I was nearing high school graduation when I walked through the doors of the First Baptist Church of Killeen, Texas. My church experience was little to none and my knowledge of Jesus Christ was in even worse shape than my church attendance. It wasn’t long before I realized that the people of this church worshipped a God I did not know and spoke of a salvation I did not possess.
First Baptist Killeen demonstrated to me the glorious riches of Jesus Christ. Men and women led me in worship, preached the gospel, served out of faithfulness, and treated me with love and generosity. I began to read the Bible and words seemed to lift off the page and wrestle my desires. My desires were overmatched. God routinely show up for an intimate conversation between the two of us. My heart turned from stone to flesh through hearing and rehearing the message that Jesus bore the cross for my sins. Through the witness of the church and my personal encounter with God, I surrendered my life to Jesus as a college freshman. I confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and vowed to follow him wherever he led me. I was baptized November 11, 2001.
On the anniversary of my baptism early this month, I spent significant time reflecting on the past 18 years. By the grace of God, I’ve pastored a church for 13 of the 18 years since my baptism.
Just seven months ago, I entered a new season of living in obedience to Jesus’ invitation to “Come follow me.” In April my family loaded our earthly possessions into a moving truck and headed to Northeast Texas. I’m now blessed to pastor the First Baptist Church of Sulphur Springs, Texas.
This Thanksgiving I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s abundant provision, the love of my family, and the privilege of having a congregation call me “pastor.”