I was born in Natchez, Mississippi in 1957. The space race began that year when Russia launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik. The U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, a World War II military hero, called on Americans to rise to the challenge, including providing better science and math education in schools.
My parents are both Christians. They were children of the Great Depression. Mom and Dad were models of hard work, perseverance, integrity, and fierce loyalty to family. During my grade school years, I regularly attended Sunday School and worship services at church. I learned much about the Bible that would provide me with a foundation for later life.
As a young boy, I came to believe that God loved me and that Jesus's death on the cross made possible God's forgiveness of my sins. At age nine, I made a public profession of faith at Lakeshore Baptist Church in Monroe, Louisiana, One sharp memory of that day was my father telling me that angels in heaven rejoiced over my decision. My dad helped me realize how important each person is to God, no matter how big or small in the world's eyes.
At college, I met the love of my life, Mary Katherine Taken. She was a Yankee, born and reared in the Chicago area. I was as deep-South as a person can be, growing up in two states, Mississippi and Louisiana. Despite a few cultural differences, we discovered we shared the same deep convictions about God, family, and life.
We dated four years and married in 1979 immediately after graduation. One thing about my wedding day remains crystal clear in my memory. Kathy looked like an angel. In all the days since, she has been my belle amie, best friend, scholarly collaborator, and firmly committed to the Lord.
Following our marriage, we both worked on doctorates at Louisiana Tech University, hers in marketing and mine in accounting. We began a journey of significant spiritual growth. During the dissertation stage of our doctoral programs, we were challenged academically and spiritually as never before.
After reaching the point of despair, when I finally put my career goals in God's hands, I discovered my heart was at peace whether I attained my doctorate or not. At this point, things suddenly began to come together and I made steady progress toward my degree. I defended my dissertation, the last step of the doctoral program, just three days after our first child was born.
Kathy later attained her doctorate. She resigned her faculty position so that she could be a stay-home mom and devote her time to the care of our family, which included three children. I am convinced that God richly blessed both my family and career as a result of that decision.
In the fall 2017 I became a Professor of Accounting at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Previously, I taught at Murray State University, Texas A&M University-College Station, Ole Miss, and Louisiana Tech University. In addition, I have worked as a faculty resident in auditing at an international accounting firm. In my academic career, I’ve noticed that, due to ‘publish or perish’ pressures, faculty members, including me, can sometimes lose sight of what’s really important in life. I have come to realize that life only has meaning when God is leading, not when I am trying to live in my own strength. I have learned that God knows my needs and promises to provide for them.
When I was a boy, growing up in Clinton, Mississippi, my friends and I started the hobby of coin-collecting. We loved searching for old and rare coins. On each and every American coin there is a date, a date that represents the number of years since God became man, an event celebrated at every Christmas. My prayer today is that everyone would look at a coin and note the date, and that they would consider putting their faith in the One who changed the calendar. History leads up to His birth, life, death, and resurrection; now we are counting the years until His return. What we do until then or until our death, whichever comes first, will reverberate throughout eternity.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, 'Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.' I have had my share of worldly achievements, but I have learned that only God can truly satisfy the soul. I am grateful for the people that God has put in my life: my wife, other Christian professors, family and friends. They have helped sustain me when the going was tough.
I am thankful for a loving God who is there for me in good times and bad. He is a God who loves me on a personal level and who is interested in my daily life. A Bible verse that has been especially meaningful to me over the years is 2nd Chronicles 16:9a, 'For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.' Another is 1st Samuel 2:30b, 'Those who honor Me I will honor.'
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