I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Banned but not gone...

I frequent the Christian Church Today forums and often it's the same discussion repeated with a few new participants. Other times it is very interesting and I learn some really good stuff. Several months ago a heated discussion erupted about George Faull whom I respect a great deal. During that time a poster (Phinehas?) wrote something that generated quite a stir. The thread was "locked" and he was ultimately banned. I was quick enough, however, to copy his post before it was deleted. Here it is unedited...
George Faull's recent article (http://www.summit1.edu/gun21/gun05.htm) may contain things that are true but how he said it was not very Christ-like.Some people on this web site have said he needed a "less inflammatory tone." I wouldn't put it that way. However, they way he wrote the article was unlike the way Jesus spoke when he rebuked people. Some have even presented a "fresh, rewritten presentation of most of what George said, minus some kerosene, plus some verifying references" on this very forum. They said the same thing only in a "kinder gentler" way. However, I think George's article was not Christ-like because he never called anyone "blind guides" "Hypocrites" "snakes" "white washed tombs" or a "fox."So I present to you a "fresh, rewritten presentation of most of what George said," plus some wording used by our Lord Jesus himself in Matthew 23.To be Christ-like George Faull should have said....Woe to you Christian church preachers, You move Lord’s Supper which is commanded by Christ aside in our churches to a side room while you put things that are not commanded by God front and center and make time for them.Woe to you Christian church preachers, you hypocrites, you skip the Lord’s Supper “out of respect for our denominational friends who attend our special Easter service” while offending all the believers by skipping it. You are not recognizing the Body of Christ which is the church and treating with as an unholy thing the new covenant in His blood.Woe to you mega-church preachers. Your teachings are but the traditions of men. You cancel Sunday services on Christmas day so we can celebrate Jesus Birthday with family. Which is commanded… to remember Jesus death, burial and resurrection in communion or to remember his birth with a Christmas tee? You set aside the commands of God (Hebrews 10:25) to keep the traditions of men. And you do many things like that.Woe to you Convention leaders, you pseudo-denominationalists. Everything they do is done for men to see: They want to gain permanence among the evangelicals; they love the place of honor at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the most important seats in the N.A.C.C; they love to be mentioned in the Christian Standard and to have men call them ‘Pastor.’ But you are not to be called ‘Pastor,’ for you have only one Chief shepherd and you are all sheep. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘Senior Minister’ for you have only one who is senior, the Christ."Woe to you, Pastors and senior ministers, you hypocrites! You shut the Restoration movement in men’s faces. You left the restoration movement for willow creek, and you will not let them restore the church to New Testament Christianity who are trying to.Woe to you, Bible College professors and Pastors, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to get a single person to come to the NACC, and when he does, you make him twice as much a son of denominationalism as you are by having in all “faith only” false teachers.Woe to you, blind guides! You say, "If a woman preaches or teaches at a Bible college or convention, it means nothing; but if a woman preaches at a church building that is forbidden." You blind fools! What does it mean when it says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man?” Is that only in a church building? No, where two are three are gathered there I am in the midst of them.You also say, ‘The commands for women not to teach were only for the church at Corinth and their particular cultural situation. It doesn’t apply now.” You blind men! Paul said “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.”Therefore, “If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.”Woe to you, teachers in Bible colleges and Pastors, you hypocrites! You diligently study all the latest fads, gimmicks and guest ministry ideas. But you have neglected the more important matters of the new covenant— justice, mercy and faithfulness to the word of God on baptism and the Lord's Supper. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a “not visitor friendly” gnat but swallow a “40 days of purpose” Calvinistic camel.Woe to you, teachers in Bible Colleges and Professors, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the Bible College with fancy buildings named after great men of the past, but inside they are full of professors teaching that which the men the buildings were named after would have taught against. Blind Professors! First clean the teaching inside of Bible College, and then the graduating preachers teaching also will be clean.Woe to you, teachers of the law and Professors, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, your buildings and publications look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and false doctrine. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and liberalism.Woe to you, NACC directors and Pastors, you hypocrites! You hold conventions to honor the restoration movement history and visit the old churches of the restoration movement founders. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in starting the Disciples of Christ denomination.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who rejected the restoration of New Testament Christianity. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?Therefore I am sending you Preachers and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will mock and alienate; others you will label as legalists, diploma mills and "out of touch old fogies" in your magazines and on your blogs. Some you’ll pursue their back ground and try to discredit their education. And so upon you will come all the guilt of the righteous reputations you have ruined, from the life of righteous Walter Scott to the reputation of righteous Ed Bousman of Lynchburg, Ohio, whom you will no longer allow to preach at chapel at Cincinnati Christian University. I tell you the truth; all this will come upon this generation.O Christians, Oh Christians, you who reject true preachers and mock those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your mega-church is left to you desolate.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I Got Myself Into Something

