I did not grow up in a "Christian" home. We didn't go to church much. For me Sundays were about watching football. I spent my entire days watching pre-grames pre-pre-grames, and all the games themselves. Some neighbores invited me to church when I was in middle school. The girls wore short skirts and gave me attention--I liked church from then on.
The youth minister, Kevin Prather, loved me and really paid attention to me. I knew I was loved and listened to what was being taught. I had mixed feelings about it all because I thought I was a Christian because I believed in God. Kevin challenged us to read the book of James, which I did, and it made clear to me the reality of genuine faith--"faith without works is dead". Not only that, but in James 2:19, I was slammed when James says that even demons believe in one god, then shudder. I didn;t like being on their team and that pretty much rocked my theology to that point.
I was convicted of my sin but knew that being a Christian meant no pre-marital sex. I was going to get my opportunities soon, so this was a real issue. I could really forfeit what had been my highest life goal up to that point in life. So I got saved by listening to a purity talk.
I grew quickly and fell into hypocrisy perhaps even quicker, as many young leader do. From my junior year on, I gained a lot of respect but continued to walk in greater hidden sin. In college, by double life collapsed in on me and I was broken and crushed in all my pride. Then I met Carrie after transfering to Texas A&M. I learned to be loved and to love, to accept forgiveness and live in healthy relationships with others.
I had known since my junior year in high school that God wanted me to be a lead pastor. I took a youth ministry job shortly after graduating from college. It was a typically tough "first church" experience; we didn't stay there long, but I loved our students and knew there was much good done through the local church.
The hurts felt by that experience stayed with my for years; my anger towards Christians became consuming. I had been hurt by some of them from the church and I made it my mission to expose the problems in the Christians I met. I still served in ministry capacities, but my antagonism and cynicism made me an aweful Christian. It was tough living with me. It wasn't until three years after leaving our first church that God miraculously healed me. I had been running from God's call on me to be a pastor. We were overseas at the time and God sovereignly healed me, changing my heart. In that process, I had also surrendered myself anew to his service.
I am now trying to follow my Jesus in that direction. I've done the school thing, getting an M.A. in philosophy (my thesis being in Soren Kierkegaard) and an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I'm learning everyday to be a Christian, a husband, a father, and just simply a man. Pray for me and my family.