I was raised in a small town called New Prague, Minnesota. I was Catholic because I was born one. Our small town of 3,500 had a cathedral sized church. I went to Catholic school through my first communion and then didn’t go to church much at all through my childhood. There are a lot of unpleasant memories from my childhood, including my parents going through a very ugly and painful divorce.
The first time I remember hearing the gospel which included going forward to receive Christ as my personal Savior was at a small church complete with wooden floors, bench seats and steeple during a Vacation Bible School. I remember going forward, being taken to a side room and praying. After that there were some more painful things that occurred in my family life, and no recollection of God, church, or religion in my life until I was in college.
I went to Mankato State University in southern Minnesota, joined a fraternity and lived an ungodly lifestyle that was leading me to the fulfillment of one of my favorite songs of the day, “Highway to Hell” by ACDC. Then one of the best things in my life happened, I met the girl who would become my wife, Jill. One day I had to critique a speaker on campus for a class, I invited Jill to go with me and we planned to go to the local college bar hangout afterward. What I didn’t know was that it was an event organized by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The speaker was Madeline Manning Mims, winner of the gold medal for the 800-meter in the 1968 Olympics. She gave her testimony of how she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. Jill and I both accepted Christ as our Savior that night. I also remember Madeline telling us to read the Bible every day. So rather than going to the bar afterward, we went home and read the word of God instead. From that point on we began our walk with the Lord together. While we were far from perfect, we had become new creations in Christ, old things had passed away, behold all things had become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I graduated with my bachelor’s degree and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. While serving in California we attended the non-denominational protestant services on the base which fit with my traditional Catholic religious up bringing. A friend of ours got invited to go to church off base at a Calvary Chapel in Encinitas, CA. It was not anything like what I thought of as a church!
First off, it was in a shopping center a block and a half off the beach. It was a Sunday evening service. People were wearing shorts and tank tops, and there was a band on the stage! But when the pastor walked up to the pulpit, opened the Bible and began to teach the word of God, it “sealed the deal” and we found a home.
After a tour at Camp Pendleton, CA, where our son was born; Okinawa, Japan where our daughter was born; and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA, I resigned from active duty as a Captain. A few years later I was honorably discharged having been promoted to Major. I then began to work for Wal-Mart which brought me to Southern Utah in 1993 as part of the management team that built the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Hurricane, Utah.
We began attending Calvary Chapel St. George (CCSG) in 1995 and felt as if we had returned home. A year later I was led by the Lord through prayer and the Word, such as 1 Chronicles 28:20 and 29:1, to resign my position at Wal-Mart and I became the assistant pastor here at CCSG. Because it was only part-time the Lord also led Jill and I to start an office-cleaning business which we called Alpha & Omega Cleaning. I would clean offices in the morning, come to minister at the church during the day and clean again in the evening, Less than a year after that, the founding pastor moved back to California and asked me to prayerfully consider becoming the pastor of CCSG. After much prayer and confirmation from the word of God, specifically Proverbs 30:2-6, and from my wife, we believed God called me to pastor the church.
We had about 75 adults in the church and we had just begun leasing a facility. With much fear and trepidation I began to teach the word of God verse by verse, chapter by chapter and tried to lead those who I was among in worshiping the Lord in Spirit and truth (John 4:24).
The church, which is the people, not a building, has consistently grown in numbers, and in it’s impact in our local community, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). After seven great years there, the church was able to purchase land and build the current facility on Pioneer Road at the south end of Bloomington in St. George. Our first services were held on Easter weekend 2004. In 2013, by the grace of God, we completed an expansion project increasing our sanctuary by one third, and adding classrooms, a new West Entrance, new and larger restrooms, storage, a new sanctuary overflow area and a new Nursing Mother’s room.
Here at CCSG we “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph 4:12) through teaching the Word; preach the gospel through community outreaches, and to the ends of the earth; and we disciple believers to make more disciples. We desire to receive and exercise the greatest gift (1 Corinthians 13:13) and the most excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31) – Unconditional Love. That we might fulfill the greatest commandments – to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).
At this point in my life, what do I know for sure? My wife loves me, my kids love me, my grandkids love me and most of all God loves me, and God loves you too!