Senior Pastor

schristmas@nccphx.org
602.978.2740

How did the Lord save you?

Prior to becoming a Christian, I lived with a constant awareness that there must be something more to life than what I was experiencing.  I felt like I was missing something.  My shallow understanding of God and His gospel did not hinder my reckless pursuits as a pleasure-seeking bartender.  Despite my self-indulgence, I was empty.

In 1987, God saved my mom; she began to share the gospel with me.  I did not want to hear it.  She continued to reach out to me.  Although I resisted her efforts, I envied her peace and joy.  Along with all of the “God talk,” however, came an increasing understanding of two things: 1) God was not pleased with me and 2) I could not stop my sinful practices.

Then it happened.  After an all-night party, I drove home.  I took a curve too fast and hit an approaching driver head-on.  I should have died that Sunday morning, but God was gracious to me.  God used that wreck to awaken me to my own frailty and the sobering fruit of my sinful life.

While attending church with my mom, God opened my mind to understand the gospel.  The “good news” of the gospel is that in spite of my rebellious heart, Jesus loved me and bore the wrath of God that I deserved, when He hung on the cross and died.  God the Father accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for sinners and raised Jesus from the dead!  Because of what Jesus did, I could be forgiven.  On April 27, 1988, God gave me the ability to repent of my sin and trust in Jesus Christ for my salvation.  For the first time, life made sense.  2 Corinthians 5:17 became true of my life, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

When did the Lord call you to pastoral ministry and how long have you been serving as a pastor?

In August 1988, I began to desire the work of pastoral ministry. I did not fully understand all that it entailed, but I wanted to preach God’s Word and shepherd His flock.  I needed much preparation.  A church in Texas called me to serve in my first pastoral role in 1992.

Describe both the training you’ve received and other formative experiences that have helped you be a more effective pastor.

By God’s grace, I earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies from the Criswell College in Dallas Texas (1992), a M.Div. from the Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, CA  (1995), and a D.Min. in Expository Preaching from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY (2006).

There have been many shaping experiences in my ministry, but three stand out:

1) From 1993 to 1995, I had the privilege of serving at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley CA, where John MacArthur pastors.  During my time at Grace, I watched Dr. MacArthur model faithful biblical exposition.  I also observed the fruit of expository preaching.  Biblical exposition, when done with clarity and authority, leads to spiritual maturity.

2) In 1996, God graciously allowed me to plant Grace Community Church in Jacksonville, Florida.  For almost 15 years, I witnessed God using His Word to bring people into His family and conform them to the image of His son.  I learned the importance of body life and spiritual service.  Although church planting is very hard work, I learned that success in ministry is determined by faithfulness, not results.

3) During my tenure in Florida, I had the privilege of participating in the formation and launching of the Expositors Seminary.  Foremost lesson learned?  It is the responsibility of the local church to train men.

What do you enjoy most about the ministry at Northwest Community Church?

I enjoy watching people grow in their love for God and one another.

How long have you served here?

I have enjoyed the privilege of serving Northwest Community Church since April 2011.

What is special about Northwest Community Church?

The people here are growing in their love for Jesus, His Word, and His church.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida.

Are you married? How many children (and grandchildren) do you have?

I am married to Heather (since 1992). We have four sons: Troye, Hudson, Luke, and Titus.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

During my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, working out, surfing, fishing, and drinking strong black coffee.