Barry Puckett is not a builder; he’s both a teacher and a highly skilled technology consultant who spent most of his career with FedEx.
He’s not a builder, but he does know about foundations.
He’s built on the sand, and he’s built on the rock. His testimony: life is sweeter with Jesus!
“I grew up going to a small church. When I was 9, it was kind of like a rite of passage, my dad said, ‘Hey you wanna go forward?’ I did that. I walked down the aisle and got baptized because that’s what you saw kids do.”
But young Barry did not yet know Jesus. By 14 or 15, an older friend introduced him to beer. He quit the football and baseball teams and pursued the party scene. “I started drinking and that led to smoking weed. I was a bad student. Barely graduated high school.”
After high school, Barry planned to “get into the world and do what I wanted to do.” His parents talked him into going to college, where he hung with friends who “excelled at drinking and drugs” and earned a 1.2 grade point average.
He dropped out, lived on his own for two years, and worked at a telephone sales job. “I was 22 years old and there were people 40 years old, 50 years old, and I thought, “Really? Is this all there’s going to be?”
“I needed to turn my life around. I moved back home, went back to school, and got on at FedEx. I met two guys who taught me how to study. And after two years I graduated with a 3.2 GPA. After a year I got married. I quit doing drugs, and drinking went from six days a week to the weekend.”
But Barry still did not know Jesus.
“Over the years, that got old. The car I wanted, the wife I wanted, all that stuff I thought would make me happy started breaking down. I was lost, looking for something. Why am I here? What is life about?”
While considering these life-defining questions, Barry had a 30-minute drive to FedEx each morning. “Love Worth Finding came on at 7 o’clock. I started listening to Adrian Rogers and I thought, ‘this guy tells it like it is.’”
“The Spirit started working on me. We lived across from Bellevue so I thought, ‘that’s just across the street; I should try that. This was in 1993. But my wife did not share my spiritual interest. She was still drinking. We were growing apart.”
That December, Barry’s wife left, leaving him no excuses. He didn’t blame her for leaving. They both felt it was the right decision.
Barry started going to church again in January of 1994 and never looked back. “I thought I was rededicating my life to the Lord, but at some point, I realized I’d never been saved. As Pastor Rogers put it, I had put my baptism on the wrong side of my salvation. Barry was baptized, this time as a Christian. He drank in Pastor Rogers’ messages on marriage and family and made a serious effort to reconcile with his wife.
“Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but I joined a class, met some guys who discipled me, and taught me how to study the Bible.”
In time, he also met a beautiful Christian woman. Barry and Pat Puckett were married in 1999.
“Christ is at the center of our relationship and has been the whole time. We put him first. God said love your wife like Jesus loved the Church and lay down your life for her. We’re dedicated to biblical principles for our family. We had three kids who grew up seeing us serve in the church. They have that servant spirit as well.”
One of Barry’s favorite resources from Love Worth Finding is “A Future for the Family,” a nine-message series from Pastor Adrian Rogers covering engagement, marriage, family relationships, and child-rearing.
Now in his 60s, Barry can tell those trying to build their lives on the sand that, “’Sin takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay and costs you more than you want to pay’ (one of my favorite Dr. Rogers quotes).”
Meanwhile, Barry said he feels not only stable with his life on the rock but also excited about the future. While raising his family, he went back to school again for a Master of Arts in Teaching and taught for several years. Because he’s worked both in business and education, he is able now to choose consulting positions that fit his skills and his schedule, leaving time to dedicate to family and ministry.
He continues to listen to Love Worth Finding. And he continues to grow as he studies the Bible, remembering one of his favorite Adrian Rogers’ quotes: “Read a chapter a day, don’t worry about what you don’t understand, just obey the part you do understand, and before long you’ll begin to understand what you didn’t understand. Understand?"