Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Jesus is Near..."

My Dad is sitting this morning in the radiology office at Carteret General Hospital awaiting another pet-scan for clarification of whether or not cancer has returned anywhere in his body. As always his heart is tenderly turned towards The Great Physician.

I asked, "Dad, how are you feeling today?" His reply was vintage Capt. Billy inspiration: "Jesus is near. The sun is shining. The flowers are beautiful, and I am praying my scan will show 'all clear'. However, I want His will. He hasn't left me alone."

He then wept a little in praise and said, "Tell your local church people I so appreciate them and their prayers on my behalf. Everything's gonna be okay, either way." 


Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Pleasant Places"

Last night I was blessed to moderate a panel of boat builders and fishermen from my native North Carolina, coastland community. The local Heritage Museum was honoring the Davis family from Marshallberg, North Carolina. 

The panel consisted of a grandfather, Bernie,  son, Gary, and two grandsons, Ramsey and Zach. Beginning with the grandfather, they each shared memories about the great grandfather, Ray. 

Finally, through tears of gratitude, the youngest grandson, Zach, gave this passage from the Psalms to explain how he felt about his grandfather, his heritage, and the generational blessing that is now His:  

“The LORD is my inheritance and my cup. You are the one who determines my destiny. Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me. Indeed, my inheritance is something beautiful.”
-- Psalm 16:5-6 (GWT) 


Friday, August 29, 2014

Beam Brightly

Last evening, my wife, Kim, and I, were blessed to take a boat ride to Cape Lookout Lighthouse, a short distance from my childhood home. 

Captain Richard Gillikin and his wife, Ellen, were our hosts. They live in my Granny Margery and Grandaddy Gray's old home place now.

This old song is still on my heart this morning. I hope it blesses your soul and inspires you to reflect the Light of Jesus along the shores of your life. Beam brightly. 

Let the Lower Lights Burning:


(If images do not display fully, click on image.)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Our Always-Present Lord

In Revelation 1:8 (GWT),  The Glorified Christ witnesses these words of wonder about Himself:

“I am the A and the Z,” says the Lord God, the one who is, the one who was, and the one who is coming, the Almighty.”

He is "The One Who Is!" 
(He is our God in the Present)

He is "The One Who Was!" 
(He is our God over the Past)

He is "The One Who Is Coming!" 
(He is our God of the Future)

Lord, be God over me Today, be God over my Yesterdays, and be God ordering my Tomorrows. From my earthly beginning to my earthly end and until my Heavenly new beginning again, be my EVERYTHING, ALL-THE-TIME, FOR ALL-TIME AND BEYOND!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Sin is Lying Outside Your Door..."

In Genesis 4:7 (GWT) God said to Cain: "If you do well, won't you be accepted? But if you don't do well, sin is lying outside your door ready to attack. It wants to control you, but you must master it."

Let us think and act on these things, my brothers and sisters.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Seaman's Dream -- Aboard The Old Ship of Zion

When I was a boy, this image was framed and hanging on the wall of our island home. My Dad, a seaman, so resembled the man at the ship's wheel that I really thought it was him. 

This image means so much to our family and especially to my Dad, who spent nearly 60 years on the ocean, much of it as a shrimp boat captain. He has lived through many life-threatening storms.

Over the past 9 months, my Dad, Capt. Billy, has been in the biggest storm of his life as he has experienced cancer, chemotherapy and beginning today, radiation. Yet, this morning he told one of his new doctors that this stormy season has been the most meaningful, spiritual season of his life.

I showed Dad the above image this morning. He wept tears of gratitude to God. Dad then retold to me a vivid and inspirational dream he once had. 

Dad said: "In the dream, I was sailing on The Old Ship of Zion (imagery of the ship that transports believers to Heaven). Though the vessel was encountering a very bad storm, a hurricane of sorts, still The Old Ship of Zion, seemingly 300 feet in length, cut through the angry billows like a sharp knife. I had never been aboard such an impressive and seaworthy ship as The Old Ship of Zion. I was sure we would make port on That Golden Shore of my Heavenly Home." 

I pray your day will be a day like no other -- a day when you sense The Captain of The Old Ship of Zion, Jesus Himself, to be your undeniably present, Pilot of Peace.


