It’s been a while since I said thank you. There are too many people to thank individually. So, this is written to serve as a collective thank you to whoever may read this and has ever supported me and my family, in any way.
My family’s journey into full-time ministry began in 1999. I left my full-time position as a gang investigator with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and assumed the roles as a reserve deputy sheriff and department chaplain. Within a year, I was pastoring a church plant (Pico Community Church) in Valencia, CA.
The church plant experience was a struggle from start to finish, but it was a wonderful time of maturation in my life. I learned how to plant a church and how not to plant a church. I learned how to start a church and how to close the doors of a church. Along the way, I met some very dear people who loved me and my family very deeply. And it was a joy to love them back.
The next stop in our journey was Ten-Four Ministries. From 2002-2007, I focused my ministerial time and energy on reaching the law enforcement community with the gospel. I did this by not only serving as a chaplain for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, but also by traveling throughout the United States and parts of Canada to minister to the law enforcement community in other areas. It was a spiritually rich time of ministry. It was a time filled with ultra-dramatic highs and lows. There was a great ministerial contentment during this time as I sought to serve the sub-culture I love the most–cops.
At the end of 2007, I was called by Ray Comfort and Emeal (“E.Z.”) Zwayne to serve with Living Waters. For the next 4 1/2 years, I was blessed to be part of training some 1,000 people in the area of evangelism and open-air preaching. I worked with a group of men and women who I grew to love very much. I learned so much from magnificent minds like Ray, E.Z., and Mark Spence. As much, if not more than any man, Ray Comfort taught me what true humility, love, generosity, and gospel commitment looked like. To this day, and in many ways, I still aspire to be like him.
In July of 2012, my time with Living Waters drew to a close. Ray and E.Z. had cared for me and my family in such extraordinary ways during my time with Living Waters–none greater than how they lovingly and generously provided for my family as I transitioned from Living Waters to Cross Encounters Ministries.
Since mid-July of 2012, I have tried my best to fill my mornings, days, and nights with the proclamation of the gospel. This gospel work has taken many different forms: open-air preaching, gospel tract distribution, one-to-one conversations, cross-walking, mall evangelism, Project 10-19, working in Starbucks with a sticker on my laptop lid that reads: “Have a seat; let’s talk about God,” podcasts, blogging, book writing, training men to open-air preach, assisting churches with their local evangelism, and being the old guy handing around The Master’s Seminary on Thursdays.
As I read the above paragraph to myself, my chest doesn’t swell with pride. And I’m certainly not looking for an “attaboy.” I’m sitting at a small table in the corner of a local Starbucks, crying–tears of joy, tears of thanksgiving, tears of awestruck wonder, tears of reminiscence, tears of fatigue, and tears of sorrow.
I have learned over the last 17 years of full-time ministry that gospel ministry is costly: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. There have been significant wins and losses in all of the before-mentioned areas.
And I wouldn’t trade any of what I’ve experienced over the last 17 years for anything the world might offer. Those closest to me might think I’m out of my mind for saying that, considering some of my experiences not yet and maybe never to be shared.
Thank You, Lord, for all of it–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thank You, Lord, for giving me eternal life through faith in Your Son, my Lord, Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to serve You, in any way, shape, or form.
As I began this article, so I will say again. After my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there are simply too many people to thank individually. I’ve written articles with more than 11,000 words. If I were to say “thank you” to everyone to whom I owe a debt of thanks, I would crush that word count just by listing the names. So, to be fair I’m not going to mention any names.
On behalf of my entire family, thank you……
…..to those of you who have taken the time to read articles, listen to podcasts, watch videos, and then leave a comment or send an email to tell me you were encouraged. While in the world of YouTube my channel is small, it’s still hard to believe that the more than 500 videos, virtually all gospel-related, have been viewed more than 1.2 million times.
…..to those of you who, over the years, have let me know you are praying for me and my family.
…..to those of you who have sent us gift cards for groceries.
…..to those of you who have provided funds for car repairs, and once provided the extraordinary gift of a vehicle.
…..to those of you who have sent one-time gifts to help us meet daily living expenses.
…..to those of you who have covered travel expenses.
…..to those of you around the world who have allowed me to stay in your homes, as I’ve preached the gospel in your communities. Your love and hospitality has served to grow in me a deeper and more abiding love for the local church.
…..to those of you who have allowed me to play “grandpa” to your little ones. Coming off the field of spiritual battle and being allowed to read to, play with, and hold your children has often been a loving and soothing balm to a weary soul.
…..to those of you who have taken to the streets with me to proclaim the gospel. You long ago taught me that there is no sweeter fellowship than the fellowship of gospel ministry.
…..to those of you who have exercised extraordinary patience with me, especially in those times when my online presence has been less than stellar.
…..to those of you, some for many years, who financially support us every month.
Yes, thank you to all of you–including anyone who has blessed and supported us who may not find themselves in any of the above categories of special people.
Reader: Will You Help Us?
For 13 of the last 17 years, our family has relied on the faithful, loving generosity of the Lord, through the support of His people.
Over the last few months, we have experienced a significant reduction (several hundred dollars) in committed, monthly support. Our financial situation is such that I now find myself putting out public calls for help every couple weeks.
The Lord is faithful. He is always faithful. We have never missed a meal or a mortgage payment. And if the Lord would allow us to go without, He would still be faithful; He would still be good. He would still be sovereign.
Believing this; knowing this is true, I come to you, the reader, and ask if you will help us. Would you please prayerfully consider making a commitment to support my family and the ministry, on a regular, monthly basis?
Your support of any amount will be used by the Lord to meet our monthly living expenses, which include: housing, medical insurance, food, clothing, and the like.
Your support of any amount will also help to buy evangelism equipment, gospel tracts, bibles, and other literature for distribution; bus/subway fares and plane tickets.
Your support of any amount will also help me to continue to minister the gospel in many different ways and in many different places, on a full-time basis.
If the 1,100 people who receive our electronic newsletter gave just $5.00 per month, or if the 8,300 subscribers to my YouTube channel gave just $1.00 per month…..I think you can see the picture.
No gift is too small, whether it’s a one-time or monthly gift. My hope is that many of you will prayerfully decide to support us on a monthly basis. It’s much easier for us to plan life and ministry when giving is consistent.
Whether you decide to financially support my family and the ministry or not, please know that I hope the Lord will allow me to be an encouragement to you for many years to come.
If you would like to partner with Cross Encounters Ministries, you will find all of the necessary information, HERE.