I was raised in a middle class family of good parents, a younger brother and sister. Parents made sure I attended church and many of the weekly activities there. Was baptized as a child in the baptism pool after attending a confirmation class with other youth.
Lived in Massachusetts until age 13 and then Texas when my Dad was transferred to Fort Worth. Attended the University of Texas and majored in Business. Married in 1961, too young, have two sons Jeff and Jason, and divorced 17 years later.
Met my current and last Bride Mary in 1976. Starting in 1979, lived with her for 8 years before we recorded our marriage. Moved to South Dakota in 1988 with Bride Mary.
Career starting at the age of 20 in the life insurance business, then added other types of businesses. I did have a fun job as a commercial pilot flying a fleet of Hot Air Balloons for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Met my Bride Mary as a result of her obtaining a private pilot's license from me. Years later, I evolved into the mortgage and real estate businesses in South Dakota at the age of 47.
I was raised in a secure, encouraging way by my parents and thought I was okay. In business I came to believe more money and things were evidence I was successful. I thought I could achieve all that I could perceive. I was the founder of a group of 24 companies and became a multi millionaire at the age of 33 and thought I had accomplished all that I was supposed to do.
You see I did not know that God had a plan for me. I did not know that "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18 NKJV You see seven years later I was a million dollars in debt and all had collapsed. My marriage to my first wife was not good and my family was a wreck! From this point I had ups and downs. Later my current wife Mary witnessed to me about God and His Son Jesus.
Ten years later, one night in Nemo, SD at the Nemo Community Church in bible study, I heard bible verses from Romans 9:16-18 for the first time.
16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. (from New International Version)
WAIT! I thought it did depend on me! I had never heard this before. If it was not up to me then how?
Then I heard Romans 10:9-13.
9 That if you confess (agree with God) with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame. 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
(New International Version)
Well, I knew I had never done this. I had felt for some time worthless and empty and I could not do this anymore. There was a hole or void in me that nothing before had ever filled. Not money, toys, alcohol, women, etc.
You see I came to understand that SIN was anything I did other than GOD'S WAY. To believe that God had sent HIS SON JESUS for me like I was the only one on earth.
That night I believed HE (Jesus) died, was buried, and arose again so I could be forgiven.
My life as a Christian was not all at once perfect. I had a NEW Priority to build relationships with people rather than money and toys. I did desire to develop opportunities to share Jesus Christ with other men and disciple them to the point they can share in the same desire I have.
As I have grown in my life with Jesus I have also grown in my relationship with my Bride Mary. God has given me the blessing of seeing her as a most precious gift. Under God and before ALL others, she is my number one priority.
I have had the joy of sharing biblical precepts and principles through the following:
1. I have had opportunities through working with first time home buyers to help them obtain the best home and mortgage for them through credit repair, budget counseling, and as their Realtor and Mortgage Broker.
2. I have also had the opportunity of being discipled by CBMC (Christian BusinessMen's Committee) over the years and to the point of becoming the Ministry Associate of CBMC of South Dakota, I have grown to desire to serve God where He is working with people.
3. Mary and I have recently come to a point where we believe God desires us to work in the Hill City Area of South Dakota specially. We have been encouraged by pastors and others to be the founders and servants to the Hill City Area Ministry Center to be named Hill City Gathering Place. Many have encouraged us since there is a felt need for this type of area ministry. I have personally felt called by God to work with men, which then affects the whole family. This will give me more chances to work one on one and to multiply the efforts for the Kingdom.
Pastor Andy Stanley tells about asking three men what they were doing with a pile of stone. The first man said "breaking up stones." The second man said "just doing my job." The third man said "Building a Cathedral!' This man had a Calling and Passion in his life to give his life real meaning.
In summary, I wish to repeat God's word that spoke to me, like I was the only person on earth, and that changed my life forever.
9 That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame. 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
(from New International Version)
If you are like I was in Nemo, South Dakota and wish to change your life today, I invite you to pray with me to God privately where you sit, please bow with me now.
I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness.
I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins.
I am willing to turn from my sins.
I now invite Jesus Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior.
I am willing, by God's strength, to follow and obey Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life.