His name was Jimmy. He moved into the house just below our house when I was about 6 years old. As we were playing one day, he invited me to go to Sunday school with him. I still remember running into the house and asking my Dad if I could go. He looked over at my Mom and said, “Yeah, I guess it is about time that we got into church.” So we started going each week. I remember being faithful in Sunday school and church. I got a bunch of those perfect attendance pins that you put on your coat. One Sunday as the pastor was giving the invitation to trust Jesus as Savior, my Sunday school teacher put his arm around my shoulder and asked me if I would like to receive Christ and be saved. I said yes, and he led me to the front of the church and into the pastor’s office, where my pastor explained the Gospel to me one more time. He explained that I was a sinner. I knew that was true. He said that sinners could not go to Heaven but Jesus died to pay for my sins. If I asked Him to He would forgive my sin and make me His child. That day I bowed my head and received Jesus as my savior.
Later, as a young teenager, I felt God touch my heart for full-time Christian service. On a Sunday evening in my bedroom, I prayed and told the Lord that if He wanted me to preach I would, but He would have to make it happen because I knew in my heart that I could never do it. I was a very shy boy with a stutter. He gave me Jeremiah chapter one as a confirmation to my call. “Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak” (Jeremiah 1:6-7).
I attended Bob Jones University to learn all that I could to be a better preacher. After graduation, my wife and I went to Pensacola Christian College. She became a speech teacher in the college and I went to work teaching fourth grade. The Lord let us serve for six years. While there, I was able to complete a Master’s Degree in Bible Exposition. At the same time, I was also working as the youth and music director at a small church in town. As we ministered there, the Lord showed us the country of Japan and burdened our hearts to go to Japan as missionaries. We served as missionaries from November, 1984 till August, 1988. When we came home on furlough, our fourth child was born and at the same time my wife, Sheri, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unable to return to Japan, we took a church in New Hampshire. Sheri was with me in the work for one and a half years before the Lord took her to be with Himself. I continued in the church in New Hampshire for four more years. During that time the Lord brought Deborah to me. We were married in June of 1996. In 1998, we took a pastorate in Mississippi and were there for two and a half years. From there the Lord led us to Gainesville, Florida, where I served for six years with the Bible Broadcasting Network as station manager for WYFB. As of this writing, I am working with the Gethsemane Baptist church of Greenville, SC. I try to be a help to my pastor as I teach the adult Sunday school class and work with the music ministry of the church.
Since I was saved as a child, the Lord has led me through many different trials. I feel that I know what it is to be afraid. I try to rely on the memories of how the Lord helped me through those fears as I write these thoughts on the “Fear Not’s” of the Bible. My prayer is that there will be blessing and encouragement as you go through each of the Bible passages where we read “Fear not”
and “Be not afraid.”