Barry Tillman

My search for satisfaction and belonging began at a young age. My earliest memory in this search involved a seemingly innocuous lie about a nonexistent, but very large snake, as I attempted to fit in with some boys on the playground. I was in 2nd grade and remember vividly the conviction that resulted. I knew my lie grieved God, even though such a minor infraction might even elicit a chuckle from some adults. I would learn that God is not pleased with sin, but that he is gracious and merciful to lead me to understanding and repentance. Continued indiscretions brought more convictions until one night in 1976 I accepted Jesus. Though I was only in 5th grade, I knew full well what this meant - I needed the forgiveness that only Jesus could provide. It changed me and I began reading my Bible and seeking to obey what I was reading. While that was the start of my growth in Christ, it was not until later that I began to understand what it meant to be totally surrendered to God. My search for satisfaction continued in my teenage and young adult years. The subjects included career, family, sex, and money. Although I didn’t know it then, I was in the process of learning that these needs are legitimate except I was seeking to meet them independently of God. My career and monetary goals were totally selfish, focusing on my desires. In some cases, I met the goal, but found it empty; in other cases, the goal was frustratingly out of reach. The same with family and sexual desires- my focus was on me. All my pursuits proved unsatisfactory, not because they were wrong desires; what was wrong was my delusion that they could satisfy. It was in this deep dissatisfaction, even reaching a point of despair, that God taught me the truth- that satisfaction is found only in relationship with Jesus. This realization freed me from my selfish pursuits and focused my attention on loving Jesus and service to others. My growing relationship with Jesus brought clarity and truth to my pursuits, put them in proper perspective, and taught me to rely on him for satisfaction. Now I live in freedom from my search, in freedom to rightly pursue the good gifts God has given, but within his created order. Seeking Jesus first gave me the right perspective on everything else. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” I live in love with Jesus because Jesus loved me first. He loved me in spite of my misguided pursuits; he loved me through them and taught me to love others.

My Life

Favorite Quote

Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.

My hobbies

Hunting, fishing, and DIY repairs and projects

My undergrad alma mater

Auburn University

My worst subject in school


In college I drove

Honda Twinstar motorcycle

Favorite movies

Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers

Current Research

The primary goal of my peanut breeding program is to develop and release improved peanut cultivars for the USA peanut industry. Goals of the breeding program include improved disease resistance, pod yield, germination, and kernel grade as well as appropriate seed size. The program works with three of the USDA market types, runner, Virginia, and Valencia with emphasis on the runner types.