Fun fact: I'm a twin, born in the twin cities, during the year of the bicentennial. Not surprisingly, perhaps, I've always loved $2 bills.
I grew up in quite a few different places and have moved approximately 23 times as a result. Part of the reason for that is that my folks were missionaries, first in the Ivory Coast (West Africa) where I spent a few years as a kid, and then for a year in Paris, France. Despite all that moving, however, including stints in Southern California and Seattle, WA, I'm still mostly Missourian when it comes down to it (though I'm told that my years here in Wisconsin are starting to rub off on some of my vowels). I can certainly see the impact of Wisconsin in my love of cheese, but then, I've never been a beer drinker so l can't ever truly be "from" here.
My parents divorced when I was 12 and I pretty quickly decided that if the God they purported to serve couldn't keep them together, then I wasn't all that interested in Him either. I spent a couple teenage years living into a caricature of the rebellious, drug-addled, prodigal son, until my dad died suddenly and I was confronted with the depth of my need for a real relationship with the Living God. I graduated high school in 1994, got saved in 1995, and started college in 1996.
I got my undergrad in Religious Studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO in 2000. While I was on campus I was very involved with an Assemblies of God campus ministry called Chi Alpha (XA) and I still owe that group a significant debt of gratitude for teaching me about discipleship, the power of prayer, and walking with Jesus. My master's degree, which is rather pretentiously called a "Master of Divinity", is from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. (2003).
In 2004 I became the College Ministries Director at a large Presbyterian Church (First and Calvary in Springfield, MO) and it was there that I first came to realize that despite my great affection for the Assemblies of God, I well and truly belonged in the Reformed theological tradition and in a Presbyterian church. And so it was that after 6 years in college ministry at that church I moved into ordained ministry and in August of 2010 became the pastor here at FPO.
I’ve been married to my wonderful wife Courtney since June 10, 2000 and after years of hoping and praying and walking through the heartache of infertility, God brought our son Theo into our lives through the gift of adoption in September of 2010.
I enjoy sports, movies, video games, hunting, knives, camping, fire, bacon, wood-carving, reading about wizards, orcs, culture, and theology, spending time with my family and friends, and, honestly, being the pastor of this church.
My favorite color is orange. My favorite band is Pink Floyd. My middle name is Maurice. I eat my steak rare.
Director of Student Ministries
I was born and raised in beautiful San Diego, California. Growing up I didn’t have a clue who Jesus was. My parents were culturally catholic meaning that they considered themselves catholic because all Hispanics are supposed to say that, yet we didn’t do anything that Catholics are supposed to. We rarely went to catholic mass, I didn’t go to Sunday school, my parents didn’t go to confession, etc. Also, whenever I did interact with other Christians or Catholics, I would be able to see right through their Sunday morning act. I could tell how fake they were being because I would always hear the parents yell at their kids in the parking lot, then I would see them smile in the church building, and then I would hear them yell at their kids again as they dragged them home. This being the case, Jesus was the last thing on my mind. I believed if God was real, he was probably angry at me or he probably wanted nothing to do with me and if I tried to make God like me, then I would just end up like all of the other hypocrites that I saw on Sunday mornings.
I carried this reasoning in my head all the way until high school when everything changed. I made a friend while in the track and field team and he began to slowly remove the walls I had put up for anything Jesus related. He told me who Jesus truly was and what a people centered on the gospel should look like. After a few months of being poured into by my friend, I gave my life to Jesus and I was immediately called into church ministry. I began leading a small bible study in my California public high school that God grew to 200 students and teachers. After leading this church for 4 years I then got involved with a campus ministry that allowed me to speak at 4 high schools a week and help develop Christian clubs in the area.
I then attended and graduated from Liberty University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Pastoral Leadership and a minor in Biblical Studies. While in college God also allowed me to participate in many ministries and churches that helped develop me as a leader.
When I graduated from Liberty University, I moved to Los Angeles where I started helping out at a church while looking prayerfully for where God wanted me to go for the next season of my life. That’s when the amazing Bob Launer gave me a call and the rest is history.
I met my wife and amazing ministry partner, Jocelyn, in 2017 and we got married in January of 2019. Shortly after, we adopted our two rescue dogs Charlie and Scarlett and our house has never been clean since. We don’t know what the future holds for our lives but we’re all in for the Gospel and ready to obey God’s will and call.
I’m still Californian to the core. You can tell from my Jesus sandals, calm demeanor, and love for the Golden State Warriors. My favorite movie is Schindler’s list. My favorite Disney movie is Hercules. My favorite colors are orange and purple. I’m a fraternal twin. My wife and I are 100% Mexican so you know we can cook and party. I’m an outdoors man that loves any adventure that doesn’t involve a cell phone. I’ve been skydiving. I love playing and watching all kinds of sports. I love classic rock, folk, jazz, blues, opera, hip hop, atmospheric indie, and country music.