Billy's Blog
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May 27, 2016, 9:21 AM

The Value Of People

Think about what you do for a job, for your career. I want you to think about something for a few seconds. What is your greatest resource at your job? Maybe you are a builder, a teacher, an administrator, a nurse, a doctor or a financial person. You may think that your greatest resource is your education, your training, your tools, or your technology. But in reality your greatest resource is people. Nothing happens without people. 

I know that you may be thinking that people are also your biggest problem. Yes, without a doubt you are right. One pastor said that the church would be way easier to deal with it if it didn't have any people. The problem is the church is the PEOPLE. Without the people there is no church. The same is true of your job. If you are a nurse, it's great that you have years of education, training, and modern medical technology, but without people there's no job. You might have a great set of tools and a nice truck and a great trailer to haul everything, but if there's no people wanting to build houses you're out of a job. You can have the greatest, most beautiful store with the best inventory, but if no customers come in the door you don't have a store. 

Every once in a while I have just a few moments to reflect upon my life. This is something I just don't do enough. My mind has a difficult time slowing down and getting still. The other day one of my former elders in Louisiana passed away. We were very close when I lived in Louisiana. He was a great encouragement to me. His death caused me to reflect for a few moments spread through a few days. I began to think about what is really important in life. I began to think about what I really need to value and focus on. Again the answer was always is. 

As I get busy with planning and programming and writing and studying...all important tasks...I need to remind myself that it's really all about people. As I stop and visit with an older couple I'm reminded that it's all about people. As I counsel with a young person having some difficult circumstances, I'm reminded that it's all about people. When someone is having a crisis in their marriage I'm reminded that it's all about people. When I see someone make a breakthrough or give their life to Christ, I'm reminded once's all about people. 

My biggest source of aggravation and stress is people. I'm sure it's the same with you. But what would life be without them? Our families, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors...this is what life is all about. 

As you go to work today think about valuing what matters the most...PEOPLE! 

May 4, 2016, 8:45 AM

Verse Of The Day

I have a Bible app on my phone that gives me a verse of the day. Today's verse is a powerful and life-changing verse if we will apply it to our lives. It's from Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

It's not hard to break this passage down and find life-application. 

Trust in the Lord

I preached a sermon this past week at our church about tithing. The main thing that keeps people from faithfully giving to God is a lack of trust in God. We're not sure he will take care of us so we make sure we take care of ourselves. If we are ever going to grow in our walk with God we've got to trust him. We've got to trust him enough to obey what he says. We've got to trust that he knows better than we do. 

Lean not on your own understanding

This goes perfectly with trust. When we don't trust God we trust ourselves and our own judgment...bad idea. Proverbs has another verse that goes well this. It's found in Proverbs 14:12, There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. There are many ideas and beliefs that seem really good on the surface, but once we go try them out we watch them fail. In everything in our life we need to seek God and his guidance, trusting that he knows better than we do. 

In all your ways submit to him

You can seek God's will. You can read the Bible. You can go to church and listen intently to the sermons. But if you don't submit your will to God's will nothing will ever change. It's a word we really don't like...surrender. We must surrender our will to God's. Paul describes it in Galatians 2:20 as being "crucified with Christ...I no longer live but Christ lives in me." This is exactly what Jesus did when he prayed in the Garden that this cup or mission could pass from him. The human side of Jesus did not want to go through with all of it, but he ultimately surrendered to God and said, "not my will but yours." There is some powerful change that can happen in our lives if we'll submit, but it's easier said than done. 

He will make your paths straight

All throughout Scripture there is a theme...obedience to God brings blessings. If you will trust God more than yourself and submit your will to his your life will be blessed. 

I get to talk to people all the time that are struggling with this. They come to me about their marriage, or their relationship with their kids, or their own personal battles. The advice I give over and over again is you've got to do things God's way. I have the same struggle. We are pretty high on our own intelligence and our own problem-solving skills. But ultimately if we live life our way it's going to end up disaster. 

God has always shown us both choices...serve him or serve ourselves. He's also clearly shown the consequences and rewards of both choices. I really hope you take this passage above seriously and try to live this way. If you do your life will never be the same...and that's a good thing!

