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...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Times Have Changed

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789
by President George Washington

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many single favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the Service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for His kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the single and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, of the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have to acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humble offering our prayers and supplications to the Great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all people, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone know to be best.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

R.I.P. Riggins

Yesterday was the day - I got the call from Mrs. Willis - our 13 year old German Shepherd Dog, Riggins, was fading fast. Riggins was named after Redskin great John Riggins. He was 13 and in rapidly declining health. I took him to the Vet and did the deed. We buried him in the backyard. I was wondering how our children would react. Our oldest (10)? She cried. She has a extra soft spot for animals like her Mom. Our middle child (7)? She asked about a getting a new puppy or a kitten. Our youngest (5)? He wanted to know if we could dig up the dog and look at him. It was sad all in all. It's tough to see your wife sad. He was technically "her dog" and she picked him out. Riggins had been around since before Tammy and I were married. I actually bought him for her while we were engaged. He had his faults - nonstop barking, destruction of many items, escaping form the yard numerous times, etc. But he was a good dog in many ways. He was good with our children and protected the family. He also kept his fair share of door to door solicitors away. He is survived by Lu-Lu (our American Bulldog) & Rascal (our guinea pig).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Must Read Alert

See the Internetmonk's most recent post. It's a keeper!

Communication isn't so easy...

A preacher decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon.Three worms were placed into separate jars...

1. The first worm was put into a jar of alcohol.
2. The second worm was put into a jar of cigarette smoke.
3. The third worm was put into a jar of good, clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the minister reported the following results:

1. The first worm in alcohol - DEAD.
2. The second worm in cigarette smoke - DEAD.
3. The third worm in good, clean soil - ALIVE.

So the minister asked the congregation, "What can you learn from this demonstration?"A little old woman in the back quickly raised her hand and said, "As long as you drink or smoke, you won't have worms!"

Admittedly, this is a made up "preacher story" - something I rarely use. But I liked this one and it represents well the failed attempts of guys like me when we attempt to illustrate concepts & ideas while proclaiming the Scriptures. Many, many times I am stunned that people seem to miss what I'm saying. And I know I can't be the only one feeling this way. People have commended me for things I didn't say and challenged me on points I didn't make and everything thing in between. Being misunderstood comes with the territory - just look at Jesus!

Monday, November 24, 2008

You need to blog!

I have noticed several new bloggers arising lately. The look to be good ones too - Billy, Greg, Rick & others. I have also discovered a few existing ones that i like very much. I love the blogosphere especially because it affords me access to the work of so many I would otherwise have to do without. I just read so great stuff at Robert Lowery's blog. I'll probaly never meet him in this life and he has no idea who I am, but I get to glean from this profound teacher. Cool, huh? I'm also reminded that there are some good thinkers who aren't filling the shelves at the local Lifeway...like Aaron Saufley who's blog I read regularly. And, of course, I'm a regular at Mike "Soren" Kjergaard's blog too. He introduced me to this whole new world a couple of years ago.

Anyway, I was thinking of some guys who I wish had a blog. Here's my ever expanding list...

  • Jack Cottrell. He's the theological kingpin. He writes voluminously, but i say "how 'bout some more?" Get a blog!
  • George L. Faull. Sure he has a blog, but he needs to use it.
  • Johhny Pressley. My old professor at RBC. He is sharp and he needs to spread it around via the internet.
  • Dave Hileman. He's with the VEF and this brother is all about the Kingdom. He's also a voracious reader with a boat load of insights.
  • Ronnie Jones. He preaches in Mechanicsville, VA. He knows the Scripture and I'd love to get some of his takes.
  • Tim Warner of PFRS. He's a meticulous student of the Bible and the church. I always find him to be well studied and thoughtful.
  • Jim Tune. I know this brother has a lot to say and I want to hear it.
  • James Snapp. I discovered him on a discussion board and the guy is a thinker with a lot to offer.

So, who's on your wish list?

Friday, November 21, 2008

What Do You Think About the State of Today's Church?

I know I keep beating the same drum, but I thought this was good stuff and certainly something to consider.

Whatcha Preachin?

