I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and followed Jesus as my Lord & Savior at a Vacation Bible School there. After several cross-country moves as a child, 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, with his wife Sheba and their sons Dawson, Flynn, and Bennett — and finally their sweet Sophie! Paul works for Stonewall Custom Homes in Norman.
- Our second born, David, lives near Wake Forest, North Carolina, with his wife Ashley and four of our grandchildren, Abigail, Lorna, Ian, and Edmund. David manages a branch office there for Arrow Exterminating, teaches Sunday School and serves on his church’s Personnel Committee and other ministries, as well as North Carolina Disaster Relief.
- Our daughter Libby and her husband Joshua Breland moved to Austin, TX in the spring of 2021! We are SO excited that they, and our grand daughters, Corley Jane, Lottie, and Josie Grace, are so much closer to us now!
- Our youngest son, Michael, graduated from North Greenville (Baptist) University in Tigerville, SC in April 2021. He married Abigail Dover in June 2022, and is currently working and attending church in that area.
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). Blessed by God with renewed health after a two-year recuperation, I served as the Senior Pastor at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church in Morganton, North Carolina until being called in February 2019 to the state of Texas, where I serve as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Angleton.
Among other things, I enjoy reading (see my “Now Reading” page), going for walks, playing golf, watching OU football, and keeping up with family & friends and sharing on Facebook and blogs.
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.
Thanks, Bob. It will be great to see you in October, Lord willing, and I am praying for you all too!
I Love the teaching.Been praying for a better understanding on Bible verses and was directed this path.
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!
Shawn, this is Steve Mc (Linda) in Tulsa. Please contact me at my email address
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.
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!
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
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
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!!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Hope this helps some, and may God bless you and use even this illness to draw you close to Himself during this time.
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
Words cannot describe how thankful I am to have come across your blog. After 10 years of being misdiagnosed and suffering from debilitating symptoms, I was diagnosed with Hyperadrenergic POTS. Since October, I’ve been working with a cardiologist who is trying her best to understand and treat my condition. My family and I hit a brick wall in regards to traveling to seek further treatment as I was tired of being a Guinea pig and more importantly, feeling the way I do and not being fully medically understood. As you know, finding a POTS Doctor/Specialist is insanely rare. So after reading your story and learning more about Dr. Naeem Tahirkheli, I made an appointment right away. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story! I hope you are still feeling better and continue to do so!!!
God bless you and Heal you perfectly…
nothing was said or I did not see it . What version Bible do you use ?
I typically use the NASB; sometimes others. Sorry, I should have indicated that.
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I was reading all of your devotions which just happened to be about fasting and thought that sounds like something my pastor would say who by the way is Southern Baptist and i am also. I went back to your picture and saw that you also are Southern Baptist; and thought to myself——no wonder those devotions are like something my pastor would say. Apparently it was not a coincidence that i ran on to this website,. my pastor would say I DON’T BELIEVE IN COINCIDENCES well yes sometimes i do but in this particular incidence I don’t either so it was only God that brought me to you and for that i can thank Him for that. Please contine to pray that i recieve an answer soon.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE FACT that all of your devotions are current and from this year and not from years past, You are the only one I have come across that has done current devotions. Everybody in the past that i have looked at has all been in the past. NOT THAT THEY AREN”T GOOD EITHER BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL GOOD FOR THE TIMES WE HAVE NOW, BUT BECAUSE YOU HAVE A DATE ON THEM AS TO WHEN YOU POSTED THEM; TO ME THAT MAKES THEM CURRENT. PLEASE KEEP UP THE EXCELLENT WORK FOR THE LORD.
I would like to thank you for praying for me during my time of fasting. I finally got hungry about 3:30 Monday afternoon and decided i better eat before i got sick. I didn’t get my answer until I went to my job on Tuesday. I talked to the approiate person that i needed to and they hadn’t heard anything about it so that meant to me that everything was ok and that i wasn’t in trouble after all—-AND FOR THAT I CAN PRAISE THE LORD FOR TAKIONG CARE OF ME. I did learn some things about fasting after reading different things on your website and other places; so that if i ever need to do that again I won’t go 2 1/2 days without food. Your understanding of my problem was EXCELLENT
where is my orginial comment about telling you about my problem? just was wondering—I don’t see it on here
I believe you posted it on my sermon on fasting, not on my “About Me” page. Glad the Lord answered your prayer this week!
