About Me

I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and came to follow Jesus as my Lord & Savior at a Vacation Bible School there, but after several cross-country moves, our family settled in Harrah, Oklahoma, where I was baptized and joined the First Baptist Church.

While at Harrah I met and married my wife Cheryl, and we are the parents of four children: 

  • Paul, our eldest, lives in Norman, Oklahoma, where he works for Stonewall Homes. 
  • David and his wife Ashley are studying at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, in preparation for ministry. They are also parents of our second grandchild, Abigail! 
  • Our daughter Libby and her husband Joshua Breland are in full-time ministry at FBC Bloomfield in northwestern New Mexico. Our oldest & youngest grand daughters, Corley Jane & Lottie, Skype with us almost daily from there!   
  • Our youngest son, Michael, 17, is being educated at home and is also taking concurrent college classes at Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton.  

Following my graduation from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1985, I served as the pastor of four different Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma and Louisiana before resigning in February 2013 and moving to Norman, OK due to a diagnosis of dysautonomia or POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). Having regained my health after a two-year layoff, I have served as the Senior Pastor at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Morganton, North Carolina since March, 2015.  

Among other things, I enjoy reading (see my “Now Reading” page), going for walks, running, playing golf, OU football, and keeping up with family & friends and sharing on Facebook and blogs.


15 Responses to About Me

  1. Bob Shirey says:

    Good morning Brother Shawn, I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you and your family as you are going thru this time with the POTS . Looking forward to seeing you in October.

  2. Maria Valdez says:

    I Love the teaching.Been praying for a better understanding on Bible verses and was directed this path.

    • Shawn Thomas says:

      I am grateful that it is helpful to you, Maria. I hope that you will continue visiting my site from time to time, but most importantly, keep spending your own personal time in God’s word and prayer every day! God bless you as you walk with Him!

  3. Steve Mc says:

    Shawn, this is Steve Mc (Linda) in Tulsa. Please contact me at my email address

  4. Dequita says:

    Did you ever pastor a little country church named West Shady Grove in Blue Ridge, TX?
    I’m looking to find the one that did. His and Cheryl’s ministry led to life changing experiences in my life and I want to thank them for it.

    • Shawn Thomas says:

      Yes ma’am, I sure did — you were such a faithful and growing disciple while we were there, and we could not forget you! How nice to hear from you!

  5. Dequita says:

    Well if this isn’t just like the LORD! Just yesterday a friend of mine (who had asked for prayer that she and her husband could reconnect with their granddaughter over a camping weekend) came over and told me how God had answered prayer last weekend and her granddaughter had even allowed her to pray over her a blessing. God is so Good! Well then today in the car I was listening to Dr. Dobson talking to a man (John Trent) who was talking about being a blessing to others and passing on blessings and just had to believe it was the LORD putting the two thoughts on “blessings” together for me. So just alittle while ago I went to http://www.theblessingexperience.com
    to check out this man’s website and this month they are focusing on sending letters to those who were your teachers. I thought awhile and was sitting here listening to a link of music to go with the monthly blessings and the song was “Thank You” by Ray Bolts. With tearfilled eyes your names popped right into my head and all the precious memories of when you were there ministering. So,
    I thought I wonder if I googled their names if I could possibly find them. I did and guess who was first on the list? YOU! PTL! I just want to tell you both how much it meant to me for the two of you and I to have that memory work class together. For you to take the time to disciple one student was such a blessing to me. I still know Ro.6 (though not quite by heart anymore, but I know it).
    One morning you were preaching and you said this, “Don’t ever take what I say as truth. Study for yourself and let God reveal his word to you.” Well, I took you at your word and began to do just that and it literally changed my life. God began talking to me and leading me to a place (in my heart) where I could experience him for myself. I was baptized in the Spirit and God has been leading me and blessing me, and keeping me ever since by his great grace and mercy! I have thought of you both often and prayed the best for you. Looks like he has answered those prayers as well. I see you have been blessed with a great and fine family. Most of all it is a blessing to know you are both still moving forward in the LORD! God is just so good how he works all things together for good, just like he did way back then at west shady grove baptist church! God bless you both, Dequita

  6. Sue w. says:

    I am leading a woman’s bible study on the book of Psalms and we are going to be looking at Psalm 3 next week . I was searching the web for some insight into what David meant when he said to God “You are my glory”. Your sermon On this psalm has enlightened and helped me with my meditation of it. I wondered as I was reading if God took everything away from David so he could realize that God alone is his glory and is all he needed, then I went on to read that your experience with your illness brought you the same revelation! It really gives me a new perspective on trials and suffering. Sometimes it seems like when people get sick the focus of the prayers for that person is the physical recovery and not on the amazing work that God can do in a persons heart, spirit and relationship with The Lord. Thank you for sharing your testimony about this. You bring up a very important point that unless we are stripped of those things we glory in apart for. God will we be able to see that He is our most prized possession and nothing could ever happen to strip us of His love and His glory, and He is more than we will ever need!

