Statement of Faith
I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior in 1968 when I was 12 years old following a Pastor’s Class at Park Place Church of God, and was baptized shortly thereafter. Although I was blessed beyond measure to be born to and raised by Hollis and Elizabeth Pistole, I rebelled against them and their beliefs during my teenage years until I was 17 and a senior at Anderson High School. On Sept. 12, 1973, I was in a serious car accident and suffered a broken neck. As a result of God’s miraculous provision, I survived the accident and believe God gave me a second chance in life, physically and spiritually. Since that time, I have sought God’s will in my life and have been on a journey of deepening spiritual maturity and obedience. I have been blessed to be married to Kathy Harp for nearly 35 years, having met as freshmen in Marie Strong’s Old Testament class in the Fall of 1974. (It took me five years to convince her to marry me.) We’ve been blessed with two daughters, Lauren, now married and living in South Korea, and Jenn, in school in Richmond, Va.
I see my work in public service for more than 30 years as “ministry in daily life,” where I have been called to be the hands and feet of Christ to all I meet, knowing I may be the only Christ they may meet. There are two prayers which I have found most helpful in my daily walk with Christ. They are the Renovare Covenant prayer which begins, “In utter dependence upon Jesus Christ as my Ever living Savior, Teacher, Lord and Friend, I will seek continual renewal through Spiritual Exercises, Spiritual Gifts and Acts of Service….” The second prayer is “A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition,” attributed to John Wesley, which begins, “I am no longer mine own, but thine, put me to what thou wilt….”
Richard Foster and Dallas Willard have been influential writers in my faith walk, with Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, one of my favorites. I especially like the way he sets the tone for the book with this opening line: “Superficiality is the curse of our age.” I have had a sense of God’s calling in my life for years now, often seeing God’s leading most clearly in hindsight. I see my “job” as a disciple of Jesus Christ to discern His guidance daily, and then be obedient in following that guidance right away.
I pray for other leaders and myself the “DEWS” prayer, which stands for Discernment, Encouragement, Wisdom and Strength, knowing I need each aspect to lead properly. I identify with the words of the contemporary Christian song, “In Christ Alone,” which says, “Until He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand.”