Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Please. I Plead.

On the witness stand of your life, I want to testify today. I want to plead with you a little, too.

Loving Jesus passionately is first and foremost a glorious privilege. But make no mistake about it, Loving Jesus Passionately is also quite burdensome at times.

To Love Jesus is to be concerned about what breaks His heart. To share the Lord's cares about His world going wildly after sin and embracing self-centerness is almost too heavy to shoulder at times. When we look around and see the scores of lost souls who have no concept of eternal separation from God, so they live as if they fear nothing, especially death, it's painful to the Jesus and to the people who adore Jesus. 

So what are we to do? Well, personally, I'll do like the children's Christian song declares:

"I'll Love Him better every D-A-Y!"

Yes, I realize the burden for the world will only increase, yet, I Love Jesus "so much" because He first Loved me "too much".

I don't have to Love Jesus passionately! But I get to. Oh yeah, and I want to. Please Love Jesus Passionately, too. Please. I plead.

"He gave His Life. What more can He do.
Oh, how He loves you and me."

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Be The Church

Let the church be THE CHURCH -- His Light causing the darkness to tremble.

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Be Light! Go Shine!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

"All Creation..,"

I'd like to illustrate in part the words of Romans 8:19&22 (GWT) -- "All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who His children are... we know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time." 

Note: if images do not display fully click on each image. 


Saturday, September 27, 2014


"Death is a great dread. It is easy to say 'God is Love' UNTIL death has snatched away your loved one, then I defy you to say that 'God is Love' UNLESS God's Grace has done a work in your soul." 
-- Oswald Chambers 

Almighty Personal God, I am so very indebted to You because I am persuaded that even death cannot separate me from Your Amazing Love and I am in awe at how Your Amazing Grace keeps me believing that even when the loss of life becomes my lot I can still know that You are my God of Love. In the Name of Jesus, I say "thanks" for dying Grace. Amen. 


Friday, September 26, 2014

"More Than Conquerors" -- The Song

I listened to one song over and over again -- for more than an hour -- on Wednesday afternoon. After having heard just 24 hours previously about my Dad's UNC Medical report that cancer has returned -- aggressively, The Holy Spirit truly used a new song by Rend Collective to help me successfully turn all possible worry for my Dad into sure adoration and worship of my God. 

Lord, let us never forget that TEAM JESUS wins!!!! 
In Your Powerful and Compassionate Name, we pray. 

Here's the link to the song below. Listen, my friends, it will surely reinforce your faith. (Especially if you listen to it in a loop for an hour or more.)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Overwhelming Victory is Ours

I am over-saturating in these words of extreme encouragement these days. Hear this one verse for yourself from three translations of The Holy Bible:

Romans 8:37... 

GWT -- The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties.
NIV --  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
CEV -- In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shalom to You

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Yesterday, I was sitting in solitude in the little wood-frame, Methodist Church on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. I had just minutes earlier received a call from my brother to update me on my Dad's oncologist visit in Chapel Hill. The report was a heavy one. 

The cancer is believed to be back and aggressively. (Dad's only hope for a cure, according to the doctors, is a possible bone marrow transplant. I take him back to UNC Medical Center next Wednesday to see if he's a candidate for the procedure. At Dad's age his own bone marrow will have to be used.)

As it rained and the wind blew outside the church house, I sat still and subtly but surely sensed The Peace Speaker's presence. So, in spite of the stormy weather on the outside, I worshiped my Lord on the inside.  He is worthy of all my worship, regardless of the weather and even when a heavy cancer report for my beloved Dad is reality. 

As I thumbed through the Methodist hymnal, I turned to a selection in the back of the book. Believe it or not, the number assigned to the selection was #666. However, the sweet holiness of the hymn's message over-powered the ominous page number. Hear the words for yourself:

"Shalom to you now, 
Shalom my friends.
May God's mercies bless you,
My friends.
In all your living
And through your loving,
Christ be your shalom,
Christ be your shalom."

Shalom, indeed. Peace within. 

Thanks for your interests and your intercessions. Trusting our Good God is easy. He's so totally trustworthy.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Heavenly Bells, Hidden Manna, White Stones & New Names

Today, my Dad, Capt. Billy, has an appointment at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. He goes to get the latest opinion on the recurrence of cancer in his back and left elbow and to get future treatment options.

In talking with Dad last evening he said: "I am not discouraged, quite the opposite. I am encouraged. I am going to witness to new people about my Lord."

