Howie L.

Howie L.

from KS
Story #551
I was born and raised in Kansas City. My parents were divorced when I was about 5 years old. My dad was re-married and with that brought 2 step sisters. My mom also re-married a few times and had 2 other daughters. So, I was the only boy with 4 girls!!! Growing up we did not go to church, we did not pray at meals, and there was never any discussion about God. I had no idea that my life was really a mess. My parents had joint custody and I would be with my mom on Mondays, Wednesdays, and every other weekend. I was with my dad on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other weekend. I basically lived out of a backpack, moving daily. The two homes were vastly different. At my mom’s we struggled to have the bare necessities to live, constantly moving, and it was normal to see drugs, alcohol, and different men, while my dad worked at 2 jobs to provide well for the family. One thing I would say about both homes was that I learned a lot of life lessons along the way. My mom showed me that no matter what you were going through or what you didn’t have, family was important. My dad taught me a very strong work ethic and to love. To this day we do not hang up the phone or leave each other without saying I love you.

I pushed myself extremely hard through school and with sports. I graduated from Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995 and excelled in wrestling and football (even coaching the high school wrestling team from 1997-2007) But no matter how hard I worked or what I was able to achieve, I felt emptiness. I met a girl named Jennifer in high school in 1995 and in 1999 we were married. We had a son, Colyn in 2000 and a daughter, Julianna in 2002. I had a good job and we were able to purchase a home, buy new cars, and go on trips. But even with all these amazing things happening in my life, I still felt empty. Then in November of 2007, I felt as empty as ever when Jennifer came to see me at my job and told me that she had “fallen in love with another woman and was leaving.” I poured my life into my job and kids over the next couple years, yet still feeling empty.

Then in 2010, something wonderful began to happen. A family who had 2 daughters that were the same age as my kids began to invite my daughter to stay the night on Saturdays and they would take her to church with them on Sunday. The week of Easter, they simply asked if my son and I would like to join them and we did. We started attending that church every Sunday and God began to stir my heart and fill that void that I had been experiencing my entire life. Eventually a friend invited me to her church and I decided that I would go with her. After the 2nd Sunday I was there, the pastor asked me a life changing question. He said, “Howie, are you here because you want to date a girl who is a Christian to fill a temporary emptiness, or are you seeking a relationship with the One who can fill every emptiness that you have ever had?” And he shared with me that by admitting that on my own I could never earn my way into God’s favor and that God loved me and had a plan for my life. That His Son had to die for my sins so that I could be made new and be filled with LIFE!!! At that moment, I knew that I had to yield my life to Him and submit to Him.

Shortly after that I began helping with the children and teens at the church and within a year I was leading the youth group. Then in 2014, God clearly showed me that my life and ministry would be devoted to Him and He called me to be the youth pastor at FBC Basehor. I struggled to understand why me. I had a great job that I had been at for 17 years and I was making over $80,000 per year. I had good hours and vacation that allowed me to be highly involved with the teens and families in our church. But God was more concerned with my obedience than with me trying to do it my way. The message that morning was from Matthew 4:18 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." God was clearly telling me that what I was doing was good and beneficial, but not what He had planned for my life. So, I gave a 6 week notice at my job and out of obedience I have been serving Him as the youth pastor at FBC Basehor for the past 4 years.

I married that friend, Ruth Lucas on October 22, 2011. We have five amazing children (Chellcy, Cari, Cole, Colyn, and Julianna), and they have all come to saving faith in Jesus Christ and are truly a blessing in our lives. God has given me what I do not deserve, here on earth and for eternity!!
John 3:30 HE > i

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