Saturday, April 29, 2006

Über Christ Followers – Part 19 – Jeff Jackson

Change is easy; once you’re on the other side of it. But while you’re going through it, it’s difficult; sometimes torturous. I met Jeff Jackson during a tricky transitional period in my ministry life. Our meeting was providentially arranged and I’m grateful for Jeff’s friendship.

Jeff’s wisdom and experience have always given me a realistic and sobering view of my situation. Usually when the prescription I need is a little truth applied in love, it stings a little – or a lot. But when Jeff gives me the scoop about my current reality, I walk away hope filled knowing I can actually grow through it and still live a life that glorifies God. Jeff’s wisdom is never on display or held over anyone’s head. His wisdom comes in the form of simple conversation from an older (not by much) brother in the faith who has already walked before me.

When I say that I walk away from conversations with my friend changed and mentored, I mean every conversation with him is like that. Words are not wasted when they come from Jeff.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

Jeff is the founder of Shepherd Staff, an organization that facilitates and trains people for world missions. When I thought I knew all there was about missions, Jeff opened my eyes a little wider with serious cross-cultural training and experience. He is co-founder of Send the Message with John Michaels of Calvary Chapel Spring Valley and Matt Ellison of 1615.

A couple of years ago, the wind was knocked out of me when Jeff called and said that his life would be shortened by ALS. Jeff says that the Lord has seen fit to move him into another area of influence to pastor and encourage a group of people not many of us will have a chance to minister to. What an attitude.

Recently Jeff was invited to Washington, D.C. There he will attend sessions given by leading researchers, meet ALS advocates from around the U.S., and spend time belly-button-to-belly-button with U.S. Congressman soliciting support, legislation, and funding for ALS related causes and bills.

I was asked once, “Bryon, how do you want your life to be remembered.”

My answer to that was, “the damage has been done.”

Jeff Jackson is living the kind of life that will be remembered.

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