April 26, 2016, 9:25 AM

Simple Evangelism...don't be a jerk!

There's a lot of nonsense on Facebook. I know, obvious statement of the year, right? But the reason I keep Facebook is kind of like the reason I keep playing golf. There's a lot of terrible stuff but there's just enough good to keep me coming back. I read a statement this past week that I thought was really good. Here's what it said, "Sometimes the best evangelism is simply telling people you're a Christian and then not being a complete jerk." 

One of my friends commented on me sharing this yesterday on Facebook by saying, "What kind of Christians do you hang out with?" Well, I want to think that most of my Christian friends are really nice people, but sometimes Christians aren't. 

Sometimes we aren't very nice to unChristian people. 

Do you know that many waitstaff people hate Sunday afternoons because Christians are such poor tippers. I had one old preacher tell me, "If I only give 10% to God, I'm certainly not giving 15% to a waitress." With that attitude I really want to question whether or not he's generous with God. Shouldn't Christians be the best people to wait on? Shouldn't we be kind, patient, and generous? If this person is working when you just got out of church there's a chance that they are not a churchgoer or a believer. When I worked as a waiter to help put me through Bible college we had this one man who would come in quite often who claimed to be a believer. Each time he came in he would leave a Gospel tract that looked like a $10 bill. I know he was trying to spread the Gospel, but stiffing a waiter or waitress was not very effective. I could understand why my nonbeliever coworkers didn't like Christians. 

Sometimes we aren't very nice to each other. 

Does being loving and nice to each other really have anything to do with evangelism? Yes, it sure does. Remember what Jesus said in John 13:35, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." The everyone that Jesus is speaking of is unbelievers. Those outside the church will know that we are true disciples of Jesus by how we treat one another. I've seen a lot of people in the church get hurt by "friendly fire." My wife and I had really worked on getting one young gal to church when we lived elsewhere. We really tried for weeks to get her to come. She finally did and we were so excited. In the first 10 minutes she was there an older lady in the church "whispered", "My her dress is really short!" Well, her whisper was not exactly a whisper, and everyone in that section of the church could hear it. Two things were wrong: her dress was not too short, and this was rude and inconsiderate. We were very thankful that she considered who said it and decided to keep coming to church. 

The majority of Christians are trying hard to be nice people...keep it up!

I thought about the comment my friend had made about my Facebook post, "what kind of Christians do you hang out with?" I really thought about it and most of my friends are really cool people. They may not be cool by worldly standards, but they are good people. I hear stories about them. One of my friends tried to quit her job but her boss and co-workers begged her to stay. She's a really nice person and they don't want to see her leave. I have one friend who is a boss of many people. One of his employees recently told him that he's the best boss that she's ever had. He's fair and he truly cares about his employees. One of my friends owns a business and will give a job to just about anyone. He may not keep them but he gives them a chance. One of my friends is an office manager and he's always bringing food to the office and feeding everyone. (that would probably help your approval rating). One of my friends is a truck driver and has given out small gift cards to loaders who do a good job for him. I could go on and on. This is evangelism. 

Every once in a while I'll try to stop and think about what I'm doing here in ministry. I try to pause and reflect on what's been the most effective tools of evangelism. I do think church is very important and that my preaching is a HUGE part of my ministry. But the most memorable moments and lasting relationships are all about friendship. They are all about being there for someone in a time of need. I remember specific times where people did something so generous for me, or the time I was there for a person in their darkest of times. This is evangelism. 

So let's commit to this simple method of evangelism...DON'T BE A JERK. 

No one may ever write a book on this, but it may be just the most effective method going. 

April 20, 2016, 9:42 AM

Fighting Through Discouragement

Have you ever really fought for something? 

I'm not talking about literally fighting, like a physical fist fight, but the kind of fight that takes every ounce of your mental, physical, spiritual and emotional strength. Maybe you have fought for your kids to get a fair shake in life. Maybe you fought for your marriage or a friendship. Maybe you fought for yourself to get ahead and succeed despite obstacles against you. 

Near the end of this life the Apostle Paul described his journey in life this way: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

One of the fights that many believers fight is discouragement. I'm not talking about depression, that's a whole different ballgame. I'm talking about discouragement. In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary discouragement is defined as: a feeling of having lost hope or confidence. I want you to notice's a feeling. It's not reality. You still have hope. You still have a reason to be confident. 

