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...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Last Sunday

Last Sunday was most interesting. I was preaching a multifaceted sermon where I attempted to answer numerous questions from the congregation. I had a broad range of topics to cover: What we'll look like in eternity, Cave men vs. Adam & Eve, Alledgedly contradictory accounts of Judas' death, Dinosaurs and Noah's ark, Modesty, etc. I was wrapping up my sermon series "You Asked For It!" and I had several questions remaining that I wanted to handle albeit with brevity. Anyway, I got into Romans 14 and asked the folks to name some "disputable manners" which became very interesting to say the least! Topics that arose were: earrings for men, how to dress for church ,tatoos, smoking and drinking alcohol! Needless to say people were paying attention. One person said "baptism" and I had to point out the baptism was not a disputable matter in Scripture. I tried to be as biblical and honest as possible. I probably stunned a few people, but I didn't get fired!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tennis Tonight

I'm excited that tennis season begins tonight. I'll be taking the court with my buddy and brother in Christ Dave Hileman. It is not an ideal time to begin for me however. I coughed all last night and am in need of a seriously big nap. My back is bothering me too and I'm a good 20 pounds overweight. AND I HAVEN'T PLAYED TENNIS IN A LOOOONG TIME. Yet, somehow, I'm ready to go. I know it doesn't make sense, but I'm looking forward to swinging the racquet in a few hours. Oh, did I mention it will cold tonight? I don't like playing in the cold either, but, again, I'm still ready to go! I have watched a little tennis on TV recently, so maybe I'm a tad inspired! I especially enjoyed watching the replays of matches from many years ago. Bjorn Borg was my favorite back in the day. I think I'll roll with a two-handed backhand tonight in his honor.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sundays in the Commonwealth

"82 out of 100 of our neighbors are not in church Sunday in Virginia according to the American Church Research Project. It is also reported that a high percentage would attend on Easter IF someone invited them." (From http://vefnexus.wordpress.com/)

Looks like we have some work to do.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Put on the Armor

Ephesian 6: 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Go here for the details.

Personally Invited?

I'm on my way into the office this morning taking the usual route by the same church sign I pass every day. However, instead of blending into the scenery, this time it catches my eye. The sign says, "You are persoanlly invited." I think the invitation was to their annual Easter production. Anyway, it struck in an odd sort of way. Personally invited? Really? To me, it seemed very impersonal and a reflection of modern "churchianity" at its finest. Now I haven't studied the etymology of "personal." Neither have I consulted an unabridged dictionary for all the possible meanings of "personal" or "personally". What I did do was ponder this "personal invitation" as I drove on. I wondered how silly it must seem to those who even notice the sign. I should also mention that this isn't some podunk church - it is a large program rich group with multiple services and a spiffy facility on a main drag. I'm sure they have the megachurch playbook in hand at all times. Yet they sitll felt comfortable trying to pass off a church sign as a personal invitation. I wonder how many similar things we do that are equally dumb?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I've been in a srmon series entitled "You Asked For It" since the beginning of the year, but I'll be wrapping it up this Sunday. We've entertained questions form Christians & non-Chritians too. I didn't get all the questions answered (I never will), but we covered a lot issues and I think it has been good. It's time, however, to get back into a book of the Bible. I like to mix in topical sermon series throughout the year, but after "Easter" it will be straight through the book of Nehemiah here at OCC. I preached through this tremendous OT book many years ago, and after looking back at my notes, I have plenty of room for improvement going forward! I'll also be teaching on "Leadership" at the Haw Branch Church of Christ later in April and will use Nehemiah as the biblical reference point for our topic. Know any good resources on Nehemiah? Please let me know. Thanks much!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Off to RBC (MACU)

RBC must have finally run out of alums who are in preaching ministries. How do I know this? Because I've been selected as "Preacher of the Month." Yes, I know it is hard to believe but it has actually happened! I will be honored tomorrow and get to speak in chapel as well. I do appreciate the affirmation and the opportunity to preach the Word as well. The funny thing is that I am always quite nervous when I return to my alma mater. I can't explain exactly why either. I'd appreciate your prayers. Thanks.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Out with the old...

And in with the new...

