Doug's Spiritual Background
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Doug's Spiritual Background

In this corner, I describe in detail my spiritual journey.  The following table briefly outlines the three main denominations that I have attended.  I thank the Lord for all the experiences and growth that I have had in each of these church groups.


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Church Denomination Years attended Significant spiritual events
Lutheran Church (ELCA) 1966 - 1984 Received Christ on 6/3/80
Non-Denominational Charismatic Church 1984 - 1993 Baptized in water and (later) in the Holy Spirit
Assemblies of God Church 1993 - present Student at Bible Universities

Having grown up in the Lutheran Church (ELCA), I went through 2 years of confirmation classes that helped establish within me an intellectual foundation for Biblical principles and Christianity.  At the end of the first year,  I personally received Christ as Savior by faith at the age of 13 and thus entered into a personal relationship with God on June 3, 1980.  With God's help I excelled in my academic pursuits in High School.  You may visit Doug's Lutheran Church page for more background information.

As a freshman attending the University of South Florida, I became involved with a dynamic non-denominational Charismatic church (Maranatha Campus Ministries) where I was baptized in water (by immersion) and later baptized in the Holy Spirit (as evidenced by speaking in tongues).  During my college years I grew exponentially in the Lord as I dedicated one hour a day in prayer (normally in the morning) and at least one hour a day reading and studying the Bible.  Everyday from April 8, 1985 to February 8, 1987, I typed in my diary events that transpired as well as my thoughts and feelings as I grew in my relationship with God and His Word.  With God's help, each week I would lead a Bible study for groups of college students in my dormitory or in a church setting. The Lord also empowered me to witness (and be a witness) and lead dozens of people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. I enjoyed seeing souls saved!  I loved learning about God through the Bible and sharing what I have learned and experienced. I enjoyed systematically studying topics in various workbooks.

With zeal to serve God and the church, I desired to further my spiritual growth by working towards “Christian Worker Status” within Maranatha Campus Ministries. I already enjoyed studying and learning in a disciplined way, and now I could get credit for some focused studies. Although I was not intending to become a “full-time” pastor or Christian Worker, I was interested in enhancing my knowledge and spiritual life to be more effective in my witness and service for God and to be recognized as having attained a certain level of spiritual proficiency.  

Christian Worker Status required one to write a short essay summarizing some audio-tapes of prominent preachers and the topics within Bob Weiner’s workbooks, Bible Studies for a Firm Foundation and Bible Studies on the Overcoming Life. I was in no rush, so I slowly and thoroughly studied, learned, and wrote on these topics from 1986 till 1989. Since the Maranatha denomination (founded by Bob Weiner) dissolved in late 1989, with each church becoming autonomous and self-governing, Christian Worker Status was no longer an entity to be obtained. Yet, the spiritual growth that came from this work has been immeasurable and self-rewarding!

After graduating from USF with an Engineering degree in Computer Science in 1989, I worked for NCNB (now known as Bank of America) in their computer department. Everyday as I drove to work, I would pass by a Christian book store, Tampa Christian Supply, on Hillsborough Avenue. As I entered the store, I was amazed at all the good-quality Christian books, especially the books on Theology. Although I had studied the Bible and memorized Scripture and learned and taught from our church workbooks, a whole new world of Christian scholarship opened up to me. I was looking for a good book that would "piece together" the many Scriptures and teachings that I had learned and to  challenge my thinking with various perspectives on the Scriptures. I noticed a Theology book that was newly released called, The Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns. It was amazing! This one book covered Biblical Theology, Systematic Theology, Historical Theology, Dogmatic Theology, and Contemporary Theology. I was hungry for the Word and to read and study it on another level. Over the next month, I had devoured the book and underlined and highlighted every word and sentence that intrigued me in some way. I grew so much from the Biblical truths that this book presented. Excitedly, I bought several copies for some pastors that I knew. Since then, I have bought and read many other theology books from various persuasions. Having worked at NCNB for the next two years (prior to joining GTE), I would visit the bookstore every night after work and often buy one or more scholarly books on each visit. The manager looked forward to seeing me ($$) and would advise me on some books. My library grew from approximately a dozen Christian books to several hundred Christian books during those two years. (As of today, my library is packed with a couple thousand good quality books, most of which are Christian while the rest deal with Computers and Math and other interests.)

A year later in 1992, (three years after graduation), I found out about an excellent opportunity to gain a college Bible degree without having to go to classes on a campus. This was very advantageous now that I was working full time as a computer programmer for GTE, now Verizon.  I was excited about the opportunity to systematically learn the Bible and gain college credit at the same time (and be rewarded with good grades on my transcript for the hard work).  Not that I was preparing for a full-time ministry position, but I was desiring to be further equipped with Biblical knowledge and experiences that would enable me to be a more effective minister in my teaching, preaching, and witnessing. 

Taking wonderful college-level Bible classes was a new experience for me!  It was great!  I met several of the college professors when I visited Southeastern University, in Lakeland, Florida.  They became my role models in the sense that they were very well educated (especially in Biblical matters) and had a love and devotion for the Lord.  Each class had tests and many required an essay.  For each essay, I went beyond the "call of duty."  I read and quoted from more sources than what was required and I definitely spent more time on the papers than what was expected.  Since the college was affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination, I studied their doctrinal statements and position papers. I noticed that they upheld the integrity of God's Word and placed a great emphasis upon studying it and living it.  I soon realized that my beliefs most closely resembled their beliefs--more than any other church group.   This was one of the main reasons that I felt led of the Lord to transition into the AG church.

I enjoyed taking courses at my own pace through the Distance Education program at Southeastern University from 1992 - 1996.  Unfortunately, Southeastern University had to dissolve its Distance Education program and thus transfer its students elsewhere.  Desiring to stay with the Assemblies of God and an accredited university, I was transferred to the Carlson Institute for Church Leadership at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Likewise, there were tests that needed to be proctored and 5+ page essays that needed to be completed for each class.  The essays have helped me grow spiritually and grapple with important theological and practical topics.

You may view any of my essays by
visiting my Theology Corner page

or you may listen to some of my sermons by
visiting my Audio Sermons Library page

Building upon the knowledge and impartation that I had received from my many classes, I had been asked to serve at VLC as a teacher for the New Believer's Sunday school class. Marsha and I served is this way from March of 2004 to March 2006, after which we were asked to teach the large and dynamic Singles class, which we did until the beginning of 2008.

Additionally, the director of One Accord School of Ministry, Pastor Sonny Hennessy, asked if I would teach college-level Bible classes to their interns in 2004, 2005, and 2006. It was a pleasure to serve them and the Lord in this way prior to them and their school moving to Texas. I met many wonderful interns. You may view my "Teaching in One Accord School of Ministry" page. As of the Fall of 2008, I have been teaching "Berean" Bible classes through Generate School of Ministry, under the leadership of Pastor Priscilla Boore, held on the VLC campus.

Having graduated from NCU with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies (concentration in Theology/Bible) in May, 2007, Summa Cum Laude.  Currently, I am more than half way through the graduate program at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (maintaining a 4.0 GPA), working towards a Masters degree in Theology/Bible. I desire to be equipped to better equip others for the work of the ministry, plus I am personally edified by each and every class that I take.


Page was last updated on September 07, 2015

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