I’m a storyteller. I’ve been given the task of telling the Greatest Story ever told. It starts with “In the beginning, God…” and ends with “…Surely, I am coming soon. ‘Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!’ The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen.” It was authored by one author, penned by over 40 in a 1500-year span: 66 books in three languages on three continents. The story has been told all over the world in every language, nation, and tongue for thousands of years and it’s ongoing. The story is replicating itself one life and one line at a time. It’s the story of Redemption and Love.
Having experienced both at the conception and birth of my first child, I’ve been telling the story faithfully since January, 1992 both “in season and out of season” (2Tim 4:2). In favourable conditions I’ve planted seeds and cultivated the garden in Sunday school, from junior high to young adults consecutively for 23 years. I’ve preached close to one hundred sermons in multiple pulpits, led small group Bible studies, men’s, and youth retreats. I’ve helped start churches, church services, and teen clubs. I taught a “Worldviews” class at a Christian school for nine years, co-led our church youth group for the last 17, have sat on Church and School Boards and participated in panel discussions. That’s the easy part.
In less conducive environments, for 31 years I’ve lived out the story and shared it with those around me in bars, in cockpits at 40,000 ft, on beaches in exotic locations. I’ve grappled with pilots, attorneys, drug dealers and serial killers. I’ve had every response you can imagine from eternal gratitude to pure hatred and everything in between. My job is not to bring results. It is to faithfully bring The Story to bear with absolute fealty to its author. I believe that He will give great stories to those of us who will faithfully tell them. I’m a storyteller with stories to tell.
My story began in January,1967 in Albany, Georgia. I’m the third child of four with two older sisters and a younger brother. My father was an Air Force C-130 pilot who separated from the military when I was six months old. He spent the next 46 years as a chemical engineer on the Gulf Coast of Texas where I was raised in Lake Jackson. I was blessed to grow up in a home, church, and state that still taught love of God and love of country. I easily believed them both because they are both consistent with reality. Interested in sports, fishing, and music I spent a fair amount of time dabbling in them all. The only one where I stood out was music. I made all-state choir my senior year in high school as a baritone and, to this day, love singing with my children and church family. I lived an ordinary life.
Although I never saw him fly, I knew my dad was a pilot and I wanted to be like him. If an airplane was flying overhead, I would stop, gawk, and dream of what it would be like to soar above the ordinary and look down upon the earth from the clouds. Making my dream a reality became the central focus of my young life. I made every major decision with the intent of circumnavigating the myriad of obstacles and dead ends standing in the way. That path led me to Texas A&M University and the Corps of Cadets. On 12 May 1989 I graduated with a BS in Industrial Distribution and was commissioned as a 2Lt in the United States Air Force. Two and a half years later, having arrived at my lifelong dream, I found it hollow; unable to fill the void within. A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small package. I was a small package with nothing of lasting value inside. Having heard The Story all my life, for the first time, in brokenness, I whole-heartedly embraced it and committed all of me unashamedly to The Author, Jesus Christ. A sober self-assessment exposed me as a man of average abilities. By an act of my will, I committed to change the one ability over which I had full control: availability.
For three decades plus, the “author and perfector of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) has privileged me to join Him in the ongoing saga of The Greatest Story ever told. As a material participant in the drama, I can attest that it is a narrative filled with danger and opportunity around every corner. Stories abound that are, frankly, incredible, and well worth the telling. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20), I am grateful for my bride of 31 years, my two daughters, one son, one son-in-law, and two grandchildren. God has given me an extraordinary life of purpose looking down on his creation from the clouds. My only ambition is to leave all of me on the field to the glory of God and, in so doing, bring as many people as possible with me across the finish line to eternally enjoy the prize that will never fade away nor cease to satisfy.
What is your story? Is it worth the telling
Born in Albany, Georgia. Child 3 of 4 to Cliff and Emmalyn Wilson. Moved to Texas.
Believed in Christ as my Lord and Savior.
American Bicentennial. Solidified my love of country.
Graduated from high school. Entered Texas A&M University and the Corps of Cadets.
