One of the questions people ask me is why a minister would have a handle (nick name or title) of Sinner. Great question! The immediate thought that surfaces in my mind, “or what’s left of it” is that I feel more comfortable with Sinner as a label than I feel with Saint, Reverend, Pastor, etc.
Let me explain; I applied for seminary only to be denied admittance because I had the misfortune of falling in love with my high school sweetheart, having two wonderful children only to grow apart from her. She divorced me and several years later I would marry the angel that is my soul mate and ministry partner. My Ex found her soul mate and remarried also. Everyone is happy and blessed. We are all friends.
After being trained to become a church planter and presenting my idea for a recovery church designed to reach the most broken of us, I was denied funding based on the marriage and divorce issue. Shot down again.
I thought surely this is a sign from God. I must be meant to be a missionary. That’s gotta be it!!! Right? Guess again. The Mission Board turned me down on funding with the simple explanation that My wife and I did not qualify given the current criteria. I finally found out the answer: Divorce and Remarriage again. See a pattern?
For several years I was denied licensing as a minister or Ordination. My past was was simply too wicked and filled with addiction issues. Not to mention a criminal history and incarceration. God forgives but people struggle with this. Even church people. After all, we are all human.
Finally, a silver lining. I found the minister that had the guts to stand up to judgement and convention. I would be a Licensed Minister. My vision would be ignited and I could blast off. This would open the door for serving as a Pastor or give me many other opportunities to serve. My Pastor calls me in his office to show me a copy of my Licence before the licensing ceremony. There it was in bold print. “Licensed Lay Minister, not Licensed Minister”. Pressure from the church deacons. My heart sank. I humbly went through the ceremony and received my credentials. Thankful for this because I would no longer be turned away from hospitals or jails. I would at least have some sort of credentials.
I felt utterly defeated. But I refused to give up on the vision God gave me. Where God guides, He provides. God gifted me with the ability to speak publicly and preach. He gifted me with knowledge and empathy for people that suffer from the hardest of life’s conditions. He blessed me with an education but best of all God gave me an angel to be the one to serve beside me. She has the tenacity of an Olympic gold medalist. She is absolutely unstoppable and a blessing when it comes to working with the many young ladies we have encountered needing that motherly loving touch.
I have been told more times than once we don’t have the proper credentials or experience. I simply reply stop us if you can. If God is for you, who can be against you? The result of diving off the cliff expecting God to give us wings before we go splat has been nothing less than miraculous. God has bless our ministry. served in many churches and venues in several states. Evangelism, Missions work, Chaplaincy, Motorcycle Ministry. I have preached in the pulpits of many churches and in many denominations. God is great. Me, an ex homeless drunk and junkie with a criminal history. God can bless you too.
The Holy Spirit is our teacher, God is our protector and Christ is our strength. This is why God is our higher power..
The end game is this: Dont let anyone tell you you cant serve God by loving others and if God has provided miracle after miracle in our lives He will do the same for you. We keep what we have by giving it away. 12th step philosophy.
Call me Sinner. This reminds me that my recovery, empowerment to serve and salvation is by Gods grace only. Today, I wouldn’t have it any other way.