I love tennis, but I'm just not that good at it. Recently I was talking with a friend, Dave Hileman, about tennis. He plays and suggested we play some time. Well we are playing this afternoon. I have a bad feeling that he's pretty good...and that means he will spank me. Besides that it will take 2-3 days for me to recover. Getting old is really a bummer. Maybe, just maybe, today will be the day that I recapture my youth as I show flashes of Bjorn Borg on the court. Probably not...

Monday, January 29, 2007


My roommate in college was a Stryper nut. I wasn't much into them back then but I have to admit they definitely rock. I was listening to Christianrock.net today and they played "In God We Trust." Wow! Michael Sweet, the lead vocalist and front man is unbeleivable! The notes he hits are way up there. I remember in college taking a "boom box" into the men's showers and cranking up another Stryper classic "To Hell With the Devil." Good times!

Memo to Stryper: Love the hair!


Yesterday I preached on giving and to the chagrin on many I didn't advocate the doctrine I call "monetary tithing." Now I used to...and I did it with great fervor and intensity. However, after repeatedly examining the arguments on both sides I find myself unable to continue to teach that Christimas are to give 10% of their incomes to the church. Recognizing that I might be wrong I will try to resist being a dogmatic "anti-tither." I said yesterday that "many, if not most of the arguments for monetary tithing are based on scripture twisting and human reasoning." I do believe that. I also mentioned that there are few (very few actually) pro-tithing arguments which I find to be tenable. Given the pros & cons of both sides I lean toward the "free will" giving camp. So, let's give and give as we "decide in our hearts."

PS. It appears that the early Restoration Movement leaders also were not tithing advocates. Many in the a-cappella churches still oppose "monetary tithing" as a requirement in the New Covenant. I wonder if "monetary tithing" might come from the Baptist ifluence that abounds in our churches today...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Birthday Parties

We celebrate 3 Willis birthdays in January. We haven't even recovered from Christmas but that's aniother story. These days things have certainly changed in the realm of brrthday parties. When I was a boy...way "back in the day"...things were much simpler. We would sing "Happy Bithday," have some cake & ice cream and open the present(s). Now every birthday is an extravaganza complete with games, decroations, etc. Also, you must find some really fun venue: Chucky Cheese, Putt-Putt, swimming pool, etc. It seems everybody is trying to "one up" the last party too. Now you don't just get gifts but you must have gifts for each of the attendees! This can run up the tab quickly. These events, while cool, are quite expensive. Also, being a preacher, my children get invited to a large number of parties. Let's not even talk about the cost of buying all these gifts. I guess I'm getting old as I long for simpler times.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

L.T. - An Unemployed School Teacher?

LaDainian Tomlinson (L.T.) has been incessantly whining about his perception of the antics of a few New Enlgand Patriots after they recently and surprisingly beat L.T.'s Chargers. L.T.'s comments about the Pat's being classless would be laughable if they didn't garner so much attention. I'm really tired of the these bozo sports announcers who must begin every comment about L.T. with the requisite "L.T. is one of the classiest players in the NFL." Memo to these jock sniffers: L.T. is NOT ONE OF THE CLASSIEST PLAYERS IN THE NFL! These same clowns would be pounding Jeremy Shockey or Terrell Owens if they said anything resembling L.T.'s comments. This classless stuff reminds me of Fat Albert...
Russell: "Rudy, you remind me of an unemployed school teacher?"
Rudy: "An unemployed school teacher?"
Russell: "Yeah, no class."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Keep It Simple Saints. I started reading "Simple Church" last night and I can't break away from it. Thom Rainer & Eric Geiger have delivered a very compelling book thus far. I definitely feel like I'm drifting in a complex church culture where activities abound. Lately, it seems every book I read leaves me feeling like I'm not getting it done in ministry. Finally, I felt a sense of relief after reading the first few pages of "Simple Church." It was like someone had gotten it and and generously shared it with me. Now I can read something that doesn't overwhelm me with another program I should be doing. SIMPLE. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Get Off of REX!