    God bless you!
    Sue from NY

  7. David Savon says:

    Greetings, brother Shawn, in the precious and holy and wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    I ‘stumbled’ across your five lessons from brother Rutherford and was blessed by what I read.

    Be blessed in the holy name of the Only One I Love, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as you endeavor to serve him with all you heart, body, soul, mind, and spirit. He is the only one deserving and worthy of all our love and adoration, affection, devotion, and submission. O! How I love him so!!


  8. Christopher Kimrey says:

    Brother Shawn, I found a letter today you had written to me when I was in Officer Candidate School with the Coast Guard (May 2007). I wanted to take a quick minute to send you a note of encouragement and say how blessed I was that God put you in my life at the right time. The support you provided was powerful and effective and surely helped contribute to the success I enjoy today as a leader of people.

    I’m thankful for having known you. I hope this note finds you well. If you ever want to reach out, you can find me at cmkimrey@gmail.com.

    Chris Kimrey

  9. Shawn, I am so happy to read that you’ve recovered from POTS! So encouraging! Would you tell me how long you were sick and what was most instrumental to your recovery? My 14 yo daughter was diagnosed when she was 11, was in the home and hospital teaching program for all of middle school, and is now well enough to attempt high school. I was diagnosed about 7 months ago and have been working from home as I can. I also have 4 children and the older 3 are out on their own. They have been so helpful to me and their sister as has my husband of 34 years. Thank you for sharing your faith and your experiences with POTS.

    • Shawn Thomas says:

      Kathy, I first came down with POTS (as far as we know) in February of 2012, and I spent about a year on & off medical leave before stepping down from our church at the end February of 2013. I had some improvement as soon as we moved from Louisiana to Oklahoma so we do not know if there might have been some environmental factor. But I was not completely well yet; I saw Dr. T in OKC who took me off of the sleeping medication (Trazadone) I had been on, saying that it actually worked against POTS. He also put me on a higher dose of Florinef, which I had tried before. With that, and a combination of increasing daily exercise & prayer, I began to get stronger and was soon (a month or two) very well. In fact I stopped taking the Florinef a few months later and noticed no difference. It is now my opinion that the Florinef was NOT a factor. I remained very well for right at a year, before having a “flareup” early this June. I was afraid that POTS had returned but it lasted only a week or two. We have since read a study that came out this spring (one of the researchers was at OU) that POTS may be kicked off by a virus. We wondered if a virus perhaps caused the “flareup” I had in June, as some family members had a virus as well, but it is only speculation. A couple of months later, I am now well again, running, etc. and trust that it will continue.
      I wish I could give you some more definitive answers as to what to do for POTS. There seems to be no “silver bullet” for it. (I have a friend who went to see a POTS specialist out of state, but the doctor had such a bad POTS flareup that he couldn’t keep the appointment — doesn’t bode well for the state of the cure I think!) They tried so many medications on me when I was sick, and most of them made me feel worse. My personal opinion is to try to hydrate, exercise, etc. and do the best with it you can, without the medication, but that is just from my own experience. There are so many variations, and effects, that the best you can do is to ask God to help you find what works best in your case — and pray for some more breakthroughs in their understanding of this syndrome.
      Please feel free to ask any other questions you think might be helpful, and I would be glad to add you to my prayer list if you would like. E-mail might be a better forum for longer Q & A; as you can see in my blog info mine is setfbc@bellsouth.net.
      Hope this helps some, and may God bless you and use even this illness to draw you close to Himself during this time.

  10. Michael says:

    Shawne, here is a copy of my testimony. Based on some events and way I’ve been shown scripture past month, I feel as if I might be past point of repentance. What do you think, here’s my story

