Wednesday, January 16, 2019

An Awakening Prayer

I awoke at 5:53 am this morning at our Four Winds Philadelphia District Pastor’s Prayer Retreat with this clear prayer on my mind: 

“Lord, as the wind shapes the oak tree, 
let your Holy Spirit shape my soul.” 

I guess I could call it an “awakening prayer”.

Later in the day we were assigned quiet time. I drove south a ways and walked through a rural cemetery. It was a cold stroll but it did warm my soul. 

Photos between the retreat center and the cemetery will be added when my WiFi service improves...

Presence Matters Most!

Pastor Kerry Willis

Monday, January 14, 2019

Your Presence Matters Most

For a few years now, my ministry philosophy has been “the ministry of presence”, that is, I only live that Christ might manifest Himself through me. To be a sanctuary of His Holy Presence is my life’s purpose.

When I became district superintendent of Philadelphia, I decided to focus our mission statement on three words: “Presence Matters Most!” 

Also, after a couple of years, I just finishing co-writing a new book manuscript — with Pastor Margaret Michael and Dr. Brian Charette — that is now hopefully in its final edit stages and should be printed in 2019. The title is, of course, “Presence Matters Most!”

Recently, in preparation for our district pastors’ prayer retreat, Pastor Jim Lucas from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, moved deeply by our mission statement, has written a new song. Yes, he was inspired simply, but profoundly, by “Presence Matters Most!” 

While I was totally humbled when I heard the new song, it also gave me deep affirmation in my own soul that God is on the move. 

Listen to the song, that Pastor Jim Lucas has also turned into a beautiful YouTube:

Presence Matters Most!
That is... Presence. Unity. Souls. Love. 

Pastor Kerry Willis

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Epiphany Afterglow

This was my Instagram post today, Sunday...

 Snowy cold on the outside but what a warm tender worship service on the inside at Bethany Harrisburg PA Church of the Nazarene. I love preaching in the afterglow of Epiphany. Humbled to see altars lines with children early-on and adults at the end. Grateful, my Lord, because I only live that You might use me as an Epiphany, yes, that You might reveal Yourself in me, that you might manifest Your glory through my story to others. #FourWinds #PresenceMattersMost #Maranatha

Let the little children come unto Jesus. Prayer time. 

God You’re So Good. Worship time 

One of my Scripture texts today... 

Pastor Kerry Willis 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Let Us Not Behave Like Unbelievers

I do not believe there is anything that breaks the heart of our Faithful God more than for us as professed believers to behave like unbelievers and to doubt that God is good and that He cares for His own. Yes, surely, our seemingly subtle acts of unbelief in God sink to the very deepest depths of human rebellion. 

Shame on us when we act as if God is unaware and without care for our lives. It must surely feel again like the kiss of Judas upon His holy face, yes, a bitter betrayal in its most obvious representation. 

How quickly we forget that God is Love. How many days do we overlook the fact that He loved us (and still loves us) so very much that He gave His only beloved Son to become a broken, crucified and dead sacrifice to pay in full our wretched ransom of unrighteousness? 

Let us pray: God forgive and God forbid! God forgive us for our lack of true trust in You! God forbid that we should live as spiritual shams, claiming to be sold-out believers while actually selling You out by behaving like unbelivers. Lord, You are worthy of all of our worship, all of our praise, and truly, all of our trust! Help our unbelief! Restore Your steadfast Spirit of loyalty within us. In The Name of The One called Wonderful, Jesus! Amen. 

A framed photo by a young farm boy named Charles hanging on the wall by the elevator in a New Jersey nursing home I visited. 

Presence Matters Most!
That is... Presence. Unity. Souls. Love.

Pastor Kerry Willis 

Friday, January 11, 2019

We Do Not Lose Heart

This morning as I held the Word of God close, I came upon The Apostle Paul’s letter,  2 Corinthians, chapter 4 and verse 1. It strengthened me just to read the words silently in my mind. 

