Growing up in a small town in the Arkansas Delta, faith was an important family value as we followed the Catholic tradition. During college, a campus ministry leader asked a probing question that ultimately led me to question my assurance of salvation from a “works-based” worldview versus grace. Through new friendships, I realized there was more to eternal life, even on this side of eternity. My decision to follow Christ became a reality my freshman year of college, and that growth continued through a Bible study, a dynamic Catholic campus church, and personal relationships with a growing sphere of believers.
As I began medical school, I found a new church home in a small, relatively young church that met in a movie theater. That new, young church, Fellowship Bible Church, became an integral part of my life through a small group and ultimately meeting a wonderful woman named Becky that God provided for my life. We have made Fellowship Bible Church our church home since before our marriage in 1987, and we continued to be challenged and encouraged through the teaching, authentic lifestyles we see modeled in our body, and opportunities to grow. Our family has been strengthened through this community of believers investing in our four children.
As a medical school faculty member and pediatric critical care/emergency medicine physician, God has provided many opportunities for ministry as I practice the passion He has given me by caring for patients and teaching young physicians. He has also opened my eyes to a world in need of His love and grace and has changed me through short-term mission work in Central America. These experiences have deepened my faith, as much through the lives of my teammates as through the encounters with Central Americans in need. They have reinforced Jesus’ admonition in Luke 12:48 that my mother made sure we heard in our childhood home, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
My hope for our church is that we can continue to grow into a community of believers who understand grace and live lifestyles that honor God. Both of those concepts are countercultural, the first in the faith community of the South, and the second in a world that that increasingly replaces God with the idols of comfort, control, and significance. As fallen men and women, both will always challenge our body, the global church, and the world God has called us to reach, as well as require us to be increasingly dependent on our sovereign God.