I'm so tired of sports announcers. I find them more annoying than ever these days. I tried to watch part of the Bears - Seahawks game the other day, but it was irritating. Not the game; the announcers! How many times do I have to hear about Rex Grossman's struggles and how he is under the microscope and on the "hot seat?" Enough already. The guy played very well and he is the quarterback of the quite successful Chicago Bears. His coach is behind him, his teammates are too, but the press...now, that's another story. He played well, but now the talking heads collectively wonder if he can do it again this week? I'm no Bears fan, but I hope he lights it up this week win or lose.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Congregational Meetings

We had our annual congregational meeting last night. It went smoothly, but I have been in some (in other chruches) that were very contentious. I think in most cases folks who attend fall into three categories. 1) People who just participate in everything & want to be in on whatever is going on. 2) Rubber stampers. These can include many from the previous category. These folks generally vote "yes" to pretty much everything. 3) Folks with an agenda. These are the ones who have something they want to stir up . They are empowered by the crowd (mob). They usually vote "no" in order to "send a message." I've had my share of unpleasant and unchristian meetings, but last night was neither and I'm thankful. I got stressed beforehand anticipating what might go wrong. Wasted stress I guess, but there is always next year...

Thursday, January 11, 2007


After much research and many failed bids at Ebay I finally own an Ipod Nano. I got it off of the Overstock.com auction site. I was pleasantly surprised by the nearly new condition of my "used" Nano. I have to say it is terrific. I debated which model to purchase: Ipod (video), the Shuffle or the Nano? I wanted to take it to the gym but also wanted the additional functionality of a screen so I went with the Nano instead of the Shuffle. I got a 4gb silver version and that's great for me now. Maybe I'll go for the Ipod w/video and huge storage next year. I'm really digging podcasts. I also have the Bible & a bunch of songs loaded. I've always been an auditory learning kind of guy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Well I'm recovering from an "all nighter." Our church worked with the local Port Winter Shelter Progam yesterday afternoon through this morning. Port is a mobile homeless shelter that moves to different church buildings each week. We had about 30 people volunteer to serve at the shelter. We provided meals and helped with checking in/out, giving out bedding, securing belongings, etc. It was both thought provoking and fun. I really enjoyed working and hanging out with my brothers & sisters from Olivet. Our folks simply did a great job and everyone seeemed ready to commit to doing it again. Times like last night are blessing for many reasons: We got to practice our faith through service. We got to work together. We were reminded of how blessed we are to have homes & jobs & families & friends. I'm looking forward to our next night at Port.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Precious Children

Tomorrow I am to conduct a graveside service at a local cemetary. Like most folks in ministry I have done many of these, but tomorrow will be different. This is a service in honor of a little baby girl who lived less than 24 hours. I did a similar funeral service many years ago, but I was at a different position in life back then. I was still single. Now I have 3 precious children and, yes, that has changed things for me. I feel an entirely different level of sorrow and sympathy this time. I hope I get through this. I know it will be hard for me and I certainly can't fathom what the parents must be experiencing. Please pray for the service and for the parents (they are Christians).

Thursday, January 04, 2007


The Christmas season has past and I had a great one (except for the acid reflux!). Amidst all the good things that were happening, I had a rare opportunity arise. My friend, Mike "Soren" Kjergaard was in town to perform a wedding and was also scheduled to preach at the Northampton church across town. I say "rare opportunity" because I just happened to be on vacation at the same time. I don't get to see Mike much (he's in Indiana & I'm here in lovely Virginia). It's even rarer that I get to hear him preach in person. It was really good to see Mike and his family. Mike did an outstanding job with his message. I know it sounds hokey, but i was proud. It's tough to return to a congregation you served previously and Mike was at Northampton for well over a decade. I know I would have been stressed but Mike was unflappable. He's the consummate preacher. I'm glad to call him my colaborer and friend.