Growing up in a Christian home in a small North Carolina town had its benefits. For instance, my mischievous side had very little room to spread, because my mother knew everybody in town and she kept her ear to the ground. She was a joyful lady who loved to laugh and loved sports. She was my greatest cheerleader. Her influence on my coming to Christ at the age of eleven was profound.
There wasn’t much spiritual growth in my life until college days at N.C. State. My freshman year was so much fun – like going to see the Wolfpack win a national championship in basketball – that was a blast. The fun disappeared when my grades reflected my lack of focus on the books. The upside was that God was really moving to turn things around. My lack of direction led me to sincerely ask God what He wanted me to do with my life. Until then, all that came to mind was what sounded good to me.
At that moment, a simple incident that occurred in church during my high school days entered my thoughts. We had Youth Sunday and they asked me to say the morning prayer. That was usually a very formal and wordy prayer that our pastor eloquently delivered each Sunday. My dad agreed to write out a prayer for me. It was a good prayer, but it was not mine. With knees knocking, perspiration dripping, and voice cracking – I may have delivered the worst prayer in the history of church prayers. After the worship service was over, a sweet, little old lady came up to me and wondered aloud if God might be calling me to become a pastor. It was a remark that made me laugh. That incident never crossed my mind again – until I asked God what He had for me to do. Her remark was my first thought. It led me to begin to understand God’s call to become a pastor.
Then God led me to marry a strong Christian girl who was a Wake Forest graduate. Judy knew what she was getting into – well, at least she knew as much as any pastor’s wife could know what was ahead. We went through Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. From seminary, the move was made to Memphis where we have tried to serve the Lord until today.
We were blessed with two kids who were two years apart and as different as night and day. When Matt and Kim were very young, I was blindsided by a diagnosis of cancer. It was Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the last stages. There were a lot of struggles and many more blessings – not the least of which the Lord turned my heart toward a full-time ministry to cancer patients for several years.
We are privileged to be with Forest Hill Baptist and to have had a small part in helping Harvest to land at this location. It was, in my mind, something that only God could have done. We are excited to come along with you, and hopefully lend a hand in pastoral care.
One other note: It has been a true joy to have my office on the same wing as the Parents Day Out and Children’s Sunday School! Those little ones have become so precious to my heart!
My Hope For Harvest
My hope is that Harvest will continue to follow Christ and His clear vision for being a Gospel Centered and Disciple Making Church. Hopefully, the love and compassion of Christ will keep leading the way.