Education: B.A.--English and Religion, Southern Wesleyan University
A.A.--Religion, Kentucky Mountain Bible College
M.A.--Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary
M.Div.--Erskine Theological Seminary
Comment to those looking at my sermons: I have removed most of my sermons at present. I have been looking at totally re-tooling what I do in preaching, and will see how it goes before posting further. I did leave one sermon up which has gotten the most favorable comments from readers.
Sermon or series that made a difference: The only real story-telling sermon I ever did, "A Day in the Life," got incredible response when I preached it at the Ann Hope church, and again when I preached it as my senior sermon upon graduation from Erskine Seminary. As for series, I have rarely done them.
One of my favorite illustrations: On perseverance, I once read a story in Reader’s Digest about how Kris Kristofferson worked at the studio where Johnny Cash recorded and was constantly trying to get Johnny to listen to and sing his stuff with no result. Finally, one Sunday Johnny woke up to hear a helicopter landing in his yard. Out stepped Kris, who handed him a tape and said, "You WILL listen to my music." The song? "Sunday Morning Coming Down," which became a smash hit after he recorded it.
Family: I come from a family which through the years God has seen fit to call many into ministry. Of my grandparents’ 11 children, 7 went into full-time ministry as pastors, missionaries, or Christian teachers. I may be the only one of their children who followed suit.
What my parents think of my sermons: My dad is no longer living and never got to hear me preach. My mom, of course, is my biggest fan, tho she doesn’t get to hear me preach much. When I was at the Seneca church, I was much closer to her home and she would come occasionally. The only real response I ever remember getting was when she heard me use an illustration about hand-me-down jigsaw puzzles with pieces missing. The next time she came, she presented me (before the congregation, of course) with a brand-new jigsaw puzzle.
What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons: I rarely get any response from her unless I probe. Then she won’t make any kind of statement one way or the other, unless I make some sort of positive statement about something in the sermon, then she chimes in, "Yes, I liked that." I can’t say for sure, but from what I hear from some colleagues, I am an extremely lucky man.
Best advice given to me about preaching: Someone once told me, "Just keep in mind every time you get in the pulpit that you are always preaching to hurting people. If you preach to the hurting every time you get up there, you will always have an audience." I have found it to be the most truthful and the most valuable thing I could have been told.
Books that have had an impact: In the Furnace of Affliction by William S. Deal
Winning the Invisible War by E.M. Bounds
Preaching in the Spirit by Dennis Kinlaw
Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman
Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald
Shattered Assumptions by Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Hobbies: I enjoy a variety of music, and especially love blues, my favorites being Duane Allman, Roy Buchanan, Eric Clapton, and Buddy Guy. I enjoy playing golf, though I don’t claim to be much of a golfer. Fell in love with the game after watching Jack Nicklaus win the Masters in 1980. I also seem to have a hobby of collecting things, particularly pertaining to ministry and to music.
If I could Preach one more time, I would say...: Treat this as though it were the last day of your life: go tell those you love that you love them, go do the things that REALLY matter. Ask God what you ought to do with the gift of this day, and then DO it.
Something funny that happened while preaching: We have a wireless mike that I use during worship. The one disadvantage we have found with it is that it tends to pick up CB radio frequencies if someone is driving by. Right during a pause in my sermon one day, a voice rang out loud and clear: "Can you hear me?" Without missing a beat, I replied, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." I thought we’d never stop laughing!
What I want on my tombstone: Saved by grace