My name is Ryan Carver, I’m a Jesus follower, husband to my best friend Becca Carver and father of 3
amazing kids Grace 5, Abe 3, and Judah 1. I am the son of 2 wonderful parents, Alice and Bob Carver. My
hobbies include surfing, spearfishing, gardening, and reading. And it is only by the grace of God that I
stand before you today.
Growing up, I’ve always believed that what I had wasn’t enough. I always wanted more. I was jealous of
what other people owned and what other people were doing that I couldn’t do. I felt entitled, I was out
for my own gain, and I viewed life as all about me and what I wanted. These beliefs formed me into
someone who was determined. If I set my mind toward doing something or acquiring something – I would
do anything to make that happen.
In 7th grade, I heard a version of the gospel that focused on my need to pray a prayer so that I would not
go to hell. Well, who wants to go to hell!? So I prayed that prayer, went to youth group, wore a Christian
t-shirt, read my new bible, and even stopped using curse words. Yet, the cares of the world soon began to
creep in and take over my life.
I believed that what I had wasn’t enough and it consumed me. I believed that if the God of the Bible was
real, then he didn’t provide enough for me and he was holding me back from experiencing life to its
fullest. This led to breaking a lot of laws and living an immoral lifestyle. For a time, I got what I wanted. It
felt great and was a lot of fun. I had rejected all things “God” and I especially did not want to be part of
any church. I reasoned that God would let me into heaven because I believed in Jesus but I didn’t want
Him holding me back from what I wanted to do in this life.
I continued chasing after the next experience and living a life that revolved around my desires but during
my third year in college I began to wrestle inwardly with the question, “Can God be known?”. I was an
agnostic that finally went on a search for answers to this question for myself. While taking religion
classes, even one at USFSP that was designed to disprove the Bible, and reading a lot, I found myself
attending a church that I had driven past a thousand times while my parents took me to theirs. For over a
year I would attend that church, sporadically, and mostly by myself. I was still an agnostic entrenched in
a pretty crazy lifestyle filled with drugs, too much money, and everything that comes with that. But God
began to pursue me. He used people to model Jesus to me. God caused me to be unsettled with my
selfish life. He even brought a sense of fear to me as I thought about the way I was living. My intellectual
doubts about the Bible began to chip away as I learned how Christianity was unique to every other
religion in that it’s not about what we have done for God to earn his approval but what God has done for
us to rescue us. I began to trust in Jesus and the way he teaches us to live. Following Jesus IS eternal life.
His ways are far better than MY ways. To trust in Him means freedom from jealousy, covetousness, and
striving for things that I was never meant to live for.
God rescued me from believing I never had enough and living a life that was all about “me”. God became
a man, Jesus, and gave his life for me. I am forgiven, called a child of God, and I have a purpose that is
very opposite from what I thought life was all about. Now I live my life out of thankfulness to God for all
he has provided. Because I believe God is gracious and good I am not consumed by jealousy toward what
others have and do but instead, I am determined to point others toward Jesus, who is truly worth
everything. Jesus rescued me and I want to be part of that rescue for others. Instead of living a selfish life
to get what I want, I am trying to live a life of sacrifice and love as I follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
This family we call Gulf Coast came into my life in late 2008. I was looking for a church that had
Christ-centered worship including the preaching. I was looking for leaders who were available to share
some of their lives with me. I found all of this and more at Gulf Coast. Those early days with you all have a
special place in my heart as you welcomed me into your lives and modeled Jesus for me in so many
These current days have me excited as I continue to be a small part in God’s mission. If you know me at
all, you know that I have one beating drum…make disciples who make disciples. And my main area of
focus for this, outside of my household is the college campus. I believe the most strategic mission field in
all of North America is the campus. I will die trying to equip college students and send them out as
disciple-makers across our city and the rest of the world.
I was a selfish person and my desires consumed me to the point that I would do anything to get what I
wanted. God rescued me from believing I was like God and He is changing me into someone who will do
anything for the love of God and people as I look to Jesus… our greatest Provider.