FROM A SMALL TOWN,
CAME A BIG TRANSFORMATION
My life changing encounter with Christ was unique and remarkable. It began at 5:20 in the morning on August 14th while I was high on LSD. I dropped to my knees in an empty lot between two houses on 14th Street in Bedford, Indiana and saw two things that changed my life: first I saw the horrible person I had become; someone I couldn’t stand but a person from whom I could not escape.
I was a liar, a thief, a drug user and criminal who had bought into a sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle. If that was all I had seen that night, then the only way out of the mess I had made for myself would have been to take my life. But during those moments of agony and despair I realized Jesus loved me despite the horrible person I had become. With tears in my eyes I prayed, “God, show the world a miracle so people will believe in you the way I am believing in you now.”
A series of life changing events unfolded in my life after that night on 14th Street and two years later I was sharing my story—The Miracle on 14th Street at a church in St. Petersburg, Florida. At the conclusion of my talk, the Pastor came to the platform and said, “Young man, your life is the miracle that God wants to show the world.”
Two years flew by and I stood on another church platform in Lakeland, Florida exchanging marriage vows with Miss Nancy J. Hendley. Nancy and I walked out of that church and embarked on a journey that was everything but easy. In the early years of our relationship neither of us knew how to live with the other. We separated three times in the first five years of marriage, but faith in God, our call to ministry and our children kept us from divorce.
There was a time when I didn't think I could live with Nancy, and she didn’t think she could live with me. But after all these years neither of us can imagine living one day without one another. If Nancy lives to be 100, I hope to live to be 100 minus one day, so I will never have to live one day without her. If I live to be 100, Nancy hopes to live to be 100 minus one day, so she will never have to live on day without me.
Without Nancy’s love, faith, encouragement and support I don’t think my life would have amounted to much if anything at all. Our lives have been filled with miracles and blessing, challenges and difficulties, ups and downs, babies and diapers, churches and ministry, travel and adventure, conquering and overcoming, God’s grace and His love.
After graduating from Southeastern University with a degree in Education and Biblical Studies I felt the Lord calling me into full time ministry, but I was afraid to say yes, thinking that I might possibly fall and be a failure.
One night while praying I said to the Lord, “God, I am afraid and don’t feel I can do what you’re asking me to do.” Inside my heart I could hear God asking me this question, “Who called you?” I thought for a moment and replied, “It wasn’t my idea, Lord, I gave up all hope of becoming a minister years ago because I don’t think I can live above sin.” The Lord responded, “If I called you, then I see in you that which you don’t see in yourself.” So, I said, “God, if you see something in me that I don’t see then I am willing to believe in what you see.” That defining moment and Nancy’s faith gave me the courage to say yes to God.
We began our ministry serving with Pastors Wayne and Matti Friedt at Believers Fellowship Church in Lakeland, Florida. Later we were assistant pastors to Rev. J. B. Wood and then we served four years as lead pastors.One of the great honors of our lives came when Nancy and I were invited to serve with Missionary Evangelists Drs. T.L. and Daisy Osborn. Nancy was the minister of music and I was the youth pastor at International Gospel Center. It was Dr. T.L. who challenged me to write books and plant my words as seeds of faith in the lives of the people who read them.
Our journey has been filled with miracles and blessings, challenges and difficulties, ups and downs, babies and diapers, churches and ministry, travel and adventure, conquering and overcoming. Nancy and I have spent our lives serving Jesus together. We have taught in public and private schools. We have been lead pastors, assistant pastors, youth pastors, music pastors, small group leaders, prison ministers and led groups on twenty-seven short-term mission trips in six countries.
Nancy and I presently serve as lead Pastors of West Coast Church in Englewood, Florida and are excited about the possibilities that are unfolding daily as we walk with Jesus.
I have written four books: Miracle on 14th Street; Capture Time; Principles of Prayer and The Apocalyptic Puzzle. I have contributed a number of articles for national magazines and publications.
God has blessed Nancy and me with five children. Daniel is a Major in the United States Air Force. Issac is a businessman in Lakeland, Florida. Erica is a worship leader and involved with her husband Keren in youth ministry at Arise Church. Jonathan is working with us at West Coast Church as our youth pastor. Vanessa and her husband Mark are involved with Selah Freedom, a ministry dedicated to rescuing young lives trapped in sex trafficking. We are so proud of our sons and daughters who have given us eleven grandchildren.