(If image above does not display full, click on image.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Is "The King" Also "My King?!"

Was Jesus a king? Well, Matthew's New Testament account of The Good News of Jesus Christ sets out to say Jesus was more than "a king"; He was and is "THE KING!"

Consider this. Even as Jesus was being crucified on a cruel Roman Cross, a governor had these words posted on a plaque above the head of Jesus: "This is Jesus, 'THE KING' OF THE JEWS!" (Matthew 27:37 GWT)

Pilate called Him "THE KING OF THE JEWS!" But the question must be answered more personal than Pilate's inscription -- that may have been, in actuality, more of an accusation than an answer. 

Either way, each of us must answer for ourselves: "Is Jesus 'THE KING OF MY LIFE?!' Is Jesus 'MY KING?!'"


Sunday, August 24, 2014


Prayers for my Dad, Capt. Billy appreciated. He is experiencing some pain-filled days. Since his "all clear" cancer report about two months ago, new health concerns are his reality. 

We trust in The Name of The Lord Our God... Regardless... Deo Volente!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Our 34th Wedding Anniversary

Today, my dear beloved wife, Kim, and I celebrate 34 years of marriage. "A cord of three strands is not easily broken" -- God, husband, and wife.

Grateful to my God for my bride (1980's image of my Beloved below)

"What Makes Me 'Somebody'...?"

On this past Sunday (just hours prior to unplugging from the local pastorate for a season of sabbatical that will excuse me from the pulpit and all church-related responsibility for 8 straight weeks) I shared aloud these words about giving up control and choosing solitude. The words are my personal remix of deep writings from Henri Nouwen. By the expression on many of the faces in the congregation, my vulnerable confession really resonated:

When I enter into solitude to be with God alone, I quickly discover how dependent I am.  Without the many distractions of my daily life, I can feel anxious and tense.  When nobody speaks to me, calls on me, or needs my help, I can start feeling like a nobody.  Then I begin wondering whether I am useful, valuable, and significant.  My tendency is to leave this fearful solitude quickly and get busy again to reassure myself that I am"somebody."  But that is a temptation, because what makes me somebody is not other people's responses to me but God's eternal love for me.

To claim the truth of myself I have to cling to my God in solitude as the One who makes me who I am.


Friday, August 22, 2014

"The Power Doesn't Come from Us... "

“Our bodies are made of clay, yet we have the treasure of the Good News in them. This shows that the superior power of this treasure belongs to God and doesn’t come from us.”
-- 2 Corinthians 4:7 (GWT)

The Power doesn't come from us, but It does come to us and must flow through us!


(If full image doesn't display above, click on image.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Invitation to LIFE

Isaiah 55:1-3a ((NLT) invites us to LIFE:

Invitation to the LORD’s Salvation

1 “Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—
even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
it’s all free!
2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.
3 Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life."


Wednesday, August 20, 2014


My Christian-recording-artist-friend, Jim Cole, is good buds with Christian-recording-artist,  Phil Keaggy. Phil Keaggy is world renown as one of, if not "the best" guitarist ever. It's so very amazing to me that Phil uses his talents for the Lord.

The two links below will take you to two different recordings of one of Jim Cole's favorite Phil Keaggy songs. I pray it will touch you as well -- the guitar picking, the voice, but especially the message. Get ready to get your "rejoice" on :-).

"All the angels in Heaven above, rejoice when there's a soul saved!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"The Breath of Life"

"Then The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the earth and blew the breath of life into his nostrils. The man became a living being." 
-- Genesis 2:7 (GWT)

These words humble me and cause me as a God-created living being to worship my Creator God nonstop with all of the breath He has placed within me.


Monday, August 18, 2014

I Must Lay it Down

On Day 1 of my Sabbatical, I leave you with a message I preached yesterday titled "I Must Lay it Down" and based on Genesis 22. Peace in Jesus' Name.

Click here: Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene / Media / Audio/video Sermons


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beautiful Light Music for The Weighted, Weary & Worn-Down

You probably know by now that my eight-week season of sabbatical begins tonight. Many people are curious about what I will be doing, etc. and believe me, it is so much more simple than you might first imagine. Anyway, I am touched that people are inquisitive and I like to share as many details as feasible with you -- my family and friends.

