I grew up here at Fellowship Bible Church as the son of one of the founding pastors of the church, Bill Parkinson, and my mom, Ann. And like a lot of churched kids, I confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior at a fairly young age of six-years-old. But that was just the beginning of His journey in my life to continually grow me in His grace over the years after that moment.
When I look back on my childhood, teenage years and college, I can’t deny that there were Holy Spirit led moments and decisions that I made that affirmed His presence in my life. I can say with confidence that I was indeed a Spirit-filled Christian. But there were also so many selfish decisions based on idols I was worshipping above the only One who is worthy of our worship, that at times I would wonder. How could I have the Spirit in me and think “that” or do “that?”
That’s why it was such a grace to me in 1995 when God opened my eyes to the overwhelming majesty of His holiness and my sinfulness in such a way that I was truly in “awe” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, it was so overwhelming, I wondered for a while if that was my true conversion. I felt a desperation for God’s Kingdom to be real in me and on the earth that seemed different than anything I had felt before that. My will was surrendered to His will in a way that felt different. What was that? I believe now that God’s grace was “reckoned to me as righteousness” at age six, just like God reckoned Abraham’s faith as righteousness in Genesis 15. And that what happened at twenty-three was the kind of moment that God gave Abraham on the mountain in Genesis 22. It was my “willingness to sacrifice everything for Him” moment. It was my “Isaac” moment.
But God didn’t end my journey of growing in His grace there. God has had my wife, Aimee, and I on an amazing unfolding of His grace to us for years now. From the birth of our three daughters, Abigail, Anna, and Allie to following His leading to pursue my Masters of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From planting and co-leading a multi-cultural church in Memphis, TN for 9 years to returning home to partner with incredible teammates here at my childhood home and church.
In all of it, He has worked everything together for our good and His glory, and by His grace, that will be the song of our lives until we see Him face to face.
That we see God do very supernatural things in our midst to glorify His Gospel of grace in very natural ways. That as we follow His footsteps to spend our lives the way He did, making disciples of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, we will experience an intimacy with Him that will prove to be abundant life indeed. And that following Him in this cursed and broken world will produce enough tension in all of us as “first fruits” of the Kingdom to come that we will truly be able to say, “to live is Christ and to die is gain. Come, Lord Jesus, come.”