Roanoke Bible College is undergoing a name change. Reportedly, as of June 2009, Roanoke Bible College will be no more... from that point on, RBC will be known as Mid Atlantic Christian University (MAC-U). For what it's worth I'm down with the name change. Fellow RBC grad and blogger Chris Woolard says the new bi-line is "an education built upon the 66 books" He thinks "it's the power's that be attempt to let everyone know that 'Just because RBC is going through a name change doesn't mean that they've gone liberal.'" So, start taking care of those RBC t-shirts - they will soon be collector's items!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Final Four

Here it goes...


Duke will win it all!!!

Bible College Thoughts

A couple of my favorite bloggers have some really good discussions going on. Soren started it and then Aaron took it in another direction. I think these discussions are very important. My comments can be read on their blogs so i won't rehash them here. I am concerned with the direction of some our schools and I also think the current Bible College model will become increasingly unsustainable in the years (perhaps decades) ahead. Check it out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Revelation

I have a new found love for the book of Revelation. It promises a blessing to those who read it (1:3) and I'm really being blessed these days! I, like many new Christians, read Revelation many years ago after my conversion. It's a book, however, that I've tap danced around for many years since. It was cool... it was mysterious... but I basically didn't get much from it between chapters 3 and 21! I recently committed to studying it and it has been incredibly inspiring. The book of Revelation rocks! When I read it I can't help but get pumped up! And it should encourage us. It did so for our brothers and sisters many years ago and for many generations since. Here's a taste from chapter 5...

6Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."

I recently read the entire book without chapter or verse markings. I had to do a lot of cut & pasting from Biblegateway. It took a few minutes, but I highly recommend it. Try to do it in one sitting if you possibly can. It's awesome - trust me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hey Dan Snyder

Get Jay Cutler! He wants out of Denver and it's time for Washington to get an elite QB. Campbell is nice guy but he's not getting it done. C'mon Mr. Snyder - Get a deal done! Give them draft picks. Give them Campbell. Just get it done. Thanks.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's all about me...

This is one of the better "church videos" that are seemingly everywhere these days. I did like this one it makes great point.

Marriage Assault

Marriages are under assault in case you haven't noticed. I notice. I see it ALL THE TIME. Satan knows "if it ain't broke don't fix it" and his strategy ain't broke! I have seen many "Christian" marriages wrecked over the years. Many more than I care to remember. I've learned some important lessons too. Lessons like: There are two sides to every story. People are basically going to do what they want to do. People want confirmation not counsel. Many "Christian" marriages aren't very "Christian". Thankfully there are rare exceptions, but my negative experiences have been reinforced repeatedly through the years. I honestly struggle to muster much effort in some of these cases (maybe that's why they turn out like they do). It's like seeing your team taking on a much superior team - you almost know it's over before it begins. I guess failure replayed has a tendency to harden us. In my estimation couples wait until things almost too far gone before they attempt a rescue. Often this "attempt" is weak at best - it's too late (in their minds). And, yes. the odds aren't in their favor at this point. Sometimes its pride - they don't want anyone to know. Sometimes they don't want to save the marriage. And often there children involved - HOW SAD! So, what's the solution? I don't think it is another marriage seminar. It goes way deeper.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


“Simply stated, what drove the decision was a focus on those who are not yet here.”

Those words brought me to a standstill in my reading. The book was “Breakout Churches” by Thom S. Rainer. Churches that were reaching people with the good news were congregations driven by an outward focus. They saw beyond the walls of the church building. They saw the harvest fields and were intentional about reaching the lost. Sadly, many churches (and Christians) today are not outwardly focused. Frankly, most “churches” are stagnate or in numerical decline. Many are merely “holding on” not reaching out. This is hard truth, but it is true nonetheless. We live in an increasingly godless culture. This should be plainly obvious to everyone with a biblical worldview. The church is losing ground in our society. Our influence is not just waning, to quite honest; the church is irrelevant for many today. Author, Reggie McNeal noted in his terrific book, "The Present Future", that Christians were once “in the world but not of the world” but now many are “of the world (worldly) but not in the world (withdrawn).” We have become like the world while simultaneously distancing ourselves from the same world. Didn’t someone say something about salt that loses its saltiness? I write this not to discourage you, but to call you to join me in resisting the inward trend so prevalent in the body of Christ.

“He (Jesus) told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” Luke 10:2

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Make it crawl...

