Step one: Disciple your Home
Life didn’t go how we planned it. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts and minds humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” While my plan was to win every soul I could in Sin City, I quickly learned that my time was not just meant to be spent just pastoring a church and reaching the lost, but it was about pastoring and raising my family in a way that would give honor to The Lord. If God had given me the large platform that I thought I was meant to have, at the rapid pace I expected, who knows how that plan would have affected our family. I learned to be faithful and consistent with what he had for us.
The fruit in that? As mentioned before, my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and are still madly in love. Jazmine graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2015 and last December married her husband, Justin Kemp. They both felt God called them to Washington D.C. to work in politics. Jaz works for U.S. Senator, and Justin is a Regional Data Director for national political campaigns.
Jordan will graduate from Dallas Baptist University this May, and is excited to marry Davah Lynn Bruce in August. They’ve been dating for seven years and cannot wait to spend the rest of their lives together. His baseball journey has been amazing, he was drafted twice but opted to finish school and solidify a degree. Most importantly Jaz & Jordan honor the Lord with their lives and have made Margaret and I such proud parents.
Step two: Disciple your neighbor
Remember that promise I made Margaret about being full time paid ministers in six months? It was coming, but not in the timing I expected. Pioneering a non-denominational church without mission support or a network was truly a faith filled journey. When we began our new life in Vegas, the kids were toddlers. We both had Theology degrees and little experience in the real working world. I got a job stocking shelves at night and leased apartments during the day, and then eventually started a cleaning business called Hands On Cleaning. Even though juggling multiple jobs was stressful, God’s providence was awesome as we began meeting all of those unchurched people. The church met in living rooms, coffee shops, gyms, wherever we could find. I found that true discipleship is a life commitment, not just a prayer at the end of the sermon, but the willingness to really do life together.
Hands On Cleaning became the source of countless everyday life evangelism encounters. It provided many jobs for new believers and was the tent making tool God used to provide for our family. The best thing Hands On taught me, is that you can still work hard outside of traditional ministry and still minister. It gave me a tremendous understanding of what our congregations lives looked like on a day to day basis. Much of my sermon prep happened while cleaning floors and toilets the last twenty years. This many year’s latter, I can truly mean it when I say it, I am so thankful to God for this humbling process, despite how painful it felt at times.
And through it all, I was so blessed to have my wife and my rock, Margaret, who has split her years between working and raising our champs. She has been the best teammate to do life with, in and outside of ministry.
Step Three: Disciple to the ends of the earth
“Hey dad, what’s your vision for the next five years?”
The vision will never change, my life’s work is to be His witness, anywhere and everywhere. I will continue to pastor and raise up champions and disciples. Our heart is in Las Vegas and our home is Las Vegas, but the time has come to expand beyond, and go forth to the other nations and preach the gospel.