How this rebellious ‘PK’ learned to live for God


As the son of a pastor, I grew up around and in churches.


Sadly, I treated a lot of what I heard like white noise. Even when I moved into a suburb that would at first glance appear to be more “churched,” I still responded more to the words of youth ministers and conference speakers than I did the Holy Spirit’s tugging at my sinful heart.


Thankfully, even as I went through the motions, the Lord was using faithful
friends to point me to the saving power of Christ.


These friends were not perfect and would not claim to be. They did, however, show me that faith was an everyday thing and that it often looked like alien behavior to a world intent on living for self.


Depending on which circle I found myself in, I could be the most “moral” person in the group. This was dangerous ground. I saw no need for a savior, and whatever sins I did have seemed below the threshold of lasting consequences.


But I had friends like Nathan Tullos, who seemed to use scripture as some sort of guiding light. What the book of James describes as “being hearers and doers of the Word” was something I watched Nathan, even as a teenager, take very seriously.


When I went to Mississippi Delta Community College, I struggled with having to live faithfully without many of the guardrails my parents had put in place for me until that point. The Lord used his Word and a couple of campus ministries to show me both my sin and also the grace that was mine through Christ’s atoning work on the cross.


I was excited for what this meant for my present and future, but still very much a baby Christian.


As an 18-year-old, I remember getting some beer to drink when it was a pretty safe bet that our campus security would not be around. I also remember my roommate, Michael Dukes, who had taken a particular interest in my growing faith, telling me, “I can’t tell you what to do, but you have to know that when you say you’re committing your life to Christ, it looks like you rejecting sin and living in a way that is honoring to God.”


He then asked me if I thought what I was getting ready to do was Christ-honoring. I was mad, but I learned that day the value of a brother in Christ who’d help me wage war on the sin still in me.


I can think of other friends like Caleb Foley, Josh Purser, Daniel Ward, Andrew Wright, Alton Wade, Roy Thompson, Amanda Carlson and Jessica Redd, to name a few, who were especially influential in me working out my faith in the early years of my conversion.


Today I consider these men and women and many others precious gifts from the Lord who have sharpened and loved me enough to desire my eternal good and holiness.


DeSean Dyson is the head of school at The Redeemer’s School in Jackson. He and his wife are married with three children: Christian, 9; Avery, 6; and Michael, 4.