December 9, 2013 . . .
Today I turn 50 . . .
For those of you who are older, you can relate to the milestone and with a slight smile on your face you recognizing the brevity of 50 and the future milestones to follow...60...70...
For those who are younger, I doubt that you can appreciate the significance of 50--the number seems very old to me.
So much has happened in these five decades--the movie of my life even now plays out in my mind....childhood events, my teenage years, high school, college, marriage, children, a dozen different jobs...each generality brings vivid remembrances: good, bad, neither and both!
My life at 50 is nothing that I had imagined. I'm not as successful, not as healthy, and not as stable as I would have liked. That being said, my life is so much better than I ever thought it could be.
The bride of my youth has now been by my side for some twenty-eight years of marriage. We are now thriving together in a way that we never experienced in our youth. Tina is my delight!
My two sons are godly, growing, and gifted! I've held my breath so many times as youthful decisions were lived out--and yet today Jaren and Zachery are so very good! I am pleased!
My life's work, my ministry, my mission is more clearly lived out, more authentic, and more effective than at any point in my 50 years. Thanks to all of those who have allowed me to practice on them:
--Youth Choir Tours with FBC, Seymour, Tennessee.
--Baptist Student Union at Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.
--Summer Youth Worker at First Baptist Church, Camden, Tennessee.
--WJAK Radio in Jackson, Tennessee.
--KWAS Radio and Z93 Radio in Amarillo, Texas.
--Teaching Junior High Youth Sunday School at Coulter Road Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas.
--The honor of pastoring my first church--Cliffside Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas.
--Youth Ministry at Olsen Park Baptist Church (Now LifeWay Baptist), Amarillo, Texas.
--Youth Ministry at First Baptist Church, Monterey, Tennessee.
--My first full-time pastorate at First Baptist Church, Lipan, Texas.
--Mission trips & Revival Teams through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
--Leadership opportunities through Paluxy Baptist Association, Granbury, Texas.
--10 great years at Cornerstone Baptist Church, Windsor, Colorado.
--Leadership opportunities at Colorado Baptist General Convention & Southern Baptist Convention.
--and the reflection of my heart: Grace River Church, Windsor, Colorado
My influences and partners are many, family and friends. I am so very thankful for...my high school roommates at HCBA: David Short, John Williamson, Pat Keebler, and Tim Minter. Thanks to Mr. Casey for being my dad and to Fred for being my big brother at HCBA. Dr. Smothers cared enough to write a note asking the president of Union to keep an eye on me and help in every way possible. My dear friend Rose Snider got me interested in ministry at Union and served with me in off-campus ministries. Bruce Pique has been a true friend. Dr. John Adams allowed me to serve on campus revival teams and gave me money for gas. Chuck Maxwell got me into radio. Thanks to Ron Haney for being my good friend at WJAK. Thanks to 80-year-old Deacon Marion who walked the streets of the Cliffside community with me inviting people to church. Pastor D.M. Newton took me under his wing and taught me how to pastor. Richard Holloman has been a true friend and mentor through the years. David Peacock is my friend and my first son in the ministry. I love Larry Rainy's great big heart! Gary Clyma didn't give up on me when I was down. Martin Castro very likely saved my life. Tom Pals and my dear friend Ken Datson gave me a new perspective on how to live. Amy Fulton and Steve Ramsey carried me when I couldn't walk. My friends and family at Grace River are a God-send--a safe place where I can come as I am and find hope and healing.
And of course, I am surrounded by family: Tina, Jaren & Jillian (and now Abigail), Zachery, my mom and dad, grandparents, the Kinsey's, Sandra, Cindy, and Mike, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Thanks to all of you for making me who I am!
50 down....and the best fifty yet to come!