I grew up on a farm in the small central Illinois town of Illiopolis. I grew up cutting weeds out of the beans, raising hogs and playing sports. I met my wife, Bev in St. Louis where I went to a trade school for a short time. We were married about nine months after we met and settled into life in central Illinois. We had two boys, Kyle and Kristopher. I worked construction and maintenance as a Electrician and in 1996 transferred to Loudon, Tn for Tate and Lyle (formerly A.E. Staley).
I grew up going to church; that's what everyone did back then. Like so many, I believed in God but didn't make room for him in my life for so many years. There was nothing personal or transforming about it. God was honored for an hour and a half on Sundays.
As I look back, I now see I was surrounded by those who had a relationship with Jesus. These were people speaking to me, but I wasn't listening. I was about 35 when I attended a bible study that captured my attention. This man spoke of the bible like it was important and relevant. He believed every word with passion. While I don't remember it as such, I suppose, like everyone, I was seeking truth and something of value to hold on to.
This was a spark that God began to fan to a flame. After moving to Tennessee I met a man at work who introduced me to some online bible studies, one of which was Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel. I began to study and read with an insatiable desire for more and more.
It was in 2000 a friend asked me to attend an Emmaus walk in Knoxville. I did so, somewhat reluctantly, and I was never the same. I had no idea what was going on with my life or where all this would lead, all I knew is that for the first time in my life I understood my wretchedness and the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. From that day I wanted that personal relationship; I wanted a life lived for and with Him. While I had dabbled in religion for my entire life, this was when I repented of my sins and trusted in Jesus. I finally understood what it meant to be saved.
I began to lead a bible study at church and taught Sunday school. I did this for a few year before entering a season of life where I was felt I was missing something. I wasn't settled at church. I decided I needed to look around for another church. It wasn't about leaving the church I was at, it was about getting to the place where God was calling me. I had no idea.
I've said it often, if God had revealed to me at that time that was going to be a Pastor, I would have run off and hid in a cave or ended up in the belly of a fish. There was no way! I would have declared anyone thinking such a thing to be crazy.
It was spring of 2007 when we walked into Calvary Chapel Sweetwater and from that first moment I knew I was home. By the summer I had entered into an internship, not to become a pastor so much as to get to read more books and study. Even then, I would have denied ever being a pastor. I had a stage fright that kept me from speaking in front of more than 3 or 4 people. I loved music and would sing, but only in the shower. Besides, I thought, God is good and can do amazing things, but there's no way he could use a person like me to teach the bible.
In September of 2009 I was ordained as a Pastor. The Lord removed all the excuses. I was called to be a Pastor. In the process of sanctification the Lord also took away my stage fright and continued to grow me. I take no credit, none whatsoever. I look back and see all the ways God prepared me for this season of my life. What a great adventure.......and the adventure continues. I wonder what the Lord has in store for tomorrow, next week, next year.......eternity. What a great and awesome God I serve and I'm so honored to do so.