Dennis Waddelow was born in San Diego California in 1960, to a career Navy man and a stay at home mother.
I originally came to know the Lord when I was ten years old, at a Children’s Church setting. There was a period of 14 years where I was really rebellious. Caught up in the drug culture of the early 70’s I started a life of sin in the ninth grade that would last for the next 14 years. I left High School half way through the 10thgrade. It was a mutual agreement with the school. My father told me to go to work. In early summer of 1975 I started working on a commercial tuna fishing boat with my brother. I turned 16 years old off the coast of Canada. After years of drug and alcohol use and addiction, plus lawless criminal activity I found myself without hope at the age of 26. Feeling I must have committed the unpardonable sin, I considered ending it all by committing suicide. The mountain of consequences seemed insurmountable. Warrants for my arrest, back taxes in the thousands, addictions that couldn’t be kicked and my life being one big lie. In a rare moment of desperate honesty on a Friday in February 1987 I told my sister who was walking with the Lord about my“real” life. I then met with a Pastor from CalvaryChapel Chula Vista on Saturday morning. Not believing that God could possibly love me and not believing anything would happen.None the lessI prayed with the Pastor to receive Jesus as my Savior. I knew immediately that Ihad been forgiven. I then went to work in the shipyard that night and read the whole New Testament from aGideon’s bible (every word was for me). I went to Church the next Sunday. A couple were setting up for Sunday school so I helped them move some tables. The Lord spoke to my heart and told me to come early each Sunday to help setup. After about the third week I went to midweek Bible study at the Pastors house, I got there late so there was only room to sit on the floor, during prayer time I,out of love and gratitude, dedicated my life to serve the Lord in a public prayer (I didn’t realize people don’t normally do this). Iwas asked to be the Sunday School Director after two months at the Church (not normal but it was the Lord)I attended as many bible studies as Icould, started listening to Pastor Chuck Smith’s teaching tapes, read everything I could from Haley’s Bible Hand Book, The Ryrie Study Bible and anything else I could get my hands on.I memorized about 40 verses in the first months of my walk with Jesus.
Marriage:I met my future wife Karen at Bible study and started dating, after getting engaged the IRS contacted me and wanted me to file taxes for the 7 lost years. I told Karen she could back out of the marriage until I cleaned up the mess I was in. Karen had just received a severance package for a large amount of money. She said “that this money would be a down payment on “their”debt”. WOW
We have been serving the Lord together since 1987, teaching adult groups since 1990. Ordained as a Pastor and Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ byCalvary Chapel of Chula Vista. Three of the signatures on my ordination papers were men that had seen and watched my life since the first time I had stepped into Calvary Chapel on March 1, 1987.
Major influences in my teaching style and personal spiritual growth are and were, Pastor Chuck Smith, Dr. Chuck Missler, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, Pastor Leo Geovenetti, Andrew Murray , Phillip Keller, and Pastor Jim Cymbala.
Karen and I with four children moved from California in 1999 to plant a Calvary Chapel in Lincoln Nebraska.