31 Days of Gratitude - In an attempt to publicly express my gratitude for the people that have impacted me in some way in 2015, I'm setting out to write one post a day sharing what I appreciate about them or what moment that marked me. Some of these people I know well, some I've only met, and some I'm just getting to know. There is no ranking to these posts and they aren't meant to put anyone on a pedestal. They, like you and I, are imperfect people with their own flaws, some you may have experienced. Despite those flaws, I believe we all need to have our positive characteristics called into light and celebrated. This is that attempt.
Whether you think I'm an ok guy or not, you can attribute a large portion to the influence Joe Johns has had on my life. Joe has been one of the most significant spiritual, personal, and relational influences in my life the past decade. If you think positively about me, it's because of the intentionality of Joe inviting me into a relationship that holds me accountable to personal transformation towards a life that looks a lot more like Jesus, which ultimately impacts the way I treat others and the relationships I'm in. If you think I'm got a long way to go, you'd be right, and Joe is still working on me!
More than the mentorship Joe has provided me, he's become a really good friend during this time to my family and I. Michelle and I got to know his family before we got married and at the time, we were all wondering what it would look like to live more intentionally and choose a neighborhood/house together in the same neighborhood. Essentially choose to live in proximity to one another and the things we were investing in rather than choose based on the type of house, the school systems, or the side of town we lived on. So, they moved into a neighborhood and within a year, we did as well. We've lived around the corner ever since and have enjoyed every bit of being close to each other to watch our families grow together, be in community with one another, and do our best at making friendship with one another easier rather than harder.
Joe has talked me into riding bikes across the country in 7 days, go to DR Congo in Africa, go to conferences, and even into not returning to advertising when I lost my job 8 years ago and take time off to figure out what was next, which ended up being at NeighborLink. Ok, he didn't really talk me into all those things, but merely cast vision for what meaningful pursuits of Holy Spirit-led living could or should look like. Ask big questions, made decisions contrary to status quo, and pray that it'll all work out and we'll gain a better understanding of what it means to be a Christ-follower at the end of it. I've not regretted anything he's talked me into yet, and I'm grateful for his leadership, encouragement, and accountability over the years to do what's right.
I'm grateful for more than I can effectively express about Joe. It's good to be known intimately like Joe knows me and to have someone that believes in you despite that. I appreciate his transparency, his commitment to the journey, and his commitment to being the best husband, father, and leader he can be even when he acknowledges its still not enough. Thanks for loving me well over the years, and the love you extend to my wife and family. I'm glad we're neighbors and I'm glad our relationship has morphed from just mentorship to friendship. Our relationship has been transformational and I'll be forever grateful.