Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trust: Thought for Today

My childhood friend, Ken, who is in the midst of a challenging health season, sent me these words of inspiration:

Trust when your skies are darkening.
Trust when your light grows dim.
Trust when the shadows gather.
Trust and look to him.

And Ken's Thought for today:  
God acts through us in this world.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"The Empty Boat Slip"

("The Empty Boat Slip" -- if image doesn't display fully, click on image.)

In the words of my brother, BJ, with the Lady Melba fishing vessel now sold and gone from Dad's boat slip in the Harkers Island Refuge Harbor, "It's the end of the fishing (for seafood) heritage for the Willis family." 

But make no mistake about it, the Willis boys are still fishing -- fishing for lost souls. We will, with the Help of The Blessed Holy Spirit, continue to be "sons of a fisherman, and fishermen (and shepherds) for The Son."


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Boat Sold

(The Lady Melba is the boat in the center of image. If image doesn't display fully, click image.)

Yesterday, my Dad, Capt. Billy, sold his fishing boat, Lady Melba, to another family of fishermen on the other end of the county. Well, Dad say, "He basically gave it away!" :)

Either way, today, the Lady Melba, under the hand of her new pilot, will leave the Refuge Harbor near the Harkers Island Bridge, where she has been docked many years. The hearts of the Willis family are kind of tender, as you might imagine. 

Last night I arrived on the island from Virginia around 10 p.m. I stopped at the boat to reminisce for a while in the darkness around the docks. It was heart-wrenching. I guess having the fishing vessel a vital part of our family for 29 years and knowing it would no longer be a part of our coastal landscape got the best of me. I finally left for the home place. 

When I arrived Dad and Mom were in bed. I stood in the hallway for a while just staring at Dad asleep and I tried to imagine how emotionally hard his day had been. 

This morning I walked in his room and woke him up for a full day of chemo. He cried a little. Oh yeah, I guess I didn't tell you, Dad didn't know I had arrived in the night. It was a surprise visit.

After cooking him a French toast breakfast and sharing coffee and prayer together at the family table, Dad, Mom, and their eldest son have now arrived at the cancer clinic and are awaiting the challenges of another day. 

The day is off to a good start. Dad's humor is back. As we rolled him back to have blood drawn, we saw some mannequin heads displaying wigs. Dad asked the nurse, "Have you all started beheading people here?" :)


Monday, October 27, 2014

Still Wonderfully On My Mind...

Sunday morning I preached twice from Psalm 133, and some 36 hours later the inspiring passage written by King David is still wonderfully on my mind. Here it is:  

“A song by David for going up to worship.
1  See how good and pleasant it is
when brothers and sisters live together in harmony!
2  It is like fine, scented oil on the head,
running down the beard—down Aaron’s beard—running over the collar of his robes.
3  It is like dew on ⌊Mount⌋ Hermon,
dew which comes down on Zion’s mountains. That is where the LORD promised the blessing of eternal life.” (GWT)


Sunday, October 26, 2014

"... Enough Reason... to Worship God..."

The Beautiful Seasonal Artistry seen in Creation -- courtesy of our Awesome Creator God -- should be enough reason alone to overflow our hearts and minds with holy wonder and cause us to want to worship Him for forever. 

(If full image is not visible, click image.)


Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Prayer for Your Heart and Soul

I pray the Light of The Lord will flood your heart with Love during this colorful season. 

And may your soul be like a tree planted by the water. 

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.


Friday, October 24, 2014

"Ain't No Bird!"

"Ain't no bird 
gonna sing in my place.
As long as I'm alive
I'll glorify His Holy Name!"


Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Jesus, Please...

My Jesus, please abide in me
reside in me, preside in me.
Let your Spirit be on-guard, 
ever at Home in me.

Yes, temptation comes, 
sometimes it stays.
Yet, You're my way out --
King of all my days.

