1 Corinthians 1:31 — “As it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast only in the Lord’”
The following is provided as a witness to Christ’s work on me and through my imperfections — and in support of my applications to serve within the local church body or in Scouting reverence functions. At present, my most consistent opportunity to serve is through the Scouting movement, fueled by the discipleship of my local church.
Favorite Biblical Verses:
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity; but one of Power, Love and Self-Discipline.
I first saw this verse while at a Disciple Now (college) retreat, in my first months in a relationship with Christ, while still seeking “what does life as a Christian mean?” God answered those prayers by revealing this verse during a discussion that I overheard in the next room – telling me that I would not have to become meek, as long as I understood why and for whom I should be bold. While I have (before and since) been called a “bull in a china shop,” I hope that I have lived this verse.
Ephesians 6:10-18 – the Armor of God passage
There is real power in the visualization of God’s Armor (with flashbacks to the movie trailers for Rambo/Commando) and the recognition that there is a real battle going on in two fronts – within my heart/mind and within the world for Christ. One of my most fulfilling moments was when I had the chance to preach on this to a group of Boy Scouts and Army Soldiers, while our troop was spending the weekend at Fort Hood.
Romans 12:4-8 – Spiritual Gifts within One Body of Christ
One of the most impactful moments of my Christian journey was when I finally internalized that God built each of us differently, in order to achieve different purposes for His goals. Embracing what my Spiritual Gifts were (leadership, encouragement, teaching), while recognize those that I did not have in as much abundance (mercy, hospitality), helped me seek roles of service that were aligned with God’s call and without the guilt of feeling inadequate or insufficient for other roles.
Favorite Christian Authors:
Andy Stanley, John C. Maxwell, Bill Hybels – Leadership, taught through the lens of Pastors
I did not grow up in church, bordering between atheist and agnostic until I was 20, although I had occasionally been in churches while singing in choir and watched many biblical movies (Ten Commandments).
My first real exposure to God’s word came during a Bible Study in my freshman year at Texas A&M, where being a freshman cadet in the Corps of Cadets was extremely challenging. The only permissible reasons to “escape” the dorms mid-week was either a study group or bible study – so I sat in the back of a bible study for relaxed fellowship and breaks throughout the year. Sometime during that year, I became a “seeker” sporadically visiting various churches over four years.
In my fifth year at A&M, my heart was broken. I had been fiercely courting a young lady, whom I had originally broken up with and later realized my mistake – only to be denied. I realized that I had been myopically praying for “someone to love” without praying that that person would love me back; and that is exactly where I found myself. In that moment, I finally realized that the one that God had sent for me to love was Jesus – and that He did love me back, more than I could comprehend. I surrendered to God and a few months later, the young lady began seeing me in a different light. We were married about a year later.
Walk to Emmaus Experiences
My Christian Walk really took off with the discovery of the Walk to Emmaus, a three-day retreat unlike any other religious event or experience. Those three-days fanned the flames within my soul in ways that I hadn’t felt since my initial recognition of God’s love – but now with practical guidance on study, service, etc. It also introduced me to the broader, greater, non-denominational body of Christ – and allowed me to serve/grow others in the same way I was ministered to … and has fueled every passion and influenced every act of service that I have had since.
- 1998 – Dallas Emmaus 113 – Pilgrim, Table of Paul
- 1999 – Dallas 127 – Asst. Table Leader
- 2000 – Dallas 138 – Table Leader – presented “Priesthood of All Believers”
- 2001 – Dallas 152 – Table Leader – presented “A Life in Piety”
- 2002 – Dallas 163 – Asst. Lay Director – presented “Discipleship”
- 2003 – Denton Emmaus 7 – Asst. Lay Director – presented “Fourth Day”
- 2004 – Denton Emmaus 13 – Asst. Lay Director – presented “Priorities”
- 2005 – Denton Emmaus 19 – Lay Director – presented “Perseverance”
- 2013 – Denton Emmaus 59 – Asst. Table Leader – presented “Body of Christ”
Vista Ridge Baptist Church (formerly Rosemeade Baptist)
The Sunday School / Life Group family and the church staff are still the church-experience that I cherish most, where the families genuinely invested in each other and the staff were “family.” It was here that I discovered Emmaus (see above), as well becoming introduced to some of my best friends, Christian role-models, and accountability partners to this day. Along the way, I discovered my spiritual gifts and my first opportunities to truly serve:
- Youth ministry – counselor to an amazing group of high-school students. They taught me the bible, while I offered life-views, over coffee before church.
- AV ministry – PowerPoint, MediaShout and some sound/light operation
- Soloist – occasional contemporary praise songs
- Deacon – ordained into family ministry in 2002
- Wedding Pastor – was given the opportunity to conduct the wedding services of three friends/family members: M&A, K&D, B&B
- Deacon Chairman – supported our church family through a very challenging episode, where our long-term pastor (15+ years) left the church, ministry and his family. After helping lead through a very hard 18 months, including interim pastors, plummeting finances, and many hurt feelings, it was time to go elsewhere.
Fellowship Church Grapevine
A megachurch with a passion for contemporary praise/worship and a charismatic, real-world albeit unorthodox pastor was a great place to “heal up” from the challenges at VRBC. Along the way, I eventually resumed serving:
- AV Tech Team Lead — FC Kids, children’s ministry – lights/sound/video
- AV Operator – FC Kids, Summer Camps at Allaso Ranch
- Lyrics/script operator – FC “main service”
It was during these years that both of my sons were baptized. While FC has a phenomenal youth program, our family struggled to find “connectedness” within a home team or life group, eventually choosing to go back to a smaller church.
First Baptist Church of Lewisville
Currently in our third year of membership, with my children, wife and my in-laws sharing a pew each week, and having found something of a discipling role as an outspoken commentator/co-teacher within my Sunday School class – and recently began serving as a Deacon (again).
A Scout is Reverent
Easily my most rewarding recurring life moments are the opportunities to share God’s Word within the context of Scouting. Most weeks, I have the opportunity to offer a closing devotional thought and prayer at the culmination of each Troop 845 meeting, after the Scoutmaster’s minute. I am the adult mentor for the youth Chaplains’ Aides in Troop 840 and 845 and also frequently offer the “sermon” on Sunday mornings for camping weekends, as well as other regional events, including serving as the Chaplain for Winter Camps, District Camps, Woodbadge Courses, etc.
- Created and Operate a Website and Blog on “Interfaith Scouting & Other Scout-is-Reverent resources”
- University of Scouting — Cub Scouts’ Duty to God (PPT)
- Wood Badge 94 Sermon & Worship Guide – Take a Look at the Creation around You
- Wood Badge 98 Sermon & Worship guide – A Church does not need Walls
- Winter Camp 2013 Message – What will you do with the Opportunities that God is Offering?
- District Camporee 2014 Message — Are you a Prodigal son?
- Wood Badge 110 Sermon & Worship Guide — Marksmanship in Faith
Was awarded the Good Shepherd (adult religious award) in January 2015.
JoeBlack from NCS. I know that our guy on a WB course used your Interfaith Handout. Everything is in PDF. Am I missing the place to convert to a Word doc so I can change the name? Let me know. Thanks much. See you at Philmont.