I was born in the spring of 1976. I was a first child with middle class parents in a small Michigan town. My Father had been raised virtually apart from the church. My Mother, raised a Roman Catholic, did not attend a church much. Our home was relatively stable. I and my sister knew that we were loved by our parents. I grew up attending public school. I was a poor student, undisciplined in my studies. I did respect authority and appeared on the outside to be a “good kid” but my heart was deceitfully wicked and I cherished sin. I was involved in various extra-curricular activities and our family hardly ever attended a Church during my pre-adolescent years. When I did attend Roman Catholic Mass, I do not recall ever hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I did hear it, the god of this age had blinded my mind so that I could not see its light. I had essentially no testimony to Christianity in my entire extended family. My immediate family did begin attending a small Methodist Church in 1989. I have no memory of hearing the Gospel at this church either. I may have heard fragments, but I do not recall ever having the story of redemption preached or taught in a concise and compelling way. If and when asked, I would have always claimed Christianity as my religion. I graduated from high school in 1994 and after attending one year of college, I decided to join the U.S. Army. I did well. God’s common grace allowed my worthless strivings for the praises of men to meet with success. I was promoted quickly, decorated well. My heart became increasingly proud. I plunged into wickedness and loved the pleasures of this world.
It was the fall of 1997 when our unit’s Chaplain invited the entire company of paratroopers on a trip to our country’s capitol to attend the Promise Keepers’ rally. I signed up for the sole purpose of gaining a free trip to Washington D.C. and two days off duty. However, the one who declares the beginning from end had a different plan. After arriving, a fellow soldier and I toured the city, taking in the sites for the entire first day. The second day was the rally. We found a comfortable spot on the grass about 150 yards from the Washington Monument. Once the preaching began I grew increasingly overwhelmed with conviction and guilt. As the rally progressed, I progressed in my awareness of my sin, its wickedness and the wages I deserved. I was crushed by the truth that I had completely failed to obey God’s holy law and deserved only death. It was then that I was presented with Christ, God’s Son, as my only hope to be saved from the wrath to come. He was the only pure and spotless lamb who could become sin for me, drink the cup of the wrath of God and grant me His righteousness in exchange for my sin. I was granted repentance, given the gift of faith and I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. There was immediate evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work. I now carried a new, highly intense motivation to confess sin to those I had wronged. I was almost completely disinterested in any of the sites in DC after my conversion. I could not wait to return to Fort Bragg to begin reading the Scriptures. Once back on post, I could not put God’s Word down. My poor study habits virtually disappeared and were replaced by a completely unexpected voracious appetite for reading and discovery. I devoured most of the New Testament in the next few weeks. I also had a new found urge to write. I wrote an eight page letter confessing my former way of life to my then fiance. I soon took leave and returned home to Michigan to share my experience with my family. My story was met with confused, disinterested and excited responses from various people. I saw things from my former way of life that I had worshiped as idols for years, but was too blind to notice. I gave away, sold, and in some cases, threw away the things that I knew would lead me away from my Savior. I soon was more content with having less and living a simpler life.
I began attending two local chapel services on post. One was traditional, one contemporary. God opened a door to begin serving in the contemporary service as a drummer for the praise band. I also began attending a larger off-post church in the charismatic vein of Christianity. The Lord brought my fiance and me together in marriage on August 1st of 1998. We were involved in small group ministry, bible studies and community outreach and evangelism ministries. The Lord blessed us with our first child in 1999. After completing my term of service in the Army, we returned to Michigan in 2000. Although off active duty, I signed on with the Michigan Army National Guard serving as a Chaplain’s assistant for two years. I was able to minister to soldiers one weekend every month and for two weeks during our summer training deployment to Camp Grayling, MI. My family began attending Plymouth Baptist Church in the spring of 2000. We were blessed with our second child in 2001, our third in 2003 and our last in 2006. My desire to read and study continued to grow and my desire to teach and encourage others became stronger and stronger. In 2002, I enrolled at MTS and took the Old and New Testament survey courses along with a systematic theology course on Trinitarianism. I began teaching adults and children on a regular basis in our local church. In the fall of 2005, I was elected to the role of Elder at Plymouth Baptist. My wonderful bride serves alongside, managing the Church’s children’s nursery and teaching pre-school children as well. I just recently was given the humbling and wonderful opportunity to step into the pulpit and preach a few times. I am overwhelmed by God’s grace.
The Lord has been exceedingly good to me, my wife and our four children. We continue to be under great preaching and teaching, being equipped to serve the Lord with the gifts He has provided for us. We give thanks for many years of protection, both physical and spiritual. I still have the same insatiable desire to read, study, research and teach, encourage and preach. I know the Lord’s gifting and timing is perfect, so we look forward to what He may have planned for us in the years to come. More importantly, we eagerly look forward to His glorious return when He will free us from the very presence of sin; we will be like Him and be with Him forevermore. I close with the poetry of the Psalmist, who writes,
“Many, Oh Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us, no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare” – Psalm 40:5