I dare not quench
my highest Love.
Strengthen me within
'til I'm with You, Above.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Answer = Jesus

In spite of his season of physical suffering, my Dad, Capt. Billy, is having one of his better days today. We shared a wonderful time of witnessing to one another on the phone this morning. We cried beautiful long-distance tears. Even Mom joined in. It was such a glorious season of stillness for our souls.

Dad said, "Kerry, I can't get that song, 'Jesus is the Answer', off my mind. You should get on that YouTube thing you have, find it, and listen to it."

Well, I will honor my Dad's request even now. Here's the link to Andre Crouch's classic song:

Click here: Andre Crouch--Jesus is the answer - YouTube

Indeed, "Jesus is the Answer. Now what was the question?"


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Work for the Night is Coming

Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling,
Work ’mid springing flowers;
Work when the day grows brighter,
Work in the glowing sun;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man’s work is done.
Work, for the night is coming,
Work through the sunny noon;
Fill brightest hours with labor,
Rest comes sure and soon.
Give every flying minute,
Something to keep in store;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man works no more.
Work, for the night is coming,
Under the sunset skies;
While their bright tints are glowing,
Work, for daylight flies.
Work till the last beam fadeth,
Fadeth to shine no more;
Work, while the night is darkening,
When man’s work is o’er.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Be The Pilot of My Life, My Jesus

Thank You, My LORD, for the vision you gave to me as I prayed this morning. 

In my pleading, I asked for -- and could see in my mind's eye -- You in the wheelhouse of my existence confidently and faithfully piloting my life. 

With one of Your nail-scared hands on the throttle and Your other nail-scared hand at the ship's wheel, I trust You even now to guide me in the direction of Your own choosing and at the speed you know is best. 

In Your Name, I say, "so be it until my last voyage ends in Victory. Yes, Amen."


Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Dearest My Savior And Lord..."

Dearest my Savior and Lord -- Jesus:

Help me to Love You the way You deserve to be Loved. Take my whole life and get glory for Youself. 

Your Name is Wonderful and You are my Life, my Hope, my Everything. Live Your desires through me, I pray. 

I want to inhale and exhale Your Sweet Holy Spirit all of my days and nights. In every encounter of my Life, allow me to clearly recognize Your Presence and let others always undeniably see You, my King, reigning within me. 

Jesus, You alone are my Inspiration at all times and in all things. Apart from You I can do nothing that ultimately matters. I want and need Your Never-ending Embrace and Amazing Grace. 

I love You, Jesus. And I pray in Ypur Name. Amen.


Saturday, October 18, 2014


Ready to go, ready to stay
Ready for God to have His way

He is worthy, He is Love
He's here below and up above

To know Him is to love Him
To know Him is to turn from sin

When He comes to take His bride away
Will you be ready? How about today?


Friday, October 17, 2014

Autumn, Etc.

Another Autumn has arrived
It feels good to be alive
The air is crisp, the sky is clear
The holidays will soon be here

Seasons pass oh so fast
Reminding us our days don't last
So enjoy Autumn as best you can
Remembering God's Eternal Plan


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ready to Listen

The Lord always speaks
But at times we don't hear
He whispers assurance
To dispel every fear

In gentle silence
He often shows up
To lighten our burdens
With hope from above

So with humble attention
Let us be still
Ready to listen...
...Becoming His will...


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Many Dangers...

Seems I am often saying or singing aloud to God, in deep gratitude, these words from "Amazing Grace" -- John Newton's beloved hymn: 

"Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come!"

It's so true. And there are without doubt even more "dangers, toils, and snares" still on the horizon. 

Oswald Chambers wrote these words:

"A great thing about our salvation is that it often keeps us from dangers we know nothing about."

Wow! Think on these things... And be...


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Troubled? Don't Be!"

