Education: I went to Freed-Hardeman University to pursue a degree in agri-business. While working on that degree, I also started working toward a second major in Vocational Ministry, and ended up with a minor in Biology. As soon as my undergrad work was finished August 1998) I started Grad school at FHU. In December 1999 I completed my Master of Arts degree with a New Testament concentration. I think I want to go back to school one day for a degree in counseling.
Comment to those looking at my sermons: I will never fool myself into thinking that I am preaching something that (at least in principle) hasn’t been preached before. And I shamelessly borrow ideas from any good source or sermon I read. If something looks familiar, it may be an idea I got from you. But in using it the way I have, I hope it will help someone else. As one preacher says, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter!"
Sermon or series that made a difference: One Sunday morning in January (06) I tossed my sermon outline for that day and simply poured out my heart in an emotional appeal for people’s response to God’s call. God answered, and that day alone saw 24 souls restored and another five baptized into Christ. The next week, 8 more were baptized and another 14 were restored. Still the next week saw two more baptized and two more restored. Fifty-five souls responded in three weeks’ time!!! Talk about the fire of revival!!!
One of my favorite illustrations: I like to illustrate sermons with personal reflections, insights gained from living life. I don’t use a lot of stories or poems or jokes. However, I recently used the story of HG Spafford penning the words to the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" after the tragic drowning death of his daughters.
Family: My wife Dana (Cochran) and married April 10, 1999. God has blessed us with two beautiful children -- Samuel (June 27, 2003) and Laura Grace (May 24, 2006 - named for my sister who passed away in 2003). My brother-in-law, Rick Cochran, is also in ministry, presently working with the East Cobb Church of Christ in Marietta, GA.
What my parents think of my sermons: They are two of my biggest cheerleaders. They live three hours away, so they don’t get to hear me that often. They will sometimes ask for CDs of lessons the read about in the bulletin, or hear me talk about.
What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons: Dana often comments that she would rather listen to me preach that lots of other preachers we hear from time to time. She is honest when I am looking for input, yet even her criticism is seasoned with kindness and love. Occasionally she will laughingly take credit for writing a particularly "good" sermon.
Best advice given to me about preaching: Two pieces of advice that have helped me tremendously:
A quote that sits in the window of my office - "Never fool around in the pulpit. Souls are at stake every time you preach, and it may be their last time on earth to hear the gospel and be saved."
Then, "Remember that you are an informer, not an enforcer."
Books that have had an impact: I have been especially impacted and helped by the "Every Man" series (Stephen Arteburn, et al). I love the writing of John MacArthur, and William Barclay is my favorite commentator.
Hobbies: I enjoy turkey hunting, riding motorcycles and ATVs, watching high school football, reading, getting away with Dana, and I love playing with my kids.
If I could Preach one more time, I would say...: I would preach about the love of God displayed in the sacrifice of Jesus. I would challenge my listeners to respond to God’s gift in faithful, humble obedience.
Something funny that happened while preaching: There was the time the lady sitting in the front row attempted to burn a string from the underarm area of her sweater with a Zippo lighter...during my sermon! I thought she was attempting to set herself on fire, and was already wondering how I would get her into the baptistry to put her out.
What I want on my tombstone: He fought a good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith.