Friday, December 6, 2019

In the World, Kept from Evil

I often mourn deep within when it seems too often there is very little visible difference in the behavior of "believers" and non-believers. I cringe when Christians embrace evil, especially while non-Christians are looking on. 

A troubling quote by Brennan Manning is buried deeply in my brain: 

"The single greatest cause of atheism today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

A prayer Jesus prayed in John 17, is my prayer for us as believers, especially now as the Advent Season is underway. During Christmastime we have the greatest opportunities to shine His holiness -- loving God, loving others and being light in the darkness -- the opposite of embracing evil. 

Who knows, maybe if we live what we say we believe, unbelievers will come to believe in our Christ of Christmas, simply and profoundly because our lifestyles undeniably transform from unbelievable to believable right in front of their ever-watching eyes.

Truly, we must be in the world, but not of the world. Let us be light and go shine, all the while, asking God to lead us not into temptation and to deliver us from evil for His is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Here’s the prayer Jesus prayed to the Father on our behalf, as true believing disciples of King Jesus: :

"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You would keep them from the evil." John‬ ‭17:14-15‬

Presence Matters Most! No Invisible People!

UNITY!

Pastor Kerry Willis 


Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Hunger for Presence 

For my blog today I am posting a link to a message I preached in July 2019 at Fairview Village Church of the Nazarene in Eagleville, Pennsylvania nest Philadelphia. The title is "A Hunger for Presence". 

I believe this message will encourage you especially during this season of Advent. In many ways, this message is more like my testimony. I pray it will serve as a witness for my King, Jesus, in Whose presence alone I find Life. 

https://youtu.be/0s18f28CBJ4

Presence Matters Most! No Invisible People! 

UNITY!

Pastor Kerry Willis 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

"The Light of the World is Dawning"

In Luke 1, Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, is present. His complete, inspiring, Holy-Spirit-filled prophecy is recorded in Luke 1:67-80. 

Zechariah foretold how his own son, John, who had just been born, would prepare the way for the coming Messiah by telling people how to find forgiveness of their sins all-the-while pointing them to Jesus. 

These concluding words in Zechariah’s prophecy define so beautifully why God was about to send His Son to Bethlehem:

"And Heaven’s Dawn is about to break upon us. To give light to those who sit in death’s shadow, and to guide us to the path of peace." Luke 1:78b-79, Living Letters

Listen as my friend, Jim Cole, sings his original Christmas song, "In Bethlehem Tonight." Note: Some of Zechariah’s words are beautifully paraphrased in Jim’s lyrics -- "the light of the world is dawning."

https://youtu.be/Qh_NwTtCxLc

Presence Matters Most! No Invisible People!

UNITY

Pastor Kerry Willis 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

My Advent Prayer 

As the season of Advent commences, my heart leans into the holiness of the season and prayer seems in order...

Pray with me, now...

King Jesus, we celebrate Your first arrival on planet earth some 2,000 years ago, and we anticipate Your return any day here below.

You came to Bethlehem so vulnerable, yes, so very meek and mild, as a little Heavenly child. 

Lowly shepherds paraded past the place where You slept. Surely, some laughed aloud while others silently wept.

Your parents were humbled beyond comprehension, they knew God had sent You to destroy evil’s intention.

For You came to redeem us, to rescue us from sin. You were born to be broken, on the Cross You would win.

So, at Christmastime, we celebrate Your arrival, and we remember Your resurrection from death, where you gave us survival.

Let us rejoice in Your mission, You surely didn’t fail and because you overcame, we can prevail.

As Advent is upon us, we rest in Your coming. Give us faith to believe You will soon be returning. 

Amen, Come Lord Jesus! MARANATHA! Rev. 22:20

Presence Matters Most! No Invisible People!

UNITY!

Pastor Kerry Willis 





Monday, December 2, 2019

Advent Assurances. Increase Peace.

In Luke’s Gospel, we find Advent assurances, yes, comforting words from the Heavenly angel and the Nazarene virgin, yes spoken words to increase our peace concerning God’s faithfulness.

First, hear the words of the Heavenly angel named Gabriel: 

"For every promise from God shall surely come true!" Luke 1:37, Living Letters 

Second, hear the words from the Nazarene virgin named Mary:

"He has not forgotten His promise to be merciful." Luke 1:54:b, Living Letters 

Let us claim these Advent assurances as our own. Let us saturate again and again in these written words of comfort spoken by Gabriel and Mary.

Finally, here’s a Christmas song from my own playlist that also delivers Advent assurance in my own life. As you listen, I pray that your peace will increase.

https://youtu.be/Vm2T8Xqbt6A

Presence Matters Most! No Invisible People!

UNITY!

Pastor Kerry Willis 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Go Tell 

Occasionally, at Christmastime, I will hear an old Christmas carol being sung and suddenly -- seemingly out of nowhere -- someone will sing a "new" verse that I have never heard before. That’s already been my reality this Advent Season.

As we were driving between Baltimore and Philadelphia on Advent Eve, November 30, we were listening to a radio station that was playing Christmas carols. An old, familiar, holy day song came on the air, "Go Tell it On the Mountain." Yet, the final verse in this particular rendition rang out as brand "new" to my ears and it touched my heart deeply. 

Here are the lyrics of the final verse:

"He made me a watchman

Upon the city wall.

And if I am a Christian

I am the least of all.

Go tell it on the mountain

Over the hills and everywhere.

Go tell it on the mountain

That Jesus Christ is born."

What a powerful message to my own life. Glad to finally hear the final verse of that old classic Christmas carol. Makes me want to go tell the old story in a new way!

And here’s the link to that exact recording that played on the radio at Shine FM. It’s my newest favorite arrangement of an old Christmas carol. Yay! 

https://youtu.be/XQWB24ypn88

Presence Matters Most! No Invisible People!

UNITY!

Pastor Kerry Willis 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Idea of Resurrection / Amplified (As Things Really Are)

As Jesus-believers, the idea of Resurrection is, indeed, most essential to our hope. I love these words from God’s Word as recorded by the Apostle Paul, in the Amplified Bible:

"Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain [useless, amounting to nothing], and your faith is also vain [imaginary, unfounded, devoid of value and benefit--not based on truth]. We are even discovered to be false witnesses [misrepresenting] God, because we testified concerning Him that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised, either; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and powerless [mere delusion]; you are still in your sins [and under the control and penalty of sin]. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hoped only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied. But now [as things really are] Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, [and He became] the first fruits [that is, the first to be resurrected with an incorruptible, immortal body, foreshadowing the resurrection] of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For since [it was] by a man that death came [into the world], it is also by a Man that the resurrection of the dead has come. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive." ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:12-22‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Let us rejoice "as things really are," yes, in the reality of the Resurrection of our Redeemer, Who has surely also purchased our never-dying souls from sin, death, and Hell. Hallelujah!

A Resurrection Celebration Song: 

https://youtu.be/nGncW_ueyHA

Presence Matters Most! No Invisible People!

UNITY!

Pastor Kerry Willis