Is there any way I can go back to the comments that i made and take off my last name? I wasn’t thinking at the time and probably should n’t have put my last name. I perfer my last name not be used in anything I might happen to send you Thank you for understanding
OK SORRY ABOUT THAT I GUESS I WAS THINKING IT WAS ON THIS PAGE. I was so excited that God led me to your sermon that I wasn’t paying any attention to where i posted it PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR ANYTHING I MIGHT HAVE SAID ABOUT THAT POST.
To please pray earnestly for me as a backslider. I need His help to go back to church, and what church to go to.
I need deliverance and an everlasting salvation and to be sure of that when that happens.
To heal me of my backsliding. For healing, wholeness, restoration.
Theresa Winfield, Owen Sound, Ontario Canada
Praying for you tonight. The single most important thing you can do is to read God’s word every day for yourself. Then find a good Bible-believing church for fellowship, encouragement, accountability, and spiritual growth.
Theresa Winfield; my E-Mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am really blessed with your sermon series.
However, I will like to have your personal e- mail to communicate with you
In another way, how can I reach you privately.
Praying for good health for you
I just love your ministry. It’s really a great blessing to me and to many.
Praise God for His incomparable word; it is a joy to share it. May He bless it and use it mightily! Thank you for your encouraging feedback.
I do like to get devotions every day.
Hi Shawn I have recently been dealing with what I now THINK is POTS (no diagnosis, but I have many of the symptoms) and stumbled across your blog. How are you doing these days?
I am doing very well; thank you. Other than a few weaknesses (perhaps some remnant “thorns in the flesh”?) I am basically asymptomatic, thank God. I wish I had some “silver bullet” remedy to pass along, but I don’t, other than the grace of God that raised me back up in His time. I’d be glad to help you with any questions if you have some.
I just read your blog about morning prayer. Thank you so much! I’m so excited! I’ve shared the blog with family and friends! I look forward to reading more of your work! God bless you!
We live in North Raleigh- near your family members!
You are very welcome. I pray that God uses His word to minister to you and your family & friends. And YES that IS close to our family. That is a nice area, and they love it there.
Hi Brother Shawne.
I’m sending this message from Lagos, Nigeria. Your teaching on the gift that is an insult just blessed me in no small way. I am certain you have the teachers anointing on your life.
Thank you so much. Will keep on reading 😊
My brother, I am so thankful that these messages are available in Nigeria. Thank you for reading, and for your encouragement to me. God bless you as you walk with Him daily in His word, and serve Him!
God bless you richly brother. I read one of your blogs and am thankful for your thoroughness and study. I was looking for a quote on the internet and came across your blog. I am also a Texan and live just north of Houston outside of Conroe. I attend Lakeside Bible Church in Montgomery and am pleased to meet your aquaintence online.
Sola deo Gloria,
Ah very nice; yes we are fairly close neighbors (except for the impenetrable chasm that is Houston traffic! 🙂 Thank you taking the time to write. God bless you as you serve Him!
Thank you for your blog. I teach the same material you are blogging about. I found your site at a time when I have had a harder time finding sufficient time to study and prepare to teach. So, it’s been a real blessing finding such a simple approach that includes the most important part of bible study to me, and that is life application.
I’ve been using your outline the last couple of weeks and it’s been a great help. God bless you and thank you for doing it. I pray you continue to have the energy to keep going.
Although I live in Illinois, I spent many a summer vacation in Texas and Oklahoma. My uncle is a Baptist preacher/pastor/missionary. He pastored in Norman for several years at a small church called Norman Baptist Temple. He also taught and worked for Independent Baptist College in or near Dallas for several years.