(1) “Don’t be troubled. Believe in God, and believe in me. (2) My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not true, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? (3) If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again. Then I will bring you into my presence so that you will be where I am.”
-- Words of Jesus, John 14:1-3 (GWT) 


Monday, October 13, 2014

"Our People Die Well!"

Last evening my wife, Kim and I, were tenderly blessed to spend five hours in the Critical Care Unit of our local hospital as the Parks family ushered the beloved patriarch of their family, Mr. Fred, age 82, into Heaven and into the forever realized presence of Jesus. 

As night fell, realizing he would soon be going to His home above (because of a prolonged lung disease) Mr. Fred had each person in the room to sit at his bedside, hold his hand as he gave each   of us unique fatherly words of blessing. It was amazing.

This coming Saturday, After being the Parks' family pastor for 20 years, I willhumbly  preach his home-going message. While I will share words, the beautiful reality is that Mr. Fred truly preached his own final sermon as he lived moment-by-moment as a vulnerable sanctuary of our Savior's Sweet Spirit.

In the afterglow of Mr. Fred's crossing the line of worlds last night, today I can only express a quote attributed to John Wesley: "Our people die well." 


Sunday, October 12, 2014


We are not alone. 

Jesus did not leave us without comfort. He gave to us His Comforter, The Precious Holy Spirit. Yes, His Spirit, The Spirit of Truth, is here and He will not abandon His own. 

Worship God. He knows. He cares. He lives. He loves.

Exhale. Just trust. 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

"...Not of this World!"

"My Kingdom is not of this world!"
(Words of Jesus to the governor.)

Enough said. 

Think on these things, my friends.

(Click on image if it does not display fully.) 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Every Set-back?

"View every set-back as a set-up for a come-back." (A favorite quote of my Dad, Capt. Billy)


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Update Capt. Billy -- The Journey Onward or The Welcome Upward

Thursday, October 9, 2014, 9:05 a.m.

I know some of you are wondering how my Dad is getting along after he found out the first week of October that he is not a candidate for a bone marrow transplant and a possible cure.

Well, on Monday, my two brothers and I accompanied Dad and Mom to the office of his personal cancer doctor, a true believer and now a dear friend of Dad's for sure. In tears, the doctor said that he would surely visit Dad in his home if coming to the office becomes too much. Our hearts are wonderfully warmed by His kindnesses.

The good doctor went on to give Dad three options for future treatment, neither of which will deliver a cure:

(1) Take another more powerful round of chemo to possibly lengthen his days, side effects minimal.
(2) Take a less potent pill regiment of chemo with minimal side effects.
(3) Just quit the chemo and let the days go as they will.

Though we were there to help Dad make a decision, we told him earlier the decision was his and we would support whatever he desired. Without any hesitation Dad and his doctor made the decision together as we listened in. Dad is going with Option #1. His resolve was refreshing. He and the doctor cried and talked about how our good Lord can still intervene. Dad said through tender tears, "I will furnish the man. God will be God."

On Tuesday morning, before my two brothers left for their homes, we all gathered around Mom and Dad and prayed as always. There was peace in the circle. Then after my brothers left, I sensed I should get my anointing oil and as Mom and I laid hands on Dad, I prayed again with a deep sense of belief that God can still get glory out of healing my father. However, as Jesus and my parents have taught me to pray, I cried out finally, "Nevertheless, not our will but Yours be done, my God." 

So there you have it. We have wholeheartedly thrown ourselves yet again fully upon the Great Physician. As Dad says: "We are having good days." (Not easy days, but good days.)

Yesterday, Dad's pain seemed greater for most of the day. Today, he goes to the hospital to get a new port in his chest so the chemo can begin next week, Lord willing. 

He didn't sleep much last night and isn't feeling the best this morning. Surely, he is weak in body, yet the joy of the Lord is his strength. The Holy Word reminds us that "The just walk by faith not by sight."

