Education: K-12 all over the world (Army Brat). College at Duke University. "Blue Devils" may seem an odd mascot for a university that includes a Methodist divinity school, but Wake Forest, the Baptist divinity school down the road has the "Demon Deacons." Go figure (and "Go Duke!")
Comment to those looking at my sermons: These are all taken from powerpoint presentations geared toward a senior high student group. They can be silly or sensational at times. I try to tell meaningful stories first, then back it up with the Bible rather than the other way around. That’s the way Christ, taught, after all. The Sunday morning slot I teach is where we address our purpose of discipling our students, so the lessons are geared toward taking beleivers deeper. Wednesday nights are primarily where we fulfill our evangelical purpose.
Sermon or series that made a difference: I grew up knowing all the Bible stories, but didn’t really "get it" until a youth-camp speaker walked us through all the stories in the Bible and tied them together into one story of sin and redemption. I think that’s where my passion for "big picture" context came from. Taking things we know and understand, and putting them together in ways that reveals a larger truth. It colors most every lesson I put together.
One of my favorite illustrations: Dr. Felix Ruh finding cure for black plague in the blood of a horse who overcame the desease. The horse was killed so that his blood could be harvested for vaccine. We are saved by the blood of the overcomer. See full story at: http://www.youth.co.za/talks/talk203.htm
Family: My wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary last year. We have two teenage daughters - who are pretty gracious about being "taught" by their father - most of the time.
What my parents think of my sermons: The "Jewish Carpenter - Building a Legacy" is about my father. He saw a hardcopy of the presentation and hasn’t been able to speak to me about it yet. I’ve told him that I love him, but never before explained in such detail why I admire him so much. I think that show of public respect is the best gift I have ever given him. Mom is just happy that serving Christ is such an important part of our lives.
What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons: My wife has the spiritual gift of Prophecy. Not in the sense of foretelling the future (though she seems pretty accurate there, too), but in intuitively seeing what is right and wrong and feeling motivated to speak out against what is wrong. People with this gift can seem to be harsh and judgemental, but she also has the gift of Mercy. She is my most demanding critic, but is also my biggest encourager and supporter.
Best advice given to me about preaching: Rick Warren CRAFT series! If you haven’t seen it, run out and get the DVD today. Pay any price necessary - it’s worth it!
Books that have had an impact: Twelve Ordinary Men - John McArthur. Experiencing God - Henry Blackaby. Love and Respect - Emmerson Eggerichs. Sit, Walk, Stand - Watchman Nee.
Hobbies: I grew up overseas without American TV, and never got in the habit of watching it - so I waste all my time reading, playing with the dogs (2 black lab mixes), woodcarving, classical guitar, and cooking. I’m not much involved in American sports, though I was on the fencing team back in college (20 years and 50 pounds ago).
If I could Preach one more time, I would say...: Becoming a Christian is more than believing Christ was God-made-flesh, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died for our sins and rose again. Even Satan beleives that. Becoming a Christian means turning from your self-centered life, and dedicating yourself to serve Christ, no matter the cost. The "whosoever beleives in him" part of John 3:16 uses a word that means "trusts." Not just beleiving a chair will hold your weight, but trusting it enought to commit your weight to it.
Something funny that happened while preaching: I was giving a talk on boundaries using an invisible fence and the radio dog collars. See "Jesus and the Shock Collar". My daughter brought my dog up front where he performed all his tricks for bits of cheese as we told a story illustrating that he knew his "boundaries." Unfortunately, the illustration broke down later when he kept getting loose, dashing back up front, and nabbing additional peices of cheese. Definitely stole the show!
What I want on my tombstone: I am bound for the promised land