We're Going to Seminary
(Greg is attending classes, and Briana is editing his papers)
(Greg is attending classes, and Briana is editing his papers)
Dear Family and Friends,
It is with heavy hearts that we announce our family’s departure from Southern California, the home of Briana and me for twenty-six years.
It’s hard to believe that this day has come.
The reasons our family is embarking on this seminarian adventure are twofold: an internal and external drive for ministry.
When I say “internal drive,” I’m talking about my God-given passion, energy, and love for ministry. I greatly delight in studying, teaching, and preaching the Bible, the Word of God. Moreover, my deepest desire is to see this generation know, love, and serve Christ. I’m entirely sold that the gospel is the greatest need of mankind. This conviction most prominently manifests itself through the ministry of Anchored North, an organization founded with the vision to reach millions online with authentic stories of Christ’s redemption.
In the context of my local church, I have also experienced an external drive: pastoral acknowledgements of God-given spiritual gifts for evangelism, missions, and leadership in the church. After just completing a three-year Spiritual Leadership Program at Kindred Community Church, my pastors are in agreement that the time has come for me to pursue further theological education.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, Kentucky, is the seminary I have chosen to study at for the next few years for three reasons.
The first is because the institution’s president, Dr. Albert Mohler, has been a great encouragement to me and my love of Christ. He is an outstanding Christian witness, and we share common interests to understand theology, live missionally, and engage the culture with a biblical worldview. I hope we can become best friends.
Another reason I’ve chosen SBTS is because of their excellent lineup of professors, pastors, scholars, and missionaries who love Christ and have committed their lives to making Him known. I am hungry to learn from them as I pursue a Master of Divinity in Evangelism and Missions.
My final reason for choosing SBTS is because of its association with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), one of the largest missions organizations in the world. I am very interested to explore what a partnership between the SBC and Anchored North could look like to vastly multiply the advancement of the gospel through media, technology, and stories of Christ’s redemption.
Our church and our families rejoice with us at this opportunity for us to grow in our love for Christ and become further equipped to make Him known.
There are many painful memories I have that bring me to tears of both sorrow and joy, and they remind me of Christ’s redeeming love and my desperate need for Him.
I was a man enslaved to anger, hatred, and suicidal thoughts. I have caused immense pain and suffering for others by lashing out at them, manipulating them, and abusing them emotionally.
The woman I started dating during my junior year of high school was the victim of my explosive rage. It started out unassuming, and over three years it intensified to never-ending episodes of insults, personal attacks, and emotional games.
Desperate for change, and having just moved to a new church, she gave me an ultimatum: Either you come with me to church or we break up. I agreed to go, and on August 5, 2012, I walked into Kindred Community Church in Anaheim Hills for the first time.
However, months later my anger still hadn’t departed, so she did. It was over.
But rather than leaving the church that I had never wanted to attend in the first place, something started to happen: I began feeling a sweeping sense of my wickedness and depravity. I was so empty and ashamed of myself that I couldn’t get out of bed without reading the Bible. My hard heart was breaking, and I kept going to church by myself, despite the awkwardness and pain of seeing her and her family who were still attending. God’s Word was the only place I found hope.
Alone in my room a few months later, I was deleting pictures of the ceased relationship when I came across a video that she made in which she was so excited and full of joy. Immediately, I flashed back to the night she broke up with me; I had been yelling in a fit of rage up until the point that she screamed, “I feel broken.” These many months later, I finally understood how damaging my life had been, and I broke down crying.
In that moment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that heaven was real and that hell was real. Not only was hell real, but I knew I deserved to go there. Not only did I deserve to go there, but I would send myself there. It was like a villain had stepped out of a book he was in, read the book, and realized that he indeed was the villain.
By the grace of God, it didn’t end there. In that afternoon’s moment, everything changed. My eyes were opened to recognize Christ’s righteousness and His standard of complete goodness according to the Bible. My vicious heart was exposed before me, and I cried out for His forgiveness.
As an arrogant, verbally abusive man, I never knew an ounce of guilt or sorrow. But under the conviction of God’s Word, guilt and sorrow was all I knew.
For the next few hours, every sentence in the human language disappeared except these three: “I’m so sorry for my destruction, God. You have to change my heart. I’m not leaving here until you do.”
As streams of water poured from my eyes, living water filled my soul.
Now one simple truth defines me: Jesus Christ lived, died, and resurrected to take the penalty for my sins.
Since this day, I have never been the same.
It is with tears of joy falling down my face that I testify that this same church I walked into unwillingly six years ago is the same church that is sending me to seminary.
In case you were wondering if miracles still happen today, I want to provide you with undeniable proof of God’s greatness: a beautiful woman who loves Christ decided to marry me AND travel across the country with me to seminary.
I first met Briana at a young adults church group. At that moment, time stopped, the heavens rejoiced, and the grass became greener throughout all four corners of the earth.
From that encounter onward, we grew increasingly in our love for Christ and our love for one another.
On August 5, 2018, the Lord united us in marriage, I call August 5th “The Day of Brides” because it’s the day I was introduced to the Bride of Christ (visiting Kindred Community Church for the first time six years prior) and the day when I married my beautiful bride, Briana.
Words cannot express how thankful I am to God for bringing Briana into my life. She is quick-witted, intelligent, and thoughtful. Additionally, she is kind, compassionate, and loyal. Most importantly, she loves Jesus with her whole heart, and she is passionate about glorifying Him in everything she does.
What really drew me to Briana was her devotion to Jesus, her gentle spirit, and her willful mind. She holds to her convictions and anchors herself to obeying the Lord at all costs. To be honest, she convicts and inspires me greatly.
After almost one year of marriage, I can further testify beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has made us for one another.
I am so privileged to be one with her in our mission to glorify God in our home, in our church, and in the pursuit of a seminary education.
She encourages me in prayer. She encourages me in character. She encourages me in faith. She encourages me in spelling and grammar. (She now edits all of my writing, and I never knew how much I needed it. I’ve learned that I’m practically illiterate!)
Briana and I not only made vows to reflect Christ to one another; we made vows to reflect Christ to this lost and dying world. She truly is God’s provided companion in serving with me to reach this generation with the gospel. With her by my side, I know that God is going to use our lives for His glory.
As we head off to the land filled with greenery and fried chicken, here are some things we would love prayer for:
Thank you for supporting us in this journey.
(all donations are tax-deductible)