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[good news] | Ryan Johnson

Well, after eight months of being out of vocational ministry, we have found a church family to serve.  On Sunday, December 16, First Baptist Church, Abbeville, AL voted to extend a call to us for the associate/youth pastor position.  Needless to say, we are extremely excited and cannot wait to get there.  Please be in prayer for us as we continue to search for a house and finalize all of the details.

I want to thank each one of you who have been praying for us concerning this time in our lives.  God has been faithful to answer your prayers according to His will.  And just by way of testimony, I want to praise God by recounting the ways He has answered specific petitions ever since the beginning of April:

  1. [bitterness] From the very beginning of this journey I begged God to keep my heart and the heart of my family from becoming bitter towards the church.  My uncle had been through experiences like the one that Mandy and I went through.  Therefore, it was just a huge possibility that we would succumb to bitterness and anger towards the church itself.  However, God has been faithful to help us focus on His precious promises.
  2. [jobs] Where was the money going to come from?  God sovereignly opened up doors for us of provision.  Clearwater Pools in Birmingham needed help, and I already had the experience necessary to fill the position.  Isn’t God good?  And then, after the pool season had closed, God opened up a door for me to come back to Huntsville for a few months to take some of the pressure off of my parents in their business.  All the while, I have learned a lot of new things and God has renewed my passion and vision for ministry.
  3. [family] There were areas of our family life that we had neglected; namely, making God the center of our weekly activities.  God brought us low and showed us how we had been trying to be dependent on things besides Him.  In all of this, God has exalted Himself and reclaimed our family for His glory.  That alone was worth every tear we cried and every pain we encountered.
  4. [vision] Each month brought its own set of difficulties.  I wondered if I would ever be able to get back into ministry.  In keeping near to the Lord, He has made our passion for impacting the lives of students and building up the body of Christ increase.  One of the ways He has done that is by resetting our focus on what really matters in ministry and realizing that you don’t need all of the accessories that the contemporary church is obsessed with.  He put an example before our eyes in The Church at Brook Hills, our place of nourishment and ministry in this interim time.  Additionally, God used several biographies to encourage my heart and strengthen my faith.  “The Heavenly Man” is a biography about a Chinese pastor named Brother Yun that helped me remember that God desires to do amazing things that will draw people into His Kingdom.  John Piper’s biographical sermon about Athanasius, an early church father that fought to defend the deity of Jesus Christ, helped me see God’s purpose in my “exile” from vocational ministry.  As you can see, God’s Word and God’s people will always serve as a source of encouragement in times of struggle.  Why should we turn anywhere else?

In summary, God is good all the time and all the time God is good.  We have experienced His grace and He has used His people to encourage and strengthen in us as we have experienced a deep trial.  We pray that you would experience God’s faithful, everlasting grace in the same way.

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