Category Archives: Worship

Finishing Strong!!! Part 5 of 5

I am sharing in five parts a dialogue that took place through email and in person that my son Jody and I had this past spring. The reason for this dialogue-taking place in person, email and FaceTime is that we live nineteen hours away from each other and it was a progressive conversation over several weeks. My intent in sharing this dialogue is that it might be used by God to encourage a mom, dad, son or daughter to keep the doors of communication open. I do have Jody’s permission to share this series of articles.

Today I am sharing part five of our dialogue.

The following is an inside view of a dialogue through email, FaceTime and in person that my son Jody and I had this past spring. My intent in sharing is that I hope it may encourage a mom, dad, son or daughter.

This past Spring my youngest son Jody and I took time to visit and write about finishing strong. You see, at that time he was one year away from graduation at Liberty University. It is often said you will be remembered more by how you finish than how you start. I knew we were on the eve of Jody completing his third year at Liberty and thought this would be a good time to encourage him how the next twelve months have the potential to shape the rest of his life.

I challenged Jody in five areas to finish stronger at Liberty University.

You can go to to read the first four areas I covered in a challenge for Jody to finish strong.

Today’s post covers the fifth area that Jody and I discussed last spring. The fifth area that Jody and I discussed was character.

This is an area that my wife Jerilyn and I have attempted to live out before our two sons, family, co-workers, friends and neighbors. I am grateful that Jody and I can still have this conversation. It is a healthy conversation about who we are as Children of God, about who we are when no one else is around and who we are in public places. I am thankful that a discussion of character with our sons has never been about judging the character of someone else and we don’t measure ourselves by someone else’s character. The subject of character in our family is defined by who we are in Christ.

Today’s Take-Away for you to consider:

Discover who you are as a follower of Jesus Christ!

Matthew 5:48; I Peter 1:15-16; I Corinthians 13: 4-8; Galatians 3:20

In closing, let me bring you up-to-date on Jody. He was to begin his final year at Liberty University on Monday August 20, 2012. However, he was on a mission trip to Uganda and will returned August 28. Check out his photos and stories at Instagram or Webstegram  @jodyjohnston. He will be back in class on the 29th of August. I am praying he will be healthy, strong and overcome the nine-hour time difference quickly. I know the people of Bethlehem Baptist Church will be excited to have him back on Sunday September 2. As a father I am grateful for the love this church demonstrates to Grady, Ann and Jody.

This past summer Jody travelled throughout the US with a college friend Ryan Carl as they sought to build community among Instagramers. You can read more by clicking on this link:

Jody took our talk to heart as he has started off his senior year at Liberty University strong. I pray for a strong finish. I am grateful for a University committed to training Champions for Christ. For more information on Liberty University I encourage you to visit

Please take a moment and let me know your thoughts about this conversation.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

#Pilgramers, #Instagram @JodyJohnston #LibertyUniversity #trainingchampions for Christ

Time, Priorities or Responsibilities! Which one is it?

It has been five months since I have posted something on my blog! I have thought often about posting something along with a redesign of the site to include more visuals. I have a list of subjects to write about so it is not that I did not think about the blog and it was not because of a shortage of subjects to write about.

I could give the following reasons of time, priorities and responsibilities for not posting something on my blog for five months.

However, the real reason has been obedience. I believe the Lord did not want me writing over the past five months. The Lord had me on a different agenda and I did not want to miss His plan. You see, I could have filled some time, re-address some priorities and forsake some responsibilities to write but I would have missed what God was doing in my life.

It has been a time of searching my own heart, a time of growing deeper in my personal relationship with Jesus, a time of new growth in my relationship with Jerilyn, a time of character building, a time of sharpening some skills, a time of walking with some families through deep pain, a time of celebrating with our son Grady and his wife Ann over accomplishments in their life and celebrating with Jody over accomplishments in his life. One of Jody’s accomplishments includes some acting and photography. I encourage you to check out Pilgramers on YouTube along with with “Stuff Instagramers Say.” You can also see photos on Instagram @JodyJohnston or @Pilgramers. I still pray daily for the wife that God has for Jody and look forward to meeting her one-day. He enters his Senior Year at Liberty University this fall and we look forward to celebrating his graduation in the spring of 2013.

I am excited about the work God has and continues to do in my life and I look forward to writing about those things along with some others things in the day ahead.

Today, I can say that I am excited because I have a new sense of freedom in Christ and plan to exercise all of those freedoms for the sake of the Kingdom. I am excited that God has freed me up to write and while I may write from time to time I am committed to pursuing God.

You see my not writing was not about time, priorities or responsibilities. It was about my obedience to my Master Jesus Christ.

Thanks for taking time to read this post. If it has encouraged you or if you have some specific questions about your own journey in Christ or my journey please leave a comment here at or message me on Facebook or Twitter.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

Louisiana/Haiti Partnership Missions 2012

Good Afternoon! We had a great morning of Worship today at FBC Covington, LA. I hope your morning has been a time of meaningful worship.

I am writing because I will be leading a team to Haiti this coming Thursday. The group going with me is significant to the future work of Louisiana Baptist in Haiti. The team members going have specific responsibilities while on this trip in the areas of Medical, Orphanage Work, Church Planting, Ministry Development and Simultaneous Revivals. We will be working toward the strategic development of building a multiplying ministry in Haiti that will include the construction of a medical clinic and orphanage. If finances support we will also build a housing unit for volunteers to stay in while in Haiti. The housing unit would be built on the site where we intend to build a Medical Clinic and Orphanage if all goes well with purchase of land. We will be working east of Port-Au-Prince in Croix des Bouquet pronounced quad a bouquet and as well in a large populated area near Croix des Bouquet that is referred to as Canaan. The pastor we are working with has already planted one churches  in Canaan since the earthquake of 2010.

