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I was born into a Christian family and I’ve been in church as long as I can remember. I accepted Christ around the age of 8 years old at a small church in LaFollette, TN. After that I honestly didn’t care about God at all. I cared only about earthly things that don’t really matter. My biggest idol that I worshipped became football. My life became devoted to being the best quarterback I could possibly be. I wanted to be like Tom Brady and I couldn’t have cared less about being like Jesus Christ.
In high school I thought I was fine. I was avoiding most of the things that a lot of high school students fall into (drugs, alcohol, etc.) and I was in church every Wednesday and Sunday. I even wore “Phil. 4:13″ on my quarterback towel during games. I thought this was enough because I was happy. I thought I had it all together yet I opened my Bible outside of church maybe 5 times during my entire high school career and my prayer life wasn’t much better.
I accepted a football scholarship to play at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, KY. It seemed like the ideal situation for me and everything was aligning perfectly. I had achieved my lifelong dream of earning a college scholarship. In October of 2011 everything I had worked for ended in the blink of an eye. I suffered a horrible injury to my throwing shoulder in a Junior Varsity game. Doctors told me they were unsure if I’d ever be able to play again. This thing that I had worshipped for 15 years of my life was now gone in the blink of an eye. After this many other things in my life began to fall apart. Everything was piling on top of me all at once. I had loved my life but now I was experiencing some suffering and I was blaming God for it.
After awhile of feeling sorry for myself I decided to open up my Bible and see if maybe there was anything in there that would help. I remember texting my friend and saying “What book of the Bible is best to read when you’re really depressed?” I don’t remember what he said but I just started reading. I was looking for anything to bring me comfort and I started praying non stop just because I wanted someone to talk to. One day during my reading I stumbled upon this passage.
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
(Luke 14:25-27 ESV)
I had been in church my whole life and had never heard this before. Why was Jesus saying this? Do we really have to hate our lives to follow him? I thought he wanted people to follow him but this doesn’t seem like a great way to accomplish that. As confused as I was by the passage at first eventually it sunk in. This is the opposite of how I had been living. Jesus is telling us in this passage that we must love him so much that everything else we love seems like hate in comparison. I was loving earthly things so much that my love for Jesus looked like hate in comparison. By taking away the earthly things that I was placing above him He revealed to me that He is the only thing that truly matters in this life.I realized that my purpose in life was to bring glory to God. At that moment I realized that I wanted my life to be radically devoted to Christ and spreading his glory. I didn’t want to be lukewarm anymore. It was time for a change…
Now I’m back home living in Knoxville, TN while I figure out what God has planned for me next. I’m currently working to complete Liberty University’s online program getting my degree in Religion. I feel called to work in full time ministry and I am currently working as a Student Ministries Intern at West Park Baptist Church in Knoxville. I am also serving as the quarterbacks coach for the Hardin Valley Academy football team. I lead a weekly Bible study for the players on the team who want to attend and we average around 20 guys a week.
God has already taught me so much during my first two years of college so when Chandler came to me with the idea to start College On The Cornerstone I immediately jumped on board. To steal a line from Taylor Swift’s song “22,” college is a time we often feel “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time”. Following Christ can be a struggle when everyone around you is doing the opposite. We want to let you know that there are other college students who are also following Him everyday and that you are not alone.