I was born in Wisconsin to my loving, Christian parents who almost immediately brought me to church. Early on I developed a spiritual sensitivity and gave my life to Christ the age of four. I didn't fully understand all that Jesus had done for me, but I knew he loved me, I knew he had died for my sins, and more than anything, I knew I wanted to be with him forever.
When I was four years old my family moved to Cleveland, Ohio where we began attending Parkside Church which is pastored by Alistair Begg. I owe much of my spiritual development and pastoral intuition to him. As I grew up as a Christian, I fell into a performance trap when it came to God. I started to believe that being good and following the rules and getting gold stars meant that God loved me. I fell into religion, into morality, into a desperate attempt to prove myself and earn the love of God. It didn't work. I was never enough. I was lonely and secretly afraid.
When I came into adolescence, I found comfort for my loneliness and fear when I stumbled upon pornography. And it hooked me. Those images promised affirmation, love, acceptance - the very things I desperately wanted - but they lied to me. Afterwards all I felt was shame and eventually my heart grew numb.
That's when I first understood grace. I cried out to God, I confessed my sin, I begged for forgiveness, and I threw all my hope on Jesus - the only one who could make me right with God and change me from the inside out. And for the first time I tasted the love, affirmation, and acceptance of my Heavenly Father who had forgiven me because Jesus had died in my place for my sake, taking all of my sin and shame on the cross, and making me right with God through his resurrection. I can't describe how utterly free I felt. But grace changed my life forever.
God used that experience of grace to begin calling me to give my life to serve him in ministry. I pursued Bible training at Cedarville University where I also met my wife, Krista. We were married after graduation and moved to Dallas, Texas where we both pursued Master of Theology degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary.
While in seminary I served as a pastoral staff intern for two years at Stonebriar Community Church where Charles Swindoll pastors and where I received my ordination. Upon graduation, I became an associate pastor for four years at Christ Community Church in the western Chicago suburbs. And in 2013, I answered the call to come be senior pastor here at Westwood.
I believe the God has called me to help others discover the beauty and glory and wonder of all that Jesus Christ is for us. Jesus has changed my life. He is loving me into loveliness. And I love him more than words can say. My prayer is that through my life and ministry people might catch a glimpse of the Jesus who has captivated my heart.
Krista and I have three daughters and a son: Claire, Violet, Cora and Jude. We absolutely love living in Olympia. We love outdoor adventures, hiking, the beach, the mountains, the sound, and so much more. We love mild summers, misty mornings, and a good cup of coffee. I enjoy cycling, fires, and vistas. And I'm just mildly addicted to Henry Weinhard's root beer.
You'll find me in the lobby after most Sunday services. If you have a few minutes to stop by, I would love to meet you in person. I hope to see you this Sunday!