I am extremely happily married to Laura – my best friend, lover and ministry partner of over 38 years (465 months). She is an awesome lady and the mother of our 8 children – Micah, Josh, Johnny, Chris, Grace, Joe, Anna and Tim. We (really Laura) home schooled our kids for 20 years. Currently (4/12) we have 10 grandkids. The Lord has blessed our tribe with an abundance of creativity which our kids express in music, writing, graphics, media and other ways.
I was raised in a mainline protestant denomination (Presbyterian) and was at church most Sundays. Unfortunately, the message I got was about Jesus being the ultimate good person that we should try to pattern our lives after. Somehow I did not hear that we were sinners in need of a Savior and that we had to make a personal decision to follow the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus. During High School, I jumped into the ‘hippie’ movement – playing in rock-n-roll bands, doing drugs and looking for ultimate meaning. I searched in many different directions – psychedelic experiences, philosophy, metaphysical thought, new-age spirituality – but it was all empty.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that the ultimate answers were to be found on the ‘other side’ of life. My life was a mess and my mind was so ‘out there’ that I thought the universe was infinite and thus anything you could imagine must be reality somewhere in the infinity of the universe. So, I decided to go to the other side. I took a full bottle of very strong sleeping pills (‘reds’) and dropped acid (LSD). I burned incense, played my music and got ready to begin the adventure. Thankfully God intervened!
There’s much more to the story, but the bottom-line is that I ended up in a coma for 3 days, the Lord preserved me and that renewed my search for Truth in this life. Eventually I came to Antioch Ranch, a Christian commune near Mendocino, California and there I met genuine born-again believers who opened their ranch and their lives to me and shared their love of Jesus.
Finally, I prayed and gave my life to Jesus, not really understanding the Gospel, but asking Him if He were real, to take my life and do whatever He wanted with it. That day I was born again and I’ve never looked back as Jesus has faithfully, patiently and consistently led me on the grand adventure of living for Him. He is Awesome!
As a musician, I immediately began writing songs about the Lord as soon as I was born again. This led to opportunities for me to sing and share my testimony. I’ve been doing music for the Lord ever since – eventually being joined by my wife, Laura, and now our kids are writing and singing for he Lord as well!
In 1976, I went on staff with Maranatha! Music (at the time, an outreach ministry of Calvary Chapel Cost Mesa) as Director of Media and experienced my ‘boot camp’ training in ministry as we were right in the center of the birth of contemporary christian music ministry. I did radio, TV and film productions related to the Saturday Night Concerts which were held there at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa every Saturday night. I also produced Pastor Chuck Smith’s Sunday morning television program and helped get the new Maranatha! Music albums (yes albums) into the hands of christian radio stations and producers. It was an awesome experience being in the middle of this musical explosion overflowing from God’s revival among the hippies – who were now know as ‘Jesus Freaks’!
During this time, Laura and I got involved with another ministry initially based out of Calvary Chapel – Enjoying Marriage. Led by Pastor Ron Wiseman and his wife, Betty, Enjoying Marriage offered weekend seminars teaching couples the biblical principles of marriage. It was (and continues to be) a very effective and fruitful ministry used of the Lord for saving, strengthening and equipping marriages across the world. We served as music ministers, as a sharing couple, and, eventually, as Board Members for the Enjoying Marriage ministry. The Lord used that ministry and it’s leaders to build His principles into my own marriage and to give substance to our ministry to others.
In 1978, I produced ‘The Word for Today’ radio program and oversaw it’s distribution to radio stations across the country. The Word for Today features the teaching of Pastor Chuck Smith. This ministry also grew explosively and became very fruitful for the Kingdom. I was blessed, once again, to be in the middle of it all!
It was during this time that I began to experience a desire to study and teach God’s Word that was stronger than my aversion to speaking in public (unless I had my guitar on). Editing Chuck’s teaching tapes saturated me with the Word of God and, when I was given an opportunity to teach at our home fellowship, God began to place His calling upon my life.
Soon after, we moved to Sacramento, California and, through the specific (and often miraculous) leading of the Lord I began pastoring Calvary Chapel of Sacramento, where I was privileged to be the pastor for 26 awesome years.
Then, in 2006, I joined the pastoral staff of Calvary Chapel Salt Lake City, Utah, where I’m ministering along with Terry and Alison Long. Terry and Alison had previously served with me at Calvary Chapel Sacramento and I had the blessing of ordaining Terry when the Lord sent him to Salt Lake. God is Good!