3 John 4 ~ "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
I get so excited when someone visits our church for the first time and a light bulb goes off. All of a sudden, Jesus becomes real to them, the Bible becomes alive and they look at church from a whole different perspective. They find out that God loves them and He has a plan and purpose for their lives. Their past was not an accident but all part of a divine plan to accomplish His good, pleasing, and perfect will. They are then eager to find out more about what God has in store for them and their lives. Their attitude changes from one of "I have to go to church" to "I get to go to church." They then ask Jesus to forgive them of their sins and something like blinders are lifted from their eyes. The next thing you know they go to Wal-Mart and buy a New Living Translation Bible so that they can go home and read it for themselves. They then begin to tell their family and friends what God is doing in their lives and how He has changed them. It's at this point that my heart is busting with joy because total life transformation has taken place. This is my prayer for everyone who enters our doors, that they would see Jesus in us and fall in love with Him.
As for personal information, I married my wife Monica in May 2005. In December, 2017 we adopted our daughter Eden Joy. Back in 2008, Monica read a verse in Isaiah 51:3 that says, "The Lord will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air." It was at that time she knew what the name of our daughter would be. There is definitely joy and gladness in our house. God is so good!!!
As for hobbies, Monica and I love to bike together here in the summer months. In the fall, winter, and spring, I am watching sports and exercising. I am a sports nut! My favorite food: protein. (LOL) ; favorite TV show: Seinfeld; favorite movie: Napoleon Dynamite.
1 Corinthians 8:2 ~ "Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn't really know very much."
I always start with the assumption that I know nothing. However, I realize the importance of an education and experience, so I have listed mine here. I graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Materials and Logistics Management. I received my Masters from Dallas Theological Seminary. I served as a Youth Pastor in Homestead, Florida. I have also served as the Pastor of churches in Brevard, North Carolina and Clarksville, Tennessee.
This is my first full time ministry position and I'm really excited to see what God will do through my life and in the lives of those at Stone Ridge. My primary responsibilities include overseeing small groups and first impressions while also helping with FUEL youth and preaching. My goal for both myself, my family, and for Stone Ridge is to break out of our comfort zones and live an active and bold life for Jesus Christ. Regardless of our situations, I believe we can be the hands and feet of Jesus in Decorah.
A little about myself. Lauren and I started dating around the summer of 2010 and got married in 2015. We have two beautiful girls, Lily and Mila. Lauren and I are both originally from St. Louis, Missouri where we went to high school and she went to college. Shortly after I graduated from high school, I was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever which resulted in my aortic heart valve needing to be replaced. In February of 2011 I had open heart surgery and now have a prosthetic heart valve. As difficult as that season of life was, God continues to use it to bring me closer to Him and to strengthen His Kingdom. I enjoy cooking, being outside, video games, and watching my favorite sports teams. I enjoy watching several different sports including baseball, football, and hockey. I follow the St. Louis Cardinals, Iowa State football and basketball, and the St. Louis Blues. I'm a volunteer staff member of God Mode Activated, which is an online ministry designed to bring the Gospel of Jesus to people who play video games. As for my education, I graduated from Iowa State with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2014 and graduated from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity in 2019.
As I have walked with Jesus, there has been one verse that has been a continued comfort in both the good times and the struggles. Revelation 21:4 says this, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Regardless of my circumstances and what happens here on Earth, I know there is a time coming when Jesus will return, when I will spend eternity in Heaven with Him, and I will do nothing but worship the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the God of the universe.
I moved here in 2013 from Virginia Beach to be closer to my daughter and granddaughters I had not attended church for many years when my husband, Butch brought me to Stone Ridge I remember sitting in the sanctuary enjoying the Palm Sunday sermon and feeling the joy around me. I believe that God was saying, “Welcome back, Susan! I’m so happy you’re here”. Stone Ridge has been my home ever since that Sunday!
I learned through a class here that my spiritual gifts are connecting with people and organization. God has taught me new ways to use my gifts to serve Him and I have grown through His love and guidance.