Too often it seems too easy to simply quit at life and ministry. Nevertheless, we must not be among those who cast aside perseverance and just give up. As one called by the Lord, I never want to take my hand off the plow and look back. Though many sadly have. 

When we are weak we need to remember God’s mercy. The Word of God can work wonders within us and give us the desire to journey onward and upward instead of sadly not finishing the race. 

Before I reveal the words of 2 Corinthians 4:1, hear the words immediately before them, yes, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18: (17) “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (18) And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.” 

We must not quit while “we are being transformed into His likeness!” Now, onto 2 Corinthians 4:1, my dear friends:

Because of God’s mercy we have a ministry, and we do NOT, we will NOT, we must NOT... LOSE HEART! 

I pray your Spirit is lifted as mine is. I can hear the words of that old hymn of the church in my soul: “My Heavenly Home is bright and fair, Oh I feel like traveling on!” 

Here’s an additional thought that the mind of Christ gave to me this week and I have posted it also on my Instagram feed today. I hope it helps you not to lose heart as well:

Presence Matters Most!
That is... Presence. Unity. Souls. Love.

Pastor Kerry Willis 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Ministry of Absence — Capt. Billy

Those who are carriers of Jesus in their lifetime practice the ministry of presence. Once they are gone, they continue to touch our lives though they are no longer present — the ministry of absence. 

This was my Instagram post today: 

Hardly, if ever, does a day go by that I don’t glean wisdom from the life my dad lived. I call it “The Ministry of Absence”. The book I wrote, “Relational Leadership”, has this by-line: “What I learned from a fisherman about leading a church.” I never knew a better leader than my own dad, a simple shrimp-boat captain. And surely a day does not pass that I do not miss his voice. (Thanks dad for leaving me voicemail that I replay often.) This past Sunday, Epiphany Sunday, was my dad‘s spiritual birthday. He came to Christ in the early morning hours — during the 4th watch of the night — aboard his first shrimp-boat, Miss Vickie, docked in Wanchese, North Carolina in 1969. I love this relaxed photograph of him on his last shrimp-boat, Lady Melba ⚓, steering with his feet. #FourWinds #PresenceMattersMost #Maranatha

Presence Matters Most! 
That is... Presence. Unity. Souls. Love. 

Pastor Kerry Willis 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Jesus Still Seeks to Save The Lost

The mission of Jesus as spoken in the New Testament by Jesus Himself is that “He came to seek and to save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10)

Do you know Jesus still seeks to save those who are lost. Now He does that through our lives. Yes, because He has made His Home in us on earth until we finally make our Home with Him in Heaven, He is seeking souls everywhere and all-the-time through our everyday lives. His mission is now our mission.  

Today, it happened for me at a greasy spoon coffee shop along the South Jersey Shore. I went for a late lunch with a friend and I was amazed at how God manipulated my whole schedule today and worked in the details of even my own desires and my friend’s schedule and desires, too, so that we could encounter a disheartened waitress who needed to know her life mattered to Jesus. 

Before we left, the young lady I had gladly ministered the Hope and Love of Jesus to for about an hour cried tears of gratitude and asked permission to hug me. Her awful day had turned awesome simply and profoundly because Jesus sought her out through my life. 

She may not be totally found yet, nevertheless, her face is turning from the darkness to the light. I pray for more favor with her in the future.

That’s what I mean by “Presence Matters Most!”  As carriers of the Spirit of Truth, we give way too little credit for simply “showing up” in the lives of lost and hurting souls. Friends, we are sanctuaries of the Living God! Christ in us is THE HOPE! (Col. 1:27) When we are present with others, His Presence shows up and shows off and we are left humbled and speechless. 

Partnering with Jesus in His mission to seek and to save those who are lost is a life worth living, indeed! 

Presence Matters Most! 
That is... Presence. Unity. Souls. Love.

Pastor Kerry Willis