Born in 1951, I was brought up in a less than model home environment in a small town in Western New York. It created some challenges for me as I tried to negotiate the turbulent years of adolescence and high school. Interestingly, during one high school class, I discovered I had a bent to write. A quick explanation may help. One of my teachers presented the class with three ways to write essays. One method included all facts; the second, facts plus elaboration; and the third, the least preferred, he called the “Halo Affect.” It included few facts but a lot of fluff. At the time it was right up my alley. I used it with great results. Through this I learned I had a writing ability, though my early usage of the skill was a bit soiled and reflected a lack of studiousness.
But a profound new life experience with the Savior at eighteen, and an even more profound call to ministry at nineteen, offered me opportunity to learn of and seek for wholeness. And in the process of my discoveries, God has allowed me to help others do the same. It has been a life-long adventure and honor.
You may be glad to know I got over the disdain I had for schoolwork and actually did quite well as a student in both Bible College and Seminary, receiving high honors in both. Even before I went away to college; and prior to my conversion to Christ, I married Shirley LaPorte, my high school sweetheart, who has also been my life-long companion and support in ministry. Together we had two sons Jeffrey and Joel, and all together, they make up the pride and joy of my life. They also presented a whole different kind of education for me.
Pastoring five churches in four different states was also very eye-opening to say the least. It offered me the opportunity to learn from many cultures and ministry environments; from the heartland of our country, to inner city ministry in LA, to the affluent in Boulder, CO, and the small town in Western PA and New York. Most of my lessons were learned as I tried to obey the Lord while pastoring in each of these places. And through it all, God has done some wonderful difference-making things through my life; churches started and increased, many new believers won, laborers called into the ministry, lives transformed, some incredible miracles realized, many friends made that will last for eternity, and even a few books written.
Today, I marvel at the lengths God will go in order to develop one of His own. He stuck with me when I was ready to give up on myself. He could see the value in me even when there was none. And I’ve learned that He is poised to have the same stick-to-itiveness and developmental persistence with anyone who will stick with Him.