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, February 26, 2009

"Pastors" Breakfast

This morning E.L. & I went to a "Pastors Appreciation Breakfast" at Warwick River Christian (Mennonite) School. We have some young folks from church who are students there. We had some good grub, good conversation and a nice concise program. Then we were supposed to be taken to see the OCC students in their classes. So far so good except the first class we go to has none of our students. It's apparently a Bible doctrine type of a class & on the board is this question: "What does your church believe about baptism?" I quickly point this out to E.L. What happens next is very cool. The teacher then asks if we have some time because she wants our participation! We are also joined by a young presbyterian preacher guy who gives his take on baptism = infant baptism...covenantal...like OT circumcision...etc. We were asked about the mode of baptism first. We went Greek & Romans 6, etc. Then we were asked about the purpose for baptism. Now the teacher was nice, but she was obviously holding to a typical baptist "outward symbol" understanding of baptism. We were diplomatic and pointed the class to the Scriptures repeatedly describing the reality of baptism in the NT. Anyway, my favorite part was when E.L. siad "We believe baptism is essential for salvation." He then dropped Acts 2:38 on them. It was especially great because the teacher had been laboring to show that baptism had nothing to with salvation. This was all very unexpected and very cool and a tremndous start to the day! Their next subject is going to be Communion. I'd love to be there for that one too!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last Night

First, let me admit that i did not watch the entirety of the President's speech. This was nothing oersonal (I didn't always watch the previous President's either). I did watch most of it, so let me make a few obswervations.
  • President Obama is a good speaker. However, I do not get the absolute fawning and infatuation that many pundits exhibit. Please! These people are mesmerized? Again, the President is a very good speaker - he's well prepared, his speeches are well written, he's comfortable & confident, and he delivers his message very well. I get that and appreciate it. BUT, again, I don't get the enraptured's praise. Admittedly, comparisons to his predecessor must contribute to the hype.
  • I couldn't stop looking at Biden & Pelosi. I think the President should bring some more change to Washington and have the two of them seated in the audience. it's weird but it seemed like they should be extra's on the Adam's family or something.
  • Biden's hyper-white teeth smiles and robotic clapping annowed me, but not nearly as much as his sidekick. She really bugged me...
  • Nancy "Jack in the Box" Pelosi looked liked she'd been trainingg for this event. She sprang to her feet with the explosiveness of a preteen cheerleader. And what's up with her mouth? I guess all the work she's had done was bothering her or perhaps the heavy lipstick was irritating, but she kept doing these weird things with her mouth. Again, she needs to be in the audience, not behind the President on national TV!
  • Finally, this is the first time I watched such an event in HD. Boy, those guys up there are....how shall I say it....quite advanced in years. I'm not saying that seniors should be disqualifed - I just happen to notice that it looked a little like Obama's speech to the AARP duting his campaign.
  • Now about the substance of the President's speech... What substance?

Have a lovely day!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ben Stein vs. Richard Dawkins Interview

This scene is worth the entire movie, "Expelled", in my estimation. I know an atheist with basically the same position as Dawkins. Sure it could've been Aliens BUT NOT GOD. Right.

Yesterday's Message

We are in a series entitled, "You Asked For It!" where I am answering questions we've received from church goers & non-church goers. Yesterday I tackled "Why believe in God?" Here are a few quotes I really liked...

Norman Geisler & Frank Turek: “In Light of the evidence, we are left with only two options: either no one created something out of nothing, or else someone created something out of nothing. If you can’t believe that nothing caused something, then you don’t have enough faith to be an atheist. The most reasonable view is God.”

British Astronomer Sir Frederick Hoyle: “The chance that higher life forms arose by evolutionary processes is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.”

William Dembski, author of The Design Revolution: “Nonetheless, naturalistic mechanisms are incapable of generating the highly specified, information-rich structures that pervade biology. Organisms display the hallmarks of intelligently engineered high-tech systems — information storage and transfer, functioning codes, sorting and delivery systems, self-regulation and feed-back loops, signal-transduction circuitry — and everywhere, complex arrangements of mutually interdependent and well-fitted parts that work in concert to perform a function.

The late Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA & 1962 Nobel Prize Winner): “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I guess I should learn from experience that just about anything is possible in the "church." Yet, somehow, I'm usually still surprised when things happen (or don't). It's amazing the power that Satan still wields when it comes to bringing down the saints. Truly no one is immune or off limits. Sometimes I feel like I am paddling in a boat with a giant hole in it while watching my friends being eaten by sharks! Paddling - bailing - paddling - bailing - AND SLOWLY SINKING! I have to say I'm looking forward to Satan getting an eternal beat down in Hell! I really am! For now, however, he seems to be "getting it done" with his attacks on my brothers and sisters. Many are getting pummeled by the adversary while the rest of us seem unconcerned or faintly concerned. Hey, we've got stuff to do - important stuff (TV, shopping, movies, recreation, entertainment, etc.) that keeps us away from our falling (& fallen) brethren. Lord, please help us...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why Believe in God?