From Johhny Mac: "I’ve said this many times: I can listen to a guy preach—put anybody in front of me—and I’ll tell you what his view of Scripture is by what he says. If he doesn’t preach out of the Bible, I know what his view of Scripture is, I don’t care what he says. I don’t care if he wants to die telling me he’s a believer in inerrancy, if he gets up and does not preach the Word of God, that’s his view of Scripture leaking all over the place. Look, every preacher preaches for impact, for effect, for result. You’re up there saying what you think is going to get you the best result. If you think it’s foolishness and fun n’ games and song n’ dance and sermonettes for Christianettes..." For the rest for here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Peter Schiff Was Right 2006 - 2007

I found this very interesting. It's definitely worth 10 minutes of your time. Mr. Schiff served as an economic adviser for the Ron Paul campaign in the 2008. Of course he, like Dr. Paul, was frequently belittled and dismissed. Maybe we should pay more attention to guys like Mr. Schiff. Or maybe we'll keep on doing the same thing and expect different results. I fear the latter will be the course of our "leaders' in Washington.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Whatever - New blog from Rick Robie

Rick Robie and I roomed together back in the day at RBC. I have many great memories of those days and am glad to see that Rick has entered the blogosphere. I'm looking forward to his thoughts. He has his first post up already. Check him out at "whatever."

Church Fight

I've seen a few church fights in my day, but never one quite like this. The moral of the story: Don't mess with "Rev. Armstrong." He apparently does not play turning the other cheek!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So you want to marry a pagan?

Occasionally, I'm confronted with the opportunity to perform a wedding ceremony where the would be bride & groom don't share a common commitment to the Lord. I know many of my "preacher brethren" will disagree with me, but I don't do these ceremonies. Sure, I get people all ticked off at me. Even some "leave the church." It's amazing, but not surprising.

Check out one of my OT heroes, Nehemiah, dealing with this type of situation...

Nehemiah 13:23-26 (ESV): In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab… And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take oath in the name of God, saying, "You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women?

WOW! Maybe I ought to try the Nehemiah approach!

Please Welcome Greg to the blogoshere...

Greg Coverdale is a good brother in the Lord and now a fellow blogger. Drop by and welcome him into the blogosphere.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pop that bubble!

Pop that bubble! The gated community "gospel" has got to go. We are supposed in the world but not of the world. Most of us actually have it the other way - we're of the world but not in the world! Lord, help us.

Those are my comments in response to a very insightful post written by Aaron Saufley entitled "Living Differently". Check it out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Hero?

I was thinking about often I hear the word "hero" these days. In my estimation it is an overused word. It regularly gets applied to entire groups of people - literaly millions of people some times, just because of their jobs. We hear about our "heroes" in the military. Our police, firefighters and even teachers are touted as "heroes" too. Certainly some in these groups are heroes but everyone of them? Now, I realize this might be a sensitive issue, but may I ask, "Do we really think that all of the aforementioned folks qualify as 'heroic'?" Consider these definitions from Merriam Webster...

Hero - 1 a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b: an illustrious warrior c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d: one that shows great courage.

Heroic - 1: of, relating to, resembling, or suggesting heroes especially of antiquity2 a: exhibiting or marked by courage and daring b: supremely noble or self-sacrificing 3 a: of impressive size, power, extent, or effect b (1): of great intensity : 2): of a kind that is likely only to be undertaken to save a life.

If every soldier is a hero than what do we call the soldier who rushes into enemy fire and is wounded trying to aid a fallen soldier, yet still drags his brother to safety? Is he a "hero" along with the guy who works on jeeps back at the base? What do call the firefighter who almost loses his own life rescuing someone? Is he a hero along with the guy who cooks back at the firehouse? (Somehow "superhero" doesn't seem to work.) There are more examples but I think you get my point. Maybe it's because we lack many genuine heroes that we "dumb down" who can be one. Or perhaps it is a desire for more credit than we deserve that this happens. But, I'm convinced, that if everyone is a "hero" then no one really is.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obsessive Obama Supporters Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Escape boredom...

And get serious about follwoing Jesus Christ.

Erwin MacManus wrote, "Somewhere along the way the movement of Jesus Christ became civilized as Christianity," he writes. "We created a religion using the name of Jesus Christ and convinced ourselves that God's optimal desire for our lives was to insulate us in a spiritual bubble where we risk nothing, sacrifice nothing, lose nothing, worry about nothing. Yet Jesus’ death wasn’t to free us from dying, but to free us from the fear of death. Jesus came to liberate us so that we could die up front and then live. Jesus wants to take us to places where only dead men and women can go."

