I grew up in Piqua, Ohio, the son of wonderful parents, along with my biological brother Greg and foster brothers Art, Jack, and Jim. As a child, then as a teenager, I never imagined becoming a writer. My focus was on baseball, music, becoming an astronaut, and one particular girl in Junior High. In fact, I struggled in English classes and hated to read books. I was far too active to sit down for any length of time to read or write.
I became a Christian when I was 10 years old, then called to the ministry when I was 14. I attended Asbury College (now University) in Wilmore, Kentucky and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible. During college, my call narrowed to Youth Ministry. I also married that junior high sweetheart: Julie Devers. Following college, I crossed the street and attended Asbury Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Divinity degree with a double major in Christian Education and Pastoral Counseling.
During seminary, I served as the Youth Pastor of Versailles UMC in Versailles, Kentucky. I was privileged to lead (and learn to be a minister) with a great group of youth. We even made a music video!
After seminary, I served 4 years as the Youth and Young Adult Minister of Vineville UMC in Macon, Georgia. What a wonderful time. During my ministry, I took a mission trip to Jamaica, then led a youth mission trip there as well. It was a massive undertaking to lead a week-long Vacation Bible School, plus take all the material we would need. Many of the students in that ministry are still friends. Our son Martin was born in Macon.
Then, we moved back home to Ohio, and I was appointed as the Youth Minister of First UMC in Sidney, Ohio. It was perfect: both our parents were 20 minutes away, and our second son Matthew was born 2 months after we arrived. One of the highlights was the annual 8-day summer youth camp the church led for over 100 students. The church also allowed me to explore the pastoral ministry as well. I have so many fond memories of the youth and adults I met there.
Four years later, I was appointed to be the Senior Pastor of the former Immanuel UMC (now the Hocking Hills UMC) in Logan, Ohio, and I served there 7 years. My first week, I had 4 folks pass away! It was a baptism by fire. It was in Logan that I learned how to be a pastor. Unfortunately, 8 months after we arrived, Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had surgery and chemotherapy, and we thought it was over, but a year later, the cancer was found in her liver. Another round of chemo, plus a bone marrow transplant, only decreased the size of the lesions. After over four years of fighting, she passed away on July 15, 2000. We had been married for over 17 years; Marty was 11, and Matt was almost 9.
A year and a half later, I asked to be appointed to an associate pastor position. I wanted to work on my doctorate, but I was barely making it as a single parent and senior pastor, and I couldn’t add one more thing. As a result, Marty, Matt, and I moved to Anderson Township, outside Cincinnati, Ohio, and I served as the Evangelism and New Member Development Pastor of Anderson Hills UMC. It was an incredible opportunity to serve with wonderful people who loved Jesus and wanted to reach out to the community.
While there, I met Myra Rahe through Match.com. We knew by the second date that we would be married, which occurred on June 4, 2005. The family was now four boys. In fact, her oldest Kevin and my youngest Matt were born on the same exact day 5 hours and 70 miles apart. There is also Greggie, who is severely autistic, profoundly delayed, and who lives in a supportive living home in Indiana.
In 2007, I was called to serve as the Senior Pastor of St. Marks UMC in Fairfield, Ohio. It was there we bought our first home.
Then in July, 2011, I came to Germantown UMC in Germantown, Ohio, where I get to share my gifts of leadership, preaching, and teaching in helping the church serve God’s purpose in our community and the world. We absolutely love Germantown and the wonderful people here. We feel truly blessed and hope to stay until I retire.
Myra and I are both very involved in the Mountaineer Christian Ashram, a Christian renewal ministry started by Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones. I serve as the Director, while Myra serves as the registrar.
We are also involved in the Greater Dayton Emmaus Community, another spiritual renewal ministry of the Upper Room in Nashville, Tennessee. I serve as a Community Spiritual Director, and she has worked her way up to being a Lay Director.
Speaking of Myra, she is originally from Selma, Indiana, and is a graduate of Ball State University. She is a Children’s Services Caseworker with Montgomery County Children Services. She teaches Women’s Bible Studies at the church and tries to keep me in line. She’s a big online shopper, much to my chagrin. She is my biggest cheerleader, and I couldn’t do all that I do without her.
In 2001, I got my Private Pilot’s License – a life-long dream – and began flying Cessnas and Pipers. In 2013, I joined Dayton Pilots’ Club and now serve on its Board of Trustees as Treasurer. I have a little over 400 hours now; even Myra has over 100. Together, we’ve flown to Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. We love to go on $100 Hamburger trips.
My passion is helping people grow in the relationship with God, and reaching out to people who are far from Him. My favorite passage of Scripture is Joshua 24:15 “But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”
My Writing Journey
This writing thing began quite unexpectantly from a sermon series. A couple of guys from the church kept asking, “Where are you getting this stuff?” I’m sure they were surprised by the quality and thought Rick Warren or someone like that was my ghost writer. When I denied any influence other than the Holy Spirit, they said, “Well, then, you ought to write a book.”
A few weeks later, I opened that first Word document and started writing. Over the next ten years, I wrote in little spurts with Max the Pug faithfully by my side. But without a clear path to publishing, it felt more like an exercise in self-gratification than anything else. There’s a book in everyone… right?
Then COVID-19 hit. When we were shut down, we all had a great deal of time on our hands. I got tired of playing Solitaire all day, so with the Kindle App on my i-Pad (set to a black background to eliminate seeing the floaters in my eyes), I started reading. I came across Diane Moody’s “The War Trilogy.” I also read “Looking Toward Eden“, a political thriller by Terry Pellman, a member of one of my former churches. After emails with Diane and a phone conversation with Terry, I was able to visualize a pathway towards publishing through Amazon’s KDP. I quickly picked up the pace and finished my first book, “Hanging On In An Upside Down World.”
Since then, the words and the ideas continue to flow: at my computer, in the car, in my dreams, and even in the shower! I have a goal of writing 500 words a day (hey, it was good enough for Mark Twain!) Here is what I have published thus far. I thank God for His inspiration and this new opportunity.