I grew up in a home where my grandmother instilled an example of a very godly Christian to me. She would sing hymns, read her Bible and lead us in prayer every night before bedtime; she would pray for each member of her family to live for the Lord. When I was 12 years old, I went forward in a church and said the sinner’s prayer, mainly out of fear of going to hell for eternity. For the next 20 years, I spent my life wanting to live for Christ, but powerless to live for Him. I thought I knew a lot about the Bible, but in fact I knew very little about what scripture says about salvation.
That prayer I said at 12 years old was not magical—just say some words and you will be saved. I lived during this time thinking I was a horrible Christian. I was living for myself, doing what I wanted and feeling a tremendous burden of guilt and sin. I constantly ran from the Lord, but I could never get away from the prayers that my grandmother had prayed and the example of her close relationship with the Lord.
I was married and had two little girls and a new baby son. We had just bought a house near Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church. At the same time, I was concerned about my kids learning about the Lord, so I sent them to Carlisle Ave. Baptist Church on the church van (George Sanders drove the van at that time). I had been invited several times to attend Carlisle by a new neighbor who went there and by my wife’s uncle who went there; however, I would not go. As I sent my two girls there, they came home always excited about church. We had several people visit us at our home and invite us to come and visit. My neighbor finally got me to go with him to play basketball at Carlisle one night.
My wife (Lisa) and I started to go every Sunday. After about a year and a half later, I was out in my front yard one day and I just told God that I couldn’t live for Him, that I had tried and just messed it up. I told God that I couldn’t do it, that He would have to do it for me and I committed to allow Him to do that for me. From that time on, my life was changed. It was like God said, Louie, I have been waiting all this time for you to let me do this for you…and He did! I started serving in any capacity that was needed—Sunday school teacher, youth leader, gym- recreation leader, deacon, trustee—whatever was needed, I trusted the Lord to equip me. I had always felt the call to be a pastor, but had run from it as a young man. At Carlisle, the Lord has given me the opportunity to serve in so many capacities and learn to trust in Him and use the gifts He has given me by serving as a lay Pastor.
My family has gone to church at Carlisle for almost 20 years now. My wife Lisa, my son Josh, my two daughters Miranda and Christian, my son in law Brian and my three grandchildren –Bryce, Taylor and Logan. During this time God has used our faith family at Carlisle to teach us how to live for Him and how to serve Him, in His power not our own.
My hope for Carlisle:
Is to see men and women and boys and girls to come to know that God loves them and that they can have a “faith family” at Carlisle that will love them, serve them and help them to grow in their walk with the Lord.