I grew up in Southern California in a Christian home with a mom and dad who loved the Lord and taught me about Christ from as early as I can remember. I’m the oldest of 3 kids in my family; I have a younger brother and sister. I grew up going to church and became a follow of Jesus Christ at the age of 5. As I look back at my life and my story, there were several key events and experiences that have grown me to be the person I am right now doing the things I’m currently doing in life and ministry.
When I was 8, I was diagnosed with a hip condition that required a series of surgeries to correct. Through those experiences at a young age, I began to understand the power of prayer and relying on God in difficult circumstances. By age 13, I had completed the series of surgeries and made a full recovery with no lasting side effects or limitations. When I was 14, just after finishing Jr. High and looking forward to High School, my family and I made a weekend trip to Lake Havasue in Arizona. On Saturday afternoon while inner tubing, I was run over by a drunk driver after falling off the tube. I was rushed to the ER and later flown by plane to a trauma center in Phoenix. My injures were very severe–a collapsed lung and severed liver as well as lacerations on my torso, bicep and hand. I had lost nearly all my blood. When I was released from the hospital 3 weeks later, we learned that the doctors had given me a 30% chance of survival when I arrived and they had never seen anyone who had entered in as bad of condition as I had leave the hospital alive. What I had earlier learned about prayer and relying on God in difficult circumstances was put to a greater test through this experience. I feel like the fact that I am alive today is a miracle. Through that experience I learned that there is without question a God who loved me and cared for me and answered the prayers from me as well as hundreds of others whom I had never met. God, without question, became not only “true” but also very “real”.
During my 1st semester of college, I was really challenged to make my faith my own. God began challenging my perspective and goals for the future. As I began my 2nd year in college, I visited a small new church plant in Huntington Beach, CA, Pierpoint Church. Having grown up in a larger, more traditional church, I thought this small group of people meeting in a senior recreation center, was very strange. Yet at the same time, it also was very intriguing. I heard things about the “Heart Attitudes” and could see a genuine care and concern for people. After attending for a few weeks, I knew this was where I needed to be to grow. God began taking me though another round of challenges and redefining of my perspectives and values. The more I got plugged into the church, the more I learned about what it was to do ministry as a church member. I formed a friendship with the pastor, Thad King, which later turned in a mentoring relationship where he challenged me further and further about seeing and living life from a biblical perspective.
Nearing graduation, a question arose, “Do I pursue a career in business or pursue a career in ministry?” I was advised to spend at least a few years in business so that I could learn how to walk with God and serve him in a career. After prayer and counsel, it seemed that it was best for me to begin a career in business upon graduation. In my last year of college I was praying through asking Jessica—who is now my wife—to marry me. At the same time it seemed the Lord began to say that what I had learned the last 4 years at Pierpoint Church was His first layer of training and ministry that He had for me, and that after we got married, we needed to move to Fort Worth and be a part of Hope Church for the next layer of training and ministry. The Lord confirmed this move in several specific ways. So in January 2002, Jessica and I were married and moved to Fort Worth to be a part of Hope Church where we could serve and get training in life and ministry.
In late 2005, I began to seriously look at the “Business or Ministry” question as I sensed a phase of life coming to a close and a new opportunity ahead. I began seriously praying and seeking counsel from several godly men on the issue of business or vocational ministry. As I continued to work through the decision, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to have the greatest impact for God’s Kingdom that I humanly can, whether as a businessman or in vocational ministry. In February of 2006, I transitioned from my business career to vocational ministry as a staff member at Hope Church. Throughout the spring the Lord confirmed my call and transition in a number of ways and that August I became an Associate Pastor.
I turned 30 in 2008 and have had so many amazing experiences, met some awesome people and walked through some extremely difficult things since that time. I have lived the reality of something one of my mentors says, “Out of your 20s, you will lay a foundation that you’ll use the rest of your life.” By intentionally using my twenties to aggressively train for life and ministry, I’ve been able to handle the opportunities and challenges that I’ve faced thus far in my 30s. The majority of my international travel and growing speaking opportunities have occurred in my 30s. In 2010, after growing and building different parts of the ministry at Hope Church, I was promoted to Executive Pastor.
One of the major difficulties I’ve walked through in my thirties has been walking through a period wanting to start a family and not being able to. Our plan was to be married for about 5 years and then start a family. Five years came and went and turned into ten and still no family yet. In 2013, we decided to see a fertility doctor and do some investigation as to why we hadn’t gotten pregnant. After several months of investigation and tests, the doctor said I have good news and bad news. The good news is there is nothing medically wrong with either of you; the bad news is you fall into a small percentage of “unexplained infertility.” After hearing the word from the doctor, it seemed as if the Lord was saying to us, there is nothing wrong with you, you just don’t have kids yet because I haven’t said its time.
Honestly this was a hard word to hear, especially in an area where we really wanted something that was good, children. I was reminded of my desire when I was called into ministry, “I wanted to have the greatest impact for God’s Kingdom that I humanly can,” and with that, Jessica and I decided to make the most of the time we had with just the two of us, not knowing if they Lord would ever grant kids, but knowing that if He did, they would be by His hand. After that commitment, in early 2014, the Lord continued to bring opportunities to train and encourage others, locally, nationally and internationally. In the spring of 2014, I first learned about professional coaching and began training as a coach. That same summer, I also had the opportunity to become a Walk thru the Bible instructor. The Lord also began to open up additional opportunities for some of training programs that Jessica and I had been working on for a network of churches we are part of, the 17:6 Network.
When we least expected it, after returning from 12 day trip overseas to Germany, in late May of 2015, we found out that the Lord had answered our prayer, and the prayer of literally hundreds of our friends and family across the nation and around the world. We found out we were pregnant, due in mid-January 2016.
The greatest adventure of all thus far in my 30s, is that of becoming a dad to a baby girl. My wife and I are so incredibly grateful to the Lord for answering our prayers and blessing us with Kensi.
As I look at the coming years, I know there will be challenges, but I’m also very excited about the journey ahead with the Lord and seeing what He has in store for our family of 3.