By Todd Johns
This faith journey that we have been on over the last decade has had its many ups and downs that’s for sure! As I reflect back, as well as ponder on our present context, I cannot help but think about how life for us in many ways has been like living on the edge of…Yikes! I equate it to being stretched and twisted like a rubber band on one of those thin plywood air planes with the rubber band attached to the propeller, you know the ones I’m talking about? It’s like that! Being twisted and pulled back further and further almost to the point of, ‘Yikes! Is it going to break or hold together for one more twist?’, then at just the right time and when it cannot be twisted and stretched any further with out snapping its LAUNCHED into the greatest flight of it’s life, soaring from one end of the launching pad into new and uncharted territory. It lands in a new location and along with all that comes a new season, new surroundings that look and feel different and yet there is so much excitement and anticipation in the air!
I have learned over the years that in order to walk in the “good works” God has called us to for that season of life we must be willing to sit in the tension and enjoy (yes I said enjoy) the twisting and stretching that will ultimately shape and mold us for that next chapter of life. I know your probably thinking ‘how can I enjoy, times of twisting and stretching that sound uncomfortable?’ Allow me to share with you a couple of top challenges we’ve faced and some key take-aways from those seasons of life
Expect the Unexpected
I heard someone once say, “all disappointments are a direct result of an unmet expectation” and ever since I heard that I realized just how true that statement really is. Early on out of college, I was faced with my ‘unmet expectations’ of what I thought ministry and life would look like coming out of the gate. Boy was I wrong! Talk about disappointment. My line of thinking went something like this, ‘well God, you delivered me and set me free from addiction, sent me onto Bible college, allowed me to marry and start a family, now I’ll be a pastor somewhere, maybe an associate, but pastoring in a church for sure.’ When that didn’t happen, can I just tell you that was a bit of a challenge for me. Something that I would personally wrestled with for the next couple of years.
As we would learn to trust God and His leading for our lives no matter what it looked like or what it cost, we found we grew so much closer with God during that season of life. It was during this season that I worked full-time with Whirlpool Corporation and helped to plant a church. Little did I know at the time how the Lord was going to use my time, our time, in Michigan to launch us into the ministry. The vision for Revive and the Christian community development work that we would do, all came from this season of trusting God. I learned to be a follower of Christ NO MATTER WHERE I found myself. In other words, follow Jesus right where I’m at, no matter what that season had in store. Love God. Love people. Love like Jesus.
Timing is Everything
We often here this among friends and people feeling the ‘call to something’ but they just don’t know exactly what that is; when they should step out and start the work God is calling them to. During our time in Michigan, over the course of 6 years, God was “impregnating” in us the vision for Revive and what we are doing today. However, at the time we had no clue exactly what it was or what it would look like. We did however, know that God was calling us to something greater than ourselves; we just didn’t know what exactly that was or when we would start. What’s most important in this ‘challenge of time’ is to NOT birth the vision God is entrusting you with prematurely. When we have a misfire on timing, it can bring much heartache, pain and potentially the death of something great; all because it was about living in the tension and trusting God for His timing and His ways.
In the story of Abraham we see that, he was given a promise from God to have a family. His wife Sarah, was barren and unable to have children. In a quick decision to “make it happen”, they jumped ahead of Gods timing by having Abraham sleep with Sarah’s servant, Hagar. Instead of waiting on God’s time, Abraham and Sarah rushed a decision that caused a tremendous amount of pain upon their family. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. God loved them both but it wasn’t plan A. Don’t birth Ishmael’s for your life, wait on the Lord for His promises to be fulfilled for your life. Trust me its worth the wait, the launch is incredible! Remember it’s His Story, not ours and His glory, not our own.
So what is the key take-away and secret to contentment during this season of life? JESUS! We need to continue to have child-like faith’. Is Jesus enough? Is He enough for our every day and every moment of our life? Its always God launching us into that next season of greatness; launching us into the good works He has prepared before the foundations of the world. (Eph. 2:10)
Our lives over the last decade have been one amazing ride, that’s for sure. Many ups and downs, many twists and turns, but one thing is for sure, God is constant, never shifting, never changing, always with us in the ‘thick of it’ giving us His comfort and peace unlike anything this world could ever offer. (Hebrews 13:8; John 14:27) In your moments of twisting and stretching, enjoy God and all that He has given you! Because Jesus is what catches us when we step off the edge and embrace all the adventure found within YIKES!
Todd Johns is the Executive Director of Revive Ministry Nicholasville, KY
Todd has deep passion and conviction to see churches have the greatest impact in their communities and people reaching their full potential and calling in life. He has a very diverse background when it comes to church affiliation, experience and ministry. He has had the exciting honor and privilege of helping to plant three churches over the last decade that spans three different denominations. Todd’s diverse background also includes six years working for Whirlpool Corporation in the areas of Supply Chain logistics and analytics as well as Sourcing Specialist within their Procurement department.
He is a 2006 graduate from Valley Forge Christian College, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministry and Minor in Youth. He is happily married to his beautiful wife Casey and together they have two daughters and a son, Olivia, Madeline and Gabriel. In the summer of 2014 Todd had accepted the position as General Manager of J’s place, a community coffeehouse in downtown Nicholasville. Todd also serves as Founder and Executive Director of Revive Ministries, a non-profit focused on Christian Community Development initiatives.