My current relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. And, how and why He became real to me.

My relationship with Jesus is, well . . . very relational!

I feel like there is a paradox of relationship that comes from the goodness and grace of Jesus. How can He both be a best friend, and a lover of my soul? How can this be? Jesus is my personal savior through a relationship of trust and he is my Lord all at the same time. The solution is that Jesus helps me know my place in the relationship. He gracefully understands me, and I reach in my heart to come to an understanding on His love for me.

I know that relationship is the purpose for why He created me (Eph 1:4-5). My role is that of worship, reverence, honesty, and obedience—in a love relationship. The wonderful thing about this relationship is that He is like a father that is teaching me how to be just like Him. I see struggles in my life as a Romans 5: 3-5 kind of way that lead to being conformed to His image (Rom 8:29, 1 Cor 15:49, 1 John 3:2). I look at Him as my creator and God who made me exactly how He wanted.

So to tell the story of how, when, and why Jesus became real to me.

I remember being 15, while spending a summer living with my sister to help her with her young kids. I used to take many little walks in that part of town. On one such walk I remember looking up and asking God if He was real and if he really made me for a purpose. I could just feel His love and reassurance. I knew just by looking up into the sky that God was looking down (closely, not from Billions of light years away) and loving me for who I am.

One night while praying for a serious family situation God broke into my life in a Big way. God gave me an open vision that showed me His purpose for my life. Like lightning hitting my mind God snapped me out from the middle of my prayer and showed me from a first person “fly over” bird’s eye view perspective of an Army base, red brick government buildings and 2 story houses for “family housing.”

I could see an Army company marching in formation along one of the streets on the Army base. I did not know that Army bases worked in this manner. I did not know that real houses and not one story duplex style houses were used on Army bases.

Next, God showed me leading “point” in a fire-team squad of soldiers as we walked through heavy brush using a compass to find our next coordinate on a map. I was NOT the leader type of material at that time. God has changed that by His spirit and leading in my life.

Then, God showed me a dark area that had a fire in front of me. Just past that fire lit up by the glowing embers of the flames across from me and that “Pentecost-like” tongue of fire was my best friend, Sarah. I could hear worship singing from jubilant voices. I could just sense that there were huge bouncing and gyrating tribal worship dancers just going bonkers for Jesus all around Sarah and I. Sarah looked across the fire and simply smiled. As the open-vision ended abruptly I just knew that God had shown me the answer to my question of “Are you real and did you really make me for a purpose?”

My heart cried out to God asking out loud, “Do you want me to join the Army, and become a missionary to Africa. . . will I marry Sarah?” Then, larger than life itself I could audibly hear a reverberating immensely baritone rumble that emanated out from the center of my house, and from all surrounding directions. That audible voice slowly rumbled the word, “YES!” This voice that sounded like the roar of “many waters” crescendo-ed to a loud cosmic quake.

One guess as to what I did the next day. No, I did not ask Sarah to marry me. But, I did tell my parents what happened. Of course, I asked them if they were woken up by the Earthquake voice from hyperspace, which they were not. In fact, they were praying that I would choose to join the Army through the help of my uncle, the Army recruiter during that time of my life. God does work in mysterious ways. My uncle helped me every step of the way.

Okay, I did join the US Army, and I did become a barracks pastor while completing my Advanced Individual Training at Redstone Arsenal because the Post Chaplain saw my attitude of servant hood to the kingdom of God. That time of pastoring only lasted 1 year, but it was a wonderful time of weekly preaching the Bible and the gospel of repentance and reconciliation by faith through grace provided by the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. It was the most stretching and exhausting time of my life preaching, teaching, saving, and counseling young soldiers in the barracks.

Later, I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and fire-team leader on training field maneuvers in the US Army right after 9-11. After four years as a soldier in the US Army, I used the Montgomery GI Bill to get my B.S. Degree in General Business so I could have administrative knowledge and skills to successfully carry out His plan for my life.

The maturity that the US Army instilled in me did appeal to Sarah as God worked on her heart to see me in a whole new light. In May of 2004 God’s promise to me of both being a leader in the US Army and marrying my best friend, Sarah had been fulfilled. She and I have been married for almost 12 years.

12 years and four kids later God has told us that the time is now to pursue God’s promise of bringing His gospel to the nations, while starting in order to strengthen, encourage, and prepare pastors to help each other and feed the flocks of God from the word as they are equipped to disciple the nations and peoples of the world as well.