Graduated from TAMU. Commissioned into the USAF. Watched the fall of Communism.
Graduated from pilot training. Began flying the C-141 at Travis AFB, California.
Married Christi. First daughter born. Whole-heartedly committed my life to Christ.
Second daughter born.
Moved wife and daughters to Del Rio, Texas. Began instructing in the T-37.
Started flying at Southwest Airlines.
Moved family to Brenham, Texas. Began teaching Sunday School and Youth Group.
Growing where planted.
It is rare for " undaunted courage " and "exuberant enthusiasm " to come together in one person. In Cliff they crescendo and wonderfully beckon one to marvel at God's handiwork. In Philippians 3:17 we are exhorted to take note of ( and follow the example of ) the Apostle Paul and Cliff Wilson.
Dougal A. Cameron
CEO Cameron Management
Elder with Cliff for ten years
Cliff Wilson's exegesis of God's Word is exactly what the world needs today! Serving both our nation and Savior with him, in my nearly 25 years of ministry and friendship around the globe, Cliff is one of the most passionate Followers of Christ I've ever known. You won't put his book down until you're finished and when you do be ready for a life change!
Ch, Maj Ken Fisher, USAF (Ret)
Co-led chapel service with Cliff in Air Force
Cliff has been my mentor and friend for nineteen years. He deeply cherishes and invests in people. The positive impact he has had on those around him is truly hard to describe. His life has served as the perfect role model as a friend, father, husband, pilot, and leader to myself and so many other people!
LtCol Jeremy Regans/ USAF Instructor Pilot
Mentored by Cliff in Air Force
Cliff is an exceptional person whose influence has shaped my life in profound ways. His passion, dedication, and ability to connect deeply with others make them a remarkable mentor and friend. His genuine interest in others, coupled with their empathetic nature, created an environment where I felt seen, heard, and valued. He possesses a unique talent for not only imparting knowledge but also instilling confidence and belief in oneself. His new book is sure to inspire and transform the lives of many. If you are seeking a beacon of wisdom, a guiding light, and a true inspiration, look no further than Cliff Wilson
Taught by Cliff in high school
Cliff Wilson is a great man and brilliant storyteller. In addition to being among the best of us in America, having served this country (and still serving this country, flying folks from place to place, efficiently and safely) Cliff is a master at relating his life experiences and lessons learned therefrom. He is Christian man in the grand, old-school tradition. Cliff can entertain you, educate you and impart the kind of wisdom that only comes from a huge wealth of life experience. I highly recommend his book, and I know that you will enjoy it.
Attorney at Law, Retired NFL Lineman
Providential encounter in back of plane
Cliff’s ability to see what God is doing in the people and the world around him and to jump in infusing the sweet aroma of Christ is admirable. He views every chance encounter with intention and purpose, and the peace and joy of God that that he exudes would make anyone long for the faith he has. Cliff’s life challenges those around him to ditch complacency and seize every opportunity to make much of Christ.
Sang with Cliff on worship team
I have known Cliff for about 20 years as a brother in Christ, elder in my church, teacher, and friend. Cliff's passion for sharing the gospel message is captivating and he is a storyteller par excellence! His sincere love for the Lord and for others stirs him to be a bold witness for Christ as you will see in this book!
Founder of two Christian Schools
It just seems like last week Cliff and I were captive in an aeronautical tube for two hours. He was extremely easy to talk with and I could tell that he was wise and knowledgeable in many areas. I thank God for the ‘blink' of my lifetime that I was able to spend with Cliff because it was so rewarding, motivational, and inspirational
Divine appointment in back of plane
Cliff Wilson personifies "a man after God's own heart." Not only is he an extremely gifted storyteller, he also weaves the message of the cross into all his stories. He unashamedly shares the gospel message with everyone he meets, and he is truly an inspiration to me and to everyone he encounters.
Captain David Carter
Southwest Airlines Check Airman
Cliff Wilson is a strong Christian and Patriot. His worldview was shaped by his faith, his extensive research, and his vast military experiences and network. He is also a commercial pilot, a father and a storyteller with valuable insights for us all.
CEO of The Barnhill Center Theatre