Category Archives: Gratitude

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 www.jayjohnston.org 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:

http://www.liberty.edu/news/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=61763#.UDZBcXni9Ws.mailto

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 www.liberty.edu

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

Finishing Strong!!!! Part 1 of 5

Today, I am sharing Part 1 of 5 post that comes from a dialogue through email, FaceTime and in person that my son Jody and I had this past spring. The reason this dialogue took 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 that was healthy for me and Jody.  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 one of our dialogue.

The following is an inside view of a dialogue through email 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.

The first area that Jody and I discussed was in his personal walk with Jesus.

I told him how grateful I am that he has a personal relationship with Jesus and that it seem like only yesterday that we stopped on Interstate 65 heading southbound

at mile marker 43 where he personally invited Jesus into his life. I challenged him that he has an opportunity to intentionally prepare and mature in his personal walk with Jesus during his senior year that would launch him into the next season of his life.

We spoke of some specific actions including his private time with God and public times of service and disciplemaking. We also spoke of those opportunities God orchestrates like divine appointments, and he needed to be in tune with God so he would not miss those appointments.

Today’s Take-Away for you to consider:

1. Accountability as a Christian is a must!

The Bible says God holds us accountable. Romans 14:12

A Christian is accountable to one another. 1 Corinthians 12

We must not see accountability as our enemy or a way to ambush someone. I see accountability as a backstop in life that supports and protects us from being found in an appearance of evil.

You might have read this and say well that works for them because the father and son both identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. So, what if a parent or child, teenager or young adult is without Christ what can I do to begin a conversation with them about Jesus. The very first thing I would do is pray for God to open a door for such an opportunity. We often try to go and do matters that are important with God without ever consulting Him.  Second, I would go to that person not with the intent to harm, but to share with them how much Jesus means to you. Let this be a personal time of sharing the story of Jesus and what God is doing in your life. Third, I would follow-up with that person and see how they are handling the conversation. Fourth, do not give up! Keep Praying and Asking God to bring that person to Salvation.

I hope you will take time to read and share your feedback with me by leaving comments at www.jayjohnston.org

I will post part 2 tomorrow. In closing, would you join in praying for family members who need a personal relationship with Jesus. I also ask you join me in praying for the preparations  and evacuation procedures taking place along the US Gulf Coast because of Issac.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay

FInishing Strong!!!!

I will be sharing a post each day this week that comes from a dialogue through email, FaceTime and in person that my son Jody and I had this past spring. The reason this dialogue took 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 that was healthy for both Jody and me.  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.

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. Those areas include: personal relationship with Jesus, academic excellence, work ethics and expectations, friends and personal character.

I hope you will take time to read and share your feedback with me and others by leaving comments at www.jayjohnston.org

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

 

Happy Birthday, Jerilyn!

February 27 is the birthday of my wife, friend, encourager, mother of our sons Grady and Jody, mother-in-law to Ann and hopefully one day soon to Jody’s wife. She is the daughter of Al and Jeannie Gaspard and sister of Johnny Wade and sister-in-law to Pam, Jimmy and Mandy.

Jerilyn is a prayer warrior, piano player, and piano teacher.

She is a friend to many people! She loves being in the kitchen cooking and preparing meals. She certainly has the gift of hospitality.

Jerilyn is a person that runs after God’s Heart, She is a committed Christian who is committed to living out her life for Jesus no matter the cost.

I am grateful to honor and celebrate the life of Jerilyn Gaspard Johnston.

Happy Birthday, Jerilyn! I love you.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

You can follow Jay on Twitter@jaygjohnston

 

Louisiana/Haiti Missions Partnership

The intent of this partnership is first and foremost to announce the Gospel to the Nation of Haiti. The initial scope will be focused on working with Pastor Odvald and the association of churches he serves as the Senior Pastor of Nouvelle Eglise Evangelique Baptiste Church in Croix-des-Bouquet.  This includes currently the work in six churches and two church plants that have the potential to reach 1.5 million people among this association of churches.

The scope of the partnership will include but not limited to Prayer Walking Teams, Medical Clinics, Bible Clubs, Church Planting, Orphanage Support, School Support, Evangelistic Crusades and Building Projects.

The Louisiana Baptist/Haiti Partnership Missions will begin and continue through PrayGr8Commission. This is an opportunity to Pray Daily for Christ to give you daily opportunities to share the Gospel and make Disciples where you live while also praying for the work in Haiti.