Is Dad weary of cancer? Yes. We all are. However, we fully trust in the Lord's mysterious and marvelous ways -- whether we experience a Miracle of His Divine Healing so Dad's witnessing-for-Christ-journey-onward can continue or The Door of Heaven opens wide and Dad is welcomed upward into His Heavenly Home by Jesus Himself. Surely, "to live is Christ and to die is gain." Dad and his family are fully surrendered.

Dad and Mom are so appreciative for your interests and intercessions and bless you in the Name of Jesus.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

He is Still Here

Our God alone 
still reigns from His Heavenly Throne. 

He's not wringing His hands
or lacking in plans.

Everything's in His Holy control
and He cares about every last soul.

So, don't lose focus or give in to fear.
Simply remember, He is still here. 

Let's exhale... and be... 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Family Table -- A Place to Testify

Sitting at the breakfast table with my brothers listening to our parents testify aloud through muffled cries. Here's some of what they're saying: 

"We have new grace for today."

"Contentment on earth 
and a home in the sky, 
these are the things 
that money can't by."

"The Comforter abides."

"Nothing like a deep settled peace."

"The Lord makes us a bed in our afflictions."

"Amazing grace how sweet the sound.
I once was lost but now I'm found."

"I'm still on my way home."

"The people from Virginia have sent us many a prayer card."

"Great is Thy Faithfulness."


Monday, October 6, 2014

Inspiration from Emmaus

When the two disciples recognized Jesus as he broke bread for them in their house in Emmaus, he "vanished from their sight" (Luke 24:31). The recognition and the disappearance of Jesus are one and the same event. Why? Because the disciples recognized that their Lord Jesus, the Christ, will now live in them... that they can become Christ-bearers. Therefore, Jesus no longer sits across the table from them as the stranger, the guest, the friend with whom they can speak and from whom they can receive good counsel. He will become one with them. He will give them his Spirit of Love. Their companion on the journey will now become the companion of their souls. They will be alive, yet it will no longer be them, but Christ living in them (See Galatians 2:20). -- Henri Nouwen paraphrased


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Those Who Sail on the Sea...

Psalm 107:23-24 GWT -- 23  Those who sail on the sea in ships, who do business on the high seas, 24  have seen what the LORD can do, the miracles he performed in the depths of the sea.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Praying is Not... Praying is...

"Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts."
Mother Teresa


Friday, October 3, 2014


Surrendered to the breezes of the sweet Holy Spirit...

(Click on image if it doesn't display fully.)

Enough said.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Update Afterglow Capt. Billy: "Nothing to Pout About..."

At 5:30 this morning, my Mom and I were reflecting aloud in the afterglow of my Dad's hospital visit yesterday to UNC Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill. 

Mom said to me: "I awoke this morning with the words of an old hymn on my mind: 
'He hideth my soul
in the cleft of the rock 
that shadows a dry, thirsty land.'"

Yes, after finding out Dad is not an acceptable candidate for a bone marrow transplant, we now have an answer. The doctors have done all they can to help cure the cancer and now in the words of the best cancer doctor in North Carolina, the Lord is "Dad's Ultimate Physician".

So, I am here to report that whether the Lord physically heals Dad or not, He is already hiding our spiritual souls in His Holiness. All is well.

Thanks to everyone of you for your continued interest and intercession for Capt. Billy and his family,

Yesterday, after the doctor left Mom, my brothers and me in the consultation room with Dad, Dad began to cry beautiful tears of triumphant testimony, declaring "I have no fear. Lately, I've got leaving on my mind. I am having a good day." 

Dad even said this once we were in the car headed back to Harkers Island: 
"I have nothing to pout about 
and everything to shout about. 
I have Eternal Life!"

Leaving UNC on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. Left to right: My youngest brother, Stephen Gray, Capt. Billy, my middle brother, Billy Joe, and Lady Melba. Oh how I love my loved ones. 

Note: If image above doesn't display fully, click on image.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Practice makes perfect so be careful what you practice. -- anonymous