A Life with Purpose


I never saw it coming. The voice on the other end of the phone said in a frail but determined way: “If God gives me four more weeks of life I will finish this book. I’ve been working on it every day.” My eyes swelled up with tears immediately. The man speaking those words, Billy Hornsby, has been battling an aggressive form of cancer that has now moved into his brain. He’s a good friend, a great leader and one the authors I represent. But he didn’t stop there. He paused and then spoke again, “God has been so good to me and I want to help people to discover the amazing life He can give them. I just need a little more time.” overwhelmed by Billy’s response I had to pull over and try to get myself back together.

A Life With Purpose

Just hours before I had a completely different conversation with someone who’s biggest ambition in life was to have more time off from work. Billy’s urgency to finish strong and to continue to fulfill his God-given purpose till the very end, spoke deeply to me. It has forced me to re-examine my choices, priorities, and aspirations. It has prompted me to look afresh at God’s will for my life.

I have been abundantly blessed in every area of my life. It would be wrong and wasteful of me to wander through life without a greater purpose other than, as the old hymn says, “count my blessings naming them one by one.” Billy is not done. He needs four more weeks, and I know that if God grants him more than that he will find another project to do.

So today I’m praying that God will help me refocus my life, and that I will be obedient in relentlessly pursuing it.

What would you do if you knew you only had four weeks left to live?

  • James

    Maurilio, this is a very timely post. I have been thinking about a career change because I'm not find satisfaction on what I'm doing. I don't just want a job, a want a career. Thanks for sharing your conversation with Billy and being so transparent. Your blog has been a great encouragement to me.

    • Thank you for sharing your struggle with us.

    • Joseph

      James, I was there myself just 7 months ago. It is a crazy road and mine was filled with grief, family struggles and I was miserable. I am here to tell you though, the back side of it is awesome and because I knew I had to change and I had a focus on what I really wanted to do, I am loving where I am now.
      It will be awesome….keep that focus.

  • I love Billy. Not sure anyone has had a bigger impact in my life.

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  • Linda

    I have written down a series of goals and priorities I needed to articulate in my life after reading this, Maurilio. Thank you

  • This really touched me today. Just what I needed. Thank you.

  • Maurilio,

    I was not aware of the gravity of Billy's situation. Thank you for this post. Praying for him today.

  • Danny Boggs

    Maurilio, what a story and testimony!
    Thank you, Bill, for your words of faith and encouragement and courage! I wondered so many times why God had me go through what I did.One day I read 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."
    Thank you Bill for sharing how God may or may not answer all of our burdens, but can always heal the heart! God smiles at your heart my dear brother! 🙂

  • I'm glad this post was able to help you. God used it to minister to my own heart as I wrote it.

  • Nicky

    Such an inspiration and spiritual father to so many of the greatest Pastors in America, Billy Hornsby has helped build the kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven, thank you for your faithfulness and guidance to all the ARC Pastors and members, you have touched so many lives in a way you will never know. “Well done my good and faithful servant” will be the Lords words when you get to meet face to face. We love you Billy !!!

  • Dawn Salisbury

    Bro. Billy helped form the ministry in our son's life and has spoken volumes into our own lives just by watching the love he has for Jesus, the brethren, and most of all his family. What a man of God he is and what a blessing to the body of Christ. Our prayers are with him and his beloved family daily. Thank you for this timely article that has taken wings into our hearts, Dawn (proud mother of Tom Longfellow).

  • lifestreamsflow1

    I think God is unveiling some "different kinds of heroes" in these last days…and Billy is certainly one of them. He preached at our church (Church of the Highlands) this last month, and his message was called "Struggling Well". He certainly is a "hero" to all of us who know him and his family through COTH. We are so grateful that his life has touched all of ours in the years we have be a part. Blessings on Billy, Charlene and all his extended family! OUR GOD REIGNS!

    Sandy Brunson

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  • Joseph, go on those trips, friend while you can.

  • If I only had four weeks left, I would pack up my family. We would fly over to India and spend my final weeks loving the heck out of the little kids in the Sacred Revolution orphanage. And I would blog every minute of it, along with a simple message about Jesus' immense love at the end of each post.

    And I would pray that, through my final four weeks, God's love would spread like wildfire.

    (P.S. I'm working like a mad woman to make this happen ASAP, even though I plan to have more than four weeks left.)

  • We love Billy! He is the spiritual daddy of many pastors and churches all around the world. He co-founded ARC and has spoken into the lives of countless men and women who have joined the front-lines of battle in the ministry, especially in the realms of church planting and missions. He is a great source of encouragement. His impact is like that of a Bill Bright (who also fought terminal sickness valiantly). There are no words to describe (although you did a great job, as good as I believe can be done). We are praying for his healing and trusting God in His plan. Thanks for posting!

  • 1 month? I'd spend it with my wife and son. Try to bang out a memoir 🙂

  • Jenny

    Billy Hornsby is one the overseers of the church I attend in NC. Every time I have heard him speak he has truly poured blessings into my life as with so many that have heard him as well. I have never been able to talk to him in person but he is a person that I would love to sit and chat with for a while. I never have tired of all his Boudreaux and Thibodeaux tales. If you get a chance, pass on my thanks to him for fighting the good fight and sharing it with the world and for never failing to bring a smile to my face.

  • Lisa

    Tonight we heard Pastor Billy speak for what may be his last time. I am so heavy hearted and yet he was very clear in his message to all of us. He told all of us he loved us, he told his wife Charlene thank you for all the wonderful years they have had together. But most of all, he thanked God for blessing him and allowing him to serve the Lord through the mininstry. On December 26, we heard Pastor Billy for the first time as new members of the Church of the Highlands. I feel blessed that the Lord allowed us to hear his message. We were told by Pastor Billy himself that he has felt the presence of the Lord during the last week and he is at total peace. I am amazed that he came to speak to us tonight (still in giving of himself) and not focusing on his sicknesssf, but the Lord. I pray for him and his wife and family, as well as Pastor Hodges and his wife. If he should go to be with God and Lord, I know that he will be truly missed but he will leave behind a wonderful legacy. Thank you Pastor Billy and I am so glad I was given the opportunity to hear your message. As Pastor Surratt said, you have been a mentor to many and you are loved by all. God Bless you and your family.

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