Growing up, I became lost and confused in a world that had no real borders. Other than my Mom – who always said I could be successful at whatever I set my mind to – there was no root in what I believed or what guided my actions. Even though I was a successful musician and performer, my mind was lost. Married at 19 and divorced at 21, my personal life had little meaning until I found a group of Christians while attending college. They introduced me to faith in Jesus and He became the compass I was missing.
At age 25 I left music and started working as an audio engineer at a large church in Southern California. (I met my wife there and we have now been married 29 years, have four children and two grand kids. So blessed!) Eventually I was trained as an assistant pastor, then ordained as a senior pastor of a church in New Hampshire called Christian Fellowship of New England. I pastored there for 15 years, teaching through the entire bible and building a team of friends who ministered together in a beautiful setting to many folks from diverse backgrounds. It was a GREAT period of life, and in many ways, New Hampshire still feels most like home.
As our children grew to be teenagers, and church politics reached a point where the desire to fight against it disappeared, our family decided to withdraw from ministry and focus on helping our children mature to adulthood. We moved to Pennsylvania where I now teach music and work at the local Apple store.
In September of 2015, my life was shaken up with a devastating medical diagnosis. What had started as minor stomach discomfort turned quickly into being diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. It was effectively a death sentence, statistically giving me a minimal chance of surviving the year. Any time someone is hit with news like this, they’re given three options. One, to simply give up. Two, declare war and fight. Three, accept the diagnosis, and try to discover why God allowed this into your life. I chose the third option.
Acceptance meant reviewing spiritual, emotional, relational, and nutritional decisions made, and reconciling ALL hurts, pain, and emotional discomfort, while addressing health issues… sooner rather than later. With thousands of life critical decisions to make, prayer for spiritual guidance was first on the list. God was faithful in all ways and became my constant companion through everything. I submitted my body to six rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, changed diet dramatically, sought out reconciliation with broken relationships, and began a journey of soul searching like never before. Healed or not, I was determined to become a better person because of this disease and learn the lessons God was trying to teach me.
God did answer prayer. He provided spiritually, emotionally, financially, and physically. Just before Christmas, tests confirmed I had no active cancer in my body, the tumors remaining were a fraction of the original size, and I was on a path to recovery. But before we could celebrate even two months, the cancer returned. So I’m back on chemotherapy and continuing on this path of discovery and acceptance that I will most likely follow the rest of my life.
Many friends have asked if I would ever return to ministry. The answer is, “Yes” in a certain kind of way. This blog is simply part of that effort.
So why create a blog when there are already so many millions of voices in the world today? Simple. Every voice can add weight to tip life’s scales in a positive direction. We are all a part of the journey so long as we are all willing to be used to change the world around us. Sometimes you can do that by simply sharing your story.
I choose to participate in the voice of humanity!