Your business could make all the money in the world. But will it buy you happiness? A family who loves you? Connection with God?
Sometimes, your business gets in the way of what really matters.
And when you pivot careers, suddenly life changes: relationships become deeper, you become closer to the Lord, and you feel overwhelmed with content.
Today’s guest Bill Loveless had a thriving construction business. But at 48 he threw it all away after a call from God. Now he helps Texans achieve peace through Christ.
In this episode, you’ll discover how listening to the Lord’s call makes room for peace and relationships.
Show Highlights Include:
- Why woodwork gives your computer-obsessed grandchildren a sense of purpose ([5:15])
- How the Lord heals your childhood traumas (even if He never speaks to you directly) ([11:42])
- Why deepening your relationship with Christ makes you peaceful (even when fear storms the media) ([17:31])
- The 2000-year-old, drug-free anxiety cure that’s more potent than CBD or Valium ([19:05])
“People think, because they’ve been in church, reading their Bible, doing all the checklists, that equals spiritual growth.”
– Bill Loveless
Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money? Welcome to “Retire in Texas”, where you will discover how to enjoy your faith, your family, and your freedom in the state of Texas—and, now, here’s your host financial advisor, author, and all-around good Texan, Darryl Lyons.
Darryl: Hey, welcome to Retire in Texas. My name is Darryl Lyons. I’m your host. I’m the co-founder and CEO of PAX Financial Group.
PAX Financial Group is the sponsor of this program, so be sure to visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information. Remember, the information in this show is not intended to provide specific tax or legal advice. Visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information.
I have a good friend here with me today, Bill Loveless. Bill, thanks for being here. [01:01].0]
Bill: Great to meet with you, Darryl.
Darryl: Fellow Aggie.
Darryl: I can say that, right?
Bill: Yeah, gig ’em.
Darryl: Are you getting excited or your wife getting excited about football season coming up?
Bill: My wife is a football fan probably more than I am, so she’s getting real excited.
Darryl: Yeah, I knew that.
Bill: And great expectations, too.
Darryl: Great expectations, every year.
Bill: Great expectations.
Darryl: Every year. That’s what keep us–
Bill: That’s why we Aggies are. She graduated from A&M as well. Of course, the old saying is next year Ol’ Army, so we’re hoping maybe next year will be this year.
Darryl: That’s right, exactly, and then UT saying it and Baylor saying it, yeah. Okay, so there’s a lot to talk about and I’m excited, but let’s kind of start from the beginning. Are you originally a Texan?
Bill: Yes, born in College Station.
Bill: So, I had no choice, but to be an Aggie, right?
Darryl: You didn’t.
Bill: I mean, when you go to a kindergarten called Wee Aggieland, they brainwash you.
Darryl: No, seriously, what was the kindergarten called?
Bill: Wee Aggieland.
Darryl: I didn’t think you’re joking.
Bill: No, it’s true and, yeah, they put us in khaki uniforms, took us up to college, the campus once a month, and so all the brainwashing took place, so, yeah, we took burnt orange out of our color chart and all we love was some maroon and white. [02:13].3]
Darryl: But you know what? Today, it’s unbelievable how A&M is really a special place. I mean, just a community of people. They’re still doing some cool things, so take a lot of pride in that, so going to A&M. Let me go back a little bit. What did your parents do?
Bill: My mother was just a homemaker and housewife, and my dad was in the insurance business, life insurance.
Darryl: Oh, is that right? Okay. Who did he work for?
Bill: He worked for American General.
Darryl: Okay, yeah. They’re still around.
Bill: They’re still around, yeah.
Darryl: They’re bought by AIG and I know that AIG had to take some bailout money to get on the other side, but still around. In fact, I think in some of our … we have the insurance company that we have and then we get life insurance quotes, so they come up quite a bit. They’re so competitive in that space. [03:01].8]
Bill: Interesting, yeah.
Darryl: Yeah, so it’s a good business. Especially, probably about the time you grew up, it was very lucrative. I mean, obviously, volatile in income. Did they ever teach you about money in any way?
Bill: Just typical ways of saving, and, of course, we had a great work ethic with him, so, yeah, they taught us those principles early on.
Darryl: Now you say we, so how many siblings?
Bill: I’ve got three, two brothers and a sister.
Darryl: Okay. Where are you at in that?
Bill: I’m third.
Darryl: You’re third? Okay. Growing up, did you find that you were middle class, upper class, lower class? How did that look?
