Jim was one of those fun-loving, friendly guys who everyone loved. He was a Sales Manager with lots of friends and a good-looking family. He had the usual struggles like most guys, but for the most part, Jim always had a smile on his face. A few years before he was invited on The Journey, he had begun to explore the things of Faith a little deeper.
He and his wife had decided they needed to get involved in church, and Jim was prompted to get way out of his comfort zone to go to a Men’s Retreat and later, to go to a Promise Keepers event. Jim had never talked to a group of men about God or about personal struggles. He considered himself a “man’s man”, a good athlete, an avid sports fan and a guy who enjoyed having a beer every now and then. On one level, all this spiritual stuff seemed strange, but on another level, God was calling out to Jim’s heart.
When he would go to these spiritual events, he felt a peace and joy that was far different from anything he had known before. He joined an Accountability Group, and he began to see the satisfaction in offering his time to other men. He enjoyed helping other men with their struggles. He and his wife joined a Community Group, and Jim saw the benefit of bringing Faith into his marriage. He was becoming a different person in many ways. He was still the same fun-loving Jim, but deep inside, he hungered for more and more of God.
One day, right around Easter, he was alone at his office, reading his Bible, and all of the sudden, he was struck with how much God loved him. It was as if, for the first time, the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice for him personally sunk into his spirit. He called one of his good friends, who had been pointing him toward God, and tried to describe the experience. God was moving in Jim’s life.
Jim joined The Journey, and immediately, he saw the value of it. He started reading God’s Word and Journaling for the first time in his life. His whole perspective on life began to change. Jim saw the power of The Journey, especially compared to all the years he spent in an Accountability Group. He immediately became a Guide afterwards, and he saw the blessing of helping other men find an intimate relationship with Christ.
Jim’s wife, Lisa, had been raised in a strong Christian family, and she knew much more than Jim about the things of God. All of the sudden, she noticed something different about Jim. She saw a depth in his spirit and in his walk with Christ that surprised her. She wanted to know more about this Journey group. When she found out they were going to do a Journey Group for Couples, she wanted in.
Lisa loved The Journey as much, or more, than Jim. It reignited some of the spiritual seeds God had planted in her as a child, and it helped bring more joy into her life. Then, a few months after the completion of The Journey, Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. Their entire world was being rocked, and in the midst of it, Jim realized that God had used The Journey to prepare them for the battle. The next year and a half would be filled with doctor’s appointments, radiation, chemotherapy, and all the struggle that comes with a bout with cancer. Jim lived out Ephesians 5:25 as he loved Lisa like Christ loved the church, standing by her in perseverance and love and support. Lisa leaned on her loving Father, and she “Journaled” her thoughts and her scripture discoveries and her prayers on her Caring Bridge site, reaching thousands of people with her words.
Lisa trusted in God and abandoned herself to Him. She made it to a place of wellness and arrived at a new perspective on life. Then, Jim found out he was losing his job. Now, he was challenged to trust God again, but after watching how God delivered Lisa, he knew he was in good hands. Jim found a peace in the midst of his storm that only came from his confidence in the Lord.
Today, Jim and Lisa are doing great. Jim was hired to a new job, one week after his severance money ended with his old job. Jim continues to lead Journey groups and stay connected to the Journey brothers all around him. Lisa has a heart for missions and continues to use her gift of writing which she discovered in the Journey group. They are influencing their children for Christ and continuing to live by faith. Everyone still loves Jim, but now, when they look at Jim, they see so much more than a fun-loving guy. They see a Man of God.