The long-term goal is to assist these churches by:

Providing Prayer Support

Establish a permanent Medical Clinic at each church

Provide sponsorship to staff a nurse five days a week for 8 hours a day (discovery cost)

Provide assistance with church planting among this association of churches

Provide teams to conduct Backyard Bible Clubs

Provide for school support when appropriate

Provide Construction teams to build churches, Medical Clinics, Schools and an Orphanage

Provide assistance with the establishment of at least one orphanage and sponsorship of children

Provide Pastors to conduct Crusades at least twice a year

The target group for Mission Teams on the field is freshman in High School and above!

Encourage Children’s Ministries among the Louisiana Baptist Churches to adopt pastors and churches to support through prayer, offering and at least once a year conduct campaigns to raise supplies for churches, schools and eventually an orphanage

You might say I am unable to go because of many reasons and if that is the case you are the prime candidate:

To start prayer teams for Haiti

To financially support the work

To serve as an area Representative to secure donations for children’s school supplies

To serve as an area Representative for securing Medical Supplies

To serve however God leads you to support this work

With your gift of money, time and service you are meeting the physical, spiritual, educational needs of babies, children, youth and adults in one of the world’s poorest nations. In addition to meeting these most basic needs, you are helping foster a new generation of Christian Leaders for Haiti.

For more information contact:

Louisiana/Haiti Partnership Mission Coordinator

Dr. Jay Johnston, Associate Pastor

First Baptist Church of Covington

16333 Hwy 1085

Covington, La 70433

Cell – 615-260-4752

Office – 985-892-2149

Email: jjohnston@fbccov.org

 

To make a financial contribution:

The details of the foundation that will be handling the financial resources is being finalized. I will post details late next week about where to submit your donation. In the meantime you can submit them to FBC Covington clearly marked Haiti partnership and make it to the attention of Karen McKnight. You will receive tax receipt and we will posting on a quarterly basis where and how the funds are being spent.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

Follow Jay on Twitter @jaygjohnston

A Christ-Like Attitude!

February 18, 2012

We hear the word attitude and often think of circumstances that occur throughout a person’s life.  Perhaps you may think that with a proper attitude your own circumstances might have a different outcome. I am uncertain about attitude changing outcomes in circumstances of life but I am certain that with a proper attitude or better defined as a Christ-like attitude the person is changed.

Earlier this week I received an email that one of our church members was diagnosed with lymphoma and would be undergoing more test to determine the severity of this disease. On Friday February 17, 2012 the church member and his family were informed that he has stage 4 cancer that is mantle cell lymphoma involving the b cells with a blastoid/blastic variant.  It is a rare and aggressive form of cancer. It is in his bone marrow.

I have been praying for this church member over the past two weeks because two-weeks ago today he shared with me that he was not feeling well and would be undergoing test on Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. I had received some initial feedback from the family on those tests with an understanding more test would need to be run. I then received word that he was admitted to a hospital because he was weak and experiencing other symptoms that were not normal.  It was after he was admitted to the hospital that I receive word of his diagnoses. As I continued to pray for this man while waiting to return back from a mission trip I could think only of his attitude. His attitude when he shared with me that he was experiencing some health problems was an attitude of strength and peace. While you could see the concern of family members the man with this health issues was strong. Well, on Thursday of this week I was able to see this man for the first time since his diagnoses and even though he had just returned from a very difficult procedure his attitude was strong. You could see the peace upon him and I also witnessed that same peace upon his wife and adult children.

I saw this man today and this was the first time I saw him since he received the full diagnoses and again I saw a man with an attitude of peacefulness. I saw the same attitude upon the family. However, it is not just in the faces of this family it is in their voices and their entire demeanor.

I do not know what the final outcome will be regarding his medical situation but I can tell you that the attitude of this man and his family has changed me.

I do know this is a man who loves God, knows God and professes him as Lord of his life. I have watched this man for several years demonstrate his love for Jesus in his daily walk.

He exhibits the type of Christ-like Attitude we read in Philippians 2:4-11.

Philippians 2:4-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

 

4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, 
did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man 
in His external form, 
8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient 
to the point of death— 
even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name 
that is above every name, 
10 so that at the name of Jesus 
every knee will bow— 
of those who are in heaven and on earth 
and under the earth — 
11 and every tongue should confess 
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What about your attitude? Might your attitude be one that allows Jesus to be Lord over everything in your life. Today, let your walk with Jesus be one that no matter your circumstances be used by Jesus to influence and change the lives of many or one.