Bill: Middle class.
Darryl: Middle class, yeah, sounds about right. There was enough, but not an overabundance of anything, yeah.
Darryl: You never felt that you went without.
Bill: No, he was a great provider.
Darryl: Yeah, and so kind of fast forwarding a little bit, you ended up, without any options, going A&M and forward. I’m sure it wasn’t that restrictive. But you went to A&M and then you’re at A&M. Did you know what you were going to do or how did that look? [03:59].4]
Bill: I initially thought that what I was going to do, I got a degree in business management, so I just felt like I was just going to go in the corporate world and wherever that took me, so that was really as far as I took it, just assumed that once I got out, I’d find a corporate job and start climbing the corporate ladder.
Darryl: But you got into the construction business.
Darryl: How did you get there?
Bill: I did graduate. I went into the military for a short stint.
Darryl: I didn’t know that.
Bill: Yeah, I was in the Corps at A&M and got a contract and went up to Fort Sill to do my artillery basic, but at that point, I had a two year contract, but they were kicking everybody out because they were bringing everybody back from Vietnam. So, I just did that, came back, started working on just some advanced degrees and took a job as a trim carpenter one summer with a guy that taught me from the beginning, and I just so loved it, I thought, I’ll go back to school the next year, and then ended up working with a guy who built cabinets, took over his business, and so that’s kind of how I got into it. [05:00].6]
Darryl: Was that residential work?
Bill: All residential.
Darryl: Okay. Those that are listening right now, would you say that, let’s say, a lot of the listeners are probably in the age group, I’d say, 55 to 70, but it’s funny because we’ve gotten some calls lately. There are 20-year-olds saying, “I just want to know how to do life and I’m learning it from all these people,” which is smart. But a lot of our listeners are grandparents and would you encourage a grandson or anybody that’s just starting out to start doing some basic carpentry work? I mean, did you find that to be pretty valuable for you?
Bill: Yeah, I really did because we just didn’t grow up with that. My dad was not handy with anything, whether it was mechanics or woodworking or anything, and so for me to get into that, I had no idea. I had my interest level and it has just served me well, because then I got into other things, right, around the house, so a lot of the home improvement I do is a result. Yeah, so I would encourage them to work with their hands, enjoy it, because you get to see something you’ve actually done and built, and it’s finished.
Darryl: Yeah, versus like your dad with insurance, he never really– I mean, how do you take pride in delivering a claim check to a widow? [06:04].8]
Bill: That’s true, yeah.
Darryl: That’s a tough gig.
Darryl: Then you started the [business]. I guess the snowball effect took place with the construction business. One thing led to another. People started to see that you had a skill. You started to pitch and you started your business.
Darryl: And was it residential?
Bill: Initially, it was. I mean, I don’t know how far you want me to go in the evolution of it, but started out with a trim carpenter, then went with another cabinet maker and then he basically gave me his business, so I was running two or three trim crews, doing all residential.
Then I went from there into residential remodeling and did that for four years, which was the worst part of my construction career, and then hooked up with a former roommate of mine who was a registered architect and we formed Benchmark Design Build, and so we started doing ground up from there.
Darryl: And so, he was doing the design and you were doing the building.
Darryl: Yeah, and so how long did you do that from that point to—I know that you retired and I’m using air quotes—“retired” out of that business, but how long was that? [07:06].0]
Bill: I’d say the total tenure in the construction business was 25 years.
Darryl: Okay, that’s a good run. It’s a really good run.
Bill: Yeah, a long run.
Darryl: What made you transition out?
Bill: That’s an interesting story. Yeah, it kind of ties into part of where I am now and because I had trusted Christ when I was 18, and just not a very strong believer. I was really told it was kind of up to me to walk in this life, walking the spirit, produce this freedom and victory, and couldn’t do it for 30 years and really struggled with some areas, drinking and some other areas, real fears and anxieties, and rejection and thinking somehow going to church and doing all those things was going to help and it didn’t.
Finally, in 1998, I was 48 at the time, and just things began to fall apart. I went into a deep depression, even in the business, even though it had turned around because we actually bumped bankruptcy for about five years and then things began to turn around. [08:11].0]
It was at the end of 1998 that I just realized that I just couldn’t go in any further, and that’s when the Lord brought a guy to our church by the name of Ian Thomas, who said some words that actually revolutionized my life, got me out of the construction business and into what I’m doing now—and what he said, the words were, “God never intended for you to live ‘the’ life that only Christ could live in and through you.”
