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Reg Grant

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Reg Grant And So the Story Goes ...

He sat on the pew and watched the plates of wafers and grape juice go by—his stomach was churning. Although he was only nine, his appetite rivaled that of almost any boy in town. Leaning over, young Reg asked his mother, "What do I have to do in order to eat?" She said he'd probably have to join the church.

He did just that. In the process, however, he found out that communion was about much more than just filling your stomach. The pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Beeville, Texas, gave him a little blue book that explained what Christ had done on the cross for him.

"I was pierced to the heart that someone would love me enough to die for me," he later said. After reading the book, he knelt down beside his bed and placed his trust in Christ.

The book encouraged new believers to get involved in ministry at their local church, and Reg was ready to do his part. Although he had just started on a baseball team, he told his mom he'd give up one afternoon of baseball practice a week in order to polish the pews at the church. When he told the pastor his plan, however, he was astonished that the pastor laughed and said, "Son, don't you worry about serving the church—you go play baseball."

And so, at an early age Reg was led to believe that he did not need to serve the Lord or the church. Fortunately, God didn't leave it at that.

"Somewhere in the back of my mind, I heard a little voice saying, "Give me your all," he said. "I managed to kind of push it down for years."

Growing up "cowboying" on a working ranch, he learned the discipline of ranch life and also the creativity of storytelling that often accompanies such a culture. His father, Max and his mother Evie, who was called "Happy," were both avid storytellers, along with his Uncle Rocky, who wrote three books of Western stories.

"Every Sunday evening after church, the whole family would sit around and tell stories," he said.

In third grade, Reg entered a storytelling contest and won second place. He later moved on to school play performances, poetry reading, method acting and so on. In his four years of college, he performed in 20 to 30 college and community shows, and even directed a few. It wasn't until later when he and his wife went to a Bible study led by DTS graduate Greg Hagg, that God challenged him to take the Bible seriously and trust Him with his life.

"That night, our life turned around a hundred and eighty degrees … It finally soaked in that you could put your trust in God, not just to save you but to guide you," he said.

"That little voice came back for the first time in twelve years, saying 'Give me your all.'"

He was finishing school in Lubbock, and he and his wife had planned to go to New York to look into an acting possibility. God had other plans, however, and He made it clear to Reg that he needed go to Dallas Seminary.

"The theater had become my Isaac, and I needed to sacrifice it—I needed to put it on the altar," he said.

When he told his theater friends that God was calling him to go to seminary, they tried to talk him out of it. But, he was so convinced that he gave one of his friends his makeup kit that he had been building since he was nine years old.

"Giving him that makeup kit severed the emotional umbilical cord that tied me to the theater. The theater was dead to me now." That afternoon, he received a call from a friend who gave him a contact of a man at DTS who was involved with Christian drama. "I had no concept that there was anything creative going on here. I expected to find a bunch of people dressed in monks' robes and bumping into walls.

"I had slain this thing that was so dear to me and was truly walking away from it, when God turned me around and pointed me to the ram in the thicket and said, 'I'm going to give your giftedness back to you and use it to glorify My name.'"

Certainly, He has done just that. Along with the courses he teaches at DTS on dramatic Scripture reading and creative writing, Dr. Grant is currently involved in multiple productions. He stars in a series, called "In Search of the Heroes," that has won two Emmy awards. He also played Jacob Marley in a movie called Scrooge and Marley, which aired on ABC, FOX and PAX the week of Christmas, 2001. In terms of future ventures, he recently pitched two ideas to Wonderful World of Disney, which he said the producers loved. One is a musical Christmas special for next year based on O'Henry's Gift of the Magi. The other is a T.V. series called "Storyville," which is the vacation home of the characters of world literature.

"It's where [the characters] go and kick back when they're not being read," he said. "So, you have Tarzan living next door to Mrs. Haversham, who runs a bridal boutique and always has to call him to come unstick the windows at her house."

Dr. Grant is passionate about many things, but his greatest passion is his family.

"My wife, Lauren, is a rock in my life," he said.

He beams when he talks about Lauren and their three kids, Rosalyn, Gabe and Nick, who are all involved in the arts.

Another driving passion of Dr. Grant's life is writing. He has written several novels and screenplays, and has coauthored two other books. His most recent work is a historical novel called Storm: The Story of Martin Luther.

He said few feelings are as satisfying to him as watching characters he has developed start to act on their own.

"At that point as a writer you become a recorder of events that flow naturally out of three-dimensional characterizations.

"When they're real, and they start doing things that surprise you. It gives you some dim, shadowy sense of what it must be like for the Lord, who created us three-dimensionally, to watch us act out the lives that He has structured for us."