My testimony is that I was led to Christ by my brother when I was a teenager. I had no Bible background at all and had always attended a ceremonial denominational church with my family as I grew up. When I trusted Christ, I knew very little about the Bible. There is not a verse of Scripture I could have recited to you.
My brother was involved in a local church, so I began attending with him and in time truly desired to go into full-time ministry, preaching and teaching the Bible to others. I attended a Bible College and graduated from there. I then began to work as an assistant pastor at the church where I am at now – it was then called Daytona Beach Baptist Church. This was 27 years ago.
While I was in Bible College, I was exposed to many different theological systems and differing approaches in how to study God’s Word. While many of the people I met in church and college were godly and sincere, much of what I saw in our particular church circle troubled me. For example:
The legalism (motivation by guilt)
The preaching that was based on story-telling with little or no Bible
The arrogance and mean spirit that I saw exemplified so often from the pulpit
The contentious spirits and lack of grace
The using of the Old Testament law to manipulate people
The emphasis on outward conformity rather than inner transformation
The consuming desire of pastors to have big attendance figures and lots of baptisms
The “over the top” reverence of pastors and “big name” preachers
I knew that something was not right. I was thankful I was saved, and I loved the Lord, but all of this seemed so shallow and lacking of any real substance. The Bible was confusing to me. The example I had seen was that the Bible was to be used, not truly taught. Yet I hungered to know more about it.
When I learned the dispensational approach to the study of the Bible, it revolutionized my life!! You may not be familiar with this word, but dispensation is a Bible word. The Bible was to be rightly divided. It had distinct divisions and was a book of progressive revelation. If you don’t study the context of each Bible passage, you can end up using the Bible rather than honestly teaching what it says.
Suddenly the Bible was now a book I could understand. This was the answer I had been looking for. I now saw through the twisting and distorting of Scripture that is so common today in supposed Bible-preaching churches. I saw through the legalism and Phariseeism.
I learned that I did not have to make all of the Bible fit in my little box that had been created by church tradition. God’s Word could capably stand on its own when taken in context and viewed in light of the clear teaching for the body of Christ today.
When I saw the unique apostleship of Paul and how it differed from the twelve apostles, it opened up the eyes of my understanding. I had been like Apollos in Acts 18:24-25. I was fervent in spirit and sincere, but lacked understanding concerning what God’s plan is for today.
Just like Apollos, I had an “Aquilla” and “Priscilla” who cared enough about me to expound unto me the way of God more perfectly. How thankful I am! I now understand grace, and I understand where I fit in the plan and purpose of God revealed in His Word.
I am so thankful that I was set free from religious legalism and now understand what it means to truly walk with Christ and allow Christ to live His life through me.
I became the senior pastor here at CrossRoads over 20 years ago. The journey that I have shared with you began in my early 20s, and I have been growing in His grace and in His Word ever since. I am still a work in progress, but I am learning and growing. I do NOT have it all figured out – not even close! I am eager to keep growing in my walk with Christ and in my understanding of His Word.
Maybe you are in full-time ministry and have been on a similar journey, or you are on it right now! I am here to help and encourage you in any way that I possibly can. Don’t ever feel like you are all alone.
Please take a moment and fill out the form below. The last couple of years we have had some pastors' fellowships here in Daytona Beach with men who have been, or are on, a similar journey as I have shared with you. It was a joy to meet these men, and what sweet fellowship we had together.
Please fill out the form below so that I can contact you with future fellowships or Bible Conferences we may be offering. Also I would like to just meet you through phone or e-mail. I truly look forward to it!!