I was meeting with a mentor last week and we had a conversation around milestones that have marked our lives. In our conversation, my mentor made an interesting observation. He said, “Every milestone I experienced in life involved me taking a jump.”
Today, I want to share with you milestones that have marked my life. I define a milestone as a significant moment in our lives that makes a lasting impact on who and where we are today. After you read my milestones, I’d love to hear what your milestones have been. Feel free to comment below letting me know your milestones.
Milestone #1: Getting invited to Slippery Rock Baptist Camp – I was going into 7th grade. This was the first time I heard someone teach the Bible. At the end of the week, my counselor sat me down and asked me if I would like to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I said yes, and we knelt down and prayed together. My life has never been the same since.
Milestone #2: A phone call I received 3 months after my mom died – My mom passed away my senior year of high school. While this was one of the toughest moments of my life, it was also a moment that would define my life forever. For three months, I was tormented by the thought that I would never knew if my mom had a relationship with God. One day, out of nowhere, a distant family member called me and let me know that she had led my mom to Christ months before she passed away. I hit my knees, cried, and told God that I would devote the rest of my life to him.
Milestone #3: Getting invited to a Bible Study – Two weeks after my second milestone, a girl invited me to a Bible Study led by a mom in our school district. Little did I know that by accepting the invitation, I would be meeting my future wife, Laura, and my future mother-in-law that night. My mother-in-law led the Bible Study. She knew that I had lost my mom and invited me over to her house for a family dinner. That was the beginning of my relationship with Laura and her family. I do not know where I would be today without their influence in my life.
Milestone #4: Getting invited to JAC Camp in 2003 – Shortly after my third milestone, Laura invited me to her church’s youth camp. At the camp, I rededicated my life to Christ. I also made the decision to become an intern at Victory Family Church. To be honest, I didn’t even know what an internship was. I just knew I’d be working at a church and I thought that would impress Laura… it didn’t. However, it did lead to another milestone.
Milestone #5: Interning and working at Victory Family Church – I interned at Victory all throughout my college years. Ultimately, I ended up on staff there for a few years. I could go on forever about the impact being a part of that church has had on my life. In fact, when I stopped working at the church in 2011, I wrote a blog post detailing it’s influence on me.
Milestone #6: A mentor handing me a John Maxwell Lesson – When I started interning, I was 18 years old. The youth pastor that was leading the internship handed me a leadership lesson by John Maxwell. I never knew there were resources to help you grow and develop. Immediately after I listened to the lesson, I called the youth pastor and told him to give me every lesson he had! For two years straight I listened to a leadership lesson every night. This milestone was the start of my personal growth journey. A journey that has taken me places I never dreamed possible.
Milestone #7: Leaving Victory Family Church – I left the staff of the church in 2011 to help my mentor plant a church. To be honest, I was depressed the entire first six months after leaving. Why? Because I discovered that all of my value was wrapped up in being on staff at a great church. I thought that I would never again be greatly used by God. I thought that I would no longer have opportunities to do what I loved. I guess I thought that the rest of my life would never be as exciting as the years I had spent interning and working at the church. However, through this experience I learned three significant life lessons. I learned that God is bigger than any church, any person, any organization, or anything else. I learned that ministry is not a job, but instead it’s who you are where you are. Finally, I learned that if God has called you to do something, He’s the only one that can stop that from happening! In order to grow up into who God wanted me to become, I had to leave the comfort and security of the familiar.
Milestone #8: Working at Light of Life and getting promoted into fundraising – God literally opened a door out of nowhere for me to work at Light of Life. I thought it was a job that was going to provide income for me for a year until the church I was helping to plant could pay me. One year into the job, I really felt like God was calling me to stay at Light of Life and transition from the church plant. Shortly after that decision, I got promoted into fundraising. Through this experience, God has helped to develop and equip me, showed me that there were gifts inside of me that I had no idea where there, and allowed me to be a part of what He is doing in the city of Pittsburgh.
Those are all of the major milestones in my life up to this point. Every milestone required me taking a jump. Some of the jumps were as simple as accepting an invitation, while others involved me leaving everything that was comfortable in my life.
Every milestone came as a result of following God. However, none of these milestones would have happened if people did not intentionally invest in my life. I could literally write down a list of 5-10 people that made these milestones possible. Whether they inviting me to church or camp, called me, gave me resources, or encouraged me, I would not be where or who I am today without their actions. For that, I am grateful.
That being said:
- What are the milestones in your life?
- Who are the people who made those milestones possible?
- Have you thanked them lately?
- Have you thanked God for what He’s done in your life?
Take some time this week and reflect on these questions. I think you’ll find your heart being filled with gratitude for a God and for people who love you enough to care about you. Be grateful.
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