Buddy Tipton - Senior Pastor
In the development stages of our website we talked around the table about the information we needed to share about Pastor Buddy. This information in our minds was to give you a snapshot of our Senior Pastor and maybe this way you would get to know him a little better.
So, we thought; Let's put up his biography, his achievements, favorite foods, favorite books and so on. Surely people would know him better if they knew that! Then we talked to Pastor and he said: I want them to know my story, what God has brought me through, and through His grace give them hope, that if God could change my life, then he can change anyone's life. So, that's what we did. We would like you to read Buddy's Story. It's our prayer that this story touches your heart and opens your eyes to the AMAZING LOVE that God has for you!
It's hard to understand why a kid with loving, caring parents would turn his back on all of that, and waste his life in alcohol and crime. But prodigal sons are still common among us and I was one of them.
It started early one morning back in Panama City, Florida. I was sixteen years old and my cousin and I were starting to go on a hunting trip. My shotgun accidently discharged, shooting him through the heart. I couldn't handle the trauma. Alcohol was an easy way out. Within months the alcohol had taken control. For the next 10 years I was a slave to drinking, a teenage and later an adult alcoholic. Because of it, I was discharged from the Navy as an undesirable, was fired from every job I held, and had thirty-five traffic accidents. Several times police said I "should" have been killed in the accidents, but I was protected.
The depression, the inability to cope, the sense of personal failure grew greater. Twice I tried suicide as a way out. Even with that I failed. I was twenty-six years old when the final pressure was applied. My wife, Mavis, said she was leaving. She couldn’t stand this hell I was putting her through. Desperate, I wound up in a church, crying out to God.
I didn’t know at the time, but there were a lot of people praying for me, including my parents, who never gave up. That morning, in the little Assembly of God Church in Panama City, those prayers were answered. I knelt at an altar and God gave me a new heart. I returned to my seat and moments later Mavis was kneeling where I had knelt, surrendering her heart to Jesus also.
At twenty-eight, I entered seminary. Four years later, inexperience and knowing little except Jesus said he “came to save the sick, not the well,” and had commanded me to do the same, I was called to Central Assembly here in Vero Beach. That was July 1975. We had thirty people present the first Sunday morning, but God has been faithful, and the message of a God who loves, saves, and sets men free has drawn people of all walks of life to Central. Each Sunday morning hundreds gather to worship and be equipped. Most of these folks like me, once lost but now saved.
I share this with you so you can be encouraged, and to let you know that no man or woman is so bad, or so lost, that God’s grace cannot save. If you are struggling, I want to help. Call me at (772)562-4505, or slip in some Sunday or Wednesday to one of our Worship Experiences. The same God who touched me is waiting for you.