With that said, here is a link of some of the atmosphere music I will be listening to along my journey. I guess you could call it one of the soundtracks of my sabbatical season. It's a musical mix of inspiring and uplifting tunes -- about a 2-hour Play List.

I am not endorsing the music, just saying I really enjoy the simple compilation of instrumentals and just maybe it will lift your heart, especially if you are feeling weighted , weary, and worn-down.

Click here: Beautiful Light Music/Easy Smooth Inspirational/Play List: Relax Daily Ocean Breeze


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Let's Tough It Out!

(If image does not display fully, click image.)
A hero of the faith to me, my Dad, Capt. Billy, a few years back before he entered his season of sickness.

"Tough times don't last.
Tough people do."
-- Capt. Billy Willis

Sometimes faith is tough, but let's tough it out by totally trusting our invisible but undeniably present God until we see His Face. For now, He has made His temporary Home within us. Soon we will be with Him in His Eternal Home... For Forever!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hard Days

It's 10:30 p.m. at my home.

I am doing something tonight that I almost never do -- posting my blog a second time in one day. So here goes.

Some days are harder than others. I have come to believe that the harder days only document that holy things are happening.

Lord, give me perseverance to trust You wholeheartedly especially when the days seem harder. I want what you want more than I want anything. For me and for those in my circles of influence, please continue to prove Yourself strong, especially when Your mysterious ways confound us. Keep us from fainting. We want to reap a harvest of righteousness.  In Jesus' Name. Amen. 


True Humility Simply Trusts

"Pray in deep humility. True humility proves its integrity by not seeking for anything but simply trusting God's grace [in Everything]."
-- Andrew Murray remixed 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Praise & Perspective

(4) Make music to praise the LORD, you faithful people who belong to him. Remember his holiness by giving thanks. (5) His anger lasts only a moment. His favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may last for the night,
but there is a song of joy in the morning.
-- Psalm 30:4-5 (GWT)


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

As My Season of Sabbatical Approaches...

As my season of sabbatical approaches, I am amazed at the speed of life. Soon, I will embark for multiple weeks of exhaling the busy and inhaling the beauty. I am anticipating -- and just to be honest -- a little bit anxious as well. While being a pastor is not really what gives me value to God, it is who and what He has called me to be. So, I guess you could say "sabbatical takes me away from my appointed post in life." It's always been a mystery to me that The Good Shepherd would ever in a million years call me, the son of a fisherman to feed His flock. Yes, it's a mystery, but a marvelous mystery, for sure. In other words, I like my post as a local pastor. With all of that said, I guess I am a little nervous about sabbatical. But it's a good nervous, because I know God will be magnified in my own life as other distractions are set aside for a while.

So, while I will not be taking time away from God's Presence, I will be vacating my role as Vision Pastor, at least geographically. After I preach a third message in a 3-week series on "Humility" this Sunday morning, my two younger pastor-brothers will join with our family of five for a time of togetherness on Sunday afternoon. Yes, the fourteen of us will spend time just loving on each other and no doubt they will somehow assist in helping me to begin unwinding for my time of rest, refreshment, and refocus.

I'm often asked: "What will you be doing on your sabbatical, Pastor Kerry?" Well, I truly believe for me as a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year, vigilant, local, shepherd what I really need to be doing more than anything else on my sabbatical is best understood in two words: "creative loafing." I know it sounds like I will actually be "doing nothing" and "doing nothing" doesn't get much acclaim in our world of being busy, however, while "being still and knowing that God is God," may seem like "doing nothing" to those who are propping up our present culture, it is still worthwhile for eternal souls. I have come to know that when it seems we are "doing nothing", our God is really "Doing Something!" Make that "GOD IS REALLY DOING SOMETHING BIG!"

It's Time, my friends!

In closing, a sabbatical for me is a chosen and a given season of once again trusting God totally to be God all by Himself! As my friend, Pastor Joseph wrote: "Trusting God is easy. He's so Trustworthy!"

While I'm unplugging from the pastorate and "doing nothing", my blog will still be my daily place of devotional focus for many days of my journey. So, I invite you take the journey with me if you'd like -- in Spirit of course. :-)


Monday, August 11, 2014

Two Powerful Words & One Powerful Song

The last few days two powerful words about my Lord have been saturating my mind: "JESUS WEPT."

