My name is Charles Sowell and I am one of the Wales Goebel Ministry/Grace Solutions International Board Members. I am one of the newest members (along with Jim Lewis) having served since May of 2015. As mentioned in prior newsletters, the Board Members will be taking turns writing the monthly newsletter. It is our hope that you might come to know us a little better through these updates pertaining to the vision and direction of the ministry as well as through the sharing of our personal testimonies.
I became a Christ-follower in February of 1990. I was employed by a local architectural firm as a landscape architect when a co-worker invited me on consecutive weeks to visit Shades Mountain Independent Church to hear a guest speaker (John MacArthur) and then the regular pastor, Dick Vigneulle. Despite having grown up attending church consistently and graduating from a Christian private high school in my hometown of Chattanooga, TN., I had no idea of what it meant to walk in repentance and faith or, to put it in simple terms, “to be a Christian”. I just thought my good works needed to outweigh my bad and everything would be okay in the end. I had a good job and was living the care-free life of a bachelor, but my soul was empty and I had no purpose or direction so I decided to accept the invitation of my co-worker. Well, God had obviously prepared my heart and, after listening to Pastor Vigneulle’s invitation on my second visit, I bowed my head and cried out in my heart to God for mercy. Everything changed! My coworker, Allison, who had invited me to church began to disciple me and would eventually become my wife three years later in 1993.
As God began to take me through the process of sanctification, I soon became painfully aware of a fleshly struggle which I would later understand the scriptures described as a “Romans 7 man” and the “Galatians 3:3 error”. This is where a staff member at the Wales Goebel Ministry began to impact my life in a huge way. In 1998, my wife and I visited a Sunday school class at Shades Mountain Indep. Church being led by Dr. Jay Jackson. Jay was teaching through various books in the Bible and was explaining scriptural topics that I had never really heard of or understood before like “the exchanged life”, and “walking by faith” and my “identity in Christ”. At that time I was busy doing all kinds of activities in the church – good activities like Precept Bible studies, men’s accountability groups, evangelism explosion, and even holding up a sign on the side of Highway 31 for a “Pro Life” demonstration. I had a quiet time most every morning, but over time all these things became sort of a check list that I hoped was pleasing to God. I was working hard in the energy of my flesh and my Christian walk had become joyless and mechanical. But, and that’s a glorious “but”, God began to show me through Jay’s faithful teaching that He was already pleased with me, not because of what I was doing, but by what Jesus had already done through His death, burial, and “resurrection”. Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:11, and Colossians 3:3-10 are some of the verses that summarize what God has shown me over the past 19+ years.
Please pray for God’s perfect will and direction to be clear to us as a Board and that the various ministries under the Wales Goebel umbrella would continue to touch individuals and that lives would be gloriously changed. Also, seek the Lord on how you might give financially. As a Board Member, I see firsthand how your support is instrumental in touching the lives of so many.