Billy's Blog
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September 29, 2015, 4:22 PM

To Judge Or Not To Judge

There are some cliches that seemed to get used a lot by religious people or by people referencing religion. Here are a few of them, and my own personal label for each one:

"God will not give you more than you can handle."--false

"I'm only human."--lame excuse

"I'm a spiritual person, but I'm not into church."--you're pants are on fire

"Don't judge me."--??

I get asked about judgment all the time. When I thought about this blog I read several passages on judging other people. I read Matthew 7:1-5, which most people quote verse one, but forget to read the rest of it. Verse one says, "Judge not, that you be not judged." I read John 7:24 that tells us not to judge by appearances but to judge with the right judgment. 

Other passages on judging challenge us in our hypocrisy. Romans 2:1-3, says that many times when we are judging others we are doing the very same thing that we are condemning. This is so true. 

James 4:11-12 compares unfair judgment to "speaking evil against one another". It sounds much like slander or gossip in this passage, which we know is definitely a sin. 

So what are we to conclude about judging others?

1. I do not believe it's strictly condemned.

We have to make judgments of people all the time. Will we help this person out financially? Will I pick up this person who needs a ride? Will I buy something from this person? Will I hire this person or not? We have to make judgments all the time. What we want to do is make judgments that are fair and based upon the information we have and not based upon what we THINK we know. 

2. It's clearly and strongly warned.

The problem with judging other people is that simply we aren't very good at it. We don't have all the information. We can't see their heart or their thoughts. We have our own biases and opinions that lead us astray. One big problem is that we are sinners, too. 

3. A good idea...mind your own business. 

What's the old saying, "People that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." I know that I've got enough problems of my own to worry about. I don't have the time nor the energy nor the holiness to go judging others for what they are doing or saying. I know how ugly slander and gossip sounds when I hear it from someone else, so I know it would sound really ugly coming out of my mouth, too. My house has enough dings and stratches on it, I don't really need to go over and try to fix my neighbor's house. 

When it comes to issues that we disagree on I love the passage in Romans 14. Romans chapter 14 is all about disagreements between people and judging each other. Paul is instructing the church in how to deal with issues that aren't necessarily right or wrong, just differences of opinion...even STRONG differences. Here's a great piece of advice he gives:

"So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves." Romans 14:22

In other words, the less said the better sometimes. 


Have a great day,



September 24, 2015, 5:27 PM

Not Where We Want To Be...But It's Ok

When you are young you are asked many times, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" What was your answer? Fireman, policeman, nurse, professional athlete, actress? You might have responded by saying what your dad or mom did, because when you are little your parents are your heroes. They are larger than life. 

As you enter high school and your teenage years it may change a few times, and even in college the average person changes their major three to four times. We have dreams a long the way, sometimes they come true and some times they don't. As you are reading this has your life turned out so far like you have dreamed it would?

I would imagine that many of us are not working our dream job or our dream job is not quite what we expect it would be. The dream is becoming a lot more complicated than we thought. That dream person that you married has flaws that you never knew about. We always put our best foot forward when we are dating, and we don't quite reveal our full self. My wife thought I kept a neat and tidy vehicle all the time, freshly washed, vacuumed and Armor Oiled. It didn't take her long after we were married to see that this tidiness of mine was a big facade. I did that before every date to impress her. 

Maybe you aren't living in the town you'd dreamed of living. You had dreamt of a six bedoroom, 5 bathroom estate with a white picket fence, large manicured lawn, and paved driveway. But you find yourself still renting a house too small for your needs. You aren't driving your dream car, but rather a car that will haul your family. "Grocery getters" is what young people call them. 

So what do you do when life hasn't quite turned out like you want? How do you react when your dreams haven't come true and you are left with a reality that doesn't thrill you? 

1. It's ok to dream.

Don't allow unfulfilled dreams to stop you from dreaming. There are many examples of people who did great things after years and years of failing or not living up to expectations. God says in Proverbs 16:3 to commit our plans to Him and he will make them succeed. Another word for plans could be dreams. Keep committing your dreams to God. Keep pursuing them. Keep working hard. You don't have to give them up. 

