I am a Celebrate Recovery Inside “Happy Customer”. I began Celebrate Recovery in 2003 while incarcerated at the Jamestown, CA prison. I was the pastor of an In-Custody Purpose Driven church and we were looking for the next small group curriculum for our growing church. In 2003 Celebrate Recovery was just beginning to make its way into jails and prisons beginning with the Las Cruces prison in New Mexico under the leadership of Associate Warden Jan Thomas. Encouraged by the success of that ministry, Pastor John Baker came to our prison and trained our church leaders in the true DNA of Celebrate Recovery. With the help of the prison administration, Hector Lozano, and our local church volunteers, we were able to grow a fully inmate peer-driven model of CR Inside in which the In-Custody participants functioned in each area of the TEAM as well as group leaders. I was able to start Celebrate Recovery in two other prisons. They are functioning well to this day.
I was incarcerated from the age of 18 to the age of 50. Shortly after my arrest, on November 7, 1982, I came to Christ, and by His Grace I was able to serve Him inside for 32 years. I entered prison as a High School drop-out, an alcoholic/drug addict, and in violation of every commandment of God. While Inside I completed my Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, and Biblical studies certification from Patten University. More importantly, it was in this fiery furnace that I learned to love God and love people, and to do ministry even in the most contrary circumstances. Before my release and a significant part of why I am free, I completed 5 CR step-studies including thorough inventories and sharing with my sponsor. After my release I immediately began attending Church and Celebrate Recovery which greatly aided my transition and restoration to society.
I am now married to my wonderful wife Susan. I am the Pastor for CR Inside at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California and honored to serve as the CR Inside National Director. I am working on my Master’s degree with a focus on counseling. It may seem strange to some people, but it is easy for me to go back inside to share my testimony and serve inmates. I am very grateful to give back what so many prison volunteers invested into me for 32 years. As you can imagine I Love the Beach! And one of my favorite pass-times is simply filling up the tank and driving – anywhere!