Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Who are you?

             That is a great question, the short answer is that I am a sinner saved by the gracious saving blood of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The follow up question to this would be: how did you end up where you are?
            In childhood Sunday school classes, I can remember being taught that Jesus was different because he was the only man who never sinned.  Well, my thought as a “good kid” was that I would be the second. Then the death of my older brother led me to ponder life.  When I was six, my eight-year-old brother passed away from a genetic bone marrow disorder.  Coming from a family with a mother that found her identity and comfort in Christ, I was led to understand that Ike, my brother, was now in heaven because he accepted Christ as his savior.  I did not fully grasp this concept at the time, but God used it in my life to lead me to see the need that I had for Him to be my savior.  It was not until almost two years after my brother passed away that I understood that I was included in Romans 3:23 which states that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and that Romans 6:23 applied to me when it says, “the wages of sin is death” meaning that I deserved death and the kind of death that meant I would spend eternity in hell. 
            So, finally understanding that I myself had failed in my attempt to be the second man to live a sinless life (which was a sin in and of itself), I knew that I was in need of a savior.  God used my mother’s instruction alongside years of Sunday school classes and children’s programs at our church to let me know that the rest of Romans 6:23 was also true, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  I knew that this meant that I had to have what Romans 3:25 refers to as “faith in his blood.”  God brought me to the understanding that out of his grace he gave me a gift, a free pass from his wrath, which was through his son Jesus Christ paying the penalty for my sins.  I placed my faith in the truth of that offer.  During an invitation offered by my pastor during vacation bible school followed by believer’s baptism, I made my faith in Christ public. 
            I can really identify with C.S. Lewis when he says, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”[1]  Just as my original curiosity and questioning about the gospel arose out of the pain of losing my older brother, God developed my life and my closeness to Him through further painful times.  Through the pain of my parents divorce, God showed me what it meant to have a perfect Father in heaven in contrast to my earthly father.  Through several moves during my school years I learned what it meant to walk with God because I did not have any other friends to walk with.  I also learned how God provides as he did bless me with good friendships with other people that love him. 
            In the shadow of my parents’ separation and the subsequent move during the middle of high school, I found myself in the most miserable state of my life.  I was very discontent and unhappy.  God brought me to understand my lack of joy, being due to a major block in our relationship.  Prior to this time, I treated God as the Lord of my life, meaning that whatever he said went.  Well, under the pressure of the pain, I decided that doing things God’s way was not working out the way I wanted it to, so I was going to go my own way and gear my life toward making a lot of money.  God has gifted me with a good brain and I always excelled in school, so I concluded that I could be a doctor and make a lot of money.  God brought me to a point that I had to say, “Lord, I cannot take this feeling in life anymore.  I want my relationship back right with you.  What do you want?”  I felt the Lord leading me that the thing that our relationship lacked was my following him in my future plans, and that his plan for me was for me to follow him in ministry to others through the pastorate.  Submission to the Lord’s will and plan has led to peace and joy in my life.
            The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful education.  I have a BA degree in Christian Ethics and Computer Science from Union University and my Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Studies from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I was blessed to serve First Bible Church in Decatur, AL for seven years as the Pastor to Students, and I have recently taken a new position as the Campus Pastor for our new campus that we are starting in Madison, AL.  Also, in March of 2013 I married my beautiful, lovely wife who loves the Lord and is my partner in life and ministry, Brittany Campbell.  Brittany is a nurse and loves to show the love of the Lord to patients she cares for.

[1] C.S. Lewis Problem of Pain, 91

No comments:

Post a Comment