Have you noticed that someone can “come to Christ” & years later remain basically the same person and no one seems to mind? Honestly, I don’t fear that many "church folks" will renounce Jesus. I do fear, however, that many of them are living with a less than serious, dare I say “shallow” commitment to Jesus. Big Question: Could it be that today most people no longer associate following Jesus with what it means to be a Christian? Seriously, we have innumerable church members who dont' seem to "get it." What are the expectations for these people in most places? Attend… Give… & BEHAVE! Do we expect radical transformation into Christ-likeness? Do we expect absolute commitment? No, but Jesus does...

Luke 14: 25Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' 31"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kutless - Your Touch

This is a great song. It's booming through my nano when I'm at the gym.

All Night at the Shelter

This past Sunday/Monday I worked at the local homeless shelter with about 20 or so folks from Olivet. This was our third time doing so and I'm always surprised with how well everything goes. Our folks are divided into teams with differently responsibilities all functioning together. We do the evening meal and breakfast the next morning and everything else in between. One of our guys took full leadership of this ministry team (from me) this year and did a tremendous job. It was nice to do my job without having to be concerned with everything & everyone else. Working at the shelter always provides an interesting perspective and a time for some introspection. You wonder what you would so in a similar situation. I think of how these people might have ended up here. I try to see ways out for them and wonder who is stuck for the long term. Some are just here for the night while others are regulars. Some have substance abuse issues. Some have mental deficiencies. Some are criminals. I'm on the all night crew and that's the most fun for sure, but this year was pretty quiet. I did see one guy who went to high school with me. The deputy working overnight said this guy had been a frequent guest at the city jail. It's ironic because he seemed to be on that path back in the day. After staying up all night I returned home a little bit sicker (with the "crud") but a lot more thankful that I have a home..and that I don't have to stand in line for a meal or sleep on a mat on a hard floor...that I can take a shower every day and that I have family and friends who would be there for me.

Take a moment and consider how blessed you really are.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Standing Firm?

There's a song that says, "Everybody talkin' 'bout heav'n that ain't goin' there." And this includes some church folks who are doing the talkin. Some disagree and suggest that no true Christian could ever be lost. What does the Scripture say? Consider...

-Specific warnings against apostasy (Hebrews as a whole & 2 Pet 2:18-22)

-The conditional nature of salvation (The “IF” passages: John 8:31; John 15:1-6; Rom 11:17-22; 1 Cor. 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23)

-The naming of apostates: Hymenaeus & Alexander (1 Tim 1:19-20); Demas (2 Tim 4:10)

-Charges to protect the flock: Acts 20:28-30

-Passages naming those who have fallen away and prove to be a danger to others (1 Tim 1:18-20, 2 Tim 2:16-18)

-Passages in which the author complains that their work may be in vain among believers (Gal 4:9-11, 1 Thes 3:5)

-The possibility that a person’s name can be removed from the book of life. (Rev 3:5)

The BOTTOM LINE: There are some in the faith who won't stay in the faith.

1 Corinthians 10:12: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

For the husbands...

It's a simple thought, but it needs to be said.

Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Guys, you can’t be wrong with your wife & right with God!

REMEMBER: If she's not #2, HE's not #1!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election 08 - My Quick Take

The blame game has begun. I'm guessing Governor Palin will be a big scapegoat and, of course, President Bush will be blamed too. In as much as they represent the GOP they should get the blame. The bottom line is that the GOP lost because they didn't get it done when they had the chance. They had the Congress & the Whitehouse and DROPPED THE BALL. They became the big government boys that they had impugned in the past. And I'm not sure that they can pick that ball up any time soon. I used to think that that pendulum would swing back in four years and the Repubs would bounce back. Maybe, but I'm not so sure any more. Pat Buchanan says, "demography is destiny" and he is likely right. Typical GOP voters are simply shrinking as a part of the electorate while democrat leaning constituencies are rapidly rising. Consider: The baby boomers are aging and becoming more government dependent (democrats). Immigrants are swelling and typically vote for more goverment and the democrats. Even the once solid evangelical vote is waning as the neo-social gospel leads some to vote for more government solutions for the underclass. Virginia is a prime example of this shift in the last several years. We once were solidly republican at Senator(s) and Governor. Now those posts are all occupied by dems. The demographic shift in the electorate produced democrats in office.