I'm preaching a sermon series answering questions asked by Christians & non-Christians. It's called "You Asked For It!" The church folks wrote their questions down and gave them to me (or emailed them). We solicited the non-church folks via text messages (& had a great response). Some really challenging questions were asked and I've dealt with several already: Why do bad things happen to good people? Once I'm saved am I always saved? Are we supposed to fear God? What does it mean to be born again? Do I have to go to church? More are coming dealing with topics like homosexuality, the reliability & accuracy of the Bible, creation vs. evoltution, etc. This Sunday I'm answering the classic "Why believe in God?" question. In preparation I've been reading Nathan Busenitz's "Reasons We Believe: 50 lines of evidence that confirm the Christian faith." There are many similar resources out there, but I'll be leaning heavily on Busentiz because I have found his work to be excellent, readable and concise. Below are his 10 reasons.

  1. He has revealed Himself to us. (through general & special revelation)

  2. The existence of our universe points to a Creator.

  3. The order and design of life point to a Designer.

  4. The continuation of the universe points to a Sustainer.

  5. The human sense of morality to points to a Lawgiver.

  6. Eternity is written on the hearts of people.

  7. Life without God is ultimately meaningless.

  8. The flow of human history conforms to a divine plan.

  9. Miraculous events confirm the supernatural.

  10. Other belief systems are inadequate alternatives.

Monday, February 16, 2009

REVELATION...finally getting it!

The New Testament book of Revelation (not Revelations) has to be the most misunderstood book of the 66 that make up the Bible. Admittedly, I am a novice at handling this profound book. I "studied" it in college. I also have tried another study or two over the years. And, yes, I'm still an amateur at understanding and/or explaining it. I used to enjoy listening to it on cassette tapes (younger readers should google for more on these antiquated audio dinosaurs or ask grandma for more info). Revelation was proabaly the second book I attempted to read after becoming a Christian. I wanted to get to the end of the story. It's also a big attendance draw whenever a lesson series, sermon series or seminar is offered on this mysterious book. Recently, while preaching through the New Testament I was forced to address my ineptitude in handling Revelation. In the process I discovered a most helpful book - Revelation's Rhapsody: Listening to the Lyrics of the Lamb: How to Read the Book of Revelation by Dr. Robert Lowery of Lincoln Christian Seminary. It was not at all what I was looking for but exactly what I needed. In Dr. Lowery I finally discovered someone who seemed to get and was able to help me GET IT TOO! His work is not about fanciful ever-changing modern interpretations (and misuses) of the last book in the Canon.

Craig Blomberg of Denver Seminary wrote, "Popular level guides to the Book of Revelation abound, but most of them either insist that the last book of the Bible is a road map of current events or a source for reconstructing first-century history only. Lowery avoids both of these pitfalls and deftly leads the lay person or college undergraduate down a safe path to interpretive sanity. Enjoyably written and peppered with personal illustrations, this is a welcome addition to a crowded field, and one which clearly stands out from the crowd!"

Perhaps you are an eschatalogical wiz... but if you are not, I recommend you check out Dr Robert Lowery's excellent work.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jack Dempsey...

When we were frist thinking of a boxer/bulldog the name "Dempsey" came to mind. "The Manassa Mauler" was without a doubt ferocious and a beast in the ring. He's one of my favorites from way back in the day. Anyway, we added many choices to our list of potential names for our new pup but the readers have spoken. Our pup is now officially "Dempsey." He's certainly active and intense, but I hope he doesn't end up vicious like his namesake. Ironically I voted for "Rumble" (Thinking of Michael "Let's get ready to rumble" Buffer). Thanks to all who voted!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Name Our Puppy!

That's right "Bam Bam" is once again nameless. Please vote & give this boy a name!

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Many people today insist that once you are truly born again, you can never be lost, no matter what. This idea is best known is "once saved always saved." Another term is "eternal security." And the term most used by Calvinists is "perseverance of the saints."

First, we should note that we must avoid two unbiblical extremes: Eternal Security & Eternal Insecurity… The pendulum can swing too far ether way.

Eternal Security is the one extreme I'll address here.

