Billy's Blog
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April 27, 2018, 9:58 AM

Why Discipleship Works


When I Googled why discipleship works I found over 250,000,000 results. You talk about information overload. Obviously I'm not looking at 250 million articles on why discipleship works. One of the greatest ways to know why something works is to look back and figure out why it worked in your own experience. 

So I took some time this week and thought about it. Why does discipleship work? Why is it that people stay connected to God through a connection with other believers? Here's what I came up with...

1. We need others. 

2. We need to be needed. 

 

WE NEED OTHERS. Proverbs tells us that pride comes before a fall. We struggle to admit that we have a need for other people. We tend to think that we can handle this all on our own. It's just not true. I have watched for 20 years as people have come through the doors of the churches that I've served. The ones that who never get connected to other people just don't last. 

This life is tough. Satan hates you and he hates the church. He wants to wear us down. We need other people to be there for us. We need others praying for us. We need others listening to us. We need other people to hold us up when we are too weak to keep going. We simply need other pepole. I know some of you don't want to admit this, but the truth is still there. 

WE NEED TO BE NEEDED. Our faith gets stronger when we invest in other people. Jesus' greatest mission for his church is to go make disciples. This is where our faith hits the ground. If we are always taking from other people we become fat and lazy Christians. 

One of the issues with the American church is that we are consumers. Many look at the church as something that is there to serve them. It's partly true...the church is here to serve, but who is the church? The church is you and me. If we are coming to church expecting the church to only serve us we will never grow in our faith. We would be like a little baby bird who sits and waits for his mama every day to feed him. The way the bird grows is getting up and flying out of the nest. 

We gotta get out of the nest. We need to go fly. We need to serve. We need to invest in others. This is good for us. We need to know that we have a purpose and that we have something to go live for...to serve others. 

Discipleship works, because it's how God created us. He created us with a need for others and a need to serve others. 

If you'll allow yourself to be discipled by others and then go find others to go invest in you will be a growing, healthy Christian. It's time to get out of the nest!!




April 18, 2018, 10:50 AM

Discipleship is serving


One of the things that got Jesus in trouble with the religious people of his day is that he just didn't get it. Well, he got it, but not in their minds. Jesus did a lot of things backwards from what the religious of the day were doing. According to them he had it all wrong. Jesus knew this and he did it on purpose. In Matthew 20 he has a teachable moment with his disciples. 

 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 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.” Matthew 20:25-28

The Pharisee's version of discipleship was not discipleship at all. It was more like manipulation or bullying. They lorded their authority over people. In Matthew 23 Jesus criticizes them for demanding difficult things from the people but having an unwillingness to lift a finger to help them. Jesus tells his disciples that this is not what discipleship should be like. 

Discipleship is all about service. 

Jesus fed the crowd, because they were hungry. The disciples wanted the crowd to go into town and get some lunch, but Jesus said NO...we are going to feed them. That's service that disciples. 

Jesus stopped and healed the paralytic man that had waiting for 38 years for someone to help him. Everyone was so consumed with their lives they couldn't see the need of this man. Jesus did.  That'a service that leads to discipleship. 

Jesus stopped and visited with a tax collector named, Zaccheus, and that act of service turned into an amazing moment of discipleship. 

Jesus showed us how to do this...you and I can do it, too. 

My wife is really good at this. She would never get in front of a crowd. She does not want to be the center of attention or to be in control, but she's really good at discipleship. She will invite a lady over for coffee and make muffins for them and just listen. She will go with a friend to a doctor's appointment, just because that friends needs someone to go. 

But I don't know how to make muffins and I don't like coffee so I have to find different ways. 

I spend time taking guys to lunch. I golf with guys. I try to find out what people are into and find ways to be interested in those things. 

As you read this blog I want you think about ways you take action to serve people and disciple others through service. Someone needs you to do this for them. They need you to be there for them, and you are just the right person for the job. So go out and serve someone today and make a difference in their life. 




April 11, 2018, 9:40 AM

We're Becoming Our Parents...YIKES!


When you were a kid there were probably things your parents said to you that you promised to yourself that you'd never say to your kids. Things like, "This is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you." We all knew that this wasn't true, especially when we peeked back and saw the tiniest smile. Or when your parents said, "Do you want a spanking?" YES...please, hit me as hard as you want...I love it!! 

No matter how much you said you'd never say some of these things to your kids you might have found yourself saying them. One of those that I've said to my kids is, "because I said so." I didn't like that as a kid, because it seemed like a pretty lame answer. I mean, of course you said so, but WHY did you say so. I rarely ever got the answer to that, and I hated it. But now I've found myself saying it, because now I'm the parent. I'm the one in authority, and that authority is enough. Discipleship does not work this way. 

Jesus did not threaten people or coerce people into following him..he influenced them. He showed them a better way. 

Jesus chose twelve men to follow him around and become disciples or followers. They followed him around and they watched him live. They ate together, they walked together, they lived together, and he discipled them by teaching and even more importantly by showing them. 

I love the story of the little children coming to Jesus. The disciples did not see the value of this. The people had brought the kids for Jesus to touch and pray over them. Jesus rebuked the disciples and brought them up on his lap and blessed them. Jesus was showing the disciples how to treat people. He was showing them that all people are important, not just the ones that we deem important. Even kids with runny noses and dirty shoes are important. 