I attended 2nd grade Stonewall Jackson Elementary here in my hometown, Newport News. One day we were given an assignment to write a letter to a famous person. Most of my fellow students chose President Nixon (yeah I'm old). I chose Flip Wilson. Yes, you read that right. Flip Wilson had his own variety show, The Flip Wilson Show, that aired Thursday nights at 8:00 on NBC back in the early 70's. (Attention young folks: Ask your parents or grandparents about Flip.) I came across a story recently about Flip's show that I'd like to share:

Flip Wilson was a popular comedian several years ago, and one of his characters was a Preacher at the "What's Happening Now Church." Flip did a Skit where he told about this preacher. He'd shout out:
And the audience yelled back "Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl!
"Make it walk preacher, make it walk" the audience moaned.
"Make it run, preacher, make it run!"
(pause) "Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl."

Someone has said, "A Church can't grow if it doesn't give. And if it doesn't give… it'll crawl." There probably isn't a preacher around who is more reluctant to talk about giving than yours truly. I am, however, very thankful for my brothers & sisters who faithfully display kingdom generosity. I know some of you are those very people so, please know your willingness to share is making an eternal difference.

PS. While many of my classmates received generic letters from the president, I received an autographed picture from Flip! Cool, huh?

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Signed my boy up for T-ball this morning. I think he will like it. I never was much into the diamond sports although I did my time in little league and have played softball here and there. I did like the hats nd the hotdogs and those people whop offered money for homeruns (collecting was a challenge however). Admittedly, all parents tend to see amptitudes in their children that others may not. For example most of us are amazed at how smart our children are, how naturally talented they are, etc. As biased as I am I do see Preston having some pretty good baseball skills. When he was barely walking he could hiot a ball with a bat! (Sounds like a good story to tell after he makes it to the Majors!). We don't play much (I'm sure that will now change) but he hits well and can throw too. He just gets rapidly discouraged if he doesn't do everything perfectly right off the bat (pun intended). So I'll be doing my best baseball Barnabas routine in the next few weeks. Here's to another chapter in our family's youth sports lives...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

If I could...

I'd have...
  • the theological mind of Jack Cottrell
  • the understanding of Revelation of Robert Lowery
  • the Bible knowledge of George L. Faull
  • the preaching passion of Ray Bennett
  • the political mind of Pat Buchanan
  • the vocabulary of William F. Buckley
  • the missional thinking of Reggie McNeal
  • the historical knowledge of Roger Chambers
  • the heart of Mrs. WTBW?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Typhoons = We are the champions!

A few months ago a childhood friend asked me to help him coach a coed basketball team for 8-10 year olds. Ironically we played together back when were this age (we won the championship back in the day). I was excited to help out so my daughters and I joined the Typhoons. It was a blast! Practice was a little stressful - I don't know how teachers do it! We had a good group of kids...some were very skilled and some were beginners, but they got along pretty well. It was cool because I actually went to school with some of the parents (Yeah I'm old). Anyway, last night we played for the tournament championship. We were matched up against a team that had beaten us in double overtime just a few weeks ago. We were probably the underdogs in the eyes of most. They started off very fast and it didn't look good for us at first, but we settled in and ended up winning by five! It was thrilling and was I couldn't have been happier for our kids. They played extremely hard - they were in it to win it! It was great seeing our players step up their games at the right time. I hope to be back next year. After the game I couldn't stop singing Queen's "We Are the Champions." Maybe I'm getting old, but I think I enjoyed this as much or more than when I was playing on our championship team 32 years ago!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

That's the book for me...

I love the Bible! It's beyond amazing to know that I have a copy (actually several copies) of God's Word available to read & study whenever I so desire. I preached about the Bible this morning. I don't know if anyone else was challenged by my message but I certainly was! I'm in a sermon series called "You Asked For It" where I attempt to answer questions from people in the church (and several from those who don't attend any church which we solicted via text messages). It's been very challenging & rewarding for me personally. I did a lot of the usual - demonstrate the Scripture's reliability historicially, archaelogically, scientifically, prophetically, etc. But, I also wanted people to really get that God Almighty has made His Word available to everyone of us and that is a blessing of immeasurable significance. Let's stop just believing great truths about the Bible & start consuming & acting upon the great truths in the Bible.