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Kevin Taylor, United States of America, Pell City, Alabama – Free Pastoral Online Training

My name is Kevin Taylor and I am a student at CLI receiving free pastoral online training. (Learn more about Studying the Bible, Click Here)

I was born in 1964 in the rural south of the United States of America. Born to a devoted southern Christian family it seemed presumptive that I would follow in a good Christian life and practice. But the truth was that I rebelled constantly against my parents, my elders, my church, and my God. I gave my parents constant troubles, hung out with the “wrong crowd” and turned away from everything I had been taught as a child about God’s love and grace.

As a rebellious teenager I grew to distrust “the church” and the people who led the church. About 1980 or so, a girl from my church, whom I also went to school with, had become a majorette (cheerleader) for the football games at my high school. My church was extremely conservative and they demanded that she cease being a cheerleader “because the skimpy outfit could cause others to lust and be tempted.” Now at the same time, the preacher’s own son was going across the street to an apartment complex to use their swimming pool, deliberately placing himself in an environment where women were wearing much less than a cheerleader even wears! The church eventually forced this girl to stop being a cheerleader. But that experience drastically changed my perception of the church and those who were “in charge” at my church. Ultimately it pushed me away from church for over twenty years! Except for me being a wedding photographer and entering churches for weddings…..I didn’t enter a church for worship until 2005!

Today I am married to a good, godly woman who understands the biblical role a wife is to be to her husband. I have become active in living off the soil and toiling in the flesh by the sweat of my brow as the Bible says we must do. As such I have plans of helping third-world communities develop a sustainable way of feeding themselves physically while also feeding themselves and their neighbors spiritually.

I believe I identify most with the word Pastor. It is a title denoting or pertaining to a person who feels a spiritual responsibility to those around them and desires to be the living example that could bring others to Christ.

My return to Christ happened in 2005 when I attended church for the first time in twenty years. My wife (now deceased from breast cancer) was the kind of gentle, Christian woman who the Bible speaks of. It was by her gentle, loving faith that I eventually DESIRED to again attend church and become the Godly husband and father which I should have been. In 2005 we began attending a small southern Baptist church a couple of miles from our home. It was one of those classic white country churches with the steeple like you would see in romanticized picture images. Having been the constant backslider my whole life I would attend church for a while, then not attend, then begin going back again. But it wasn’t until my wife was very suddenly lost to breast cancer that I had that “come to Jesus” awakening which shook my very soul and opened my awareness! At the hospital, when she went in for something routine and simple and suddenly crashed to the point that the doctor asked me if she had a living will….at that point I knew what I was facing and the ONLY person I sought…. The ONLY comfort I wanted….the ONLY answer I asked for….was FROM GOD! I fell to my knees in the emergency waiting room and began to pray and cry and plead for God to trade my place with my wife’s! To allow her to live and for Him to take me instead! From that moment it was less than twelve hours until she was gone from me and was with God. Having been a firefighter for thirty years I fully understood the stages of grief which everyone goes through. Or at least I thought “everyone” did. Instead of being angry, or negotiating (two of the stages of grief) I had a surreal peace about me. Although I was numb from the loss and completely confused about what to do next or what would happen to me and our son….I was at peace with “where” Lisa now was. Nearly 13 years earlier, GOD had sent an earthly angel to teach me his love and grace. To love me in spite of my many faults. To be patient with me in spite of my temper and stubbornness and outbursts. A week before Lisa passed, if you had asked me how many friends she had I would have had trouble counting up to ten friends. Yet at her funeral people were lined up out the door and the funeral home had to stay open late to allow everyone to pay their respects! She was a constant, living example of God’s love and grace. Her gentle spirit guided me and taught me and delivered me to the feet of God where I realized my true calling is to be a witness for Him.

Some of the unique challenges living in the so-called “Bible belt” is that people are raised knowing “OF” Christ but not truly KNOWING Christ. They think that because they were raised around the church that they have a firm understanding of their salvation and then they go out and sin daily thinking that a quick visit to church once or twice a year (if that often) will save their soul!

After my wife passed away, my son and I moved and set up new roots. We quickly sought out our church home and found a wonderful church that is active and growing. Our church has added twenty percent to our membership each of the past two years and has helped plant over a dozen churches in third world countries throughout the world! Their passion for Christ and love for spreading His Word generously and selflessly has been inspirational to me to pursue my desires to also bring others to Christ!

When my wife passed away suddenly, my son, mother, and a couple of friends were at the hospital. The nurse came to me and said they were performing CPR on my wife and they needed to know what I wanted them to do….to continue CPR or to stop. Lisa had already had three cardiac arrests during the night and suffered a massive stroke. I walked down that long hallway to her intensive care room and when I saw them performing CPR on her I collapsed to the floor! I reached up to grab the sleeve of the doctor and told him “Let her go to God!” After I had composed myself I made the long walk back down that hallway, knowing that now I had the task of telling our twelve-year-old son that his mother was gone. I knelt down in front of him, placed my forehead to his, and told him that Lisa was gone to be with God. We both began to cry heavily, but my twelve-year-old son was the first one to speak…he wrapped his arms around me and said “ it’s okay daddy, she’s with God now.” I looked at him and he smiled at me through his tears! At twelve years old my son had an amazing faith in God! A sudden amazing peace and calmness came over me! Although I was numb from the loss, confused about what happens next….I managed to walk back to the cancer center and asked to speak with the nurses and doctor who had treated Lisa. They were hesitant. I’m sure they thought I might be hostile or violent. But when they let me back to see the nurses I hugged them and thanked them for everything they had done for Lisa. They were crying and hugging me and obviously touched by the outpouring of love I was showing to them immediately after having lost my wife! It was the combination of my wife’s gentle, Christian grace, and the incredible strength and faith of our twelve-year-old son! Over time, it has been the amazing strength of our son who has stood beside me through all of our trials and tribulations. He talks constantly with me about his faith and about prayer and how he can become a better Christian! He is sixteen now and is so opposite of what I was at his age! I can only thank God and Lisa for having pointed him in the right direction and giving him the spiritual faith which he demonstrates so well today!

So my son is a daily example to me of the amazing teaching and example Lisa was to him. I certainly can’t take credit for it. But I can take responsibility for what I am in today and in the future. I can take responsibility for teaching my family about Christ through the Word and by deed. My wife and I have five grandchildren who will need a constant, solid, guiding example in this ever evil world we live in. I believe that a ministry to reach the world…. A ministry to reach the soul….must begin by reaching what is right beside you…. The people and lives and situations which are within your grasp on a daily basis. Those little teachings and examples will resonate throughout the world and will spread God’s word through faith and example of those who have hopefully been touched by me.

I ask that CLI and all of those who are past members, current members, and future members to pray for me to be a blessing on all those I come in contact with. I ask that you pray for my continued growth in the Lord and my continual learning as a child of God! I pray that each and every one of you will be strengthened, enlightened, fed, and fulfilled by His word, His grace, and His abiding love and that you will be successful in your path of righteousness for the Lord! In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

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