We will meet with Pastors and Business Leaders this week about this plan for a Medical Clinic and Orphanage in this area. Our key pastor is very excited about the potential of establishing a medical clinic and orphanage in this area along with working with him to plant churches and develop ministry opportunities such as Bible Schools. The Pastor has respect among the Haitian Baptist Convention leaders and people where he is serving. He will serve as a good advocate for the work. In the future we will have agricultural specialist travelling to explore, what crops might be grown in this area to sell at market. In addition to agricultural specialist, we will have others who will begin looking at teaching people to sew while exploring some other trade options with the people.

I will send reports at least once a day if possible while in Haiti from February 9 – 16 to keep you updated.
Here are some way’s to pray for us:
1.       That the plans we are discussing will be in accord with God’s plan.
2.      As we discern where God is leading we establish clear next steps for land purchase, building of the medical clinic and orphanage
3.      See clear ministry opportunities like Bible Schools, Church Planting and Simultaneous Revivals
4.      To be faithful to share the Good News of Jesus all along the way.

While I am excited to lead this group to Haiti my heart aches for the lostness right here in Covington, the Northshore as well as the Southshore of New Orleans. I will be praying for you to be light to a darken world as you live out each day. I will give my all until I leave for Haiti to share Jesus with those here at home and will look forward to rejoining you in the work upon my return.

With a Grateful Heart,
Pastor Jay
Jay Johnston, D.Min.
Associate Pastor, FBC Covington, LA.

Follow Jay on Twitter @jaygjohnston


Have You Heard?

This is the first of numerous articles I am writing for Awaken 2012. You can read more about awaken 2012 at

Have you heard about Awaken 2012? When I first heard Pastor Don Masteller share his heart about the condition of Louisiana, the US and the World I wept with him. When he began painting a picture of how an awakening might affect Louisiana. I began thinking about how God might use such an awakening in my life, my family, the church I serve along with the community and the state of Louisiana where I currently live.

After hearing Pastor Masteller cast a vision and calling Pastors to begin preparing for such a time by asking the Lord to prepare our own hearts for such an awakening in Louisiana. I accepted the call that was issued to pray for this possibility. I began asking the Lord to prepare my heart for such an awakening by removing from my life those things that would hinder my relationship with Jesus. I begin asking God to show me the sin in my life that I need to confess and change my ways to become God’s way of living. I have spent a year seeking the Lord as to how He desires to awaken and refresh me and what God might do in our churches and throughout Louisiana. I will continue seeking Him so that I continually abide in Christ.

I am expecting God to continue the work He has begun in me and I pray that as Louisiana Baptist gather one year after Pastor Rod Masteller first gave a vision of what might be (If) we are to see a Spiritual Awakening occur by calling Louisiana Baptist to a Solemn Assembly on Monday night November 14. I see this as an opportunity for Louisiana Baptist to put action toward this vision. May the Lord use this assembly and the season of preparation to follow for His people in Louisiana to be Awaken in 2012!

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

Associate Pastor,

FBC Covington, La

Worship is

I am teaching a class on Building a Balanced Worship Ministry this week at Liberty. I use the phrase “Worship is” from time to time to dialogue with people with the hope that we can come to the same conclusion in order to understand that Worship is about God and not us.

I sent out a message via twitter asking for feedback by asking people to fill in the blank Worship is______________. The following is input I received via twitter and facebook.

Worship is an expression of love and adoration for an awesome Savior

Worship is loving the Lord

Worship is Praising God…

Worship is a right response to who God is

Worship is the result of a “spirit & truth” encounter with God

Worship is Romance

Worship is the greatest privilege we are afforded

Worship is a response of adoration, our outward display of sacrifice, devotion & obedience to what we hold inwardly most dear

Worship is Engaging His Presence….

Worship is why we exist.

Worship is where we see the “big picture”.

Worship is the activity of the man who experiences the presence of God, the Holy One, the One of Greatest Value, the Creator, the Redeemer, the Lover of my soul, My Redeemer.

Worship is embracing the TRUTH!


Worship is “the beginning of praise, not the object.”

Worship is attributing appropriate worth or value to God.”

Worship is “living your life in such a way that it honors our Lord.”

Worship is “the best part of my week!”

Worship is a total life devotion to Jesus in word and deed.

Worship is “an acknowledgment of who He is, not what He does.”

Worship is  “Praising Him and listening to Him”

Worship is “I’ve been studying Isaiah 58 for months…changing my thinking on

Worship…to loosing chains of injustice, setting oppressed free, feeding the hungry, shelter homeless, clothing the naked, helping my kinsman, stop malicious talk, rebuilding ancient ruins, keeping and delighting in the Sabbath.”

Worship is being obedient to God

Worship is Surrender and thanksgiving

Worship is emptying

Worship is God-centered

Worship is “Transcendent, Lavish, Pure….”

Worship is our response to God for who He is & what He’s done

Worship is being filled with the Holy Spirit, bringing our prayers, songs, and gratitude to God, alone or as a group

Worship is Transcendent, Lavish, and Pure….

Worship is offering all that we have and do back to God through Jesus

Worship is Making God look good by what we do and say

Worship is much more than, but including, singing and preaching

Worship is Reflecting back to God the radiance of His worth ~ I think that’s from Desiring God

Worship is offering all that we have and do back to God through Jesus

Input received via Twitter and Facebook and provided by Jay Johnston

I hope this will get you thinking about Worship and encourage you as you Worship Jesus Christ!

With a Grateful Heart,