My life has been marked by five important milestones so far. The first happened on May 24, 1987. It was the day that I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with amazing Christian father and mother. I was baptized by my dad, also a minister, a few Sunday’s after that evening at Spring Baptist Church. I had the awesome privilege to serve along side my dad on staff at Spring Baptist and I was also married there. You can read more about my personal testimony in this post. Two of my very best friends are my sister and her husband.
The second milestone was when God called me into full time Christian ministry in September 1998, my freshman year in college. Since then, I have done my best to pursue His will and direction in my life. I have served in local Southern Baptist churches as a youth minister, college minister, campus worship leader, college minister, media minister, and now the pastor of First Baptist Church of Arnett, Oklahoma. I am thankful for God’s call in my life and would do nothing else. I love teaching and leading and I have a deep love for God’s church. This is why I read so much theology and leadership books! Being a strong, Southern Baptist conservative, among other things, I believe in the Trinity (One God in Three Persons), the BFM 2000, and the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture. Because of this, I believe in preaching the Bible in a verse-by-verse format called expositonal or text-driven sermons. You can find my recent sermons online by clicking here. I believe strongly in making disciples. I love to teach the Bible and make it real and relevant by applying it to our lives. I believe that God’s Word is not boring, preaching should not be boring, and that sermons that bring the Scripture alive is rewarding! I am driven, passionate and visionary. I love seeing God’s people come behind the Great Commission and reaching the full-potential God has given them. It’s truly amazing!
The third milestone was when I married a Godly, beautiful, intelligent woman who was my best friend. Michelle and I were married in 2002 during our senior year in college. You can find her blog here. She is a Godly woman, an amazing mother, and just flat out better than me. The last two milestones were the days that my two beautiful, smart, and wonderful children (5 and 3) were born. They got all that from their momma. God has blessed me in exponential ways!
I like to read, with my favorite authors being T.W. Hunt, A.W. Tozer and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I listen to cool music, including David Crowder Band, Passion Band, Shane & Shane, and Matt Redman. I drink lots of coffee, especially Starbucks. My favorite drink is a grande Americano with cream or my favorite coffee – Cafe Estima. Besides coffee, I am also addicted to social media and iPhones. If I could own a restaurant, it would be a Pappasitos. For fun I play the guitar, acoustic for now, but I really want to learn the ukulele and mandolin. I also attempt to take cool iPhone photos (find me on Instagram with the username @paulstohler). I love sports. In football, I root for the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys. My favorite sport is baseball and I am a Houston Astros fan at heart, but have recently become a Texas Rangers fan. This is due to the influence of my wife and mother-in-law.
I graduated from Howard Payne University with a major in Christian Studies and minors in Greek and Psychology. I also graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters Of Divinity With Biblical Languages. I look forward to getting my doctorate in the near future. I’m looking at a DMin in Expository Preaching or a PhD in Systematic Theology.
About This Blog
One of my favorite books of all time, Seeing The Unseen, is written by my friend and mentor, T.W. Hunt. In his book, he writes, “Although things in the physical world tend toward decay and entropy, that is not the case in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world, things move toward perfection. God’s purpose for Christians is that we grow upward and forward in sanctification. He wants us to move from babyhood to adulthood so that we might become completed persons, ready for a never-ending fellowship with Christ (emphasis mine).” I believe this is part of God’s calling in my life and ministry – to help others move upward and forward. There’s just one catch, in order to do that I must be moving upward and forward myself! This blog is one way to hold me accountable. I hope to encourage others as we journey together through life to become more like Christ – upward and forward.
This blog is about my thoughts and these writings do not necessarily reflect who I work for, my wife, or family. Since I think so much in black and white, it makes my posts easy to interact with. I hope that you will leave a comment and engage in some discussion. Discussion is healthy as long as we stay civilized. Everyone has valid input. I do not allow coarse language or attacks upon individuals in the comments, so those will be deleted. Other than that, comment away!
I hope you enjoy this crazy journey. If you want to contact me, connect with me on social media by the links to the right or visit my contact page to send me an email. Also, please feel free to subscribe to my blog to receive updates by email by entering your email under “Subscribe To The Blog” or put my RSS feed in your reader. Thanks!