The shift for me was that I tried to live this thing called the Christian life. I’d ask god to help me, only to realize that, when Jesus sets you apart for it, you can do nothing. That means I can’t do that, and so when I discovered He’s the way, the truth, and the life, and I’m not, that began this whole new idea. Actually, from that, that was in October ’98 and, by March ’99, the Lord said, “I want you to close your business because you’re done in the work world.” [09:02].6]
Darryl: That’s, obviously, fascinating and I want to unpack it more.
Darryl: But there’s a layer of that that I think is interesting. First of all, your dad was in the insurance business and so I get that. That’s performance-driven and it’s a hard business, so you must have observed a degree of performance type of [work]. I mean, insurance is hard. I mean, I did that for four years, five years, and I had to grind, I mean, knocking on doors in the City of San Antonio, and I believed that people needed insurance, but it is just a hard sell. For your dad to do that as a career, there must have been a degree of performance that you grew up with, whether it was expressed or just observed.
This is where I’m putting pieces together. Then that never leaves you and so you’re performance-driven in the construction world, so when you close a deal and finish a project, these things, and again, don’t let me put words in your mouth, these things are just validating you. Then, all of a sudden, you wake up, 48 is what you said, and you’re done with it. You have built a legacy. You’ve built a reputation. You have built some financial assets, and you’re done? You just hang it up? Was it like that? [10:10].0]
Bill: Pretty much.
Darryl: You went to A&M, right?
Bill: Right, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think that the pivotal part of that story is that, when we got kind of in bed with one developer and we were going to do six apartment projects, $35 million worth of work, and in one phone call, all that went away and by then we were $250,000 in debt. We moved from College Station to Dallas just to survive, never thinking we would. Part of what this whole process of coming to the end was was the bumping bankruptcy for six years, but then we turned the corner because my partner and I split off. Our end of the business was profitable, so our growth chart was vertical for the next six years.
Darryl: His architectural wasn’t working.
Bill: Right. Our problem was we were a 50/50 partnership. We just didn’t have the funds to fund both of us, so we had a friendly parting, but, yeah, he took that end of it and I was doing tenant-finish construction in high rise in Dallas at the time. [11:07].0]
Darryl: Yeah, I mean, it is a good business. That was taken off and you were finally going, “Okay, honey, we can breathe.”
Bill: Yeah, right, right.
Darryl: And then you say, “Ah, no, just kidding. I’m doing something else.”
Bill: That’s right. Yeah, yeah.
Darryl: Y’all are still married, though.
Bill: Yes, we are.
Darryl: Okay, just a quick commercial real quick. I want those that are listening to Retire in Texas to make sure that, if you need a financial advisor, you text “Texas” to the number 74868. That’s “Texas” to 74868. And we’re here with Bill Loveless, walking down the journey here of his construction industry and then had an opportunity, a moment, that God pinged him and now he’s in full-time ministry. Is that [right]?
Darryl: And so, what does the full-time ministry thing look like? I mean, is it street corner preaching? I mean, what is it? [11:54].2]
Bill: Kind of, yeah. It is, yeah. That’s for sure. We closed our business in July ’99, and then, in 2001, joined a ministry called Exchanged Life Ministries in Dallas. Basically, they were a counseling ministry, a discipleship ministry, and that’s where the Lord really did a work in my life, because all these truths that I had been learning about Christ is my life, Christ living His life and through me these people embodied, 22 of the most Christ-centered people I’ve ever been around and the Lord was using them to do a lot of healing, because one element of growing up was a lot of woundedness in my father. Just a great healing process, these truths, just grew them deeper into my heart. Things began to change, being set free from the fear and the anxiety and various things, and so I thought I’d be there for the rest of my life.
But I was with that ministry for two and a half years, and then the Lord said, “Form Christ is Life Ministries,” moved to San Antonio and I thought He had lost His mind because we only knew two people there –
Darryl: Oh, wow.
Bill: – although we were fully supported by individuals, so all our support bases in Dallas, and we were thinking, This can’t be of the Lord, and sure enough, He had told my wife, which He always does about two weeks before me. We literally packed our bags and moved down to San Antonio. [13:13].0]
Of course, our vision was we were going to partner with churches in the year of discipleship in that, but had no idea what the vision was, and of course, being a builder, I wanted a blueprint and God said, “I don’t trust you with a blueprint, so I’m going to give you ‘I AM’, two words, ‘I AM’,” and then we’re going to see what He does from there.