And this morning, a friend and co-worker of mine sent me this link to one powerful song:

Click here: Completely by Among the Thirsty - YouTube


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Humility is Childlikeness

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. Then he said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me.
-- Matthew 18:1-5 (GWT)
Humility is Childlikeness, not to be confused with chidlishness.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pride Versus Humility

My friend and co-worker, Janine sent me this quote printed on literature for High Point University in North Carolina: (If image does not display entirely, click on image below.)

Friday, August 8, 2014

What Humility Looks Like to Jesus?

To Jesus, humility looks like little children. 

“3 Then he (Jesus) said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
-- Matthew 18:3-4 (NLT)


Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Humble Yourself as a Child"

My heart has been recently focused especially on the humility and holiness of Christ. This song by my friend, Jim Cole, cheers the heart:

Click here: Jim Cole - Humble Yourself As A Child - YouTube


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Prayer Song for Humility and Holiness

In the midst of a season that I am saturating in and preaching on humility, I wrote this prayer song during my quiet time of worshipping my Lord. My friend, our worship pastor, Joseph, is putting my words to music so we can share it with our people over the next couple of weeks. Here are the lyrics. Hope it touches your heart as you pray and/or sing it:

A Prayer Song for Humility and Holiness
Kerry Willis -- Written August 5, 2014
Verse 1
Lord, I seek You and Your humility
Destroy self-centeredness, that has blinded me
Pardon my inconsistencies...
And let Your Spirit be my purity  
Oh, I adore You, in my days and nights
Let my devotion, lift you up on high
You sacrificed Your Life for me...
Now, give me Vision that I might see.
Verse 2
Lord have mercy, reveal my need for You
I must decrease, it's what I want to do
Keep me from all wickedness...
Oh, How I want to be Your friend.
I desire You to Breathe in me 
I want to know You, 
Know Your Holiness, completely 
I desire You to Breathe in me
want to know You, 
Know Your Holiness, completely
I desire You to Breathe in me 
I want to know You, 
Know Your Holiness, completely 
It's my prayer... It's my praise...
To Love You... with all of me


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Holy Song of Humility

This song really moves my heart in holy humility to hunger and thirst more for more of my God:

Click here: Addison Road - What do I know of Holy with lyrics - YouTube


Monday, August 4, 2014

"Remember Those Who Are Mistreated..."

These New Testament passages are resonating deep within my soul today:

"Jesus went to all the towns and villages. He taught in the synagogues and spread the Good News of the kingdom. He also cured every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were troubled and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops.'” 
-- Matthew 9:35-38 GWT 

"Remember those who are mistreated as if you were being mistreated." 
-- Hebrews 13:3b GWT 

Especially, Lord, I feel compassion for and am praying for those souls who are being hassled and mistreated with torment because they are enslaved by Sin and Satan. Father God, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Let Your Spirit of Truth bring release and relief to seeking souls. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

"Our Message is Not About Ourselves"

This New Testament passage causes my soul to overflow with humility:

"Our message is not about ourselves. It is about Jesus Christ as the Lord. We are your servants for his sake. We are his servants because the same God who said that light should shine out of darkness has given us light. For that reason we bring to light the knowledge about God’s glory which shines from Christ’s face. Our bodies are made of clay, yet we have the treasure of the Good News in them. This shows that the superior power of this treasure belongs to God and doesn’t come from us."
(2 Corinthians 4:5-7 GW)


Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Hanky-Waving Holy Week

A picture is worth a thousand words.

This image portrays the DNA of the last 7 days of my life as I partnered in preaching with my ministry mentor, Rev. James Spruill, at the Pittsburgh District Church of the Nazarene Campmeeting inside the Mt. Chestnut Big-Top-Tabernacle. (If full image doesn't display, click image.)


Friday, August 1, 2014

"All Fear Removed, I Breathe You In"

At last night's Pittsburgh District Nazarene Youth International Campmeeting Gathering, this song led by the group "15 Sheckles" from Eastern Nazarene College was really used by God to touch my soul deeply in worship. I believe it will do the same for yours.

Click here: Sinking Deep | Hillsong Young and Free (Lyrics) - YouTube

I especially like these words in the song: "All Fear Removed, I Breathe You In."