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...

Monday, April 19, 2010

A DOZEN Reasons Why I Like Preaching Through Books of the Bible.

1. All Scripture is breathed out by God. Preaching through entire books demonstrates that we value every word of God!

2. Biblical ignorance. Sadly, many church goers skip & dip through Scripture and never get a good grasp on the flow of God’s Word.

3. Better at maintaining context. Sometimes hopping around Can result in out of context proof texting.

4. Cover topics that I might have avoided. Whatever is next is next!

5. Can’t be accused of picking a certain passage to go after someone or to further an agenda. (Well you might still get accused anyway! lol)

6. Safeguards against preaching what I want to preach and cherry picking verses to support what I want to say.

7. This how God’s written word was delivered to us. I highly value systematic theology, but nothing beats the power of going straight through a Holy Spirit written letter!

8. It allows people to more easily follow along with one main text for each sermon. People begin to see how things fit together and they can venture to study for themselves as well.

9. It helps show people how to study Scripture. Good preaching is a result of good hermeneutics in part and this should come through to the listeners.

10. It helps me know where I am going each coming Sunday. Cuts down of the Saturday night specials!

11. It’s cost effective when I can buy several resources for one book.

12. It places the emphasis on the passage not the preacher.

After all of that, I should note that I do preach “topical” messages and series as well. This can also be a very effective method of teaching Scripture too. It definitely has its place. And I employ this method of preaching quite often. Here are a few titles of relatively recent sermon series: American Idols, Old School, It’s All About Jesus, At Your Service, Frequently Asked Questions, The Big 10, Red Letter Questions, Heroes OT, Storm Stories, Go Fish, Faith Factor, Christ Encounters, On the Road Again, It Is About the $$$, etc.

There are a few church folks who would prefer if I moved on from the Gospel of John and that’s not surprising. People have preferences for sure, but I’m not planning on finishing with John any time soon. It’s one of only four accounts of the life of Jesus Christ we have to treasure and study. The Lord’s apostle wrote it, The Holy Spirit inspired it, and our Sovereign God has delivered it, so let’s enjoy every word of it!

That’s what I’m talking bout!

Monday, April 12, 2010


Yesterday we rolled out a survey at church. Only about 25% of the people in attendance responded which was a little disappointing. We are allowing a couple of weeks to complete this relatively brief survey, so we may get more responses next Sunday. It also could be one of the those things where most people are "okay" with what's going on and just decide to leave the survey to others. We provided a comments/suggestions section and I was frankly surprised by the lack of response. And I wasn't surprised by a few predictable comments! I'll start analyzing the results more fully next week. Interestingly 70% of those who responded indicated that they have invited someone to OCC in the past year. I admit I was stunned a bit by that. I would've had it much lower. About 2/3 of the respondents think we are "headed in the right direction." Which means 1/3 apparently think we aren't!

A good survey can be helpful, but you need to ask the right questions and, more importantly, you need to invest some effort in analysis and interpretation of your results.

That's what I'm talkin bout.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Give me the text!

When I prepare a sermon I usually read several different commentaries as part of my preparation. I also like to download a few sermons on the passage at hand and listen to them as a drive around  town or workout at the gym. I really am an auditory learner so I love my aging Ipod Nano & the podcasts, sermons & lectures that it holds. Anyway, I find it quite startling how often I will start to listen to a "sermon" based on a particular passage of Scripture only to end up skipping to something else. Why? Simply because the preacher guy is saying little to nothing that resembles the passage from which he's alledgely preaching! It really is very surprising how often I encounter this sort of thing: Read the text & blah, blah, blah. Now I realize that there may be various applications from a passage and there's a lot more truth packed in a text than one particlular sermon can highlight, but some preacher guys are just using the text as a starting place so as to say whatever thay want to say! Sometimes, as I'm listening, I say to myself, "WHERE'S THAT IN THE PASSGE?" So if you are treaching from a particular text please don't be so quick to depart from the truth contained therein. Hey, I might be listening to your podcast - so thanks in advance!

That's what I'm talkin bout!