Be open? I am working on myself yo!
What do people say about you and your family when you are not around?
Have you ever wondered what it looks like to disciple someone when you are super busy raising kids and working?
I did. I still do.
I met Brent and Kelly Johns in March of 2011, just a month after I met Jesus face to face, confessed my sin to Him, and believed that He rose from the dead for me to live.
As I sat in Pastor Brent’s office he explained to me what it meant to be a Christian and that God commands that I follow through with baptism. He said that it is a symbol of my new life with Jesus.
I don’t remember truly understanding it in the moment, but I do remember being ready and willing to do whatever the Bible told me to do.
Brent saw that I was new and didn’t know anyone so he invited me over to his home. This is truly where my journey began.
When I met his family I didn’t really know how to act, because this dynamic was so different than anything I was used to.
They loved each other and were so welcoming to me even though I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. We started running together, and looking back, Brent did this only to spend time with me and pour into my life.
These runs were so pivotal to many decisions I made about school, faith, and family in those early months of being a new creation. This mentorship quickly became a friendship.
What Brent and Kelly may not realize is the Biblical foundation they gave me for my family today. I watched them very closely and observed how they interacted with one another. I took in everything that I could because I desired to one day have a family.
These are the 4 truths I learned from Brent and Kelly by their small invitation and eagerness to watch me grow in Christ.
(1) Be open even if it takes “your” time
I learned that my family should be a witness, and it’s hard to show the world Jesus when your not in the world.
I was so grateful that the Johns opened their home to me and allowed me to be part of them. I knew they were busy, but they always found the time to invite me into
I now do my best to live in a sacrificial way that brings others into my family. I am not perfect at this, but we strive to be better.
“Our” time isn’t for us, it’s for the Lord. Everything we have is for Jesus, we sacrificed all that at the foot of the cross declaring Him as complete authority over us.
(2) Don’t be afraid to loosen up and have fun
I was a very serious person when I first came into the fold of Christianity. This has changed a lot since then even though my personality does bend towards seriousness and getting things done in order!
One of the first things I noticed about the Johns was their ability to live life with a light heart. I now know this is a by-product of being in full-time ministry because somethings can eat you up if you let it.
When I realized this about them it allowed me to not take everything so serious and be okay with having a good time. I don’t read anywhere in Scripture that tells us to look like we are attending a funeral everywhere we go.
This different perspective allowed me to see people in a different light and love them. When we see the world with a light heart our perspective changes.
(3) When meeting someone ask lots of questions about them
This principle has been ENORMOUSLY valuable to me in life. Brent and Kelly knew more about me in the first 6 months of our friendship than my lifelong friends did at the time.
I can remember eating dinner in their home and always feeling like I was the honored guest. They didn’t just ask any questions, they asked questions that mattered:
What was your childhood like?
What is your favorite thing to do right now?
Where do you see yourself in 5 – 10 years?
Can you tell me more about your past and what brought you to Jesus?
What do you sense Jesus is calling you to do with your life?
Hey, there is this really pretty girl in college Bible study you should probably pursue her….
Okay, that last statement is somewhat true. I met Nichole, my wife, in their home during a college Bible study!
(4) Be who you are and don’t make excuses
Brent and Kelly never made excuses for their successes or failures. They genuinely cared for me and others. It showed because they placed others in front of themselves.
I have to admit. I didn’t fully understand how difficult this was to do until I started having children. The needs of our family are major at times and sometimes that out shadows sacrificially giving to others.
There is no doubt in my mind I am a leader in my home the way God wants me to be because of Brent and Kelly’s friendship.
I am certain I love my wife the way Jesus loves the church because of Brent and Kelly’s friendship. (I am getting better each day…)
I will not make excuses for Jesus or my family and God’s Word is my promise.
Thank you, Brent and Kelly, for loving a young adult with no vision and giving me the tools I needed to love my family and the life God has given me.
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I and my wife Nichole tackle discussion about faith, family, and culture in our podcast: “Mutterings From A Bald Guy And His Wife”.
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