Thank you for the encouraging words Tim. I do try to focus on application, as I feel like that’s the most important thing: what should we DO about this?! I’m so glad it’s been helpful to you. I’m praying for you and your group tonight. Thank you also for your prayers. They are needed.
In the Spring of 2021, my husband and I were asked to teach a median adult’s Sunday School class. We were more than apprehensive. At the time, we were new members of a church and my husband had not begun attending Sunday School until late in life. I had just begun my freshman year of seminary at NOBTS (at age 58), attending school full time, and working full time. We prayed about the class and were moved to agree.
By divine providence, my husband found your video series online during the first week we were preparing a lesson. Your teaching has been enriching our teaching “ever since.” We started with six or eight attendees and are now averaging over thirty. We integrate your teaching into every lesson. The notes you have added to the site are another blessing. Prior to the last few weeks, I was typing your video dialogue to determine what I should include.
Needless to say, you are like a member of the family at our house. By Monday or Tuesday each week, one of us will say to the other have you listened to Shawn Thomas yet. I have tried to follow the seminary guidance and read and interpret the scripture before I listen to you. However, I typically breathe a sigh of relief after gaining the clarity and intrigue that you bring to the passages.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The Lord is nourishing us, but you are fortifying our understanding.
Wow thank you for the encouraging words Lynda. And praise God for what He has done through you two as you stepped out in faith and took that class — and how it has grown! A great example of how He will use us if we step out and obey Him. I’m so thankful that the lessons are helpful to you. God bless you two — and know that I am praying for you all this evening!
Thank you so much for your Bible study lessons. My wife and I find these very helpful and insightful in preparation for our classes.
We watch these each week.
May God continue to bless.
Jerry and Carolyn Allen
I am so thankful that they are helpful to you, Jerry; thank you for letting me know. I’m praying for you & Carolyn this morning as you teach!
I just finished reading your sermon on Matt 1:21. Jesus save his people from their sins. Excellent sermon. Thank you very much
Thank you so much for your sermon. James 3:15. It was exactly what the Lord knew I needed.
I must change my preaching because of you. I always use the term “Baptist” when referring to a grouchy, legalistic, New Testament Pharisee. You have proved me delightfully wrong! Thank you for that correction.
I will be following this site in the future. You are a blessing to me and the churches I pastor.
(Are you sure you’re Baptist?), Love you Brother!
Hey Pastor…. in a study of what it means for us to ‘treat God as holy …’ as Moses spoke in Leviticus 10:3,I read your brief comments on this verse (perhaps written while at Pleasant Ridge it seemed)
… in any case, I gained from it’s reading, and will continue to reflect on your comments and Jeremiah Burroughs’ Spiritual Worship .. something which seems to be amiss in the Western Church. The Lord seems not to be held up as “high and holy” as one might say, and her testimony in our culture appears to reflect that.
Sadly I believe you are right, Brian. I’m glad the message spoke to you. Let’s pray that the Lord will revive our churches and our whole country with a sense of His holiness and glory.
I just read your sermon blog on The Most Important Thing Dueteronomy 6…very enlightening and sight changing on how it is not complicated at all…just simply put we are to Love God….Thank you.. no where near to where i was..not yet to where I want or need to be….but here in the middle of it all…finding my way…with the light of your words…I press on…I thank God for you and his love he showed me through your words and your relationship with him. Blessings 🙌
Hello Mr. Thomas
Forst off I wanted to say thank you, I subscribe to your blog and your Youtube page.
I am an adult Sunday school teacher in Kentucky and your overviews are a tremendous help.
My question is:
I am working on this coming Sunday school lesson about the Holy Spirit for April 16th 2023 and I am having trouble ….. I guess I’ve always believed that the Holy Spirit convicts believers …… but John 16:8 specifically says that the Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers ….. which I understand …… but I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that says the Holy Spirit convicts believers ….. I’ve been looking and studying off and on for the last three days …..
I heard you say in your overcoew of the lesson that the Holy Spirit does convict believers as well as unbelievers ……. I was hoping ypu could explain to me where you got that ??
Thank you so much for your time sir !