Why Branded With Love?

My life has had plenty of ups and downs. But, it’s the journey that teaches us, not the destination. Making it to the destination is just the icing on the cake. Never in my life did I think I would be married, with kids, pastoring a church, and having the privilege of baptizing so many people (friends & family). This life is a gift. My goal is to share all the things I’ve come to learn about God and His love & let my mess become my message. Like the photo of the chair above: God brought me out of darkness, to expose my mess, so I would understand the amazing work He was about to do until the day I die. That’s a story to scream from the rooftops. As a follower of Jesus, Christian, or whatever the phrase of the day is- my life is forever changed by God’s love. I’ve been branded. Marked. His word is hidden in my heart and my identity is changed for eternity.

Our Family

September of 2004, Carrie and I celebrated the start of an amazing journey together. We love married life and have three little daughters, Chloe, Roxy, and Kinley. They’re truly remarkable and it’s taught me a lot about life and how quickly it goes by. We learned this all too well when our first child died before we were able to meet her. The miscarriage really rocked our family, but we wouldn’t be at the place we are without godly men and women who loved on us. As we learned about tragedy, my wife lost her mom just a year and half later. While we’ve been blessed in many ways, we’ve seen first hand how pain can either push you further from God, or closer to Him. We’ve always chosen to run to Him when given the choice to turn our backs. Our family is striving to share that same love for God with every person we meet. We want everyone who is far from God to come into a personal relationship with Him. 

Our Church Home

Never would have dreamed that in 1998, I would be doing part time ministry. While graphic design was my heart’s passion, God had different plans. My plans to eventually head to art school were slipping away. Instead, he brought me to a Christian camp in my senior year and I watched a young man surrender his life to God. I would never be the same. I wanted to be there for kids like that. People like that. The ones in this world who wanted to have a voice and felt like the church had given up on them. So, I set out to try and understand God more or to rule Him out completely. Bible college impressed on me that He is real, and desires me to live the best life He intended for me- to bring Him glory. So, I set out into ministry. Another goal was to be a leader who didn’t fall out of ministry for selfish reasons. Every one of my mentors (count them, 5) had falled out of ministry because of sexual misconduct and selfishness. I wasn’t going to be another statistic.

So, I work hard on keeping people in my life to hold me accountable (even though I still fall short at times). My wife and I put a lot of effort and energy into our marriage and into our kids. If we’re strong at home as a family, we’re going to be better for the people who are counting on us. That’s why it’s been amazing to work in a few different places, from student ministry to video production & design. I’ve had my hand at leading worship and ran away from all children’s ministry positions (kids scare me, except for my own). But nothing is more rewarding than to get up and preach about God’s story every week. I’m humbled that an average guy like me gets to do something as amazing as this for a living.

My Mess | His Message

I didn’t start off down a road to being in ministry. In all honesty, my trajectory was taking me closer to the long arm of the law and destruction than it was to holy pews and communion cups. But, I’ve come to realize that the whole “church clothes” thing can sometimes (not always) be an easy way of not addressing the brokenness inside.

So, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and as I go through the day, I’m visually reminded of His love with the word written out across my wrist. The very wrist I almost cut in junior high. I’m so glad God wasn’t finished with me yet. It’s an honor to be a guy that gets to share God’s love with the world. Don’t take today for granted. Make it count.