My son was born a week after my 30th birthday. It was through my son and my wife that the Lord prompted me back to Church. It was there at Grace United Methodist Church in Carlisle, PA that the Lord brought me into contact with Dr. Marlin Snyder; and it was Dr. Snyder who truly introduced me to Jesus Christ and the potential that the Christian life could hold for me. I was baptized with my daughter two years later and during the next decade, I strived to lead that Christian life. Unfortunately, I was also again denying Jesus Christ and His desire to have a personal relationship with me; but for all intents and purposes, in all outward appearances, I became a good Christian man.
I led Sunday school classes. I participated in many studies, including “Disciple.” I participated in and then led “Alpha” classes. I earned my basic certificate as a Lay Minister, and I Began several other initiatives and taught several other classes. Grace church even offered, and I accepted, the position of “Director of Adult Discipleship.” However, every initiative, every class, every leadership role that I assumed in the church, did not thrive. I did not understand why at the time. I blamed others, I blamed the church, and I rationalized that perhaps God does not intend for me to minister to others since my job with young people was so demanding. It would not be until March of 2008 that I would fully understand why my Christian life was so hollow.
The decade of my thirties did serve many wonderful and practical purposes, however. I learned a great deal through my bible studies and teaching roles. I also learned a great deal about how church “works” from the inside out. I made many great friends and grew accustomed to the disciplines necessary to lead a Christian life. I was led by several wonderful pastors as well and grew to know them and care about them as friends and mentors. What I was missing… the reason why my Christian endeavors failed and the reason why I was faultering as a father and a husband, was The Holy Spirit.
I wanted God on my terms. He amounted, I am ashamed to say, to not much more than a butler to me in my life. I wanted God at my beck and call. He was there to serve me – not the other way around – and I was so wrapped up in my own ego, in my own sense of self and self-reliance, that I had no need for Jesus Christ. I had a handle on things. I was leading a good Christian life and in my mind that was good enough to redeem my sinful nature.
It was only the power of The Holy Spirit, acting through my wife Kelly, that forced me to come face to face with my Lord – AND I DENIED HIM YET AGAIN! I was perfectly confident that I could manipulate my way out of any situation. To make a long story short, I realized that I couldn’t. Jesus spoke to me – spoke powerfully - and I finally responded. In March of 2008, I literally and figuratively got down on my knees, confessed my sin and my sinful nature and asked my Lord Jesus Christ to save my marriage, my family and my life. After a very long journey, a 42 year long journey, I finally surrendered myself, 100 percent of myself, to my Lord.
So much has happened since then that it is impossible for me to even begin to outline it. After tearing down the false life that I had constructed with the help of the enemy, The Lord Jesus Christ reconstructed all of it from the ground up; our individual relationships with God, our marriage, our family, our careers and our life in the Church. It has been a powerful existence.
It is as a part of this journey that I felt once again, The Lord’s commandment to take all that He has given me, all with which He has gifted me, and serve Him. To this end, He led my family to Churchtown Church of God and to the senior Pastor, my Uncle. I knew that I could not, would not, deny my Lord again and He worked through my relationship with my Uncle so that I could approach the subject of formal ministry. This time I will serve Jesus Christ as He wishes, and on His terms. I do not know what that means or what that might look like, I feel only a compulsion to speak the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and testify to the transformational power of His Grace. I am not in control of this process - and I am more than OK with that.
I believe in the person of Jesus Christ
I believe in the person of The Holy Spirit and in living with The Holy Spirit
I believe in Grace and in extending Grace
I believe in forgiveness and in extending forgiveness
I believe in prayer and I believe in praying constantly