Dad then shared an experience he had yesterday as he was sharing and praying on the phone with Rev. Clark Langford, age 80, who lives in Virginia. Dad said: "Kerry, as Brother Langford was praying for me, all of a sudden, I began to hear the most beautiful bells ringing I have ever heard. I am sure it was the bells of Heaven and as I listened I was so very encouraged."

Well, there you have it. My Dad is hearing the bells of Heaven. 

This morning Revelation 2:17 so inspired my heart about the eventual end of our journey Home:

“Let the person who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will give some of the hidden manna to everyone who wins the victory. I will also give each person a white stone with a new name written on it, a name that is known only to the person who receives it.” (GWT)

Let's win the victory, and be..

Monday, September 22, 2014

Bad Versus Great

Please pray for my childhood friend, Ken, and his wife, Melinda, as they are going through a season of cancer on Ken's part.

Ken and I met when we were five-years-old. Through our twelve years of school together, our friendship only grew. Many people thought we were brothers. We are in fact, distant cousins on the Harkers Island side, but we are brothers in Christ.

Anyway, here is Ken's LIFE-theme below as he totally trusts God in his battle. He sends it in every correspondence:

Cancer is a bad thing but...



Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Great Danger

These words penned by Henri Nouwen are eternally profitable:

The great danger of the turmoil of the end-time in which we live is losing our souls.  Losing our souls means losing touch with our center, our true call in life, our mission, our spiritual task.  Losing our soul means becoming so distracted by and preoccupied with all that is happening around us that we end up fragmented, confused, and erratic.  Jesus is very aware of that danger.  He says:  "Take care not to be deceived, because many will come using my name and saying, 'I am the one' and 'The time is near at hand'  Refuse to join them" (Luke 21:8).

In the midst of anxious times there are many false prophets, promising all sorts of "salvations."  It is important that we be faithful disciples of Jesus, never losing touch with our true spiritual selves.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Are We Keepers & Givers of The Light?

On the little strip of narrow sand along the North Carolina Coast called The Outer Banks, my family was born and raised. The little seaside village known as Ocracoke Island was my Granny Margery Oneal Willis' childhood homeland. I make many pilgrimages there to reconnect with my island roots.

On Ocracoke Island stands and beams the oldest working lighthouse beacon in the state of North Carolina and the second oldest, operating lighthouse in the whole USA. 

As a teenage girl, my Granny met a fisherman who would become her husband, yes, my Granddaddy Gray Willis. They met at a fudge party underneath the lighthouse in the early 1900s. 

So, as an island born and bred boy, I love lighthouses for more reasons than the obvious ones. 

Last evening just after sunset, Kim and I visited the old village beacon (photo below). It amazes me that after all these years, the Ocracoke Lighthouse still stands as a keeper and a giver of the light. It still stands guard in the night gleaming hope across the waves.

Are we keepers and givers of the light?

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Steadfast Faith That is Anchored

As I am on sabbatical with about three weeks remaining, many of you know my Dad, Capt. Billy, has been completing a round of radiation for recurring cancer.

Dad is feeling new strength and has a great appetite. Last evening he told me he enjoyed the best meal perhaps of his life, as Mom cooked Stewed Carolina Blue Crabs for their supper.

On Tuesday, September 23, Dad goes to UNC Medical Center to get options for his future treatment. His inspiring comments on that upcoming visit were: "Nevertheless, I will not worry!" Some people wilt spiritually when suffering comes, but my Dad -- through His trust in our Almighty, Personal, and Very Present Holy God -- has gloried in it all. It's been amazing to witness.

A dear church board member, Debbie, sent me this message recently. It so touched my heart that I asked her if I could share a portion of her message to me with all of you on my blog. She agreed. Listen in:

Dear Pastor Kerry:

I sent these words from my devotion in a card to your Dad the other day and I thought I would share them with you. Praying they will be an encouragement to you.

"God enjoys our faith in any season in life, but the trust we display in the dark is far more precious than gold. Nothing overcomes the enemy's tactics or thwarts his desires more clearly than that. When everything seems stacked against us and we trust God, praise him, and lean on him anyway, we have won invisible victories that are visibly celebrated in Heaven. Our faith in the dark is treasured by God." -- Chris Tiegreen, Experiencing God's Presence

Celebrating the many victories you and your Dad have won because of your steadfast faith that is anchored in our Lord and Savior.


Grateful (... and encouraged... me & my Dad)  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"I Know Where You Live..."

