God’s not dead, and we are testimony to his amazing grace!

Jane and I know that any good that has come from Longview Retreat is because of God. He has met us in every way, and we want to celebrate what he has done with you.

The Birth of Longview Retreat

A little over 20 years ago, Jane and I were walking on the farm and talking about what to do next. Farming had not worked out for us, so I was in transition job-wise. Our three daughters were also approaching the age where they would go to college soon. We prayed as we walked, and both of us felt God say, “share this place.” Well … what did that mean? We eventually figured out we were to share the farm that had been in Jane’s family for generations, in a way that would benefit marriages. We shared this vision with friends at church, and they suggested we start meeting regularly to pray about it. Thus, Longview Retreat was born.

Lyle Colwill, a man we did not know at the time, and who had moved to the area recently, led a Bible study that Jane and I started attending. I shared an office with Lyle. Once we got to know each other, and Lyle understood what God had put on our hearts, he offered us his 501(c)3, Abide in Him Ministries, Inc. After a few years, phone calls, and letters to the IRS, we became a bona fide 501(c)3 corporation doing business as (dba) Longview Retreat.

June 2001:

I got hired at NUCOR (Nuclear Corporation of America). Jane and I continued attending Lyle’s Bible study.

When farming did not work out for us, Jane was shaken to her core. My journey began as I started to understand God does things differently than man does.

We began offering marriage-based Bible studies at Longview Retreat, but Jane and I both felt the curriculum we were using was flat and dry. Walking on the Avenue (our driveway), we prayed about the Bible studies.

The next day, a large box was delivered to our door that contained a complete marriage Bible study with workbooks and a leader’s guide–everything we needed. There was no note or address. God delivered this package to us less than 24 hours after we prayed about the Bible studies. The study was Intimate Encounters by David and Theresa Ferguson. We enjoyed the curriculum, and others seemed to enjoy it as well.

A few months later, a couple asked if we ever received a gift from them. They had been through Intimate Encounters and knew it would be good for the retreat, so they sent it to us. Their card was somehow misplaced and never arrived. I still give God the credit. He sent it quicker than Amazon!

2005–The Genesis House

The Genesis House began as a tenant house on the farm. Our original plan was to renovate the existing house and make it our first guest house. We began the project by removing a rotted floor in the living room, jacking up the walls, and pouring a concrete footer. To our surprise, a donor gave $30,000 toward the project out of the blue. We were not trying to raise donations for the project. God simply did that!


In February of 2007, my daughter said she wanted to have her wedding on the farm, in the yard, in June of 2007–about 4 months away!! In no way was this place ready to host a wedding. A large pecan tree had destroyed the original farm office building in the backyard. Aside from the house, the other buildings on the farm had not been painted. We hadn’t been able to maintain the yard. We had to remove derelict farm buildings. Our family and friends did an enormous amount of work.

In September, my daughter and her new husband had a party to thank all who had participated in the overhaul. Over 100 people were invited. All those people didn’t have to help, but they helped a lot! I give God the credit for the complete transformation.

2010–The Genesis House–Again!:

The most surprising aspect of the Genesis House project was the extensive termite damage we encountered in the original house. We had a draftsman draw the house and create house plans for new construction. Then, we tore the house down and built a new one. The house visitors stay in today is new from the ground up.

We took bids from three different contractors to build the shell of the Genesis House and install the roof, doors, and windows. We awarded the project to the lowest bidder, and when he finished, he gave us a discount! Some might say he regarded that as advertising. I see it as a blessing from God.

Another donor, out of the blue, gave $20,000 to finish the interior and buy nice furnishings. That’s God.


A friend called and said we should check out Art of Marriage by Family Life. She heard about it on the radio and thought it would be a good fit for us. And it was–it has become one of our foundational events at Longview Retreat. God speaks to us in different ways. That time, he used a friend.

Along the way, those folks who had been meeting regularly to pray began volunteering to help us in all kinds of ways: clerical, prayer, yard work, cooking, cleaning, shopping, serving–whatever it took to have a weekend event. My, how they blessed us! They said our ministry was to lead the event and work one-on-one with the guests. Their ministry was to support us by serving as needed. And they have done so for YEARS! God did that! People are not that “nice” for YEARS. They help because God has put something in their hearts, and they want to share it with others. It is also an example of dying to self and doing more with a weekend than indulging self.


In late 2013, our ministry received an incredible gift of close to one million dollars. God did this! We were not having any type of fundraising campaign, and if we were, that donor would not have been on anyone’s list to contact for a donation. Jane and I were blown away. We have no experience with gifts like this. National ministries might receive gifts like this, but we never had. God simply blessed this ministry.


In 2014, I felt God nudging me to leave NUCOR and come to the retreat full time. I told Jane we would both agree when it was time to leave. Jane was not on board with my leaving NUCOR just yet. NUCOR pays very well and has the best benefits plan I know of, including annual scholarships for our kids’ education. We had only recently gotten our financial house back in order. Was health insurance going to cause me to tell God “no”?


Jane went with our daughter to a Priscilla Shirer ladies overnight simulcast in Richmond, Virginia. Mrs. Shirer quickly asked a question of the ladies: “Is health insurance keeping you from serving God?” My daughter looked across the room at Jane, and it was all downhill from there. By the end of the day, Jane knew it was time to leave NUCOR. God made the timing clear to her, and with fear and trembling, she agreed.

I didn’t know if my board would hire me. I just knew it was time to leave NUCOR, which I did at the end of May. At the August board meeting, they agreed to hire me until the end of the year. If finances would allow, my full-time employment would continue. I have been working full-time for Longview ever since. God has met every need of the ministry.


Jane and I went to The Potter’s Place in Central, South Carolina to look at prayer cabins. We were thinking this might be something we would want to do at Longview. Its main push is solitude and being still and quiet before God. Jane and I have continued this devotion since then.

During a time of solitude, Jesus spoke to me. He said, “Do I have to do this all over again before you will trust me for today?” I knew He meant His crucifixion. I was crushed, humbled, and ashamed. His message hit me like a ton of bricks, and I knew without any doubt my sins were included that awful day 2,000 years ago when “we” hung Him on that cross. What began as our quest for something new to bring to the retreat resulted in God’s reaching me in a way like never before.*


We and our board have tried to be good stewards of all of it. Especially the human lives that we have interacted with. The same enemy that attacks them attacks Jane and me. We try hard to share survival techniques that put Jesus at the center, daily; breath by breath. I say it that way because there is a war going on in this world for our souls. Not believing or understanding that could send one to Hell for eternity and make a trainwreck out of your day-to-day life.**


God has taken two 13-year-old, worldly, motivated sinners, brought them together in marriage at 21, and called them to make a difference for Him in folks’ marriages. He has led us and equipped us to do this task, and along the way, saved us from an eternity without Him. That’s what God has done!

What’s Next….

* My sin was I had been trusting Jesus for eternity and me for today. No more. Please read https://longviewretreat.com/putting-jesus-first-in-your-relationship for more on this.

**Please see https://longviewretreat.com/why-jesus for further detail on how God can move in your life.