My heart resonates with David when he declares in Psalm 4, “You have put gladness in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine abound.” Certainly, God has been exceedingly merciful and gracious to me in Christ. I give thanks to God for Jesus Christ and the manifold and eternal blessings that I experience in Him. I am not certain of the exact time of my salvation, but believe that when I was nine years old, God, in accordance with His great mercy, caused me "to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pet 1:3).
Having grown up in a Christian home, I had been raised in an atmosphere where biblical truth was accessible and pressed into my life. For this Christian environment I am very grateful. Humanly speaking, my salvation came as a result of difficult circumstances surrounding my parents' divorce. These difficulties pushed me to cry out to God. Though I can’t pinpoint the exact time of my salvation, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim 1:12). God orchestrated the events surrounding my parents' divorce and the subsequent circumstances for my spiritual good and growth. It was during these early years that I had a desire to serve Him in the ministry.
The course of my life so far seems to have been strategically aligned with four faithful men. The first of these I met after the Lord took my family to San Antonio, Texas. It was here that I was introduced to Pastor Jose Maldonado. He profoundly influenced my life as he explained to me the sovereignty of God from the Scriptures, taught me the doctrines of grace, and introduced me to the Puritans. These interactions proved to be the catalyst of much reading, studying, and spiritual growth. I now found myself amazed by the God of the Bible, and in love with the words of His revelation.
A few years later I attended The Master’s College where I obtained a B.A. in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in Biblical Languages. Enter the second man of profound influence in my life, Dr. William Varner, who drilled Greek into my not so intellectual or studious mind and taught me how to read and understand the Bible. He equipped me with indispensable tools that provided understanding and excitement as I handled the Word of God. However, my greatest attainment in my collegiate career was my wife, Jennie Kay. It was work to get her to marry me, but work of the best kind. She is my most precious and faithful companion. She has had greater influence on the man that I am today than the men referenced previously and those yet to be mentioned. My love for her cannot be adequately expressed, and I thank God for her. We have been married for almost seven wonderful years and have two precious children and one on the way.
Coinciding with my education, the Lord graciously brought me into contact with Faith Community Church of Oxnard, and consequently Pastor Rick Anderson. I started attending FCC, and later became a member. I benefited tremendously from the fellowship and ministry of FCC. Rick is the third man of great influence in my life. He preached in such a way that left me glorying in Christ and wanting to know more of Him. Through Rick's preaching I also picked up key hermeneutical principles that changed the way I read the Scriptures; I read them to know Christ.
As these men were teaching me how to handle the Scriptures, God was increasing my desires for pastoral ministry. He was also giving me opportunities grow in my public ministry of the Word. No doubt, the Lord ordained these early years to provide me with a solid theological and exegetical foundation on which to build, as well as fanning the flame of my desire for the ministry.
A year after being married, we moved to Louisville, KY to further my education at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was difficult to leave our church in Oxnard, CA, but we were filled with joy at finding The Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville, where I currently serve as a pastor. We are thankful to God for the faithful ministry of the pastors and the sweet fellowship and encouragement we receive from the saints at RBC Louisville. Currently, I am seeking to be faithful to Christ as a lay elder at RBC. If the Lord sees fit, my desire for the future is full-time ministry.
The other man who has deeply impacted my life is Jim Savastio. Jim is my much loved pastor, mentor and friend. Possibly no other man has taught me so much about the Christian life and the Christian ministry. He is an exemplary, faithful man of God, and I love him dearly. I hope to emulate him as he has emulated Christ.
Various circumstances, which I won't relay, brought about my transfer from SBTS to Reformed Baptist Seminary. I have profited greatly from the courses I have taken while at RBS and am grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to learn from the men and material available at this seminary. I am also thankful for the flexibility that the seminary provided me in my efforts to complete my degree.
Thanks be to God for Christ and His eternal mercies!