I did not grow up in church and did not hear the message of Jesus until I was 19. As a child, I attended Christian schools, and I would like to think that the gospel was shared with me, but I did not hear it. As I grew into a young man, I was distracted by the ways of the world, by sin…seeking fulfillment in athletic and academic performance, materialism, alcohol, and other misguided sources. I thought I knew the difference between right and wrong, but I did not understand what sin was and how it negatively impacted my life and others around me.
In the fall semester of my junior year at Texas Tech, my girlfriend (now my wife of 23 years and mother of my 3 children) encouraged me to attend a weekend event called Walk to Emmaus. It was at this event that I heard the message of Jesus for the first time…a message of power, love, grace, and peace. When I accepted His message, I could see a glimpse of His purpose for my life for the first time…and it was good. In the beginning, it was not easy, but I trusted in Him. I began to shed the ways of the world. This transformation was and is a process that continues to this day.
Today, over 25 years later, I work to keep focused on Him. In some ways, it seems easier than when I was young. Perhaps it is not “easier,” but He has given me tools to work with. He has equipped me with Christian community, knowledge of His Word, and lessons learned from challenging life experiences when I knew He was with me. Praise to our Lord for those lessons learned and for His continued pursuit of me!