesn't matter. But then I remember. I remember how gracious and merciful God has been to me. I remember how he has blessed me way beyond what I deserve. I remember how much love he has showed me, and I'm reminded that I must love him back. 

To love God is to remember what he's done. I imagine if you took the time to remember you'd have quite a long list of how God has been good to you. This might just inspired to love him back. 

October 23, 2018, 9:21 AM

Money, Money, Money, Money...MONEY!

Money is the root of all evil. True or false statement? Go ahead, I'll give you 10 seconds to think about your answer. 

The answer is...FALSE. In 1 Timothy 6:10 Paul reminds Timothy that the LOVE of money is the root of all sorts of evil. Money is an inanimate object. On it's own it's neither good nor bad.  It actually is used for all kinds of good. Money supports missionaries in poor countries. Money builds wells so people can have clean drinking water. Money helps fight cancer, sends kids to college, and keeps orphanages going. 

Money is also used for some terrible things. Money is at the root of many sex crimes. Money keeps the drug business going, and money is behind much of the abortion industry. 

Money can be used for good or bad. Here is what I think we must understand about money. Money comes from God. Therefore we must use it with that mindset. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

If I believe this then there are a few things about money that I must know:

1. It all comes from God. 

It's not MY money. It's not MY house. Its not MY retirement. It all comes from God. I do not have this money because I deserve it. You may have earned it with your hard work and your wise investments, but who allowed you to do that? This changes everything when we believe this. It's not mine. 

2. I must serve God's purpose with my money. 

This might include how you spend your money to go to college. It might also include investing in the right business. Here's what it ultimately comes down your money available to serve God's purpose in your life? When you view it as our money then we might be a little selfish with it. God might have a big dream for you and your money, but if we can't see our money being a part of God's purpose we might just miss it. 

3. We must have a loose grip on our money. 

I did a lot of searching and the most accurate number I could come up with was that the average Christian gives about 2.4% of their income back to the church. Now I know that people may give to other parachurch organizations, but the numbers don't lie. Why do we struggle to tithe back to God? It's OUR money. When God asks for 10% back of our money that seems a bit extreme. We have bills to pay. We have kids to feed. We are trying to add on to our house or build a new one. We are trying to save to send our kids to school. Our kids need braces. We have medical bills. 

I live in the same world all of you live in. I have kids who eat me out of house and home. I have a kid that needs braces. I have medical bills coming out my ears. I don't care what excuses you and I have our money is not our own. 

In 1 Corithians 6:20 Paul reminds us that we have been bought with a price. Our salvation has been bought with the blood of Christ. We have given our lives to God. Part of that life is our checkbook, and it all comes down to trust. Like I said, I have all the excuses, too. My wife and I work hard to support our family and there's not much left over.'s all God's. I must trust him with my money, and I must trust him that he will provide for my needs. 

When it all comes down it the issue is not dollars and cents...its trust. Do you trust God or do you not? 

You must answer that question. 

October 16, 2018, 9:07 AM

A Weird Way To Save The World

Christianity is unique in many ways, but the most unique thing about Christianity is grace. Grace does not exist in other religions. In other religions it's all about works. If you are good enough you get the prize. If you are not good enough you don't get the prize. It makes sense. Christianity is weird. 

The message of Christianity can be summarized pretty well in Ephesians 2:1-10. 

When we read verses 1-3 in 'Ephesians 2 we see the reason we need grace. We have all sinned. We are dead in our sins. Our sins have separated us from God. Its as if our sin created a large a canyon between us and God that we could not cross. 

When we read verses 4-9 we see how God has saved. God had mercy on us. God hates our sin, but his mercy and his love for us is bigger than his hate of our sin. So God sent Jesus. You could say Jesus was the bridge that connected us to God over the canyon of sin. When you read verses 8-9 it is made very clear that our works do not save us. We are saved by grace through faith. 

Then we read throughout the New Testament about this weird practice called, baptism. Although baptism may seem kind of weird the symbolism is pretty amazing. We stand there in the water a sinner who has earned punishment. Because of God's mercy shown to us through Jesus Christ we are able to go down into the water condemned and come back up redeemed. 

It's not the water. It's not any magic set of words. Baptism saves us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Again...its not works that saves's all Jesus. 

