I remember my Grandma, Reba Mae, always asking us if we brought our good clothes. We figured out as kids that “forgetting” to bring Church clothes meant we could stay at the farm and have fun and not go with Grandma to Church. I also remember her asking me if I could play in her little church band. I always found a reason not to and I never did. She wanted us to know and love the Lord with all of her heart.
In my early adulthood, I was a waiter. Every Tuesday, a family, that looked a little out of place, would come in and order the cheap soup and salad meal. Nobody wanted to wait on them because of the “Bible thumping” that you would have to endure, only to find little to no tip money at the end. Grandma did say to be careful how you treat a stranger because it may just be the Lord walking around to see how we act. So, I took the table every Tuesday. The man talked to me about Jesus and Salvation. I told him I believed and was already saved. He asked me where I saw myself in the Kingdom Of God. I assumed that he meant the second coming and told him that I wanted to have Jesus’s back, fighting right alongside him with a sword. He looked through me and told me that he had seen me, and that I would be a Warrior. I never saw him again after that.
Alcohol has taken the best away from many in my family. I would work during the day and numb myself at night. I lived life in spurts of happiness and depression. I drank a lot of beer. I would sit in the evenings, and knock down an average of 18 beers, every night. That was during the week. The weekends saw me kill 30 Saturday, and 30 Sunday. This was life for over 10 years.
Now we come to Easter of 2014. My precious daughter Angela asked me if we could go to Church for Easter like a normal family. I could almost hear my Grandmother say “If you don’t take that kid to Church you are the lowest of the low.” Led by a loving Grandmother, and my first born child, I said yes.
We came to Elevate Life Church for that Easter. I was skeptical of big Churches as we walked around outside on Saturday, but Sunday was coming. We came in and experienced the SEE production. During the service, I looked at my wife and told her I was home. It was then that I looked around and noticed these black Warrior t-shirts that men were wearing. I then thought back to the restaurant and remembered the man telling me that he had seen my place in the kingdom and that I would be a Warrior. When it came time to make a new decision for Jesus, I did not raise my hand because I was embarrassed and ashamed. Again, my daughter stepped in and said, “DADDY…” So I raised my hand.
I began to attend ELC and became a member. During the Game Changers series, I really let Pastor Keith’s message sink in deep. I knew that part of my one percent is musical ability. I had not finished college at the time and I decided I was elevating my life and getting a degree in Music.
To do this, I knew that I would not be able to just go to work, come home, and kill off failure pains with beer. Drinking had been a big part of my life for almost 20 years. I asked God to help me and take it away so I could be what he wanted me to be. I was not strong enough by myself. The Lord worked that miracle. I came home from a one week trip and did not even think to stop by the store to buy beer. The chain that was holding me was simply gone. I began college shortly thereafter.
Making the Lord the main thing and honoring him has been life changing. I am so grateful to Pastors Keith and Sheila for honoring God, and having the vision to create a Church like Elevate Life Church. I am so grateful to all of our Pastors and Servant Leaders for living for Jesus. I am so grateful that I am allowed to serve God’s House. I am so grateful for Grandma Reba and for Angela Breana Borden.
Servant Leadership has been vital to making me the better me, becoming the best me.
So much has changed since that Easter Sunday. My beautiful wife, Ana, and I have seen our 20th wedding anniversary while almost everyone in our lives divorced. We opened our own business called tidy maids of Frisco. We have 12 employees and are still seeding and growing. Our lovely daughters Angela and Veronica work with us and help with it. I will soon launch my own production company, Exit 146 productions. I will find a way to write, compose, perform, and use the musical gifting the Lord gave me for HIS glory.
I graduate this fall, with my Bachelors of Science in Music. I am continuing on to Liberty University where I will earn a Master’s Degree in Music and Worship.
Thank you God, Thank you Jesus, and Thank you Holy Spirit. Thank you Pastors Keith and Sheila Craft. Thank you to all of our Pastors and Leaders. Thank you to my Angela Breana. Thank you to all the Servant Leader teams that have allowed me to serve. From helping put out the web stream to running a camera, it is an honor.
Oh, and Grandma Reba… thank you for loving Jesus and loving me. By the way, I am finally playing guitar in a “little church band” at Elevate Life Church.