Billy's Blog
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May 18, 2018, 11:50 AM

The Best Encouragement...a Good Example


When I think of encouragement I usually think of kind words and friendly notes or a nice text message. Encouragement is partly this but so much more. 

Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 to be an example to the believers. He was told to set the example through his love, conduct, speech, faith, and purity. Part of the job of the pastor is to set an example and to encourage the people that they can do it, too. It's also your job. 

Being a Christian is hard for anyone. Going to church and putting a couple of bucks in the offering plate every week isn't too tough, but actually following Jesus is pretty tough. It's hard to do the right thing when others don't seem to care. It's hard to live different than your culture. It's hard to buck the temptations of this world, but it's worth it. 

That's the point...it's worth it. We aren't even talking about you...it's worth it for the hope and inspiration you give to others. People need some hope that they can live this life for God. They need to see others doing it to believe it. 

When I was much younger I had a mentor who gave me great advice. I took much of his advice and applied it to my life and my ministry and it worked. The problem was I got disappointed when I saw he wasn't really living it out. His life was coming off the rails. I still loved him but I lost some respect. 

Several years ago I met a man that became another mentor. I really respect him and was inspired by him, because he really did live the life. He never gave me advice that he didn't already do himself. I was inspired to try to do the things that he was doing. 

We need to realize that the best encouragement for others is not kind words or a nice note...that's important, too. But the best encouragement you can give is to set an example. Inspire someone by living the life yourself. 




May 10, 2018, 10:54 AM

Finding purpose every day


Everybody's working for the weekend. 

It's finally Friday, I'm free again. I got my motor running for a wild weekend. 

There are many more songs written about the weekend. There's actually a country song called, The Weekend. 

Here's the problem with waiting for the weekend...we are missing the purpose of each day. We are missing opportunities to make a difference each day of the week. 

One of the purposes God has for your life is WORSHIP. Worship is not something that just happens on Sunday morning or a Wednesday night at church. Worship is a lifestyle. Just imagine this. A person joins Alcoholics Anonymous. The person's meeting is on Mondays. Tuesday-Sunday this person gets drunk and then shows up every Monday sober. When the group figures out what this person is doing they are really worried. This isn't the point of AA. It's not just about showing up to the meetings sober, it's about changing your life. It's about living it out every day of the week. 

The same is true of worship. It's not meant to be something that is just done one day a week it's a lifestyle. 

Romans 12:1 describes this kind of worship a LIVING sacrifice. This is in comparison to the sacrifices of the Old Testament. The sacrifices of the Israelite people were meant to be their best. In Malachi chapter one Malachi is rebuking the people of Israel for giving defiled sacrifices. They weren't giving their best, and it was not okay. God expected their best. The same is true of us today. 

God doesn't want our leftovers. God doesn't just want one day of worship and six days of ignoring him. God wants all of us every day. This might sound pretty demanding, but think about this. 

God does not expect anything from you that you can't give. He's not an unfair parent who has unrealistic and impossible expectations of you. He only wants what you have. He is able to be pleased. If you simply give him your best that's all he wants. He doesn't expect out of you what you cannot give. 

So as you read this and you move on with your life go give your best. Give your best in your work. When you go home give your best to your wife and kids. When you spend your money do it to the glory of God. Take care of your health as if God has given you life. (he has by the way) 

Go live your life on purpose...today. Don't wait for the weekend! 




May 2, 2018, 11:24 AM

Created With Purpose


The creator determines purpose. Just think about things that are created. When Steve Jobs started Apple he created things with purpose. They wanted to make money, but that's not what really drives a creator. A creator is driven by the purpose of the creation. Just think about how Apple products have changed so much in our world. 

Henry Ford is one of the greatest innovators of modern history. He did not invent the automobile, but his vision for the automobile was to make it affordable and accessible to the average American. He had a purpose behind his creation, and it changed the world. The creator determined the purpose of the creation. 

I choose to believe that God created mankind. I believe in the Bible, and I believe there is much more evidence for an intelligent creator than there is for this to come about because of chance. Science even tells us that something cannot come from nothing. Because I believe that God created me and you I believe that we have a purpose. 

If God did not intentionally create us and we just evolved from pond scum without any rhyme or reason than we have no clear purpose. We are just here for no reason in particular. We are just here to survive and then to die. This sounds pretty hopeless and I don't believe it is true. 

God created us for a purpose. I love the thoughts that Jeremiah shares in Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

God has plans for me. God has a purpose and a future for me. This means that my life has meaning. I was put on this planet for a reason. I'm not here by chance. Psalms 139 is a great passage to read that reminds us that God knew us when we were still in our mom's womb. He has created us for a purpose. The fun part is spending our life discovering it. It's a journey, and it's not always easy, but we know that God is in it. He is there working with us to discover our purpose. 

So enjoy your journey and go live out your purpose! 

 




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. 


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