Darryl: I don’t know if I could have done that.
Darryl: I mean, it’s really scary. Did you ever doubt yourself?
Bill: Oh, yeah. I mean, I didn’t even tell my wife for two weeks because I thought, surely, this isn’t of the Lord, because I just felt like I wasn’t ready to go into ministry and do new work. I felt like I was just getting my legs under me at the ministry I was with.
Darryl: Did you feel like you had to be a little bit more perfect to be in ministry? Did you ever get that sense, like, I’ve got to clean up this sin before?
Bill: You’ve got to clean up my act, yeah. Yeah, you have that hypocrisy. You’re teaching one thing and you’re struggling in some of the same areas, but, yeah, you get past that when we realize that we’re just human beings. God uses instruments for his work. But we’re still in the process. [14:09].2]
Darryl: Yeah, that’s good. That’s really good to hear. So, your wife, Paige, what were her thoughts? I mean, obviously she had settled on the fact that this was the direction that you’re going and God had revealed that to her, and so when you shared that with her, “Hey, we’re moving to San Antonio,” what was her reaction?
Bill: Yeah, she had already had two weeks to process. The Lord had told her and, of course, what you don’t understand about Paige, we’d remodeled a home and really enjoyed it. She’s a nester and all that, and so to pry her out of a home … For her to say yes to that, that was probably the ultimate confirmation. It was the Lord saying we’ve got to pack our bags and move.
Darryl: The way I kind of look at your life just as you’ve shared this with me is you retired at 48.
Darryl: And full-time ministry and people are going to want to know, okay, full-time ministry, but who do you minister to? I mean, what is that? I mean, does it look like kids or international? How would you answer that? [15:07].5]
Bill: Yeah. I had not planned on writing any curriculum, but I’ve written probably 12 curricula now that we go into church. Our vision is to partner with churches in the area of discipleship. We build the relationships with the pastors. We introduce the curriculum. We help them build a discipleship program, and so that’s really our primary focus and we do that through conferences and retreats. But, ultimately, the objective is for their congregations to grow in the same trues that I’ve been talking about.
Darryl: This seems like an uphill battle. You’ve got to go, tell the pastor that his congregants aren’t getting the right information. Is that how you do it? It’s like, I’m going to go in there and start this special class for the people that really don’t know.
Bill: Yeah, yeah.
Darryl: I mean, I know I’m framing it up, kind of stating the obvious or in such a very basic way, but am I stating it accurately to a certain degree? [16:00].5]
Bill: Yeah, to a certain degree. I mean, there are some of the pastors who are very like-minded. But one of the pastors you introduced me to, right? I mean, people were being under the law and legalism and performance, and he was burned out, and so I just said, “Here’s a drink of living water and try this,” and through that, God has changed him and his entire church. I mean, it’s just not the same. Some churches were front-door churches where the pastors were like-minded. Some, I went to a megachurch here in San Antonio, kind of in the back door and worked with a group there and kind of filtered from the bottom up.
Darryl: I could see that, yeah.
Bill: Anyway, it’s just kind of the Lord orchestrated all that because we never intentionally knocked on doors. We waited for the Lord to kind of open them, and so whichever door we went into, that was the one He opened.
Darryl: Gosh, we’ve only got a few minutes left, but I want to [ask this]. You said something about legalism and performance-driven. What does that mean when a church has that? And nobody’s going to announce, Hey, we’re legalistic and we’re performance-driven, but what do you see that kind of shows some of the fruit of what that looks like? [17:02].0]
Bill: If it’s a legalistic performance church, what I see is people not growing up spiritually. Paul talks about it in Ephesians 4, “grow up,” and so that’s what I’m really seeing, that people think, because they’ve been in church, reading their Bible, doing all the checklists, that equals spiritual growth.
For me, the number one thing I see is people that think they’re spiritually mature, but really are not experiencing any of the freedom, victory, and transformation that God promises. The real question I ask is, tell me what you believe and then tell me how it’s working for you? And that’s the way I can determine kind of where they are in terms of their spiritual growth.
Darryl: Do you think there’s any correlation between the message that you’re sharing and the degree of anxiety that we’re dealing with today? I mean, is there any way that you can be a solution to this, even if it’s on a micro level?