Thanks Bill for allowing your attitude to radiate Christ and be used to change my life.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay

You can follow Jay on Twitter @jaygjohnston

 

A Haitian Pastor!

Feb. 16, 2012

Today, I want to tell you a little bit about Pastor Jean Odvald Louis who goes by Pastor Odvald. This pastor had a heart for Christ, a love for his family and a commitment to equip the people he is leading and working everyday to see the ministry is about multiplying with the hope of reaching one more for Jesus everyday.

Pastor Odvald along with his wife Jeannide Lafleur Louis, Daughter’s: Lmadnide, Marie Phoebe (baby) and son Bertsley  live in Croix-des-Bouquet (pronounced Creole: Kwadèbouke or English: quad a bouquet). Pastor Odvald and his wife love the local church and committed to reaching those around them for Christ and to disciple them.

I have found Pastor Odvald to be a man constantly seeking the heart of God. He is a man prayerful in his ways, strong in teaching God’s Word, visionary leader that gets things done.

The Louisiana/Haiti Missions partnership will be working hand in hand with Pastor Odvald and the churches under his leadership. I ask that you place Pastor Odvald on your prayer list as we begin working with him.

If you are interesting in serving on a Mission Team in Haiti please let me know and I will get you connected to groups that will be going every month beginning in May 2012.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay

Follow Jay on Twitter @jaygjohnston

A Love Story!

February 14, 2012

We took off for the town of Thomassin to visit a church plant and orphanage to learn more and see what we could take from this visit. We spent time first visiting a Church Plant that the Lord is blessing with people making life-changing commitments to Jesus. This was an encouraging time to the team to see and hear about the ongoing ministry of the church plant. 

We then went to visit a guesthouse that provides housing for ministry teams and for parents who are adopting children from a local orphanage. After visiting the guest house and having questions answered from the house mom we then took off to see an orphanage. The orphanage is currently renting multiple homes to care for the children while permanent construction is taking place.  We were able to visit two of the classrooms where the children are being taught. In one of the classrooms the children were in English class. The curriculum they are in requires the children to learn, English, French and Creole. The classroom had a great atmosphere and the children seem to be very happy. We had a great time visiting the children.

After visiting the toddlers and older children’s portion of the orphanage we went to visit the home where newborn to two year olds were cared for at the orphanage. The care and attention of the staff was impressive and the babies were precious. As we talked to the babies as they lay in their baby beds you could witness smiles of the infants and the team members.

The love that is being shown by the orphanage, which is part of God’s Littlest Angels Ministry, was outstanding. The children at the orphanage are not only being cared for but the staff is intentional about sharing the story of Jesus with all of the children.

The Guest House directors are Nikki and Brandon Jordan. This couple are from the United States. We were thrilled to learn that Nikki Jordan formerly Nikki LeBlanc is from New Iberia, Louisiana, The Jordan’s along with their children are doing a great work for the Lord through this ministry.

We also had time to eat a meal away from the Florida House during the late afternoon and spend a few minutes walking in a nearby town. During our walk around time the Lord provided us numerous opportunities to share the story of Jesus.

The day was truly about love that comes from God as we witnessed the love being shown in the orphanage and by team members sharing the story of Jesus with people on the street.

May the Love of Jesus flood your heart today!

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay Johnston

You can follow Jay on Twitter @jaygjohnston.org

A Day of Ministry and Blessings in Canaan and Port-au-Prince!

Feb 11, 2012  

Today has been a day of blessings as we ministered among the people of Canaan and spent some time on the streets of Port-au-Prince.

We left for Canaan early today to participate and assist with the Children’s Ministry taking place today. Upon arrival we had about 12 children greeting us and soon we had another 43 children come to the church. One of our team members is Ashley Davis who works for the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home and another team member is Steve Armstrong who is the Pastor at Westside Community Church in Addis, Louisiana. Ashley has responsibility on the team to walk us through with the protocol and administrative actions for developing and building an orphanage. Steve has the responsibility for ministry involvement. The two of them lead most of the activities for the morning time with the children and they did a really great job. It is obvious they have the right assignment by the way they interacted and lead during the morning with children.

We took a hike through Canaan to top of the first large hill in the development. As we made it up the hill the view of hundreds of homes not visible from below let our team know that there is much work to be done in Canaan.