Many scripture passages of scripture clearly point to the possibility of true Christians becoming lost. How? Through UNBELIEF. One must believe the gospel in order to be saved, and one must continue to believe in order to continue "in Christ." It is initially by faith, and continually by faith…

There are many bibklical appraoches to refuting the erroneous concept of "once saved, always saved" but I'll focus on just one. It involves the big little word "IF." Look at these conditional promises...

1 Cor 15:1-2: 1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, IF you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

Col 1:21-23: 21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23IF you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

My concern is that the pervasiveness of "eternal security" will result in eternal condemnation for some. I believe that there will be people who will end up lost because they believed they couldn’t be!

So, let's rekindle a concern for straying bothers & sisters.

James 5:19-20: 19My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

And let's remind folks that we must remain FAITHful.

2 Tim 2:12-13: 12if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

And, finally, SO, if you claim to be a Christian, yet you are living in continual sin… it’s time to get serious & realize you are on a path of destruction! REPENT!!!

Heb 10:23, 26-31: 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful... 26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

KEY VERSE: 1 Peter 1:5: Who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


We have welcomed a new puppy into the WTBW? household. He was born 12/19/08. He's 1/2 American Bulldog & 1/2 Boxer. They call this breed cross a "bulloxer." As of now he's nameless! I'll share the name when we finally agree on one.
*Name Update: It looks like he's going to be "Bam Bam." This what happens when you let your children vote! It goes pretty well with our other dog - LuLu.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I became a Christian...

I just finished Vince Antonucci's book - "I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." This book came my way via a friend and admittedly I wasn't sure what to expect. I've heard Vince preach and I've read his blog so I wasn't totally in the dark. Yet, the title still peaked my curiosity. I won't explain it because it might spoil your interest in reading this book & I'd suggest that you do. It's a fast read and Antonucci serves up lots of great anecdotes and plenty of quick witted humor. You won't be "James Bored" (p. 170) while reading. If you are always looking for great stories then book is well worth $13! But it's much more than just sermon illustrations. I was especially impressed with his challenge to "abide in Jesus." It resonated deeply with me. There's is much here in the way of clear thinking from a brother who gets it and is trying to get others to get it too! My favorite chapter was on "Mission." Antonucci won't be confusd with Cottrell or MacArthur, but there is plenty of room in the kingdom for real life books by guys like Vince Antonucci - books thast inspire, encourage & motivate.

(I did appreciate his Whatcha' Talkin 'Bout Wills? reference on Page 13.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Jesus is Coming Back!

This past Sunday I preached on the return of Jesus at the Cedar Creek Church of Christ. I believe the church desperately needs a renewed sense of anticipation for the return of the Lord. Below is a quote (it's a good one) I used from John MacArthur:
"The first time He came the reality of the fullness of His person was hidden. The next time He comes, it won't be. The next time there will be no Bethlehem, there will be no stable, there will be no manger, there will be no carpenter shop, there will be no humble village. There will be no poverty, no dusty roads to walk, no sinners to attack Him and grieve Him, no false religious leaders to oppose Him. There will be no demons who will stalk His steps, no soldiers to pound nails into His hands and thorns into His brow. There will be no spear run into His side. There will be no cross, not the next time. The next time He comes it is the unveiling. There will be no humble form. There will be no servant form. There will be no human form alone, but only that glorified God/Man in full blazing Shekinah presence."

Monday, February 02, 2009

Cedar Creek with Soren

I'm back in VA after a few days on the frozen tundra of Indiana! My friend Mike "Soren" Kjergaard invited me up to preach for their annual Men's Retreat this past Friday & Saturday. I also spoke for at Cedar Creek Sunday morning. It was terrific time and I'm now home with a since of being re-energized. It is always a blast to hangout with Mike. We definitely have a kindred spirit. I stayed with his family and they were most hospitable. I enjoyed spending time with his children - Lindsey & Luke (Luke is a burgeoning guitarist). Tracy (aka. "Mrs. Soren") knocked it out of the park in the kitchen. She made some delicious lasanga and followed it up with the best pecan pie ever and a new pie for my palate: buttermilk pie. WOW! It was just too tasty to describe! I spoke 6 times in 3 days (4 at the retreat and 2 Sunday morning). The retreat was great - and, yes, I reverted back to junior high (just a little). The camp - Lake James Christian Assembly - is outstanding. My multiple flights were smmoth and I even caught a bit of the Super Bowl in the Charlotte airport last night. Cedar Creek was a terrific church to be with and Mike's staff is tremendous. I could ramble on and on, but just know that I'm very thankful I had the opportunity to be there. If you're ever in the Fort Wayne area, go celebrate Christ at the Creek!