Born and raised in a small town (Wellsville, NY), I grew up fixated on sports, fishing, and hunting. At a young age, I set my heart on Jesus as my Lord and Savior. He gripped me to be a light and an example amongst my friends and teammates. However, baseball was mostly the focal point of my life and I was determined to play at the collegiate level and ultimately dreamed of being a professional baseball player. After much prayer, the Lord directed me to Messiah College, a small division III Christian school in central, PA, where I played 4 years of college baseball and received my degree in Sports and Exercise Science.
As I went into my senior year of college, I remember praying, “Lord I want to give you everything.”I’m sure I’d prayed that before, but there was a new urgency. I surrendered to God at a whole new level. Nonetheless, after praying that prayer, it felt as if God had abandoned me and I was all alone. It was as if I had been wearing a pair of sunglasses, masking all of the pain I had hidden inside of me. The Lord began to deal with areas of shame, condemnation, and fear that had stemmed from my childhood. It was there, that I hit rock bottom.
Growing up, I thrived in the affirmation of success that I received through sports, family, and friends. I had never faced any real adversity that hadn’t gone away within a short period of time. After I surrendered to the Lord, He allowed all of my insecurities to come to the forefront to establish my identity in Him, not in what I can do or what people think of me. He answered my prayer of giving Him everything by stripping me of every false comfort that I’d built around myself to feel safe. The Lord began to show me His mercy and love in ways I’ve never seen or experienced. Jesus became more real to me than ever before. Everywhere I went, people would share words that God had placed on their heart for me. It reminded me of how real God is and that He has a plan for my life. I saw two consistent themes in the words people shared. First, God delights in me and is abundantly pleased with me. Secondly, He’s called me to lead worship, write songs, and to declare freedom to the broken. I became confident that the Lord was going to use me to help others get free of brokenness just as Jesus had set me free. The music side was exciting, but foreign to me (I’d never learned how to play an instrument before). I loved to sing worship songs, but I wasn’t a music guy, I was a baseball guy.
After college, my childhood dreams became a reality when I was given the opportunity to play professional baseball. I signed a contract as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays. After completing one season of minor league baseball, I had all intentions of going back to play but God had other plans. I remember the Lord beginning to shift my emotions when it came to baseball. Suddenly for the first time, I questioned whether I wanted to keep playing. I sat with a friend and asked the Lord, “What do You want me to do?”To this day, I can remember it clear as can be. The still small voice of the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart “Give up your dreams, and I’ll give you mine.” I had spent over 15 years dedicating myself to my passion for baseball and had finally stepped into my dream. Could I give up my childhood dreams to follow God’s dreams? I knew this was an invitation from God to trust Him in His leadership over my life and to lay it all down. I didn’t know what it would fully entail, but I knew He was worthy of my trust, so I went for it.
Two weeks before the 2006 spring training camp for the Rays, I called the organization and told them I wasn’t coming back. This was one of the hardest decisions I ever made; yet in retrospect, it is one of the best decisions I ever made. In response, I moved to Kansas City to pursue worship training and attend Bible school at the International House of Prayer. It was there that I found what I was created to do: worship.
While in Kansas City, I met my beautiful wife, Elise, at Bible school and we were married a year and a half later. After completing the two-year program, we went on staff at the International House of Prayer – Kansas City Missions Base serving in a number of different capacities. In 2012, we felt the Lord call us to South Florida to help build night and day prayer in Fort Pierce at the Open Door House of Prayer. We said yes to the invitation from the Lord and haven’t looked back. Now 2 years into our journey here in Florida, the Lord has blessed us with our son (who will be 2 years old this year) and another baby on the way!
I am currently on the Leadership team at the Open Door House of Prayer as a worship leader, teacher, and pastor. In addition, I’m on staff with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) working to serve coaches and athletes. God has given the love of sports back to me, just in a different way, and I wouldn’t trade it for a starting position on any Major League Baseball team. Jesus has revolutionized my vision to follow Him. I went from a broken young man, to a confident lover of God. I long to see salvations, discipleship, worship, and prayer to be expanded in the Treasure Coast, the State of the Florida, our Nation, and ultimately to every tribe and tongue. With the release of my first Album: All Things Beautiful, it’s my hope that each person who hears the songs in this album will see that Jesus is Faithful and Relentless in His pursuit to win our hearts and restore us to Himself; that in response, we would choose to go All In before Him living Face to Face as the Apple of His Eye.