Up Until Now
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. — Philippians 1:6
I want to take the time to write my story up until this point in my life. I know a lot of people read WMD and lately I’ve been asked a lot about where I go to church and stuff like that. I realized that I have never actually written out my story. It is quite a story. It is a story that is still being written. I can only write about it “up until now.”
I found a cassette tape from 2003. I preached a sermon called “resurrections” at Salem United Methodist Church. I listened to it and just cringed . . . It was awful. But, I had just a few years before really dedicated myself to the reading and studying of God’s Word. I had told Him that I would use my math teaching skills to teach the Word if He felt like I was a vessel He could use. It took almost no time for Him to answer my prayer. In just a few weeks, He opened the door for me to preach once a month at SUMC. Hence, the tape from 2003.
Well, that lasted a few years and fizzled out. I had various churches find out that I could be a “fill-in” and would have up to 5 or 6 speaking engagements a year. In 2007, things really took on a new beginning. I was teaching at Tamassee-Salem High School and began to absolutely hate it. I had wondered why I had ever gone into teaching. While reading my Bible, I came across 2 Chronicles 7:14: If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will heal their land. This burned in my spirit.
Somehow, I knew that if I could just get the three or four teachers in our school that claimed to be Christians to actually do this verse with me that things would change. I sent out an e-mail and sure enough 4 other people showed up to our first little prayer meeting before school even started on a Wednesday morning. We talked about 2 Chronicles 7:14, prayed, and went to work with a new attitude and a new resolve. We didn’t have to fix the whole school. We simply had to do our part and trust that God would do the rest.
We kept these little meetings on Wednesdays going for a while. When people didn’t quite make it on time, I would type up what was said and e-mail them. When we stopped meeting altogether, I kept writing e-mails on Wednesday mornings to encourage our teachers. They began to be forwarded to other teachers at other schools. Then, they began to be forwarded to non-teachers. The e-mail chain grew very fast.
In the meantime, I was a member at Golden Corner Church in Walhalla, SC. The pastors there saw something in me and began to have me preach somewhat regularly, like quarterly, on Sunday mornings. To this day, I am amazed at the risk they took by putting a nobody math teacher out front. I owe a TON of my development to those guys. And yes, I realize that I am still not even CLOSE to being developed.
Now, here is where the story simply amazes me. Because I had been writing WMDs for several years, there was a member of Lifeline Community Church in Fair Play, SC who read them regularly and contacted me. All he told me was that their pastor was resigning and he wanted to know if I would be interested in pastoring a church. I asked Tonya if we would be interested in pastoring a church. Of course I asked God, but He was like “who do you think opened the door?”
So, here I am. A math teacher teaching his 18th year in the public school system. A preacher for 8 months at a wonderful church full of wonderful people who have the gift of being extremely patient with me while God works on me in this new role. On September 28th, I will be ordained into the ministry. In the meantime, I will do what I know to do. I will stay in the Word. I will continue to write these WMDs and post them on Wednesday mornings. I will bring the Word as boldly, as clearly, and with as much passion as I possibly can on Sunday mornings. I will be the best math teacher I can be. I will work at all of it with all of my heart like God Himself is my supervisor.
That is my story . . .
Up until now