January 2021

My Journey to Freedom

On September 12, 2012, I made the longest walk of an addict’s life—the walk from the parking lot into my first 12-step recovery meeting. I was 44, and I had a golden calf residing in my heart—alcohol. I was an ordained pastor who knew that God had placed a special calling upon my life but never fully realized it until I put to death an addiction that controlled my life.

I entered seminary in 2005 knowing well that the Lord had called me to vocational ministry yet very perplexed why God would want a sinful man like myself.

Nevertheless, the Lord had a plan.

Unassuming Beginnings

We were back row Sunday morning people, arriving late each time my family attended church. At nine years old, a friend invited me to a Harvest Festival in a barn. I wasn’t used to doing much outside of our family, so this was a huge thing to do. I remember not knowing many people, sitting down, and hearing about Christ. My life changed that night as I accepted Christ into my heart—my purpose changed.

Delighting in the Lord

God has blessed me with a long journey. I became a follower of Christ at age 14, so my story is really His story—I take no credit for anything good I have accomplished. I have lived keenly aware of Jesus’ statement, “… apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). As a kid, I was so bashful that I would rather fail an English class than give an oral book report before my fellow students. A call to teach and preach was at the very bottom of my list of future careers. However, God calls all of us to follow Him on a journey.

Am I Called?

In the spring of 1999, I was pursuing what I thought was merely an interest. I was taking classes through Nazarene Bible College (NBC) at the extension campus known as the Virginia District School of Ministry. They recruited me at a district layman’s retreat. Learning all the things pastors know had always intrigued me. My wife would often ask when we were going to pack up and move to Colorado so I could attend NBC full time. My standard response was that I was not fighting it but simply did not feel called. God smiled.