2. Find contentment where you are.

1 Timothy 6:6 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain." 

Contentment does not mean that you never want more or give up on dreams. Contentment is a mindset. Contentment means that I'm going to choose to be happy with what I have. If I never get any more I can be happy here. When I think of contentment I think of being able to look around and find joy in what I already have. If you aren't able to have sportscar anymore but have to drive a minivan it probably means that you have children. Isn't it a blessing to have children? Don't answer that too fast! Think about it. The other night I just looked at my daughter and smiled. She was over in the corner and just reading a happy and content with the smallest things. Life is good. 

3. If God closes one door another one is about to open.

Ok, I know this sounds like a religous cliche that religious people say and think to make them feel better about their pathetic lives. I get that cynicism. But it really is true. I have seen it time and time again in my life. There have been dreams of mine that never quite came to be, because God has something better for me. One of my dreams was to play college baseball. I had always wanted this, but I realized at about 15-16 years old that this dream would probably not come true. I had a hard time making my local all-star team let alone play in college. My senior year in high school we had some really good players who had attracted some scouts. As "luck" would have it I got seen and had some really good games. I actually ended up getting offers to play for two small schools. It wasn't UCLA or Stanford or Oregon State, but they were colleges. My dream never really came about, because I felt the call of God to not attend either college and go train to be a preacher. Although I questioned God's purpose and plan throughout this process I'm so glad he did what he did. He closed one door and opened up a much better door. 

Maybe you aren't where you want to be in life. That's ok, hang in there. Maybe it's not time yet...your dream is still out there but the timing isn't good. Maybe your dream really is a nightmare and God has something much better for you around the corner. Maybe you just need to look around and enjoy what you have. Maybe you really have accomplished your dream but you just can't see it. 

Remember this...God is good all the time. All the time God is good. 

That's true all the time!

Have a great week,


September 17, 2015, 8:57 AM

You Gotta Keep Livin

"Mortals, born of woman, are few of days and full of trouble." These are the words of Job. Of course, most people know of the life of Job. He suffered greatly. But is this really the essence of life...full of trouble?

Well, there is trouble, no doubt about that. Recently in our community and church we've seen trouble. We have seen heartache and loss. I know that as you read this you could share some trouble in your life. Being a Christian certainly does not shield you from the trouble that life on this planet shares with us. In 1 Corinthians chapter four Paul shares some perspective. We all certainly need this. I visited with someone this morning at a local convenience store and I asked them how they were doing. They said they could share some troubles with me, but so many have it worse that it felt pretty lame to even share their troubles. It's called, perspective. Read these three verses from 1 Corinthians chapter four:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

1. We do not lose heart.

I had to do a funeral for a young man who had passed away in a vehicle accident. I was visiting with his grandpa about two weeks later. He asked, "What do I do now?" I really had no good answer but to say, "You just keep living." We can't give up. It's just not an option. So we push on. We don't lose heart, because we know we have much more to live for. 

2. Our troubles are light and momentary.

I know some of your troubles may not seem very light and momentary,but when it's compared to eternity it's just a blip on the radar. I heard someone say that they could get through anything as long as they knew it was temporary. Another famous little line is, "This too shall pass." This ongoing struggle that seems never ending will at one time be far behind you in your rearview mirror. Hang in there. 

3. We fix our eyes on the unseen.

The definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1 is basically is, I will believe in the unseen as much as I believe in the seen. Just as much as you believe in the things around you that you can touch, hear, smell and taste, you believe in the unseen. This is what sustains is. We know there is something greater to live for. We know that there is hope in this life and beyond this life. 

Paul says what we see is temporary, but what we don't see is eternal. Everything that you can see will go away, even people. Our bodies are called tents in Scripture, referring to the temporary status of our physical bodies. All that we can see with the natural eye will go away, so don't put your faith in those things. Even when life around you is chaotic and crazy and can have peace because you believe in something greater than this life. 