Today, i am comforted by the words of Jesus spoken to and through John the Revelator. Specifically, the first five words of Revelation 2:13:

"I know where you live..." (GWT)

i am moved beyond explanation or comprehension by that declaration. To imagine The Creator and The Authority of the Universe knows where i live is wondrously overwhelming to me. 

I will think on this comforting Truth today: "The One called the Great 'I AM' knows and cares where i am!"


Indeed, He is The Faithful One.
Indeed, i am The Grateful one.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Genesis 7:1, causes me to pray deeply for those nearest to my heart, yes, my own family. 

Four words (in caps below) from Genesis 7:1, call out to my never-dying soul as I also call out to The Lord for my loved ones:

"The Lord said to Noah, 'Go into the ship WITH YOUR WHOLE FAMILY because I have seen that you alone are righteous among the people of today.'"

Are you praying that you will know Eternal Life for your own soul in the midst of destruction but also WITH YOUR WHOLE FAMILY!?


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"Be Faithful Until Death"

Revelation 2:10-11, has been embracing my heart, mind, soul, and strength these past 24 hours or so. May you find encouragement in the deep content of these two verses spoken by The Glorified Jesus and written down by John the Revelator for the church in Smyrna initially and reaching out to us immediately:

“10  Don’t be afraid of what you are going to suffer. The devil is going to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested. Your suffering will go on for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11  Let the person who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. Everyone who wins the victory will never be hurt by the second death.”
-- Revelation 2:10-11 (GWT)

Ears-wide-open, oh Lord, let us live with ears-wide-open to hear and obey what Your Holy Spirit speaks to our never-dying souls. Your life lived within us will find us faithful until death. Amen.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Remain Faithful At Any Cost

These words written by the late Henri Nouwen seem right on target for us today:

Many people live with the unconscious or conscious expectation that eventually things will get better; wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, and exploitation will vanish; and all people will live in harmony.  Their lives and work are motivated by that expectation.  When this does not happen in their lifetimes, they are often disillusioned and experience themselves as failures.

But Jesus doesn't support such an optimistic outlook.  He foresees not only the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem but also a world full of cruelty, violence, and conflict.  For Jesus there is no happy ending in this world.  The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world's problems before the end of time but to remain faithful at any cost.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Able to Face and Conquer Satan

For today's blog post I'd like to invite you to follow me on Twitter -- @PastorKerryW

Also, there was one Tweet I sent out this past week that's still strong on my heart and so for today's Good News to you, I am echoing it here: 

Kerry W. Willis (@PastorKerryW)
If we're truly trusting God #totally the very LIFE of Jesus is #within us and we're more than able to face and #conquer satan as Jesus did.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Our Assurance is in the Almighty

I recently had the thought: "I wonder how my two younger brothers are really dealing inwardly with our Dad's season of 'seeming' uncertainty during his cancer recurrence?" Then, my younger brother, Stephen, sent me this song on YouTube:

Our allegiance is to and our assurance is in The Almighty!

Enough said.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Want to Feel Alive?

If you want to feel totally alive, I highly recommend one right answer. Go get yourself barefooted and chase crabs on the beach at night with a flashlight under a rising full moon.

Enough Said.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Guards -- Remain Faithful

As I sat alongside the Atlantic Ocean on a partly sunny and windy day, a life guard pulled up on his four-wheeler with a verbal warning that the currents in the sea were very strong today. I thanked him and the ocean guard was on his way. Then I read this passage from the book already in my hand:

"Each man and woman is like a soldier sent by God to guard some part of the castle of the Universe. And some are in the ramparts and some far deep in the darkness of the walls. But each one must remain faithful to his post and must not go running about, else the castle is in danger from the assaults of Hell."
-- John Steinback, The Pearl

Let us be vigilant, my brothers and sisters. Let us remain faithful to our post.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Praying Deep

Pray with me today. 

I am praying deep... these words... 

"My precious Jesus, 
Your presence is Everything to me --
My heart's sure stronghold...
My soul's unrelenting desire...
My mind's anchoring ground...
My strength's constant renewal.
Do not take away Your Holy Spirit.
I humbly and desperately pray. 
Amen and Amen."

The Whalehead Club at sunset, NC HWY 12 North soundside...

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pronounced Pronouns

The pronouns John uses in Revelation 1:17-18 are so very pronounced to me today. The contrast between the petrified John and THE GLORIFIED JESUS comforts me:

(17) When i saw HIM, i fell down at HIS feet like a dead man. Then HE laid HIS right hand on me and said, "Don't be afraid!" I AM the first and the last, (18) the living one. I was dead, but now I AM alive forever. I have the keys of death and hell.