Discipleship is done best by simply showing people how life is done. Bring people along with you and show them. Parenting is much the same. We can talk until we are blue in the face, but demonstrating to our children how life is lived is way better. So take some time out of your busy life and show someone how life is lived. Show someone how to treat others. Show someone how to treat your spouse. Show someone how to handle a job. 

Be influential in the lives of the people around you..not just by words, but by action, too. 




April 4, 2018, 10:10 AM

It's All Relationships


Why are you willing to maybe pay a little more for something at one store instead of choosing the cheaper one? It's all about relationships. You build a relationship with the owner, the workers, and you go there because you like them. 

Why would you have loyalty to a business that might be less conveniently located for you? Relationships. 

Why would you stay at a job that might not pay as well? Relationships.

Why would you stop everything you're doing to help someone? Relationships.

Why would you drive 30 minutes to church when there's a church 5 minutes away? Relationships. 

It's all about relationships. 

Jesus came to this planet to change the world. He accomplished it. The other day was Good Friday. Schools were out, businesses were closed, and many had no idea why. It was because of Jesus. He changed the world. Phil Robertson always asks people what the date is. He says that even atheists proclaim Jesus when they tell you the date. Jesus changed the world. He initiated something called, the church, which his disciples started, that changed the world. But how did he do it? 

Relationships.

He gathered up men. He went to two or three, or just one at a time, and he gathered them up to serve with him. He started out with 12 men. He started with 12 to change the world forever. Jesus understood the power of relationships. When people build relationships they will do things for and with each other that you never thought possible. 

The Great Commission, in Matthew 28:16-20, tells us to "go into all the world." We are commanded to teach, baptize, and disciple people. But if you look into the original Greek it can also be translated, "as you go." When I think about this I think about relationships. Every where I go I'm building relationships with people. I see the same lady working the counter at the local convenience store. I see the same ladies working at the bank. I befriend our neighbors. I start inviting a new couple at church over for dinner. I'm building relationships every where I go. 

If you want to build a business you better start understanding how to build relationships. 

If you want that college scholarship you better start understanding how to build relationships. 

If you want that promotion you better start understanding how to build relationships. 

It's all about relationships. 

In Matthew 22 Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment was. This was not an honest question it was a trap. These Pharisees tried to enforce over 600 laws and this was quite the pop quiz. Jesus had no trouble with their quizzes. He said the greatest commandment was to love God. You had to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He said the second was like it, love your neighbor as you love yourself. 

Again...it's all about relationships. Loving God and loving people is about building relationships. For the next few weeks at church we are talking about discipleship... about investing into people. It all starts with relationships. The old saying becomes truer and truer to me every day..."people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."




March 27, 2018, 10:14 AM

The Power Of Hope


Defining hope may be a little like trying to pin jello to a wall...it's really hard to nail it exactly. I could give you Webster's definition or the Hebrew or Greek word, but I want to give you a word picture that the Bible gives. 

In Hebrews 6:19 the Bible says this, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."

So the definition that I will use today for hope is anchor. When I think of an anchor I think of something solid. I think of something that holds me in place when something is trying to move me. I think of a boat. You are out trying to fish and stay in one location, but the wind and the waves are trying to push you around. They are trying to move you from where you really want to be. These winds and waves are things that threaten your hope. So what threatens your hope? 

Tragedy. 

Financial worry. 

Health issues. 

Family dysfunction. 

Loss of job. 

There are a lot of things that threaten to move us away from hope. The only way that we can make it is to set down an anchor. That anchor is our hope in Jesus. This sounds good but how do we set this anchor down? How does this really work in our lives? 

1. Read your Bible

Ok...enough with the cliche preacher solutions. Well, I know but this works. The Bible reminds us of the promises that God has made. When God called Joshua to lead the people of Israel after Moses has died he tells him to be strong and courageous three times in one chapter. The reason that Joshua could be strong and courageous is simple...God promised to never leave him. 

We need to get into our Bibles and read and reread the promises of God. We need to be reminded exactly what our hope is in and what exactly God promises that we can hold onto. 

2. Be around other people that are trying to hang on to the same hope. 

I married into a large family. This is a Christian family. There has been a lot of death and difficult times in our family in the last 4-5 years, and it's been really cool to see a large family rally around each other. One of the metaphors for the church is a family. We may not be blood relatives, but we have our relationship with Christ that bonds us. You need these people to help be your anchor. These believers know what it's like to feel like you are losing your hope. They know what it's like to be in your shoes. Let them help you. 

3. Keep walking...even when you can't see the path. 

A part of trusting God is continuing to do what you know is right despite not understanding any of what you are going through. Its kind of like driving at night and you are temporarily blinded by the headlights of another vehicle. You can't see the road for a few seconds but you know it's there. You don't just slam on the brakes and go drive into the ditch. You know the road is there even though you can't see it. We know God is there for us even when we can't see the proof yet. 

Our hope is real. Our hope in Jesus is an anchor. Everything but God in life can disappoint. Most of what we have in this life can be taken away or changed in the blink of eye. The constant, the rock is God. He will never leave us he will never forsake us. 


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