I have two dear friends, Ivan & Isabel. I love being in their company and learning from them as they exude Jesus. They are loving, they are fun, they are kind, they are extraordinarily generous with their time and their love. They are wise, they are insightful, they are godly and they are anointed. They are patient and hard working and over the years they have learnt to be humble and servant hearted. In short, I’d very much like to be like them as I grow up. Once when I was speaking to Isabel, she told me something that struck me (actually that happens on a regular basis, but this example is particularly pertinent to this post). I had just finished telling them some of the things I’ve written above and Isabel said this to me, “Alyn, anything good you see in us is because of Jesus and because of John and Carol”.
This wasn’t a clichéd statement or a token spiritual throw away. This was Isabel being very, very sincere. If you ever get to hear Ivan or Isabel share about their lives, you will never hear them talk about how humble, awesome and loving they are - rather they will talk about how broken and proud and stubborn they were. When Isabel shared that with me, she was simply acknowledging that who they are is because of other people. Sure they’ve made choices and decisions along the way, but think about your life: you are most likely the way you are because of the impact others have had on your life. So it got me thinking… who has impacted me and who am I impacting?
My father taught me the value of hard work and honoring God’s word (among many other things). My mother taught me how to love and be loved (again, among many other things). My wife has taught me what faithfulness and godliness looks like on a practical every day level. John and Carol taught me what’s it’s like to love God with all your heart, soul and strength without being religious. They also taught me how to welcome the Holy Spirit in life and ministry. Ivan and Isabel taught me how normal the prophetic and revelatory realms are. Chip Judd taught me about boundaries. Jack Frost, James Jordan and AJ taught me about the Father’s love. John Paul Jackson and Sarah Jackson (no relation, save for great revelation!) taught me about my dreams and how to interpret what God is saying through them. Jeff Dollar has taught me how to listen and understand. Tom Conlon (my post-grad tutor) is mostly responsible for how I teach. My kids teach me what it’s like to be loved and truly child like. Of course the list goes on; Sunday School teachers teaching me about Jesus and the Bible, elementary teachers (who taught me to read and write!), friends and family, school bullies, employers, colleagues, authors, speakers, pastors, teachers, distant relatives who prayed for me, coaches, mentors… all of them shaped the man that is writing these words¹.
What about grand parents and great grand parents - without them I wouldn’t even be here (d’uh!). But what about the godly ones who prayed for me, perhaps before I was even born? What about the odd old people at the church I grew up in who prayed for me through my stubborn and mildly rebellious years? What impact have their prayers and petitions done to shape me into the man I am?
Practically speaking, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Grace Center’s leadership team. They made it possible for us to move to the USA. I wouldn’t have a platform to run emanate and the School of Supernatural Life if it wasn’t for Jeff & Becky. And they wouldn’t have a platform if it wasn't for the leaders before them (and so on and so forth). And so in everything I do, I am trying to remain acutely aware of the people who’ve gone before me who have made what I do today possible.
I recently wrote to one of my spiritual heroes. A man I’ve never actually met, but who has impacted me greatly. He pioneered prophetic ministry in a time when nobody knew what a prophet was or what prophetic ministry looked like. He endured scorn and ridicule and raised up sons who have since gone on to father many in the prophetic (including me!). I can be who I am today because this man paid a price to make what I do look normal. Everyone I have trained in the prophetic, has benefitted from his life. It’s quite something when you think about it, right?
AJ and I attended the U2 concert this past weekend in Nashville. While the crew were switching the stage around between the opening act and U2 coming on stage, the large 360º screen showed a bunch of statistics. A number of them caught my eye, but because I’ve been thinking recently about what I’ve shared in this article, one particular statistic stood out to me. This is what it said:
Personnel on U2 360 tour: 436
Wow - that’s a small to medium sized company making one tour a reality. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that U2 isn’t just four guys on stage. There are 432 other people that got them there that night to do what they do best. As we left the stadium late on Saturday night we walked past all the tucks that transported the lighting, stage, speakers, etc. Many of those 432 people would’ve been responsible for setting up (and tearing down) the massive arena that made it possible for U2 to entertain us that night. Our lives are like that. Most people just see us, and rarely see the people that helped us get where we are today, but I think it’s important we honor the people who’ve helped make us, us.
I’ve discovered that the people who have impacted me the most, are usually unaware of the impact they’ve had on my life. They weren’t thinking, “Right, let’s impact Alyn and shape and mold him”. Rather they were just living their lives before God in an upright manner, apologizing when they made mistakes and living in a way that would glorify Jesus. I’ve found that stopping to say thank you does something for them and for you. For them it’s an encouragement that they are making a difference. For you? Well you get to reflect on the awesomeness of who you are and thank God for what he's done in your life to make you that way².
- You understand, dear reader, don’t you, that this paragraph, were it to be an exhaustive and accurate list would be one that a) I couldn’t recall properly and b) would be so long that I may well spend the rest of my life writing it. Here I summarize for effect.
- And just think, you only get better: “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8.29. As we continue to walk with God, we become more like Jesus!
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