Feelings betray us. We feel like no one cares. We feel like we aren't making a difference. We feel like we are in a no-win situation with no way out. We feel as if we are the only one in the world trying to do right. 

Remember the prophet, Elijah? He had just had this great victory in 1 Kings 18. It was 450 prophets of Baal versus one prophet of God, Elijah, and he won. It was another David vs. Goliath kind of victory. Ahab is the evil king who is a Baal worshiper and he is very angry. He sends people after Elijah. We find Elijah hiding in a cave feeling as if he's the only one that's trying to serve God. He has a FEELING of loneliness and betrayal. A wind comes by and the voice of God comes out of it. God tells Elijah that there are 7,000 people who have not bowed down to Baal who are ready to fight for him and with him. 

Discouragment is usually not based in reality. Oh, there are difficult times for sure. But in my experience the feelings of doom that we have are exaggerated. We must fight through them. But we don't have to fight through them alone. 

First of all, you have God. You have his Word. You have his Spirit. You need to lean on him and be encouraged by truth that will never betray you. God will never leave or forsake you. 

Secondly, we have other people we can lean on. There are people in my life who will straighten me out of my discouragement. It might be a kind, supportive word or it might be a kick in the rear end. My friends usually give me what I need. 

Do not allow discouragement to win. Fight it. Fight it with God on your side. Fight it with the truth that if God is for you then it doesn't matter what's against you. 

Fight with your team. You are not alone. You may not have 7,000 people ready to help you, but you have enough. 

Discouragement is an enemy, but it's an enemy that can be defeated. Keep fighting the good fight!

April 13, 2016, 9:09 AM

Do I really have to go to church to be a Christian?

This question of, "do I have to go to church to be a Christian?" has been asked to myself many times and I'm sure many of you have been posed this question, also. To me, this is one of those "yes and no" questions. 

First of all, can you become a Christian without the church? I supposed that technically you can. You can be reading your Bible, discover what you need to do to be saved, find some random person to baptize you and you can become a Christian. The question I always pose to people is how healthy will you be if you don't have a family?

Consider this...a baby can be a human without a family, correct? A baby can be born to a woman who does not want her. The baby can be dropped off on a doorstep, forgotten in an alley and lay there. This baby is most definitely a human, but how healthy is this baby going to be without a family to raise her, nurture her, feed her and protect her? The obvious answer is that unless this baby gets some kind of family this baby will not survive very long at all. The same is true of a babe in Christ. Without the church you will not survive spiritually. 

If you really desire to be a healthy, growing Christian you need the church. I'm not just talking about attending a Sunday morning service, punching your clock, throwing $20 in the plate and heading home. I'm talking about being with like-minded people, with others who are on the same mission in life you're on, serving together, loving together, even crying together. 

In Acts chapter 2 the Day of Pentecost had just happened. Over 3,000 people were saved that day. It had to have been quite a sight. New believers baptizing new believers, people everywhere, so much excitement, so much joy, so much happening. But as we all know the excitement of something new wears off. Commitment is where we struggle. So here's how the early church stayed growing and healthy.  

Read Acts 2:46-47: Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. 

For them to keep their commitment to Christ they needed to gather with each other. They needed to get together and study the Word. They needed to get together and just eat with each other and encourage each other. They needed this consistently, not just when they had nothing else to do. 

Do you need to go to church to be a Christian? Absolutely. Church is a lot of different things. It can be Sunday morning at the church building. It can a Bible study in a home. It can be serving together at a soup kitchen. It can be traveling together to an event. It can be working together on a widow's home. Church is much more than an hour-long service on Sunday morning. It's much more than many think it is and it's needed more than many think it is. 

I don't want to live this life alone. I love having a family. I love coming home to my wife and kids. I love eating meals together. I love watching TV together. I love asking them how their day was. I love traveling together. I love getting texts and calls from my wife. My life is enriched because of my family.

The church is a family. You can go try to live this life all by yourself, but how much fun is that? Don't run from the church, embrace it. It's the greatest organization that man has an opportunity to be a part of. Try it out. I think you'll be happy you did!


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