We then made our way back to Port-au-Prince where we had the opportunity to visit with people living in various types of housing across from the Palace. This time allowed us to share the Gospel with many and we also met many Haitian’s living their life for Jesus. I had the opportunity to speak to a gathering of people on the streets to share with them the love of Jesus. I then with the help on my interpreter asked them one by one where they stand with a relationship with Jesus. One of our team members Jim Louviere is planting a church in Metairie and working with us to assist with planting churches was able to visit with a man that came to Christ right after the January 2010 earthquake and shared with Jim how he continues to live out his life of faith in Jesus. I met a young adult man who came to know Jesus because a group from Daytona Beach Florida came to Haiti and shared Jesus. He is now living his life out as a street evangelist and intentionally disciple other men. I also saw a man by the name of Livonia who works in the market area. I had previously met him and we were able to enjoy a short visit. He continues to live his life for Jesus and is being intentional about sharing Jesus with all he sees.

All in all it has been a good day. Please pray for us as we minister in Croix-des-Bouquet on Sunday. I will be preaching and excited for this opportunity. We are staying at the Florida House this week and the Florida Baptist Convention is sponsoring a crusade near the house and the Strength Team is leading the crusade. I ask that you also pray for David Burton the State Evangelism Director for Florida and the Strength Team as they minister in Port-au-Prince this week.

Our prayer request for clarity on building a strategic plan remains a request and the team is humble by your prayers.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay

follow Jay on twitter @jaygjohnston.org

 

A Day in Croix-des Bouquet and Canaan areas northeast of Port-au-Princ

February 10, 2012

Today has been about watching and praying as to how Louisiana Baptist might work in Croix-des-Bouquets and Canaan. The morning was spent at the Nouvelle Eglise Evangelique Baptiste with Pastor Odvald, Pastor Odvaldseveral other pastors and friends along with our team. Here we spent time hearing about the priorities of the church, seeking clarification on those priorities and praying for God’s direction and provision.

We then departed for Canaan to get a first hand look at this area that could simply overwhelm anyone because of the massive number of people and the living conditions along this mountain side. We went to the Church which is also under the leadership of Pastor Odvald. We spent time here learning more about the area, the church and the school that has begun and is sponsored by the church. The Lord is using Pastor Odvald to continually reach people and grow them in their person faith with Jesus Christ. We had the opportunity throughout the time in Canaan to meet many men, women and children who have become members of the Nouvelle Eglise Evangelique Baptiste.

We then drove through a little portion of the area. A drive through this area is extremely limited because there are no roads and the terrain is rough and the few vehicles that do move around in the area create such deep trenches that it becomes impossible to drive.

Upon moving back to the main road we drove along Route 1 which is a coastal highway. We drove for about seven miles to see the continual sprawl of people establishing homes along the mountainside. A drive in Haiti can also provide you with unique sites like this one. This entire area continues to grow because the government is asking the squatters in Port-au-Prince to move from the parks and public land in the city.

As we began heading back towards Port-au-Prince I continued speaking with Pastor Odvald about his foundation and the possibility of securing land for orphanage, medical clinic and school under his leadership. As we talked I encouraged him to take on urgency for this project and he replied now and I said yes now. It was within seconds he turned off the main road and drove about fifty yards looking at some empty fields. He said Pastor Jay I have been watching this land and praying for God to open the door for this land. He has good reason because it is very near the Canaan Church and on a major highway. As we talked he drove a little further and asked some men working in a field opposite from the land he was looking at moments ago and asked who could he speak with about purchasing some land. One of the men said he would need to speak with the man in a vehicle that was coming toward us and so we drove a few feet and he begin speaking with him. This man then said you need to speak with the owners and that man made a call and within about 10 minutes the minority owner of the property was on the same road speaking with Pastor Odvald.  They had a good conversation and the man is going to call back after speaking with the majority owner. Pastor Odvald and I agreed to pray because the initial figures would not be acceptable but I reminded him that God owns everything. I do not know if this is the land that God has for this project but I ask you to continue praying for the opportunity to secure land so the orphanage can begin being built along with a medical clinic.

I am praying for the people of the US as I continue to serve here in Haiti through next Wednesday. I pray your weekend is restful and that the opportunities to worship will be glorious and produce fruit for the Kingdom of God.

With a Grateful Heart,

Jay

Follow jay on twitter @jaygjohnston

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