I was born into, raised, and ordained in the Wesleyan Church. The Wesleyan Church is a cousin to The UMC. It evolved out of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1843. An abolitionist denomination, it has its theological heritage rooted in John Wesley. I’m the third generation to go into full-time ministry. I received my call from the Lord to ministry when I was 19. A few weeks prior, I had given my life to the Lord. As I was trying to explain to my at-the-time roommate all the changes I was experiencing because of Jesus, I had a moment of clarity. In that moment, as I explained how Jesus was disrupting and rearranging my life, that I had been created for ministry. It was a knowledge that I had long known but had forgotten.
Upon receiving the call, I applied to college, something I never thought I would do. You see, I dropped out of High School when I was 18. College was never on my radar. Yet, when the Lord calls and you respond, the Lord clears the way. I was accepted into Oklahoma Wesleyan University for their Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministries.
While in college, I acquired a thirst for learning, again, the Lord’s doing. I love to read and learn about a variety of subjects. Classic literature, mid-20th century history, philosophy, theology, psychology, and science are some of the subjects that fascinate me. I “read” Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Modern Spanish and desire to learn Latin. All of these interests in a person who once proclaimed to his youth pastor, when asked about what he wanted to do when he grew up, “I want to be a professional homeless person.” I had no plans for the future, no dreams, no desires to stretch and grow as a person. Thank God for God’s never failing loving kindness.
It’s odd to think that at one point I had no desire to learn, to read, and to explore the world of ideas. Certainly, the Lord can make the desert of life into a lush oasis. Often we write people off as lost causes, yet God looks at those same people as brimming with possibilities. We may see a desert but God sees a forthcoming oasis. May we learn together to see one another as God sees each one of us.