Billy's Blog
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January 11, 2019, 9:09 AM

One Anothering One Another

The Lone Ranger is a lie. While I love the Lone Ranger, and there's actually some truth to at least the basics of the story, he was not the LONE Ranger. He had, Tonto, his trusty sidekick. 

We are not meant to do life alone. We are not meant to serve God alone. When Jesus sent his disciples out he sent them out two by two. He did this because he knew that doing this alone would not work. 

In the New Testament there are about 59 "one another" passages. These are statement like love one another, teach one another, encourage one another, and build one another up. While these all may be different they all have one thing in can't do this alone. To fulfill these commands you must be in relationship with someone else. 

One of the best ways you can do this in the church is through small groups. When the early church got started it was rapid growth. The first day of the church, the Day of Pentecost in Acts 1 and 2, there were 3,000 saved. Acts 2:47 says that more were being added to the church DAILY, and in the first 20 years of the church there were about 100,000 followers in Jerusalem a city of about 250,000. 

One the ways the church grew so rapidly is that they met house to house. They met in small groups. 

This is where true growth happens. Andy Stanley one of the greatest missions of the church is to be "one anothering one another." In other words, we are to be fulfilling the 59 one another statements in the Bible. We can't do all of these just in a large group setting on Sunday morning. We need to be in smaller groups where we can get to know each other and have the time to do this. 

I hope that you will make it a priority to join a small group. I know that everyone is so busy, but if you want to grow in your faith this is a must. I hope that you will prioritize your life to be growing in your personal walk with God. 

December 31, 2018, 10:45 AM

Do Right, Treat People Right

Did you like pop quizzes when you were in school? I know I didn't. It's pretty tough to just be given a test without having a chance to study. Jesus was given a 636 question pop quiz in Matthew 22. Some of the religious leaders were once again attempting to test Jesus and trip him up when they asked, "what's the greatest commandment in the law?" Jesus didn't have any time to prep for this question but he knew the answer. He actually quoted Moses. Jesus said,  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39

Love God...meaning be obedient to God, do what he says. Do the right thing. 

Love people...treat other people how you want to be treated. Treat people right. 

At Lancaster Christian Church we have taken this as our mission statement. Think about it. If you do these two things right on a consistent basis, do the right thing and treat people right, you'll be doing pretty good. This is a great way to live your life and a great way to start off the new year. 

I encourage you to invest in yourself to be able to do these things better. What kind of disciplines or habits would help you do the right thing? Here's a your Bible, spend time talking to God, be around godly people, attend church, get into a small group. What would help you treat people better? Consider this...think about what it's like to be someone else. Try to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. The Golden Rule sounds pretty unto others as you would have them do unto you. That's a pretty good way to live. 

These are the two greatest commandments we have, because these two cover most everything else. If we focus on these two as we wake up every morning the rest of the commands will fall into place. The same is true in the lives of the collective church. If we do these two things, love God and love people, our church will be doing a pretty good job of preaching, teaching, and serving others. 

So make 2019 a year of doing right and treating people right. It might just be your best year ever. 

December 26, 2018, 10:14 AM

To Serve Not To Be Served

If you had a life mission statement what would it be? Would it have something to do with the consumption of coffee? Would it have to do with your favorite football team? Or would it have to do with how much you love your family? 

The Bible never says that Jesus had a life mission statement, and I'm sure that you could argue that he made a few mission statements. Yet one of the statements Jesus made really sticks out to me and it's found in Matthew 20:28. 

"Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

That sounds like a life mission statement to me. This is all about what Jesus was here on earth to do. He lived it out, too. He did not look to be served. He did not look for ways to elevate himself above others like the religious leaders of his day did. He hung out with people that other religious leaders would not be caught dead with, and he served people that others had shunned. He ultimately gave his whole life to this mission. 

So could we say the same thing? Are we all about trying to serve other people? What does a life look like that is lived this way? 

Here are a few things I can think of that defines this kind of life:

*You don't have to get your way. It's a life where you are not concerned that things are always done your way. You are happy to see others be served and blessed even if it's not for you. 

*You rejoice when things go well for others. You love to serve others so you love to see other people be successful. You are not jealous when others have what you don't. 

*You can let other people get credit. If you don't get credit for everything you do it's ok. You know it's good for the credit to be shared and spread. 

*You are always thinking of ways to serve others. People who love to serve others find ways to serve others. There is no shortage of opportunities just a shortage of willingness. 

*You make others feel good. If you've ever been around someone that serves others they make you feel good. They actually feel good by making you feel good. 

So think about your life today. Could you say that you are a person that is here not to BE SERVED but to SERVE? I think Jesus' life statement is a pretty good for all of us. 

December 21, 2018, 11:27 AM

Hope in Christ Not Christmas

Christmas means a lot of different things for different people. For some people it really is the most wonderful time of the year. They get some time off of work. They get to spend time with family, maybe go on a vacation, do some traveling. For others its time with family and having dinners and celebrating traditions together. But for some people Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year. 

Christmas can bring up memories of loved ones lost that bring up old hurts. Christmas can remind people of just how they are struggling financially. Some families cannot provide for their children what they would like to. Christmas can remind people just how lonely they are. 

Our hope should not be in Christmas. 

Christmas is mainly a traditional celebration, but we celebrate Christ. This is where our hope lies. Our hope is not just about the manger that's just where it begins. Our hope is in the life, death, burial and ulitmately resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is a hope that is not defeated by any circumstance no matter how painful. 

Christmas can mean all kinds of things to all kinds of people. No matter what your feeling is about Christmas you can have hope. You can celebrate. It might not be the best time of the year for you, but you have something to be thankful for...the salvation you have in Jesus Christ. 

Merry Christmas! 

December 11, 2018, 9:39 AM

Obedience Is THE Part Of The Story

One of the things I love about the Bible is the continuous story that is told. When you read about the people involved in God's story you will find one consistent theme..obedience. There are men and women and even teenagers of various races and backgrounds. Some were very poor some were rich. Some were well-known some were unknown. The backgrounds of the people that we know about in God's story are so varied, but the consistent attribute of all of them is obedience. 

Noah was obedient to build an ark when he'd never seen rain. 

Moses was obedient to go free the slaves from Egypt when he was an unknown shepherd. 

David was obedient to take on a nine foot tall giant with no armor. 

Gideon was obedient to take on a thousands of men with 300. 

Lydia was obedient to help save her whole family when she'd just been saved herself

Paul was obedient to preach the Gospel when he'd just been an enemy of it. 

Mary was obedient to give birth to Jesus as a teenage virgin.

The person we are looking at today is Joseph. This is a great story of obedience. Joseph and Mary were engaged and were doing things properly...again being obedient to God. He finds out his wife is pregnant and he is going to protect his fiancee. He is going to do the right things by her and protect her dignity by quietly hiding her. God has other plans. 

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. --Matthew 1:20-25

Joseph. like Mary, is one of the most recognizable people in history. He was an unknown carpenter living a quiet life when God came in with his plan. The reason Joseph was a part of the story was that he said YES. 

I wonder how much would change in our lives if everytime God called us to do something we said YES. No maybe's, no we'll see's, no when things settle down, just YES. I would like my life to play a part in the story of God. I would like to know that my life has meaning and that God is doing something great in my life. The only way this will ever happen is if I say YES to God when he moves in my life. 

The consistent theme in the story of everyone God has used to do great things is obedience. Maybe there's something to learn from that. 

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