I grew up in a suburb of Charleston, SC, with great parents who helped raise me in the local United Methodist Church. Throughout my early life I participated in many aspects of the church, from Bible school as a toddler to youth group as a teenager. I was baptized at a young age and was confirmed through the church during my first year of high school. However, during this time I never fully grasped what it meant to follow Jesus and had a misguided belief that only my efforts would earn me a ticket to an eternity with God.
A fork in the road presented itself when I started college. To me it seemed that being a Christian was burdensome and would preclude me from being able to fully enjoy college life. Additionally, I began to fall into the trap that pursuing a geology degree would be incompatible with being a Christian. So, I became dismissive of religion for the next several years. However, two integral moments of my life would occur beginning in 2009 that made me question why I wasn’t pursuing a relationship with God.
On his deathbed, tears rolled down my grandpa’s eyes as he prayed that I would know Christ. Then, nearly a year later, I explained that I “grew up a Christian” in a conversation with my girlfriend (now my wife) Elizabeth. When asked to explain if that was still that case, I was at a loss of words.
A few months after this, during a graduate course, our class was questioned by the professor if God was necessary for our existence. I knew at that moment that I needed to figure out what I believed and why.
Despite my dismissiveness of religion in years prior, I still believed in God. At first, I turned to Christian apologetics (C.S. Lewis, William Lane Craig, and others) to help me reconcile Christianity and science. After moving to Utah for graduate school, Elizabeth and I joined a local church in Logan, UT. It was in a fundamentals of the faith class offered by the church that I started to grasp what I had been missing my entire life. This puzzle piece came in the form of Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” I also began to understand sin. Sin didn’t mean I was a bad person, rather, sin meant not being able to uphold the standard of faultlessness established by God.
There it was the whole time. I began to understand that no matter what effort I made, my sin would always keep me separate from God. I needed a savior, I needed Jesus. Jesus, the perfect lamb of God, who through His love for us would bear our sin so that we could be reconciled with God for eternity.
After moving to Houston for my job in 2013, I continued to develop my relationship with Christ. On July 17, 2016, with my wife, Elizabeth, and our first daughter, Annsley, by my side, I publicly dedicated my life to following Christ through believer’s baptism. In 2017, we made the move to Mandeville, LA, and within a few months of searching, we visited The Field Church on Easter Sunday and have been attending members ever since. Our second daughter, Clara, was born in January of 2018 and was dedicated to the church shortly after. I value the privilege and responsibility to help lead TFC as a lay elder.
For His glory.