The Bible says that our hope in God is our anchor...our rock. Hang on to it. Do not lose heart, you gotta keep livin!

September 8, 2015, 11:51 AM

What do you really believe?

This morning I was working on a couple of sermons for a youth event I'm preaching at this weekend. I was at McDonald's enjoying their free wifi and a Diet Coke. Where I was sitting there was a TV playing. The show that was on was The View, a commentary show hosted by four ladies...I think. I'm not a fan of the show but it was on and every few minutes my brain would listen to what they were saying. I was either disgusted by their comments or totally disagreed with most of them. But this was not what really bothered me. People that TV shows are paid to talk and be controversial. If they didn't cause any controversy then we wouldn't pay any attention to them. What bothered me was the crowd. There some opposing ideas and they applauded for both of them. Ok, I know, it's a TV show, right? There is probably an applause sign that tells them when to clap. But isn't this a sad commentary on our culture? 

I wonder if sometimes that people live as if there is an applause sign on all the time telling them when to like something. Do we have any idea what we believe? Are we able to seek truth, make informed decisions and like or dislike something based upon our own findings with our own sense of logic, morality and decency? 

The apostles were inspired by God to teach the things they taught as they went out starting churches and establishing them and encouraging them. The apostle Paul was speaking to the Berean people and something is said of them that shows the kind of people they were. In Acts 17:11 it says about them that they were of "more noble character", because "they received the message with great eagerness and examine the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

Did you notice that? It wasn't good enough for them to just hear Paul speak to them, they searched the written Scriptures to see if his message lined up with what was true. Because of this they were called, noble. 

We have so many talking heads in our lives today. Our lives are bombarded by information. We have Facebook, Youtube, several TV news channels, blogs, newspaper, Twitter...the list goes on. As we hear all of this information we must use truth to sort it out. We must be able to distinguish what is truth and what is not. Don't just believe what you hear. Dig into it. Does this match your experience in life? Does this sound logical? Does it stay consistent with the Bible? Does it match up with other information? 

Don't settle for just allowing others to tell you what they believe is right. Seek truth. Seek to know more. Seek to understand the will of God. The Bible tells us that if we seek we shall find, if we ask we'll get the answer, if we knock the door will open. Don't give up on seeking answers...the truth will come out. 

August 31, 2015, 5:39 PM

Something to hold on to

Weather is something that fascinates a lot of people. I remember when I was a kid the only weather report was the five minute report you got on the nightly news. They might do two segments of a teaser and one was a full report...but that was it. You might hear the forecoast on the radio, but that was it. Now we have two, count that, TWO, channels on TV that are 100% committed to just weather. Two channels that all they do is weather. Wow! We have weather radios, weather apps, and all kinds of places you can get weather information. 

You may think this is total overkill unless you are about to be in a major storm. If you have a tornado that could be coming your way you will be glad to have some weather information. If you a hurricane could possibly flatten your house in the next 2-3 days you'll be glad that Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel is willing to hang onto a light pole to give the lastest tracking of the hurricane. All of us want to be ready when the storm comes through. 

But what about life? Are you prepared for the storms of life? 

As a minister I've watched many people endure some pretty serious storms. I've watched families go through things that have broken my heart. The difference between people that make it through the storms and people that break down is whether or not they have God to hold onto. 

Hebrews 6:19 says that our hope in God is our anchor. What does an anchor do? An achor holds you in place when everything around is moving. You might be out fishing in some rough waters, but with your anchor firmly in place you aren't going anywhere. The same is true of God. God never changes. He never moves. God cannot be shaken or broken down. It doesn't matter what happens around God, God remains the same...unchanged, unmoved, unwavering. 

Life is constantly changing. Storms are constantly coming. We face cancer, job loss, loss of loved ones, relationships are broken, we go bankrupt, and we get hurt. What happens to us when things around us are falling apart? It all depends on if have something solid to hold onto. Do you? I really hope so. If you need help determining this answer, please contact me. You can find me on Facebook, you can email me, there are several ways to contact me. I'd be glad to help you. 

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