The obvious needs to be noted before I close. The Republicans have to stop nominating lame candidates. This will be ignored and/or explained away, I'm sure, but John McCain was a loser from the jump (just like Bob Dole before him). He stuck his finger in the eye of the right for years and arrogantly expected that they'd still carry his water. Of course, the GOP will analyze the results of this election and surmise that they need to move to the center in order the win. Meanwhile back at the farm the democrats will be expanding goverment and growing their constituencies too.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Reflections on this campaign...

Here are some of my random thoughts on this campaign.

I was frequently wrong...
  • I was sure Hillary would win the nomination & Obama would be her VP.
  • I thought McCain was done & had no chance at the GOP nomination.
  • I thought Romney was going to be the GOP's guy.
  • I thought McCain would go with a moderate for VP.
  • I thought McCain would close the gap before election day.

I still think I'm right that McCain is just Bob Dull (Dole) all over again.

The turnout is huge! Our church building is next to a voting spot. Our parking lot is almost full with the overflow & people are parking up & down the street to.

At my voting spot this morning I noticed the biggest turnout I've ever seen. The demographic make up of the voters was noticebly different too.

I believe the GOP has dropped the ball big time & is suffering the consequences.

I believe the natural gravity is for things is to move increasingly toward socialism.

This was the LONGEST campaign I can remember and I'm glad it's over.

It looks like the lesser of two evils argument will be with us for a long time.

I'm increasingly tired of politics. I think I better understand the apolitical crowd.

This election has certainly stirred the passions of many.

I was thinking it would get worse before it gets better, but maybe it will just keep getting worse.

I'm surprised by the political thinking of some of my friends. Some in a good way - some in a not so good way.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mark Moore is "ProLife and ProObama"

Ozark Christian College professor, Mark Moore writes,

"I am voting for Obama because I am pro-life. There is no question that John McCain and Sara Palin have a more pro-life stance on the abortion issue which I truly believe represents the heart of God as well as biblical principles. Obama's misstatement (usually repeated without full context) that he did not want his daughter's "punished with a baby" is a horrible way of stating things but hardly a reflection of his true views on babies, particularly his own children whom he appears to cherish and nurture. His vote against banning partial birth abortions was not, according to his own explanation, because he favored them, but because the law, as articulated, was flawed for other reasons." To read the rest go here.

Having read and listened to Moore for a few years now I am not surprised by his views. (I don't agree however). Moore is unpredictable and definitely makes you think. His position is atypical within the conservative ranks of evangelical Christendom and, I'm convinced, represents a flawed view of government. The government, I would argue, has hurt the undersclass with its innumerable efforts at "fighting poverty", etc. Redistributing wealth via socialism is not the answer for the poor (or the rich for that matter). Neither is it the answer for curtailing abortion.

What say you?


(I don't remember where I got this)

-Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
-Don’t wait for your ship to come in, build one.
-Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.
-Don’t listen to critics -- do what has to be done.
-Speed isn’t always an advantage. Cheetahs were on board, but so were tortoises.
-Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.
-No matter how bleak it looks, if God is with you, there’s always a rainbow on the other side.
-Don’t miss the boat.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Old School Candy

I know I'm getting old when I see the reimurgence of candy I loved as a kid. I went to one of these old school candy shops in South Carolina last summer. It was greast: lemon heads, fire balls, now & laters, chick-o-sticks, mallow cups (my #2), caramel creams, etc. How about those classic candy cigarettes? I also see some of these timeless treats occasionally show up in mainstream stores. I think my all time favorite is caramel creams. My mom stopped by the other day and dropped of a bag of these babies. I ate like 50! I simply could not stop -they are the best (IMHO). I like lots of other candy from back in the day but caramel creams are still at the top of my list. I remember consuming an entire bag of caramel creams while watching then #1 UVA (remember Ralph Sampson?) lose a basketball game to Notre Dame. So what's your favorite retro candy?