I turn 30 on March 5th. I am sure I will be weirded out, but no I am not scared or worried or longing for the days of my youth (well maybe a little bit of that one).
But as I turn 30, I wanted to think about the most important/significant things that have happened in these past 30 years. Some of them huge decisions/moments but some of them small choices that changed things completely.
Number 1, was the most important decision. I decided to ‘ask Jesus into my heart,’ at age 4. My brother Travis, led me in a prayer. I know you probably read this and think ‘4? really?’ And my response would be, yes really. I remember it clearly. I may not have been a theologian at 4. But I knew Jesus was God, I knew what sin was, I knew he took care of my sin by dying, and I knew that me asking Him to live in my heart meant he was my guide, and I needed to listen to what He said 1st and what I thought 2nd. That was the night I became a Christian.
Number 2, Camp Chof. So when I was in elementary school, our church went to a camp during the summer called Camp Chof, I loved every minute of it. So, when the summer after my Freshman year of college was approaching, I wanted to be a counselor there. That summer was pivotal in my life. Obviously it was fun, but also life changing. I had been living in a haze. Didn’t have any direction, not sure what I wanted to do, ect… I had all my classes lined up at University of Louisville and was ready to continue living mediocrely. But I was reminded of what it meant to follow Christ that summer. It occurred to me that I didn’t even ask God where He wanted me. So I asked Him, I sought some council and then transferred to Liberty University in mid-July. I still didn’t know what I wanted/was called to do, but I knew that I needed to be at Liberty.
I was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, I only knew three people at Liberty and all three were girls, so I was moving into a dorm and knew no one. That first year at Liberty is one of my favorites (2003-2004). There is much to be said about guys being able to act like guys in that setting, and have structured Bible studies and accountability. I know many people get frustrated with the RA structure and rules at LU, but for me it was exactly what I needed. Anyways, Why was the decision to go to Liberty so important…LaRae Lee (now LaRae Davenport reason number 1), Nick Kameno, Cedric Beckles, Stu Macswain, Michael Sanders, Chris Misiano & Everyone at Student Life at LU, Joshua Chapmon, Russon Bibbs, Dave McKinney, Dalton Stoltz, Ryan Law…I could do this all day, but I am not just listing names of people I met. These people were either instrumental in my personal life, spiritual life or career in some way. Most of them probably don’t even know how huge a role they played. Ryan Law and I played worship music together, I realized my call while playing with that bro. Cedric is now one of my best friends who I wish I saw more. Dalton was basically an acquaintance at Liberty but recently called me up about leading worship for a new service in Roanoke that just launched a few weeks ago. I know I would have met other great people elsewhere, but I wouldn’t have these people in my life, if I didn’t submit to the Holy Spirit leading me when I was a 19 year old idiot.
Number 3 History Class. Many of you probably don’t know this and will probably laugh, but I ‘once upon a time,’ was a history major. So I had lots of history classes. My third semester at Liberty I had 3 different history classes, and one was a Monday Night 3 hour class, that I skipped every week. About midway through September I went to the Professor with a drop/add form to drop the class, because I was skipping it so much and it was US History 1 and I knew I could test out of it. But the Professor talked me out of it. Why this is so important is because about a month or so later I went to class the week before the midterm and noticed a substantially good looking girl. Naturally I started going to class again, these were the days before Facebook, so I actually had to talk to her. After being shot down three times in a row asking this girl to study, coffee and study again. I had resigned to her not being interested. But we ended up going out the day after the final in that class, her name was LaRae. Three years, a couple breakups, laughs and tears later I married that lady. Thanks Professor, I owe you one.
Number 4 Northstar. After graduation, I applied to three churches, one in Texas, one in California, and one in Blacksburg. I took the job at Northstar, after praying and talking to my pops. If you would have asked me if I would still be in Blacksburg after sevenish years back then I would have probably said no. I almost took another job about six years ago, but it just didn’t feel right, God still wanted me here, and I didn’t know why. But a year after that confusion Jeff Noble stepped in as our Lead Pastor and things have been completely different, I realized why God wanted me here. I love the people of Northstar and the NRV, and have met incredible people, most who have now moved on from Blacksburg. My decision to stay was very difficult in the moment, but I would never take that back now.
What have I learned in 30 years? It is probably pretty evident in this post. Relying on God in my all my decisions, the small, medium and large ones. They are all the same size to God. Take a step back, pray, and trust God that He knows whats up and will be your guide when you feel completely lost.
A quick list of things I have enjoyed in the 30 years of living: Traveling to Morocco, Brazil and Spain for mission trips. Going to Israel with 2 of my best friends, Marrying LaRae, Having a child, all the Canada trips with my family, Going to California with great friends, Going on a guys DC trip and walking shirtless in the rain (had to be there), all the birthday parties/holidays with my family, working for Student Life at Liberty, Living with 4 of my best friends in a broken house, recording an album, buying my own home, being a part of Northstar growing and shrinking and growing, being ordained, all the tradition of Christmas Eve in Ohio with my family, leading worship for camps and retreats, seeing my music on iTunes/Spotify, knowing that there is still more to come.