This doesn't make sense. We don't get what we deserve or earn. We get what God has chosen to give us. 

Then in verse 10 God answers the question of what happens next. We go do the good works that God has created us to do. We are now empowered to do what God has called us to do. 

Its all kind of weird but this how God has chosen to save us. The best thing you can do is just be obedient to it. 

October 10, 2018, 9:47 AM

A Little Stuart Smalley

Years ago Al Franken did a character on Saturday Night Live. The character was called, Stuart Smalley, and he was a kind of passive motivational speaker. He was really good at giving affirmation to himself and to others. He would stare in the mirror every day and say to himself, "You're good enough. You're smart enough. And doggone it, people like you." He would help his patients do the same thing. 

While the Smalley character was a little bit annoying we all need this sometimes. We all need a boost. We all need someone cheerleading for us. We need to hear that we're smart enough, that we're good enough, and that people do like us. 

Your life matters and is impacting more people than you can imagine. Satan wants you to believe that you are insignificant. Satan wants you to believe that you should just quit, because you aren't making a difference. Satan wants you to think that this world is already going to hell in a handbasket so we should just give it up. 

Here's what I want to tell you. As the world gets darker the Christians have a bigger impact. When you study church history you find out that the church grew more during times of darkness and persecution than when things were good. The reason for this is that Christians stick out more in the darkness. We are called the light of the world by Jesus in Matthew chapter five. I know you've heard this many times throughout the your life. The significance of this is that your life is a contrast to the world. This light that you give off guides people to Jesus. 

When you are kind to a waitress having a difficult night you point her to Jesus. 

When you do a little extra for a co-worker that you really don't have to do you point them to Jesus. 

When you help an elderly person get their groceries in their vehicle you are pointing them to Jesus. 

What does this mean, point them to Jesus? 

You are showing them there's people that care about them. You are showing them that there are some good people left in the world who care about more than themselves. These actions don't have to be earth-shattering and I would imagine that you are already doing some of these things. Keep it up. 

You will get discouraged. You will want to give up. You will want to throw your hands up and just move on, but don't. 

You are making a difference. You are impacting people positively. Your life does matter. 

I may not be Stuart Smalley, but I want to encourage you to keep fighting the good fight. It's worth it. 

October 2, 2018, 9:35 AM

Free To Be Weird

Grade school was great. I didn't worry about what brand my jeans were. I wasn't concerned about how my hair looked. I didn't care what shoes I wore. Girls didn't matter. It was great. Then came junior high. I had to move a new building and there were new rules. Now it mattered that I wore Rustler jeans. They were not what I was supposed to be wearing. I never knew this. I was under a lot of pressure to be normal. I really couldn't afford to be normal so I wasn't sure if I could ever pull it off. Man...junior high was complicated. 

At some point we should move on past this need to be normal but we struggle to do that. We might be in our 30's or 40's or even older and still really desire to be normal. We still really want to be accepted and it's a hard thing to accomplish. What might make us accepted by one person gets us rejected by someone else. What might be cool in one generation is not very cool to the next one. The target for nomal is always moving and it's hard to hit it. 

Why not just be free to be a little weird? 

God likes weird people and weird people do some pretty cool stuff. I have a friend that wears a shirt that says, "Women who behave rarely make history." I know we should behave, but the idea is that if we aren't willing to be a little weird we will never do anything extraordinary. More importantly we will never be able to fulfill God's purpose for our lives if we are not willing to be a little weird. 

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. --James 4:4

If you want to be a friend of God and serve him you cannot be a friend of the world. James is not talking about being friends with people who are not Christians. Jesus certainly befriended people who did not believe yet. But Jesus did not fall prey to taking on their behavior to be accepted by them. Notice what James says, "you adulterous people". James is saying that if we are going to seek to be accepted by the world we cannot stay faithful to God. If our number one goal is to be normal we can't be pleasing to God. 

And guess what? Weird is better. Weird is freeing. When I'm ok with weird I don't have to worry about what everyone thinks about me. When I'm ok with weird I don't have to fear rejection. When I'm ok with weird I can speak up and not worry that I might offend someone with what I believe. When I'm ok with weird I can choose to do the right thing when everyone around is doing what is wrong. 

You are free to be weird. Once you accept this and are ok with it you'll find out that weird is much better. 

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