Bill: Yeah. Christ Himself says, “I am your peace.” I used to live in chronic anxiety. The reason I live in peace now in a world that creates more anxiety is just really and truly appropriating Christ to be my peace. It’s Christ who is our life. Paul said that. What does it mean? [18:08].3]
As the Lord has renewed my mind to the reality that I’ve got Christ in me who is my peace as I walk in that, then I guess I don’t have to choose to take ownership of the anxiety and the anger that I actually see in so many Christians today, which is a tragedy, because we have the peace that passes all understanding, living in us.
Darryl: A lot of people listening to this are transitioning or have retired, and there’s some anxiousness with that as well, obviously, that we have to work through that and from financial cash flows and markets. I know I keep going back to this, but are you suggesting that some of what you’re saying is also applicable to that?
For example, I might be able to give them information, a client information on, hey, the stop market is going to come back, and they intellectually get it, but I can sense it when they leave and I can sense it in every conversation that they’re still struggling. Even intellectually, they may get it, but they’re still struggling. Are you suggesting, for those in the Christian community, that there’s still an element of legalistic or something missing there? [19:10].8]
Bill: Yeah. I think we just all want to be in control, right? And so, when we’re not working, now we’re depending on other forces other than our own to be in control. I think we’re just all wanting that, and yet, the reason I can be in this peace in the midst of what I do, because we totally depend on individuals to support us, we trust in the sovereignty of God, who is a good God, a loving God, and He has got all this prepared for us, so we just trust in Him that we can walk in His peace, His sovereignty, His control, and know with great confidence that He’s going to take care of us.
Darryl: Yeah, that’s helpful for a lot of people listening, because obviously there’s a lot. In fact, the rate of heart attacks go up 40 percent the day after somebody retires. Most people commit suicide on Monday. I mean, you can see what is triggering our chronic health issues is a byproduct of this chronic anxiety we’re just living in, and we do have ways to put band-aids on it, but we all know we’re just band-aiding it. [20:06].6]
Darryl: Yeah. I mean, we all know it’s like, okay, hey, maybe CBD, which may help, and maybe this book, which may help. Maybe yoga, right?
Darryl: But then, eventually, you’re like, okay, look, there’s got to be something else, and that’s what you’re preaching. Is that what I’m hearing?
Bill: That’s it. That’s it.
Darryl: Okay, and what you’re saying is the Church has, and I’m saying with air quotes, the Church has in some way kind of “forgotten” the message. I mean, the Book is full of a bunch of people who forget, so are you saying that’s part of the problem right now?
Bill: Yeah, because people say, “Bill, this is your message,” and I say, “No, this is the message of Jesus and Paul, and we’ve just lost it in translation and in the institution because the Church is made up of people.” But the institution, unfortunately, has really moved away from the simplicity and pure devotion to Christ, as Paul talks about.
Darryl: Yeah, that’s interesting. This is, obviously, a longer conversation. It’s very good. I’m going to make the assumption that you’re calling for the rest of your life.
Darryl: But I do have the most important question I didn’t ask you yet. [21:02].4]
Bill: Okay, yeah.
Darryl: What’s your favorite salsa?
Bill: Okay. I’ve had to think about that. No, we have a great Mexican food restaurant in Boerne called Las Guitarras.
Darryl: Oh, yeah.
Bill: Yep. That’s going to be my favorite for today.
Darryl: Is it hot or is it [mild]?
Bill: No, it’s mild. I’m not a hot … But just got that tomato, just a lot of a tomato base in there, too, so it’s, yeah, <inaudible>.
Darryl: You know you’ve just let thousands of other people know about your precious place in Boerne, Texas.
Bill: I know, yeah, yeah. Not sure that was a wise thing to do.
Darryl: You’re trying to keep that a secret, aren’t you? It’s too late.
Bill: I should have said Pace Picante and just been done with it.
Darryl: What’s interesting is this also gets re-aired on Boerne Radio on Saturday morning.
Bill: Does it? Okay.
Darryl: I’m sure you’ll have a lot of people agreeing with you.
Bill: The owner will be very happy. I’ve given him a plug.
Darryl: There you go. Hey, thanks so much. It’s been a blessing for you to be here and I enjoyed it.
Bill: Thank you, Darryl. I appreciate it.
Darryl: Thanks for listening to Retire in Texas. Remember, if you want to visit with an advisor, text “Texas” to the number 74868. That’s “Texas” to 74868. And I just want to remind you guys, you think different when you think long term. Have a great day. [22:09].0]
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