    I confessed Christ as lord and savior at a very young age in your church, I believe 4th grade. As 6th grade started, I became a kid who loved the illusions of this world. I believe sports was a form of idolatry for me at a very young age. I don’t know how many times I referred to an athlete as an idol of mine not thinking twice about what I was saying. Materialism is the subtle form of idolatry along with worship of athletes, musicians, actors, reality TV, hobbies, food, and ourselves. We worship people through holidays. We have teachers days, holidays for military, govt holidays, holidays for famous people. It’s common and expected to praise one for being a patriot or have “pride” in what you do or where you live. Scripture says all such boasting is evil and only one deserves praise, and that’s God. I would tell people in my 20’s and 30’s I believed in the bible, but I wouldn’t call myself a Christian. I didn’t want people to look at Christianity through my life, a bit self righteous I suppose, but I believed I was doing right. I forgot about Christian life needless to say, and grew into a life of indulging flesh and every sin I can think of. I was into drugs and alcohol most my life, chasing women or grossly thinking about them. At a point in my life, all my friends just dropped off the face of the earth. I blamed things going on in my life to conspiracy theories. I never realized the scripture that said he who disobeys the son, the wrath of God abides on him. It might have been 5 years ago or more, I was lying in bed with my eyes closed on pillow. I saw a picture of a head of a beast. Let me state, let’s not attribute what is happening to me being of Satan, if it’s God, isn’t that blasphemy? I just want to throw that warning out there. But this vision was clear, I can’t remember it at this point, I’m thinking something like a cartoon bull. I was sober and awake at the time, and I brushed the vision off. Maybe a year or 2 later, my cousin moves in. I start sharing a lot of his interests in philosophy, meditation, new age garbage, and pagan video games. I get into an argument with my dad one day and make statement “Christ was just a man, or Christ might have been just a man”. I said it out of anger, I didn’t believe the statement to be true that I can recollect. I was just trying to shut my dad up. Maybe a year after that, which would have been probably 2 years ago, I was reading bible again and had a moment where I cried out to God , I felt a peace that I attributed to God or the Holy Spirit. Maybe it was all in my head, but it felt awesome. I felt like I was on the right track in my walk with the Lord. Before long though, I’m drinking, doing drugs, formication, indulging flesh, right back where I was as a sinner. Then about 3 months ago on a Sunday, I have an urge to start reading Bible again, and all these sinful urges just stopped in me. I was still smoking cigarettes, but eventually quit that. I even decided to turn off TV, radio, and just focus on God. I sold all my DVD movies at this time. I haven’t had a drink or done a drug since. Lusting after women in thoughts, I didn’t dwell on those since. I felt like God had supernaturally cleaned me up. I was reading Old Testament and got a frightening peak of how God viewed sin. I felt like I had a week of repenting I’d never experienced before. I realize how important it is to try and view sin the way God views sin, so maybe your less likely don’t to stuck in it. Then about a month ago I was having a bad week. I was attending bible study at a baptist church and there was a parable about Christ sending out invites to everyone, but some showed up and weren’t properly clothed and were thrown out were there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. It was as if eyes where on me during that part of story. I call a minister I know in Dallas, he is trying to give me scripture of support. He reads from Hebrews chapter 10 but stops on vs 25 at 10am because he had to get off phone. I continue reading 26 and am terrified. I turn on radio and John MacArthur is discussing same passage. I had a hard time sleeping the following 4-5 days. It was as if something was terrorizing me right after I went to sleep. I was reminded of King Saul when he disobeyed God, God sent an evil spirit to him. Third night of tossing and turning I prayed to God one night, and sparks shot out of my fan light which hadn’t worked in at least a year. A couple nights later, at about 2am, I go in front yard to pray. I see sparks about 20-40 feet in sky in different directions, I ran inside. I laid in bed and felt a presence over me that felt for lack of a better description, lusty. I tried to pray it off and fell asleep. I had a dream that was lusty. Next morning I open scripture up as if taken to passage about those who defile the flesh even in their dreams, I think the passage was in Jude. This started when all this weird weather began. I can’t remember which day, but a ball player I have on Facebook who never posts, posted a message “in the spirit”. This was after I was reading up on passage about those who dwell in flesh won’t inherit kingdom of God vs those with fruit of spirit. Irony of that is the ball player was somebody I called my idol most my childhood. Minister in Dallas sends me a chapter to read for encouragement, it’s Philippians 3. All I get out of that chapter is verse 18, vs on judgement. I’m also reminded of Peter talking about a dog returning to it’s vomit, 2nd state worse than first, and it would have been better for that person to have not known the truth than to forsake the Holy commandment given him. I had things happen last night I’m not going to go into that I tie into all this. Did I commit apostasy by saying Christ was just a man? Am I the dog that returned to its vomit and is doomed? I have a fear of God in me and a view of sin that was missing my whole life. Anyhow, I feel like I’m seeing the gospel really clear as being much watered down, but I’m hoping I’m seeing it wrong out of arrogance. Since my ordeal recently, like a hypocrite, I see people who have no fear of God, only view a God of abundant grace. I read in scripture about a Holy God that eventually stops listening to the prayers of people who don’t live in obedience, and destroys them. I realize God is a God of love, mercy, Grace who abundantly pardons. But based on the order of events and how they’ve been presented to me, I’m only telling the half of it. I wonder if I crossed the line in Hebrews 10:26. And please don’t tell me that it only applies to Hebrew Christians at the time going back to Judaism . I believe scripture says “if we” continue sinning willfully, if you assume Paul wrote Hebrews, then that would include himself as a believer in the statement. This isn’t a comfortable passage, but it’s one I wish somebody would have preached me over and over as a new believer. One minister said God might be warning me. Why would God warn me at a time when my life is as clean as it’s been? Anyhow, this is my story

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