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, July 28, 2009

Were You There - Russ Taff

My Evolution

I've been wondering about my evolution as a "preacher." Not the ministry stuff I do, but how I deliver my sermons. Different topics and different days always bring some subtle variances, but I think my "style" has been evolving too. I remember when I first started preaching I was stunned when another preacher guy told me how hard it was to cut his messages down for Sundays. I was always looking to stretch mine out! Too much material was never an issue back then. Now, however, I fully get his problem. I used to always look for that killer story or illustration too and now they come when they come. I would be very topical and now I'm much more interested in going through books or sections of Scripture. (I do still employ topical messages and they have a place for sure). I used to look for a dramtic introduction and killer closer. These days - not so much. I used to tell more protracted stories, but not nearly as much nowadays. In recent years I got into outlines for listeners and spent considerable effort on Power Point and pictures, along with audio & video supplementation. Maybe I'm getting lazy. Maybe I getting wiser. Maybe the preachers I listen to influence me. I don't know. Admittedly, when I speak elsewhere I do try to polish up the opening and closing, but when I'm on my home turf I don't feel as compelled. These days I really prefer just to open my Bible and talk about what we read.

Sorry for the ramble. I'm on pharmaceuticals anyway, but that's another blog post for another day...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Out with Nehemiah & in with John

I'm going through Nehemiah, verse by verse, on Sundays and next week looks to be my last message of many from this fantastic book of the Bible. Every week I seem to find my favorite passage in the book. Seriously, I do. Nehemiah just inpsires me. And the book that bears his name has a boat load of relevance for the church today. It's easy to see us in the lives of those people way back then. I'll miss Nehemiah, no doubt, but I'm equally excited about our next stop: the book of John. I've preached and taught from John at various times, but I have never gone verse by verse through the whole book with a congregation in a "sermon series". I've started to gather resources for this upcoming series and I am very open to any input you may have. Got a catchy series title for me? Know of a good commentary? Please let me know. Thanks!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Still Right!

Roger Chambers said: "Christianity without doctrine does not exist. Word has somehow got out that orthodox doctrine is the enemy of spirituality. Doctrine is an embarrassed intruder in many modern congregations. Barely tolerated, it cowers on the back pew; the territory around the pulpit has long since been claimed by commanding personality, practical mysticism, professional music, and pop psychology. A round of applause awaits the convention speaker who will announce that we are saved by Jesus, not doctrine. Brotherhood scholars impressed by German theology are throwing up a wall between Jesus and doctrine...(but)...the Bible does not elevate the Person of Christ over the doctrine of Christ."

This quotation was taken from Chambers' message entitled "Doctrinal Trends Of The Restoration Movement" which he delivered at the 1985 Florida Christian Convention/National
Missionary Convention.

It's been almost 25 years and he's still right...unfortunately.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Willis Tower

I am pleased to announce that the tallest building in the USA is now named Willis Tower! Some folks don't like it but they'll eventually get over it. Out with Sears and in with Willis!

Monday, July 13, 2009


You've noticed it's been one of those slow blogging times around here lately. It happens every few months - I just can't seem to get it going. I have lots of "would be" posts pass through my mind as I drive around town. Then, when I actually try to organize these thoughts, they utlimately seem not worth writing anyway. There is a lot going on too. Summer is in full swing. Our children are swimming all the time. My lovely wife is training for a marathon. Our dogs need attention as does our yard. Church is busy too. Anyway, the blog falls to the bottom of the priority list during these times. Sometimes I contemplate sharing some of my sermon insights here, but some of the readers already hear it on Sundays (& it's probably not that insightful anyway!). Fortunately some of my fellow bloggers continue to service their readers including me. I am especially digging the Arminian Today blog and the ongoing discussion of Romans 7 over there. VERY INTERESTING. I'm off the Delmarva Family Camp tomorrow, so I should return pumped up and maybe I'll be able to squeeze out a post or two! Until then...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Baptism Sunday?

Maybe you haven't noticed yet, but a new term has made its way into the church: "Baptism Sunday." Yes, you won't find it in Scripture, but it is a growing fad (hopefully just a fad) among our churches. It has always bugged me, but I've never blogged about it. Anyway, this morning I read Blair Yager's comments on this "Baptism Sunday" idea and the were right on. This is "must read" stuff. So, enough with my rambling, go check out BAY. And don't wait until Sunday to do it!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Preston "Whatcha Talkin Bout" Willis wins backstroke!

My Blog List Grows

It's time to recommend two new blogs for your consideration. Both of these bloggers will be familiar to some who stop in here.

The first is Blair Yager's "What Will BAY Say Today?" Dr. Yager was a professor of mine back in college and taught some of my favorite classes. He's now a professor at Regent University in nearby VA Beach. Don't be alarmed - Blair is still rock solid doctrinally. Blair is sharp and I'm excited to see what his blog will offer.

The second is Sam Loveall's "Less Than I Want To Be, More Than I Was" blog. Sam is better known as "Sammyboy" around here. We also go back to college. I remember Sam especially for his singing voice. This brother can flat sing! Trust me if you haven't heard him. But Sam is more than a vocalist; he's a thoughtful and insightful brother. I think you will be challenged by reading his blog.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Go Jesus!

We got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas. We were all over it for the first couple of weeks, but it faded in popularity after our children returned to school and other activities. Recently the Wii has reemerged at the Willis household. Last night something really cool happened. Before I tell you what occurred I need to give you a little background information. The Wii allows you to create and name various characters to play with in games. Pretty cool feature actually. Our kids really got into to this and made a ton of characters. I think my son, Preston, has created about a dozen versions of himself. Anyway, last night he had his best bud, Aidan, over for a sleepover and they were playing baseball on the Wii. Then I here them shouting about Jesus. What's up? Apparently someone (one of our children I'm sure) made a Jesus character for our Wii. Well, Jesus must have come through big time because the boys began to shout in unison: "Go Jesus! Go Jesus! Go Jesus!" All I can say is AMEN!