Billy's Blog
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March 13, 2018, 10:21 AM

Why go it alone?

So I have a couch I need to move. It's just small enough I think I can get it by myself if I use every ounce of muscle and grit I have. I have two young men in my house who are now bigger than me. Although I might be able to budge it with all of my strength that would be stupid. Why would I try it alone when I could get help? I have to learn to work smarter not harder. 

We can see the lack of wisdom in moving a couch by ourselves when we have help available so why do we this with our lives. We try to go it alone, because we don't want to bother anyone. We don't want to appear weak. We don't want anyone to know our weaknesses. It's just not very smart. We have people willing to help us and share our load, but sometimes we are too stubborn to accept the help. 

Paul tells us in Galatians that this is a big part of being a part of a church. 

 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are somethingwhen they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions.      --Galatians 6:1-3

There are a few things to learn from this passage:

1. We are struggle. 

Paul makes it clear that we all struggle in Romans 3:23 when he says that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all have issues. None of us is above struggling or sinning...we all do it. So all are in the need of help. 

2. Our goal is restoration

When we reach out to someone or when someone reaches out to us the goal is restoration. We aren't trying to look better than someone, and we are not trying to appear better. It's about getting real with people and truly getting help. On one side we need to practice transparency and on the other side we need to practice compassion. 

3. We are to carry each other's burdens

Sometimes we just need someone to come alongside and help us carry our burdens. The idea that God does not put more on you than you can handle is simply not true. God does allow things that we can't handle alone...that's why we need other people. I believe God specifically puts things in our path that are too big for us to deal with. He wants us to see our need for Him and our need for other people. We both learn the need for others and the need to help people carry their burdens. 

4. We're not as strong as we think

When God told Joshua on three different occasions in Joshua 1 to be "strong and courageous" it was not about Joshua digging deep and finding something within his own soul. It was about finding strength and courage in the promises and strength of God. We will find out through trials that we are not as strong as we think...on our own. But there is much strength in numbers. There is much strength and much courage when we go arm in arm into battle with others. 

When you watch the story of the Lone Ranger he was not really the LONE Ranger was he? Even the supposed Lone Ranger had his trusty sidekick, Tonto. We are not meant to do this life alone. We are not meant to last solely on our own strength. We need other people. 

The church is flawed...there's no doubt. It's flawed because we are the church. But it's the best thing we have. On so many occasions I've had people tell me...I don't know what I'd do without the church. It's because we need people. We need people who are willing and ready to carry our burdens when we just can't do it alone. 

March 9, 2018, 11:33 AM

You've Got All You Need

Can you be successful with what you have and what you know right now? 

I believe the answer is usually YES. While learning and growing is essential to our lives, I also believe that if we worked our hardest and went all in we would could probably be pretty successful what we know and what we have right now. The problem is that we are always looking for something new. We are looking for a magic pill, a super formula that will help us make shortcuts on the way to success. We don't want to lose weight by exercising and eating less and better...we want to take a magic pill that turns donuts into fat-free supplements. 

The Bible was written a long time ago. The oldest book in the Bible is believed to have been, Job, written abou 1500 BC. Revelation is considered to be the youngest of the books written in the 80s or 90s...not the 1980s or 1990s either. So the Bible is old. We want something new. People have gravitated to the Book of Mormon, this was written in 1830. Or some want to go for the latest philosophy or religion like The Church of Scientology which was started by L. Ron Hubbard's book, Dinanetics, in 1950. Or maybe it's the latest postive thinking book by Tony Robbins or whatever Oprah is promoting in her book of the month club. 

Is the Bible enough? Do we really have all we need right there in the Word of God to live a successful and happy life? 

There are two passages I want you share with you this morning. 

Hebrews 4:12--For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

2 Timothy 3:16-17--All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Bible is two things according to these passages: relevant and useful. 

It's relevant...meaning that you don't need anything NEWER. It's alive and its active which means that it's still working. I went to a leadership seminar a few months. Two of the main speakers were John Maxwell and Cheryl Bachelder. Maxwell is the leading expert on leadership in America and is a former pastor. Bachelder is the CEO of Popeyes...she has turned around the company to the point that they were the second-fastest growing fast food company in America last year. Both of the these leadership experts used the Bible. They both found that the greatest leadership expert ever was Jesus. His words and actions were the best tools for leadership today. 

The Bible is relevant. 

The Bible is also useful for your will change your life if you will do what it says. You want to have a good Ephesians 5:22-33 and do what it says. You want to deal with your anger issues...Read Ephesians 4:26-27 and do what it says. You want to gain some real wisdom to deal with your life read through the Proverbs. 

You want to know why the Purpose Driven Life has helped so many people? It's chock full of the Bible. When you read in the back you will find verse after verse after verse listed. When you listen to Warren's preaching you will find simple, Biblical preaching. Nothing just works. 

You have at your disposal a book that is certainly old and filled with some things you'll never understand. I won't either. But we can understand enough of it to transform our lives. Will you use what you have right now to change your life? You know enough right now to transform your life if you'll just do it. 

So just do it. 

February 27, 2018, 11:16 AM

Spiritually Healthy Is Just Healthy

I just Googled, "how much is spent on health care in the United States in a year?" The answer is 3.2 trillion dollars. That's right...TRILLION with a T. I can't even fathom that number. I can't even really wrap my mind around a million so trillion is definitely out. Health care is a big deal. I have health insurance as I'm sure you do. I go to the doctor and get check ups. I am concerned about my health. But how much thought do we give to our spiritual health? 

