About the Pastor
My name is Sam Blackman, and I am a long-time resident of Four Oaks. My children, Emma, 23, and Clayton, 20, live in Raleigh and are in college there. We all attend Beulah Hill Christian Church in Four Oaks. I have been active in membership and ministry here for 32 years. For the last 11 years, I have served as the Pastor of this congregation that is affiliated with the Christian Church Disciples of Christ.
In 2004 I suffered a stroke due to a heart arrhythmia. The stroke affected my entire right side physically but did not affect my speech, eyesight, or cognitive thought. The road to physical recovery was long and blessed as God provided for a near 100 % recovery for me. I did not plan at 39 to have a stroke or go through the recovery I was blessed with, but it worked out for good in all areas of my life.
After my stroke in 2004, I enrolled in the Disciples of Christ Lay Academy via Barton College in the fall of 2004, as I felt sure God was healing me for a purpose. I completed the 6-semester program in the spring and graduated with the 2008 class of Barton. I applied for Licensure in the ministry in March of 2009 and was Licensed in the Christian Church in NC under the care of Pastor JO Williams Sr in July of 2009. I have been serving as the Pastor here at Beulah Hill Christian Church since the retirement of Rev. Williams in the fall of 2010.
My heart challenges continued, and I was diagnosed with Advanced Heart Failure in the fall of 2015. With two kids in high school, I worked very hard with my doctors to find a way to manage my health and get my kids through high school and into college. Once again, God provided what I needed and more; he allowed me to get both of my children through high school and into college with comfort in my spirit that they could function as adults without me if they needed to.
In 2018 and 2019, I felt God calling me again to look at more opportunities to fulfill my purpose in this life. For lack of a better term, I began “noodling” around with a path for that purpose. I wanted to be able to post a blog-type communication where I could support others during the calendar year as we moved from New Year to Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Harvest, Advent to Epiphany and any other areas of interest that I could provide a spiritual perspective too.
The blog research led me to website research with video posting and support capability that would allow live streaming of sermons, Bible studies, podcasts, seasonal messages from the lectionary, and current daily life spiritual commentary. In 2018 I purchased a few URLs, as I had not settled on a name for the ministry yet, and I started building my own website. After developing the website and creating some content, I began posting blog content under the ministry of Today’s Life in 2019.
I have continued to develop the ministry as God has led me in my life in using the gifts He has blessed me with to reach out to others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Covid-19 virus caused a great deal of strife in our personal and collective lives as the Church and it continues to cause challenges today, almost 2 years later. It did open some new doors and opportunities for the Church to find new and better ways to worship together and to take the Gospel out to others.
I was able to couple my new ministry with my Churches and continue providing sermon and Bible studies to our membership. That kept us connected while we could not meet in person, and it allowed our message to be available for others to view and engage in. We have continued to support this connection of the two ministries to serve others, and we have been able to expand our fellowship in many positive ways.
In Oct of 2020, my heart function had deteriorated to a point where normal day-to-day tasks were difficult for me to complete. My doctor and I had a conversation about a heart transplant because it was my next and last option. It was a difficult decision for me, and after talking with my children, I decided to go forward with the transplant evaluation in Nov.
I was accepted into the transplant program at Duke in Dec of 2020. I went into the hospital on Dec 28 and after 21 days I got my transplant of heart and kidney on Jan 18, 2021. I am 8 months into the recovery process at this writing, and God has continued to bless me with good biopsy and test results.
The analysis of my old heart revealed that I had a birth defect that caused my septal wall to be too thick and stiff to pump properly. With my new heart, I feel better than I have in my adult life, and I am able to do things that I have not been able to do in many years. My strength is returning much slower than I hoped, but every day seems a little better than the day before.
I am hopeful and prayerful that God will continue to bless me to allow my improved health and transplant experience to serve Him according to His purpose for me. Since I was called into the ministry, I see my purpose most clearly when I can help others. I feel God’s presence in my spirit when someone else is going through a difficult time in their life.
I feel like God enables me to be able to help them with support and pastoral care in whatever is going on in their life at the time. I enjoy counseling in many areas of life – spiritual, financial, relationship, family – helping and coaching others is a joy and purpose in my life.
I also enjoy hunting, fishing, spending time with my 3 labs Maggie, Jake, and Max, as well as any activities where I can share the lives and activities of my children