Winter 2002 Rapport: Following the Call to Serve the Soldiers
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He was a 17-year-old private in the U.S. Army who had enlisted to serve his country for
the next four years. After completing those four years, he never wanted to dress in another
green camouflage uniform for the rest of his life. As far as he was concerned, he was
through with the Army. But God had other plans. More than 10 years later, Chaplain (Captain)
Jeff Jay, an AGTS graduate, is still in the Army and currently serves as active-duty chaplain
of the 35th Engineer-Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade, the Armys only One Station
Unit Training site for engineers at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo.
the years Jay was first enlisted, he ran from God and turned toward alcohol to the point
that it became his lifeline. One day a Christian coworker invited him to church. After
feeling convicted by the pastors sermon, Jay said, The next week I drank myself
into oblivion so I didnt have to think about it.
Two weeks later the same coworker came to Jays home and dragged him to church. I
was still drunk, Jay said. I didnt remember anything until the end of
the service when the evangelist had an altar-call and everyone filed to the front. Because
I didnt want to be the only one left sitting in the pews, I got up and walked to
the front of the church. I was still mocking God as the preacher was praying for others.
But by the time he got to me, I was instantly filled with the Holy Spirit and immediately
healed from alcoholism.
That Sunday, April 22, 1989, Jay rededicated his life to the Lord. Four months later he
went to Trinity Bible College in North Dakota where he met a young woman named Lisa. He
married her in 1990, and over the next several years they youth pastored in Nebraska,
North Dakota, Oregon, and Colorado.
I had committed myself to being a youth pastor until the Lord returned, Jay
said. I am reminded that Gods ways are not our ways. The godliest activity
can become godless if the Lord is not in it. In 1998 his senior pastor resigned,
and Jay stepped in as the interim pastor. He said, I felt an uneasiness and wondered
if I was supposed to be a senior pastor instead of a youth pastor.
Sometimes God has entirely different plans for us, beyond our own understanding. One
night God spoke to my wife in a dream and told her that I was supposed to be a chaplain,
but she never told me about the dream until God had revealed the same thing to me,
Jay said. I wrestled with the Lord and the Lord said, You do what you want
to do, but my blessing is on the chaplaincy. God gave me a peace about it and for
the next three years, I attended the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. It took the
turmoil of transition to awaken my heart to the Lords call for me to go to Seminary
and the chaplaincy.
From the moment we made our decision to go to AGTS our resolve was frequently tested.
One of our greatest challenges came when our savings ran out, and we still had not found
employment. Just when our hope was beginning to fade, the Lord provided jobs for both
Lisa and me.
Though I had been well acquainted with the call to be a youth minister, I was not
familiar with the new purposes God had for my life in the ministry. Jay describes
his first year at AGTS as being like the growth of a plant. Eventually a plant needs
to be replanted into a larger pot in order to avoid stunting its growth. A burning desire
to do greater things for the kingdom of God led me to being dissatisfied with the successes
of the past.
Jay began seeking new experiences with God. He did not consider himself to be a gifted
student but pressed on to dig into the assigned readings, listen intently to lectures,
and ask thousands of questions.
Transition can be a crisis, Jay said. Fear of change paralyzes some
so that they cannot adapt to new environments. Anyplace any one of us goes is a pioneer
work. We are pioneers. By maintaining an attitude of renewal and staying committed to
the process of being equipped we allow the Lord to prepare us for planting. He has prepared
a field for each of us to be sown.
After graduating from AGTS in spring 2000, Jeff Jay said he felt he was prepared for God
to take him through the launching phase into his chaplaincy call.
I have found seminary to be much more than an educational exercise. It has been
to its billing as a place where knowledge is on fire. I appreciate the investment
AGTS has made in me. The high level of skill in which I have been educated has forced
me to commit myself to being a lifetime learner, he said. As I leave this
place, I go prepared for replanting, refreshed with the food of the Word, and ready to
bear much fruit. Thank you, AGTS, and thank you, Lord.
Thursday, August 7, 2003 3:33 PM