Proverbs 17:22 refers to our mental and emotional health affecting our physical health when it says, A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Emotional and mental health are affected by spiritual health so let's look at how it's all connected. 

Let's take one thing...stress. We all know that stress is harmful to physical health. Here are a few things that stress causes: headaches, depression, upset stomach, chest pain, and insomnia. We know that all of these things have even more negative effects on our physical health. But what does spiritual health have to do with this?

One of the issues with stress is worry or anxiety or both. We struggle with worry and anxiety because our spiritual health isn't good. We are struggling to trust God. Because we are struggling to trust God we take too much on ourselves causing us stress. We our spiritually unhealthy, which leads to emotional distress, which leads to being physically unhealthy. 

So think about it...on a scale of 1-10 how spiritually healthy are you? (1 being unhealthy and 10 being on top of the world) What do you need to do to nudge yourself over to being spiritually healthy? How can you grow in your relationship with God to be healthier in every aspect and area of your life. 

So as this week goes on spend some time analyzing your spiritual health and seeing the ways that you can take a step or two to getting healthier. 

February 23, 2018, 12:13 PM

Leaving a Legacy

Do you want to be remembered? 

Of course we do, right? I don't think any one of us wants to be forgotten. I was comforting a family who had lost a 16 year old boy in a car accident, and one of the mom's main concerns was that he would be forgotten. After all of the visitations and the funerals and the memorials and the gatherings...would he be forgotten? 

God made a promise to the people of Israel that they would have a land to call their own. He called it the Promised Land  So Moses had spies go in to the check it out. Now, remember, God had promised this land to them. Period. So these 12 guys went in. They all came back with the same report. It was an amazing place. They described it as a place flowing with milk and honey. It was fertile, it was beautiful, and it could be all theirs. The problem was that they also saw giants...nine foot giants. They saw fortified cities that would be ready to fight. It would be a battle to get this place. 

Ten of the spies said that there was no way they could take the land. The giants were too big and the cities were too fortified. But two spies came back and said they could take it. They could take it, because God promised them the land. So God made a rule. All of these tribes that the ten spies represented would not get to go into the land. Only those 20 years and younger from those tribes could go in. Everyone from the other two tribes could go in. And you know what...the only two spies names we know are Joshua and Caleb. These are the two brave and courageous men who believed in God more than they believed in the giants and the fortified cities. The other 10 spies are forgotten. 

You want to be remembered? Be bold. Be courageous. Be a person of faith. Don't back down in the face of opposition. Think of the great stories in your own life. The great stories in our lives are times when things were really tough, but we persevered and we made it. We had breakdowns, and financial struggles, and health issues, and disappointments, but we kept on. We persevered. We refused to quit. 

Be remembered like Joshua and strong, be courageous. Leave a legacy of faith for those you leave behind. 

February 13, 2018, 8:54 AM

What are you planting?

I'm not much of a gardener. I love to eat what comes out of the garden but it's not much fun to take care of it. I know for some people they love it so much, and for some it's some kind of therapy. But it's not much for me. There is one thing that I do know about gardening. You get what you plant. If you plant beans you'll get beans. If you plant potatoes you'll get potatoes...there's no mystery there. 

So what are you planting? 

I'm not talking about potatoes or beans I'm talking about what you're planting around you everyday. The church in Corinth was getting distracted by following the men who were preaching to them. Some had found allegiance to Paul and others had found allegiance to Paul. Paul dealt with this immediately. He tells them in 1 Corinthians 3:5 that they were just "servants through whom you came to believe." Paul said that they had two jobs...they planted seeds and they watered seeds only God could cause any growth. Their job was to plant the Gospel and to work together to water those seeds that they planted through their preaching and teaching and their fellowship with the people. 

So what are we planting with people? One preacher told a story about planting seeds. He was in a restaurant eating his lunch. He noticed a young woman struggling with her toddler. She was trying so hard to keep her little guy under control but was struggling. As the preacher left he stopped and bent down and told her that she was doing a wonderful job with her son and that she was a really good mom. This young woman just broke down in tears and told him that she really needed that. He just walked out. 

He didn't have a Bible study. He didn't invite her to church. He didn't baptize her later that day. He simply planted a seed. You see we are not responsible for the seed's full growth. We are here to plant the seed. That day that preacher planted a seed of hope and encouragement in the life of that young woman. As I write this I'm wondering how I can plant the same thing in someone today that I encounter. How can I plant a seed of kindness, hope, encouragement or peace? 

Let me put it this way. Maybe we can give someone a Gospel nudge today. Let's say that we use a scale of -10 to 10. A minus 10 is an atheist with no interest in God and a 10 is a mature believer who is winning others to Christ. What if I can just nudge a person one notch? Let's say I encounter a person that's a -5. They are kind of in between an atheist and a person who believes. Maybe they want to believe but they just aren't sure. They have been through a lot in their life. Maybe through my seed I plant today they move an notch to a -4. That's my job in my life. Maybe someone else will water that seed and will move them to a -3 or even further, but I've done my job in their life. 

So how can you nudge someone today through a seed that you plant? How can God use you today to do that? If you're not sure just pray for that opportunity. I believe with no doubt that if you pray for opportunities God will give them to you. God move someone a notch today. 

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