When I was young, I thought of Jesus as a distant, mysterious figure who expected me to be an upright and moral person. Even though I regularly attended church with my family, I was not spiritually aware or interested, and considered God irrelevant for my daily life. For me, life was about what I could achieve whether in school athletics, music, academics or striving to be the funniest guy in the room. My goal was to gain the approval of others and the power that came with it.
My life began to change when a friend in high school invited me to his church's youth group. The genuineness of the leaders’ faith and love was very appealing to me and in a short time, I trusted in Jesus. I was very grateful for his forgiveness and love and set out to prove the sincerity of my devotion. Although in the ensuing months the Lord accomplished remarkable changes in my life, I still felt an unrelenting need to earn his approval and love. Despite my best efforts, I had a nagging feeling it was never enough.
Years later I had married, begun a family, graduated from seminary, and served in ministry. Yet I was still driven to “please” God and prove my value by being a successful husband, father and pastor. Regrettably, I also projected these expectations to those closest to me.
Graciously, the Lord brought me through a variety of difficulties, disappointments and brokenness to reveal the depths of his grace to me. He opened my heart to understand more deeply that although I would never be able to do enough to prove myself to him or others, Jesus had already done all that was required. Because of what Jesus had done through his death and resurrection, there was nothing left for me to earn or prove. I could simply rest in his grace and respond with joy. The gospel I had believed became my treasure.
My wife, Lisa, and I have four adult children and six grandchildren. In 1992, Lisa and I moved from Lubbock, Texas, to Flower Mound, Texas, to plant Valley Creek Church, where I served as lead pastor for 18 years. In 2010, we were commissioned by Valley Creek to go to China to make disciples and plant urban churches. Although returning to the US in 2018, we continue our mission to China, Vietnam and other Asian nations. We chose to move to Plano to serve the growing Asian community, be closer to family, and become part of Citizens Church (which we absolutely love)!
My hope for Citizens Church is that we will increasingly comprehend the beauty of Christ in his gospel, and enjoy him as our greatest treasure. As a result, his love for us will compel us to reach out to love, serve and share with all kinds of people in our communities that they too may experience Christ. And that we will make more and more gospel-treasuring disciples and plant more and more Spirit-empowered churches among all nations for His glory.
We hold to the central beliefs of the Christian faith, as communicated throughout Scripture and summed up in the ancient creeds of the Church.