I was born and raised in a small town, Cleburne, Texas, and grew up in a broken home that did not know Christ. I was 8 years old, my dad was incarcerated, leaving my mom to raise me and my sister on her own (until she later remarried). What happened with my father left me angry with God and turned me off to “spiritual things.” I viewed God as an angry kid who sat over an ant hill with a magnifying glass and burned the ants.

My desire to be a better man than my father became a false god I gave my life to. I believed I could be complete by being a good kid, doing well in school, graduating from college, getting a good job, getting married and becoming a great husband and father. When I got to high school, my life began to be dictated by relationships, girls, sports and occasional drinking and partying. I went from broken cistern to cistern (Jeremiah 2) trying to find life in these things, but I soon recognized that they were all empty, and they didn’t bring joy or satisfaction.

My sophomore year, I was diagnosed with a tumor. It was during this season that God began to woo me to Himself. The compassion and prayers of some Christian people opened my mind to Christianity. After I was healthy again, a friend invited me to play basketball with the youth group of his church. The first time I went to play, I met the youth pastor, Earl Sides. He pursued me relationally and won me. He invited me over to his house and to various events, and it was there that I heard the gospel for the first time.

My eyes were still blind, and my ears were dull, so I rejected the gospel yet, I continued to come to the church and all its activities because I loved the people and community. I made sure to be at the church every time the door was open, and I checked off all my “Christian duties,” thinking it was them that made me a Christian. This “works-based” salvation went on for two years.

The spring of my senior year, God did a miraculous work in my heart. He asked me a question that, to this day, still brings me to my knees, “Who is Jesus, and why does He matter to me?” I began to investigate Jesus, and it didn’t take long for the Lord to win my heart and affections. The gospel truths that I had been hearing finally penetrated my heart.

For the first time in my life, I felt the weight of my sin before a holy God and realized that even the good deeds I had been performing were nothing more than filthy rags before Him. At the same time, the beautiful truths of the gospel flooded my heart. That is why Jesus came: to bear the weight and punishment that was due me so that I could now know God and experience a relationship with Him. I repented, believed and surrendered my life to Christ that spring.

Since that day, God has been growing my love and affection for Him, while also growing my desire to make Him known to others. For four years as a student at UNT, I was a part of Campus Outreach, and God gripped my heart with the vision of college students reaching the world. I am excited to come on staff and continue making disciples on the college campus.