Monday, September 8, 2014

The Thought of Sin vs. The Thought of Him

I have been saturating in Genesis this morning. One two-verse portion leaves my soul raw with its sad reality:

Genesis 6:5-6 (GWT) -- The LORD saw how evil humans had become on the earth. All day long their deepest thoughts were nothing but evil. The LORD was sorry that he had made humans on the earth, and he was heartbroken.

These two verses explain why I radically hate even "the thought of sin". Sin (evil) breaks the heart of my Loving Holy God.

Today, let us be sure to turn our thoughts totally away from all evil and let us be consumed with "the thought of Him".


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Rest

Our sabbatical bicycles are at rest on this overcast Sunday. I pray the same for you -- deep rest for your soul regardless of the forecast. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


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Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Come Alive in The Light"

A dear friend of mine, also a pastor, recently reminded me of a lighthouse song and video I simply love. 

Whenever I hear this lighthouse song and watch the sea-themed video, many dimensions within me come alive -- making me want to give thanks to "My Lighthouse, Jesus", and making me want to let Him live out-loud in and through me the 4-word, life-slogan I had painted over the main exit of the church doors where I pastor. The 4-word, life-slogan? BE LIGHT! GO SHINE!"

Here's the link. Get ready to come alive in The Light.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Draw Me Close -- A Song and a Portrait

Today, I share a song by Michael W. Smith, "Draw Me Close to You" and a portrait of my Dad, Capt. Billy. (Note the countenance on his face and the shirt he chose to wear on the day he would find out from his oncologist that some cancer cells have reappeared.)

Song link:

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

When We Move Beyond Our Wounded Selves

These words written by Henri Nouwen are worth your time:

When we have been deeply hurt by another person, it is nearly impossible not to have hostile thoughts, feelings of anger or hatred, and even a desire to take revenge.  All of this often happens spontaneously, without much inner control.  We simply find ourselves brooding about what we are going to say or do to pay back the person who has hurt us.  To choose blessings instead of curses in such a situation asks for an enormous leap of faith.  It calls for a willingness to go beyond all our urges to get even and to choose a life-giving response. Sometimes this seems impossible.  Still, whenever we move beyond our wounded selves and claim our God-given selves, we give life not just to ourselves but also to the ones who have offended us.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Creation... Anticipation...

This morning as I was reading from Genesis 5, the words written in verse 1b and verse 2 beautifully surprised my soul and gloriously warmed my heart. 

Here is the passage. See if you pick up on the message that moved me so very much:

1b “When God created humans,
He made them in the likeness of God.
2  He created them male and female.
He blessed them and called them humans when He created them.”

Here's my take-away from the Genesis words:

From our beginning, God blessed us as humans. We were created by our loving God, yes, but not only did He give us breath, He also gave us His Blessing.

Simply spoken,
(1) God made us initially... And,
(2) God blessed us immediately.

As His creation, we should live with anticipation. At our birth, God blessed us. If we live according to His design, we will continue in His blessing for all of our days.

Indeed, this truth from God's Holy Word warms my heart.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our Team Wins!

Spending two days with my grown son, Grayson. His Dad feels like a boy again. ⚾ Enough said. 

Prayers for my Dad, Capt. Billy, and our family are so appreciated. Different set of health challenges. Same awesome Holy God. 

Our Team Wins!


Monday, September 1, 2014

My Island Roots

One of my very own favorite sayings is:

If you forget where you came from, 
you won't know where you are going 
and you won't know who you are when you get there.

Recently, I learned something about myself as I was studying my island roots. The epiphany of sorts came as I was reading an article about the people of Harkers Island, North Carolina. As I casually read, I suddenly understood why I feel like I feel sometimes -- like an introvert who inwardly likes to be left alone, but one has been called out to be a friend of Jesus to everyone I encounter.

Here's the quote I read and the reference:

Harkers Island, North Carolina, sits in the water all by itself, a simple land where people have worked the sounds for a century, a place where they battle two natural instincts -- wanting to be friendly and wanting to be left alone. The State Magazine, May 2013

I'm a natural born island boy, but supernaturally born again to glorify my Lord. Which reminds me of another of my own favorite sayings:

I'm glad to be the son of a fisherman and a fisherman (and a shepherd) for the Son.

Enough said.