Sunday, May 22, 2011

Encounters With God: Jason Huffman

Today's post comes from my good friend Jason Huffman.  I met Jason on Twitter several months ago and soon we were talking sports, youth ministry, blogging and Jesus.  He quickly became one of my favorite people and someone I truly hope to spend some "face time" with someday soon.  You can get to know Jason by following him on Twitter @jasonbhuffman or by visiting his blog at  Just don't say anything nasty about his Texas Rangers!  Thanks for sharing your heart with us, Jason.

You know that kid that was dragged to church every time the doors were open and came from the squeaky clean family? Well, that was me. So, I guess you could say I encountered God on a regular basis for many years. This was not a bad thing at all. I am thankful for my Christian upbringing, for my mom's faithful involvement in all things church, and my dad's great example. But somehow over the years, my theology became somewhat skewed. Having a relatively easy life (stable home, decent income, etc.), I began to formulate the idea in my mind that if I was just faithful to God and didn't get myself into a lot of hot water over a bunch of sinful living, then God would honor that and life would be relatively easy. After all, that's biblical, right?

Well, enter encounter number one. My wife of almost three years, my college girlfriend, came to me and basically said, "I've been thinking a lot about leaving." After trying to do all I could to rectify the relationship and stop her from tearing our marriage apart, there was nothing more I could do. She even gave me the comfort of saying, "You did nothing wrong, this is just all on me. I never should have gotten married." So while that allowed me to clear my conscience, it didn't make the pain go away. I had been serving for two years at a little Baptist church in Rockdale, TX. My wife had been our church pianist and had worked with me in my youth ministry. My world had been shaken up like one of those snow globes. And somehow in the midst of it all, God was there. Well, as my life seemingly spun out of control, it was my continuing seminary education and a church paycheck that kept me from going off the deep end. I felt so far away from God, yet at the same time, I was supposed to be leading others to be closer to him.

The scripture that spoke the most to me during this time was Phil 4:7-8 which says " Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I had learned a song as a child that said "I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart (where?)". I never understood the "peace that transcends all understanding" until I felt this pain. In the midst of the storm, there was peace.This passage tells me that when hard times come, I have a choice to make. I can lean on God and trust him, or I can turn my back on him and do it on my own.

What happened after that would be a tumultuous two years. I soon met another lady and we were married and divorced in just over a year. We had been without a pastor and in addition to doing youth ministry, music ministry, and going to school full time, I was also doing the pastoral ministry for the church. It was a very stressful time in my life. She left on a Friday and I took my last semester of seminary finals on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and graduated on Saturday. Imagine getting this piece of paper that is supposed to affirm God's call on your life all the while you know that you are going to have to leave your church ministry you've held for five years. So, after resigning from my church, I packed up my life, put my house up for sale, and moved back home with my parents. Twenty-seven years old, no job, and a Masters Degree in Christian Education that I felt wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.

Burnt out on ministry, I began seeking employment in the secular world. Through a series of unusual circumstances, after three months, I wound up in the insurance office of a godly man who had built his business on Christian principles and was looking for some new, young agents to expand his business. This was encounter #2. While I would grow to loathe selling insurance, it was a good job and paycheck for the next two years. The night before I started that job, I broke down and cried because of all the hell I had been through and was so happy that God was going to provide me with a job.

After two years in insurance, I was pining to go back into the trenches of ministry. I had been leading a Wednesday night youth Bible study at a church I was attending, but they had recently hired a youth minister. A Methodist pastor had hit me up two years before about working for them, but it was only part time and I was burnt out on ministry anyway. It just wasn't the right time. But one Tuesday afternoon, after a less than successful insurance appointment, I swung by the same Methodist church and told the pastor, "I don't even know why I'm here. I just know I'm sick of selling insurance and two years ago you were looking for a youth worker." His eyes lit up. I would soon find out they had just released a youth director who had been there for a year and a half and had already been through six applicants from all over the country trying to find the right fit. He gave me some paperwork, made a few phone calls. A week later I had a job. This was encounter #3. That was five years ago May 1. I've heard it said that coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.

I'm still the Director of Youth Ministries at First United Methodist Church of Palestine. I have been married now to my wife for three years and have adopted her daughter. And there have been many more "mundane" encounters with God. Life is good. I know hard times will come and go, but God will never leave me or forsake me. How have you encountered God in your life?

Jason Huffman


  1. Jason, I am so proud to feature this post today. Your open and honest sharing of your journey and these encounters with God will touch many- of that I have no doubt. Thanks for being faithful, and thanks for being my friend. Go Mavs!

  2. It's all God, Carl! Why be ashamed of my scars when they tell the story of God's love? Thanks for "giving me the mic" today.

  3. Anonymous5/22/2011

    Jason, Thank you for sharing! Your post is so authentic and a great reminder that God is standing right beside us in the valleys of life. Your post gave me such comfort to remember to have confidence in my faith no matter what valley I am in. All the best to you and your family.

    Carl, Thanks for this series of blog posts. They are great!

    Todd Willis

  4. Todd, thanks for being such a faithful reader. And you really should be writing one of these for me, you know? :)

  5. Jason, I'm starting to wonder if my last name is really Huffman or you're a Weatherby.

    Great job and I could so identify with everything you said.

  6. Jason thanks for sharing your story. After following you on twitter as for most of the other guest bloggers this week, its so awesome to hear more than 140 characters and get to see the rest of the stories.


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