“The grand jury met yesterday and you were indicted on three counts for violating ethics laws.” I got that phone call from my attorney late one Wednesday afternoon in the middle of a Sunday School leadership meeting.
Not something I expected.
For the previous three years I had been in communication via my attorney with federal prosecutors about an on-going investigation they were making against me for perceived ethics violations. They thought I committed several infractions after leaving a presidentially-appointed position I held.
There were waves of emotions that ran over me as I stepped back into the meeting with my fellow class members: embarrassment, anger, sickness, and shock were just a few. While I obviously knew I was a “person of interest” I had surrounded myself with really bright legal minds who went over the accusations with a fine tooth comb and came to same conclusion: Nick, you didn’t break any laws.
During the years I was being investigated before the indictment, I felt surely we would have an opportunity to sit down and explain everything and it would all go away. But we didn’t.
So that phone call wasn’t something I expected.
The next couple of hours were really hard but started with godly people from my Sunday School class who held my hands and prayed with me for the strength they knew I would need.
I headed home so I could tell my wife Lisa face to face but on the way I called my Mama. She could hear it in my voice something was wrong when I asked her to meet me at home. And she came loaded for bear.
The next couple of days were spent calling people that loved me. Having to tell my Daddy was really hard because I didn’t want him to be ashamed of me – and he wasn’t. My precious little sister showered me with Scripture and reminded me that I was still her big brother hero. Lisa and I hunted down our then-pastor, Stan Buckley, on his day off. He and his law degree were a great comfort.
We told our Sunday School class the next Sunday and immediately Lisa and I were encircled by our classmates as they laid hands on us and prayed for us and lifted us up. I offered to stop teaching the class and they wouldn’t hear anything of it. We were in the middle of a year-long study on the book of Romans and that Sunday we were in the last half of Chapter 8 – which wasn’t happenstance in my opinion.
All of that love and support was something I expected.
I’m a 7th generation Mississippian and will always call Wiggins my home.
My great-great-grandfather was the pastor of the nearby Perkinston Baptist Church when he and others started the First Baptist Church of Wiggins in 1920s. Somebody from my family has been a member there ever since.
I was baptized there and FBC Wiggins will always be my home church no matter where I may have my membership. I went to Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College for undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, I’ve taught Sunday School at First Baptist Church of Jackson for over a decade and I’ve served on the Board of Trustees of Blue Mountain College which is a Baptist institution of higher education in North Mississippi www.bmc.edu.
Are you starting to see a pattern?
So why do I tell you all of that? Like Paul in Acts 22:3, I can give all kinds of pedigree about church attendance and being, as we like to call it, “in church since I was on the cradle roll.” But the opportunity I had to know Him better because of this indictment is something I had not expected. But I have loved it.
When I was a junior in high school I was elected state and national Beta Club president and I was bitten by the politics bug. I was very active with college politics and went to work as an intern for my congressman which led to other staff positions in government. The best part of all the politics was I met my wife Lisa when she worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
After getting thoroughly spanked in an unsuccessful run for Secretary of State in 1999, my two US Senators recommended me to President George W. Bush to serve as State Director of USDA Rural Development in Mississippi. I served as State Director from March 2001 until August of 2006. Since that time, I have managed my own consulting firms ranging from grant writing, business development and public speaking.
I am currently developing a bi-vocational non-profit teaching ministry called Archippus International Ministries which empowers Christian leaders to better understand theology and doctrine so they can teach others to study the Word. As I like to say, we’re curing Biblical-ignorance one pew at a time.
Lisa and I have three children from age 21 to 11. We live in Ridgeland, MS.